Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Taking Care of Business

You may have noticed that I've now promised to update every other weekday. You guys, I swear, I'll try really hard. And so far this week, I've been on top of it! This is actually the second post for today! Which brings me to my main point. I may update even more often than pledged at the top of the page, especially while unemployed and job hunting. Got to kill time somehow! I just wanted to give loyal readers an idea of when to check for updates.

Other pieces of general information for my readers:

If you're new to my world, and especially studious and interested, I'd really recommend you check out my old blog to find out more about me. I posted there for a couple of years before my issues made it a problem and I just needed to stop, take some time off, and start fresh in a new place (here). I may link to posts there as they relate to whatever my current topic is, or port some in, so if you don't want to do all that extra reading, stick around and you'll likely get the key bits of info anyway.

The Abuse series I started will continue. Sorry if I threw anyone off by starting a new topic the next time I posted. I plan to sprinkle my Abuse posts intermittently between other topics so we don't get too bogged down by such a heavy topic. I will link the various parts together at the end each post in the series as I publish them. I'm only planning on about 4 right now, but I had a lot of thoughts tangentially related to the topic that I wanted to share and it was definitely too much for a single post.

I mentioned in my earlier post about the fact that I'm not passionate about the field in which I work. I want to clarify that I do like my job and find it fulfilling. Nor did I give up some long held dream to pursue this instead. I've just never been the person whose dreams are associated with their work. It is a means to an end for me. But again, that doesn't mean I don't enjoy it. I am planning a future post to explain a little more about what I do for those who are interested. I will talk about my field in general terms, but never my specific job, nor should you, internet user! That's the kind of stuff that gets you fired.

And yes, I am engaged, so unfortunately if anyone reading is uninterested in wedding talk, you'll have to slog through it. I don't really plan on posting about wedding stuff specifically, but it's going to be a pretty big part of my life for the next year, so it might come up from time to time.

Finally, since I've bragged about how much cuter my dog is that all your pets, here is proof!

Image via and personal.

Comic Con

You guys, I lived in San Diego for a year. I LIVED IN COMIC CON CITY and didn't get to go. I would love to blame it on my brother, who foolishly scheduled his wedding for that weekend, but the reality is that there was no way I could afford it even without travel costs. Ever since, I've told myself, one day, ONE GLORIOUS DAY, I will have a full-time job and money and I can go.

Nerd mecca!

That was 2011. I was really hoping this year would be my year. After all, I graduated.

I'm curly sue, front left, if you couldn't tell.

Did I mention that before? Yeah... so, knocked that Masters degree out of the park. Piece of pie. And now I deserve a treat right?

I don't like cake, and I do like Jensen Ackles.

Not really. It sucked. It was 6-day weeks of 12 hours days for 2 years, but it's over now! Sweet, sweet freedom! (read: debt). And despite being repeatedly told that SLPs (speech-language pathologists, that's my thing, look it up) are in increasingly high demand and we should not take the first job offered but play the field a little, I've had exactly one interview in 3 months, and fewer job offers. Now look, I'm not a crazy person, I don't expect a job to fall in my lap, nor do I believe I'm owed a job just because I graduated. However, and hear me out, the following are why I chose this field:

1. High demand (meaning I should be able to find a job reasonably quickly and in locations across the county/world)
2. Good pay (I am so tired of debt, and I really wanted a job that enabled me to live my life without worrying about money)
3. Job security (related to high demand, my job isn't likely to ever be obsolete or redundant)
4. It's pretty interesting.

**Yes, I realize the irony of #2 in that I accumulated debt getting my degree in the field, but you gotta spend to make right? Plus, at the typical salary of SLPs, even early in the career, I should be able to pay that off in 5 years or less.

Notice that none of those reasons is passion, or a drive to make a difference in the world, or some other high-minded ideal. I'm interested in the subject matter of my field from an academic perspective, but honestly, it doesn't appeal to me much more than any one of a dozen other things I considered when I first entered college. I chose it because it provided the best opportunity for a financial secure life, and sure, maybe I collect bonus points in life for helping people. Having lived through poverty, the financial side is something that's pretty important to me. So after going through everything it took to get me to this point and I'm still not able to find a job? Yeah, okay, I'm a little miffed. I feel a little lied to, somewhat misled. I didn't expect my dream job right out of the gate, but I figured I'd be able to get A job within a few months.

I complain, but I am actually pretty proud of making it this far. It's been a lot of work, and I feel pretty accomplished. I'm worried about it now, but I'm confident I will ultimately find a good job. So all of that is my angst-ridden digression leading here: STILL DIDN'T GET TO GO TO F*&$ING COMIC CON!

