That Was… Interesting.

Week 7, in a nutshell, was interesting. It was interesting in that “I’m not sure if I’d want to do that again, but whatever” kind of way.

Monday I’d gladly do all over again, but that’s because I got to sleep in, spend all day in my jammies, and do laundry. I’ve tailored my winter schedule to allow for a lot of PJ-clad portfolio writing, so I’m looking forward to that!

Tuesday through Thursday was jam-packed busy. I’m leaving tonight to fly to San Diego for the NASPA Western Bi-Regional Conference, so naturally, I was rushing to cover my bases. A combination of delegating more event-planning responsibilities to my trusty students and only taking one academic class has left me feeling like I’m forgetting something. According to my to-do list, though, I’m okay.

However, I spent Wednesday night onwards trying to process a lot. I’ve been up in my head and spewing out verbal nonsense here and there.

I came to a few conclusions, or at least reaffirmations of what I already knew about myself.

I am not an activist. I am not an activist in terms of racial equality nor gender equality nor anything else. That doesn’t mean I don’t care. I am, like we discussed in Multicultural Issues, a “tempered radical.” I do my best work by seeking to understand the context of my environment and making subtle shifts and changes here and there. I am proud of my heritage, and I am frustrated when my mixed identity confuses others. I am sad that I haven’t found a support network like WWU’s FASA here at Oregon State, but I fault myself for not being proactive in some ways. I don’t blame OSU for the make-up of its student body or its staff or its faculty. They are working towards becoming a truly multicultural institution, and that comes with hiccups and uncomfortable stops along the way. If change and progress were easy, well then, why would we even care to try in whatever capacity we can?

I lead by example. This is something my former cheer coach told me. Maybe I was the worst stunter on the team, but I did the work I needed to do. I networked with other members of Athletics, and I did my best to keep a program I cared about on the path to being great. No, I was not a perfect leader, and there are many instances I would go back and alter. I wasn’t necessarily loved dearly by everyone, but I can tell you that I cared about all my teammates and that I saw potential in every single one of them. I tried to provide positive feedback, reminding individuals, “Hey, you’re really skilled at x. I want you to take charge of this because you’re great at leading, too.” We all have our strengths. We are not all perfect. Some of us are better at seeing the big picture and putting smaller pieces into place, and that’s my style. I don’t lead by establishing myself as an expert. I lead by trying to show others how to cooperate and move towards a common goal.

I’m not done developing. You can snicker a bit at that sentence, since it sounds like I’m talking about puberty. Regardless, I recognize that I still have a long ways to go. I still feel like a 25-year-old child. (Turning 26 rather soon, too.) Like Robin Scherbatsky, I have this cool-girl attitude that masks the fact that there is a lot of confusion and some hurt that I still need to work through. In a recent episode, Robin says, “I’m such a mess. Why do you even like me?” She gets two very different answers when she asks that question. The second response affirms her, stating, “I am constantly amazed by the things you say. Entranced by the things you do… I hope that one day you see yourself the way I see you.” I think I’m pretty rad, don’t get me wrong, but I need some time. I am still becoming. (Sometimes we forget the “students in transition” thing applies to graduate students, too.)

There’s where I’m at in my program right now. I don’t do things “perfectly,” whatever that may be. I am still getting the most out of this experience, though. I came to this program to make my experiences, not to just get them.

Scherbatsky and Co.

She drinks scotch. She smokes cigars. She gets in bar brawls. She’s Robin Scherbatsky, the character that Cobie Smulders portrays on my all-time favorite TV show, How I Met Your Mother. Scherbatsky is the ultimate “one of the guys” lady. She’s fiercely independent, witty, assertive, hilarious, etc. etc. and so forth and so on. She’s also incredibly gorgeous, talented, and has her own set of insecurities to overcome.

She’s a character with which I relate. I would not say I’m Robin, but I won’t deny those elements exist. (Of course, I’m also a bit of a Lily Aldrin, with a sweet, innocent exterior, a nurturing side, and a twist of pure evil.)

But here’s the thing. I was told for several months that I was “too masculine.” I’m not surprised– but what drives me crazy is…

how is that side of me not wildly attractive?

Look, girly-girls are great. They smell nice, they laugh at your jokes, and they usually have a flowery command of whichever language they happen to speak. They’re well-read, intelligent, and love making their partners feel valued.

Wait a second. I just described one aspect of my personality.

The thing is, girly-girls don’t have the same independence and assertiveness that comes with having to hold their own in a crowd of boys. Girly-girls did not like me when I was a little kid, so I pushed against the “girly” stereotype. (Granted, it came back around and nowadays, I love make-up, I love dance and cheerleading, I love the color pink, jewelry, high-heels, bows in my hair, and a good glass of wine.)

But gosh darn it, I like being loud. I like being snarky. I like good beer. I like not backing down from potential opportunities just because I’m a woman. (And I tend to associate with other women who are also like this.) I suppose what I want is someone to recognize that all these elements make me one helluva catch. I’m a lot to handle, but it’s nothing to be intimidated by. A man with confidence will do just fine.

Just don’t ever let me near a 12er of Molson. Or in my case, Rainier. I’ll get super-Pacific Northwest on y’all.