Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Love Poem

here is something i just wrote. will refine later. tentative title: love movement

what would it mean
if we could become
part of a greater constellation?
our souls connected
part of a greater treasure
love bringing us together
and what if it didn't matter
who we are?
as stars we are members of the same universe
and part of each other already
let us recognize this
about ourselves
and leave nothing to chance
let us continue our journey
of re connection
manifest love as an artform
become our own kind of cosmic stuff
have no doubt
it is worth the struggle
our souls have been crying out for us to become
to begin undoing the damage
of separation practices
forgetting that we shine brightest when we're together
so when we struggle,
let us do so in love
and be strong in our resolve
for the restoration of our cosmic souls
part of our greater whole
is always worth the effort
and i yearn to begin

until next time...

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Who knew music could be so divisive part two: Coffee Shop (Mis)Adventures

The following is as close a recounting of true events, and an excuse as to why I couldn't get my work done this afternoon and will now be forced into a possible all-nighter.

So I’m trying really, really, hard to do my reading for the week . However, there is this table of young (probably sorority) women studying and one has their laptop practically blasting music of her—and the groups—persuasion. After gnashing my teeth about it for forty-five minutes or so, I finally—after repeatedly going over the variety nicest possible ways to ask without coming off as upset—ask the young woman if she could either pop in her headphones or turn down or off her music altogether, mentioning that it was really distracting to my studies (and a gentleman behind the studytable in question quietly chimed his agreement) .  Her response: “If you say please”. So I did in an oozing manner, all the while smiling. She shut off her music, I said my thanks and went back to my table to continue reading. But my focus drifted off to the fact that once again I am too slow on the snappy comebacks.

 “If you say please?” Did you ask any of us if we wanted to listen to your music in the first place?

“If you say please?” Were we even a consideration before you started blasting your tunes for everyone to hear?

“If you say please?” Excuse me, but do not imply that I am the one without the manners here. You were the one that didn’t even ask anyone if you could play your music loud in the first place.

“If you say please?” Yeah, I realize how uncivil I was for not saying please, but do you realize how uncivil you were for not even asking?

But I’m the one in the wrong for not saying please? If equivalent exchange is the issue, then the correct reaction would have been to go right up to her laptop and shut her music off, since that is the same level of respect she accorded the others and myself.  Politics of politeness is interesting in a given context. I couldn’t help but feel like the typical minority, the person who has to go out of her way to be polite when it is my space that is being forcibly infringed upon. Reads a lot like much of the history of most colonized folks. Being regarded as a child who must oblige the unjust adult is just humiliating. Dignity continually torn to shreds at the thought of similar scenarios.

 Being the passive one doesn’t help, yet I knew that being confrontational with comebacks would have blown up the situation and all I wanted to do was study. Instead I look like a fool and am stuck wondering about that fact and this muffed up scenario for the rest of the day. Study time was officially ruined, and I had tons of shizz to do.

When pondering the ways in which I could ask this woman to shut off the tunes, I was also pondering the dissertation titles, “The Politics of playing Music in Public Spaces: Music as a form of post-colonization” and “Would you please turn that down/off?: Politics and Post-Colonization of Space”.  I was also fantasizing about being uncivil for reals. Forget my fantasy pal Louie Ville, the slugger and him chomping on some knee caps. Nah, I was ready to introduce AK-47, whom would initially be pointed at “Miss Please” before totally decimating her precious Mac, after I said “No” in response to her mandate “If you say please”.  How’s that for civility? The idea of bustin caps was in need of an upgrade anyway. Now I just need to make these little misadventures and violent-yet-comical fantasy responses into a comic.

 Only a passive-aggressive person would think of such a thing as a release. Of course there’s the matter of not being considered a danger to society, unlike the folks who get away with making all sorts of violent films and shows that desensitize us to erroneous acts of violence on a daily basis.

Note: Racial and gendered undertones of this response are implied. Most of you will know what I’m getting at.

Until next time…

Monday, September 3, 2012

Who knew music could be so divisive?: Yet another visit from an unwelcome friend

The following is my debrief about a rather troubling event that largely involves not being a member of a majority culture and making people uncomfortable because of it. Basically I'm fuming.

At the request of the groom (and not so much the bride), I brought my vinyl and turntables to share some tunes with everyone for the after wedding party. I was given permission to play my own stylings after giving disclaimer after disclaimer about my stylings (old and new funk, soul, reggae, latin breaks). My apprehension stemmed from knowing the couple enjoyed bluegrass, some electronic stuff, some popular stuff, and some old soul tunes.

