Wednesday, April 01, 2015

I hear the train a comin', It's rolling round the bend

I loved someone, deeply. Our fatal flaws collided. I suppose fatalistic empiricism + eternal optimism never was happiness. (positivism v. social constructionism)

Shoulder-shrugging acceptance never was my style. I prefer to engage in shoulder squaring..."in order that we might better bear the burdens of others." (positivism v. social constructionism) (jets v. sharks) (nothing is real)

But never mind that.

Over the last few months I have been thinking. A lot. About what it is I want to do with myself professionally. And I finally have a plan. A real one! That I am beginning to execute with care.

The future feels bright. And it is calling me.

I will not abandon my friends at the prison; I never could. I will always start and end there. I meant what I said above, I do see eternal optimism as my most fatal of flaws. My mother calls it Pollyannaism. I call it the Atonement/the point of being alive. But it can hurt, deeply. Regardless, I will always believe that people are good. People can change. Nothing is set in stone, ever. True tragedy exists when someone sees permanence in a situation that is so very...mortal. (did I mention that nothing is real?) What I am trying to say is, Matthew 25:39-40 will stay with me my whole life. I will never stop that part. But I must take some time and educate (x2).

So. Lessons learned of late?

Not everyone can see many ways around a problem. I can.

I've decided the best place to apply this ability is within the field of educational research and policy.

But first, I need some experience. The plan? Educate, then research, then share. It will take years to learn, aggregate, glean and synthesize. And I may deliver little. But I feel I must try to help build fences instead of advocate for ambulance reform. Our ambulances are decrepit...not meant for the illnesses we're trying to treat in them.

remember this little ditty?

Let us stop at its source all this mischief, ' cried he, 
'come, neighbors and friends, let us rally; 
if the cliff we will fence, we might almost dispense
with the ambulance down in the valley.''s real.

Friday, January 02, 2015

Needing is one thing and getting, getting's another.

Yesterday I was getting a pedicure with the women in my boyfriend's family.

[they are really cool women.]

One of Mike's sisters asked me what I like about him and I didn't give a very good answer, which troubled me. So, last night I made the following list which, though not exhaustive (the breadth of his awesomeness could never be truly captured in such black-and-white text), itemizes the reasons I am so lucky and so supremely happy to be dating this man.

Things I like about Mike:
-SO funny! And he thinks I'm funny, which feeds my ego.
-He's kind of formal with people he doesn't know or feels he must be formal around but when we're alone he's actually really weird and funny and random. And loud. I like that he has those two sides...then it's like I have this well-kept secret.
-I like that he has a loud voice.
-he's so handsome!
-he is very patient with me, especially when I'm working through my feelings.
-he is wicked smart
-he gets me ice water
-he tries really hard to make me happy (and succeeds)
-he talks with me about his work
-he asks me questions about my work/other life situations.
-he holds my hand a lot.
-he compliments me a lot and tells me I'm wonderful. And pretty.
-he is fun to cook with. And do dishes with. Also, everything. He is fun to do everything with.
-he values fitness and nutrition
-he is flexible about what we do/where we go and pretty much always lets me choose.
-he wants land one day (a few acres, just like me) and sees value in investing in real estate.
-he is an excellent listener. Seriously, so good. And really good at staying focused while I talk (and I talk a LOT...and not necessarily about important things).
-we are similarly-minded politically.
-we like to discuss world events/ideas/public figures and look things up and learn more about them.
-we have similar taste in movies/TV shows
-he is really good at excel. And other statistical analysis software. (VERY sexy).
-he understands inequality.
-he cared enough about a concept that really matters to me (modernity) to read my favorite book about it so he could understand it.
-he likes me the way I am.
-from what I can ascertain, if we were to be married he'd be willing to pay for my Botox treatments (which will likely start when I turn 30) if we can afford it.
-he doesn't mind when I ask mind-numbing amounts of questions when he's telling a story or explaining something to me.
-he's good at agreeing to disagree.
-he wears cool socks. And he can wear the h-e-double-hockey-sticks out of a suit.
-he is super-strong. Like, ninja strong. 

(as you can see, I got what I need)
(and more)

Saturday, June 21, 2014

And we'll hate what we've lost but we'll love what we find

The words that follow began as a comment in response to this young man's weblog post and quickly turned into a soliloquy:

[the post's purpose was to encourage single men to pursue women in a more fierce manner.]
I suppose I'm part of the problem because I only want commitment from certain men. I am entirely too picky; arguably much pickier than many of the women in my mother's or grandmother's generations. This pickiness starts with expectations gathered mainly from romantic comedies and girlish ideals, informed by American society's recent and extreme ideological shift from a practical to a companionate marriage model. Sadly, I have allowed these expectations to tint my rose-colored glasses past pink to a murky brown. I really am trying to be less picky, but it's hard these days.

