Friday, September 17, 2010

the god issue

so right about now Jews around where I live go to synagogues to begin Yom Kippur. it will be my first time when I don't at least partially participate. I should have already turned off the computer and what not.. But I dont' feel like it. And because for the past couple years I've been trying to figure out what I want and what I thought I should be doing. For too long I was forcing myself to fit a form not created for me. I made myself believe it was what I wanted. For years I was convincing myself it was exactly what I wanted, what I needed, it was the fulfilling of my nature. I had doubts... but my deep need of belonging and reconnecting with past and heritage took over. I thought that was the only way to heal thorn roots, to touch the past. I was ignoring or pretended not to hear things that made me cringe, when something inside me was protesting. I was justifying, excusing, quiting down... whatever was needed.

It took me years again to slowly learn what I believe, what is important to me. Scared all the time of what other would say, of the disappointment or hurt feelings. I was so much concerned with others' opinions of myself, that I was ready to continue walking over my own convictions, desires, dreams... I wonder sometimes if I ever got to this point if I didn't come out as lesbian. Because that was really a turning point, beginning of uncovering the layers of lies, masks, half-truths and "shoulds".
But once it started it couldn't be stopped. Arriving to the US gave me an opportunity to be born again, to create myself. I could get lost among crowds of people, I didn't feel as watched.
with time I realized that I didn't really feel any urge to follow the commandments. they lost their value, their purpose. For long time I was just trying to tell myself that I was just not as observant, that maybe I could call myself "conservative" even though it didn't "sit" with me right.
I finally admitted to myself that I don't really believe there is any God, and I don't think I ever did. I tried so hard to believe... I did all the motions, I repeated prayers, I was repeating things to others hoping I guess that if I said it enough times it would become real.
Now I just try to be honest with myself. I am still anxious, I feel kind of guilty that I am not fasting now and don't plan on going to a synagogue (I will fast most of the day tomorrow and will go for the very end though, for the tradition). I don't want to pretend and repeat words that I don't believe in. I need to do it at work sometimes, I don't want to do it in my private life.

I don't know for sure what is or isn't "out there". Hawking is saying that the universe could create itself out of nothing. I don't get it. But then, I don't understand how exactly the anti-anxiety drugs work, and I pop two each day. Just because I don't understand all about the beginnings of the universe or how it is growing, and what it means there is "nothing" where there is no universe, doesn't mean it's not real.
If some kind of superpower does exist though, I don't think it has any influence on the world now. some kind of demiurg who pushed the substance into motion. Or maybe I only hope that this power would have no way to influence the human doing? Because if it did, and the world looks the way it looks, than I don't want to believe in such god.

Sometimes I think the very ancient traditional animist or natural beliefs were/are much more real than all the complex modern religions. It was about respect for the nature, admitting one was a small speck of dust, that there were awesome and beautiful things out there. But at least they weren't murdering each other in the name of the spirits of fertility, didn't feel better than the others because of an access to a special spring, didn't slaughter children because they didn't accept the others' ideas of helpful hunting spirits.

I still love my tradition. it's emphasis on social justice, ethics, morality, learning, philosophy... I dislike a lot of it, all the products of narrow minded, homophobic and misogynist men perpetuating oppression in the name of their understanding of the will of god.
I love the clashes, I love the conflicts and the various shades. I don't want to lose that, but I have to find out my real self, and do what is real to me, honest and true.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

getting around

most of the time I don't complain about not having a car. it is what it is, I've never owned one, so I am used to do it. Here, in US, it's more difficult to get around without one, though. I still walk a lot, use buses, subway, lightrail and I have also good friends who help me around sometimes.
I don't want to have a car b/c one - I can't afford it, second - even if I got it somehow, I am scared of maintaining it and if anything breaks.

I wish I had a car, though, when there is a sucky weather like today, or when I feel it would be nice to go to the cinema, or IKEA or do bigger grocery shopping, or go downtown.... you get my idea.
Today was raining (thanks gods I took an umbrella) and got chilly. I had to go to the therapy and stop by the library on the way back... each stop involved waiting for the bus, walking to the bus stop, from the bus stop. So much time waste. It took me two hours to get home from therapy. With about 30min in the library... with a car it shouldn't take more than 1h., maybe slightly longer. Everything takes so much time... and I was lucky I caught the bus right after therapy, I generally miss it and wait 30min for the next one. Which sucks if it's raining, is cold, dark, and there isn't much people around...

I wish there was a better public transport, that would seriously be a solution.

Jennifer Hudson: "I've lost another 20pounds!"

First - how is that even news to appear on main CNN site? second - why women continue to feel loosing weight is some kind of reason to feel proud? She looked very pretty the way she was, I hate this freaking media.

Today my (male) student commented on a photo of Dara Torres and commented "she looks like someone glued her face to a male body". I so exploded after that. I said: "that is what an athlete woman looks like. that's her abs, that's her beautiful, athletic body. Men are not the only ones allowed to have visible muscles".
Similarly I want to explode each time I see comments about Williams' bodies. That they look like men. People are scared of strong, athletic women and it's truly pathetic and sad.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


my students were making an art project today, a family tree of the Biblical patriarchs. two groups chose to make a collage using random faces they found in magazines to represent each person from the four generation.

