It's not a laughing matter!
While talking to my mom this weekend about the recent events over the last two to three weeks (yes, I know, that's a long time to go without talking to the parentals) I mentioned that dating was quite the perplexing dilemma for me. I'm not a big fan of dating, as you may know. It's not that I'm anti-relationships, rather I am anti-dating. In fact, I think Vince Vaughn summed it up best in Wedding Crasher's when he stated:
I apologize to you if I don't seem real eager to jump into a forced awkward intimate situation that people like to call dating. I don't like the feeling. You're sitting there, you're wondering do I have food on my face, am I eating, am I talking too much, are they talking enough, am I interested I'm not really interested, should I play like I'm interested but I'm not that interested but I think she might be interested but do I want to be interested but now she's not interested? So all of the sudden I'm getting, I'm starting to get interested... And when am I supposed to kiss her? Do I have to wait for the door cause then it's awkward, it's like well goodnight. Do you do like that ass-out hug? Where you like, you hug each other like this and your ass sticks out cause you're trying not to get too close or do you just go right in and kiss them on the lips or don't kiss them at all? It's very difficult trying to read the situation. And all the while you're just really wondering are we gonna get hopped up enough to make some bad decisions? Perhaps play a little game called "just the tip". Just for a second, just to see how it feels.
Indeed, I typically avoid dating discussions in general, but I especially avoid them with my mother. I think there is something to be said about avoiding maternal wisdom on dating, too. It's not that I don't respect or like what she has to say, but rather, my mother usually contextualizes the whole situation and then decides where the sympathizes should ultimately lie. Sometimes they are with me, sometimes they are with the young woman involved. In general, though, I avoid such conversations because they feel a little awkward. In other words, it's not as easy to talk about relationships with my mother as it is to talk about them with my father.
That being said, I felt it was appropriate to discuss my dating situation or lack thereof with my mother this weekend. It was actually a good conversation that made me feel I could talk to her about dating in the future. That is, except for her comment that came up later in the conversation when we ended up talking about Sookie Stackhouse (as contrasted to Bella from Twilight):
All the men that Sookie sees have one major imperfection, so she keeps moving on and remains independent and true to herself, sort of like how you are with all these young women.
Forget the fact that my mom clearly compared me to a fictional female from the fantasy realm where lascivious roam, did she just call me a whore?
. . .but this is too hilarious not to post.
Some guy totally spoofed Shakira's newest video and it is HILARIOUS! Check it out below (and know that it is not pornographic):
If you haven't seen the original video for She Wolf by Shakira, I recommend you check it out too.
In an attempt to make my empty apartment feel a little bit more like home, I have been purchasing frames and processing photos. Although they don't do much to fill up the place in terms of space, they do make it look more like home and, at the very least, the place is not so dull anymore.
These photos are hanging right by the kitchen in the "dining room" area (that has nothing in it).
These photos are hanging in the slim hallway next to the bathroom.
In other good news, I finally got my couch...err "metro sleeper" from Urban Outfitters. It's incredibly comfortable and lightweight, but it is quite small. It will work nice in my office in the future, but for now I have it out in the living room since there was no seating out in the area. Pitch is modeling it off, MadMen Style.
Again, I am still patiently attempting to fill in all the empty spaces. Slowly, but surely.
Postcards. I love postcards! Today I picked up some swanky postcards to send to family and friends. They are not only great to send and receive, but they are wonderful disruptive devices that I use to reward myself for getting stuff done in a timely manner (I know, NERD ALERT!). One of the boxes that I bought is a series of 30 amazingly baleful, melancholic, whimsy, and hip postcards of the art by Jordan Crane. I love his artwork and I am seriously having a tough time deciding which cards to send to others and which ones I want to keep and frame!
Rain. Autumn in the North Carolina is quite different from autumn in Idaho. Instead of leaves changing colors and borderline freezing temperatures we get rain and gray skies. I know some people were depressed by it today, but I certainly welcomed the crisp air and dampness—it was refreshing. Unfortunately, though, the leaves aren't really changing colors here like they do in Idaho. I've been told that, due to our location, the leaves don't really change too much in general unless it gets much cooler. Although I might not get to see the season change the color of the leaves, I am happy that I am experiencing something new. Plus, it's nice to see everyone walking around with umbrellas.
Curtains. With the weather getting colder, I decided to hang up some roman shades to cover the windows. It was fun to drill into the wall—to do something with my hands instead of my mind—and to hang up something that is not only stylish, but also eco-friendly! I can already tell that to room is warmer than yesterday and now I am sure that when I sleep it will be even more like a coma! Huzzah!
As cliche and stereotypical as the show can be, Glee is hands down one of the most hilarious shows I have seen. I suppose it doesn't hurt that the music is catchy too. It is all a marketing ploy, but I love it.
