Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Feminism on the internet

My Women's and Gender Studies (WGS) course is ridiculously easy. I find it bizarre that they're teaching us concepts like slut-shaming when I've known what that is since I first started looking for feminism online. As I put it to Ptarckas the other day: "It's like, 'what is slut shaming?' Gee, I don't know, why don't you ask tumblr?"

Taking this class also reminds me of a quote I saw (ironically, on tumblr) by someone who said she had gone to college and been absolutely floored by all this new information she'd learned in her first WGS class, and how amazed she was that so many people on tumblr considered those things to be so basic, things that are just required to be a base level decent human being. And I think that might actually be true.

The course I'm taking, while a second year course, is called "Introduction to Women's and Gender Studies." Some of the stuff we're learning is new to me, and it's absolutely fascinating, and I love knowing these things because they matter to me. I'm gaining a better understanding of intersectionality, too, which is good because that's something that so far the internet has not explained to me (on the pages I've found, I mean). But sometimes we discuss things like, well, slut-shaming, and they introduce it in this very basic way, and I'm sitting there like, yeah, I know.

It's nice because it means it's one course where I'm both really interested in learning more and kind of already know a lot. It's a GPA booster, but it's something I really care about. I guess that makes it more than a GPA booster, since I'm pretty dang sure I want to minor in this. I mean, what else was I going to minor in? Chemistry? Ugh, please. Business? Come on, mom, let's be realistic.

I'm not saying that I can totally predict my future and know how everything is going to turn out, but at this point, I've got a pretty good feeling about my choices. I love biology (and class is starting to be interesting now- we have our old prof back after a week of guest lectures from an excellent-but-less-excited prof, and wow did I miss my current one- she's just fantastic), and so majoring in it is a good choice. It's a lot of work, and I have to understand statistics and basic chemistry if I want to go further in it, but it's worth it. The sucky bits will end. The other thing I can't stand is designing labs- jesus christ, am I terrible at that. But I know that if I want to go on in biology, I have to work on that. And having a minor I really enjoy would definitely help.

Anyway, I just kind of thought that maybe just because I know this stuff, doesn't mean everyone does, even though I (and a shit-ton of other people, I'm willing to bet) do.

However, despite how great internet feminism can be (have you guys ever heard of Laci Green? She's fantastic. Seriously. Go and google her, or look up her videos on youtube. She will make your day. Why are you still reading this? It'll be here later. GO), it can also be really... intense and extreme. There's a lot of feminist bullying that goes on on the internet, and any deviation from this rigidly defined definition of "feminism" is just blown way out of proportion. While I agree that we should work to educate other people who perhaps don't realize that what they're saying is maybe hurtful, or sexist, or homophobic, or racist, etc, I don't think we should do so by calling them names, as tempting as it is. Fighting won't solve anything, and it definitely won't make feminism look good to everyone else. It's a cause, and causes need numbers, need members, need support. You can't get that if you make it look like being a feminist looks like being a religious fanatic. It's not going to work.

I always thought- and think- of feminism as something accepting and safe, a place where people can come and feel accepted and realize that they're not crazy for wanting to not be stereotyped and given different treatment because of their whatever that they can't control. It should not be a place of rigidly policed rules, and it definitely shouldn't be scary. My version of feminism definitely isn't scary (except when I come across articles about people who harrass patients outside of abortion clinics. Listen, I don't like violence, and I don't like confrontation, but nothing makes me angrier than people who harrass patients outside of abortion clinics. I could go on about them all day. Seriously, they are the worst kind of people), and I realize that my version isn't everyone's, and isn't perfect, but it works for me.

I mean, jesus christ, women have enough to conform to already. Why add feminism to that?

Annnnnyyyway, I do have a midterm in that class next week, soooo I should probably get back to studying. Just had to write this.

yer pal,
swegan :)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

K but no


Do you think I enjoy my English class? Well, actually, yes, because I'm a giant nerd and got on the teacher's good side by being proactive, and I'm already good at writing essays. But if you think I'm ever going to take another English course again, you can get right outta town. Never. Again. And also chemistry. I'll take organic chemistry that year and hopefully that will be the end of it. Chemistry just isn't my thing, but I have to take it to fulfill these stupid "junior core" requirements. Ugh. It's just like high school this year.