Needless to say it did not go over well. It did in the begining but after a while, folks wanted to hear what they wanted to hear. People are more comfortable with what they're familiar with after all, not new things that are comparable to what they are used to. Nonetheless, while I got a few nods of appreciation, I got twice as many fake nods of appreciation followed by requests to either, put on more uptempo stuff, or play crappy 90s dance music (someone actually was on the verge of tears yelling at me to play this stuff).

I hadn't been drinking (since that's not my thing) but boy was I starting to fume. Most of it was from humiliation and knowing that my lack of acceptance was evident at that moment. Still, thanks to stubborn pride, I played on (hey, I didn't bring four bags of records for nothing!).  Since I tend to communicate through my selections for the most part, I started playing an awkward down tempo  love song with the main line of "here's my love" (I usually start my sets with proclamations of love as well) an expression of my humiliation.

After a while people interrupted my set by plugging in their ipods/iphones to play their own playlists. This just in, the tempo wasn't the issue because it was about the same as what I was playing. The style however was. You see, from my perspective, it was the stuff of hipsters who believe to know what real music is and should sound like. Down-tempo in its own special hipster-y way. In fact two ipods/phones happened to have one song in common on their playlist. Talk about awkward (cause hipsters seem to think they're rather unique). Some of the stuff I heard made me think of "Stuff White People Like" instantly, especially the one about hip-hop.

In any case I was and still am angry about this. Especially since the morning after (we stayed the night on a campsite hosted by the wedding party), none of those people would even make eye contact with me, not even the bride and groom! By the way, I got no help from them in regards to support. Only a relative stranger offered sincere words of encouragement of play what you feel when the going got rough (I should have played "Stepping Razor" just to shut up the hecklers). Needless to say, I could not wait to get out of there and I felt something pretty close to hatred for hipsters for a while.

Why be so upset about this? Because I wrongly stereotyped hipsters as being liberal and thus open-minded. The worst kind of liberals it turns out are those who think they are but really are far from it and will reject anyone and anything on a moment's notice. Did I mention there were hardly any people of color there? Of the friends that were close to the bride and groom, all were white.

Yes, yes, I know my judgments are a bit harsh. That often does not lead me to reject people however because I also know that these people are good and possibly awesome people, much like my friend through which I am associated with the bride and groom. And besides that I know what rejection feels like and do not care to perpetuate it.

Still some of my harshness comes from my sensitivity. And internalizing of yet another failure at fitting in with new, seemingly cool folks. I just wonder again, and again, what is it about me that makes me so easy to cast aside? Every time I assert myself, attempt to stand up for myself (as misguided as it may be to do so), I end up being in the wrong for it! WHY AM I WRONG FOR DOING THIS? I feel the constant burns of being othered in one way or another. And I couldn't feel more alienated because of this. The worst of it is that people were trying to be nice when telling me I was basically doing them a disservice by not playing what they wanted to hear (you're doing great but... how affirming of them).

Anyways my anger wasn't apparent  to  the others, which is probably why they felt okay with stepping to me as much as they did. I mean it was all I could do not to hope that a mistakenly spilled glass of water would somehow destroy the PA system  and the ipods that were connected to it. But then I remembered that that PA system belonged to my super awesome friend whose friendship I in no way want to loose and I reversed those negative thoughts and tried to clean up the mess. Once again I am the othered doormat and my soul burns from the shame of knowing that being me is not acceptable to just about everyone...even hipsters.

Until next time...

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Feelings I'm Working through...

Being overwhelmed and overworked by what is ultimately the bs of academia makes it difficult to reassert my what my purpose is in being here. I want to do well by others through my work. Yet blow-ups with colleagues that have left festering wounds that make it impossible to make eye-contact, the departure of dear friends who keep me focused on my purpose, and not really knowing the right way to go on top of this make it difficult to know what steps to take. Now I'm taking on too much, making it hard to see clearly about any one thing. I want to be a friend, a good person people want to turn to, yet by asserting myself, have I burned bridges to friendship? I feel more alienated than ever when it comes to what I'm doing academically because I am unsure of the way to go, the way that allows me to go towards love of self and love of others through action. I don't want for anything to be too late when it comes to this but I can't help but wonder. It all feels like too much. And then I heard this song during a hot yoga session, a good articulation of the feelings I'm working through... a longing for all of this to work out...
Until next time...

Monday, August 20, 2012

My Take on this year's ASA conference

Are sociologists capable of imagining, let alone, enacting real utopias? If I'm asking this question, then I clearly had some issues with this year's ASA ( or the American Sociological Association) conference.

