Saturday, 23 January 2016

My happiness is important.

I've been happier this week.  Does it matter?  I used to think that happiness, wasn't important.  It was hedonistic and selfish.  But I don't think that anymore.

I've been doing things just simply because I want to do them.  It's not because I have to do them, or somebody else wants me to do them, it's because I want to do them.

And I don't think that's selfish or hedonistic.  I don't think it's wrong in anyway.

What is the point of life?  I know that question has been asked hundreds of times, but really what is the point?

I don't think that happiness is the point of live.  I don't think it's the most important thing, but unlike the me of the past, the me of now does think it's important.

I always thought that the happiness of other people was important.  But what about me?  Isn't my happiness important.

I think it is.

Friday, 22 January 2016

Does formal education have more value than informal education?

It's after midnight, as it so often is when I write these posts.  This post will be scheduled for tomorrow morning, and when that day comes I hope both you and I have a good day.

My dog is snoring beside me, and my mother is already in bed.  I question what to write.  I write a sentence, and then delete it and this I do over and over again.  I'm extremely aware that this is  public blog, and as such anybody can read it.  I'm also aware that if I don't put some of myself into this blog, nobody will want to read it.  I have to put my emotions, my day to day activities, and a bit of who I am in this blog, to make it personal.

At the same time, I love to learn, and I spend many evenings doing just that: learning.  I am formally educated from more than one post-secondary educational institution.  I've done correspondence and in person learning.  I've written tests, written essays, and attended lectures, and yet I'm beginning to wonder if any of that really means more than the learning I do each day.  Does formal education mean more than informal education?  I never thought so before, but I disagree with my past self.

My mother, used to informally educate herself at the public library.  Before the internet, there were reference books.  She spent afternoons going to the library, and just reading any kind of reference books that interested her.  Did the knowledge she gained, have any less value because she didn't pay for it?

Does knowledge need a professor to teach it, to be valued?  It does in this culture.  But why?

I just spent another evening learning about intersex conditions.  I will probably spent countless more hours before I'm done with the subject, and when I am done, I'll go on to another subject with equal fascination.  Does all that research have any less value than the research those who are paying to research do?  I don't think so.

What do you think?  Do you like to learn?  Do you research things on your own?

Please answer in the comments below.

1000 Views - Thank You

I haven't posted in a while.  I'm neither going to explain why or apologize for it.  I don't have to.  And sometimes I even wonder if anybody is reading this.

According to the stats there have been 1000 views on this blog.  That theoretically means that that 1000 people have read what I wrote, 1 person has read the blog 1000 times, or any other permutations of the factors of 1000.  I'm not sure how many of those views (if any) are my views.  This complicates the stats even more.

But however it goes, if you are reading this right now, thank you for reading, and if you made any of the 1000 views of this blog in my stats before I started writing this post, thank you.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Creative Thinking

When I was a child, one of my favourite subjects was Creative Thinking.  "Creative Thinking", you might be thinking "What is that?"  Well I am aware that Creative Thinking is not a class in all places, but for 3 glorious years I lived in a very unique place mentioned in this post.  And it was there that I took a class called "Creative Thinking".

In Creative Thinking, I was asked to think of possible solutions for problems, and think of inventions I'd like to see.  We drew pictures of these solutions and inventions and wrote about them, explaining the pictures.  Nobody was allowed to have anything that resembled any other students work.  We had to think of solutions on our own.

That's one thing that really annoyed me when we moved away from there: the teachers expectations that my answers would be like everybody else's.  Even in art she'd hold up some sort of example, tell us what to do, and then get upset when I did something that didn't look like every body else's.  To this day, I think her way of teaching was dead wrong.  Is the point of education to be to make everybody think exactly alike, copy other people's work, and be little clones?  Or is the point to encourage learning and individual thinking?  I argue the latter, but many teachers think it's the first.  It mystified me and annoyed me then, and it still mystifies me now.

I waited, thinking that some day I would take another Creative Thinking class.  Maybe it was offered in a different grade?  Maybe some day...  But some day never came.

Until Now.

I have a huge journal, that I bought for something else.  It's bigger than the regular 8.5 x 11 paper, the paper is soft, smooth and creamy white, and it's unlined.  I bought it for something else, but used about 10 pages of it before discarding the project I bought it for.

Well...  I'm going to use it for Creative Thinking.  I loved that class.  It brought me happiness and joy to think of unique solutions and inventions.  Why can't I do that now?  As I said in previous posts I already discovered listening to Raffi while drawing in adult colouring books is still fun, even though I'm adult.  Why wouldn't Creative Thinking class?  And why can't I just sit, with this huge journal, and think of solutions to the worlds problems, and inventions I'd like to see, and anything other creative ideas I have, and express them in this journal.  Why not?

And that is what I'm going to do.  Starting today.


You can read about Raffi and Adult Colouring Books in these three posts.

Raffi and Adult Colouring Books

I had an absolutely fabulous day

Adult Colouring Books and Regression.

Monday, 18 January 2016

I'm going to bed.

