Thursday, February 28, 2013

From a Vegetarian to a Vegetarian

I'm a vegetarian and I really like being one.  I'm considering becoming a different type of vegetarian and have been thinking about it for the past couple weeks.  It wouldn't be a huge change for me but it would be a change and would restrict my eating even more.  A couple days ago I was talking to a friend about my considering this change and she said "Oh, you're considering becoming a legit vegetarian."  There are many people who are in this camp with her, who believe that vegetarians who eat fish (pescetarians) aren't legitimate vegetarians.  This comment insulted me because 1) I'm in the camp who believes vegetarians who eat fish are every bit as vegetarians as vegans (people who eat no animal products like honey/milk/eggs) and 2) people who aren't vegetarian have a lot of misconceptions about vegetarianism, even when close with vegetarians, that often cause them to inadvertently insult vegetarians.  Anyway, I'm considering giving up fish/sea food and becoming a lacto-ovo vegetarian (does eat dairy and egg).  It wouldn't be that big of a leap for me since I already don't eat fish often (maybe a few times a month) anyways, but I actually do enjoy the taste of (most) fish unlike any other animals.  Growing up, I never had a problem eating fish like I did chicken/cow/pig/other animals; I would happily eat it without bracing myself or groaning   So now I'm really considering just not eating fish as well. I don't think I'll miss fish that badly, except when fish tacos are available.  So here's a list of reasons why giving up fish is a good idea.

1) Explanation. I won't have to explain why eating fish is acceptable.  People get surprisingly rude about it and I don't know why they're being so rude because they eat all animals and I'm not insulting them.

2) Cooking.  I just don't wanna touch raw fish and if I continue to eat it fish I will, eventually, have to learn to cook it raw (and not just pre-breaded and frozen and pop it in the toaster oven, which is the only way I cook it).  If I stop eating fish, I won't ever have to learn to cook it properly.

3) Disappointment.  All chain restaurants I've eaten at that serve fish have greatly disappointed me.  Bar-Grill places, like Chili's, take fish and then ruin it and then serve it to their customers.  Please stop.  If I stop eating fish, I won't have to worry about disappointment from poorly prepared fish.

4) Death.  I'm constantly fearful that someone I know and love will get sick and die because of under-cooked/improperly stored meat.  When I eat fish, I am fearful of the same thing.  I won't have to worry about death or sickness nearly as much, if at all, because I'm not eating fish.  That's the great part about veggies, they can never be under-cooked because you can eat them raw (also, they're freaking delicious)!

I was basically trying to convince myself to give up fish, but used blogging as an excuse.  I feel good about this decision, I'm think I'm gonna go through with it.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Internal Cheering

There are some things in life I cheer for, silently.  I may give a solid, mental "YESSSS!" or give a mental high five, but when I really like seeing something, I affirm it even when alone, even silently.

1) Interracial Couples.  I grew up with race being a big deal and point of contention between my parents and me.  I didn't see what the big deal having majority White or Indian or Latina friends was, but my parents showed concern.  When I was finally allowed to date in high school, I was told I could only date black guys.  That didn't jive well with me, because I didn't want to limit myself on who I was to love based on something so surface as physical features.  So when I see interracial couples I see progress.  I see love and understanding and respect; I do not see traitors or sell outs.  I will likely never understand my parents' thinking because interracial friendships and marriages are literally how we exist today.  My dad's grandma was half Black, half White.  My mom's dad is half Cherokee, a quarter Black, and a quarter White.  So it's a little confounding and silly to me when people, anyone, are anything but supportive of interracial relationships, because there was likely some mixing in their genealogy.

2) Cows.  There are cow pastures by where I live that I pass often and every time I pass them I cheer on the cows for still being alive, even though I know that they will be killed and eaten.  Cows are not pretty or smart, but they are living creatures and nice, polite ones at that.  I feel gratified that I get to help them live by not eating them.  I like helping others, even if 'others' are dumb, smelly cows.

3) Short Haired Women.  I have short hair.  I love having short hair.  When I see women rocking short hair, I automatically want to be friends with them.  I love that they, we, aren't conforming to society's standards of beauty that say 'to be beautiful, a woman must have short hair'.

4) Well Behaved Children.  I downright REJOICE when I see children in public places who are well behaved.  Working in a mall, I see hundreds of children in a shift and many of them are throwing fits or crying/screaming/yelling/just plain loud.  I don't understand the bravery/insanity of parents who take their kids out in public, seems like an embarrassing hassle.  So when there's a child who is following directions (the first time) and not being so loud, I can't help but smile to myself.  Way to go parents.

