Friday, March 9, 2007

You look happy

Alright it's a two-blog-post day! So I just got in this fantastic conversation with a co-worker in my department. It started by him asking me how I am because I've been quiet lately. To which I said I am finding it increasingly difficult to say how I am, so I just have been quiet. He went on to try and guess why. He didn't really... but in the midst of it he said "You look happy lately". He is the second person in my department who knows nothing of this journey to say this exact thing! I guess even the act of emailing people agrees with me.

I also lamented to him on how unproductive I've been lately at work due to this unnamed new stuff in life, and how my over active sense of guilt is speaking to me. To which he countered with "Even the earth needs a fallow period." And I need to just live, and let myself be happy, and not get all bent out of shape re: my lack of productivity. To which I felt some sense of grace in spite of the fact that I still want to be a good steward of my work. I still want to do a good job.

And speaking of that. I have a phone call with my vocational coach today. I think I shall have to talk to him about my productivity. I am ok with some time of fallowness for the work of re-equilibrating part of self takes a lot of brain power. AND sometimes you just need to say "Dear one, get your butt in gear! You can be fallow but not 24/7!"

People think I look happy. :) That makes me grin. It's fun to have a secret no one knows sometimes.


bobbie rose said...

i know...:)


FreyaSings said...

I don't know how blogs work. If I comment on a relevant post will you be notified to check it, even if it's from a long time ago? I'm assuming not, which is why I'm posting this comment on your most recent post, even though it has very little to do ith it. Sorry! Sorry, too, for the fact that this is going to be long and rambly.

I'm teaching a class this term on "Gender and Literature." Since today is the last day before spring break I figured that there'd be very few students in class (I was mostly right) so my co-teacher and I didn't want to teach anything really new. Instead we asked students to bring in (literally or figuratively) items or stories or experiences from their lives or pop culture that say something about gender: how it's constructed (intentionally or unintentionally), how it's sometimes coopted, how our ideas are sometimes just plain outdated or inappropriate.

One of my contributions (I had it prepared, in case the students were silent, as they sometimes are...I didn't need it until the very end, which was good!) was about a news story I heard earlier this week. Some groups are sponsoring "Purity Proms"; girls go to a special dance (still with all the formality and fanciness) with their dad. Part of the pomp and circumstance is a ceremony in which the girls pledge to their dads that they won't have sex before they're married. One of the dads in the piece commented "This is important, because if my daughter has had sex before marriage, my giving her away at the wedding will mean nothing."

I asked the students what that statement contributed to our understanding of what it means to be a man or to be a woman. One student commented that the man's statement was silly, that "giving a bride away" had to do with an older time when marriages had to do with land acquisition and family allegiences," and that most people didn't really believe that symbolism anymore.

I said, "Well we still do it, so what symbolism do you think people ARE attaching to it? I think it's important to pay attention to what these very common things are saying about our identities without us really realizing it (or we realize it, but dismiss it)."

[There's a point in here somewhere. I think I'm getting to it soon...]

Another student said "Do I really have to be responsible for all of that? Do I have to keep calling out everything?"

I responded by saying "It's probably too physically and emotionally tiring for one person to identify and call out all of these occurances, but I do think we have a responsibility to be aware of them."

All this to say, I think there's a lot out there (in the church, and in our US culture at large) that tells us what it means to BE a woman (or a man, or a questioning lesbian, or a queer something-or-other, etc.). Sometimes we need to actively fight these things because they are so stifling and really keep us from being who we are. Sometimes we simply need to be aware of them so we can remind ourselves that we are constantly changing and learning.

I think it's ok to sometimes try this newness out without telling and/or critiquing your church (big OR small "C") that may very well condemn you for it. That will probably come later, but it doesn't have to be now. You have enough newness going on right now. Focus on you and let others take up the fight with the church for awhile.

I'm going to stop now. I'm not sure I made the point I set out to make...