Last night I was so tired, I started getting ready for bed at 10:00 and was in bed by 11:00.  That is truly amazing for me, because usually I get to bed between 2:00 and 4:00 am.  I went to bed without doing a blog post.

Tonight, I almost didn't do a blog post either.  It's just after midnight, and although for me it's early I'm going to bed early again.

My mother and I have been listening to another J.A. Jance book.  Maybe listening to her, makes us tired, my mother joked.  I don't know.  Maybe.

And maybe it's just that the act of listening, and colouring is more relaxing than watching youtube videos, writing blog posts, or reading websites.  It's strange.  Maybe the article I read a long time ago that said screen time should be limited to bedtime had a point?  I don't know.

I do know, that right now, I have a stomach ache, and I don't feel like sitting up doing anything.

And as strange as it is for me to go to bed so early, I'm going to be heading there very soon.  Going to sleep....  Well that's another matter.  Right now I'm reading a very good book, and if I get sucked into it, like I did 2 days ago, I might end up reading all night long again.  I actually hope not because tomorrow I have to take my mother to the doctor and I want to be able to be awake while I'm driving.

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Gender can be complicated, and it can sometimes be painful.

For those of you who followed my old wordpress blog you might already know some of this post.  First off, thank you for following me to this blog, and second, there will be new things in this post.

Last night, after Mom went to bed, and I settled down for my "alone time", I watched random youtube videos.  Google is interesting in the way it set up youtube, because it recommends new videos based on the videos I already watched.  A buzzfeed video about intersex people was recommended.  The video starts with, somebody asking "who has testicles", and a woman raises her hand.  "Ok this is interesting", I thought, and one intersex video led me to another, until an Oprah episode came up.  Soon it was almost 3:00 am, and my interest had been completely peeked, but I knew I had to go to bed.  Even in bed, I was thinking about the issue, and wanting to watch more videos.

I was introduced the the idea of intersex when I was a child.  At the time it was called hermaphrodite, and the adults and children in the group were extremely surprised to find out a bear was both male and female.

My friend, brother, and myself lived in a small town surrounded by forest, and bears were a common sight.  We decided to go "bear hunting".  Of course it was pretend, but we encountered a real bear.  I clearly remember my friend, pointing out a bear track in the dirt, and saying "look there's a bear track", and my brother saying "no that's not a bear track", and as we discussed the validity of this bear track looking up and seeing an actual bear.

We did exactly what we were taught not to do.  We screamed and ran.  We didn't back up slowly, we didn't fall to the ground and play dead, we didn't remain quite, no we screamed and ran.  My friends Dad came out of their house, and shot the bear.  And that was that.

Well not really.

My friends brother was extremely smart, and he asked if he could watch the necropsy.  He and all of us were given permission.  To the surprise of the forest warden doing the necropsy, the bear had both male and female parts, and the garbage from our back yards and my friends back yards in it's stomach.  Both identifying garbage (my friend's brother discovered a balloon with his name on it), and the idea that a bear could be both male and female were fascinating to me.  My friends brother asked for and received the bears sex organs in a jar.  He took them to his science teacher, to learn more about the condition of the bear.

I didn't get the bear's sex organs (I didn't want them and I didn't have a teacher who let me do my own science project on them), but I had plenty of questions, that nobody could answer for me: Could the bear get itself pregnant was a huge one.

Later on when I was an adult, I stayed up late on another night, and researched the term "intersex" having read it on a website, and found out that it was the new term for "hermaphrodite".  And my fascination was peeked again.  I stayed up late that night, reading website after website about the condition.  My question was answered: no an intersex bear could not get pregnant on her/his own.

And then last night...  Well I still find it interesting.

I find many things that are outside my own experience interesting.  The reason why is that small town I once lived in where we found the bear.  That town had a different culture that was unique to itself.  I'm not going to get into all or any of the differences, but they were emence and it was a huge culture shock to move back to where my extended family lived.  I spoke differently, I dressed differently, and I was different.  I was so different, that the teacher in my new school often called me a liar and told me things couldn't have possibly been how I described them back in my old town.

Having lived in two different cultures, and understanding that culture even within the same country can be very different, I'm always fascinated by other peoples storeys and how they are different than mine.  Throughout the years I researched several different conditions, cultures, and places that are not my own.  From living in 16th century Russia to intersex experience, a another person's storey that is different than my own, is extremely fascinating.

It's with this mindset I stayed up way to late watching youtube videos about intersex people.  When I made my first foray into learning about this subject, youtube wasn't invented yet, and we had the internet in out home for only a few short years.  Now the invention of youtube gave me more to learn.  I actually got to see and hear the people that were intersex as they told their stories.

In sociology class I was taught that we are male or female because we are socialized into being male or female.  I liked barbies, wore pink, and had long hair because that's what my society expected of me.  If I had been told I was a boy, and had been socialized into a girl, than I wouldn't like barbies or pink or long hair.  We were assigned a long assignment on our own family histories, and how we were socialized.  And like any fresh college student, I believed I was being told the truth.