As a scholar, I have always been interested in aspects of our social world that keep various inequalities in tact. Over the years I have enjoyed being able to put a name and understanding to things I have experienced and continue to experience throughout my life.

Lately I have changed direction towards being able to understand what it would take to work through and engage issues like those concerning inequality and especially exclusion, the phenomena that keep these things in place, and movement toward transcending these things. In the end I care about movement toward our mental and spiritual growth as a people things that should allow for equality to occur in various social settings, because we are purposefully doing right by others. The paper I presented addresses love as a key component in this process.

Yet on a bare bones level, it seems this community of scholars, most of whom study the problematic aspects of our society, could hardly stand to engage the topic at hand, that of Real Utopias. Being a newcomer to a conference of this scale (I had previously attended the Pacific Sociological Association conference a couple of years ago), I had no idea the atmosphere would be so alienating! Because of dorky name-tags (yeah I said it, those things were awful) that gave away our names and affiliation, no one even had to make an effort to introduce themselves to one another.  What more could anyone possibly want to know about each other? After witnessing a moment of non-name-tag wearing rebellion from a respectable former colleague, I quickly abandoned my own (which might have possibly made me even more invisible to conference-goers).

 If utopia for sociologists is not having to take the time to meet fellow members of their "community" from across the globe, then this place must have been heaven for them! I was quite purposeful in attempts to make eye-contact as a means of gauging the possibility of introducing myself. Not one sociologist would take me up on this outside of a session of some sort. Even within sessions or at receptions, no one was interested in anything more than a brief exchange of ideas about a particular subject. No, "Hey, you want join me/us for coffee later at x?" Or "Hey let's exchange numbers and we can contact one another if dinner plans develop." The possibility did not appear to be an option for anyone except the people I already knew (and even those guys hardly seemed interested in keeping company with me).

At the PSAs a few years ago, not only did these things happen with new acquaintances, but we ended the final night of the conference creating our own soul-train line at some Arabic-themed club our little mob happened to stumble upon in our exploration of the area. All of this among relative strangers!

At the ASAs, to use trekked-out terminology, people were on red-alert and shields were up at maximum strength, or perhaps yellow-alert, shields up at maximum, and engaging in evasive maneuvers. Utopia indeed! The only thing remotely utopian about the conference atmosphere was that people seemed a bit adventurous about what they wore to the conference proceedings, something I have no problem challenging on a regular basis (I stand firm on my policy of going no where near heels or uncomfortable shoes of any kind. So far my Converses work just fine).

Additionally, because of a hotel snafu (no one on either the ASA site or the Cheap o Air site bothered to mention there were two Crowne Royal Plaza hotel locations) I was lugging my suitcase about while waiting for my friend to get us into our hotel. Because it had been done before by friends at other conferences, I had no problem asking first, the registration desk and then someone in the ASA offices a floor up, to allow me to leave my suitcase while I walked about the convention center and wait for my friend to arrive. To my dismay, not only was the answer no, but at the ASA office, hands were thrown up while it was explained to me that in no way could this person be held responsible for a suitcase 'cause what if someone walked off with it? In the ASA office? Who would go up there with that in mind?Are you serious?

That's when it hit me. The issue with this conference, and the realization that comes with knowing that the bulk of the sociologists at this conference are the last people one could count on to imagine and make utopia of any sort a reality, is that none of these individuals wants to take on the responsibility. To be responsive to the needs and concerns of others? To actually go out of their way to demonstrate the care, concern, and respect they claim to have for others? Of course the first response would be to throw-up hands and instantly absolve oneself of responsibility. To actually meet someone that is a part of the community they participate in, someone completely different from themselves, someone new? Impossible when your name and affiliation are already on display.

Interesting that a couple of Canadians saw the opposite of what I saw, that Americans were so friendly and open. Maybe skin tone had something to do with that. Even sociologists of color seemed to refuse my invitation of introduction. But knowing that folks of color are just as capable of accepting and reinforcing stereotypes about ourselves makes this no surprise.

One bright spot in all of this is that I did find two people who accepted my invitation of introductions. These individuals were non-sociologists and people of color who had no problem with me trying to get to know them and were more than okay with telling me snippets of their stories and experiences in Denver. I also got to hang out, walk about and explore the area with two awesome friends.

Well, next year it's back to business as usual for the ASAs with the theme "Interrogating Inequality: Linking Micro and Macro". Wait, isn't something sociologists already do? Enough of the presentations for this year's conference were certainly indicative of this theme. Maybe those were presentations from the future.

