Saturday, February 25, 2012

Age vs. Maturity

I have talked about age before, but there's a lot going on in my life that has led me to start thinking about maturity.  Lately it seems like there is a lot of potential change occurring in my life.  In a few months, I may be moving to a new state, far away from my family and friends, to pursue a completely new life with my boyfriend, have a completely new job, new lifestyle, new culture, and it will be the first time I've technically lived with a significant other without a roommate.  I guess I have lived with significant others before, but I have slowly progressed.  First I lived in my own apartment, my only name being on the lease, and my boyfriend at the time practically moved his stuff in and stayed at my place all the time.  Then I had my own apartment with my lease signed, but stayed at my current boyfriends place most of the time, with him and his roommate.  Then I moved in with my boyfriend and his roommate, but my name is not on the lease.  Now, I move into an apartment, where our names will be on the lease, and far away from the comforts of family and friends I have lived with for the majority of my life.  It is a big step, and I've often debated how ready I really am for it.  It makes me anxious to think of moving so far away, taking such a risk, but I hope that me and my boyfriends relationship will flourish, instead of wither, with this new step.  I also worry about starting a new job, possibly my dream job, and leaving behind my current job which I love, (it is the longest job I have ever kept), but yet drives me insane. 

But doubting myself, and overthinking things has always been a weakness of mine.  In the past, my overthinking has been more of a negative thing.  Instead of planning ahead, I would simply sit and think about everything that could possibly go wrong, and then hide from the situation in fear.  A few months ago, I realized how debilitating this method was, and made a vow to myself that when it comes to overthinking, something I feel like I may never overcome, I would turn it into a positive thing, instead of negative.  So, with this move, instead of freaking out and crying, I have channeled my thoughts into planning.  I have looked online for apartments in our price range, I have researched the area, the job market in the area, started cover letters and resumes for potential jobs, I even know the gas prices in the area.  I feel that it is a much more productive way to spend my time.

There have been other hindrances, that lately I'm ashamed to have been weakened to.  For the past several months, I have barely consumed a drop of alcohol, except for the occasional event of celebration, and just like always, when I do indulge, I find myself regretting it the next day.  Not even because of the hangover, because I don't necessarily get hangovers each time, but more because of the lack of clarity in my judgment.  I look at other people who savour each precious moment that they can get wasted and say rude things or shed their censorship and speak openly, or do things they wouldn't normally do, and know that I am probably the same way whenever I am drunk.  It makes me feel ashamed.  I do not feel like there is anything really to be gained from getting drunk anymore, and would prefer to go on with my life having the occasional drink to relax and unwind. 

There are several things that I have been reflecting upon about myself lately.  I find this mostly comes to me because my boyfriend and roommate are on the road a lot for their job and I spend a lot of time by myself, and actually prefer it that way most of the time.  Being alone gives me time to be myself, instead of who I think that person may want me to be.  In the quiet hours at my house I think about who I want to be, who I define myself as, and what others think about me versus what I want them to think about me.  I find myself dwelling more now, on who I want to be instead of worrying about what others think about me.  I still care, if I hurt a friend, but not if it is something I truly care about or feel I stand for.  Even then, I find I care a bit, because I do not want to upset anyone, but I still believe in what I have said or done.  The biggest conflict has been my job.  When I am at work, I try to be social with the employees and joke around and have a good time, but the past year I have really started to take my job more seriously, and my position more seriously.  I try very hard to separate myself as friend vs. boss.  Often I say things to people and they think that I am saying something about their character and take offense to it, but really I am saying this as their manager, concern for their performance, not who they are as a person.  There are a lot of things I guess I will forever be working on. 

The point is, I find that someone acknowledging their flaws, and wanting to improve upon them, is a benefit, and a sign of maturity.  I never claim to know everything, I know I am always going to lack knowledge in some sense, but I'm on a quest to learn everything I possibly can.  I want to improve upon myself.  I would love to grow and expand myself so that someday I am a great worker, a great friend, a great girlfriend or wife or mother, a great sister, a great daughter, a great boss, a great writer.....I want to be great, excellent, brilliant, phenomenal.  I have wondrous plans for myself, and know that none of them can be achieved by staying who I am at this given moment.  I find that is maturity.  Willingness to accept that improvement is the only option.  Those who want to stand still, and be the same, aren't going to grow.  I know I'm far from perfect, everyone makes mistakes.  I just want to fix the mistakes I've made, or learn from them and move forward.  I think that's part of growing up.  And if someone thinks I'm wrong, that's their opinion, they're entitled to it, no hard feelings.  But those I care about, I want to help them fulfill their highest potential, not change them, but help them focus whatever their energy is towards, into perhaps a more productive manner.  I don't know if this makes any sense. Even if it doesn't, that's okay, because to me it does, and right now my whole quest to find my own maturity, is a long one full of obstacle courses and riddles and dead ends, and I'm simply trying to find my way through my own maze.  So I guess that is all I have to say. 

