Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Life Lesson #1-3a

My mom sent me this worksheet that basically helps you get your life together. It is a tool that is supposed to help you figure out what you're passionate about, what success means to you, you know, what's important and will motivate you in your life. Anyways, there is one section on the list I felt especially intrigued about. One section was "What are your top ten life lessons?" Normally I'm a person who likes to know the answers to things immediately--as in I would have wanted to have been able to answer that question in 10 minutes at least. But I've been thinking about it all day--what HAVE I been learning from life--if anything? What are my life lessons? Thus, over the next few days I will attempt to answer that question. I've come up with a no particular order.

#1: It Will All Work Out/Hold on Loosely to Your Plans
It's really ironic that I even put this as a life lesson, because JUST yesterday I was FREAKING out about my life. However, today, as I was talking with a student who was worrying about the future, I was telling her my own history, and how every year of college was something that I could have NEVER foreseen. I fell into Residence Life every year by happenstance. I fell into Sociology. I didn't even know what Res Life or Sociology was. I was committed to staying 4 years in college--I ended up staying 5. I was hell bent on going to APU in California--I ended up in Seattle and had the happiest 5 years of my life. Things work out. I just have to believe that right now :)

#2: Friends Are Essential
I realized that the darkest periods of my life were the ones that I didn't have close friends nearby. Middle School was hard--no friends. Half of high school was really hard. College=best years ever. The few times I branched out in college where I was completely without anyone were fairly unenjoyable. For me, happiness=friends and family. It's just that simple. I remember sitting in Costa Rica watching this movie about this guy who goes and lives in the wilderness and dies alone. Something with Wild in the title...and it's really escaping me what the movie is called. And it's bugging me. IMDB time. ANYWAYS, I remember a particular quote from the movie--"Happiness is only real if shared." And that moment struck me in such a way that it's still vivid to me to this day. I need my home base, I need a network--it's just how I was created. I cannot be alone.

#3. Don't Watch too Much Law and Order: SVU--No matter how much you may love it
You will start looking over your shoulder in parking lots and thinking someone is coming after you when you sleep alone at night. Creepy. OK, that's not a REAL "life" lesson, but a valid one nonetheless.

#3a: Love is Not the End All Be All.
I believed this myth for a long time. And then I became a sociology major. Sociologists as people enjoy love (it's just a really bad variable). But I realized more and more that love is not IT--and believe me that's about all I thought about for my first 3 years of college until I found sociology (for real!). I thought that love would "fix" me--that it would validate me, be euphoric and amazing and everything I'd ever dream. W-R-O-N-G. The more and more I think about it, the more difficult marriage seems and I want it less and less. I realize this goes against the grain of most Christian culture, which thrives on really early first age at marriage. But once I was intellectually stimulated and found my passion in life and had a goal, it seemed that all this love stuff didn't seem quite so important. There are days I will be happy to be married, and days I'll wake up happy being single. There are hard days and happy days in both worlds. I have made the decision that I will be happy no matter what. And it feels good--and freeing. Again, it's not that I think love is BAD or SILLY by any means--but I WILL be content no matter what.

Well. More to come.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Beaches (Not the Movie Though)

Last night my friend and I went to the ocean at about eleven thirty or so at night. I love going places at night, because that is when I feel the most at peace, and the most alive. I love walking in the quiet, breathing in the smells that only the nighttime can offer, clearing my head. It makes me stop. Slow down. Savor. But the ocean is by far one of my favorite night time places--and unfortunately I do not have the luxury of going there often. The ocean for me is a profoundly spiritual place. I have mostly experienced the ocean during the day. However, last night there was something vastly terrifying about being on the beach so late at night. The atmosphere was lovely, we sat and listened to the waves crash on the beach--no one was around. At the same time, I felt a sense of fear and urgency. I felt the smallness of myself in that moment, that while those waves were beautiful they also have the potential to crush you. I knew I was safe sitting there on the shore, but at the same time I still felt fear as I sat there thinking about the vastness and depth that was far beyond what I could see in that moment--the "what if I went out there right now?" I feel like this is how God is--there is a fear, but a safety at the same time--there is power and majesty. It is in these moments that I cannot help but think that there is something mysterious happening, something that I cannot put my finger on, but I get to be a part of.

