succumbing to peer pressure

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Ding, over at BitchPhD has the right response to this prop 8 bullshit (thanks, soon-to-be-adopted-homestate!). You must, must go read the entire thing, but to wet your whistle:

Basically, Prop 8 tells every gay person in California to suck it up and accept it: you will never have the same right or access to the same things to which I, my straight sister and straight brother in law have rights and access.

There. That's the Proposition in a nutshell.
Let's cut to the chase: it was straight people who tanked equal rights for gays in California. (Let that sink in a bit. We'll come back to that, too.)

Here's the thing about equal rights - they actually supercede religion and race and they do so because the idea behind equality and civil rights is quite simple:


I will repeat this often and loudly at whoever is puffing themselves into a self-righteous ball about why they voted for Prop 8:
You know what gay people want? What you and I have. Freedom. Autonomy. Dignity. The privilege to introduce the person they love to a room full of people as their spouse. They want to fulfill a human desire to create a family and have that family be protected just as your family is protected. They want what we have and we should give it to them.
The burden to change the paradigm of hatred and bigotry shouldn't fall entirely on the community oppressed by it; it should be shared equally by the privileged who must sacrifice something in order to see the promised land of equal rights for all.)

Friday, November 07, 2008

Too much time in the city

I'm out in the boonies of Mississippi for a friend's wedding and I had forgotten how unbearably amazing stars are when you're away from cities. Tonight there was Orion and the Pleiades and a shooting star for the first time in years.

Also, this wedding is the perfect antidote to my brother's wedding. Although the family thing did turn out ok, and it was lovely to discover just how many loving people my brother has in his life, the whole affair still rather failed to ring true for me. Whereas this weekend is all about messy, mixed, extended families and friends loving each other in genuine, sloppy ways. It's rather wonderful.

Also, negotiating is kind of awesome. At least, it is in this case. I still hate it, and it makes me feel gross, but in this case they met my counteroffer and my new boss emphasized that I should always feel comfortable coming to him when things don't seem right and I should always ask for what I want, just like I did when it came to salary, so I feel even doubly more awesome about this whole job thing. Which I accepted, somewhat officially (still no signed docs) this afternoon just before driving out to the boonies. Exciting! And scary!

So I'm in MS until Sunday and then back to CA on Wednesday for more job stuff and then, oh right, I'm also supposed to be teaching and writing that pesky fifth chapter. Details.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

"In the unlikely story of America, there has never been anything false about hope."

I'm not really sure I have words for this. Four years ago I was in tears, partly out of drunken melodrama, but mostly out of the sensation that my values, my beliefs, were so far out of whack with those of the rest of America. I cried out of mourning, cried for the loss of my place in this society. For that is what I lost - I lost the sensation that I belong here. I lost the sensation that my beliefs were shared by my fellow Americans. Luckily, my beliefs are mostly shared by my family. Their perspective helped, and continues to help when people seem to want to pat me on the head and imply that I will outgrow these childish notions of 'fairness' and 'justice.'

There were tears tonight, tonight spent at MLK's tomb, and Manuel's Tavern (practically live-blogged by Shelby), but mostly they were tears of wonder and disbelief. Tears shared by the middle-aged white woman standing in front of me, tears that streamed down Reverend Jesse Jackson's face on tv. Tears spent watching Yes We Can over and over...I know I was in high school during the end of President Clinton's term. I know by that point I was well aware of events and politics. And yet...and yet. I have no memory of ever looking up at a tv and thinking, that's my President, with the sense of pride and eagerness for the work to be done that I had tonight. President-elect Barack Obama finally instilled in me the sensation that I experience during quiet, late night visits to the Lincoln Memorial - what can I say? I'm a sucker for my country. And I'm a sucker for lofty ideals. And I have been waiting for a leader to come along who had the potential to live up to those ideals.