Goodnight all.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Real Men.

Today is Valentine's Day, yes, but I am not blogging about love.  I'm actually choosing to write about a certain post I recently saw that has got me frustrated and I felt the need to comment on.

"Real men don't beat women, they beat the men that do."

Let me take a moment to breathe deep  before I continue.

The first half of this statement, I have absolutely no problem with. I mean, come on, I'm a girl, of course I'm not going to say that men should beat me.  The second half is the portion that I have an issue with, as well as the overall message.

First I will address the second half of the statement.  I highly disagree.  I understand that as men, it is wired into their head that showing aggression is manly.  I think most women would agree with me that they don't want a seemingly sissy boy who cannot defend himself.  Girls want a protector, a defender, someone who will keep them safe.  But I feel like this image is where guys get confused.  Let me start by saying that as a girl who used to be physically abused by significant others, the last thing that I like in a guy is one who uses violence to deal with situations.  I feel that when a guys first instinct is to throw a punch to deal with a situation, how am I supposed to believe that if he got angry at me that would not be his first instinct with dealing with it?  Also, I think that guys are mislead because when they hear the words defender and protector, they feel like fighting is part of the deal.  I disagree again.  When a girl feels she wants a defender and a protector, I think it tends to conjure images of a guy that if his friends are mocking her, he will step up and say something (not throwing punches), and a guy who will comfort a girl when something is wrong.  I personally find that a guy who is a defender and protector will do these types of things: Someone who when I'm in an uncomfortable or awkward situation will put his arm around me, or hold my hand to put me at ease. Someone who will stand up for me when people talk poorly about me.  Someone who will hold me when I've woken up from a nightmare.  Someone who will help aid me when I have problems.  That to me is a defender and protector.  I feel like a guy who starts fights with guys at a bar or on the street, actually puts me in more harm, because there is a chance that a punch will get thrown and accidentally hit me (this has actually happened to me), or angry words will be said that hurt me, etc.  I understand that at times, physical fights are unavoidable, but I feel that a lot of guys will throw them in the situation because their testosterone starts pumping and I don't admire that quality.

Let me next move onto the statement as a whole.  I feel like guys who live by this statement are obviously the ones who were raised that hitting a girl is wrong.  I don't think they necessarily understand why it is wrong.  Personally I feel that the whole idea behind hitting a girl being wrong is that most girls are weaker and have no way of appropriately defending themselves when the situation occurs.  It also reinforces typical archetypes of in older times when the men was dominant and the woman was submissive and did whatever the man requested of her.  Times have changed, women are becoming stronger mentally and are taking control of their lives, and slowly gaining momentum to stop being considered the weaker sex and finding more equal grounds.  However, because of our size and stature, especially how society expects us to look, it is still hard for us to stand up and defend ourselves against a man when he is getting physical.  So I feel like the idea that hitting a woman is wrong comes from the fact that it is not a fair fight.  But there is also more to it.  When a guy hits a girl, it comes as a shock to most of them.  Because society frowns upon it, the girl wonders what has occurred to make the man violate such an iron-clad idea.  Often the girl begins to blame herself, feeling that she has done something so wrong that she deserved it.  It also comes as quite a shock because girls are not used to dealing with their emotions in physical ways.  I'll admit, at times, I go into my room and punch a pillow or throw things, exerting my anger in a physical manner, but most of the time that is not a girls go-to response.  Girls deal with anger by talking, or crying, or thinking the situation through, which are not really physical acts.  So when a guy approaches a girl and is dealing with his anger in a physical manner, it is hard for the girl to really understand where it is coming from, or how to deal with it.  Does she hit the guy back, and possibly encourage even more vicious physical violence? Even when a girl tries to deal with the situation by talking, which is something she's more comfortable with, the guy does not respond.  Finally, most girls, once the violence happens, shut down, and assume the submissive role automatically, doing whatever they can to make the man happy in defense and trying to ensure that the violence doesn't happen again.

