Posts from the ‘Confusions and Conundrums’ Category

Confusion over!

Or at least helped, I hope.

This is just a little bit of blog business!  I know my blog can be a bit confusing sometimes, with all the nicknames and people I talk about.

Good news!  I made a page of the people I mention most often and probably won’t be re-introducing.  I’m tired of it, so this helps me, too.

Also, in case you missed it, a couple months ago, I started a list of Joie Facts.  If you ever see one pop up in a post and are curious about what they are/what the others are, just go there!

A couple months before that, I added the guest post page and about page.   Any inquiries regarding guesting or who I am, those should be enough to get you started.  Also, I WANT guest posts, so please inquire.

Thanks for coming!


P.S. I also want to know who you are.  I’d love for you lovely readers (and I know I have some) to comment more!  I promise to reply to each and every one of you.  Well, the first hundred at least (I think my most commented post had three, so you’re in the clear). Love, me.


Flirting: WHY?!?!?

Okay, so I get the theory of the whys of flirting.

  • It’s a low pressure way to express interest.
  • It’s a low pressure way to suss out return interest or lack thereof.
  • It’s fun.
  • It’s a way to develop skills in appropriate interaction with those you like.
  • It provides opportunities to communicate in subtext, which is also considered an important skill.

But here’s the thing: FLIRTING IS NONE OF THESE!

1) It’s a low pressure way to express interest.  Since WHEN?!  (I seem to be enjoying interrobangs quite a lot these days.  Hmmm. Oh, well!)  These days, flirting has become the primary means of communication that subject A likes subject B and we are thrown into a right ol’ MISERY if subject B is ignorant of subject A’s efforts.  This does not make flirting low pressure in the least.  HEAVEN FORBID WE SAY THINGS DIRECTLY EVER. If flirting were to go back to functioning along the lines of a precursor to directness and clarity, I might appreciate this reasoning, but I doubt it.

2)  It’s a low pressure way to suss out return interest or lack thereof. BWAH HAH HAH HAH HAHHAHHAHHAHHAHHAH!!!  So, after we put in all that effort to make it completely, perfectly clear-but-not-clear that we like a person, we spend hours upon anxious hours trying to figure out if they like us back.  We read into words, body language, Vaguebook posts, cryptic tweets, the RANDOM stuff we hear about them or from them in the halls, THE LENGTH OF THE HUGS THEY GIVE US AS COMPARED TO THEIR OTHER PLATONIC FRIENDS.  My goodness, how is this low pressure?  Again, if flirting were no longer the primary method of relationship establishment, I might be okay with this.  Probably not.  I love directness.  I hate nonsense.

3) It’s fun.  Only if you never want to be in a relationship ever.  People who tend to flirt for fun become known for it.  By the time they start flirting for purpose, their reputation is set in stone.  They are seen as incorrigible and untrustworthy, because they’ll flirt with anyone.  For those who use flirting as a tool (see one and two) to kickstart relationships, how is the performance of a lifetime fun?  It’s make or break!

4) It’s a way to develop skills in appropriate interaction with those you like.  I wish this were true.  I wish this actually worked.  But I know too many young men who only know how to engage with the opposite gender via flirting.  And some of these young men are gay–so clearly they aren’t flirting with me for purpose.  However, I would hands down rather that than the straight young men who DO NOT KNOW ANY BETTER.  These are the boys who were painfully shy (or socially ostracized for any number of reasons) and then hit puberty.  With it came a desire for interaction and some hormone-caused confidence.  So, they learned to flirt with girls, because that was the socially acceptable mode of communication.  And they never learned differently.  So, when they become adult young men, they give bad impressions left and right.  I was engaged to a young man like this (and have since had a couple friends like this).  He would flirt with anything breathing that had the right set of glands (sorry to be crude).  And, honestly, he didn’t realize he was doing it.  He knew no other way to communicate in public.  One of the young men I know who is like this is SO CRIPPLED in his development that he flirts with EVERYONE, men and women, not because of interest in both genders, but because of a total lack of education in communication.