Then, glory of glory! Wizard World is hosting a Comic Con in Nashville! You guys! I live in Nashville! And the guest list looks freaking awesome. Alan Tudyk, Holly Marie Combs, and Eliza Dushku are some of my favorites, and even Bill Shatner is going to be there!

And, yet, I STILL CAN'T GO! Which brings me back to my frustration with my job search. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Let It Go - Abuse part 1

I know, I know, SHUT UP ABOUT FROZEN ALREADY! Right? Here's the thing, guys, people spend a lot of time watching/discussing/obsessing about that movie because it had a crap ton of interesting messages ripe for dissection. You don't have to love the story, the characters, or the music, but it's pretty groundbreaking (for Disney) in a lot of ways.

Specifically, we're going to talk about abuse.

I know I'm not the first to address this topic in reference to Frozen, nor will I be the last or the most articulate. But I still find it to be one of the more overlooked themes, probably because a lot people think it's not one. They think those of us who point out the abusive relationships in the film are reading too much into it or taking it too seriously. And I can't really disagree that we might be seeing things in the film not intended by Disney. To me, however, that makes it all the more disturbing. Like the Twlight Saga or the the 50 Shades of Gray books, we're presented with yet another wildly popular story about abuse that most people don't recognize as abuse. These shows how little many people know about it's warning signs. What's worse, in the case of Twilight and 50 Shades, it teaches readers to glorify abuse, and see those warning signs and those relationships as good things, something that should be sought out instead of ended, but I digress, and fortunately, that's not the case in Frozen.

Before we move forward, should you be that one guy living under a rock who hasn't yet seen the film, be aware that there are SPOILERS! ahead, so read at your own risk.

The first time I heard the song "Let It Go," was when a friend of a friend posted the YouTube video to Facebook.

Still gives me chills!

The song immediately struck a chord with me. Actually, it straight up punched me in the stomach and knocked the wind out of me. I hadn't seen the movie yet, and in fact, didn't even know it existed at that point. But one listen to this song and I was in tears, struggling to catch my breath. Why? Why did it affect me so strongly? I spent some time reading over the lyrics, analyzing them, and saw the movie (by which point I'd listened to this piece often enough I could sing along during the film). I finally put it together. We all know, and have talked to death, how great a song this is for young people (especially girls) because it is all about empowerment and accepting and embracing who you are regardless of what others might think. That's all true, but for me, this song is about escape. It's about freedom. It's about finally breaking free of the mental hold of her childhood abuse.

Some of you may have read that last sentence with shock. Sure, Elsa had a sad and difficult childhood, but she wasn't abused. She was, though. Her parents loved her dearly, and may have thought that their actions were justified in an attempt to protect both their daughters, but they emotionally abused Elsa. They spent years talking her into hiding something that was a fundamental part of her being (specifically her powers, but this could be viewed as a metaphor for a lot of things). They convinced her that the very thing that made her special and wonderful was something about which she should be ashamed and fearful. Something she had to hide. They isolated her from everyone in her kingdom, and even encouraged her to stay away from, and lie to, other family members. This cage they forced her to build around her heart had such a strong hold on her that even after her parents' deaths, she was terrified of herself. Terrified that doing or saying the wrong thing at the wrong moment could end her life. She still couldn't let it go.

**pauses for applause at using post title naturally in body of post**

It took her sister, forcing a confrontation (which is not the right way to approach victims of abuse, a topic we'll address later) for her to admit the truth about the situation. So when Elsa sang that song, it was not just about being herself, or letting go of her power and enjoying it. It was about letting go of those chains placed on her by her parents's abuse and her fear. It was Elsa finally recognizing that she could be free.

I have been the victim of abuse. I have felt myself, despite being now years removed from the experience, holding back, biting my tongue, and settling for what I don't want because those are the habits I developed to survive and they are so deeply ingrained in me, it's hard to recognize them for what they are. When I heard that song, it was symbolic to me that I could let go of the fear. I could do those things that used to earn me punishment, that used to set off his anger, because that wasn't the world I lived in any more. 

However, as we saw for Elsa, just deciding to get over it and let go isn't really enough. There was still work to be done, both within herself and in her kingdom. The same is true for real life victims of abuse. I don't live with the daily risk abuse anymore, but the fallout is still with me, like the habits I mentioned above, and to some degree always will be. 

This is the beginning of a multi-part series about abuse, addressing my personal experience, representations in media, and general information. Additions to the series will be published on Saturdays.

The next installment in the series will cover the other abusive relationship in Frozen (bonus points if you can guess it, it's pretty obvious!), and how abuse isn't over just because it's over. Find part 2 here, part 3 herepart 4 here and  part 5 here