I love this country. You have to love something for it to break your heart the way my country has broken mine over the past eight years. Molly Brodsky has a wonderful quote, "You may not call me naive. If you must label me, you may call me 'not cynical'." If only that were still true of me. The past eight years have made me so cynical - I have been comforting myself with the refrain that we elect the leaders we deserve. Thank goodness we still deserve a leader like Senator Obama. May he rise to the occasion.

Decisions, advice, support, and negotiations

I finally (finally!) got a little quiet space in my own head, and I know I want to take this job. I went in to the job interview working pretty hard to be my own devil's advocate, knowing that I was already pretty smitten with both company and director/potential boss. And there are legitimate cons to the job. But none that outweigh the pros. And the cons (contextually lower salary, long hours, general toughness of job, etc.) are all the kinds of things that if five or ten years from now I look back on turning down the job for those reasons, I'll hate myself.

So I'm going to take the job. And I'm excited and happy about it, and I'm lucky to have quite a fan club of wonderful people who are unabashedly happy and excited for me, which is awesome. But I spent the better part of the past couple of days talking to people who have the best of intentions, and who are trying to give me good advice (this is your first job interview and offer, shop around, get a better sense of what's out there, etc.) but who are essentially just raining on my parade. Some of that reaction is due to family baggage (thanks Dad, for the particularly classy analogy, "I just hate to see you throw yourself at the first guy in the bar"). And like I said, I know it's all coming from a place of caring about me and wanting what's best for me. But please don't patronize* me. I know I am inexperienced and naive, but I am also old enough to know what principles and values matter to me. And those principles and values are pretty well matched with this small non-profit company. And it's the right time to take this job - I can pick up and move across the country and travel internationally 6-8 weeks out of the year because right now it's just me. And I can take what could be considered a pay cut, because, again, it's just me. And I've been in love with this company for three years, and they just opened up the perfect job for me. Now is the time to take this job. So quit worrying about me and offering up alternatives and just be happy for me. Please.

I have received some really wonderful support and advice regarding negotiating my starting salary. I know I have to do this. I've known for years how men traditionally negotiate and women traditionally don't and how that results in massive differences in pay scale that add up to thousands and thousands of dollars. But I hate this part. It makes me feel gross and manipulative, and I know that it must be done and that it's expected, and that companies have a max offer in mind for these negotiations. But none of that makes me feel better. Hearing all of my female friends root for me, and remind me that I have to do this, and talk me through how to do this, helps tremendously.

Surfing craigslist for apartments, picturing the company retreat they want me to come on next weekend, and imagining dinners with the Canadians also all helps.

God, I've got to write my fifth chapter or none of this is going to matter!

*at least two of those well intentioned people felt the need to double check for themselves that this was a 'legitimate' company. Really? a) you thought I was so dumb/lazy that I wouldn't research the company? Hi, have you met me? b) this job was recommended to me by the editor of The journal in our field. You thought he'd suggest as my first job some risky start-up with no respect within the field? I know my career trajectory is already not so traditional. And you know what? It's never going to be. Thank goodness one of my colleagues offered up these two excellent pieces of advice: 1) you can either make your resume stand out because you're the best at everything. Or you can make it stand out because you do interesting work that makes you look different from every other applicant. 2) I'm hearing a lot of what other people think you should do. What do you want to do?

Ingredients for a good day

  1. 'sleep in' (until 8)
  2. sip coffee from "Martin Sheen is my president" mug while watching election episode of West Wing
  3. Vote*!
  4. Decide to take job offer**
  5. Come home to glorious GA weather and throw open all the windows
  6. Continue to pretend as if I don't have a zillion things to do today
*Despite being totally disenfranchised by the electoral college when it comes to my presidential vote, it was still pretty damn awesome to push that particular button. Although I haven't been following it nearly as closely, I'm actually as excited about our senate race - various polls have the race too close to call, and likely to end up in a run-off in Dec (GA law requires candidate to win with 50+%). At least in that race I feel like my vote could actually make a difference.
**tiny not-so-great lining - the flip flops my stomach is doing about salary negotiations. Details re: job, decision, and negotiations to follow.