And don't even get me started on math. I wouldn't be taking calc 2 if I'd known stats were prereqs for like every biology course ever. I mean, I really like calculus because I'm good at it, and I don't like statistics for the opposite reason, but I'd much rather get stats out of the way now than have to suffer through MORE first year courses in my second year. Like next year is just going to be organic chemistry, statistics, and then probably psychology. And then the other two courses for first semester can actually be something I'm interested in. Ugh.

I suppose after a while, though, school should stop feeling like work.

The worst part about this semester though is how little I like bio. Last semester it was really fascinating and engaging and interesting, and this semester it's just like a repeat of bio 30 minus reproduction. I am quickly learning that perhaps cell biology is not my thing. Like yeah I get that it's important, but I just find it hard to care.

Sigh. It's just been a really long day. I had my bio lab, then women's and gender studies, then a half hour for lunch, then an EPASS meeting (for which I had to take meeting minutes and I may or may not have fucked that up because I didn't know what to write down), and then an hour and a half of chemistry. Just too much stuff. Of course now I don't want to do anything, but I have stuff I really need to start so I have to get on that. Of course, I have to eat dinner too but I kind of ate a bunch of food when I came upstairs and now I'm not really hungry.... fuck oops.

Today is just one of those days where I just want to sleep, but noooo, tomorrow I have to get up and go to math again and live out my day like I always do.

I'm just tired of waking up. It's so emotionally draining to wake up sad every morning. I get up and go about my day and I'm fine, but when I wake up, I just feel this aching sense of loneliness. I miss everyone when I wake up. I miss my family, my friends, ptarckas, just... everyone. And I hate that it's only when I wake up. Every other minute of the day I'm completely fine (well, you know, except when I'm not) (like a normal person), just not when I wake up. Actually frequently when I wake up I find myself looking forward to crawling back into bed again... but I think that's something everyone fantasizes about, so nevermind.


yer pal,
swegan :P

Monday, January 20, 2014

My big scary park adventure

I got on the bus at a weird bus stop halfway down the street between my street and uni, and I waited there for 15 minutes before the bus I wanted showed up. I rode that bus for seven minutes, got off, and panicked when I didn't know where I was. But then I saw the park behind me, remembered the direction in which we walked at orientation, and headed that way.

I realized it was a bad idea pretty quickly. There was no one out there but me- it's right by a major road in the city, one of those ones that goes fast but usually there aren't a ton of cars. I knew I had about 50 minutes until the sun completely set, and so I finally found the entrance to the park and started walking along a path cleared in the show. When I tried to deviate from this path, the snow went up to my knees, so I had to follow it.

I found a picnic shelter by a playground, thinking that was the place, and then got frustrated and pulled out google maps on my phone when it wasn't. Following google maps, I managed to find the rink after a lot of walking. The only other people I saw were people jogging.

When I finally found the rink, there was a fence all around it and it didn't look like anyone was in the booth of the building where they did skate sharpening and rentals, so I turned around. It was pretty warm last week, pretty much above zero the whole time. I guess the ice was too thin to skate on... I'll have to wait until it gets chilly again and then try. Perhaps this Friday I'll go again. Now that I know the way, I can just leave after school or something.

Anyway, on my way out, I took some pictures, and realized how big the park actually was. Even at home, we have a few parks that are pretty large, but that park just felt... vast. Empty. Sort of like a National Park, and I felt like I was in it all alone as night was dawning. The trees were really big, too, and the park itself IS actually very large. It was kind of nice, though, to feel small, and to realize I'd trekked through that park all on my own.

I'd very much like to go again. But I'd like to actually skate this time. The rink was beautiful, nestled in all that nature. Come on, slightly colder temperatures!

Oh, and a few pictures of the sunset.

yer pal,
swegan :)

Sunday, January 19, 2014

I feel like I kinda know what love is

It's not very exciting. It just sort of... is. I mean, I don't think wanting other people to be happy necessarily comes from loving them. That just comes from caring about someone. But for me it's like when I find all these stupid, pointless little things about a person that I love- anything from mannerisms to things they say a lot, to just little physical things- and I keep getting reminded of them, all the time. I'm not saying people are just a sum of their parts, but maybe they are. People are a sum of their actions and the way they talk and treat other people and yes, how they appear physically. I'm able to evaluate people on all of those, and I think when you find you love more than you hate, that's love.