The permanence of marriage has never before felt so stifling and fleeting all at once. I think we pay lots of money for fancy weddings to show we take marriage seriously, but I fear this serves as more of a function to pacify a deep-seeded need to declare, through a socially constructed and pinterestedly decorated ritual, that we are loved. Marriage used to be about childbearing (you know, perpetuating the species), kin and property relations. It made economic and biologic sense to build and run a household a certain way. Now, I can use my microwave to cook some bacon while I slice my tomato that was grown in Mexico, wash my lettuce from Arizona and spread some mayo onto my bread from an Atlanta factory faster than Ma could set the 1950's dinner table. Seeing to our basic needs (Maslow's hierarchy anyone?) is no longer an issue. Now we all want love, belonging, esteem and self-actualization...and we want it big-time. We want marriages that are rooted in honesty and intimacy and egalitarian gender roles and mutually satisfying sex. The chance of all of that really working, all of those expectations being met, is infinitesimal. And that terrifies me. Actually, it paralyzes me. Which is utterly silly. And unrealistic. And unfair to every man I said "no thank you" to in my head before I ever let him speak.

So why do we continue to push such a rigorous screening process? Why are there so many dealbreakers now? Why do I think I deserve Justin Timberlake + Heath Ledger + Jack Kerouac + Jimmy Fallon? Especially because, after all, I am only me.

And I think this is the answer...this is what I'm getting to.

The social distance technology has created in my day-to-day interactions makes it so easy to hide my flaws that I refuse to let others have any, and that's a problem.

I need to stop that.
I need to knock it off.
I need to get a grip.

All of us do. We're growing too accustomed to the idealized versions of reality that we post and tweet and "like." When things are messy and un-ideal, which they nearly always are, we need to see it, experience it, feel it. And then love it. We need to let the messy and the un-ideal become not just a part of us, but a part of us that we cherish.

I don't want to have a wedding to prove to the world, in the most ideal way, that I am loveable (there are  things about me that are, in fact, quite un-loveable) and I don't want or need a marriage in the way that my grandmother did--innovation and technology have given me the means to provide for myself and any potential offspring with relative ease and comfort.

What I do want is a buddy.

I always did well with the buddy system growing up...I get lost in my own thoughts really easily. I need someone to keep me grounded enough, but who I can occasionally convince of the merits of a life in the clouds. I want someone to thank me for washing the sheets and then ask what I've been thinking about today. And while I don't think there's anything wrong with wanting this, wanting a buddy, there exist many more qualified applicants than I've given any real consideration to. I want to stop that.

I love love. I love being in love. I don't care what it does to me.

The love that I currently love is ideal love. I want to change that. I want to love real love. And then I want to want real love. Un-ideal and [currently] unappealing, real love is--by definition--messy.

I'm not sure how to change all of this, but I think admitting it is a good first step. And I think the next step is teaching myself to want real love because right now I don't. Right now I still want love that acts exactly how I think it should act. Right now, I want ideal love and I will never have that. It's a myth. Billions of women have learned this lesson and continued on to live important, lovely, vibrant lives. I hope so much that I can figure it out and learn to be contented with the messiness of it all.

 In summary, this is what I have learned whilst responding to a stranger's blog post:

While ideal love remains in the clouds, real love is in the buddy system.

They are messy.
They can also be
[all of these things scare me].

BUT. Buddies are real. and I am ready for real...or at least I'm getting there.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Is this the fate that half of the world has planned for me?

I sent this e-mail today:

subject: please change the name of your organization

I wholeheartedly object to the ordain women movement. I am a woman and I do not want to be ordained, nor do I think those seeking ordination should be granted it.

If you insist on rocking the boat, please call it the "ordain certain women" movement, or possibly the "ordain us" movement. I don't like this group speaking for an entire gender -- my gender. As a full-fledged member of the biologically designated group called "women," I want nothing to do with any of it. Please do not make me an accessory to your cause.

Chaela Mcdonald

Monday, March 03, 2014

Fusion was the broken heart that's lonely's only thought

Things I can't wait to learn once I'm out of *college, and other thinking points:
[a list from my iphone, dated late February]

1. Has modernity propelled Christianity to the point where it, at times, just perpetuates modernity? Will the adversary use this to counterfeit caring?
2. Aren't pretty much all dilemmas false dilemmas?
3. I create my future, but I think my catalysts might be off. How often do I cripple myself by misconstruing catalysts?
4. There are very few differences between elitism and ignorance. I am nearly always guilty of both.
5. Why can't I adopt agrarianism in its entirety? Why can't I adopt anything in its entirety? How much danger is there in endorsing something only partially considered? Can anything ever be truly endorsed (since things can never be fully considered)?
6. I wish there was a "DISLIKE VERY MUCH" button on Pinterest
7. Why do people resist reading or learning what might make them better? How are people fine with how they are when there are more books and more theories and more ideas? Will I become that way? Can I prevent it?
8. Why does the empirical win (see item 2)? Especially in matters of the heart.
9. What isn't a matter of the heart?

*[ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ THESE DAYS
[ [ [ [ [ [ a college is a machine
[ [ [ [ a professor is a taskmaster
 [ [ [ [ [ [ a syllabus is a chore chart