But that's not the truth.  When I started being nanny for my nephew that became glaringly obvious.  My nephew was a spiderman magnet.  He loved spiderman.  If in any store there was a spiderman anything, he could find it, show it to me, and ask for it.  He dressed in his spiderman costume, slung web, read spiderman comic books, watched spiderman TV shows, and could list off all of spiderman's enemies in the marvel comics.  And I didn't teach him this.  I don't think he parents did either.  He was all 100% boy, with boy likes and boy dislikes, and he displayed that as soon as he could talk.  He had very definite masculine traits, and it had nothing to do with socialization.  My nephew had dolls, and teddy bears and "girlish" clothes, because we went to university, and we were all taught that children could be given a variety of toys and not pushed into any one gender.  Well that's a bold faced lie.  It's simply not true that children can be pushed into a gender.  He may have had "girlish" toys, but preferred spiderman, and all of his boy clothes and toys.  He was a boy.  And he knew it.

If children could be socialized into gender, than transgender children like Jazz Jennings simply wouldn't be.  She started out as all boy, with boy clothes, and boy toys and a boy name, but as soon as she could talk, she empathically announced she was all girl.

The most famous socialization tragedy was David Reimer, whose penis was amputated when he was a baby because of a botched circumcision.  David's parents were told to take him home, and raise him as a girl, and that everything would be fine.  They never told David or his identical twin Brian, why David has surgery or why both David and Brian were sent to a psychologist called John Money.  Both boys were interviewed by Money at length, and Money wrote papers on his "study" that gender expression is decided by socialization.  Money claimed that the "experiment" was a success, and that David had been successfully transformed into a girl and that Brian who was raised a boy was successful raised as a boy.

But it didn't work.  Even as David Reimer became more depressed and suicidal Money claimed that it did work.

Eventually David and Brian were told the truth, but only years after pain and suffering.  David and Brian both committed suicide as adults.

It's a sad and tragic storey, and it proves that gender is far more complicated than socialization, and that you simply can't socialize or will a person to be "boy" or "girl".  The Reimer's couldn't socialize David, Jazz Jennings's parents wouldn't have been able to socialize Jazz (although they never tried), and the parents of intersex children can't decide if their children are "boys" or "girls" for them.  Those children shouldn't be surgically changed to be any one gender, and should be left to decide for themselves.

Gender is complicated.  For most people (me included), gender is straight forward.  It is decided at birth, and never questioned.  But for some: those who are transgender, and those who are intersex, it is not straightforward.  It's difficult and complicated.  It is decided by Mullerian glands, testosterone, estrogen, progesterone and all sorts of other things in utero, and any number of those things can be atypical in the developing fetus.  And if any of those things are atypical in the developing fetus, that fetus will have a gender that atypical.  (Please note I use the word atypical, because it's the most sensitive and least offensive word I can think of.  In no way do I think that these people are abnormal or weird or mistakes or anything).

I'm not done learning about gender.  I love to learn and I love to learn about people who have different stories than me.  But as I learn, I'm learning that gender is complicated and sometimes painful.  It's not as simple as socialization.  It's fascinating.

But I'm tired, and I'm going to bed.

I hope you enjoyed reading about what I am currently learning about.

Let me know what you think in the comments.

Friday, 15 January 2016

Dear Judger

   I know what you think of me.  Don't you think I know what those looks mean as I walk by?  How you can't quite look in my eyes, or worse you look at me with distain.

   I know.  Really I do.  You don't have to tell me, but sometimes you just can't resist can you?  Does being in the post office, looking at the mail I got for the day, somehow invite you to say rude things to me?

   Are you that stupid, that you think I've invited your remarks?  Do you think I actually want to hear what you say?  Do you think you're comment's will change anything?  Make me exactly what you want me to be?

   Would that make you happier?  Me, being everything you expect, would that improve your life in anyway?  I don't think so.  You'd just go on to the next person, you thought wasn't following your rules, and be just as unhappy about them?

   But maybe it's not about changing me?  Maybe you don't care if I want to hear what you say?  Maybe the aim is to hurt?  Do you like seeing the look of astonished hurt on my face?  Do you like it when I can't think of something to say?

   I try to be nice....  Say something polite back.  I don't want to be as nasty as you.

  Why are you that way?  What do you get out of it?

  I'll tell you this much: I despise you as much as you despise me.  I never wanted to be your friend?  I know you think, everybody loves you.  I know you shine bright at the top of your peak.  I know you think everybody wanted to be in the popular crowd.  There's even that book "Queen Bee's and Wanna Bee's."  But guess what!

   That book is a lie.  I never wanted to be you, and I never wanted to be your friend.  I thought you were a mean little bitch, and I knew you'd just as much back stab your friends as you would me.

   I'm polite, not because I like you, or because I'm still afraid of you.  I'm polite because I don't want to be you.  I never did.  You're mean, hateful, rude and everything nasty.

  I'm empathetic, kind, generous, and everything good.

  Why would I want to be like you?