5) Music & Instruments.  I can play a lot of instruments and I really like to talk about instruments.  Guitar doesn't impress me, unless they can do something more than strum and they can read music, not just tab.  But someone who can play wind or orchestral instruments and read their music makes me feel encouraged as a music teacher.  Also, that person automatically becomes a much more intelligent person in my eyes.  Music's the best.

I have nothing else to say.

My Top 3 Teacher Movies

I woke up on my Teacher Soapbox this morning.  I was in bed reading an article a fellow educator, and a former teacher of mine, posted on Facebook.  As I read this article, I felt understood.  I felt like I wasn't alone.  Then I had the audacity to watch a movie about children/school/teacher that makes me bawl the entire time.  So all that got me thinking about my favorite, inspirational, teacher movies.  Here they are.

1) Mr. Hollands Opus.  I can't tell you how many times I've seen this movie.  It is the quintessential music class movie.  Holland goes from teaching music simply to pay the bills/support his family to becoming invested in his students lives.  He and his wife have a son who is deaf and their struggle to love and understand each other are is another storyline.  Love this movie.  Also, they've made it into a wonderful foundation.

2) Freedom Writers.  This is the movie I watched today and couldn't stop crying.  The lives of the students are heartbreaking...and TRUE.  The movie is based on a true story and tells of a new high school English teacher who gets the 'remedial' class, the class everyone didn't want.  The students were involved in gangs and were convinced that every other race would be better off dead.  The teacher helps the children see that they're not so different from each other and that school, specifically her classroom, was a safe place that could help them rise above their terrible circumstances.  Also, this has been made into a foundation.

3) Here Comes The BOOM!  This is a pretty recent movie and it's a comedy, but I cried so hard watching it.  It's about a high school science teacher who takes up MMA (mixed marshal arts) contest to win money for the music program which was being cut.  He went from being a halfhearted science teacher to being a once again passionate science teacher and an advocate and ally for the music program.  Wonderful movie, I would own it.

Teacher movies, love'em.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Love These More: St. Valentine's Day Edition

Since today is Valentine's Day, also known as February 14th, I decided to write a love themed blog post.  Love is on my mind a lot; not really the romantic, eros, kind of love, more of the humanity, agape kind of love. I just feel like there's not enough love in this world.  I've always felt this way.  When I was in kindergarten, we had a school wide project/contest in which we answered a question.  The question was something like: what would you do to help the world with all it's problems?  Pretty heavy question for elementary students, but I ended up winning the contest with my answer.  I said I would sing the world a song that'd end all hunger, pain, and hate so everyone could live a life full of love and void of need.  I know we are naturally selfish creatures and I know that we, at least, in the US often adopt this mentality of 'I have to do whatever I can to get ahead in life, because I have to look out for myself', but I don't agree with this attitude.  If everyone 'looks out' for others, for everyone else, then we won't have to be so consumed by ourselves because someone else is caring for us.  This is not to say we shouldn't love ourselves, we just shouldn't make it our number one priority.  In my idealist mind, this makes sense, but it breaks my heart daily that it's not a reality.

Here's a short list of nouns people should love more.  Perhaps if we're preoccupied with loving these things more than ourselves then we'll find true fulfillment.

1) People.  Hopefully you saw this one coming.  People are super hard to love; I often find myself forcing myself to love people (and to show that love) despite how often I'm hurt by people (which is on a daily basis more times than not).  But every person is built to love and to be loved; when this is happening, when love is flowing in and out of a person, they can function like a well maintained violin, (acoustically) perfectly.

2) Animals.  This is not just because I'm a vegetarian.  Mistreatment of animals really upsets me, the same amount as mistreatment of people does.  I don't believe that people and animals were created equal, but I do believe that animals were put in the care of humans.  All animals, all creatures, deserve respect, not because they've done anything to earn it, but because they exist.  And because they're cute (even goats).

3) Art.  Working in a public school, I face a lot of degradation on a daily basis about art.  My job is to  help bring the inner artist out in each child I teach.  I had a kid (first grade boy) yesterday tell me he doesn't like singing, I was bummed for a second and then thought, there are many other art mediums out there for him.  The USA is in this big push for global competitiveness with the World in science and math.  It's like they want every current student to grow up and be a mathematician and/or scientist.  In this effort to emphasize these fields, The Arts have not just been de-emphasized, they've been marginalized and called unnecessary.  Art  is essential to being human, no society, past-present-future, has ever existed without art.  Love Art more, it allows everyone to be successful in some capacity.  You may not become a professional artist, but art isn't about the money it's about humanity.

4) Earth. It's our home, we treat it pretty crappily.  Let's treat it with respect.

Love these things better and be better.

Friday, February 8, 2013

.Modesty.Men.Misplaced Blame.

First, watch this.