I went through this period in college where I really had doubts about this whole thing. I mean Christianity and faith. The sociology side of my brain wanted to carry me down the path to completely writing religion off as something that was socially constructed. Did people just use it to feel good about themselves and give them hope? Was Jesus even real or just something we made up like a lot of cults tend to do? These were only a few of the questions that were running through my head, and there was (when I look back in hindsight) major spiritual warfare going on. I can't describe it, but it was the most fearful, panicky time in my life. I thought I was going to give up my faith, and I shed more tears over it then I could count. Dr. McKinney says that there are some things that science can try to explain, but everything else has to be left up to faith--therefore, sociology and physical science can only explain so much and I was finally able to rest in that. Science cannot quantify the spiritual world. That's why they call it a "leap of faith" I suppose. It is moments like last night that I can believe in the spiritual and Jesus and God--that I can let go of the logistics, of apologetics or theological questions and just simply experience.

I'm reading this book called Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell. He raises a lot of hard questions. Things that seemingly could destroy your faith if you let them. But he still somehow believes--not because he hasn't thought about them or been troubled by them, but because it is the mystery that keeps bringing you back. It gives me comfort knowing that if someone else can have their questions un-answered, then maybe I can too.

As I looked out on the ocean last night I could not help but believe that this was wonderfully true. I don't think we're alone. What was in me last night was this beautiful sense of mystery, awe, fear, wonder. I don't know how this could exist without something far beyond us, something much larger then ourselves. I will never know all the answers, and there are some questions about faith and God and Christianity and Jesus that I will always have to wrestle with, and the tension will just be there always, but I suppose in the end I'm glad I can't explain it. Instead, you look out into the ocean and it just is what it is, you cannot quantify it or analyze it or put it in a box, you just have to take it in.

I love when Paul talks about how wide, how long, how high, how deep is the love of Christ. I wonder if he was sitting on a beach somewhere in Europe writing that while looking at the ocean. Because the thing is, Christ's love is all those things. And I think sometimes we have the same fear, the same sense of awe and mystery that we have when we look at the ocean in relation to that love. That love makes me scared, it has the power to crush me, to toss me, to move me. Once you go in too deep I wonder if you can really come back out--the tide just sort of pulls you out. You cannot mess around with the ocean or it will crush you. I don't feel like I have very many answers these days, but I do know that I experienced something real and mystical and beautiful and scary and inspiring last night...and I for that I am forever grateful.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Cookie or Cupcake?


Philosophers have asked many important questions in our time. Does God exist? What's the meaning of life? To be or not to be, that is the question! My neighbor asked me today an equally important question: if I had the choice, which would I prefer...a cookie or a cupcake? He told me that I did not need to answer if I needed to think about it, that I may wait and blog about it, as the question does require much thought and is far more intricate than one would anticipate. As I pondered this question, I began to rate both Cupcake and Cookie on their differences and merits. Both are round--not much help there. Both begin with a "C." Both are conveniently individually sized--a "personal pan pizza" if you will. You can get sprinkles and icing on both. Well, depending on the type of cookie--you will generally always get icing on a cupcake. Had I been asked to choose between a cookie and a PIECE of cake verses a cupcake, I would have had great ease in selecting a cookie--with cake pieces you could potentially wind up with an edge piece, and that's just no good. Plus, you don't get the delicious muffin top that a cupcake has to offer. However, I was assigned cupcakes and cookies, not cake pieces and cookies. The problem here is that I don't know what TYPE of cookie or cupcake I would potentially be receiving. If I were receiving an oatmeal cookie with RAISINS verses a carrot cake cupcake, hold the raisins and add cream cheese frosting--carrot cake hands down. Am I receiving a crunchy cookie or a soft cookie? A peanut butter cookie (yuck) or a lemon cupcake (boo!)? A chocolate chip cookie (MMM) or a vanilla cupcake with peppermint icing and rainbow sprinkles (hot damn!)!?!? A Macrina cookie or a Trophy cupcake? I had to put myself on a cookie challenge because I was eating far to many cookies, thus attesting to my affinity for them, but have yet to go on a cupcake challenge. But is this just because cookies are more common than cupcakes and more easily accessible?!?! Unfortunately, given the wide array of possibilities, I have come to the philosophical conclusion that I cannot give a definitive answer. I must rate each cupcake or cookie on their own individual basis (which, as a sociologist I do not like, as we do not think about individuals but rather GROUPS). Or you could just give me both and I will eat them and let you know which one I liked better. Problem solved.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Why I Do Not Wear Coats

