Resurfacing

After a long hiatus, I’ve decided that the only way to get back into writing is to…get back into writing. But for me that means just writing, not worrying about making my posts deep or important or relevant. So I’m going to try a little writing (almost) every day, probably using the Post A Day prompts from The Daily Post here on WordPress. What that means for whoever is still reading my blog is that you will certainly see a mix of topics, and my focus is going to be on writing for writing’s sake. When I’m not using the writing prompts, I might start throwing in some fiction here or there as well. Fiction is my first love and I’ve put it aside for too long.

So here’s to recovering a piece of myself and sharing it with all of you.

Advertisements

Such a Geek

I’m a geek.  It’s why I get loud when I need to defend Hayao Miyazaki films or how, if you mention Lord of the Rings, you’ll have to talk to me about it for the next hour.  It’s why I spend most of my spare time playing video games (one of which is set in Middle Earth—go figure) or consuming sci-fi/fantasy books, movies, and TV shows.  I used to worry so much about letting my geekiness show, but after I learned not to hide who I am out of fear of the stigma attached, I became a happier person.  I figure that if you want to know who I am, you’ll have to be introduced to the geek.  You can take her or leave her, but she isn’t likely to change.  I am blessed to be married to a geek guy, someone who doesn’t worry that his wife takes it as a point of pride that she can identify the planetary origin of a specific spacecraft from Star Trek just based on its appearance.  And I am happy that my parents raised me on Star Wars and Star Trek, let me play on the Commodore (and learn to code a few lines of Basic), and gave me my first box set of The Chronicles of Narnia when I was six or seven, and—possibly unwittingly—my first set of Dungeons & Dragons novels when I was nine.

One of my geeky girl-crushes is Felicia Day, creator of the online show “The Guild” and the Youtube channel “Geek & Sundry”.  In this following video, Day (hyping the new season on Geek & Sundry) explores the meaning of the word geek.  I’ll just get you started when she brings up the question, “What is a geek?”

As Felicia Day suggests, being a geek is more than just belonging to a specific fandom (i.e. comic books, sci-fi, video games, etc.).  A geek is a person who “dares to love something that isn’t conventional.”  My weird interests will probably always make me a bit of an outsider, but there’s something more important than all of this that leaves me on the margins of a society like ours.

I’m a geek for Jesus.

Brown t-shirt  with white text that reads

Look, I even found a Jesus Geek t-shirt on zazzle.com!

Yeah, yeah, that sounds kind of like a trite, t-shirt slogany thing to say, but it’s true.  Getting as excited about Jesus as I do about Star Trek makes me an outsider, just as Day suggests.  To a certain extent, all Christians are outsiders, all Christians are Jesus Geeks.  But sometimes I feel like that geek-as-outsider even within the Church, and not just because I treat imaginary worlds as if they were real, sometimes.

I get really, really excited about things like the Incarnation.  I mean, really excited…bouncing in my seat kind of excited.  That’s strange for someone as introverted and shy as I am.  But when our pastor starts talking about Jesus being alive, right now, in his physical, ascended body, this shy, introverted, self-conscious, white Canadian wants to jump up and shout, “AMEN! PREACH IT, BROTHER!”  Which I don’t, because I go to a church largely made up of formerly Presbyterian second-generation Korean-Canadians and I don’t want to give anyone a heart attack.  I do it inside my head, though, and then go home and give my husband, bless his patient heart, the sermon/testimony that I wanted to give at church.

This blog might end up being another outlet for those excited, half-baked, emotive geek-outs that I need to share.  In fact, I think I need to geek-out about the Incarnation for you, so expect that later this week.

A Necessary GPOY*

It’s been more than a year since my first post, and there is an embarrassing gap in my posting record after June 26, 2012, but I hope to do better.  Because of the small number of posts I have up, I still want to do some introduction to who I am.

