rant

Trust Issues

 

I watched Hillary’s speech last night. I’ve been watching parts of the DNC to see my favorite speakers speak, and to also witness the historic milestone that’s happening for women in this country. You can think it’s not a big deal, but it is.

 

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Image via Mashable

I almost forgot, while texting my friends during the speech, how important it was. I was sending out snarky comments and jokes about Morgan Freeman and the “fight song” and stuff. Then my friend goes, “Stop being so cynical – we’ve been waiting for this shit since we were little – a fucking woman president.”

It felt like when your mom calls you out, basically saying “stop being an asshole” – and you realize that you were being an asshole and feel ashamed and you’re like, “Sorrrrryyyy mooooommmmmmmm….”

Anyway, I snapped back into the moment. But what I realized later is that maybe I am more cynical then some of my peers when it comes to poltics. Today I was talking to a friend about Hillary, and she said “this is why I love and hate her.” And my feed is full of Bernie uber-fans that are mourning their loss right now – there is just a lot of emotion in the democratic party currently.

It made me think about how I’ve never had strong emotions for politicians like that (at least not for Democrats. I obviously have strong feelings of dislike and disgust for some Republican politicians – can you blame me, when they are trying to tell me who I should be and what to do with my body and sexuality all the time? And trying to make people in my country feel like second-class citizens?).

With Obama, I was smitten. But I was mostly emotional about the historical significance – once I got to grad school, I became more cynical and came to believe that all politicians, or people in large social institutions, are never perfect (what human is) and that they are a product of the larger machine. I stopped seeing them as people to get attached to, and more as facilitators of change, good or bad – I removed the emotions from it.

This wasn’t a hard thing for me – I have this thing with trusting adults, in general. It’s hard for me to do.

….I just realized I said “adults” which is hilarious, since I suppose I count as an adult at 27 years old. Ha.

What I mean is: people my parents’ age, and particularly those in a role of authority. So Anthony’s parents, my friends’ parents, all good – professors, bosses, boss’s bosses – I keep my distance. I just don’t trust them – I expect them to let me down. And a lot of them do. Because they’re human.

Don’t get me wrong – I get very emotional about politics in general. I’ve been known to take things to a weird place when we’re talking politics in a bar and talk unreasonably loud and look like I might cry at any second. I’ve cried in restaurant bathrooms about the fact that rape is a thing. I’ve cried in cars about how hard it must be for transgendered people. I’ve almost cried in class from being overwhelmed by my white guilt. I’m not trying to be like, “look how empathetic I am” – I’m just saying I’m not this stoic person when it comes to the news.

Bernie was saying everything that I dreamed a politician would say some day – and I never thought it would happen. He really surprised me and gave me hope – that a democratic socialist agenda could be widely embraced. It was almost too good to be true. I didn’t think he would make it to the nominee, so honestly I unhooked from it all. I voted for him in the primary, because if anything, I wanted the party to move more left. And I think that happened. It was amazing, watching his whole movement. But I never like, fell in love with the guy. Out of all the politicians, he would be the one I would get emotional over – but I just didn’t.

With Hillary, I don’t love her or hate her. I am for SURE going to cry my eyes out if she wins, seeing that insanely amazing historical event take place. But it’s not about her. As a person. She’s fine – I respect her. What I hear from some of my friends is “but I just don’t trust her!” And I think – “Of course I don’t trust her. Why is that even relevant?”

Does that make me weird?

I guess we should define trust… Like I expect her to do things I won’t agree with. Do I think she’ll tank the country? Of course not. I think it will be MUCH like the last 8 years. More of the same. Not ideal, but not bad. Just what I have come to expect, at a federal government level. I have hope for change in people’s minds and hearts and through socialization and person-to-person contact – those things then get fought for all the way up to the top – by people at the bottom.

I don’t know – I just beleive that there is no point in putting our trust in a politician – trust as in, “I know they won’t let me down, and if they did, I would be crushed and surprised”. I can find politicians that I will agree with most of the time – but if it turns out that they are secretly fucked up in some way, I’m not surprised. I feel this way about Cory Booker, Liz Warren, Joe Biden, etc. There is just no way I know their entire track record, or that something in the future won’t come up that I will disagree with them on. These are people I don’t know – why would I trust them to always make decisions that I agree with?