I've never really worn coats. I'm not sure why. I've theorized and theorized, but have yet to come to a conclusion. Now, let me be clear. I will wear a coat if I am say, going on a long trek somewhere. But to and fro from the car to the store? No. I will run into the store and bite the bullet. I'm not really sure why I am like this. I think it could be a combination of the fact that I am sort of scatterbrained and moderately lazy when it comes to taking the time to put ON the jacket, and then you have to find somewhere to hang it, and then you maybe might lose it(read:them, plural) which gets to be an expensive habit...I don't really know. But what I DO know is that several RA's this year have harassed, badgered and weedled me to wear a damn coat. They started to say that every time they saw me they would charge me $0.25 cents. I never agreed to this deal, but this did not stop them from screaming at me across campus that I indeed owed them money. In passing they would say things that mothers say to young children, "You'll catch your death of cold!" to which I replied, "Ummm NO scientifically speaking you CANNOT get sick from your body being cold. It will wear your immune system down, yes, but colds are caused by viruses. So there." Of course all of their badgering only made me want to rebel and not wear a coat. However, it did begin getting REALLY cold, so I finally swallowed my pride and asked for and received a fabulous plaid coat for Christmas. And let me tell you, it is fierce. Ow ow. Immediately upon receiving said gift, I notified the RA's, who were pleased as punch knowing that their supervisor would be warm and toasty. I was applauded for wearing a coat when they would see me outside. I actually began to enjoy that coat--it became a part of me. So, I decided to wear my beautiful coat to Seattle. I didn't even put it on the overhead bin on the plane because I didn't want to lose track of it--step in the right direction Jess! However, upon my return flight there I was in SeaTac thinking...hmmm it's a wee bit chilly in here. Did I wear a coat here? This question should indicate to you how very little I actually do wear a coat as I couldn't even remember because it is not a habit. Nope, sure did leave it in Seattle in Brittany and Dana's apartment. So, I'm right back to wear I started in October--coatless.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

New Career Path?!

Last night, my neighbors informed me that their dad (also my neighbor) was discussing Oprah's leave from her long reign as television's talk show queen. With Tyra Banks leaving also, this opens up a new spot for talent: namely me. Apparently their dad said, "Do you know who should have a talk show? Jess Miller. I would watch." This reasoning was justified by my neighbors because of the fact that I have a wide knowledge of justice related issues (like Oprah, Ellen and Tyra), as well as for the fact that I love me some celebrities, and I know how to do things like bake, which could certainly come in handy on a show--thus, the perfect talk show host. I would not say no to doing things like dressing up in a fat suit and walking around with hidden cameras just like Tyra Banks for the sake of educating the general public! I also do not mind making myself look ridiculous for a good laugh (ALSO like Ellen). I have only been told that I should be a TV talk show once before by Rob, but I don't know if he is required to say these things as a best friend (no offense Rob). Unfortunately, this potential new career path (aside from the fact that I would have better odds getting stuck by lightening then scoring a deal), would perhaps inhibit my dream of being a Sociology professor and changing the world via the classroom. Thus, I readjusted this new possible career to be able to encompass all the things I want to do:

