Thursday, December 3, 2009

A conversation

At the vet's office today, I called my mother to ask some advice on how to deal with a very sick kitty.

M: "Micaya, you can't spend that much on a cat right now. That's your money for next semester!"

Me: "But he's my companion for next semester!"

Poor kitty. He seems to be perking up a bit, though, even without the expensive blood transfusion they recommended.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Going down the theoretical rabbit hole

I have officially become so enmeshed in my chosen field that I spent a significant portion of one of today's classes arguing about the presence or absence of a an invisible syllable in verbs that is never and has never been pronounced but makes certain arguments about stress make more sense. To the outside observer, this would seem absurd I'm sure, like we wallow in trivialities and abstraction. In moments of cynicism, I also wonder that I sacrificed my social life in high school, time and money in college, and my emotional well-being in grad school, all to argue about invisible, unpronounceable syllables.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


I’ve decided this blog needs a reboot. I also need a distraction from grad school-induced stress that doesn’t involve watching TLC and eating pie (I do love TLC and pie, though!). So I’m challenging myself to write something, anything, every day.

Today, I’m sharing one of my favorite stories. My parents (M and L) are a lesbian couple who conceived and raised me together (before it was fashionable!) living in the American Midwest. A few years back, one of our neighbors, a conservative, elderly man, came up to L on the street and initiated a conversation, a rare occurrence from a normally reclusive neighbor. He stopped her in the street to tell her that he and his wife had voted against a measure to define marriage as only between one man and one woman because of my parents. Because living next to an openly gay couple made him realize they were like any couple; they worked, raised a daughter, and were good neighbors.

It’s a small moment, but it’s shaped my idea of How Things Change. In my youthful activist days, I stood on a street corner on the weekends, holding a sign protesting the proposed Iraq War. I wore political t-shirts, went to workshop after workshop, put together booths and activities at diversity fairs, and emerged skeptical of a protest culture that, to me, felt more like a group of people assuring each other that they were not alone. There is a place for this; it makes people feel happier and stronger and more able to work for change, but I think protests, rallies, and parades more often alienate the unitiated than change their minds.

I think people like my parents do much of the grassroots work for social change. They are educators; they hold block parties on national holidays; they loan sugar to the neighbors and take food to sick friends and co-workers; they sing in a community choir; they vote in every election; they call out friends and acquaintances on homophobic comments (M has perfected the quiet, pointed look that effectively re-routes a conversation); they are open and honest about their sexual orientation when it’s safe for them to be. They live quietly, honestly, and unapologetically. And, person by person, they make their bit of the world a friendlier place for gay people.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

New blog

Writing the first post on a new blog is pretty intimidating. I originally decided I wanted to take up internet writing again after Wendy Shalit visited my college to give a talk. While agreeing with most of my classmates that the modern abstinence/modesty movement makes dangerous claims about gender roles (i.e. men are sexual aggressors, while women are sexual objects; men ask for sex, and women refuse sex; men want sex, women want stability), I also came away from conversations with my classmates feeling deeply hurt and alienated. I actually channeled a conservative pundit and accused a friend of, essentially, being an elitist liberal. You see, I'm also a Kansan with no-sex-before-marriage friends whom I respect deeply. And, as someone who doesn't tend to show a lot of skin and who doesn't "hook up" (see? I can't even use the word non-ironically), I've personally felt the pressure and judgement of the sex-positive crowd (though that's a label I tend to use for myself, as well). My original first post was to be a break-down of Shalit's message and my feelings on it from my rather uneasy place in the culture wars, but I couldn't write anything that didn't sound hopelessly self-indulgent, and, frankly, I don't have the time right now. I am finishing up the last of my honors exams in the coming week. So I am starting out slowly. A short post here and there. Inspired by the blogs I've been reading recently (see the side bar!), I mostly want to use this space to talk about feminism, religion, and the Academy, but life updates will probably seep through, as well.

For now, sleep, followed by work (sigh)