Until next time y'all!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Usefulness of Clairvoyance

something that i've come to realize about being over-educated is the lack of value and space for any sort of spirituality. as an emergent critical thinker it makes sense to see how practicing any sort of religious or spiritual practice, because of how oppressive surrounding beliefs like christianity can be, ends up being ultimately frowned upon, especially by academics. it seems that any perceived connection to spiritual things should be thought of as bouts of craziness or otherwise flawed states of being.

my encounters with post-modern fiction have helped in my thinking regarding the problematics of this way of being, of ignoring this spiritual part of ourselves. initially, i thought of this spiritual connection as being communicated to by god in various ways. then, after engaging in buddhism, i thought of this as my connection to the god within myself and the universe, its strength dependent on how often i practiced. i would think of story lines that support this train of thought, which would often take the form of a future self communicating to my present self in an attempt to guide my steps (which could explain my paralyzing indecisiveness at times). 

either way, i think we've lost touch with this part of ourselves that might make our lives a bit more complete and perhaps allow us to act a bit more intelligently. i find myself wondering about this the most when i experience deja vu. before when i would experience this, i would simply shrug it off as some freaky occurence. in that last few years however, i have come to appreciate this and try to pay special attention to it when it happens. i've come to think of it as a sign that i am on the right path--whatever path that may be. i can never tell when it's going happen but can estimate a time range of when the dream occurred, which is anywhere from months to years before the moment of deja vu occurs. which reminds me of another thing i have come to value, extremely vivid or reoccurring dreams, ones i may not understand but they have a feeling  of being important that is associated with them. maybe in later posts i'll share a couple that i felt the need to make note of. in addition to dreams, i have come to value horoscopes, especially those that i find speak directly to me. i'll share a couple that i've come to dwell on in later posts as well. 

for now, i want to touch on the problematics of dismissing these spiritual aspects of ourselves. for one, we loose touch with our humanity that much sooner by only looking at things as logically as possible. it reminds me of a post i did regarding "full metal alchemist" in which i discuss the quest for greatness and the fatal flaw of that quest being the removal of seemingly damaged or useless aspects of ourselves, which leads to misunderstandings along our journey that cause us to fail at our quest. i think that in becoming overly educated and being dismissive of our spiritual sides, we end up doing something very similar and run the risk of failing at our pursuit or at least reaching an outcome that is a reflection of our mutilated selves (if that makes sense). 

the only times i felt a spiritual connection when doing something academically was when i came to understand little and great understanding among other elements of arts based research that elated me to the point of being convinced i was in love with what i was doing at the moment (it felt so wonderful to engage in understanding and knowledge in such soulful ways), and when i was drawing to replicate real-life objects. it was during this moment in particular that i felt like i was fellowshipping with what was around me. that i was truly trying to connect with the flower, or tree, or person i was attempting to draw (maybe i was connecting with them). i also was elated and rejoiced in this realization as to what i was doing.

 i think paying attention to these moments, be they dreams, spiritual awakenings, art or fill-in-the-blank, can teach us things about the world around us as well as ourselves and humanity in general. there was nothing like playing the cello, writing and doing poetry, praying the rosary, or listening to radiohead that could aid me in connecting to understanding my soul and my current cirumstances at the time (this was many years ago). in anchoring myself in these ways, i was able to survive a troubling time and not become completely numb to life in general. education has its place, but it tends to shut out these very useful aspects that help us connect to ourselves and others in ways that rational thinking and theory cannot do alone. i find myself yearning for these connections once more with other people and on a deeply spiritual level that defies, yet can work in conjunction with all that is thought to be rational.


until next time...

Saturday, May 26, 2012


i'm not quite there yet. not sure if i ever will be.
i realized this today when talking to sis about the man i dread becoming because he is very much a part of me. what he did still serves as a barrier to any possibility of being able to relate to him as an adult. i still feel like a docile child around him. he did a good job of making sure i was docile, incapable of standing up for myself, my siblings, my mother. he contends he did nothing wrong. still manipulative. twisting truths to suit his vision best. how can i reconcile with such ugliness? pretend to get along with it? i abhor him. i abhor what i am because of how well he shaped me and my anger. the pit of black  that rests deep in my soul, my past and present. how can i avoid bringing it into my future? i want nothing more than to embrace and get along with it (or do i? should i?), with him. but he treats me the way he has for 18 years, and then i'm magically an adult that can relate to him as a friend? not a chance. i could never be real with him, he made sure we knew that. my inability to be myself freely (not that i know who that is) will always be a barrier not just to our relationship, but to my relationship with others. i am a master at walking on eggshells just to appease. i hate that it's either this or being him, which is unacceptable. i just want to be me and happy. but who can teach me these things when all i've learned is anything but?

no i am not ready to forgive him. i do not think this would change if he were to be on his deathbed the next day.

does this make me incapable of practicing what i want to preach? of love and acceptance? of great understanding?

how can i let go? how can i forget? his teachings are forever seared into my psyche and soul...

