Hello, September

This is the first August I can remember where I haven’t spent the last half of the month gearing up for a new school year.

No restocking pens, paperclips, highlighters and sticky notes. No scrambling to buy textbooks. No having to reorganize my desk, taking it from Creative Mode to Academic Mode. No recalibrating my sleep schedule. No class conflicts and grad requirements to work with and around. No bad-professor-dodging. No cancelling my birthday because of exams. No pre-emptive stress over reading lists and assignment deadlines.

It feels strange. Good, in a way. Light. But hollow, too. Because this was my life’s primary structure and mode of organization for years and years. It was never easy, but there was something reassuring in having a definite measuring stick for success, in being able to know exactly what was required of me. It didn’t make it any easier to do what was required, didn’t lessen the toll on my mind or body, but at least I didn’t have the stress/fear of the unknown to deal with, too.

I’m trying to find a new way to structure my life. I know that, for a lot of people, that’s work. I’ve gotten news that I’m being published (OMG!!!) so my writing career is taking off, but I know that won’t pay the bills right now (and might not ever). I have some other opportunities that I’m looking into, and have gotten stuck playing the waiting game on, but there are things to consider on the work front that scare me.

Things like: How will I be able to hold a job when my health, physical and mental, is still unstable? How will I find a job that I can do with my limitations, and how do I hold onto it? What if I can’t work full-time? How will I support myself? What if I can’t ever work full-time?

And, because our culture is so, so bad about tying your identity to your work, your ability to be productive, I have to battle self-doubt on top of all those other things. Even knowing logically that I have worth as a person whether I can work or not doesn’t stop the emotional part of me from whispering that no one will want to be with, love, or be friends with a useless, disabled lesbian. It doesn’t stop the nagging questions of “How dependent will I have to be on others? How dependent am I allowed to be before I’m a burden? Who would be willing to shoulder that burden? How could I possibly be okay with being a burden on my loved ones?” from creeping up on me.

That kind of thought process is toxic, and I know it. It is also, unfortunately, incredibly difficult to root out. Knowing that it’s utter bullshit, that it’s capitalism telling me I have to be a successful, economically-productive individual to have worth; that it’s the decades of abuse undercutting my sense of self; that it’s my anxiety and mental illness trying to tear me down doesn’t make it go away or hurt any less.

All I can do in those moments is remind myself that:
1) I have people who love me so, so much, and in a variety of ways;
2) I have been working towards better health and stability for about 2 years now, and my efforts have started to pay off;
3) I am trying to pursue work, but have to wait and see if things fall into place—and it’s not my fault if they don’t;
4) My limits are not my fault;
5) Human beings are inherently social creatures, and we all need to be taken care of sometimes, no matter our age or level of ability;
6) I am trying, and that counts;
7) My limits are still not my fault.
~
I think this goes without saying, but as we live in a world of rampant asshattery, please allow me to state for the record: this is my intellectual property. As such, please do not copy, circulate, edit, alter, take credit for, or otherwise appropriate this material without my express permission. Thank you.

Random Tangent: Darwin

So, I’m sitting in class while we discuss Darwinism, and I’m struck by an odd thought:

Throughout the animal kingdom, the general rule is that males jump through hoops — building homes, fighting rivals, risking being eaten to stand out with the prettiest colours — to earn the right to mate. Among Western humans, males tend to presuppose that they automatically have the right to mate — and then get upset, even violent, when they are refused.

Methinks something went wrong, somewhere.

~

I think this goes without saying, but as we live in a world of rampant asshattery, please allow me to state for the record: this is my intellectual property. As such, please do not copy, circulate, edit, alter, take credit for, or otherwise appropriate this material without my express permission. Thank you.

 

No, Really. I Quit.

Everything is officially shitastic.

Ergo, I am done with all of this shit. I am done with the pile-up of essays and tests and presentations and exams. Done with insomnia and nightmares. Completely, utterly, 110% done with being made of pain. Done with doctors and receptionists and the soul-destroying time-suck that is waiting rooms. I am over being treated as a convenient solution to a problem rather than a person in my own right. I am done being insulted for having sleepless nights and painful bad days. Done with being put on the backburner because my problems aren’t nearly as pressing as the Crisis of the Week.

