Thursday, February 28, 2013

Facts of (my) life

Sometimes I do things just to annoy people.

I love life.
...but sometimes it makes me sad to think that I might not experience some aspects of it

I am stubborn

I am usually right.

I wish I would always be brave enough to admit when I'm wrong

Somehow, I've become addicted to Downton Abbey

It breaks my heart when I yell at Rosie and I can tell she's actually feeling remorse.

I trust doctors. an extent.

I've never broken a bone

I'm often indignant, probably more often than I should be.

I feel like I'm always an outsider.

I want to help people, but only if they are open to being helped.

I think its silly to think that every event in your life can be made fair

I have an uncanny memory (perhaps the best I know of) for social interactions.
...and yes, I will call you out on it if you mis-remember what you previously said.

I tend to villainize things I don't like. Consequently, peas and inorganic chemistry are evil.

I talk to my cat. I think it makes her smarter. (If it works for babies, why not for pets??)

There have been very few times in my life when I wanted children.

I get really nervous when playing competitive sports (and yes, beer pong counts).

Feeling a sense of peace is my highest daily goal right now.

posted from Bloggeroid

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Taken by the sky

This is a poem composed of lines from some of the songs that mean the most to me. It was an interesting exercise and I'm surprised at how the flow developed as I would have planned, even though I didn't intend for it. The artists are as follows; David Guetta (Sia), Linkin Park, P!nk, Postal Service, Alicia Keys, fun., The Killers, Starship, Matchbox Twenty, KT Tunstall, Corinne Bailey Rae, U2, Styx, Florence + The Machine, Damnwells, Leonard Cohen, Fleetwood Mac

Looks like she's a girl but she's a flame,
Waiting for the end to come.
I can understand when the edges are rough
And you feel so much
And you don't know how long you're gonna last
And it won't be a pretty sight.

You shout it out
But I can't hear a word you say
Well, some nights I wish this all would end
Cause I could use some friends for a change.
I know what it takes to move on
I know how it feels to lie
And sometimes I get nervous
When I see an open door.

I don't want to be the girl who has to feel the silence
No time is a good time for goodbye.
The hardest part of ending
Is starting again.

Slow dancing on the boulevard
In the quiet moments when the city's still dark
Night swimming in her diamond dress
She fills up every corner like she's born in black and white.

Three little birds sat on my window
And they told me I don't have to worry.
See the bird with a leaf in her mouth-
After the flood all the colors came out.
A gathering of angels appeared around my head;
Shake it out, shake it out.
Fall apart confetti come on,
Keep the tempo slow and true.
The holy or the broken

RE: This, I can agree with.

I really like the idea of the article "A Titan’s How-To on Breaking the Glass Ceiling" (I posted a link this past Sunday). In short, the book being described suggests that there are certain societal and subconscious factors that attribute to the lower number of females in management positions and lower average pay. This isn't groundbreaking, although it obviously goes unrecognized since the majority of the population participate in this kind of behavior. The more innovative message of this book is that women can empower themselves to overcome these obstacles- and as a foundation for this, women can help other women by sharing ideas, experiences, and even lessons or skills at group meeting inspired by this book.

I think this is a very important message. It's validating and gives the message to women that they have the authority to take control and make things better. For example, some of the difference between men and women's salaries can be explained by the fact that women are less likely to negotiate. This is important for women to know- they're not just trapped by a meaningless statistic, but by a cultural phenomenon that they (we!) can help change by our own behavior.

I think that this might be something beneficial for our male colleagues to think about as well. For example males I've never heard a male here in the biology department say that men are better than women at anything specifically, but I have had a peer suggest that he accompany me to certain meetings so that I would be "taken more seriously." I've also had male superiors and colleagues interrupt or speak over me or other females, because they can talk more loudly. (Which, besides being unfair, is just plain rude.) And lastly, I have had a professor give a female student excessive leeway on an assignment which was late when the student was clearly lying (in multiple instances)-but the professor was afraid to fail a female student for fear of seeming sexist (there is more evidence for this conclusion which I will not include here).

All these are instances that would not be labeled as "sexist" in nature but do have a negative impact on women. Some of these situations could have been prevented by the women themselves, and some not. But I do think that if both women and men examine our own thinking and actions, we can recognize things that are the "status quo" in favor of men, and don't need to be that way. We don't need to necessarily point fingers (although sometimes I would like to) but just by consciously making small changes, we can move toward a less gendered culture.

I think this could benefit men as well. For example, I'll never forget when my dad once sadly pointed out that unlike the super-mom craze of the 90s, there's no such thing as a 'super dad'. In our media, and perhaps in real life, it's becoming more acceptable for men to share in more of the child-rearing. I think that's awesome, and I don't think that a lack of "maternal instinct" makes men poor parents; most men I know love to be silly and teach, which are two key components in working with children. Which brings me to another subject, namely the acceptance of men in traditionally female jobs, such as nurses, administrative assistants, and elementary school teachers. Just as a woman shouldn't be scoffed at for wanting to be an engineer, a man shouldn't be looked down upon for wanting to teach children. Why would he be? Oh, because that's a woman's job- and now we've come right back around to being sexist again.