There's things about all the people I love that I hate, too. But those parts aren't important. Everyone has some qualities in them that probably piss other people off, including me. I think love is about realizing that you don't really care about those because being negative is no fun.

And right now, for me, the people I love, I know I love them, and... I can't say it feels "right", that doesn't sound right (pardon the irony). But it feels... correct, I guess, as mathematical as that sounds. It doesn't feel wrong, or bad. But it's not like this overwhelming rush of emotions. It just is. It's just there. I mean, I suppose love can make people feel an overwhelming rush of emotions (it's like with a pet- you love them, and then when something happens to them you get really scared and emotional and freak out, and everything hurts and is just so wrong. But in the end, if it turns out okay, you're okay too (and perhaps angry if the something that happened to them was someone else's fault- I know my family never went back to one kennel after Sadie stuck her nose through the fence and had it brutally chomped on by this idiot of a german shepherd they had out there- I mean seriously, control your fucking dog), and everything calms down again. Or like at weddings, when people can get so overwhelmed by the idea of loving each other or two other people loving each other that they start crying.

I think maybe that's why it's so easy for people to take people they love for granted, too- because love is like a background emotion. You don't really notice how much of it there is until it spirals out of control.

Anyway, I should get back to work, but first- I realized today that when someone says "it's always in the last place you look"- well of course it is, because you stop looking once you find it, making the place you found it the last place you looked (I don't know if other people already realized this but for me it was equivalent to realizing I could never recite pi backwards). Oh, and what "pardon" means in a legal sense- because above, I said "pardon the irony", like excuse the irony here. Being pardoned is being excused for doing something wrong. This connection literally never occurred to me until like two minutes ago.

yer pal,
swegan :)

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Meal Plan Meals

The meal plan I am on where I live means I have to go down between specific times to get food. Like breakfast is from 7-8:30AM on weekdays, which is great when I have a class in the morning to get up for, but like when finals week rolls around, I keep sleeping in like it's Saturday all the time and I continuously missed breakfast and ate a lot of granola bars.

So one plus of these meals is that I don't ever have to make food for myself, but the downside is that I can only eat those meals during those time periods. I've been tempted on more than one occasion to buy some froot loops, all bran, and milk and just leave them around in case I miss a meal. Of course I'd never use them and the milk would go bad and the cereal would go stale, but I keep wanting to do that. Maybe just for finals week. I mean, I have all these dishes, glasses, and cutlery that I never use and won't ever use until I actually move out somewhere and I really like it here so I think I'm set for like the next four years. Not in the same room, because I'm pretty sure they get reshuffled around when everyone leaves for the summer, since some people don't come back and there's new people moving in etc etc. Plus I think I get a bigger room next year because I'm not a first year. First years never get shit. Which makes sense but it still sucks a little.

On that note, I should head downstairs for brunch (brunch on the weekends is the best because I can sleep in wooo). A couple of my roommate's friends were just up here looking for my roommate and then invited me on the water park trip to the big mall here that the resident's association is doing. I think they were worried I was just being antisocial in here, which I kind of am, but I told them I have plans with someone ta 4, which is actually true because I'm meeting up with Ptarckas, and then I'm like... maybe I should make plans with people BESIDES Ptarckas and have sworn that the next time my resident's association hosts an event, I'm gonna go, Ptarckas be damned. I can see him during the week.

Oh, but I still have to tell you all about my big scary adventure in This One Park. I felt very small and was afraid of getting mobbed or beaten up or abducted but really there was no one in the park AND THE FUCKING SKATING RINK WAS CLOSED but anyway I will recount that story later.

yer pal,
swegan :)

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Finally settled

I feel very at peace today. It took a couple of weeks to settle in, I guess. It still does suck thinking about the fact that no matter how much I get done there'll still be more to do for a long time this semester, but I know all I have to do is break everything down into manageable bite-size pieces so I only end up having to do 4 or 5 things a day. There's no point in trying to complete everything last minute.

