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So all last weekend I was at an anti-racism analysis/training workshop (Damascus Road, if you're interested in details). It was:
-exhausting
-fascinating
-enlightening
-way more information than I have yet had time to process
-and sponsored/run by Mennonite Central Committee (among others).

This last was something I found particularly bizarre, since I have a number of issues with the broader Mennonite church, and it was very odd to be dismantling one -ism in a program run by an organization that I consider to be a perpetuator of others. (I will say, for the record, that I think MCC is better, as an organization, than MC USA, for example, but it's still all wrapped up in it. And a lot of the attendees come from MC USA churches.)

But this is causing me to put words to something that I have been vaguely aware of for a long time:

I do not know how to be a good Smithie when I'm in what-I-wouldn't-say-in-front-of-my-grandmother mode.

And S totally called me on it. My first reactions were justifications (Okay, I suppose that can be a gender-ambiguous name, but the main association in this country is usually female. Also, your fellow group member is definitely using female pronouns, which suggests to me that you're not out to your group (or have asked them not to out you to this group), and I'm supposed to pick up on it anyway? Etc). And as points, I do think they are pretty valid.

That doesn't change the root of this issue, though.
When I am in groups that I suspect or know to be more socially conservative, I am more socially conservative myself. I don't mean just in the not-being-stupid-and-getting-myself-in-trouble way. I make the composition of those groups more conservative, by the way I act, the way I dress, the way I present myself, what I don't say.
It's very easy to present myself as the modest, straight, mainstream-Christian (okay, mainstream-Mennonite, which is a} not the same thing and b} definitely an oxymoron), not-making-a-fuss girl, and keep my subversive thoughts inside my head. If I do it right, it doesn't require a lie -- it's just not telling the whole truth.

And I'm not saying that I lie. Not even to keep the peace with my grandparents will I lie outright. And I don't need to. In the situations I'm thinking of, it would never occur to most of these people to ever ask a question I need to answer with a lie in order to preserve the fa├žade. I just sit in the corner with my knitting, and bring my WWII book instead of my sci-fi short stories, and chat about fibercrafts and cooking and gardening, and while I say I went to Smith, most of the people around here don't know what that means well enough to understand what I'm telling them.

I'm not saying that I'm looking for fights. I don't feel any particular need to argue with my grandmother, or with the Mennonite Church as a whole. But I wish I knew how not to mislay my Smithie hat when I put on my Mennonite bonnet.
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When I was a kid, I swore I'd never grow up. I was aware that the physical parts of growing up were fairly unavoidable, but I held firmly to the belief that if I just believed hard enough, I could avoid becoming a grownup doing boring, responsible grownup things, and just stay a kid my whole life, so long as I defined 'being a kid' exactly right. (I'm not sure how I expected to make a living. Find something I liked doing so much that doing it wasn't really working, maybe. Mind you, I would still like to do that.)

I'm reaching the inescapable conclusion that I'm lately bearing a great deal of resemblance to a grownup, though. I taught a Sunday School class for the third time this morning, and went to the congregational meeting after church (Despite being a member for four and a half years, this is the first time I've participated in that responsibility of membership).

If I look at it from one angle, I still don't want to be a grownup. But there's a lot of the things that I associated with being a grownup that I didn't want to do that I've been doing for years now. And if I look at if from another angle, I am one already.

Now if I could just find myself a real, grownup job. Or even a fake grownup job.
3rdragon: (Default)
None of the people I usually babble at seem to be online, so I'm going to babble about my response to Jo Walton's Farthing on lj instead.

. . . it's interesting to note that today's writer's block is about racism.

Cut for sort-of general spoilers )
3rdragon: (Default)
We were at the house of my maternal grandparents for Christmas this year. This gets very long, and may be somewhat disorganized, due to being written over the course of almost a week. )

Happy new year, everyone.
3rdragon: (Default)
So a month ago, [livejournal.com profile] harp_of_israfel posted an entry bashing Advent (among other things - among talking about other things). I've been thinking about this all season. Because I love Advent. It may be my favorite liturgical season.

Advent is often described as being about waiting. And I suppose you can look at it that way. But I prefer the word anticipation. Also preparation. Waiting is something you do because you don't have anything better to do. Anticipation is something to be savored.

