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Blog Entries posted by Skylark1

  1. Skylark1
    I'm starting to come to grips with my cultural...issues. I've been exposed to many cultures and subcultures, and I feel like...a psychological minority. I feel like I stand at the intersection of several minority groups, to borrow the language of the theories I try to wade through on a daily basis.
    I don't know where my first loyalty lies.
    I'm just not at home with many of the elements of modern American education. I'm going to go ahead and apply to the foreign grad schools I was thinking about. (I haven't yet only because it's so much more of a hassle.) I often feel like I need a much more traditional sort of approach, even though I do not want a more conservative social culture. In my experience here in the US, social conservatism tends to fear/hate education and intellectualism, anyway. I have no use for any of that, and still less for xenophobia. At least at the university level (and often at the elementary and secondary levels), I hear the situation is much better in Europe. One of my profs says I belong in a place like Oxford, and maybe I do, but I'm also afraid of holding my own there...in large part because of those intersections I mentioned.
    There's a regressive, primitivist kind of spirit at work in American education in our times. Since I live in a very conservative state, this is often counterbalanced, but a strange dynamic develops in this setting: the more conservative-minded profs will vacillate between kowtowing to academic Leftism and reactionary overcompensation. The result is a sadly hobbled kind of thinking that fails to truly take into account the myriad subtleties and nuances of life as we have it (often while reiterating the need to do just that, and claiming to in fact be doing it).
    I know there would be another set of problems in another country, or even another school. And the truth is that I'll probably go wherever I get the best combination of funding and research options. But I know I don't feel at home here. And I need to find a place, however imperfect, where I do.
    Maybe I'm in the wrong area of the right country, as I've been thinking. I've never lived in the Northeast, and always felt drawn to it. So if that does it for me, it's copacetic. But I'm going to hedge my bets by casting my net wide...
  2. Skylark1
    I keep thinking about traveling as my mood brightens. I think about all the things I'd like to see and do as I let go of all my negativity and obsessions. I think they were a kind of smoke screen, anyway, an excuse to hide my own insecurities and fears. An excuse not to live my own life. I mean, yes, I care deeply, I have strong convictions, and so forth, but that isn't really a reason not to live my own life. I'm letting all that go. I can't save the world. I don't intend to try. I just want to live my own life now, to be happy, and to recognize and appreciate my own limited purview. I want to appreciate what I do have, and can do, and savor every drop that's left to me, if that makes sense.
    Even if it doesn't, I know in my own mind what I want now. :) And I'm going after it. I'm making the most of all that's left to me.
    I keep thinking of sunny places, places that have always ignited my curiosity, instead of the ones I've imagined as being closer to the "ideal." I don't really believe the ideal is realizable under current conditions, anyway, and the necessary and sufficient conditions may not be achievable themselves. Anyway, I'm wondering about ways that I can actually visit these places.
    The money part makes me nervous. And I wonder if dreaming about these things is a good and necessary step in the right direction which I'm confusing by being too pragmatic again. Maybe it isn't about planning everything out and making sure it's achievable but just about the lift that dreaming and hope give me. About the doors being opened because I'm opening to what's behind them.
    There are all kinds of options: grad school abroad, a semester abroad, teaching English abroad. But there's no need to jump the gun, overload myself with information just as the dream is blooming and end up frightened or overwhelmed, only to conclude that it's either impossible or too risky or too hard or something. For now, I think I'm just going to let it bloom, and see what comes of it. :)
  3. Skylark1
    I've always had some kind of affinity for animals, especially cats. There's just something so mysterious, graceful, and compelling about them.
    I can't fathom why some people seem spooked by these gorgeous creatures. It's like cats trigger feelings of insecurity in them.
    Cats aren't mean or any of the things these people accuse them of being; they've just been domesticated for a far shorter time than dogs, for example. I've read dogs have been domesticated for around 2,000 years! Well, for cats it's only about two hundred. That's a big difference! Cats aren't naturally pack animals, but animal experts say that behaviors like bringing dead birds to their owners is a sign of recognizing them as pack leaders! lol! It confuses them when the owners rebuke them for it instead of acting like animal pack leaders. One book I read even advised accepting the meat as a sign of the cat's acceptance of you as the pack leader, and cleaning it (pack leaders get first dibs :)...but hopefully we all opt out of that), and giving it back to the cat as a reward for its loyalty.
    Gross, but true. "Look what the cat dragged in" should probably be said with less disgust, at the least. If you can't bring yourself to be approving, at least stop confusing your poor, devoted critter and reinforcing its ancient feline independence. I feel like cats are like White Fang at the end of his life: wild creatures slowly learning the ways and joys of human homes, but with far more confusion and stumbling blocks thrown in their way.
    There are feral cats in my neighborhood, and I hear them yowling near my door sometimes. It breaks my heart. A woman nearby with cancer had a bunch of them, and they were really sickly. I think they're doing better on their own now, but I have nothing to give them. I don't have any milk, since I can't drink it, and I'm actually afraid to throw food out there. One, it could attract bugs; two, it could keep them coming back and I'm afraid they have diseases; and three, I just can't either afford or spare the time to care of them.
    It does break my heart to see the poor animals suffering like this, though.
  4. Skylark1
    For some reasons, making lists always comforted me as a child. Or maybe it was compulsive. I'm not sure, but I liked it for whatever reason, as if it gave me a "clinical" sort of way to express and affirm myself, my own reality.
    So I've decided to start doing it again, for fun. :) I made lists of everything.
    Places I Want to Visit
    New York
    New Zealand
    Cape Cod
    The Alps
    Any or all of the Nordic Countries
    Prince Edward Island
    The Hague (not sure why)
    Random Things I Love
    Rabbits, especially ones that do weird ear movements
    The Sky
    Sunlight through the trees
    Seasons (i.e., places that have them)
    Red pandas
    The human spirit
    Things That Calm Me for Some Reason
    Wind in the trees
    Skyscapes, especially clouds moving in the sky
    Seeing and focusing on substantial portions of nature in my environment, even if somewhat remote
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