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Books and Keeping Track of What I Read

So, in the last few months, I've read more fiction on a weekly basis than I think I ever have in my entire life. Who has time for fiction when academia is hounding you to read painfully boring stuff--and I mean wanting to spoon out my eyeballs and burn them so I have an excuse as to why I can't read, cause they couldn't have possibly published all those academic articles in braille right?

Any who, thanks to an American postmodern fiction class I took, I've finally had the chance to read stuff classified as academic that expanded on my thinking about certain things. The class was like a book club for academic nerds. I certainly was able to re-examine theories I came across previously through novels like Jazz by Toni Morrison, Neuromancer by William Gibson, Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston,  The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven  by Sherman Alexie, and Maus by Art Spiegelman (which I haven't touched since third grade).These are books I would not have touched otherwise and was glad I forced myself into a situation where I had to. Being able to think about things like identity formation and becoming,and the role of history, culture, environment etc., in all of this, through works of fiction of the most truthful sort, is a nice alternative to all theory all the time, which is at times the blandest way to encounter knowledge. Needless to say, I've enjoyed my time in the world of fiction almost as much as I enjoy my time watching thought-provoking anime/Japanese animated shows/movies. I now desire to communicate my findings in the world of theory in similar ways--except maybe in graphic novel form, and no not the academic ones that are actually paper tranquilizers with pictures.

It's been a while since I've read these books but the ideas communicated still pop up from time to time. I wonder how effective it would be to take notes from these novels, like I would my academic texts...Would I be academizing an artform and thus rendering it boring? Who knows, but I've gotta keep better track of what I read sand my mind isn't the most reliable place at the moment.

Oh yeah, so a friend of mine lent me a few books I consumed rather quickly and would like to incorporate into my understanding of love/ loving practice, becoming, and the place of violence in all of this. I'm still grappling with the necessity of violence in the process of becoming and rethinking what this means. The books are Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents by Octavia Butler. As with the previously mentioned novels and authors--except Spiegelman--I have never read any of her work but have always heard about how amazing she is and have now seen for myself. I enjoyed Parable of the Sower more (I don't know, it just seemed more impactful in its messaging) because it made me revisit my wanderings in attempting to understand alchemy--read The Alchemist  by Paulo Coelho a while back among other brief texts about alchemy and everything. Now I just have to revisit and synthesize everything in an attempt to come to my own understanding of all of this complicated stuff! But who has time for that? I've gotta learn some new learning software for a class I'm teaching in a few weeks!

For now I'll take what I can get. I kinda wish I had more friends who read cool books they could loan me, or at least had a suggestion or two. I really don't have time to but if it's juicy, I'll make time dammit! I mean fiction of course, and am beginning to favor postmodern styles more and more, which includes graphic novels too! Reminds me to include The Eternal Smile  by Gene Luen Yang  in my attempted synthesis. Good stuff.

So yeah, any suggestions for what to read that is related to anything mentioned here or elsewhere in this bloggy-blog is welcome. No guarantees I'll read it, but will try if you really want me to. I also wish I could discuss these books with someone and not just internet paper...

Oh well, until next time...  

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

what am i doing and where is the love?

my thoughts and possible realizations of getting a ph.d. in a "liberatory" field

what can i say?

i’m not so sure of anything anymore. just got out of a “discussion” about neoliberalism and its various impacts on social systems, especially higher education. metaphorically the outcomes of these actions were equated with a “zombie culture” a system of the living dead that preys on the living. we acknowledged how steeped in neoliberalism higher ed was and especially programs like cultural studies. i wondered, how can we know about this but not do anything about it? how can such a program that critiques these systems simultaneously perpetuate them? i spoke about the process of getting a dissertation, especially the preliminary exams and dissertation process. i noted how the experiences reiterated to me were deeply alienating, soul crushing experiences (which oddly enough was done out of love somehow).
i am having trouble signing on to the belief that this process is in any way humanizing given its legacy of being the exact opposite—it makes or breaks you after all right? you must remove yourself from your loved ones, work in isolation with these unreasonable expectations hanging over your head of becoming an expert in your field, an intellectual, that you are cultivating this intellectual capital that puts you above the rest; a perpetuation of these deeply oppressive hierarchies.