I will immediately submit a tape to the bigwigs at NBC. They will instantly love me and will immediately offer me a deal. Over the course of the next year, I will become something of a cultural phenomenon, much like the show "Glee" has wormed it's way into 8 million viewers' hearts this year (speaking of which, my first show will be featuring the cast of Glee. I will sing a broadway tune with them). Mariska Hargitay will also be on this first show. Within 2-3 years worth of time they will offer me a late night show on cable television and I will become the first woman talk show host on network television (Chelsea Handler doesn't count because she is on E! and I am talking about the big networks like NBC, ABC, and CBS). They will probably ask me to replace Letterman. All this time I have been talking about how much I love Bon Jovi, and it will be much like when Rosie O'Donnell kept wanting Tom Cruise on her show, or when David Letterman was badgering Oprah to make an appearance, or when Ellen petitioned to be on the cover of O! magazine. Then that great day will come and I will meet Jon. After this point, I will have to break it to the execs that I will no longer be accepting a renewed contract. At this point my career will have taken off, and I will have been given an honorary doctorate by some esteemed university (I'm guessing this is not really how this works, but for the sake of this daydream it'll do). I will then go on to become a Sociology professor, and students will flock to my classes because I was a celebrity, and we all know how the American culture values celebrities. I will then begin a quiet life as a Sociology professor and will influence lives left and right--this time not through celebrity interviews and getting them to donate large sums of money to charity because they can play silly games like "name that tune," but through the explanation of inequality, social theory and activism.

The only flaw in this plan is that I would have to compete with Ellen DeGeneres for the first few seasons of my show, and she is stiff competition. Maybe I can modify this and we can just co-host the show together--sort of an "Andy Richter/Conan O'Brien" partnership. I mean, you have to make sacrifices for your dreams.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Zit Pills and Health Insurance

I always thought I was grateful for health insurance. However after today I'm REALLY thankful. This was half the perk of receiving a "real" job--I get to do cool things like go to the dentist and pick out new eyeglasses! I am eating all my complaints of going to the dentist when I was younger--I mean, I actually had to start FLOSSING last year because I had no dental insurance. OK, ok, that's one adjustment I'm willing to make, but needless to say this year I was tra la la-ing to the dentist to get my chompers cleaned out--you begin to appreciate that trip to the OB/GYN after not being able to have preventative health care for a year. Anywho, this year I was prescribed some pills for the acne that has decided to make its way onto my face. Yes, I felt like a 13 year old again, and knew something had to be done when a four year old asked me if a bug had bit my face early on in the summer. No, Lola, those are ZITS and you will have the misfortune of having them in about 9-10 years. Enjoy. So, I go to Walgreen's to pick up my monthly prescription. My physician gave me this card where you pay no more then 25 bones per month to get the prescription. On a tight budget, $25/month can be a bit of an annoyance, but I'll deal. So, I get to Walgreens and they tell me that my insurance will not pay for it because the card my doctor gave me was only good for 3 refills. Hmmm. "How much is the full price?" I asked. Shoot, if it was $50 I'd bite the bullet--because clear skin is a very nice privilege to have. "Five hundred." Screw clear skin. You've got to be kidding me. That's more then my car payment and student loans put together. For some zit pills. N-O. Thank goodness we worked it all out and my coupon did end up going through--and let me tell you $25 did not seem so annoying anymore. Thank goodness for health insurance.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Super interesting article! Love it!

Sociological Observation of the Day!!!

Well kids, here it is:

Fun sociological fact:

If you walk into a Dunkin' Donuts (the Starbucks of the East Coast) and you ask for a "tall drip coffee," you will be stared at. You will then stumble over your words, trying to explain to the person behind the counter as they blankly stare back at you that you would, you'd really like, know, just plain coffee with cream please? You know, not a latte, not a dunk-a-chino, just right out of the pot? Oh. And two Splenda (minus the cancer). In this reusable cup. To which they will stare back at you until you say the RIGHT words that will magically fulfill your request: "I just want black coffee. And by 'tall' I meant the medium size, please. Thank you, and here is my D&D gift card." Because apparently no one on the East Coast knows what "Drip" coffee is but they do know what "Black" coffee is. Interesting.

Oh, and "Pop" is DEFINITELY "Soda" and "freeway" is "highway." AND they don't have Ross Dress For Less here!!! But I still like it anyways :)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Say It Ain't So!!!