I do worry that I'm spending too much time with ptarckas (I realize I talk about him a lot, and no, I'm not sorry). Right now it looks like we'll see each other three times a week on average, or maybe just 1 if I've got lots of homework during the week. I don't know if it's fair to say that I've been trying to keep in touch with everyone else. I suppose I could try harder, but then probably we all could and we're all just busy with schoolwork and stuff.

Besides, I would like to think I am becoming kind-of friends with the woman who sits next to me in math, and I sometimes talk to the girl who sits next to me in chem, and carina and I (and two of her other friends who seem to be just kind of accepting me into their group, at least to a certain extent) have biology and our lab together, so I see her a lot more, so that's good, and I know a guy in my English class from orientation, so we talk before class a lot. And women's and gender studies is just a fun class. I really like my prof and I really like the stuff we discuss in that class. Plus, I feel like on some level I already have a grasp on a lot of it, PLUS today our prof got people who volunteer in the community with organizations that focus on helping women to talk about what they did so that maybe the rest of us could do some volunteering. I'm definitely interested, but some of these opportunities require a lot of intense training, and I just don't know if it's a good idea for me to take on more right now, especially now that the EPASS fundraising campaign is about to launch (I mean, we haven't met since school started due to illness and scheduling conflicts, but we have to start at SOME point).

Even though I've gotten like 2 things done tonight (today being one of the days that ptarckas and I hang out), I feel very... peaceful, and at ease. It's been a long week, I guess, and tomorrow IS friday, and I just really like spending time with ptarckas. He seems to be the one person I can't get sick of (and I can state this with a reasonable level of certainty because we have ended up accidentally spending very long periods of time together) (like maybe upwards of 36 hours) (it was an accident okay). I just sort of want him around all the time, which of course is horribly impractical, and we both agree on this. Sigh. I guess I'll just have to wait until finals week rolls around again and we realize "hey, no classes" and spend an unreasonably long amount of time together again, like last finals week.

I actually miss finals week. There was an end in sight, something to look forward to. Right now the closest thing I have to look forward to is Valentine's Day, followed by the reading week break. Sigh.

Back to the grindstone! It's not really that bad, anyway, and tomorrow's friday, woohoo!

yer pal,
swegan :)

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Ups and Downs

That's what my life has been lately. I'm not sure why, but I keep coming up on these emotional highs, where I'm happy and everything's okay, and these mostly happen when I've finished my homework, or when I'm with Ptarckas. And then there's these horrible lows, which always seem to happen in the morning. I wake up and I'm sad, and I feel very alone and very stressed. Most of the time I just say "You know what, you have to get up and go", and then I feel much more productive when I get to school and get stuff done. Even now the sadness is wearing off. I guess writing about stuff really does help.
It just gets kind of exhausting when waking up every morning becomes such a challenge. It's really hard to make myself get out of bed, not just because I'm tired, but because I just feel really sad. I think it might even be the fact that I switched a class- I don't like big stressful changes like that.

Friday was kind of like this, but I got really sad at the end of the day, and once I got back to my apartment I cried for like 20 minutes, and then spent most of the rest of the evening trying to figure out how to make myself feel better. It did work- I was laughing and dancing by the end of the night, and I even got some work done, too.