One group had a choice of mostly white persons with a few Asian and African American between them.
the other group had all white but one. this one was a bigger picture of an African- American man. They put him as the "bad boy" Ismael. Isaac, his "good" brother, was represented by a blond guy with curly hair.

I asked them why they chose this particular picture... they didn't know, just "randomly". But I dont' think it was "random". It's sad how deeply the racist stereotypes and prejudices run, unconscious decision to make the bad guy Black, and the good guy angelic white...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

got my hands dirty

I played with clay today. it was part of a special program in our school, linking learning with art. I had fabulous time. This is just such an amazing experience to create, to make your hands dirty with shapeless matter which slowly becomes something. This "something" still wasn't exactly of a beautiful shape, making a vessel is not an easy thing! But I would love to play more with that. I do like painting, but the most fun I have is when I do more spacial stuff, tri-dimensional. I use joint compound, speckle, coffee mixed with glue... I just like when there is more texture. I think I might try and play with the self-drying clay for the beginning, just to see if I really like it. I know I am sometimes of a "hay fire" - I got all excited about new idea but can't finish it.

I had to be a bitch to a student today. I hate to hear "other teachers don't pay attention, you are the only one who cares!" (no it wasn't an expression of my deep feelings and care for the students... but rather for the students' rules and guidebook). I feel bad, but if there are rules, and they make sense, I follow them. It makes my life easier, I hate the doubt and gray zones. The more I can limit them the better. But still feel weird.

more on the fancy 'lone island' vacation

i am thinking about what does it mean to be rich. was i too harsh? I don't think so. being able to go for vacation, especially really nice one, is being privileged. being able to set aside the money instead of spending it on medical bills, clothes, food, meds, paying old bills and what not. I would probably be able to set aside close to that money over a year. but I would not spend it that way. I can't afford it - even if I had the money. Living on constant edge not knowing when a blow comes to send me over the debt, makes you extra cautious. and priorities are very different. first, pay green card and lawyer (at the moment I was able to save for green card, and half the lawyer). then helping out my Mom which will begin in November regularly no matter if I saved or not, she's finally cutting down on hours (from 11h/day) and getting help from someone to work "only" 9h and have every other Saturday off. So she could go and visit her son and grandson. Then there is this case of a vehicle, at least a scooter, car would be more practical. And constant bills for meds and therapy. I still should do my teeth, but for the moment can't afford it, so I still smile with close lips. I buy clothes in goodwill or on ebay, I don't do restaurants and hardly go to the cinema. I stopped buying books (even though I was buying only in and use only library. i cook my own food and try to stretch whatever I can, but still making the priority for the food to be healthy and primal. The only decorating I did in my apt was with the cheapest costs - paint, hand made mural, goodwill's side table and whatever cheap I could find in Ikea, discount stores, second-hand store or ebay over the past two years. I workout at home so I don't pay for gym. I get all my info online, so I don't buy workout dvds.
I went for vacation this year - to visit friends up in their farm cottage and then another friend in a bigger city. I could hardly afford the tickets and was long looking for possible options involving every possible form of transportation to figure out the cheapest. I thought I might be able to stay in NY for a few days in a hostel or something... forget it.

anyway, I feel I am really trying to live thrifty, save as much as I can, not spending much on anything else than necessities. And with all of that, I still consider myself lucky and relatively rich. I am living the most rich life (materialistically speaking) I've ever had. I eat foods I didn't have as a kid or young adult. I can afford my own apt now (rental of course) which takes almost half of my salary. I have much more than my mom after working very hard for most of her life. I have clothes that fit. Many of them are new (even if bought online) or almost new. I am lucky even without a car or expensive gadgets.

I don't take things for granted. with all that I have I don't whine, b/c I know most of the people in this country have it much worse than I have. they can't have any savings, even the little ones. they can't afford health insurance or healthy food. I am lucky and I do say it with full thought behind, not to pretend to be modest or whatever.

Monday, September 13, 2010

I am glad at least they didn't call it "cheap" or "steal"

let us read about the private islands not only for the "rich". I dont' really care if that makes them feel bad to call themselves "rich", but spending $3,000 (and not even to mention the $50k/week rentals) for a week of vacation is being rich. Wake up, assholes, most people in this society can't afford it. they have no savings. they live from paycheck to paycheck, and if they dream of a week off it's to do some touch ups around the house, play with the kids in their yard or in front of rental house, or go look for second job. That's being "ordinary". That's what common and typical around here now. Not vacations on a freaking island.

They are still privileged rich asses in my book.

true blood

just finished watching the season finale. not sure what to think... other than gorgeous Tara looking even more gorgeous.
kind of blah. I was hoping for a bit more... even though it was a nice touch to blame Bill for the rats attack. at least sookie showed a bit more action and was doing stuff she wanted to do. good for her. anyway, gimme some eric/sookie action finally. and pam/anyone.

oh, and come with the witches!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

and so it begins...

I am not really sure why I decided to move over to an open blog. I am not even sure if I will have enough material, but I felt it might be good for me to write down a lot of the thoughts and musings that roll over in my head.

What you can find here? A lot about the society, diversity, social justice, racism, homophobia... mixed among it ideas from anthropology, paleontology, living modern paleo life, trying to eat and live healthy. I also love photography, which I may upload once in a while. I might also write about my encounters with people, my struggles with bureaucracy, immigration, teaching, with my faith, my tribe, my religion... and probably some other things, whichever I find important to me and worthy sharing with others.