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Where thoughts roam free... Providing the latest thoughts on all things of relevance or irrelevance.
Blog Added: June 10, 2012 04:18:04 AM
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Good Enough

July 1, 2015: It’s a good thing no one besides me ever reads this journal–otherwise mayhem would ensue from my dark, dark thoughts. But today I’m talking about something less dark I believe (at least less dark by my standards heh). I’d like to talk about something that’s been on my mind for a while....

July 1, 2015:

It’s a good thing no one besides me ever reads this journal–otherwise mayhem would ensue from my dark, dark thoughts. But today I’m talking about something less dark I believe (at least less dark by my standards heh). I’d like to talk about something that’s been on my mind for a while. Maybe if I write it down, I’ll stop thinking about it.

Sexism is a real pain in the butt. And I thought if I hang around the right crowds, I’d stop experiencing it. But that’s not true. And I’m beginning to think it will never be true.

I live with 20 of the most brilliant people I have ever met. I go to one of the best schools in the country. Yet, I experience sexism among my housemates and my colleagues. Luckily, not among my friends. I choose my friends carefully.

I’ve been reading a lot of posts from feminists writing about sexual harassment. But most of these are overt sexual harassment: friends making inappropriate jokes about dicks, a male sitting too close and touching uncomfortably, being catcalled on the street…etc.

Let me tell you, dear journal, about the sexism that exists among intellectuals. These are not grievances that are newsworthy or maybe not even interesting to most feminists because they are not direct attacks against women. But they create a hostile psychological environment, and they are important to me because this is world I live in. People can say, “Suck it up.” But this is something that shouldn’t even require sucking up. This kind of problem should be non-existent among intellectuals. The whole point of intellectuals is that they care about the objective truth, not about biases. They should be smart enough to distinguish what is true, and what is leftover from centuries of prejudices.

But they are not.

Oh, dear journal, let me bore you with a list of my grievances with the hope of removing them from my mind.

My grievances:

  1. I play some games with some male students in my house. Every single game, my abilities get put down. Comments like, “I thought <insert male name> was doing better.” Every single time I win something. My name never goes into the insert. My choices get laughed at or in a less dramatic sense, get snickered lightly at, even if I win the game in the end. Whenever a guy makes a good play, other guys say, “That’s clever.” Whenever I make a good play, I receive a disgruntled “Oh.” at best. It’s not a wonder that I’m the only girl in the house who plays games with the guys.
  2. Dinner table: my comments receive 0 attention if I’m attempting to join an “intelligent” conversation between the three male graduate students. There’s not even an acknowledgement that a sound was made–no eye contact, no nod. In some instances, my words get repeated as if they were bright, fresh, new ideas that no one else has mentioned yet in the conversation. And I speak from fact to say that I am not soft. Let me also remind you that I have reason to participate in these conversations. It’s also little wonder to me why no female students participate in those conversations.
  3. Debates: I have to repeat my ideas. They don’t even get listened to as opposed to actually thought about. Debates with certain male students are pointless for me. It’s more of a game of repetition than a game of intellectual discovery.
  4. I give a 20 minute presentation, receives 20 interrupting questions. The male student who went before me receives 2 questions at the end. We were talking about the same topic.
  5. I was told I should spent less time thinking about research and more time thinking about God. I was told a good Christian wife should be less ambitious. But the husband can hold a job and be good to the family. The husband can have aspirations and ambitions. Good thing that relationship is long, long over.
  6. I make a video regarding a girl’s science program intending to encourage girls to withstand the centuries-old habit of cold-shoulders and snarky remarks to pursue what they are passionate about. Here are some of the comments written by male viewers:
    1. “This kind of sounds like a program for ‘special children’.”
    2. “This just assumes women don’t have the opportunity to do whatever they want. If women wanted to study computer science, they would. Just like if guys wanted to study computer science, they would. Most women just simply don’t want to.”
    3. “There should be more males in nursing schools and primary education. Where are the programs for those? If we don’t complain about female dominated fields we should not complain about male dominated fields either. But sexism prevails.”–Those typically have the taboo of being female dominated fields. Engineering and computer science on the other hand have no taboo. If you want to fix the problem of men entering female dominated fields, fix this taboo.
    4. Is it fair that girls get special programs simply because they need added incentive to be interested.”–Why don’t we try telling you that you’re wrong every single day of your job. Let’s see how much “incentive” you’ll need to go back to the job after a year of this.
  7. My fellow summer interns keeps making crude jokes regarding girls when girls are present. When with other male interns, talk about code.
  8. Male roommate’s friend asks male roommate whether he’s interested in a talk about programming languages. Asks me whether I’m interested in going to the talk on graphic design. Roommate majors in graphic design. I’m a PhD student in programming languages.
  9. Today in lab, was asked by a male student, rather flirtatiously in fact, whether I’m only visiting the class. I was the TA.
  10. Told I was bossy when I asked for more contributions from my coauthor. He stated he contributed a lot to the paper already. He wrote the 3 page intro. I wrote the other 15 pages.

