06 December 2009

Which Path to Follow, Which Pawn to Move?

There are so many choices and paths in life that we simply cannot explore them all. No matter how many times I say this to myself I always end up wondering, I suppose that is the writer in me, wanting to explore paths that I otherwise did not (or could not) follow. Paths open up before us everyday and we all make hundreds of choices a day (if not more) from little ones to big ones. Somedays, when it is very quiet or I'm out in nature walking, I will think about what would have happened if, and that's when I realize I can choose to regret my decision or embrace what I thought was best when I made them.

This time for me, my what if? is more of a "What would have happened if I moved to California earlier?" or "Should I stay just a little bit longer?" But I know these questions don't do me any good. It's what is happening and what I've chosen for myself that really matters. I've said this to myself many times as well: there is no such thing as a bad decision, it's what you've chosen and what worked for you at the time. Not all choices are hard, and not all choices are easy. Many people opt for the easiest path in life, though it can often be the least rewarding and most stagnant. Hard choices can help improve one's life but can hinder as well.

I've been giving myself a lot of hard choices over the years, and I've taken easy choices as well. My current decision to return to California greatly improved my mood even though moving is very stressful. I have a lot less to worry about financial, and I think it is the best choice for me at the moment. Sure I want to stay here in New Mexico, but it just isn't in the cards for me to do so. I know I could have done more job hunting and tried to find something that paid better, but I would have had to work so much harder for everything (I am prone to fits of laziness, not to mention that crush agony of financial burden really stress one out). In California, I should have opportunity to improve my financial situation.

I don't regret moving or staying in Albuquerque, because I've made a lot of friends here, who I will be sad to leave. I've learned a lot while staying here, more than just from going to school. Living on one's own is never an easy thing, but I've learned how to cook for myself everyday, how to budget my money and still have a little bit of fun, dedication to my body to work out, and that sometimes being at home alone is the best thing. I will miss some of my freedom, but right now considering the times, it is more important to have security, because without that, what is freedom?

11 October 2009

Homophobia and Masculinity

Homophobia will not lie down and die anytime soon.

What is homophobia? Is it truly a fear of gays?

In some ways it is. The masculine gender (associated with the male sex) is truly a vulnerable gender unlike the feminine. Masculinity stands to lose its powerful role if found that it is created. The female sex is not weaker than the male sex, but cultural it is. The female body and male body—if treated equally—will become comparably equal.

Homophobia truly does hide the true feelings of most men. In one study (which I cannot find at the present), groups of men are selected. Each man takes a pre-screening test to determine their level of homophobia. Then they are split into two groups: homophobic, and not homophobic. Each group watched gay porn at a point in the study with a device attached to their penis to detect any arousal. In the group with the homophobic men, they were aroused, and the non-homophobic group were not. The most interesting part of the study is that when asked, those that were homophobic answered that they were not aroused in the least bit.

But what causes homophobia?

Simply the fear of being not masculine, of being perceived as feminine. The worst thing a man can be called is a woman. Violation of masculinity and its power is the root of homophobia. Gay men violate the masculine gender when engaging in gay sex—in treating a man as a woman. It is about power relationships. Straight men have power over women and it is this power that is created and that must be maintained. Gay sex is much more equal that straight sex. Men are equals in Western society. Women are inferior, and therefore straight sex is about the inequality in relationships

These ideas and cultural genders are slowly giving away to equality, but it will take a long time for everyone to be truly equal. The patriarchy that stands to lose power after thousands of years will not go down easily. Both men and women support it. Gay men even support it because it creates the object of their desire: masculine men. But patriarchy will fall eventually, because the seed of destruction is sowed into its own values—that masculinity is powerful and cannot fall, and it can be seen that it can fall.

This is my poor attempt at putting several ideas together. Most of the ideas about gender I’ve read in "The Arena of Masculinity: Sports, Homosexuality, and the Meaning of Sex" by Brian Pronger. While I don’t necessarily agree with everything he says, he makes very interesting points into the worlds of athletics and masculinity, and the homoerotic natures of these worlds. The other idea is of homophobia masking signs of interests in the homoerotic desire of men for men.

24 September 2009

Life At This Moment

Sometimes we just do not know what to do.

I have been facing big decisions. Should I go to grad school? Where? When? Should I move home? Should I stay put?

They may not seem like huge problems, but they can be. Graduate work is not easy. Getting into grad school is no cakewalk. Moving twice within a year is not an easy thing, but having little money is a big concern. How am I going to be able to afford basic living? Student loans? Grad applications? Visiting them if I get in?

I have made progress with the graduate schools. Not huge progress, but I've started the application process by getting my supporting documents ready. MFA programs are not the easiest to get into. Hundreds if not thousands apply and only a handful get in, making my chances slim to none. What if I don't get in? What will I do then?

Nothing worth anything is easy, so I'm hoping this is all worth it! I may move back home if my plans for grad school fall through. It's something I haven't given much thought, but I don't think I can stay here in ABQ. I like it, but this isn't where I'm supposed to be. I feel pulled elsewhere, and the problem is: I don't know where.