So, now that I've broken down in sense, why I feel like the entire idea has been created, I want to say a little about my opinions about guys with this apparent value system that hitting a girl is wrong.  First off let me say that the majority of the guys I've been in relationships with who have openly told me, "I was raised that hitting girls is wrong" has ended up using physical violence against me, and I am not the type of girl that thinks that it was my fault.  Yes, perhaps in some situations, I said something that triggered their anger, but I still do not feel it was right of the guy to resort to physical violence, and therefore, I was not wrong in the situation.
Now let me move on to the type of guys who feel the need to broadcast that they think hitting a girl is wrong.  No offense guys, but I don't particularly like you.  I feel that people should live their value systems and yes while I think it is important to show pride in it, I don't think that any guy should feel the need to advertise that is his value system because I feel that is something that every guy should value.  I feel like every guy in the world, especially America, should believe that it is wrong to hit a girl, so if a guy feels the need to advertisement it's almost like he's saying that not all guys are like that (yes, I agree that not all guys are like that, and yes, I agree that it's unfortunate).  But it should be standard, and therefore I'm not going to proud of you because you have this viewpoint.  I'm not going to be proud of a guy because he's breathing, because well, I certainly hope you're breathing.  This is just where I stand.

Now here's where I'm going to get some blood pumping and some testosterone flowing for my male readers.  Let me just tell you that yes, I have been physically abused, and in fact, I still talk to some of the guys that physically abused me in the past.  This seems to be entirely controversial to people, especially those who advertise that they are against it.  Let me explain.  When these people consistently became physically violent with me, I removed myself from the relationship.  Continuing friendships with them is always based on the fact that, I do not put myself in compromising positions with them where they would possibly get angry enough to do so again. But I do believe in second chances.  I actually firmly believe that the first boyfriend I dated who was physically violent with me has actually grown from the experience, and it helps that I was friends with him after.  Because he got to see the effects that his behavior towards me and how it has effected every relationship I have had since as well as my self esteem.  Since he has seen these results, he has openly told me that because he saw what it did to me he does not want to do it again.  Now, he is in a healthy relationship and I do not feel like he would resort to violence when encountering a problem with her.

Here is my rationale for having issues with these guys who proclaim to the world that they are against hitting women.  First of all, I feel like they want to get the reassurance and support from others that it is right.  Second, I don't always feel like they understand why they feel that way, except for the reason that they were taught to feel that way.  I once had an argument with a guy who kept proclaiming he was against it and I tried to tell him that he didn't need to tell me because I had an idea of how wrong it was.  He kept arguing saying, "but no, I really understand, it's really wrong, I was raised never to hit a woman."  I told him to shut up.  Honestly, as a girl who has been hit, I know the feelings it triggers, I understand the complexes it has given me, the low self esteem, the flinching when someone moves too fast, the flinching when someone goes to touch my face, it makes you distrusting, it makes you avoid any confrontation with your significant other and thereby, you don't always deal with your issues in the relationship for fear of a fight, and instead the relationship crumbles and falls apart for seemingly no reason.  I don't think it's right for any guy to try and tell me that he knows better than me how wrong it is, unless perhaps he has seen the result of physical violence on a woman he was close to, and even then, he cannot read her mind, he does not feel what he feels, so his interpretation still doesn't necessarily hit the mark.  So, I guess, my issue with guys like this is that most of them speak so mindlessly, and don't really think about their real reasons behind it.  I wish that instead of saying they would never hit a woman because they were raised not to, they investigated exactly why they wouldn't do so, why they personally think it is wrong.  I think if a guy came to the conclusion that dealing with his anger by fighting is wrong, he would be taking a step forward.  There are other physical manifestations of anger to value instead of starting a fight.