Well my friends, while my love affair with Law and Order: SVU has certainly not come to an end, I was met with a harsh dose of reality today. The show is not very true to the real life "criminal justice system for sexually based offenders." I know you are shocked, SHOCKED!!! "TV not real life?! But it can't be!" you think. But it's true. I'm taking this class to be a certified sexual assault counselor. Basically, this means when survivors go to the hospital, you're there to be their advocate and support for what is a really traumatic experience. Or, you answer the phone on the crisis hotline so people can call in and you can talk them through whatever's going on--the class is super interesting. Well, today we had a law enforcement officer come in and she was talking to us about how long it takes to prosecute sexual assault cases--turns out it's like one to three years, not an hour as in the case of L&O:SVU. And Olivia and Elliott are not spending all of their time on one case--it turns out real cops have about 60 cases that they are working on at one time, so it's really difficult to even find time to get search warrants and follow up. DNA evidence can take up to 6 months to get back to even try to prosecute someone--as in M.E. Warner does not have DNA back to the detectives in 20 minutes. Obviously, I'm being facetious with the fact that I'm shocked that L&O:SVU isn't true to life, but I suppose the biggest thing that perturbs me is just how long it takes victims of these crimes to get justice...I can't imagine what that would feel like to have your perpetrator walking around for 1-3 years, and then be put away for only a short sentence (ummm yeah like only a few years...REALLY?!). Sigh. I guess justice takes time.

Yet another reason to love Seattle...and Glee!!!

Thanks to the magic that is facebook, I came across this little gem:

And they will totally be doing it in...Seattle--"Seattle style" to be exact (whatever that means?!?)

Flash mob is this freaking sweet thing they do where they go into a busy place like Grand Central Station or maybe Pike's Place market and break out into song and dance. AWESOME. It basically lives out my fantasy of having my life lived as a musical--where you'd be in the cafeteria and BAM a group of people bust out into song and dance.

This is the MJ one they did in Seattle:

And, if you're in Seattle, you should totally go DANCE like you've never danced--and it's to Glee songs, so even better. If I were there, I would dance my heart out, let me tell you. I guess I'll just have to wait until the youtube premier...

Glee Flash Mob!
Celebrate the return of Glee with a Flash Mob in Seattle
Music/Arts - Performance

Saturday, April 10, 2010
11:00am - 2:15pm
on the streets of Seattle
Celebrate the return of the spring season of Glee by a flash mob on the streets of Seattle! Check out the one done over the holidays in Rome for reference, but of course we'll do it up Seattle-style.It'll be a mix of four songs:Don't Stop Believin'Proud MaryGold DiggerSomebody to LoveChoreography will by led by Bobby Bonsey and promotion and production by One Degree Events. This is the same team who brought you the MJ Beat It Flash Mob last August, so you know it's going to be good.TEACHING DAY FOR CHOREOGRAPHY TEACHERS ONLY:Wednesday, 3/10 6-8 in West Hall (Odd Fellows)REHEARSAL DATES FOR ALL PARTICIPANTS:Thursday, 3/18 6:30-8:30pm in Century BallroomTuesday, 3/23 6:30-8:30pm in West Hall (Odd Fellows)Thursday, 3/25 6:30-8:30pm in Century BallroomWednesday, 3/31 6-8 in West Hall (Odd Fellows)Wednesday, 4/7 6-8 in West Hall (Odd Fellows)Friday, 4/9 6-8 in Century BallroomAs usual, we'll never publish where we're holding the flash mobs, only where we're holding the practices and where we'll gather before mobbing the city streets with music and dance from Glee!Hope to see you there...INVITE YOUR FRIENDS!Oh, and we'll be doing a second round of the Glee flash mob for Seattle Pride (once is never enough)!Egan OrionBobby BonseyFlash Mob Seattle

