Friday, November 09, 2012

oh, the irony.

So, Karen G, across the cubicle from me, doesn't even ask me anymore if I am still writing.

I am - just papers for school and work stuff.  I switched schools this fall after learning the hard way that online classes are not conducive to the way I learn - much too easy to put out of mind until an hour before a discussion post on the Yanomamo Tribe is due. Though all I really had to do, if I wanted, was read the prior posts from students before me and change mine up a bit.  Which I didn't do.  But, knowing that I could, somehow made it feel like it didn't matter whether or not I tried. It felt like such conformance.  A checklist - just a means to an end.  And, instead of checking off my list like all the smart people who were getting closer to their degree with every check mark, I'd get all distracted with how it wasn't fitting with what I had pictured - grand visions of lecture halls with brilliant professors initiating deep philosophical discussions.  I wanted to learn and think, not just cram and then forget it all.  And with these grand ideas, I'd start to biff.  And, then I'd feel like a loser.  Trying to explain it is like trying to explain myself when my house is trashed - part of the reason it is so messy is really just because I want it so clean.  But, subconsciously I know that the level at which I am reaching for is so unrealistic, I go check my email, make nachos, and shut down.

So, I switched.

There are still no halls.  No deep philosophical discussions. My Liberal Arts instructor has a business degree, works for GM, and made a derogatory comment about "queers in fields of daisies sprinkling glitter". Because that is apparently what gay people do, I guess. During my first night, it became clear that the man leading the orientation knew much of my family, as most - including my parents - are alumni of this evangelical (oh, the irony) university. Upon realizing this connection, he closed his eyes, raised a closed fist heavenward, and said very pastorly, "Stalwarts. Righteous stalwarts of faith, they were."  He returned his gaze back to me and said, sadly this time, "Carin, I bet you were not able to talk about your faith at your previous school, now were you?"  I didn't answer.  From there, he had us go around the room and share our religious affiliation/denomination.  "Carin," he said, smiling with pride, "I think I know yours." I tried not to laugh. "Actually, I don't really go to church.  I've been exploring atheism and am kind of...uh...agnostic."  Awkward.  With that, we were on to Laura, from Trinity - where the spirit is alive and moving.  We finished and concluded by watching a short DVD about the history of the college, the denomination, and a virtual tour of the main campus.  Out of nowhere, I got choked up with nostalgia as the screen filled with familiar landmarks recalling tradition and childhood memories.

I now have one class left before starting the next "module". My attitude is changing. I'm accepting that I am not nineteen. I can't really enroll at Wellesley or Kingsport Ladies College. While I do want to learn, I also have three girls to take care of as well as a full time job. So, my options are pretty limited.  And so far, this is working.  The accelerated classes do well for my inattentive, all or nothing mind that quickly loses steam after going gung ho with sharpened pencils and deans list aspirations. My classmates are good, caring people. The satellite location is close to my house so I feel a little less bad for my boxcar children back at home. It just happens to be...evangelical. So, I get frustrated sometimes.  Like the queer comment.  And, the time the instructor voiced his disappointment in his eldest daughter who had "walked away from the light" (GUH).  But when I get frustrated, I speak up. I throw chairs and push tables over.  Not really.  But, I do ask why.  And, I propose another thought.  Like, maybe his daughter has perhaps walked into the light.

8 comments:

india banks said...

A kind of lyricism at work here that I find highly appealing. I applaud your throwing chairs and thinking of daughters - Wellesley would also have its limitations. From where I'm sitting - it seems to me that you might be earning credits while you work out something that's been lodged inside your heart. I trust you. Love reading you. Oh - and I never ask if you're still writing because I know you are.

mrc-w said...

I feel that same nostalgia when I see that campus, especially the "field house"! Good for you, for asking questions and throwing chairs, haha :) By the by, if I could go back in time, I would totally go to Wellesley or Smith!!

Kulio said...

Yes, irony :-) But maybe something more. Maybe you are exactly the type of person that they need to walk in their doors, and shake up their small-world, wrong ideas about inherited religion (and sounds like..more). They had you pegged, and that's just so wrong! Think how much differently they could be perceived by "the world", and how much of an impact they could have, had they looked at you as an individual and not a product of their religious machine. I sound bitter. But right now I feel kind of angry! Not because I believe in such a different doctrine, but because I see missed opportunities. They sound sort of sweet and yet ignorant. Maybe you are the person they have needed to walk in one day and say, with kindness and love, "I'm not in the club. But you thought I was, so you made bigoted remarks and you talked about your religion as if we should be afraid to ever leave it. These are things that will not draw people like me toward you. These are the kinds of things that we ran away from in the first place." Okay end of rant :-) It sounds like there are some good people there - it's always a mixed bag - I hope you can continue to laugh at the weirdness and embrace the realness wherever you go! love u

Carey King said...

Wow,nice to see the writing desert has come to an end:) I love hearing about people starting with a new college (or varsity as we would say), I studied again this year and so did my husband, brother and cousin... We all have full time jobs but wanted to study into the fitness industry:) Now I have two jobs I love and another qualification.. after the long explaination I'm mainly saying-whoop whoop for studying, and generally doing more with life:)

Kristen Maddux said...

Oh my word, Carin. Irony, indeed! I would love to hear how you even stomached deciding that this was the place for you! But I agree with Kulio, you'll do them some good. And with evangelical circles, it is often a mixed bag-of those who love the RULES and those who really LOVE. I hope you find many of the latter.
And best wishes to you on this educational journey. Proud you're pushing thru, even though you have lots on your plate.

Anonymous said...

Come back to the light!!!! Can't believe he said that about glitter. "Queers" are more into wigs and fishnet stockings these days. Glitter is sooooo 1980.

~mb

Anonymous said...

You have my complete admiration...the fact that you are holding down a full time job, raising 3 girls, and going back to school to continue your education...I doff my cap at that. Props. Major.

Exciting because who knows where this will take you, right?!!!
Somewhere unpredictable, freeing...like breaking away from the flock.

Also, been thinking a lot the last few days about something you put on FB or Twitter, perhaps (at least, I think it was you.) Something about "with everything gained, there is a loss; with every loss, something is gained." Can't find the exact quote but this is the gist.
Lingering in my brain because it's an intriguing idea. Of course everyone talks about the "silver lining" in the cloud. But the idea that something really awesome that we or someone we know has...and to think and remember that, yes...it's great...and there IS a cost, which, like silver linings, are not always obvious. Well, that's interesting to explore and think about.

Speaking of breaking away from the flock, also interested to see what and where your spiritual inquiry take you. Hoping you write more about that. Not everyone does a rigorous review of what they've inherited and asks themselves, what have I've been taught to believe, and do I really believe all that?

Keep going.

Summer said...

"But, I do ask why."

. . . me too.