The last thing I would like to say is, I do not want anyone reading my blog to think that I am completely against every guy standing up and saying he is against hitting a woman.  I am all for those guys who stand up for a cause, fighting domestic abuse in certain events or just for their own liking.  My issue is with what the guy truly believes.  I feel like a lot of men mindlessly act like they are gentlemen because that's how they were taught to be and don't examine why they want to be that way.  They think, mom taught me to do this, girls like when I do this, so I'll do this.  They don't necessarily think about why their mom raised them that way, or why girls like it, or why they like to do it.  Things mean more when there is thought put behind them.  You can buy a girl flowers because you think it's expected, or you can buy her favorite flowers to show that you were listening to her when she said what they were, or because you want to make her smile because you think she has a beautiful smile, or because you know she's been having a bad day and you want to cheer her up and show you were thinking of her.  The thought behind your actions matters.  I'm not saying I hope that when a guy examines his reasons behind hitting a girl, he realizes that he doesn't have any and starts hitting women, I mean that would be silly.  I just hope that guys really think about the reason behind what they do, and I feel like if they resolve that hitting a girl is wrong, they should realize that dealing with most situations with physical violence is wrong in general.  It's not healthy, it doesn't particularly solve anything, it just makes the guy feel better for some bizarre reason.  You don't have to be a sissy, but I believe that Real Men, Real GENTLEMEN, don't hit anyone, unless in self-defense.  There is a reason why the word gentlemen starts with the word GENTLE.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Apologies to my readers

I wanted to extend an apology to my readers for the lack of writing these past few days.  I have been working on a book quite adamantly and have been putting a lot of my thoughts that I would usually post here, in it.  If anyone is interested in reading it and giving me some feedback, please let me know. 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

My take on Plan B

Shippensburg University, my Alma Mater, is getting a lot of press attention right now because of the revelation that there is a vending machine on campus that offers Plan B (a pill one can take after having unprotected sex, to avoid unwanted pregnancy).  The vending machine charges about 25$ which is the actual price of most Plan B pills that anyone can get at a pharmacy.  People are complaining about how it is inappropriate to offer this to students, acting as if Shippensburg is full of whores who use Plan B all the time, just by slipping a few bucks into a vending machine every day after slutting it up.  It's also gained a lot of attention because of people who do not approve of abortion, and Plan B can be easily described as an abortion pill.  Here is my take of the entire situation.

First off, I don't think there is anything wrong with having Plan B in vending machines on campus.  The vending machine in located in the health center on campus, the entire campus is not littered with vending machines containing this pill, so that a student can pick up a Twix bar and Plan B before their 8am class.  Students are required to sign in to the health center before even being allowed inside the facilities, and have to talk to the nurse and explain the situation before even being granted access to the vending machine. 

Second, I also feel there is nothing wrong with offering it to students.  Shippensburg is attempting to protect students, giving them the choice to help further their college careers if they have perhaps acted a little too hastily the night before.  These students are over eighteen and have the right to make their own decisions, and yes, they make mistakes.  But Shippensburg is giving students the chance to fix their mistakes.  *Note: I am not saying that conceiving is a mistake, just that perhaps a situation occurred that they are not proud of, or are not ready for, and giving students the option to take Plan B is helping them.*  Would Pennsylvania rather have a bunch of students dropping out of college because one foggy drunken night, they accidentally had sex without a condom and got knocked up, and end up going on welfare because they have to pay off their student loans, and can barely get a minimum wage job because of the current economy?  Not to mention, that it is not a big deal that they have them on campus, considering there are at least 4 pharmacies within a mile drive of Shippesburg University that offer Plan B as well.

The next thing I want to address is the fact that this vending machine has been in Etter for several years now, and yet suddenly is making headline news.  Why?  I'm really curious as to what events transpired to make this suddenly important enough to make Leno.  I wonder if it was some sort of lawsuit, or if maybe Shippensburg was just trying to improve their admission rates.

The point I want to make though is, everyone wants to hate on Shippensburg right now. (Actually a lot of alumni are stating they are proud of the university, but in the news we're getting only negative publicity).  Suddenly, now that people think we have done something wrong, we're making headline news.  But what about all the good that Shippensburg does.  Let's not talk about how Shippensburg has a pretty incredible education program, not to mention business, and other programs.  Let's not talk about how Shippensburg participates in Relay for Life every semester, and how the first year Shippensburg held Up Till Dawn (a philanthropy event that raises money for St. Judes Hospital) we raised over 19,000 dollars, and have improved from there.  I mean, I know that is nothing compared to the million dollars that Penn State raises with Thon, but still for how small our campus is, I was quite proud.  We have billboards around that promote the Mentorship, Internships, etc. that truly are the foundation of our campus, and yet our Plan B vending machine is what everyone wants to pay attention to?  It's ludicrous what people will do to get a good story, and to create shock and awe so that they get more noticed.  I am proud to be a Shippensburg University alumni, but sad that there are people in this world who cannot see the great things that the campus has to offer, and would rather concentrate on something that to me, isn't worth controversy.