I've talked about many professionally related issues, but habits begin at home. If I'm on a date, I might bring up doing simple chores in my apartment- and how much I hate them- to hear my date's response. If we both hate doing dishes, then why would I be expected to do them if (God forbid) we got married? A lack of skill is a pathetic excuse. If you can hold down a job then you can wash dishes. You just don't want to.

I don't hate to preach, but I do feel a little bad for this one. However, having lived on my own for so long, it seems downright offensive to me that a man would think that I shouldn't be treated as a partner and equal in skills. I can take out the garbage, I can check the oil in the car, I can grill and as I expect to retain these skills when I marry, it makes little sense that I would suddenly be stuffed into a more "female" role.

Edit: A perfect example of a way of thinking that modifies our culture to be more hinder some to female professionals: a Best and Worst of the Oscars, focused only on "beauty" (ie hair and makeup) and excludes men. First of all, let's not pretend that men aren't having their hair styled and makeup put on for this event (because they are, losers- ever see a guy on the red carpet with a zit? That's not a coincidence) but this is just cruelty towards the "worst" contestants. As some of those who entered comments on the article noted, nearly every single one of these women look gorgeous and probably spent intense time and energy on their appearance  There is no reason to judge and nitpick them, condensing their talents, efforts, and looks into a single sentence criticizing their choice of lip color. They are more than brainless mannequins, they are people.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

This, I can agree with.

Despite decades of efforts, and some visible exceptions, the number of top women leaders in many fields remains stubbornly low: for example, 21 of the current Fortune 500 chief executives are women. In her book, to be published by Knopf, Ms. Sandberg argues that is because women face invisible, even subconscious, barriers in the workplace, and not just from bosses. In her view, women are also sabotaging themselves. “We hold ourselves back in ways both big and small, by lacking self-confidence, by not raising our hands, and by pulling back when we should be leaning in,” she writes, and the result is that “men still run the world.”
Ms. Sandberg wants to take women through a collective self-awareness exercise. In her book, she urges them to absorb the social science showing they are judged more harshly and paid less than men; resist slowing down in mere anticipation of having children; insist that their husbands split housework equally; draft short- and long-term career plans; and join a “Lean In Circle,” which is half business school and half book club.
A Titan’s How-To on Breaking the Glass Ceiling

More on this- and refusing to accept defeat in the face of various kinds of prejudice- later.

For now, sleep.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Emotional acne

Besides working on the regular stuff, lately I've also been working on myself. My emotional and mental self, that is. This involves a lot of energy and space, which is pretty hard to create in daily life.

I think I've been making some progress lately. After experiencing a migraine for the first time last week, I took my therapist's advice to lower my stress level seriously. He pointed out that although it requires a lot of investment up front, the payoff in increased productivity- and happiness- is more than with it. This weekend I paid more attention to myself and treated myself to everything from a mid-afternoon nap to changing the station every time the song wasn't exactly right. I ate well and snuggled with the kitty, took a warm bath... The result was a me that was more relaxed than any time I can remember in months.

Coming back to work on Monday was a challenge. In fact, going to bed on Sunday was an even bigger challenge. Despite my home-spa weekend, when my head hit the pillow I started having anxiety up the wahzoo. Not only was I too hot, itchy, and suffering from RLS, but feelings of hurt, anger, and wounded pride bubbled up as my mind recalled various interactions in the past few days.

You might think that this was a signal that my restful weekend treatment was a flop. However, my mother always told me that your brain tries to sabotage you when you begin to approach sensitive personal problems. It's a defense mechanism. Just as you might subconsciously protect yourself from the truth by lashing out at your partner when they bring up a sensitive issue, your own mind will sometimes "protect" you by reflecting your attention. "Dealing with this deeper personal issue is going to cause you a lot of stress!" your mind says (or at least, mine does). "Lots of bad things could happen!" Then it picks out every stupid negative experience you've had in the last week, no matter how small, and FIXATES on them.

I'm not fooled though. I know that unraveling the reasons for how I deal with stress from my personal history will allow me to replace these responses with better habits that will leave me less anxious and more in control. I think of it as something similar to a memory wipe and operating system reinstall on a computer; you get rid of all those weird glitches and start new again. The computer, or mind, works the way it was meant to without all the clutter.

This is all quite a bit of work. But if improving yourself were easy, then everyone would do it and no one would be a drug addict or theif or hoarder. And results aren't guaranteed or absolute. But I think its worth it to keep climbing the mountain of making a better, happier me.

posted from Bloggeroid

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Post prom

When I was in college, I teased my boyfriend about finding me too late, because we didn't get to go to the prom together.

