In which I am tired, and a wee bit lazy, and often fearful

I’m tired today of finding answers and selecting the proper words that won’t offend, turn-off, cut-deep, or misconvey what I’m trying to communicate. Its one of those days where I hear conversations that perhaps I “should” be a part of or those in which I believe “my” perspective needs to be heard, but I can’t seem to summon the gumption or effort to say a thing. “Read my mind” is what I’m thinking, but I’m torn because to not speak up also casts them to their one-sided train of thought that could benefit from a good challenge. 

Although today it is tiredness with perhaps a touch of laziness, other days I believe it is fear. Fear that what I will say will be rejected, or misconstrued, or misunderstood, or, worse yet, that people will think that I’m stupid or another one of those feminist b***es or heaven-forbid unable to support my beliefs with good hard scientific evidence. I feel this intense pressure to do-right by the females and answer every question perfectly and rebut each argument with confidence so as to stand as a good representative for my kind. But sometimes people ask me questions or become argumentative and I don’t know where to start. Sometimes I feel attacked and use all of my energy curbing my anger and not epitomizing the typical “feminist b****” that I stumble through an awkward answer and spend the rest of the day kicking myself for it. Sometimes I become reticent when a Christian male wants to turn-the-discussion-all-biblical not because I don’t know the answer, but because I know by his beliefs that he already sees himself as having the upper hand. 

On days of tiredness and on days of fear I long to invite them to my kitchen to start the day with me. Be the bird on my shoulder and observe how in the wee hours of the morning someone of my kind communes with God, and sips her coffee, and watches the hummingbirds. How I greet my husband and rush hurriedly out the door, toothbrush in tow, to my day full of classes and clients and supervision and conversations. See how I utter expletives in traffic and whine about the heat in California. How I lose patience with myself and work too hard and worry about my future and try to shove all the shards of my life back together hoping it will look how it should. See how I live? See how similar our lives are? I want you to see my humanity first, before my gender and before any evaluation of my beliefs. Then lets sit down. I’ll brew some tea and we’ll agree not to interrupt or raise our voices or be committed to our side simply because it is our side. Because honestly on some days I’m tired or afraid of coming to your court and it would be really nice if you would meet me on mine.

Advertisements

Graduate Life

Ah, the life of a Grad Student. Since my last post (ages ago) I have begun the long-haul to get my PhD in Clinical Psychology. Yikes. There aren’t all that many education and career paths that make people shy away like the title “clinical psychologist” does.  Basically, I’m hoping my next few 5+ years of education will help me to know myself and and know how to help others, and you know…all of that research, teaching, career preparation stuff too. Seriously though, clinical psychology has been my dream for years and I am absolutely loving my program and the people in it thus far. Dream come true.

Besides going to classes and (soon) starting clinical work, I spend quite a bit of my time plugging away at research. During undergrad I did a qualitative/quantitative study on gender harassment and sexual harassment in Christian academia (you better believe it happens!). My Master’s Thesis is looking at benevolent sexism in Christian academia. From there the variables, outcome measures, and hypotheses become convoluted but just know that it has something to do with complementarianism/egalitarianism and extrinsic vs. intrinsic religiosity. Didn’t I just say that people are shying away from me? Clearly this line of research is helping a lot. Despite my lack of popularity, I feel that this research really needs to be done. Sexism as a whole has received quite a bit of research attention in mainstream culture but the studies of sexism in Christian circles are quite limited. This is too bad because sexism within Christian sub-culture is rampant and, to make matters worse, is often justified through scripture. Think on that one for a little bit…

Looks like I have my work cut out for me.

My Mother

My mother’s strongest abilities are not musical. Although she spent her childhood toiling over the keys of an accordian and running a tune each Sunday in the pews at her Lutheran church, her voice somehow did not reap many rewards. It really isn’t her fault. Growing up with my grandmother (she is pictured in Webster’s under “tone deaf”) and my Great Grandmother (window shattering) as tone deaf aficionados it seems that any musical propensity she might have possessed was not long lived.

Despite her lack of musicality, my mother was never one to hesitate at an opportunity to sing. Every evening before bed my mother would read to my sisters and I, sing a few lullabies, and then tuck us into bed with a prayer and a kiss. Summers were spent camping with each day concluding around the campfire where my mom taught us the Campfire Girl songs she learned as a young girl. From my mother I learned songs from the 1920’s that we sang when visiting nursing homes, hymns, and even some melodies that taught me my times-tables.

As a young girl I remember standing next to my mom on Sundays during the worship service at our church. Clad in itchy lace and sagging tights I’d place my sweaty hand in hers and listen as she sang along with the surrounding congregation. Sometimes she would catch the tune and other times she would not, but always her singing was boldly unapologetic, resolute, confidant. As I look back now as an adult, I often wonder at the cause of my mother’s willingness to sing. Perhaps she wanted my sisters and I to be musical. Or maybe she wanted to teach us that perfection is a farse. Maybe she wanted to demonstrate the value of honesty and vulnerability. Or perhaps she simply loved music and wanted to share with us the songs that she enjoyed.

Whatever the reason, I am thankful because whenever I hear my mother singing, or find that a song my mother taught me is actually sung to an entirely different tune, I am given a reminder. I am reminded of my mother’s sacrifice to put me through piano lessons, drum lessons and voice lessons; that my worth is not measured by how many objectives I complete perfectly; that relationships can only blossom when I am truly honest and vulnerable; and that I know way more oldies and campfire songs than my music-loving husband does. I am thankful because although the exterior of my mother’s gift was misshapen when she gave it to me, the fruits of it have grown, are good, and are being harvested.

Image

 

Rumor has it

I dread telling feminists that I am a Christian almost as much as I dread telling Christians that I’m a feminist. In fact, there are few other announcements that will so quickly kill a conversation. This really wouldn’t be a problem except that a great part of my identity along with most of my most strongly-held beliefs are intertwined with these two “parties.” Rats.

One time I told a Christian co-worker that I had no definite plans to have children.

Another time I had to explain to a feminist friend how I am simultaneously a feminist, Christian, and in a healthy marriage relationship.

While some explanatory conversations have proven beneficial, many have been confusing/frustrating/be-littling and ultimately un-productive. Bleh. Herein lies the purpose of the blog: to record the everyday stories and happenings and ponderings of a Christian feminist with the hope of putting real flesh on someone who lives fully in these two camps. No (or at least not much) deep Bible exegesis on the gender passages and no (or perhaps just a few) angry rants. I hope to dispel some stereotypes and perhaps even answer some questions along the way.

Or… If you really don’t care about feminism and really don’t care about Christianity but do really care about me than you can follow to see what the heck I’m up to!