Having covered the nebulous, idea-based introduction in my first post, I’d like to get down to brass tacks.  Who am I beyond what I think?  I mentioned in that first post that I am a Christian.  I mention it again because there is nothing more important to my identity than my love of Jesus Christ.  It even goes on my census form, I think—or it used to back when Canada had a long-form census (did I mention that I had a political streak?).

Other important census details: I am a cisgender, heterosexual woman in my early thirties, married to a man I love deeply and who is unequivocally my best friend.  I have made a career mostly of being a student with some years of administration thrown in for sense and good measure.  In 2012, I graduated from Regent College in Vancouver, BC with a Master of Christian Studies (soon to be an MA in Theology).  My undergraduate degree was completed at the University of Alberta over ten years ago and gives me the privilege of declaring that I know A Good Deal about English literature.

I still read a lot and I still analyze the things I read, even the things I read for fun…or perhaps especially those things.  I analyze almost everything, in fact, from movies to television shows to the way the groceries are stocked at my local supermarket.  Don’t get me started on advertising.  I’ll save that for a future post or, more likely, posts.

I also have learned to identify myself as fat.  I am learning through the Health at Every Size movement and the fat activism community to own that name—not as a source of shame but as a part of my identity.  I believe that our bodies are our selves (to borrow a feminist term), and so, if I am sharing my true self, it makes a difference what my body looks like to other people.  I also recognize—painfully, a lot of the time—that we are a culture obsessed with bodies, personal image, and food, and that being fat in the midst of that culture can be a difficult experience.  My thesis, in fact, deals with women’s body image concerns (especially as caused by objectification), so there will be a lot of discussion on this blog about bodies.

In terms of body identity, it also bears mentioning that I am temporarily able-bodied (is that still the correct term?), with the exception of some rather bad myopia and astigmatism.

Before I take it for granted again, I also want to mention that I’m white.  It means that I forget sometimes that not everyone experiences the world the way that I have, from a position of privilege.  It often feels like there’s no not-awkward way to talk about race, though, so I try to do the best thing I can: shut up and listen when others are talking about their experiences.

Let’s see: I’ve covered gender, race, age, religion, body size and ability, education, and marital status.  Oh, just for spice I’ll throw in that I am an INFP on the Meyers-Briggs Personality Inventory, and that I’m actually very shy.  That should cover it, but if you have any other not-creepy questions, please feel free to add them in the comments!

*GPOY: A Gratuitous Picture of Yourself

Why I Call Myself a Feminist

For a lot of people, the word “feminist” conjures up a host of scary stereotypes: hairy-legged, short-haired women with scowls on their faces, women shouting and burning bras, women who forswore the company of men, and so on.  Sometimes, then, it is hard to take the name “feminist” and wear it with pride, knowing what people might be thinking about you.

I do take the name, but I take it humbly, recognizing that I only have the right to take that name because so many women took it in the past—women who were brave enough to fight the status quo and demand that our humanity be recognized.  Like many of those feminists, I don’t want to make a new matriarchy to replace the patriarchy.  I don’t want to see men “put in their place” the way women were forced into “their place” for so many millennia.

I am a feminist because I believe women are human beings and that we should be treated as such.

It’s hard to make the argument that women aren’t being treated as human beings, as people.  Some believe that calling a woman a “person” (i.e. under the law, as Canada did 83 years ago) is enough.  Giving women the vote is enough.  Fighting for women’s right in the workplace was enough (though of course that could be considered an ongoing battle).  Giving women a measure of reproductive freedom was, apparently, more than enough, if political currents in the United States at the moment are any indication.

But, in 2012, as sexual slavery and trafficking are on the rise, as eating disorders of every kind crumble the minds and bodies of women and children, as pornography continues to be a multi-billion dollar industry, and as rape and domestic violence against women are still serious problems, it seems to me that calling women “persons” was not enough.  It was not enough because, apparently, some people didn’t believe it.