 i did not come to this program to learn how to play the game, go off and play the game and teach others how to play the game! same goes for sociology. i idealized this program—and sociology—of being a place where i would acquire the tools needed to enact some kind of change in these types of systems! not simply know what is going on for the sake of understanding it in and of itself and just continue on my way happy with the knowledge i’ve gained. i know the process of becoming and getting a ph.d is hard work and i’m okay with that part. not okay with how dehumanizing that process continues to be, and the implication of higher ed being part of a larger system steeped in neoliberalism is that i shouldn’t expect anything less of any higher ed program, no matter what clothing it wears, what ideals it spouts.

someone used the analogy of the process being one where individuals have to give up and rearrange their thinking about things; that that is what is painful about the process. i responded with what i feel this means i have to give up: the ideals that i came in with, ideals that i am here to not only understand but somehow use what i have learned to enact more just ways of being in whatever situation that is i find myself being of service—to practice the ideals of social justice and wellbeing of myself and others.
i wrote this found poem from transcripts of an interview with a meth addict in which s/he describes her/his experiences with the drug. here is the poem i wrote:
in the beginning?
it gave me energy
for a while
but...all it does is just deteriorate and break you down
it’s humbling
lies like you wouldn’t believe
changes your brain structure so much
and i thought we had a connection
that’s what i fell in love with

 looking at it made me wonder if i am addicted to education and the idea of it as a liberatory space while having experienced it as the opposite of that? fixated on the feeling that what i come away with is something that allows me the ability to enact social justice when that is nothing more than a fantasy in ‘real’ life? it reminds me of the silly kid i was in thinking i was going to be an astronaut, traveling the galaxies and jumping off the rings of Saturn, or becoming a scientist who discovers the cure for AIDS; a childhood fantasy i had to let go of once my relationships with science became problematic.

academia does the same things this poem about addiction describes and the process of learning these exciting things about structural and systematic oppression—the ability to put a theoretical face to what is happening in society—fills me with the joy of knowing but the anxiousness of wondering what i could do about it. it breaks my heart to think that i was in love with nothing more than an idea; a fantasy and that love doesn’t live here at all—not the kind that propels anyone to meaningful action.

i want a ph.d. so i can teach others about these troubling ways of society but now i feel at a loss. how can i move forward knowing what i do? i want to think that i would do things differently, but after having taught once and knowing the implications of the education system i participate in...i just don’t know how can i be happy where love is not valued, encouraged, accepted or fostered? i don’t want to become a zombie. and is that what moving forward means i’m signing on for?

being at my alma mater  seemed like such a humanizing place in comparison. i didn’t understand a lot but my soul was never desecrated for my lack of understanding nor was i being trained to play some kind of game ...everyone here seems too busy to care about making anything humanizing possible...  

what does it mean to get a ph.d. in a place that does care about humanity and love? that practices what it preaches about social justice?

where do i go from here? 

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

leap day!

and what a day!
why is february only 28/9 days again?
i need more time!
so much work to do it's ridiculous!

back to work!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

the jung typology test

according to the above test, i am considered infp! that is:


cool beans, but what does this mean? i like what this site had to say:

Healers present a calm and serene face to the world, and can seem shy, even distant around others. But inside they're anything but serene, having a capacity for personal caring rarely found in the other types. Healers care deeply about the inner life of a few special persons, or about a favorite cause in the world at large. And their great passion is to heal the conflicts that trouble individuals, or that divide groups, and thus to bring wholeness, or health, to themselves, their loved ones, and their community.

Healers have a profound sense of idealism that comes from a strong personal sense of right and wrong. They conceive of the world as an ethical, honorable place, full of wondrous possibilities and potential goods. In fact, to understand Healers, we must understand that their deep commitment to the positive and the good is almost boundless and selfless, inspiring them to make extraordinary sacrifices for someone or something they believe in. Set off from the rest of humanity by their privacy and scarcity, Healers can often feel even more isolated in the purity of their idealism.

Also, Healers might well feel a sense of separation because of their often misunderstood childhood. Healers live a fantasy-filled childhood-they are the prince or princess of fairy tales-an attitude which, sadly, is frowned upon, or even punished, by many parents. With parents who want them to get their head out of the clouds, Healers begin to believe they are bad to be so fanciful, so dreamy, and can come to see themselves as ugly ducklings. In truth, they are quite OK just as they are, only different from most others-swans reared in a family of ducks.

