Remembering happy things- autumn

I was trying to remember happy memories today, and I tried to go back through my childhood. I have a lot of unhappy memories- things that weren’t unpleasant at the time, but would have been if I’d known better. If I’d known people were allowed to come over to other people’s houses, etc. I found myself remembering one of the happiest things of my childhood- rec league soccer in the fall, and the first few days of school. And, well, autumn in general. I remember playing soccer on Saturdays having a great time. I specifically remember one fantastic game where everything was really muddy, and I had somehow gotten tripped, flipped onto my back, and slid about 10 ft down the field in mud! Hahaha I was SO happy! I wasn’t mad about the foul at all. Sometimes we could get dad to take us to Nemenz, the local gas station, to get a piece of candy. We would always look for this pumpkin gum. It came in a square package, and was a thick, big piece of gum shaped like an orange pumpkin. You’d slap it down on the table to break it into pieces so you could eat it. That was the best! My brother, sister, and I all loved it. I can remember smelling the cool September air as I waited at the end of the driveway for the first day of school. For some reason, the first morning was always foggy- even if it had been clear yesterday. It was always cool, but not cold enough for a jacket. There were several kids who were picked up at our babysitter’s. Her house was a small, yellow, one floor house. Basically a main room with a hallway leading to three small rooms and a bathroom. She was a good parental figure, although I hated her sometimes (but I think that probably means she was doing a good job.) The driveway was short, covered in limestone rocks (like most people’s driveways were,) and we were next to a woodsy area that was blocked with a barbed wire fence. It was the neighbor’s property, and they had cows that escaped sometimes. There was always this one tree that turned bright pink during the fall. I think it was just an average maple tree, but it was absolutely gorgeous. I haven’t been there in years, I wonder if it’s still standing? I remember going into school on the first day and inhaling the smell of the cleaners. They always cleaned the day before, and the smell permeated the hallways for the first few days. I never found another place that smelled like that. They say that smells bring back memories the most effectively. I wonder what I would remember if I stopped by in the fall! I loved feeling the leaves crunch under my feet, and I would try to catch leaves before they hit the ground while waiting for the bus. One of the older kids said that if you caught it, you could make a wish. I’m pretty sure he just made it up, but it was a cute thought, so we all tried to catch them as they fell. Yellow, red, orange, pink… I miss the seasons so much. Hopefully I will be back in the north shortly.

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People’s beliefs are stupid. And it’s ok to believe that.

The title here says it all.
A lot of times, people try to be peacemakers. They say we should be tolerant and let others be. I’m all for tolerance, but as Greta Christina says (and I’m paraphrasing), “You don’t have to tolerate intolerance.” The root of this means that there are some beliefs that are very exclusive (as in the opposite of inclusive.) The most obvious example right now is the bill in Arizona that would protect business owners who choose to refuse service to certain customers based on “sincere” religious convictions (in other words, the right not to serve the LGBT community if you are a conservative Christian.) We don’t need to be tolerant of that attitude.

In a similar strain of thought, we don’t have to “be respectful” of people’s beliefs in that we need to accept them as a viable viewpoint. Sure, be respectful as in don’t seek out trouble, don’t go out looking for a fight, but there’s no reason that you can’t think someone else’s ideas are stupid. For some reason, this seems to be taboo even in parts of the atheist community.

I’m allowed to think that the belief that a god had a human son, and that eating the flesh and drinking the blood of that son will bring some sort of benefit to the consumer is downright outrageous. I think that’s idiotic, and quite frankly it’s hard for me to remember why I ever believed that. (I think parental indoctrination had a lot to do with it.) I wouldn’t treat the person poorly for believing this; I would still serve the person at my place of business, I would work with him if he was a coworker, I would treat him politely, and I wouldn’t be opposed to being friends. This has nothing to do with thinking the belief is idiotic.

I have plenty of friends who believe in god. And I think that they are wrong, that this is a silly thing to think. All of us think someone else is wrong in at least some aspect; otherwise, we wouldn’t hold the belief that we have. If you are a Christian, but you think that atheism is not silly, then I would ask why you chose one over the other. If they are both equal, if both have merit, why are you of one faith and not another? To those who would say that it’s a matter of degree (“Well, Christianity is MORE correct than Judaism,”) then I still say there must be things you disagree with in the opposing view. Things that you think are wrong. Things that are silly, stupid, and foolish.

It’s ok to think that. It’s ok to think or to say that someone else’s viewpoint is silly. I personally think you ought to have some reasoning behind it, but my point is that there shouldn’t be a taboo on saying that someone else is wrong. It’s a misnomer to think that “tolerance” means “to agree with,” tolerance simply means you treat the person fairly; the idea can be complete bullocks.

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Recovering from mental illness

Well,it happened again. The stress of school ate at me so much that I finally broke down and couldn’t cope. I was clinically “in crisis” and quite frankly could have been taken to the hospital. Instead, my psychiatrist opted for increased meds and a week off of school. The week off helped a lot, but I keep finding myself back in that mindset: “Well, now you had a week to recover. You should be done now. So go to school. What’s wrong with you? You still feel bad? Why? You must not be working hard enough, or maybe you’re just weak and can’t recover the way you should.” These are the things that run through my mind. And really, they should show me that I am NOT ready to go back to work (which is why I’m compromising and taking the morning off. Teaching in the afternoon will be easy.)

It’s really awful to be constantly thinking these things about myself. I constantly feel inadequate when it comes to school/work- I got a poster rejected at a conference. A fifth year grad student, with maybe one paper that I worked on just enough to get my name on (and is totally unrelated to my current project,) and I haven’t gotten any breakthrough in my research. It sucks. I want to graduate so much, but you can’t get a PhD without relevant data.

Sometimes I think about quitting it all and working for an animal rescue company instead. I think that would hard, but fun at the same time. Terrible to see animals abused, but great to have them find homes and recover.

The problem is that I’m in too deep to pull out now. I passed my OP, and the final hurdle is the dissertation defense itself. The school has put too much money and resources into me for me to NOT receive my degree. I have to keep telling myself: a little bit at a time. Just do a little bit everyday, and eventually you’ll get something to publish.

All I want to do is teach college level chemistry. But now I’m even rethinking that and considering going the animal route… but I can’t seriously be considering that. I’ve wanted a PhD since I was 5. What kind of kid wants that? I guess I wanted one so that I could prove I was smarter than everyone else. Let’s face it, all of us PhD candidates want that in some fashion.

These new meds are making me crazy sleepy, and I have a headache too. Time for a break, I guess.

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