So I am off to find a dark hole to crawl into. I plan on laying down in it, and staying there until either the world becomes a less shitastic place, or . . . actually, I can’t even think why I would want to leave my hidey-hole.
~

I think this goes without saying, but as we live in a world of rampant asshattery, please allow me to state for the record: this is my intellectual property. As such, please do not copy, circulate, edit, alter, take credit for, or otherwise appropriate this material without my express permission. Thank you.

Not Making the Grade

School, I am pissed at you.

In case you haven’t noticed, we’re on a sinking ship. The quality of Student Publications has been steadily declining, the clubs and committees are dying off, and we still don’t have a library or cafeteria despite paying fees for those. So your new changes due to “budget cuts” were the equivalent of blowing a hole in the side of said ship, which was already taking on water at a frankly terrifying rate.

I mean, I get it. You’re scared, because your partnership with that other school is coming to an end, and you’re pretty sure that won’t mean anything good for your bottom line. But this? This was not the answer.

This was a giant “fuck you” to your students. Who, in case you’ve forgotten, are the ones supplying a large chunk of your budget. Do you really think screwing over your students and employees is the way to save this institution? Because screwing us is exactly what you’ve done.

Contract staff teach 45% of our classes. And now you’re getting rid of a significant number of them. Who, exactly, do you plan to have teach? Because tenured professors aren’t less expensive than contract staff — rather the opposite, in fact. Which means that you’re not going to create more secure/tenured positions, just your expectations of current staff. Good luck keeping professors, and kiss any chance of attracting new staff goodbye. No one will trust you as an employer after this, and they’d be right not to.

But it’s not just instructors you’ve axed, oh no! You’ve also decided that 22 employees in support positions are expendable. Included in those 22 were the Learning Strategist and Consultant in the Disability Office, as well as one of the two counsellors that serve this entire campus. You know what that says?

It says that you don’t give a shit about students’ success. It says that you really couldn’t care less about whether or not mentally ill, learning-impaired, or physically disabled students have the support they need to graduate. It makes your little “Scrawl on the Wall” for mental health initiative nothing but hypocrisy. You can’t claim to care about mental health on campus and then fire half of your counsellors, and still expect anyone to believe that you actually care.

I mean, clearly you care about your image. It’s why you phrased your little announcement in terms of sustainability. It’s why you haven’t told anyone affected by these changes about them. It’s why students get to show up to appointments with their support staff, only to be told that said staff member isn’t here today — and is, in fact, no longer with us. It’s why you only tell students about the absence of their support staff after the firing has taken place. Because heaven fucking forbid that we raise a fuss about it, or try to get petitions going, or hell, get a chance to make sure that we’re going to be okay without those supports that you’re pulling out from under us.

I am appalled by the callousness you’ve shown. You don’t care about our professors, or their families, or what it means that they have to seek employment elsewhere with minimal notice. And students’ health and sanity is clearly nowhere near as important to you as your bottom line. Your utter lack of scruples in making this decision is nothing short of sickening.

Because here’s the fucking kicker: this was not inevitable. This did not need to happen. The cost of your deficit should not be paid with our sanity or the quality of our education — because you sure as hell aren’t going to be lowering tuition fees anytime soon, are you? If your budget was really in as much trouble as you say, then what was with buying that new building downtown? Are you seriously trying to tell me that you can get rid of support staff and teachers, but you can somehow afford to buy building the size of a city block?

I’m utterly disgusted. And really, really glad that I’m as close to graduating as I am. Because I’m not interested in going down with this ship — not when it didn’t need to sink in the first place.

-K

~
Just in case it wasn’t clear: I am furious. And I plan on doing something about this. What, I don’t know quite yet. But ^that^ was where I had to start, because otherwise I would have blown something up, burned something down, or done something else equally as destructive. And while I do plan on raising hell, it needs to be productive hell. If I can’t get anything changed, then at the very least I need to make sure that I am heard.
~
I think this goes without saying, but as we live in a world of rampant asshattery (as evidenced by the above), please allow me to state for the record: this is my intellectual property. As such, please do not copy, circulate, edit, alter, take credit for, or otherwise appropriate this material without my express permission. Thank you.

2 for 2

Two minds blown in two days. I consider this a personal triumph.

Mind #1 was blown in a discussion about lesbians, media representation, and pornography. Mind #2 was blown when I pointed out the connection between speech and rattlesnakes.