Maybe it will help to look at the positive things. I mean, school's okay- I felt really stressed and all "I'm gonna fail everything!" at the beginning of last semester and I did just fine. And shoot, if this continues, I know that I have permission to take care of myself. There's an office at school where apparently you can just go and talk to people about your problems- they say no problem is too big or too small. I could maybe try that if this doesn't start alleviating itself. So it's not like I don't have help available. And there's always my parents, and they care about me and want me to be okay, and so do my sister and brother and my friends. I have a good support system in place. And I'm smart, and I'm a hard worker when I need to be- I can totally do this semester, I can pass all my classes. And sure maybe I won't be perfect at everything. Nobody ever is. I don't know why my relationship makes me so sad- it's a really good and healthy relationship, and it's actually really fun. We dealt with a problem earlier this week, which made the first couple days of the semester super stressful, but I'm glad we're communicative enough that we could work through it. And I mean, even if I do think about him too much, at least it's not just a crush where I never get to do anything. We do stuff together all the time. It's a good relationship, and I am happy about that. That's a very good thing. And I'm making more friends here- there's a guy in my English class who remembered me from orientation, and a girl who sits next to me in chem, and people in the building I eat with pretty much every day. Plus I haven't had that much homework yet. And okay, I do feel bad about how little I've been doing for AlbertaSat, but I can get back in the game. It's a really good opportunity and not one that I'm gonna lose- at least not without a fight. Oh, and my dad and I have talked about one of my parents coming up to visit me (since I've talked with him a bit about having a bad time), and also he's sending up some Christmas goodies, which is exciting. I miss those Christmas goodies. Speaking of food, I also have really good food provided for me. It's not just that it tastes good, but that it's good for me, too. Lots of vegetables and fruit and protein, and at regular times.

Most of what I have to do today is reading, anyway. So that's not so bad. I will have to have a shower at some point and go out to the AlbertaSat meeting, but that's okay. And okay, maybe I didn't take the "journal editor" position in English this week. That's okay. Now I can observe how other people do it, and then I can maybe do it next weekend and just get it done. I really don't appreciate how my prof taunted us, though, saying "you don't have that much work yet. So I would do it now" THANK YOU FOR REMINDING ME OF THAT, AS IF I DON'T IRRATIONALLY WORRY ABOUT THIS ENOUGH ALREADY. Thus far this prof has been a source of nothing but stress in my life. Dad pointed out that if I dropped English I'd really regret having to take it again, so I should just try and tough it out. Which I will try to do. I'm not giving up anything without a fight.

I guess I feel a little bit better now. Anyway, it's only 5 weeks now until I get to go out to the cabin again and do mostly nothing for a whole beautiful week, not to mention seeing my family again. There's a lot to look forward to and life isn't so bad. I just have to keep plugging away.

I hope everyone else is having a better start to their year than I am, that's for sure!

yer pal,
swegan :)

Sunday, January 5, 2014


I find limits very hard to navigate on my own lately.

The thing is, I got back up to the city I go to school in on Friday. And I had plans to spend Saturday with Ptarckas- brunch, skating, dinner, a movie... unfortunately, it was too cold to go skating and none of the movies that were playing were very interesting, so we just ended up at his house again. And that probably would have all been fine and dandy- we played Halo (AND HE BEAT ME AFTER HE SAID HE WAS BAD AT SHOOTER GAMES PTARCKAS YOU LIAR), watched Shrek, ate pizza with his family. And then it came back down to the line again- it was midnight, and public transportation stops running at 1 AM. I was exhausted and didn't want to get up, and so after fifteen minutes of deliberating, I decided to stay the night. Again. Which, of course, was a bad idea, as usual.

We decided to make a conscious effort to sleep in the same bed for an hour, and then after an hour I said it wasn't working, and so he built himself a little nest of blankets and pillows on the floor and slept there. I was up for two more hours trying to get to sleep, and crying when I couldn't, because I was so tired but I couldn't sleep. I had every possible Beyonce song stuck in my head, and I swear everyone in his family snores like a bear (him excluded), and everything just felt so noisy. I tried concentrating on classical music, changed my "pajamas", and then finally fell asleep around 4 AM or so. I know I was asleep because I had dreams. I woke up around 10 or so, and then we ate and attempted to find out what textbooks we needed. However, once we got to the university we found it the bookstore isn't open on Sundays (which is just fantastic because it means I have to waste probably half an hour buying books in the store tomorrow, when everyone else will be buying books), and so then we just sat in the lounge area in the student's union building, and talked for a bit (although we were both sort of tired, having gotten very sub-par sleep the night before). Eventually we decided to go our separate ways.

The thing about saying goodbye with him is that it's like waking up in the morning. The act of doing it is difficult, but once it's done I'm fine on the other end.