Monday, March 8, 2010

Hungry for Change


Holy cow (pun intended). If you want to know why I'm a vegetarian, you should watch the movie "Food, Inc." because nothing will make you run away faster from that McDonald's bacon double cheeseburger you're eating then this flick. This movie was super insightful, and really makes you think twice about what you're putting down you're throat, let me tell you. I loved this movie: they explore the systemic problem of the food industry, highlighting how it is a problem of social structure and capitalism and particularly effects people of the lower class and people of color in particular (I know, SHOCKING)--so put your sociological party hats on! Furthermore, at the end you can totally be active (which I love) in REALLY easy ways. I tended to think that food consumption was an individual choice, but, as most things are, it's totally not and is an entire culture unto itself. I'd like to believe that this is going to be the next big revolution in our country. It literally does make me rethink not only what I put in my mouth, but where I'm purchasing it from (which is just as important). I like to believe I do a fairly decent job of eating healthy (minus the infinite amount of cupcakes that I tend to consume), and makes me appreciative of stores like Trader Joe's, however upon watching this film I will be re-examining my food choices. Like I said, I foresee big changes in the future, because if you think about it, after that movie "Super Size Me" came out McDonald's surely did revamp their menu because consumers wanted it. I think we often forget how powerful our dollars can be. Like they said in the movie, you vote by what you buy.

I also think we forget how very powerful even our own names can be...on a petition. Take 2 seconds and sign the petition for BIG changes:

Seriously, your signing a petition represents 1000 votes to congress people, which is a LOT of power and can make big change. AWESOME!!!!

These are the big issues that I will be tracking down to vote on or sign petitions:

So go ahead: buy food from your local farmer's market, cut back on meat, go organic (or even partially organic), take time to sign a petition! I am hungry for change (ok, that's the Food Inc. line, not my own, but it still applies here)!!!!

Grad Class

Tonight's grad class was sort of weird. It went less atrociously then it has in the past, so that was a positive. However, as you can see I had an ample amount of time to doodle, so I'm not really sure that I was learning a whole lot. I wrote "sigh" because I was sighing inside because of how bored and intellectually frustrated I have been in class, "I Heart Sociology" because I love it and I wished that this particular class had been taught from a more sociological perspective, and "Learning is awesome" and "Thumbs up for knowledge!" because that's the sort of nerdy person I am and I needed something to amuse myself. Class was better today. I even taught my teacher something! Direct quote: "Wow! I've never thought of that!" (OK I can't take credit, what I taught her I learned in sociology, but that's how most things in my life are--I learned it in sociology class). We talk-
ed about what it would look like if we lived in a "genderless" world, which is really mind blowing to think about and an interesting idea to toy with just for the sake of it... I mean as far as how that would change our entire schemas and daily operations. And as I sat there thinking about it in class, I decided that I do greatly enjoy identifying as a woman. That sounds really weird. I guess I felt strange admitting that because I'm all about fighting those gender norms and getting rid of group boundaries!!!!! But what I mean is that as many problems as it would eliminate to get rid of gender social construction, there is something about identifying with a particular group that I really like a lot--it feels empowering. What I would like to see more of, in my ideal world, is treating both genders equally--to not necessarily eliminate gendered things, but to embrace everything as valuable instead of just the masculine, and to not limit people solely because of their gender. I'd greatly enjoy if we didn't have such negative stereotypes about women, or that we didn't have to deal with things like domestic violence or eating disorders. There was this quote that I really liked in our text: "I love the idea of being without an identity; it gives me a lot of room to play around; but it makes me dizzy, having nowhere to hang my hat. When I get too tired of not having an identity, I take one on, as long as it's recognizable. I can be a writer, a lover, a femme...a woman..." I like that because really our gender is a huge part of us, but at the same time such a small part of who we are as human beings. Maybe the issue is more the freedom to not be limited by gender: to let boys cry, to let girls lead, to let people be people. That's your philosophical thought for the day, I suppose--gender or no?

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Turns out Jessica Miller is indeed an AWESOME name