Here's my response to the above video:

Dear Men, 

         I get it, I get it, you find us (women) to be intoxicatingly delightful.  And, honestly, I can see why: what with our intellect, strength, integrity, charm, wit, compassion, passion, mystery, and love...oh yea, and our squishy lady-parts.  But, even with all that interior excellence wrapped up in external excellence, we are not the masters or owners of your (mens') brain.  And I get that y'all are 'wired' to be more visually minded; and I get that y'all have/keep a mental Rolodex of women/collection of lady body parts you find to be attractive; and I get that it's a constant struggle to keep your minds from going "there".  I get it (to the extent my little-lady brain can), I read the book.  But I'm not buying it.

I've grown up with modesty; I was never taught it, but it was always enforced.  Enforced from family, from church, from Christian organizations.  Modesty has been a part of my life from the beginning.  I am not against modesty, from women and men, but I don't like that women are being blamed for the thoughts men have about women.  That's your brain and your thoughts, take responsibility.

I used to think women who wore revealing clothes, and acted a certain way had it coming.  People call 'those' women provocative; but the problem with the word provocative is that it puts the maltreatment a woman may receive on her shoulders and puts none of the blame on the (likely) man who did the maltreating.  Every woman, whether a prostitute or a queen, deserves respect, compassion, and love, not because she's a woman, but because she's a human.  Yes, that's right, women are humans too.  The older I've gotten, and the more places I've been, I've come to realize that it doesn't matter what a woman's wearing or how she presents herself, men will objectify.  Consider this: I was walking to the recreation center at my University to work out.  Now, even though a woman never 'has it coming' because of how she's dressed, I will tell you what I was wearing: baggy t-shirt, sports bra, loose fitting sweat-capris, uncool socks, sneakers, and my hair up.  I was pretty unsexy, but that didn't seem to bother the men who made derogatory remarks and sounds about my body as they walked behind me.  I felt violated and unsafe, and for a split second " What am I wearing that's making them say these things about me?" ran through my mind.  I was wrong to think that, I had done nothing wrong.  I had done nothing wrong not because I wasn't wearing anything revealing/sexy, I had done nothing wrong (and was therefore not to blame) because I should be able to walk down the street, day or night (it was daytime, by the way), and be safe from perverse thoughts directed (verbalized or not) toward me.  Self-control, get some.

I used to try so hard to help my brothers in Christ, and really all men, keep pure thoughts about my body.  I went through a long phase of wearing men's shorts and over-sized t-shirts to hide my body.  I wouldn't wear make-up because I didn't want to call attention to myself and cause someone to stumble. But you know what?, your thoughts, men, aren't my responsibility.  And whether a woman is wearing nothing or is covered from head to toe in non-revealing clothing, it is your responsibility to not objectify.  I know it's not easy in a legging wearing, mid-drift bearing society, but it's not going to get better, so practice self-discipline.  And don't think the solution is as simple as covering women up completely, there are nations that do that who still mistreat the women and then blame the very women who are mistreated.  When someone is mistreated, it isn't their fault; the other person always has the choice to do right or to do wrong.  Choose wisely, choose respectfully.

A Woman Who Will Not Be Blamed for the Impure Thoughts of Men

Saturday, February 2, 2013

5 Nouns I Like This Week, 1

I'm feeling pretty great about this week.  It hasn't been perfect, but I'm still in high spirits.  So here's a list of things I like (extra) this week.

1) Mexican Food.  For the record, this will never not be on the list.  Yesterday I went to eat lunch with someone and we went to a Mexican restaurant in Salisbury.  It was delicious and so were it's leftovers.  So freaking delicious.

2)Nelson Mandela.  I'm reading his autobiography, and am growing in respect and amazement of this man.  He talks about his transformation from walking barefoot and wearing traditional tribal wear as a child to living and working in Johannesburg, the big city.  Reading of his transformation of identity, is very inspiring.  I read the book every time I go to the gym and babysit (after the children go to bed).

3) The Gym.  I've been to the gym a couple times this week.  As I've said before, I enjoy working out, but this week I've been beasting it!  I had a great yoga session on Tuesday and did some core exercises that I normally don't do yesterday at the gym, and had an all around great week of working out.

4) My Glasses.  Today I got my new glasses!  I went to the optometrist a couple weeks ago for the first time in five or six years and got an updated prescription.  I ordered my frames and lenses from Zenni Optical, a website a couple friends recommended.  The site sells glasses that are pretty low in price (starting at $7) and they offer countless styles and colors.  I'm very happy with my glasses, they are quality and I actually want to wear them.

5) Birthdays. Within three weeks, there are three birthdays in our house.  There's a lot of celebrating and lots of CAKE!  It's great to celebrate the women I live with, they are my dear friends and I love them so.

Nouns I love.