My friend, Kathy, just came through town, and this triggered a few things in my mind. She just moved home after finishing her grad program. I've been thinking of moving back home, because it is a bit expensive for me to live here on what I make. After grad school I hope that I do not have to move home, but I may for a short period to get back on my feet (if need be).

Let's all hope that this next year is great and that we all do better. This is a tough time for everyone.

02 September 2009

Because I haven't posted in a while...

If you've been wondering what I've been up to, this will satisfy your curiosity (hopefully!).

Well the past few weeks, I've been laying low. I recently finished—well, nearly finished anyways—my first short story that will be sent off to publishing place 'round the US. The title so far eludes me, but that is no biggie. I probably won't be able to choose it anyways. But it is very close to being sent out, and from what responses I've gotten on the latest version, I think it's a go-getter! This story will also be included in my grad portfolio.

Speaking of graduate work, I'm getting ready for the application season ahead, with some help I hope! I just started studying for the GRE. I now have to put letters and other application materials together. I've complied a list of grad schools, but there have been no decisions yet as to where I want to go (fully) with one exception: University of Texas at Austin. It's the #4 program and has incredible funding.

Wish me luck on job endeavors as well. Going through tough financial times, and I hope to be out of it soon, but one can only hope. I've got my application and resume out, I just need some luck, and some more luck! I did hear back for a writing position, so I just need to get a sample out and maybe I'll have something there.

Best of luck to all you out there searching for work, and have a most pleasant day!

05 August 2009

Nutrition and Exercise

Hello all,

As you may know, I've been working on my nutrition and fitness for about a year now. I've lost a total of about 10 lbs, and at least 5% body fat. It's been a pretty difficult road so far, much harder than I thought it would be.

The hardest part is the diet. I've reduced my calorie intake and the down. My calorie total consumption comes from 20% fat, 30% protein, and 50% carbs. Believe me, getting that much protein is difficult without making the other numbers sky-rocket! I've got almost all the protein from food, with just a portion coming from food. Reducing the fat is probably the easiest part of it. I cut out cheeses (for the most part) and almost all other dairy products. It has taken me a year just to change the way I eat, and I feel better for it. Not to say that I can't have something "delicious" once in a while, but I just can't be doing it everyday.

I work at a job that doesn't require me to put in a lot of work, I just have to be there. So for the past week or so, I've been looking at ways to eat better. Yesterday I did a huge meal planning session, so now I've got the basic set up of what I'm going to be eating for a while. It's not terribly boring because I've allowed myself to eat as much veggies as I want (not that I want a whole lot mind you, but it increases what I can eat).

For the other portion, I looked at my exercises. I've been going to the gym, but I realized that I'm not doing all that I can (even though going period is better than not going). It just takes time to figure out want needs to be done and adapt. For me, I've got the push going right now. That happens when you spend money on the gym! So now, I've got what I think will help me get to where I want to be. Healthy, full of energy, and easy on the eyes :P

So today's words of wisdom, you are what you eat!

21 July 2009

Adulthood in America

Adulthood is generally something that is marked by a specific rite in mot cultures. To pass from childhood to adulthood, a person must accomplish a certain goal and become a "productive member of society."

Childhood is the first stage. Self-centeredness is the key thing to note here. Children are notorious for only caring about themselves. Some "adults" inflicted with this same desire.

Adolescence shows signs of change. This is a transition period, and some don't make it out. People here care about others, and try to care for themselves. For some reason or another, this just can't happen. Adolescents understand responsibility to an extent, but cannot implement this idea in their lives. Many cultures don't have this stage as something official. It can be considered as a "beginner adult."

In American culture, I believe this something that not everyone has to go through, as I hope to outline below. There are several different paths to adulthood, but the outcome is the same. Responsibility. Each path converges and the outcome is the ability to care for yourself and make responsible choices.

One way is taking care of yourself in all manners. In our culture, it is incredible how much time and resources it takes to raise a child. Some people still rely on their parents through the rest of their lives. For good or bad, these people are not truly "adults." They still rely on others to take care of them financially. For some, this can take well over the 18 years that makes us adults. For others, this happens at a much younger age, anywhere between 14-16.

Those who were raised in a middle-class background, know luxury, and they are accustomed to having it. In order to live that sort of lifestyle, it takes longer to "mature." Those who are from a poorer family tend not to have luxury and do not need it. Instead they can "mature" faster and become adult sooner as they do not require as much income to support themselves. The wealthiest of people typically inherit and don't reach adulthood; if they do the parent dies, and they are forced to run the business to continue their lifestyle, or they set out on there own. They don't usually have to become adults.

American life is very complicated. There are a few paths to becoming adults, and the one above I believe does happen the most. As an American, it can be possible to choose to not become an adult. Adulthood is mostly about mindset. You have to become responsible for your actions and doing so financially is way most do.

Having children opens the door to the choice of becoming an adult. For some it works, and for others it does not. Adult choose to care for the child and its well-being. Another "child" would not. Responsibility is key.