I just feel so anxious and stressed, like I wasted my weekend. I should have just come back here last night. Although I think school will help to remedy the problem we seem to have of spending way too much time together. Now we're getting back into our own routines. I have to start doing homework again, but then I also get to start skating regularly now, and I get to feel like I'm doing something with my life, in addition to having more regular sleeping and eating schedules. I said we should try and see each other once a week, which I don't think is unreasonable. I just need to find my limits and stick to them. If I can do that with junk food (know my limits), I can surely do that with a relationship. I mean, at some unspecific point in my childhood, my parents stopped controlling so rigidly how much dessert I ate, and let me make my own choices, and by then I was smart enough to realize that I shouldn't go overboard. I think I just need to use a similar strategy with a relationship in which no one is telling me how much or how little I can see someone.

Besides, I need to be by myself sometimes, and also I really need to interact with my friends. I've been a terrible friend to Artifex lately (to be fair, I was busy Thursday morning, but we probably could have squeezed something in then or the night before if I had just asked), and I haven't talked to many of my other friends in a while. I have beyonce stuck in my head permanently, I feel so horribly anxious and sad, and I worry I won't be able to sleep tonight.

I think perhaps the solution is to do something that relaxes me- something like skating tomorrow. I can get my skates sharpened on Friday, and then the skating will be better, and I think right now I just need to watch a movie or something. I desperately need to get out of my own head.

yer pal,

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Something happened in Ireland that's been bugging me lately

We went out to this medieval-themed dinner at a real castle- and they really went all out. The room we ate in was packed tight, the with lots of people squeezed onto benches. We were given only a knife and napkin, and we ate with our hands, tearing meat off the bone. There was live entertainment, and someone even got thrown in jail for a little bit. One guy got embarrassingly drunk off of mead. I sat diagonally across from a woman from the US who did nothing but complain about the meal, but she was like, laughing the whole time. "Oh, I don't like this. Next course, hahahahah" and I was like bitch you are a grown woman, act like it, but that's not what's bugging me.

The dessert they brought out they said was I think traditional Irish something or other, and it was some sort of dessert with berries. I don't remember what the dessert was, I think a pudding of some sort, but I remember them calling the berries "Lover's kisses" and then telling us their actual name. Apparently when you eat them, your lover is supposed to feed them to you or something like that. I can still remember how that dessert tasted. It was delicious and wonderful and I can't remember what the berries were called and all I get when I google search it are results like "mistletoe" and "Rachel Berry" (I'm not kidding).

The thing is, when I was in Ireland, I was still making a big fuss out of the fact that I had never really had a real kiss, nothing more than a peck. And so eating that dessert, I thought, it must be as enjoyable as this dessert right here to have a real kiss.

I can tell you now that that's true, that it is that enjoyable, and I understand why they call the berries that (of course the complain-y woman across from me didn't like the dessert either; I was dumbfounded at how anyone couldn't like it. The berries were sweet, but not overly sweet, and they didn't taste like any other berry I've ever had), but it really bothers me that I can't remember what they're called and that google is absolutely no help.

I guess I'm wondering if anyone else knows. Also, I just wanted to share that story with you all. I've been thinking a great deal about love lately- not that I'm in it (and that's what I'm thinking about)- and also I'm a bit lonely right now. It's the new year, and nobody at the lake even set off fireworks. My family was watching a movie and I checked my watch at 11:55 and then again at 12:02. It has been a thoroughly uneventful ringing-in-of-2014, and literally no one is online. Vince was for a second, but she must have just signed off as I sent her Happy New Year wishes. Ptarckas I haven't talked to in a couple of days, which is fine, I just miss him is all. I'm aware that I can get a little overbearing, and we have been having skype conversations every single night.

I just really want to talk to someone, but we don't have cell service out here and no one is online except Nerd, who I'm sure is playing video games. I guess I could give it a try. Maybe.

It's just that everyone here is in bed, and probably everyone else is out celebrating, or in bed, and I just feel all alone. There's nothing much left for me to do except go to sleep, and I don't want to do that because I'm sad. I guess I could talk to Nerd or write... but you know what I mean. It's New Year's. I should be celebrating, and I'm sitting alone in the middle of the woods instead.

Eh. I'll figure something out.

yer pal,
swegan :)

Oh, Happy New Year and best wishes to all in 2014! It's going to be a good year, I can feel it.