I feel the same way about people working in the legal system, people in other government roles, spiritual leaders – people in large social institutions. I won’t put all my chips behind an insititution, or someone representing an institution’s interest – because inevitably I feel that they will do something I don’t agree with. Institutions are slow to change. They aren’t on the cusp of new ideas and aren’t the first to embrace social justice movements – they move slowly, and try to uphold the status quo. That’s their whole thing.

One of my friends says that subscribing to a label – feminist, democrat, republican – clouds your judgement. It makes you follow that group blindly and not research the facts independently. I definitely post things on social media without an independent investigation on my part from sources that seem to me to be promoting the right ideas. Ideas I agree with. That is also not ideal. But I think it is important to embrace labels and movements like Feminist and Black Lives Matter, to promote change that needs to happen. That doesn’t mean I agree with every democrat or feminist, just because I apply those labels to myself. But I get what he’s saying. I don’t think that groups in this arena can be trusted blindly to never go astray from what I believe in.

You know who I do trust? My sister. Anthony. Friends who were there through my grad school idealist phase of realizing how fucked up the world is and who agreed and let me rant for hours and listened. I trust that whatever they are saying to people regarding politics, that they will say what I would say. And that’s an amazing thing. I know that if Anthony is in a room where someone says something racist, or homophobic, or sexist, that he will speak up (he is much braver than me when it comes to these confrontations) and that he will say what I would. I can’t believe it sometimes – it’s amazing.

 

I wish I felt that way about politicians.

 

 

What do you think? Do you think people like me are too cynical about politics, or maybe not cynical enough? Do you trust certain politicians? How do you define trust when it comes to politics?

 

 

Weight on my shoulders

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Devil: What happened to us? We were being so good! We lost a good amount of weight – remember how hot we felt that one weekend where everything looked good on us? Now all of a sudden we never work out anymore, we bite our nails within an inch or their lives again, we never shave our legs… We were so put together for a while there. WHAT HAPPENED

Angel: Um, life happened? A ton of people were in town, and there wasn’t any time to work out, then we got our period and hated life for like a week, and now we just want to have a couple beers and not worry about how our body looks for one. second. Did you see that awesome blogger’s post today? She has a body type just like ours and she is BEAUTIFUL. We are beautiful too! I bet if we put on that same amazing dress she was wearing, we would look amazing too, but we wouldn’t think so – we would beat ourselves up about it. Maybe we should read that article about loving your belly again…

Devil: We are going to Vegas in two weeks. TWO WEEKS. We were ready last week to look and feel hot AF – but we lost it. Now we have two weeks to get back to that amazing place where all of our clothes are magical and we don’t want to burn them all in a trash can. Why did we have a soda today with lunch? WHY? WE NEVER DRINK SODA. We’re slipping. Maybe if we eat a salad for lunch AND dinner every day before Vegas…

Angel: But Anthony is graduating this weekend! We have to have beer! Life is too fun and short to worry about this shit! Gawd how much time do we seriously spend arguing about how we look? IT’S SO DUMB. We should make room in our brain for things that are actually helpful! Remember college? We never beat our self up this way back then!

Devil: Because we were hot.

Angel: I mean, ya, but we’re hot now too!

Devil: *unconvinced look*

Angel: In a different way! Like, a grown up, grown-ass woman way. Like who the fuck cares? Let’s move ON. We are so much more evolved than this.

Devil: Say what you want, but everyone is going to be PISSED we didn’t do something sooner when we’re in Vegas and we have a hormonal meltdown because nothing we packed looks good and we’re in FUCKING VEGAS and we’re 27 and we should feel hot as fuck.

Angel: We are hot as fuck! We got LEATHER PANTS. They looked great, even when we felt SO fat trying them on. Nothing can go wrong with leather pants.

Devil: Okay, that’s one night’s outfit covered. WHAT ABOUT THE OTHER NIGHT. You can’t just wear leather pants two nights in a row. I dare you to find another outfit that we feel hot in when our beer belly makes a triumphant return with this new carefree attitude we have going. We need to go shopping again… But we don’t have the money and nothing fits us.

