29 July 2010

Moving on up

We (me and the sig.o., of course) are in the process of moving.

I hate moving. Half my stuff is here. Half my stuff is there. And moving is so.expensive! We need to get new this and new that, while meanwhile getting rid of old this and old that. It's a silly process and one that mostly just annoys me, but I'm excited to have it all out of the way.

When we were on the prowl for a new apartment, it wasn't really clear if I'd have a job by moving time so we found a place that was a little less expensive than our current location and without a few of the cushiony amenities that we've come to enjoy. Coincidentally, I now have a job and my partner is applying for jobs as well. Though it's always good to be prepared for the worst, I'm regretting just a little that we didn't have more faith in us. The thing is, we aren't convinced this new place will be so great and that's a little disappointing. As if moving weren't stressful enough, it feels like there's a little extra stress since we aren't as pumped about the actual apartment as we could be. My hope is that the place grows on us enough that we can stay there for longer than a year. I'm soSO tired of moving. All the time.

Once, I tortured myself into counting the number of times I've moved since August of 2006. Ten times. TEN TIMES! Argh.

19 July 2010

Together we rise (but first we have to get together)

I went to an event tonight put on by an organization dedicated to increasing the rights of LGBT folks in Colorado. My organization (well, more specifically, a branch of my organization) is a collaborative member of this effort to increase rights and awareness about rights, and I went as a representative for that group. Ironically, my membership at this town hall style meeting seemed inappropriate considering I was representing a group built for GBT men. Anyway, that's off the point. The purpose of the event was for this organization to hear about the needs of communities and to learn about the priorities of the LGBT community in my area.

There was something like 40 people present, which is a pretty incredible turnout if you've ever been to something like that. And, considering the glistening whiteness of my community, there was a relatively large number of POC and based on my perception, a wide variety of sexualities represented. I was impressed by the overall turnout and glad to see that one of our local government representatives showed up, as well. Less neat was the fellow who showed up who is running for a legislative position in the next county over.

I don't mean to be a jerk or difficult to please, but this guy really made me want to stab holes through my eardrums. I'm sure, in his mind, he was being genuine. But every word out of his mouth was projected as slimy, political mumbo jumbo that was spewed with no other intention than to grab the attention of a few extra potential votes. This dude stood up and started a story off with, "I have a friend who's gay...". As if, PERHAPS, having a friend who's gay makes you an ally. As if eating your mother's dessert means you like it. That, my friend, is not true. I have gathered that the best way to know if you're an ally is if people who identify in (insert name of oppressed group here) believe you are an ally. So, I don't know who considers me an ally and I avoid using that word for myself because I don't want to label myself that way. I do what I can to work for things that my friends of different identities have told me they want, but if I'm not apart of the community it isn't really my place to decide what needs to be done.

(I have a hard time organizing my thoughts in blog form, so thanks for hanging in there with my writing if you've read this far).

The trouble with this fellow was many-fold, but among other things was that he utilized this opportunity, a town hall meeting to share thoughts about what folks in the GLBTQQIA community want/need, to push his own personal agenda (i.e., to get elected). He talked shiz about his opponent and went on to talk about how he supports people in this community because he has a friend who's gay. On the flip side, the second elected official simply shared that he's there to listen and wants to know what he can and should be doing for this community. It's concerning to me that people like the first gentleman could potentially get elected. Granted, he's probably better than his opponent (if his opponent did indeed compare to the GLBT community to murderers), but I'd still rather not vote for him and I'm glad he's not in my area when it comes to voting.

The town hall meeting made me glad to see so many people interested, but one piece made me particularly sad. The Executive Director of the organization running the meeting noted at one point that something like 72% of Coloradans support "equal rights" for GLBT folks, and that the rest oppose equal rights. The problem, he said, is that the small percent that oppose rights do so adamantly while the majority that support equal rights say they want equality but aren't willing to fight for it. I'm frustrated that my peers can feel so nonchalant about it when it impacts everybody. I know that everybody has their issues, but it is infuriating that I know people who care immensely about the friends in the GLBT community, but won't fight for their rights. What has to happen to make that change?

15 July 2010

Gender pay gap

This is re-freakin'-diculous. I hope when I'm old someday, kids will see things like this and think it's as absurd as I believe abstinence only sex education to be. And, hopefully, that'll be history too.

I can hope.