I am a feminist because I believe that women are persons, human beings, made in the image of God, worthy of being treated with dignity and respect, and deserving of the freedom to choose their own path.  To be clear: I believe that all these things—dignity, respect, freedom, recognition—should be accorded to all human beings, all persons.  But until women are being treated respectfully, with dignity, given freedom, and recognized as full persons not simply by the letter of the law, then I will remain a feminist, and I will continue to fight for the rights of women everywhere.

Our society needs feminists to keep repeating “women are persons, women are human beings, women are persons, women are human beings” until society gets it.  I think we’ll know it has happened when there are no more questions about pay equity, access to safe and effective birth control, safety and freedom from violence, the freedom to dress or adorn our bodies as we wish without fear of objectification, and so on.  It will be clear that women are persons when our bodies are no longer used as props to sell products.  It will be clear that women are persons when no one feels they have the right to threaten, coerce, or victimize someone simply because they are female.

Until then, I will be a feminist.  Again, to be clear, I will also fight to have these rights maintained for men.  I don’t think we can fix the problem of objectification, for example, by “equalizing” things through the objectification of men.  Men do not deserve to be turned into sexual props for marketing either!  Men deserve safety, freedom, respect, and dignity (something they sadly lose in many commercials, I might add) just as much as women do.

So that’s a small part of why I call myself a feminist.  Other feminists may have different reasons, and that is their right and privilege, but I wanted to share some of what motivates me to continue to call myself, unapologetically, a feminist.

Your guide for today will be…

I’ve considered starting what I like to call “a real, grown up blog” for a long time.  Years ago, when blogs were called by their ancient moniker “weblogs,” I was recruited into keeping one by another “user” that I suspect was actually some sort of bot that sent me spam to rope me in.  At the time—back at the turn of the millennium—most blogs were nothing more than online journals.  This was in the years before MySpace and, of course, Facebook, and we early bloggers were experimenting in what is now called social media, or, barely-censored-self-disclosure.

Blogging has come a long way since then and the best blogs available in the “blogosphere” are those that read almost like syndicated regular news columns.  These best-of-blogs are topical, well-written, and rarely merely recording the daily events and emotions of the writer.  The world now has Twitter and Facebook to cover the need to self-disclose regularly.  Our blogs, then, become the spaces in which we communicate our more organized, deeper thoughts, instead of records of what we’ve eaten, read, watched, or seen on our way home on the bus, although sometimes they might reflect on those things, too.

Choosing a topic for a blog is difficult for me.  I consider myself a collector of ideas.  I have an eclectic range of interests and I enjoy spending time making them fit together in my head.  The most important idea in my life is my belief in Jesus Christ.  Everything else I do or think is filtered through my relationship with Him.  So this blog will have a lot to do with Christianity and how Christians—or at least this Christian and her husband—interact with our culture.  I am also a feminist.  I like to own that term, and will probably spend some time in future-posts-coming-very-soon unpacking what it means for me.

I love the culture of geek that has sprung up on the internet over the past…well, more or less as long as there has been internet!   I am a “gamer” insofar as my favourite pastime is playing PC-based video games, especially Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPG or MMO, and this is the last time you’ll ever see it written as anything but MMO), but I also love reading and watching science fiction and fantasy.  I think that qualifies me for at least some geek-cred, though as in all things there may be other boxes to tick depending on who’s doing the ticking.

Finally, I have always had a keen interest in current affairs and politics, with a deep streak of something resembling socialism that’s motivated by my true Liberal Bleeding Heart.  I hurt when I see others hurting, and because of the way my mind works, I tend to see the Big Picture ways in which our society is causing/exacerbating/ignoring those hurts.  All of these elements will no doubt come out in my writing, since I don’t think I have the energy to start and maintain multiple blogs, and, frankly, I like playing with the ways in which they all fit together.

I look forward to journeying with anyone and everyone who is interested in walking alongside me, virtually speaking, for a little while.