Maybe the reason why I’m relieved that nobody else will ever read this is that I’m afraid of the backlash this will generate from the population. Nobody ever likes a troublemaker. If everyone follows the rules, then order in society is maintained. And the rule is: women should be docile, well-mannered, ready to back down when a man presents his opinion. In fact, she should be easily confused, quick to ask for help, and not contribute to a guy’s activity. If these rules are not followed, then sh** goes down and society goes up in chaos.

Author’s Note: Even though this is a fictional diary entry, these are 100% true events experienced by the other’s very good (female) friend who does go to a very good university and live with very brilliant individuals. Quotes are paraphrased to avoid being attributed to a specific individual.

 



The Ten Commandments

I used to think that people were born good. A person is born good and turns bad when bad things happen to them. I was born in the summer of ’79 and had that opinion till the summer of ’99. I was raised in a small farm in the middle of nowhere (in the middle...

I used to think that people were born good. A person is born good and turns bad when bad things happen to them.

I was born in the summer of ’79 and had that opinion till the summer of ’99.

I was raised in a small farm in the middle of nowhere (in the middle of Kansas to be exact). My life consisted of my corn and my family…all nine of them. I’d like to think that my brothers brought up their only sister to be tough. Well, at least I think I’m tough.

It was the summer of ’85 that I first walked into church. It was great singing those hymns and listening to the preacher talk about someone so perfect. Jesus became my guide. Every time I wanted to blame one of my dumb brothers on something that broke in the house, and trust me no one would think the better, a tiny voice inside my head asks me, “Would Jesus do that?” No, He wouldn’t.

It was the summer of ’99 that I first fell in love. It was a great feeling. But just as suddenly as the spark lit, it soon died. And it died, but not before he told me “be happy and do good.” I was depressed as s***. But, oh well, life moves on.

It was the fall of ’99 that I realized that I needed to grow up. And it was a darn stressful feeling. I was 20, and I was in college for pete’s sake, the first in my family to go in fact. I say this with no pride at all, but I am not the oldest in my family. My brothers felt their intelligence better spent on those casinos in the big cities.

I needed to grow up. I still believed that you get things just by wishing for them. I still believed that money grows on trees, no matter how much my brothers lose in a single night. I still believed that my mom’s gonna cook for me the rest of my life. I still believed that no matter how hard I screw up, God still loves me.

I decided to start with something I’ve known almost my entire life. I decided to see if I’ve been following the Ten Commandments.

You shall have no other gods before me.

Of course not. I was doing good so far.

You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.

What am I going to do make a golden calf? No thank you.

You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.

Oh how many times I wanted to smack those people who says “Oh my gee” except without the “oh my” and with something else in place of the “gee”.

Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.

I can see trouble up ahead. I go to church on Sundays without a doubt. But I do work also. When I’m home and it’s harvest season, I help with the harvest. When I’m at school, I do the work I didn’t do on Saturday. Maybe I’ll come back to this.

Honor your father and your mother.