Angel: We need to get. over. it. It’s a belly. When we’re 60 and wrinkly, all we’ll think is, “Gawd, I wasted so much time beating myself up about my stupid (and adorable) belly, which was just full of good times, and the whole time I was young, and had beautiful skin, and my boobs were perky, and my ass was out of this world…” We need to appreciate all we have going for us right now and shut up about it.

Devil: But that’s the point! We’re young! We should be working out and reaching our full potential! Those girls with the ripped arms for no reason on Facebook look like they’re seriously taking advantage of their strong, young bodies. We want to be like that!

Angel: Do we though? Are we settings goals that aren’t even ours again? We just need to go on a walk, not eat out as much the next couple of days, and we’ll feel fine.

Devil: Until Vegas. VEGAS.

 

 

 

 

Don’t talk it down

 

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I was talking to Emily the other day, and she was saying how much she is enjoying her job lately – she works at a little art gallery in Capitola Village, right by the beach near our hometown. The funny thing is, it took her a while to fully embrace it.

She said when she first started there, she kept thinking, “This is only temporary, it’s just a little job while I figure out what my Grown Up Job will be, or what I want to do with my life.” Then, when anyone asked what she did, she would tell them through that lens – “It’s not a forever thing, I’m working there while I look into other career paths and figure out what I want to do.”

Then, one day, she’s working in the gallery, and she just has a moment of happiness and fulfillment. She loves it there. She loves her job. She loves being by the beach and close to her home. Then she thought: Why do I keep acting like this amazing job is only temporary? The more she thought about it, the more she realized how it was perfect for her – she has an art degree and an eye for design and new trends – she’s great at sales and has sales experience – she has a flexible schedule in a beautiful town where it can be hard to find a job… There is nothing wrong with this picture.

Even if she had another job that didn’t line up with her background the way this one does, the bottom line is – if it makes her happy, that’s all that matters. Period.

Now, since she had this shift in how she viewed it, when she tells people about her job they react totally differently.

“What do you do?’

“I work in an art gallery in Capitola Village – I get to use my art degree and see the most amazing local pieces, and it’s just down the road from my house and across the street from the beach – I love it.”

People are all of a sudden walking away thinking, wow Emily has such a cool life! Rather than, well, Emily is still in a transition period right now, I hope she finds what she wants to do. Not that it matters what people think, but it makes Emily feel better to not talk her situation down, and people have a real picture of what’s actually going on. She liked her job this whole time, but realized she had this weird perspective on it for some reason. Once she allowed herself to love it because she loves it, not because of what it might mean on paper or compared to some Pinterest article, everything changed. Why can’t this job be a forever thing? Why act like you haven’t “made it”, when in reality, you have?

 

I had the same experience. When I moved to Santa Barbara, I figured I would work as a receptionist in a dentist’s office or something – I just wanted to live here. I had no idea there was a tech community, or that I would ever enjoy working in that world. Now I’ve been working in the industry for about 3 years, and I really like my job. However, since I got a master’s in sociology, it feels like a failure somehow to be working outside of what I went to school for, especially since I’m passionate about that subject. But I’m also passionate about living in Santa Barbara and having my own apartment and visiting family and friends. That’s what my job allows me to do, while challenging me and showing me new skills I didn’t know I had.

It took a long time for me to allow myself to be happy where I am in my career. I still have moments where I think, what the hell am I doing here? But most of the time I feel really lucky and accomplished.

Talking to Emily was a great reminder – what we say about ourselves affects how we feel about ourselves – it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. It’s important to focus on where we are now and if it is making us happy, and to not judge our life by some standard that isn’t even important to us. What is more important to me – having a fancy title and making a certain amount per year, or having a flexible schedule, an amazing boss, and great benefits? It’s hard to remember to compare things with my own priorities, not someone else’s. Once I look at what I have accomplished and how it is making me feel, things start feeling better and better. I just need to allow myself to appreciate it, and not get sucked into a narrative (“work shouldn’t feel like work”; “if you’re not doing what you love, quit now”).

I recently went home to visit my family, and went with a couple of childhood friends to a local dive bar in town to catch up. I (of course) ran into a bunch of people from our graduating class that I haven’t seen in almost a decade – it was crazy.

I was chatting with one guy and he asked what I did. I said “I live in Santa Barbara and work at a tech company. I don’t know why I work in the tech industry, but I do! Haha!” (I may have had a beer or two.)