You can only imagine what it will be like for the guy I end up with.

During a dry spell when my best short friend and I were both single, we made up lists of requirements for our perfect man. Mine featured silly things like "must know how to play guitar" and "should be tall enough for me to be able to wear my favorite heels with him." This is idiotic. A man could just wind up fulfilling these requirements through nothing but coincidence. My new list, detailed here, will be less about matching a man to the specifications and more about finding a man that will actively fulfill the conditions.

 -Must have saved the life of a baby fur seal. (Please note that it MUST be a fur seal and yes they are endangered so you'd better get started.)

-Should be versed in cooking and a master at baking chocolate souffles.

-Needs to own the entire Lord of the Rings Trilogy and all of the Star Wars movies.

-Must live/move within walking distance.

-Enjoys spending romantic weekends on his personal yacht.

-Possesses the loudest laugh in the theater, easily muffling mine and saving me from embarrassment.

-Invests in a company at the forefront of research for developing a gluten free croissant.

-Has an uncontrollable urge to shower compliments upon brunette graduate students and calico kitties.

-Has run a marathon.

-Has won a tortilla eating contest.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

for all my underdogs

The rarest Valentine Day gift of all...a dose of honesty. Brought to you by yours truly and SisterD.
Check out our Etsy shop, LetItRipLetters, for these cards and more soon!

¿ <3 ?

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Updated dating profile

So you think you're good enough to date a scientist.

Listen up, slackers. I'm tired of writing these so try to bully your likely tiny brain into paying attention (I know it's so hard to read an entire three paragraphs of text before sending a girl an email but, having lost all my patience, I'm not above sending nasty responses to idiotic messages from men who match up with exactly 0% of what I'm looking for). Speaking of who I'm not looking for, it's (surprisingly!) not just any random one of you. I'm actually looking for ONE of you....the one who is right for me. That's right. Just the one. One out of the six billion people on our planet earth. Hmm. Sit back a minute and think about that for a minute. Do you think it's you? ....because chances are, it's probably not.

First off I'm looking for a r-e-l-a-t-i-o-n-s-h-i-p. If I just wanted some lame guy to hang out with for a few weekends then I'll go pick up some loser from the bar at Applebees. If you're going to get all awkward when we're eating out and our server refers to you as my boyfriend, then that is capital LAME. If you want to mack it all the time but can't hold my hand in public then sorry but as soon as I get bored (and it will be quickly), you're history. If it takes you something like three months (or, god forbid, longer) to stop awkwardly introducing me as your "friend" then you can forget it. In three months' time I might be finished with my world domination- and I'm certainly not going to spare you if you can't freaking figure out if we're actually "officially" dating or not.

Ok. Secondly, I need a guy who has manners. Not hold the door for you in a meaningless gesture because your mom told you this automatically makes you a gentleman (it does not) manners, but actions that are actually thoughtful and benefit someone else type manners. I know that being rude can sometimes be funny, but the bottom line is that you don't actually star in your own cartoon show set in Quahog, RI. Being rude all the time is just.... rude. And lazy. And inconsiderate. For example, the toilet seat can stay up at your house, but don't you dare leave it up at my place- or you will be asked to leave. (Wouldn't that be fun to explain to your roommate when you get back 30 minutes after you left for your date?) Also, if I get all all dressed up to see you, I expect a compliment. If I look friggin hot, I probably know it and don't need you to tell me. But a compliment is an expression of your appreciation that I spent some time preparing for our time together (most likely due to some misplaced optimism about your personality). I'll return the compliment if it's at all true. Oh, and last bugt certainly not least on the manners requirements: just because you have a phone doesn't mean you have to use it. I swear the next time a guy answers a text at the table on a first date I'm going to punch him right in the face.

Last on the requirements list. I'm the maternal type. I like taking care of people. This works to your benefit, big time. I'll make time to bake you cookies, even while I'm busy with my PhD. If you're sick, I'll brave exposure to your viral particles to comfort you. I'll be nice to you and try to make you feel better if you've had a good day. This is just the way it is; being NICE (who ever heard of such a thing in the modern age?!) is who I am, and it makes me happy to act that way. How is this a requirement? It's not a free ride. If I'm nice to you, then you need to repay my good deeds in turn. I want you to be nice to me too! I know, it sounds crazy. Men can't be affectionate or maternal! That's just for girls! Well if it's the case that you're "too" manly to express your feelings, then just move along, sucker. (And by the way, being scared of what others will think about how you feel doesn't seem too manly, does it?) I want to be emotionally pampered. Just think of it this way; you'll save a lot of money on jewelry.

What's in it for you? Many of my desirable characteristics are detailed in the paragraphs above. A few others include an astounding aptitude for interpretive dance, a wicked sense of humor, and two really nice legs. Oh... and I just remembered that you'd better like cats.

Or else.