My name has always been annoying to me for one reason: It's REALLY common. (Fun fact: "Miller" is the seventh most common nickname). Aside from "John Doe" or perhaps "Bob Smith," it has certainly proven to be extremely generic. Case in point: In high school, one of my fellow classmates had my exact name: first, middle, and last. To add more insult to injury, we were both blue eyed and at the time blond and similar in stature. This led to multiple instances of mistaken identity, and I began to be referred to as "Jessica Miller, daughter of Dave." Whenever I go to pick up a prescription, it is always increasingly necessary to specify my address and social security number so I do not end up with someone's vicodin or eyeglasses. Let's be clear, this did work in my favor at various points: for example on senior night my name was in the hat twice for the raffle drawing--increasing my odds of winning a prize by one, and who doesn't like increased odds?! Thus, I won $50 as the other Jessica Miller was not present at the time of my raffle victory. Any who, I was always moderately perturbed by my name, being that I like to be a person who enjoys standing out from the crowd in most instances. The only reason I would change my name upon marriage is if I married someone with a last name like "Turkenstein" or something really unique. However, should I decide to walk down the road of matrimony someday if you are a "Johnson," "Smith" or "Brown," or something moderately normal, forget it (no offense or anything). I would also consider hyphenating if I found someone with the last name of "Time," "Lite" or "Light" or perhaps "Coors" (for irony's sake) just because that would be ridiculous and awesome. But I digress again. The reason I am writing this blog is that I am coming to appreciate my general genericness in the case of the dating scene. See, it has turned out to work in my favor when people that I meet (cough men cough) and I don't particularly care to encounter again say things like, "Do you have facebook? I'll look you up!" to which I get the pleasure of responding, "I totally do!!! However, you will never find me because there are about 500 Jessica Millers," thus putting the power in my crafty little hands and to which I think "Ha! You will never find me and I will never have to go through the awkward stage of avoiding you. Win win!" They also do not know that my facebook profile name is "Jess Miller," so I become equally untouchable. And good luck trying to find me by googling: you'll have to choose from a novice country singer, super model or Canadian figure skater--all three of which I share nothing in common. Anonymity is bliss.

Saturday, March 6, 2010


Today I went to pick up my co worker and her little sister at the mall (her sister is visiting for the week). I was completely happy to do this, however did not want to get out of the comfortable clothes that are a staple on my Saturday afternoons. Thus, I was adorned in a sweatshirt, some plaid pajama pant shorts, and on my way out threw on a pair of sock monkey slippers. At this point in the evening, it was fairly dark, and whenst we returned to campus and I was helping get things out of the trunk, my partner asked, "what's up with your socks?" I was confused, as I was not wearing socks, and thought she was referring to my sock monkey slippers. I pointed this out to her. She said, "Oh! Those are your legs! I thought you were wearing really long socks!" No. Those are my legs, and I am aware of the fact that they are so white they could be glow in the dark. Sigh.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Organization??? Say Wha?!

For anyone who knows me, they know that I am a hot mess when it comes to anything organization related. A. Hot. Mess. The terms "organization" and "Jess Miller" could be deemed "oxymoronic." I literally don't think my brain knows how. No. Compute. My desk was so bad you could have booby trapped it and buried a treasure in there and no one would know. Sometimes I wonder how my mother did not pass the org gene onto me, as she is extremely organized. And it's not just my mother--I am surrounded by organized people ALL THE TIME, so one would have anticipated that some skills would have rubbed off on me by now, but alas. My friends know this flaw. My friend Callie gave me file folders for my birthday present (WHICH for the record I did use!)--it's that bad. In college, it would often take me 5-10 minutes to be able to leave the house because I couldn't ever find my keys or wallet. After 3 years, this was easily remedied by placing a hook on my wall (I'm a slow mover and don't like change, what can I say). Well, the other day I hit shall we say, "Rock Bottom." I think this was because we have a few RA's on staff who are extremely organized, and may have told me that if they spent too long in my office they would probably start hyper ventilating because of its state of disrepair. Needless to say, I did not want to be the talk of the town in this particular way. Thus, I gave myself a pep talk, and employed one of them to help me get my ish together. Spring cleaning was an understatement. And the things she taught me! Did you know people have systems for their workspaces?! I mean, like they put things in file folders, and certain things go in certain drawers, and there's "to do" folders, "in progress" folders, "done folders"?!? Things are hole punched! Color coded! Toss this! Shred that! Recycle thee! I even went to Staples and purchased a planner! Today was a big day in my life. A big day. I am spreading my organizational wings and FLYING!

Get Yourselves TOGETHER People!!!