I have a hard time with being self-deprecating, so my knee-jerk reaction was to be like, “My job is so random, right?” instead of remembering how great it is.

His reaction was like, “Oh, bummer” basically. I was like, wait. Stop it. My job is awesome.

Then I remembered my conversation with Emily while I talked with someone else. They asked what I did. “I work in Santa Barbara at a software company. It’s pretty awesome – I get to travel sometimes and I really like it.” Totally different conversation – same job.

Isn’t it weird how we can sabotage ourselves? I need constant reminders.

So here is my challenge to both of us – don’t talk your shit down. Don’t be an asshole either, and brag all night about your life, but be truthful! If it makes you happy, it makes you happy! If it doesn’t, say that too – but don’t rob yourself of a good moment for no reason. Let’s start measuring our success on our own terms, and by what makes us happy – not what we think we should be doing.

 

Does this happen to you too? Maybe with another category of life? I would love to hear from other self-deprecators!

 

 

Who were you in high school?

 

I bought my tickets to my 10 year high school reunion you guys. What.

And I am surprisingly (and maybe unrealistically?) super pumped about it. I don’t know what my deal is, but I never thought I would be the person who would look forward to their high school reunion. Maybe in high school I wanted to relate to all the teen movie underdogs as the awkward quiet girl, so I saw myself that way – and that’s kind of how I still remember myself. I was chatting with my sister about it the other day and had this realization – the person I thought I was in high school wasn’t really who I was at that time, in reality.

That might sound confusing, but bear with me on this little rant…

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Do you have an image of who you were in high school? I feel like everyone is always shoving the stereotypes down our throats, and I at least still use the one I identified with at the time as a lens for all my high school memories. In my mind, I was quiet and shy, maybe a little awkward, and terrified of being embarrassed and being in the spotlight. I had a couple close friends at a time, and I was’t outgoing by any means. The whole time I was miserable and counting down the days until it was over.

When I actually thought about it, I realized that I am not only nothing like that now, but I also probably wasn’t really that way at the time either. I was probably pretty much who I am today, just way more insecure, and quite unhappy. (Which makes sense since, in my opinion, high school sucks. I was immediately happier in college, because, duh – living on my own and sex and beer and a whole new world.)

When I changed my perspective, I started to remember a lot of things that didn’t match my “quiet girl” persona. For example, I always remember staring out my algebra classroom window, wishing and fantasizing that I had a boyfriend to distract me from everything (did I mention I didn’t have my first kiss until spring of senior year? Like I said, unhappy). What I remembered recently though was that we always had an intense card game after that class with a big group of people and had a blast while pretty much distracting everyone else from doing their homework. Not exactly the quiet and shy and miserable existence I usually remember – I was the same social person I am today.

I also forget that I wasn’t completely terrified of being in the spotlight – we used to perform at rallies and I was the host of a lot of them in student government. Sure, I reluctantly participated, but I remember feeling confident enough and not completely losing my shit when I had to wing it or make fun of myself in front of the entire school. I usually had a good sized group of friends, and cute guys would come hang out at my house, and I was invited to parties… things were definitely not as bleak as I remember them when I dug a little deeper into the high school memory vault.

It’s hilarious, because I always tell my friend that she was one of the prettiest, most popular girls in school, and she always says I’m crazy. She probably has a similar story in her head about being under the radar or unnoticed, because I’m sure that’s how we all felt at that age, at least sometimes. But from my perspective she was this force of nature as a 16 year old, and I always wanted to be more carefree and influential like she seemed to be.

Looking back, I was doing just fine and being myself, considering my circumstances. I wish I could go back and tell my teenage self to:

  1. Chill the fuck out.
  2. Stop being so terrified of guys. They’re like spiders – more afraid of you then you are of them, right?
  3. You are adorable and you are going to love your freckles all of a sudden once you hit college, so just start rocking them now.
  4. Wear whatever you want.
  5. Yes, for the last time, he was flirting with you FOR CHRISTS SAKE.
  6. Have more fun, even if that means going out of your comfort zone.

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Do you have an image of who you were in high school, and do you think it was accurate? What would you tell your high school self if you could?

 

 

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