Sunday, February 27, 2011

Girls Like Pink Because DNA Says Girls Like Pink.

I had some chatsies with my friend Jon the other night. Our opinions differ about a lot of things, and we used to have fights about it but we've gotten better about how we communicate with each other. Having to get over that, and both of us working on it to get better really made us good friends.

But I digress.

Our conversation was about men and women, and our differences. It's a classic nature vs. nurture problem. Is it genetic? If it is, does that justify the stereotypes? Is it society telling men and women what to do? How would we stop such a thing?

It's hard to prove either side with any certainty, and you can find research to support both. None of the research is really satisfying. If you want to show something is genetic and not taught, you'd have to ask someone who has not been influenced by society at all, and no such person exists, not even babies, really. Babies are far more perceptive than most people think. And even if babies were completely incapable of learning anything until they were like, 1-years-old, how on earth do you survey a baby?

So really, no matter which side you take, your argument and beliefs are bound to be supported by mostly speculation.


I think that while nothing is completely taught or completely innate, gender differences are heavily influenced by society, parents, the media, etc. I think people make generalizations about gender based on their own experiences, decide they must be true because they hold for a large number of people, and then teach these biases to their kids. It becomes a vicious, never ending cycle. I think whatever genetics play a role can be overcome, and the assumption that we are a slave to our biology is unjust. If we can overcome disease, we can overcome gender differences.

That's why I get so frustrated when people say women are this, or men are that, and then justify it because it's "true." Sure, maybe it's true now, but you continuing to talk about it and proliferate the belief won't do anything to change it and make gender a more level playing field. I don't get angry because I think the assumptions are a lie, I get angry because I want it to change and making such statements prevent that from happening. They are the true source of the problem.

And I honestly have no idea how to fix it.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Feelings Are Stupid!

I've come to the conclusion that what people want, more than anything else, is vindication. We want to know that we're right about everything we think about ourselves. We think we're pretty, smart, hard-working, deserving. We think we're right to be happy or sad or angry at others. And we want to know, somehow, that we're right.

You may be one of those people who says that you don't care what other people think, but this isn't about that, this is about finding the truth. In fact, it's all the more powerful to someone that is fighting the system with an unpopular opinion. To know you're right, that you're doing the right thing, to remove all doubt about the situation and just have confidence in yourself, what more could you possibly ask for? It's about convincing not others, but yourself you're right.

I feel that this knowledge is key in my tactics in dealing with other people. When someone tells me how they feel, I tell them they're right to feel it. I tell them I understand where they're coming from. I let them know that it's okay to feel what they're feeling. Immediately, they're put at ease. They don't feel like they have to build up a whole case to prove to me that their feelings are just, or that they need to get defensive with me. They let their guards down and they feel more comfortable to share with me. Our emotions are so integral to who we are, what are the implications to having the wrong emotions?

When I was a freshman in high school, I was way overly concerned about my grades. I did awful on a Biology test once and it upset me to the point of tears. I went to the bathroom and sat on the floor in a stall, embarassed. Embarassed because I did poorly, embarassed because I didn't have the strength to suck it up and move on. Other people don't do well and they get over it. There are people out there suffering far worse, and I had the gall to pity myself over a test grade.

A friend at the time followed me in to the bathroom and sat down with me. It mortified me at first. What was she going to say when I told her why I was crying? She was going to think I was the most superficial person ever.

But she didn't. In fact, she told me it was okay to be upset. It was okay to feel what I was feeling, because it's how I reacted to it. We don't control our emotions that much, why would it be wrong for me to react a certain way? And it's funny, because as soon as she told me it was okay to be upset, I somehow felt a lot better. I wasn't beating myself up about it and conflicted over feeling the wrong things. I just felt it, and then it was gone.

She probably doesn't even remember having this conversation with me, but it was a pretty monumental moment in my life. Something I've obviously never forgotten. I remember it every time I talk to someone who's upset, because often, they're just trying to figure out how to explain what they feel how to justify it, and it makes everything so much worse. And you know what, you don't need justification. Have confidence in yourself, and just feel it.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

We've Decided That Video Games Are Mature.