I love my ma and pa, but they are so darn thick sometimes. Like when I was younger, I wanted to play football, but my pa told me I can’t. “It’s too dangerous,” he said. “And why do you want to play with those big boys anyways. You’re a girl.” Last Christmas, I came home and talked about my calculus class and how I had to use pi. They thought I was making pie for dinner.

You shall not murder.

No Sir. I shall and will not. I can’t even swat a fly for crying out loud.

You shall not commit adultery.

Judging by how quickly my summer romance died out, I won’t get a chance to. In all seriousness, that would be the last thing I would do to someone I love.

You shall not steal.

I steal and I lose all my dignity.

You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

But what if you think a person is just bad? What if you think a person you care about has been lying to you the whole time and the only thing a nice person like yourself can say is, “Be good.” But oh gee, how much we don’t know about how someone else thinks. Don’t give false testimony against your neighbor.

You shall not covet your neighbor’s house.

Oh boy, humans can really say one thing and mean the other. Sometimes you even fool yourself. I say I don’t care, but really, I do. I’m not only lying to myself, I’m lying to God.

Well, as you can probably guess, I didn’t do so great. I cannot do the really bad things that make you a really bad person. But the things that we all struggle with, needless to say, I also failed.

It’s the summer of ’11. Maybe we’re all just born bad and we become good as good things happen to us. Or maybe we were just born. Or maybe we were born to be who we were meant to be. Boy, I hope I was born good. But even if I’m not, I won’t stop trying to be good.



I’m sorry

Who knew it is so hard to say those two words. My heart hurts and has been hurting for a week. My thoughts run, race through space, and there seems to be a thousand reasons why I am not at fault. But none of this matters because I hurt the one person who understands and...

Who knew it is so hard to say those two words. My heart hurts and has been hurting for a week. My thoughts run, race through space, and there seems to be a thousand reasons why I am not at fault. But none of this matters because I hurt the one person who understands and knows me. I do not regret my actions, but I do regret that I can no longer talk to you like I use to. I cannot easily express my feelings. I seem stoic and unemotional. But I express myself through the little things. And those little things say I am sorry.



What is Love?

Instead of writing another one of my lofty posts about some lofty subject of which I have no authority, I’m going to write something very personal today. The sad thing about having an anonymous blog is that the person I am talking about will never see this. Do you believe you can love someone enough...

Instead of writing another one of my lofty posts about some lofty subject of which I have no authority, I’m going to write something very personal today. The sad thing about having an anonymous blog is that the person I am talking about will never see this.

Do you believe you can love someone enough that your visions of the future are only filled with time talking to them? Do you believe that you can love someone enough that even after a year of not seeing or hearing from them, your love grows stronger than ever upon your reunion? Do you believe you can love a friend and the simple act of exchanging even a few words can bring you happiness? Is this puppy love? Is this even real, or am I being melodramatic. I am a person who tends to think too much, who tends to be melodramatic. But I am also a person, and as a person, I can feel. And I can feel love. When you love someone, you want to spend every moment with him. When you love someone, no matter how logical/intelligent/serious you are, you become illogical/stupid/silly in front of him. When you love someone, you blame yourself a thousand times for anything that hurts him, that makes him feel any other emotion besides happiness.

I do not yet know what reciprocated (or unreciprocated) love is like. But I am not afraid to discover the truth.



Divine Illusions

He sees things. If he squints, he can see projections of objects through time. The car zooming through the roads is not one object. Trailing behind it are the shells of its former self, one second, two seconds, five minutes ago. These shells form a line through the roads much like a line of vehicles...

He sees things. If he squints, he can see projections of objects through time. The car zooming through the roads is not one object. Trailing behind it are the shells of its former self, one second, two seconds, five minutes ago. These shells form a line through the roads much like a line of vehicles containing workers rushing to get home for Thanksgiving. But unlike that line, the line he sees is composed of identical vehicles. If he squints hard enough, the vehicles become a single streak of gray, if he lessens the muscles in his squint, he can just make out individual doors and windows. The car behind rushes into the projection and enmeshes its own form into the multitude of gray.