At work, Healers are adaptable, welcome new ideas and new information, are patient with complicated situations, but impatient with routine details. Healers are keenly aware of people and their feelings, and relate well with most others. Because of their deep-seated reserve, however, they can work quite happily alone. When making decisions, Healers follow their heart not their head, which means they can make errors of fact, but seldom of feeling. They have a natural interest in scholarly activities and demonstrate, like the other Idealists, a remarkable facility with language. They have a gift for interpreting stories, as well as for creating them, and thus often write in lyric, poetic fashion. Frequently they hear a call to go forth into the world and help others, a call they seem ready to answer, even if they must sacrifice their own comfort.

Not to say all of this pertains to me 100 %--i do strive to eventually follow through with the last part for instance. most of it resonates with me quite well in any case. 

any one else want to give it a shot? what  are you and do you agree with the assessment?

until next time...

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Unwelcome visit from an old friend pt. 2: conference blues

after a visit in conference-land, my self-esteem plummeted to a familiar low.
i held a workshop oriented session that discussed love and social justice. i made sure to inform the participants that i was by no means an expert on anything and was basing the workshop on three books i read on the matter: The Art of Loving, All About Love, and Strength to Love. i'm not sure how well things went. there was positive affirmations from my friends, but the one individual from another university who did attend presented her card to one of my friends...a participant...and walked off.

the thing about this friend is that he is way smart, brilliant even. i tend to befriend people i admire for their positive vibes and smarts. i know i can learn something from them and grow with them as a result (i have yet to figure out what it is i give to such awesome people). any who, sensitivity set in and needless to say i began to have massive doubts.

with most (probably all) of the people i consider friends, i find myself to be not exactly their equal. in retrospect of hanging out with most of them, i see myself as the "ugly friend". not as smart, not as articulate, not as hip, not nearly as cool. from time to time a few will tell me what they see in me (not from prompting mind you) and i wonder why i can't see these things for myself.

what else could it mean that i am not acknowledged for the workshop given, but my friend is? yes, he made some good thought provoking points and does not hold back on positing an issue that implicates authority figures (we're both graduate students in the same program). like i said he's brilliant.

my purpose was not necessarily to be an expert on the areas of love and social justice, simply to facilitate discussion on what we know and a fragment of the literature that discusses love and social justice. in the end it seems that the pleasure in intellectual masturbation must be satisfied and i did not do it for this particular professor. cue song this moment reminds me of!

still i feel as though i'm always coming up short. why is it so important to be one of the cool kids? as much as my friend shies away from these modes of being, if he choose to, he could totally be in like flynn (whatever that means but you get the point i hope). i on the other hand would have to undergo a radical transformation for this to happen. this would include, being smarter than everyone, being cooler than everyone (which involves having traveled the world, being dressed to the nines, being a few degrees of separation from some celebrity, having a clique, having an air of awesomeness about me, charisma, beauty and grace, and impeccable timing and taste. the ability to go out with folks on a whim is a necessary facet as well.), and somehow just being plain worthy of acknowledgement whenever i speak. a previous post on the matter touches on why this isn't already the case

i don't know. affirmation is nice, but it would also be nice to be able to see what others claim to see. i just don't get it. here i am feeling like i'm in eternal high school, and i hated high school! that's why i did a high school/college credit program that allowed me to do community college--to hang out with adults who could care less about that stuff (the classes were pretty cool too). having a positive attitude only gets me so far when stuff like being excluded continually happens. makes me wonder if i left, if my absence would be noticed?

oh well, at least my son still likes hanging out with me, which makes me dread the teenage years.

when i feel this low, only one thing left to do, chant like crazy and reconnect myself and the universe around me. that and walk it off...hit it rj and aaron!

until next time...

Monday, February 20, 2012

Why? Being wrong about something so volatile

I just finished reading Jazz by Toni Morrison and before talking to others and getting a clearer interpretation of it, I could not hold my tongue in disgust about the path some of the characters had taken towards growth and becoming. One of the major juxtapositions in this book (in my mind anyway) has to do with violence and love. I have always had trouble believing that from violent acts comes the potential for more loving acts, making violence a necessity in order for the emergence of love to be a possibility. Sure I've seen it happen. Non-violent movements are a testament to this idea.

 I cannot ignore the fact that from violence, lives and souls have been desecrated, destroyed, and brutalized by such senselessness. Sure, philosophers that discuss the movement of civilization toward 'rationality'(and the Enlightenment as a testament of that) say that such senselessness was necessary in order for us to be where we are today. But was/is is really necessary that Others be devastated by atrocities of the Dominant in order for the possibility of agency and subjectivity to arise? Did person/group a have to die or experience such violent acts in order for person/group b to become their subjective selves?Or for the possibility of others in group a to become their subjective selves? Should it really be considered that such things were done out of love? Or that love emerges from this?