Disease and death are more tragic markers of adulthood, but they can transition a person from childhood to adulthood. Cancer and HIV/AIDS are two very powerful transition keys, but like other can be ignored (or not acted upon). The death of those closest to you can certainly trigger change, but not necessarily. These are marked by a choice to overcome and maintain responsibility for oneself.

This burden of responsibility does not negate fun. Adults can have fun as children can have fun. It may not take the same form, but it can be had nonetheless. Of course adult behavior tends to be more subdued and less rambunctious, but what must be understood is that adults choose to have fun in a manner that doesn't not cause harm or distress to others. Social gatherings are perhaps the most prevalent of adult fun.

Sometimes, adults do grow further and become overly responsible and forget to indulge in the self. Those who do so are denying themselves the pleasures that are rightfully theirs. Adults that do this can "regress," and it would be beneficial to do so.

16 July 2009

Good News!

Well I've finally got a job! I started my training today, and it is not difficult work which will hopefully leave me time for writing. This job won't pay for everything, but it will cover my rent, utilities and food, so I'm not going to be out on the streets! If I can land another part-time job, I'll be doing pretty good. I'm going to be keeping my eye out for something during the day that pays more :)

Well, I hope you all have a wonderful day!

13 July 2009

Something Needs To Change

The last few weeks or so have been pretty tough for me. I've been without a job for almost a whole year, but I've only been actively looking for two months. This is the longest I've ever looked for a job, and it has me kinda scared. Before, when I wanted one, I just had to go apply to a couple place at most, and I'd get hired within a week or so. I've applied to perhaps 20 jobs high and low, and haven't heard a peep from anyone or anything, except a promised call from Satellite. It's the most "buzz" I've gotten.

I wouldn't be so worried, but I have bills that have to get paid, and I just don't have any money. I am very thankful that I'll be getting my deposit back from my old place almost in full, but that leaves me with barely enough for rent and utilities, with not much left for food. I'm not in a huge bind, because I think I can get help from my father's family if I need it, I just don't know for sure. I'm not being lazy, there really isn't a lot that is possible for me (with no car, and a bus system that needs an overhaul). I really will be in a tight bind in about three to four weeks if not sooner. Send some good thoughts my way, and I'll keep trying: it's all I can do.

29 June 2009

Think Less, Imagine More

After writing some poetry/lyrics today, I had a thought. Think less, imagine more.

As a writer, it is very easy to get stuck in one's own head. Everything written becomes flat and rather lifeless. It can be very intellectual, but not real or personable. I've had issues making my writing real and vivid, as I tend to focus on plot and ideas. In poetry, I'm even worse at that. Images are your friends as a writer.

So I've decided to adopt this slogan, and post it on my three ring-binder. Think less, imagine more.

Tell me what you think about this.

21 May 2009

Bachelor's Graduation

Well, it's official! Or as close as it's going to get (still waiting for one more grade to be posted).

I've graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in English.

My graduate and ceremony were last Saturday, but I've had family in town, and I've been busy trying to order my life together. I realize I have posted a lot in the last year or so, and I can't say for certain why that is. I recently looked back through a few of my early diary entries (personal ones) and that got me thinking about blogging. I really miss all of you guys, and the great discussions we've had. I apologize for disappearing as it were. If you're interested you can follow me on twitter: http://twitter.com/snowppl

I took a look today through my blogs, and I've noticed a change in my writing. If you've been a blog reader of mine since the beginning, you'll notice that at first they were journal entries, private moments spelt out on the 'interwebz.' Then I changed my style to tell a story (with as many typos as possible!), and a few other interactive blogs. I then switched back to a more journal-type blog experience. I hope to use both in the future. Today's blog features a personal diary feel.

In reading my past diary entries, I regret not writing down more, even if it was just boring everyday activities. They really tell of how life was (even if they aren't interesting). There is going to be a huge chuck of life missing from printed material, but hopefully, in my mind, I will still have these memories (or maybe I should give in to my writer's soul and write as much as I can down!). Life is sometimes best lived, and then reflected upon. I hope I never forget the people and the memories of my time at the University of New Mexico.

I felt that now is the time to reflect on where I have been, to better judge where I wish to go. I have grown tremendously over the last 2 years that I've been here in New Mexico. I've changed for the better, and I've changed for the worse. I feel like I've lost a part of me, my youth and exuberance, but I've gained knowledge and insight (I know I'm still young, but a lot can change in a short amount of time). I think I've become a much more stable person, more in tune with what is going on around. I've had good times, and I've had bad times.

There is one person I'd really like to thank, that I know will never hear the words pass from my lips. I'll never forget what you'd said to me when I told you I had no idea what to do with my life; you gave me courage, vision, and a gentle shove in the right direction. Thanks, Sean.

Other special MySpace thanks: Lael- rough, but you tell me what I need to hear; Marge- always there for a smile and I know I can count on you, even if we don't talk much; Becca- you are always a beacon of light and truth, and you make me feel beautiful and special; Michael- you've been ever encouraging; and a heartfelt thanks to everyone in my life, I couldn't have done it without you.