He blinks. The projections disappear. Cars stream down the road as individual entities, no longer tangled together as one projection.

He blinks and the projections are back. But this time, he sees a slow moving stream of light passing through the projections. Cutting right through the middle of the steak of gray, yellow, red, or whatever else that has since traveled through that block of space. The light seems to travel in slow motion against the shifting images of the projection as past and present objects mix. He thinks it is a stream of light, but it could very well not be. If he could travel with that stream of something and fall down in the middle of its progression, he would be traveling with the single projection of the car that he happened to hit at the moment of his fall. Would he see himself staring out of the window as he traveled past?

He blinked and the projection was gone again. He heard a muffled voice in the background.

“I’m worried about you,” it said.

He ignored it and turned his head. A banquet hall appeared. He was again at the reception that took place last night. People were laughing, drinking champaign, talking in the voices appropriate for such an occasion. Making small talk. he thought. What really is the point of talking? The result with or without the talk is the same.  It doesn’t matter if he says that his theory is correct. It doesn’t matter if nobody else believe it. It doesn’t matter how many people argue with him, presenting what they think are counterexamples. Talk is bothersome. Absolute truth exists.

His antagonist points out. But absolute truth doesn’t exist for all things. Sometimes too many variables exist that makes mathematical clarity impossible. 

“Absolute truth always exists.” he mutters. His wife stares at him with a worried frown.

Societal rules are a constraint on the mind. One must speak the right things at every occasion else risk confusion in the person you are speaking to. But the fabric of the mind is wrinkled, and the marble that rolls through the mind might get stuck at one rut or another. If the marble has left the conversation and rolled to a new destination, it is wasteful, inefficient to constrain it to its previous location. The cache of thoughts is continually being modified. Perhaps, sometime, it is important to pull an item out of the cache, but that risks disturbing all things in the stack above. Dwelling on an old topic closes off the queue of items being added into the stack.

His kids entered the room in a languid mood, having been woken up for another monotonous day at school.

Stifling thoughts is like putting a clamp on that marble. Marble, you must stay where you are. Vaguely in the background, his son was arguing with his wife. Seeing from his impartial viewpoint, his son has just entered his belligerent stage of development. Oh how many times he tried to tell her that it is just biology. Somewhere in the middle of the argument, the boy cursed which threw his wife into a rage of “watch your mouth.”

“Let the boy say what he wants!” he slams his fist into the table. His kids jumped a little at this strange outburst. His son rubs his head confusedly, trying to remember what he said since he woke up five minutes ago.

His wife sighs, “Like I’ve been trying to tell you all morning, but I’ll repeat it again for your sake. I’m worried about you. Maybe you should see someone.”



Hypocrasy at its worst

Like a villiane with a smiling cheek a goodly apple rotten at the core. ~Hamlet You ask how my day was. That is fine. You ask how my week was. That is great. You remember tiny details of my life. I am touched. That shows you care. But then you accuse me of not being...

Like a villiane with a smiling cheek a goodly apple rotten at the core. ~Hamlet
You ask how my day was. That is fine. You ask how my week was. That is great. You remember tiny details of my life. I am touched. That shows you care. But then you accuse me of not being genuine, not letting people into my life. You tell me to spill my beans, open up. You ask me what I am thinking. You are not content with a happy exterior. Maybe a happy exterior is also a happy interior. Maybe my mind is not filled with turmoil as yours is. Maybe there’s nothing going on in my mind except happy contemplations and feelings of fulfillment. Maybe you are the one who needs to talk. Maybe you are insinuating your struggles, hoping they are my struggles too. Maybe you want to see me break down so you will feel happy about your miserable life. A mask is an awful thing. Evilness is also an awful thing. But masking a treacherous heart beneath a benevolent exterior is all the more terrible. For to be honest is to show yourself. To show yourself is to know yourself. To show something different than what you really are is to not know yourself. And anyone who does not know themselves deserves more sympathy than they should give.



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