To those people who wish to control everything about everyone, including their choice of what kind of future they want, well, perhaps your parents should've taken Plan B.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Butterfly Effect

I've been thinking a lot lately about how the tiniest little thing you do can effect someone for a lifetime.  I'm not sure if I've ever done something seemingly insignificant that has effected someone else profoundly, but I do know there have been a couple of instances that have occurred to me, that have changed my life.  Two examples:

My freshman year, fall semester, I was very quiet and kept to myself.  It wasn't until one day a boy with a guitar sang a song about me as I walked past his room, that I started opening up to my hall mates.  Most of us were extremely close, we went to parties together, hung out together, etc.  There were a few that I was still friendly with but not super close with.  After some extremely emotional occurrences in my life, I hit a real low where I was not really acting myself.  Getting drunk before class, if I was going to class at all, became part of my every day behavior.  I was thinking dark thoughts.  Then, one day, a guy in my hall that I had never been particularly close with, handed me a letter.  It was four pages, hand written, front and back, about how he had noticed that I was going through something and wanted to tell me how absolutely beautiful I was and how great of a person I was.  He talked about how strong he could tell I was and how he had faith that I would get through it in one piece.  That letter changed me.  The fact that someone I spent perhaps five minutes with each week, could tell me how I was as a person and give me hope that things were going to get better, amazed me. 

A similar situation happened to me a few weeks ago.  There was someone who I had, well, the easiest way to put it is, I cut them out of my life.  Because of some rumors they had spread about me years ago, I stopped talking to her, and any time she attempted to start a conversation with me afterwards, I was rude and abrupt with my dislike for her.  Then a web-page came up that shares a common factor between the two of us.  People began posting bits of information, pictures of the past, etc.  After posing a question, a friend of mine posted a comment about me being ridiculous whenever I took on something, that nobody had taken on back then.  The girl that I haven't talked to in years maybe, said something of the sort that I was the most driven back then.  It actually left me speechless.  I read it, and just stopped whatever I was doing at that point and stared at the screen for probably an hour.  I was driven.  It really made me wonder, am I still driven? Back then, yes, I took on whatever was asked of me, and even more.  I juggled tons of stuff and barely slept because I was always moving, always working harder.  Yes, my school work kinda took a back seat but I really did see myself as driven.  Just those words, from someone I no longer speak to, changed me.  Since then I have really started to look at my life and attempt to make myself driven again.  I've started really taking active steps to work on my novel, setting guidelines and spending almost every waking second and even some of my sleeping seconds, thinking about it.  I've tried to reorganize my life and maintain a sense of control to make things easier.  Any project that I've been working on, I've seemingly thrown myself into, trying to bring back that ambitious nature.  All because of the words someone I never speak to anymore.

It amazes me how small of an event can change someone.  So reach out and try and help someone in need.  Or if someone inspires you, tell them.  You never know how much it may make that person's day, or change their life.  I don't want to get super cliche right now so that's where I'll end this blog.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Truth is...

Truth is I'm scared.  Actually, I'm pretty terrified.  Afraid of standing still, afraid of moving forward, afraid of the unknown, and afraid that what I think I know, I don't.  I'm scared that I'm terrible at my job.  I'm scared that they don't need me.  I'm scared that I haven't made an impact at all, when it has had such an immense impact on me.  I'm scared that I'm not good at anything.  I'm scared because I don't know where I'm going.  I'm scared because there is absolutely nothing about my future right now that is certain.  I'm scared because I want to marry my boyfriend, and I'm scared that he doesn't want to marry me.  I'm scared now that if I even talk about it it's going to make him run away.  I'm also scared that if I talk about it I'll ruin the surprise of it all.  I'm scared that we'll move and it won't work out and I'll have left everything that I'm comfortable with behind.  I'm scared that people want me to leave.  I'm scared to disappoint people who may not want me to leave.  I'm scared that I'll never be a good enough writer, I'm scared that I'll never find a career I love. I'm scared I'm always going to be judged.  I'm scared that I'm never going to be good enough.  I'm scared that I'm so scared.  I'm scared that I will never stop being scared.  I'm scared that people don't care enough to hear what I'm saying.  I'm scared that no one will ever understand me.  I'm scared that no one cares.  I'm scared that no one can seem to tell that I'm so scared.  I'm scared that I need someone and no one is there.  I'm scared that I want someone to need me.  I'm scared of everything.