14 July 2010

My neurosis is spilling over

Maybe one of the most challenging things for me in terms of my work (or, really, in life in general) is to not take myself too seriously. It has been the case for as long as I can remember that when I make a mistake (even a small mistake), I tear myself apart about it for days on end. The plus side is that I typically avoid ever making that same mistake again. Ever. The downside is that I lose sleep over things like forgetting to close my window at work before heading home for the day.*

Today, I managed to show up 35 minutes late for an hour-long meeting. It was a conference call with someone who is a senior adviser for the American Psychological Association in DC, and with the program manager of the program that funds my position, and our Executive Director. So, of all the meetings to which I might show up late, this was a bad option. Nobody lectured or even really stared me down, but that's certainly a bad image to portray. It's also a particularly frustrating image considering I'm typically overly careful about timeliness. There's really no excuse, as far as I'm concerned regarding myself, for being late. There may be reasons, though, and in this case there were reasons. Specifically, the meeting was originally scheduled for noon and then was moved to 11, but I forgot to change the time on my calendar. So, I meandered about waiting for noon to come. By chance, I walked past the meeting on my way to the bathroom and then promptly changed my meandering to profuse nervous sweating. Anyway, if nothing else, it was embarrassing and unprofessional. Considering how lax my place of employment is in all other matters, the least I could do is show up on time for important meetings. That certainly isn't a good representation of our organization with other organizations, so boo on me.

On the flip side of things, I can guess that the people in DC will forget or have already forgotten that I was late. And, I triple and quadruple apologized to my ED (heh, ED) for being late, and I just can't do much more than that at this point. Anyway, why be so serious and down on myself? On a larger picture, it doesn't matter that I was late. Shiz happens and people are late and that's the way the world works. I wonder, though, how to go about convincing myself of that? There's a great chance I'll wake up again in the middle of the night and tear myself apart about it.

To stick with the general theme of my blog, I feel like there is a particularly large amount of pressure put on people to perform at incredibly high levels in the US. I know very, painfully little about other countries in terms of values around working, but I have gathered that few other countries stress work in the same way that we tend to in the United States. Naturally, that's a broad generalization that doesn't always fit. However, if that generalization holds any truth, I want to just say that I don't think that pressure to perform so "well" at work actually makes people work better or harder. In this case, I think it drives me a little bit wild. I sleep less, I stress more than could ever possibly be healthy, I tear myself apart, and in the process I end up doing worse work because I feel bad. Now, if I were you, I would be thinking, "Gol-lee! She missed half a meeting! It doesn't even matter!" Annnndddd, you're right--it doesn't matter. It's fair to mention that I'm maybe a hint more neurotic than the average person and I have REALLY high expectations for myself. All the same, it's not healthy and not necessary. The best I can do, so far as I can tell, is to always be improving while also sometimes giving myself a break. As much as I'd like to be the perfect employee, such a magical thing doesn't exist and is less likely to exist than Big Foot (whatever, I don't know if Big Foot exists) or a unicorn, maybe.

Thanks for reading if you read this far. My neurosis might rub off on you, so be careful.

*In all reality, that's a reasonable concern. I also forgot to lock my cabinets which contain immense amounts of confidential information about clients. But still, waking up at 1:30am and staring at the ceiling, filled with angst, for two hours seems a little excessive.

11 July 2010

Vacation, all I ever wanted!

I went on "vacation" this weekend. I quote because it was one full day and another 12 hours or so that I was away from home. It was delightful and my partner and I enjoyed some much needed time away from this world where people have HIV and everybody hates feminists and freshman composition. As a side note, I hate the word 'freshman' but felt like I should just use that word so you, my faithful readers, would know what I was talking about. Calling it 'first-year composition' takes the scathing torture out of the word.

I digress.

Even if I'm not longer living in the beautiful, heart-wrenching world of social justice academia, I still spend many minutes of every day pondering the way I present myself in the world, considering the privilege from which I know I come. Whilst off enjoying a vacation, I realized what a funny thing a vacation is. Let me tell you about how many POC I saw over the course of the weekend: approximately 10. Realistically, there were more than that, but considering how many people were relaxing in the same small mountain town as myself, that's a relatively small number. And, are you curious to know about where specifically I saw those folks? Almost always working in shops or serving at the bar. Meanwhile, I was ordering drinks and minding my own business. It's a frustrating thing, I think, to be in a place like that and to note how many people there are like me and how few people there are who do not bare the same skin tone as myself. Is vacationing kind of a gringo thing to do? Speaking from my own experience, my family rarely vacationed when I was a kid. Usually, we went to Disneyland which is, in case you didn't know already, the happiest [read: most oppressive] place on earth! So, my vacationing knowledge is slim. Fill me in, blog world. Do I just go to places where all the white people hang out? Because if that's the case, I need to know how to expand my vacationing horizons without a) losing all my money, and b) intruding in spaces where I'm not really invited.

I love vacations, even if I simply leave my home and go somewhere else for a weekend. I don't, however, like leaving my town just to go some other place exactly like the place I left. Perhaps it's time to do some research about the things other people do when they get away from the daily thrill of work and school.