Yeah, I’m proud of myself right now.
~

I think this goes without saying, but as we live in a world of rampant asshattery, please allow me to state for the record: this is my intellectual property. As such, please do not copy, circulate, edit, alter, take credit for, or otherwise appropriate this material without my express permission. Thank you.

This One’s Not My Fault

. . . what has happened, I hear you wondering, that is not my fault? And if it’s not my fault, who is to blame?

Important things first: this is Ruby’s fault.

How? Glad you asked.

See, we were talking the other night about our plans — such as they may or may not be — for grad school. And she mentioned to me that there is no required or disqualifying major when it comes to applying to law school. She mentioned that I, as an English major, am technically qualified to apply for entrance to law school.

(Which, as a side note, seems really odd to me. An undergraduate degree in Political Science, Criminology, Psychology, Business, Social Work, even Youth and Children’s Studies or Women and Gender Studies makes sense to me when it comes to the law. All of those majors relate really well to certain legal fields. But English? As in, literature and theory and criticism? Does not compute.)

My immediate reaction is that I will not be applying to law school; I’ll leave that to Ruby. Because I would lose my shit if I were in law school.

And then . . . then I actually stopped to think about that for a minute. I thought about what it would be like, to be a law student. To deal with that atmosphere, those peers and professors, the politics and ambition, the workload and expectations. And after considering all those things, I started to think about what my inevitable fuck-this-shit moment would look like.

I’m pretty sure that I would set my textbooks and/or my dorm room on fire, spray Silly String all over the campus monuments, and then climb the clock tower/tallest monument to glitter-bomb everything in a suit, and coffee-bomb everything else that moved. I’d be up there, whipping water balloons filled with lukewarm shitty coffee and screaming “TAKE THAT! AND THAT! AND THAT! AND HERE, HAVE SOME MORE, YOU SOULLESS, BACKBITING CORPORATE-LOVING MONKEYS! IT’S ALL YOU HAVE LEFT IN YOUR BODIES ANYMORE!”

When I shared this vision with Ruby — and the accompanying wisdom that law school is really not for me — she laughed. When I mentioned it to Milady, complaining that the above would result from an inability to deal with people, play politics, or care enough about others’ opinions of me/my reputation, she was rather concerned. Mostly by how much thought I’d put into this.

But, well. If I was going to consider it, then I had to do it properly. After all, there would have been no point to half-assing it, would there?

(But you see now? Ruby’s fault.)

~

I think this goes without saying, but as we live in a world of rampant asshattery, please allow me to state for the record: this is my intellectual property. As such, please do not copy, circulate, edit, alter, take credit for, or otherwise appropriate this material without my express permission. Thank you.

 

Brain-Mate

Every once in a while, as I slog through my assigned readings and coursework, I come across something magical. Some piece of theory or line of argument, some train of thought or particular turn of phrase that makes me fall in love. It’s actually not all that uncommon for me; it probably happens once every few months.

But sometimes, I find something that takes me way past love. I find something so amazingly intelligent, so sparklingly brilliant that I want to mate with the author’s brain and have their intellectual babies. That reaction, in all it’s extremity, is thankfully rare, not in the least because it earns me some very weird looks.

Right now, though? I’m reading through Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own, and I’ve fallen cortex-over-brainstem in love. I will fight for the right to be first in line to bear her intellectual offspring. I’m developing a case of heart-eyes at the very thought. (Here, because I can’t not share obsessions of this magnitude:  Click the little red heart, and join me!)

Before this, the last time I had a reaction this strong was to Gloria Anzaldúa’s Borderlands/La Frontera. Other notable mentions include Allen Ginsberg and Alfred Tennyson.

And now I’m horrified at the thought of “what if I had to choose between them?” Thank God brains aren’t like genitals — there’s absolutely zero expectation of fidelity. My grey matter can mate with and bear the babies of as many magical beings as it finds. Another perk would be the lack of visible stretch marks — neural networks don’t have to fit aesthetic conventions, so mine can totally “let itself go” in the pursuit of incubating the next generation of brilliance.

~

I think this goes without saying, but as we live in a world of rampant asshattery, please allow me to state for the record: this is my intellectual property. As such, please do not copy, circulate, edit, alter, take credit for, or otherwise appropriate this material without my express permission. Thank you.