So the other night at grad school was grossly disturbing and frustrating in so many ways. One of my professors says that sociologists are doomed to live their lives forever misunderstood, and this has been confirmed time and time again in my life post-sociology. I took that red pill (you know, like in the Matrix?) and it was bitter (and yet I would never take it paradoxical). ANYWAYS, this particular class was supposed to be about the social construction of gender (my favorite subject!), and the professor was on the right track with asking questions like, "How do we define what it is that makes a man or a woman?" "What if someone doesn't fall into that category?" Good job, prof. However, the train was headed drastically off the tracks as the class continued, and it was like watching someone in the cafeteria get their tray knocked right out of their hands. You see that other person not paying attention, coming at them and BAM! SPLAT! That is what this class was like. My professor thought it would be an awesome idea to feature a clip about the man who got pregnant. This particular individual is transgendered. If you don't know a lot about transgendered people (It's OK, I didn't), basically they feel like they are the wrong gender/sex in the wrong body. So, if I have a woman's body, I would feel like I was a man and that my body parts didn't match my gender. It's all very complicated, and a very real thing, and really hard for us to understand if we haven't had that experience (like it is with a lot of things). Transgendered people go through a LOT of pain to switch--it would be a really tough place to be in. Anywho, people were FREAKING out. I mean, I would say boarder-line hate speech. They were laughing and giggling. It was bad. They would say things like, "Well, He/She" which is a big no-no and is just degrading in my opinion. This person wanted to be called "he" and we need to respect that. A lot of trans people I've talked to talk about the pronouns that they prefer, and it was interesting watching people say, "He, I mean she, well, she's a she because as far as I'm concerned she's a woman--" it was interesting because they simply could not categorize this man and you could tell by their speech. People were pretty much saying that this man was doing this to get attention, that he was confusing people just to confuse, and that as therapists they wouldn't feel comfortable with this person because it's just disturbing and gross, basically. UGH. I spoke up and said, "Ummm I think the problem with this discussion is a lack of understanding about trans culture as a whole." And the daggers that flew from people's eyes... I'm sorry, but if you don't understand that, how are you supposed to treat someone in your office without basic knowledge!!?? I ask you! And this was the problem with the class--my professor did NOTHING to talk about trans culture as a whole, she simply showed this one case of this one individual, so people were looking at the guy like he was a freak, verses part of being part of a larger sub culture. She DID do a good job of reprimanding everyone and saying that they needed to be conscious of the fact that this man had gone to hell and back and was already alienated from people and the last thing he needed was for a therapist to reject him. This was good. However, if this group of therapists can't understand where these individuals are coming from, how will they ever help? Disturbing.

I guess the bigger thing I saw coming out of this class was the fact that gender IS a really tight box that people have a hard time getting over if it doesn't fit within their schema. I guess I forget sometimes that I've made peace with this fact. I mean, what really does make a man or a woman? Why are we not ok with people who deviate from the "norms" (which, by the way, we all do in one way or another). Why are we not ok with changing things up from how they've always been? The saddest thing is that by not understanding people (especially trans culture) it just leads to so many problems--they can't find therapists to treat them. Hate towards them can lead to hate crimes (and trans people are one of the few groups still not covered by many state legislatures as far as defining crimes against them as "hate crimes"). I think the saddest thing was I felt like my class was ignoring the fact that these people are human beings, and if you believe in God, they are fully made in the image of God as much as you and I are, and deserve the same respect and rights to life as we do. I know this sounds like a rant, and maybe about something that people think isn't important, but if we don't think about these things the consequences are frankly very devastating. I don't want to pretend that I can even begin to comprehend a transpersons' experience, but we (as a society) have to get better at dealing with these issues and loosen our gender definitions for the sake of the human beings around us.

Thumbs Up!

Today was a good day. This evening I went to get late night in the cafeteria, which is basically where they put out a bunch of food for take out after seven pm. You've got your basics: chicken patties, burgers, french fries, a drink, etc. It had been a long day and what did I want? Some good ol' Idaho raised french fries. Well, tonight I hit the jackpot. The woman at the counter ended up giving me a BOX full of fries--probably three times the normal amount. This was awesome for me, even though I was immediately worried that I would go into cardiac arrest after consuming said fries. However, I just ate a heap of them and I feel satisfied indeed.