5) It provides opportunities to communicate in subtext, which is also considered an important skill.  Okay.  This one is total BS (just like the others, I guess).  If we understood the subtext of those we flirted with, would we be stuck spending obsessive hours trying to figure out if the person we were flirting with was sending signals back?  Also, even if this is an effective teaching tool, it teaches ONE way of reading subtext: sexually.  There are many other kinds of subtext, far more useful ones, to learn than the flirting subtext.  Sorry, but when it comes to the languages of subtext, I am going to call it and say flirting is the least useful or applicable of them all.

So, yeah.  I’m annoyed with flirting (non-specifically, nothing and no one in particular).  I’m annoyed with the uncertainty and emotional turmoil that comes with it.  And I really just DON’T understand it.  I am a social cues idiot.  So, general announcement to boys who might be interested in me at any point, ever: just say something.  Because I am NEVER going to get it.  I’ll do my best to return the favor.

The hermit days are over!

Since 2009, when this blog started, I’ve been a petty, misanthropic blog hermit.

Yeah, I’m awesome.

But no more!  Doing 20 Something Bloggers Blog Swap (I told you I loved this community, partially because it’s so good for me) made me realize that I was being silly and kind of stupid.  You see, if I liked a post, I wouldn’t “like” it.  If I found a blog I enjoyed, I wouldn’t follow it.  I would wonder why something got Freshly Pressed rather than being excited that I was finding things I enjoyed reading.  I was blogging, but you could bet that I wasn’t going to be part of the community.

I have no idea why I did this.  I honestly think I was trying to preserve my corner of the internet.  Those who knew me could join me, but I sure as sure wasn’t going to invite people to my little hut in the blogosphere.  It makes no sense, especially when I grumbled about not being Freshly Pressed . . . blah blah blah.  I still don’t get how that works, how some first-time posts get chosen and some people get chosen multiple times, and some don’t, but I don’t particularly care.  I was never here for accolades, I was here to share.

I’m trying to be more active now, with follows and likes.  If you like me or follow me, I’m learning to respond in kind.  I’m learning that blogging isn’t just about me.  It’s about the community.  And, if I treat it like that, I will be rewarded beyond belief.

The days in the hermit hut of hate are over (please feel free to use and propagate that phrase).  I still have much to learn on how to be social in the blogosphere, but at least I’m out and about.

Send me nightmares, please.

Have you ever had that beautiful dream that fulfilled every disgusting wish you have never dared admit to yourself?

Congratulations, you have experienced what I am convinced is Hell.  You see, how I see Hell isn’t a literal fire and brimstone physical place.  I’m convinced it’s very real thing, but that it’s a thing more than a place.  To me, Hell is the place where everything we cannot have because of our mistakes, faults, sins, and–worst of all–no fault of own are shown to us in the glory they could have been and we get to sit in the knowledge of what we might have had, if something had been just a bit different.  Nightmares are actually much kinder, because there’s a lack of reality to them that makes it easier for me to get over (Seriously, sexually abusive octopus?  Brain, where have you been?).  But those wish-fulfillment dreams?  Those, even if they clearly aren’t real (and they always seem more real) are what I so desperately want, so I don’t realize that’s what they are until I wake up.

And then I have a rotten day because I’ve seen what I want but cannot have.  It makes me sick.  So, I’ve decided I don’t like dreams.  Bring on the nightmares, because at least the world is better when I wake up.

How do you feel about those dreams?

Okay, abyss – rage away!

My youngest brother recently reminded me if you rage into the abyss of the internet, it rages back at you.  Okie doke, I accept.  Watch me rage.

This may be the only time you hear me talk about politics.  Or maybe every four years is how it’ll work.  I don’t like politics: I don’t like the pageantry, I don’t like the ridicule, I don’t like the enforced dichotomy between the parties, I don’t like the party lines in general.  It’s NONSENSE.  So when several someones in my facebook feed decide to inform me that it is a clear choice between candidates, I get sick to my stomach.  Now, I accept that the city I live in (Colorado Springs) and the culture I live in (LDS) are both quite conservative and my views will, therefore, be more often than not derided (I’m a liberal-leaning moderate).  But even in said conservative communities, I feel like it should be apparent how very UN-clear this election is.  So it’s time to rage.  I’ve read a lot of articles (from both sides), and I’m addressing the points that I feel come up the most.  Some of my points will be candidate specific, some of them more party generic, but I feel like they’re all valid.