The other day, Erik linked me to an article. The author was upset because "All the good men are gone." She talked about how theyre all stuck in some sort of state of "pre-adulthood" because they all play video games. That seemed to be her only reason for thinking it, honestly. Naturally, Erik was upset, and the more I think about it, the MORE upset I get too. But now for entirely different reasons.

Since when is there only one way to act when you're in your 20's? Do we really all act the same way people did 20 years ago? No? I didn't think so. Nor should we aim to.

I think people are having trouble accepting that we are the new generation, and it's our turn to decide what that means. We get to decide what's cool, what's mature, what's appropriate. The last generation had it's chance, like every one does, and now we're up. Don't like what we decide? Tough.

I really like what my generation is deciding. I like that video games aren't just for little kids. I like that it's taboo to be against gay marriage (for the most part, at least). I like that normal gender roles are being challenged on a regular basis. That we're politically active. I mean, really, I'm excited for the current generation to get out so that we can get in and have our turn at the White House. I'm sure it won't be perfect, it can't be, but I have a trememendous amount of hope that we'll get a lot of it right. That when WE'RE 60-year-old fuddy duddies set in our ways, it won't be to hold women back or deny gay people basic rights. We'll screw some stuff up, sure, but we'll get some stuff right.

So when people get upset that "there aren't any good mean anymore," I'm sorry, but every time I look around I see guys women would be lucky to date. Yeah, they play video games and in general have an appreciation for things I suppose were traditionally just for kids, but my generation says that's the norm now, and I'm glad that's how we are.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Crossing My Fingers I Can Keep This Up

I'm back, but I won't promise for how long. I took a break, not because I didn't have anything to say, but frankly I just had too much to say. It's hard trying to compile all the thoughts going on in your head sometimes, and I'm very conscious of how I phrase things and who reads this. This is a place to express myself, but still, I'm a pretty guarded person. This is certainly not a bare-all blog.

So what has happened since I was last here? I don't even remember when that was. I suppose I could say that I've got a job for the summer. I've been promoted to resident director for next year. My diabetes seems to be more manageable lately.

Let's talk about that.

I suck at diabetes. Like, legitimately. My A1C's have always been bad, and the people who get concerned because they think they might be above 8.0 just blow my mind. Really, kudos if that's you, but psychologically I've just never been there. I armchair psycho-analyze myself about this all the time, why I am incapable of taking care of myself but others are. I want to blame other people, I want to blame myself, but I've found that blame just doesn't solve the problem. What did, however, is letting my parents back in.

Everyone knows and seems to accept that adolescent development involves pushing one's parents away. I was terrified of what would happen if I went to college and had never taken care of myself. I was always an independent person, but because there was a sense of urgency with my diabetes and health, I think I was more aggressive with my control over it. I made an almost violent move to take it all from my parents, and when I failed to manage it on my own, refused to admit defeat.

This winter break I finally talked to my parents, and in what was probably one of the hardest moves I've ever made, invited them back in to my care.

I don't know why, but now, I remember to test myself at least once a day. I remember to take my insulin. I remember to do site changes more often. I spend less time high. I'm actually excited to see what my next A1C will be. My control is no longer tight, but it's at least, in my view, acceptable. It's funny how something as simple as asking my mom to email me blood sugar reminders oculd have changed everything.

I don't think my parents were stupid, they knew I was struggling. It's not like my confession came as a shock, but somehow just me telling them, putting it out there instead of letting it be the elephant in the room, changed the entire dynamic. I don't tell them what my blood sugars are still, I'm still doing all the ordering and prescription legwork, but them just reminding me 4 times a day to check, even if I don't, I don't know, maybe it's just the thought that someone out there cares for me? That someone has enough concern to check in on me? That I'm not alone in the fight?

I guess I really don't want to question it, but just when I was going to give up and figure I just wouldn't ever be able to have kids, things are turning around. I really never thought I would be here. I really thought I was just a hopeless case. I was just dealt a bad hand and had to suck it up.

A depressing view, but it's the one I had adapted.

So to be here, where I am, feels impossible. I feel like I survived something. And I'm afraid to applaud myself for it because I'm afraid that the balances will tip and I'll be out of control again. It's really only been about 3 months now. It seems like it should be long enough to have a solid habit formed, but I've managed to break it before.

With tentative hope, I move forward.