I think of Advent as a time of paring down, of slowing down, of focusing on the essentials. Hope. Peace. Love. Joy. Christ.
I like the Advent songs. They're distinct from Christmas songs, and while there are lots of obnoxious pop Christmas songs, there are many fewer obnoxious Advent songs. Advent songs tend to be a bit more reserved, and often draw from the Old Testament readings describing the coming of the Messiah. They're joyful, but in a different way than Christmas songs, and generally have absolutely gorgeous harmony. You just need to make sure that to sing them fast enough so that they don't drag.
And the Advent readings. The Isaiah readings are gorgeous pieces of poetry, even in translation (or maybe it's just that I'm inclined to hear Handel's Messiah whenever they are read aloud). And then there are the apocalyptic readings. I don't go to a particularly fire-and-brimstone church, so that "some shall be taken and some shall be left" sorts of readings are things that we really struggle with, which leads to interesting and thought-provoking sermons.

Perhaps I think of Advent as a sort of antidote to the secular celebrations of Christmas. I like the symbolism of Advent. It's not just that I'm fond of fire; there's something that really speaks to me about candles during the darkening months of December. A light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. Christmas Eve is the epitome of this for me, culminating in Stille Nacht as candles are lit around the room.

Perhaps later I will discuss why I found Christmas Eve this year unsatisfactory, and why the service yesterday served as a balm for my wounded sensibilities. Not at this particular moment. Do you people actually read when I babble about religion?
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I am unpacked and my room is (mostly) clean. It only took a month-plus (admittedly a month that a) included a week and a half of me doing nothing because I'd just gotten my wisdom teeth out and b) was fairly hot, off and on, so moving boxes of stuff and working in my room was unfeasible). But I have now successfully absorbed an entire* dorm room worth of stuff into my already-full-of-stuff Philadelphia-home room**.

Cut for lots of long babbling )

So I guess what I'm saying is, "High School Miriam, sometimes I feel like I don't know you at all. I'm pretty sure that I'm happier being now-me than I was being you, which I suppose is a good thing, at least from this end. I'm glad that I/we/you got back into writing. I may sometimes wonder a bit about your decisions, but you managed to pick a college where I had a marvelous four years, and I will say that you definitely had good taste in friends.


footnotes on the above cut )
3rdragon: (Default)
Wow, I post a whole lot more than I used to. I wonder how much time I spent posting (and reading) on lj last year. I wonder how much of it was procrastination. I wonder how much more productive I would be if I didn't . . .

But that's not what I'm here to talk about.

Firstly, I am home.
(And, while we're on that subject, I'll be back at school 17 Jan. I'll see many of you then.)

And then the year meme. (entry titles are bolded, current comments are in italics)

January
Haven't posted for a while
I know I've been quiet of late (at least on my own journal), but I feel like I don't have all that much to say.

February
I eat my peas with honey
The library anniversary was totally and completely awesome.
Poor wet library. I hope it's semi-okay.

March
Dear Aria,
Please consider your declaration of war to be signed, sealed, ribboned and returned.
I am so glad that I'm no longer dealing with that.

April
Reduction of Ambiguity
It is DECIDED. If I do not have a job in Philadelphia within the next two weeks, I will work in the computer labs here.
And, well, that was the story of my summer. And I'm not sorry about it, although I would've liked to be home.

May
musings
Today is a day for pleasant smells, like secrets and whatever hot beverage Andria got from the campus center and freshly cut grass and the white shrub by the door to the CMP and Dr. Bronner's Soap.

June
More dreams
I dreamt that I was flying to Spain, accompanied by a non-related avuncular figure and his wife.

July
An update from Miriam-land
Since it's always the ginormously long Moodle courses that refuse to transfer properly, and since the French course looks as bad as or worse than the Bio course I just finished moving, (and since none of the bosses are here at the moment,) I'm taking a break to ramble about dreams and books.

August
Quick update
I'm back. I have internet again. I've checked my 65,000 e-mails, and am now looking at catching up on LJ . . .

September
I dreamed a dream . . .
Last night I dreamed that I was back at Smith. Only, Smith may have been in Spain. I don't really remember.
he first was contact info, which is boring, so this is the second

October
In Good News,
Housing has remembered that I exist (at least so far).

November
Hm, the morning goes much quicker when you've been awake in it once already
In other news, things to do today:
To digress into one of those other memes that I probably won't do, I stayed up past midnight many more times last year that I probably ever have in any other year, or have any intention of doing again any time soon.

December
Moments in my life
"Dude, Crazy Old Guy is crazy!"

And that was the year. Happy New Year everybody. You can hear about Christmas next week, after it happens.

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