Of course being on the receiving end of such acts has not helped with the trouble I've had and perhaps refusal in accepting this to be the case.

However, thanks to a friend another view of the violence/love juxtaposition is apparent (and I really need to read this book again). That of giving birth. Which brings forth the argument that what goes on with the characters of the book that took the needlessly violent route was meant as a cautionary tale. Considering one's becoming, instead, as the act of giving birth is one that conjoins the violence and pain brought on by the act and the emergence of love that results. Presumably the creation of this new life that is being given birth to is/was also an act of love.

I'll admit, it's difficult to see the emergence of agency/self-hood/subjectivity in this way; viewing a violent yet beautiful act, in such a positive light (which is easy enough to imagine having given birth) when the violent aspect is something one has been subjected to from external dominating forces (did that make any sense?). Maybe because my journey has been a painful one, filled with violence at times (as I'm certain Jazz points out  about its characters). The work of striving toward self-hood, toward the use of agency, toward becoming a subjective being is difficult because of this historical pain and violence. Overcoming this is also painful, and efforts to do so can and often are misguided and misinterpret what it means to overcome (something Jazz also points out rather well).

This is one of the many things I am trying to figure out on this journey. Having encountered such a powerful piece has shown me that I have a lot to learn about what I am trying to do for myself. Growth, understanding, becoming who I am meant to be without needlessly bring harm to others, all the while trying to become infused with love so I can act in loving ways, it's a tough task that can seem vague at times given the directions I've gone and continue to go. I cannot seem to get away from the fact that it's going to be painful and perhaps violent, but if I imagine this as part of the process of giving birth...well it will take a while for this point of view to become my own given my experiences, but I'm willing to learn, whatever that may mean. It's not the first time I've been wrong about how I understand something...

Until next time

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Perhaps this is the Theme Song to my current path, desire for self and life, scholarship, etc.

Song: Truth by Alexander Ebert


The truth is that I never shook my shadow
Every day it's trying to trick me into doing battle
Calling out 'faker' only get me rattled
Wanna pull me back behind the fence with the cattle
Building your lenses
Digging your trenches
Put me on the front line
Leave me with a dumb mind
With no defenses
But your defense is
If you can't stand to feel the pain then you are senseless

Since this,
I've grown up some
Different kinda figther
And when the darkness come, let it inside you
Your darkness is shining
My darkness is shining
Have faith in myself

I've seen a million numbered doors on the horizon
Now which is the future you choosen before you gone dying
I'll tell you about a secret I've been undermining
Every little lie in this world comes from dividing
Say you're my lover
say you're my homie
Tilt my chin back, slit my troath
Take a bath in my blood, get to know me
All out of my secrets
All my enemies are turning into my teachers

Light's blinding
No way dividing
What's yours or mine when everything's shining
Your darkness is shining
My darkness is shining
Have faith in ourselves


Yes I'm only loving, only trying to only love
And yes, that's what I'm trying to is only loving

Yes I'm only loving, trying to only love
I swear to god I'm only trying to be loving

Yes I'm only lonely loving
And yes I'm only feeling only loving, only loving
Ya say it ain't loving, loving but my loving

I wanna only love til I'm only loving
I swear to god I'm only loving.
Trying to be loving, loving, loving, loving, loving, loving, love

Yes I'm only loving, yes I'm trying to only love
I swear to god I'm trying but I'm only loving
Ya say it ain't loving, loving, loving, loving, love my love

But I'm only loving, loving, loving
The Truth.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Guess What I Just Finished Watching?

When it comes to action cartoons that are heavy on action and lighthearted moments, Samurai Champloo is it! It's got an awesome soundtrack, great stories (hardly any connected), great sequences, characters and the art is amazing! Not since Cowboy Bebop has a show of this sort caught my attention (yeah, yeah, i know i'm late to the party sheesh!) and shows of this caliber are tough to come by.

Seeing this show makes me wish i had access to Nujabes' (peace to his soul) stuff on vinyl so i could wear some of this stuff out! i'll find something, no matter how long it takes (expense is an entirely different matter, but i can dream can't i?). Oh well, for those of you into action cartoons and especially Japanese animation that don't know about it, Samurai Champloo is a multifaceted gem worth checking out (not a bad way to start the New Year either).

Later (listening to this song at least two more times)...