1) Obama’s so-called Socialism:

  • This is nothing more than a scare tactic and it is downright rude.  Yes, he’s passed a couple bills that are socialist in nature.  Yes, he was high-handed about it.  No, I don’t like it.  But one or two bills does NOT a Socialist make.  To cast him as anything other than a man concerned for the American citizen and trying to do his best to enrich their lives as he sees they need to be enriched is ridiculous.  Trying to scare someone into voting against Obama by labeling him as being part of a political party that is distinctly not American is wrong.  He’s trying to help.  His help may be unwanted and unwarranted, but he is trying to help.  I believe the same can be said of all of our presidents, not just Obama.  They all went about helping the citizens in the wrong way at some point.  They also went about it in the right way at times.  Just breathe.

2) Romney’s religion:

  • Okay, I’m biased.  I’m LDS, and it’s nothing but the truth that I am going to see it as a non-issue.  But I also see Obama’s religion (which was a big deal last election) the same way.  There’s been more than a small rally in the LDS community considering Romney.  Though many people don’t support Romney just because he’s LDS, too many do.  And that’s more than a little disgusting to me. I personally believe Romney is a covenant-keeping Mormon in his day to day life (which is the highest compliment I can pay another Mormon).  I also don’t believe that has a cotton-picking THING to do with his politics.  In fact, his political record nothing short of convinces me that it has nothing to do with his politics.  But I’m really okay with that.  I don’t think religion belongs in politics.

3) Their plans for the economy:

  • I’ll say it now: I’m not a fan of the more spending=more saving mentality.  Graduating from college and handling my own finances made that patently clear.  I HATE being in debt.  Absolutely hate it.  However (and this is an important however), my personal life may not reflect how to best scrape this economy back into shape.  I’m a big believer of “what’s on the micro will present on the macro” thinking.  Our families and individuals are over-spending, and that mentality has reached the highest levels.  It’s not good.  Then again, is ripping off the band-aid really going to change the micro mentality that is so influencing the macro mentality?  This article discusses the merits of both.  I’ve seen conservatives and liberals appreciate how the article treats the subject (so please don’t judge it on its candidate conclusion).

4) Nanny state government:

  • Calling it now: this one’s going to be the one that causes the most rage.  But I don’t care.  Conservatives, I ask you to consider the following.  I agree that healthcare and welfare and immigration are all issues that you have valid points about.  I don’t appreciate the high-handed way the healthcare bill was enacted.  I HATE paying for the excesses of those on welfare.  I don’t like immigrants coming in without legal access.  All said, and if this is where you would please take a close look, what exactly do you think you have been doing for YEARS as you fight against abortion and equal rights for the alternative sexualities?  I contend that that, right there, is exactly the nanny state mentality you hate.  It’s you using the government to control other people because you . . . what?  Disagree with it?  Don’t like it?  It’s against your religious beliefs?  None of these are good reasons to vote against the rights of human beings.  I disagree with a lot of things.  But my moral obligation is not to make what I disagree with illegal.  My moral obligation is to consider the people.  You want the government to live and let your private enterprises and private lives live?  You have GOT to start applying the same principle to your neighbors.  No matter how distasteful you find them.

5) Foreign Policy:

  • Ah, the flaw that both parties share in total.  America, though it can ill afford to, has become the world’s policing agent.  I’d only sort of kind of be okay with this if–and only if–we were okay at home.  But we’re not.  Our country is a mess.  There’s a quote that I wish I could remember who said it, “You cannot lift someone until you are on higher ground.”  I live by that.  We are not on higher ground.  We are sinking fast.  And trying to lift those who have already sunk below us is only dragging us down.  We must find firm ground, then lift from there.  That being said, I do still fully support those who fight for us.  For although I think that those who sent them to fight made the wrong decision, I do believe that our soldiers are fighting for the good reasons behind those bad decisions.  I think that blaming the soldiers for the bad ideas of their superiors is way out of line.  It is possible to support the troops without supporting the war and I think we are still learning to find that balance.  I hope we do soon, because it breaks my heart to see the way we treat those defending us.