This week's episode pitted the guys against the girls:
Personally I thought the guys kicked it better than the girls. And, yeah, I recognize that I am critiquing the show as if I have something substantial to say.
What? You want to fight about it?
Paul Virilio. Unlike previous class periods in my media course, which, I must add, is the most hectic course I have ever taken (there are 19 people in the graduate course and that IS crazy when there are usually only 5-9), I felt more prepared than anyone else tonight. I not only read both books almost in their entirety, but I also clearly articulated interesting points and questions that got the class discussing Paul Virilio's work. Oh, Virilio!
Acorns. There are numerous poplar and acorn trees that litter the campus. Although it is still 68-88 degrees here, it is clear that, to some extent, fall has slowly started. This means that wind and rain occur a little more frequently, but neither are generally problematic. However, in recent weeks, the wind has picked up and we have had to literally dodge the acorns that are on death missions from their vantage points on high. I'm not kidding! The acorns come down looking for BLOOD! Fortunately I dodged all acorns both on the way to and from the bar!
Adults. I talked with my good friend tonight to help reassure her about the decision she was making. What's more, though, it was the first time during our conversations over the last two weeks that I realized that we have not only come a long way from where we were, but also that we are adults. We make decisions for better or worse of our own accord and we are ultimately better for them. We don't rely on our parents to guide our focus, we instead rely on ourselves and the notion that personal growth is what is best.
I remember reading, and later hearing about, a story about a professor who, after a few years of trying to obtain tenure, decided it wasn't worth his energy because it was making him unhappy about everything in his life. It was not that he could not teach, nor was it based on any presupposition that he couldn't write. Although it is true that he was likely constrained by the growing pressures of his "publish or perish" R1 university, what is most intriguing is that he rejected the model of professionalism—of decorum of a full-time professor—in place of his own personal happiness.
In rare moments like this, when I read, hear, and later remember stories like this that I revisit my place in the academy. Sometimes I look at how far I've come and realize that I have ventured forth without a sense of place and with a schizophrenic sense of time: I'm altogether whole and placed, yet completely disconnected from anything, any place, and any particular time. In short, my life is liminal.
Perhaps this state of affairs is precisely why, from time to time, I feel so uncertain, lost, and alone. While it is fair to say that I enjoy the company of friends, and while I also am close with my family, it is even more clear that I am continually distanced from them. My life is rendered in distance to these people who, for all intents and purposes, "see" me, yet fail to fully acknowledge the sight and site of me and my life. This is not to say that they are not concerned or that they do not care, but rather that the state of affairs of my life remain largely unknown to everyone else but me. So how is it, then, that I am both connected and yet alone?
Unlike the professor above, I do not necessarily blame the academy; I do, however, recognize that the academy has inevitably affected my life and the way I conduct myself in relation to others. If, by the very nature of being a scholar-in-progress, I have learned anything of primacy from my time in the academy, then it is true that I have learned to be the embodiment of liminal. That is, I occupy many spaces and no space at once; I am transition.
It is in recognition of this way of life—the way things have become in the last six years—that I have decided to, from time to time, (re)articulate my presence by way of words, thoughts, and (inter)action. The professor above did the same thing in his own right and fashion: he started writing in a journal all of the things on daily basis (or as close to it) that he took for granted, that made him happy, and brought him joy. These observations, he felt, confirmed his presence in that they detailed the thoughts of a person dismantling a constructed reality in a positive way—to self-preserve and to thrive. As he continued this personal work, he not only felt better about himself and his transitional state in life (which, it seems, is the position my colleagues and I will occupy until tenure), but he also came to realize that happiness through the recognition of now helped to displace the negativity and stress the pressures of being in transition brings.
So too, then, I plan to, more in my own journal than on here, detail those things that I have taken for granted, but also make me happy and bring me joy. I will title these entries "About Today" and I will seek to encapsulate, in brief vignettes, those things that "slowed me down" and "cemented" my sense of place and time, even if only ephemeral.
Last night I wrote two letters, or rather e-mails, to my future self as reminders of the past and hopes for the future. I do not know what prompted me to do this or how I even found futureme.org, but I can say that the experience was surreal.
As I wrote the letters I felt a strange sense of nostalgia and uncertainty. It felt strange to seal a message for the future, referencing the present in vivid detail so as to remember it as the past. At the same time, it felt oddly liberating and enjoyable. I began to wonder what the future might hold and what I would think of the message I had written in the future: would they make sense, would they take me back in time in my thoughts, would they help me improve if I had gone astray from my aspirations? For a few moments I was lost in my thoughts. I wanted to make sure that what I wrote was meaningful—that it conveyed a sense for the current condition and faith that, despite the ups and downs of life, remained resolute. I also wanted to make sure that I remembered the situation in which I wrote the letters: the moment of transition and the feeling of wonder.
And so the letters were sealed and sent to the future.