5)  You are a ________, so you must be an idiot:

  • Speaking of bad treatment:  everyone is guilty of this one, too.  I just hope that you realize that when you’re calling a conservative or liberal an idiot for disagreeing with you, you’re calling your best friend, niece, nephew, daughter, son, neighbor, and/or cousin an idiot.  You are being deliberately hurtful (What, you’re saying you didn’t mean to call every member of the opposing party stupid and uninformed??  Just the ones you don’t know?) to those who are close to you.  And with that logic, that those who have opposing political opinions than you are stupid or uneducated, everyone who disagrees with you about anything must be stupid or uneducated.  Because politics are based on personal choices and experiences.  So if those who do not agree with you politically are wrong, they must be intrinsically so.  They will never be right.  And since you disagree with them, you will be intrinsically incorrect to them for ever and always, too.  That doesn’t seem right.  I think both parties do things well.  I also am stunned by the sheer amount of mistakes both parties make.  But we’re all human.  We have the capacity to be right and wrong at the same time.

Okay, so there’s my rage.  I accept that I will receive some in return.   But guess what, abyss?  I don’t care.  I don’t care that you disagree with me or that you fully support me or that you think I’m biased/uninformed/naïve.  That’s YOUR prerogative.  Mine is to sit here and think I’m right.  All I know for sure is, if we can’t get past these differences that we all have, we’ll never be able to work together to salvage this country.  And, despite what you think about where we are, where we are going, or where we have been: this is a country worth saving.

My unholy rant for the day.

I don’t understand people who think that knowledge alone is enough.

Situation: Thesis to edit.

Response: Edit what I am given.

This is supposed to be a simple process.  I am given thesis, I edit said thesis, give it back, I am paid.  With a couple internet meltdowns and a teacher refusing to accept the finished project from the student I edited it for because of a lack of sources (among other grammar things that I should have caught and felt like a nimnol for not catching), it turned into an unholy mess.  Once I fixed the grammar errors that I should have caught, like the use of contractions in a formal paper and the confusion of the that/who pronoun usage (what can I say, I was tired and burnt out and had spent ten hours struggling to get the twenty-five paper understandable, much less grammar perfect), I sent it back to him.

Then he dropped the bomb on me: he had no idea what he needed to cite.  He thought he only had to cite direct quotes, not all the facts.  So, I went through and inserted the BARE MINIMUM of footnotes (darn you Chicago!!!!) that he needed to make his paper his own, not plagiarized.  He almost popped a blood vessel.  He actually said, “I didn’t know that I had to cite everything I learned in class.”  I explained to his the process of academia: establish your sources (who established themselves with their sources), and you become more credible.  Your conclusions, however, remain to be judged.  Perhaps this is an over-simplified view, but it’s the basic system.  I even agree that there is a degree of convoluted structure within this system, but I by no means feel it is completely useless.

Why?  Because our history defines us.  I may think that because I grew up being taught by teachers trained in the critical school of New Historicism, but I think there’s more to it than that.  I’m also a Classics minor (officially degreed and everything now), which required me to study many of the foundations of Western culture through the delivery systems of civilization, religion, and literature.  I loved history before I went into college, I find it even more beautiful now.  History makes us and breaks us by our own decision to ignore it or accept it.  Sometimes we don’t even realize when we accept it, but that’s the moment we move forward.

And that’s why I don’t understand people who think knowledge alone is enough.  Application of knowledge isn’t either.  Awareness of where that knowledge comes from goes hand in hand with those two.  Without that, society means nothing.  We can become nothing.  I am nothing.  With it?  With it, the entirety of the given universe is open to me, because my past is no more than a thought away.

The guy eventually added all the sources.  It was a crappy list of websites that didn’t do much for his credibility.  He didn’t really learn this all-important lesson.  Thankfully, I got reminded. I hate that I wasted all that time editing for a grade rather than for a sense of pride in scholarship or a passion for the subject.  I hate that I had to deal with the exacting demands of a teacher who I’ve never taken a class from and never will.  I hate that I had to be reminded.  It was a bitter moment, re-realizing what my past meant to me.

Knowledge alone will never be enough.  I’m glad for that.  Because I really like the people that populate the past, and because I’m very ready to bring the small pieces of them that I keep company with into the future.