Feminism

I remember thinking for the first time, “I don’t need someone to hold the door for me… I can do this myself.” I must have been 12 or so, with dreams of being the first female president swimming in my head. My independent streak was strong, but it was also my young way of interpreting feminism.

Its’s funny, the way we change as we develop into adults. I certainly opened many doors for myself, but have kind of mellowed and started listening more before speaking. I don’t jump on people as much about something I feel offensive, but let it roll off. I still stand strong and try to be a woman of action.

But now, I know myself, and with the resurfacing of feminism in many current events, I kick myself for all the times I didn’t speak up and find I question some of the very things I do to fit into the world around me. You see, though teaching is a female dominated field, being a band director isn’t. Yes, it is getting more and more balanced, but there is still a boys club mentality in some circles. On a couple of occasions, I have definitely felt out of place and undermined. As a young professional, it was hard for me to know when to speak up and, in retrospect, I let things slide that I would not tolerate now.

As a parent, I also wonder at some of my choices. Recently, a commercial was out asking what the term, “like a girl” means. Older girls would demonstrate doing an action “like a girl” in a weak, flimsy way, while younger girls would show themselves doing the action with strength and good form. I have two young boys and I blanched when I saw that commercial. I had just caught myself chiding my youngest with that phrase when playing catch. Face palm. Oh, and what about the term, “grow some balls”? Definitely in my lexicon, but what does that say about those of us with two X chromosomes? (Side note: I did not tell my boys to grow a set! Just saying)

A moment of pride for me is when my husband started asking me about #YESALLWOMEN and if I ever felt uncomfortable in situations with men; like being in an elavator with a strange man. We talked about how, while we walk with confidence, women have more road blocks than men. Then he said this: This is a problem that men need to fix. Melt my heart. I then asked him to run for office, please! He refused, but did take it on in his podcast that week (The Campfire Project Episode 16- The First Step is Raising People’s Consciousness ).

In the same week his podcast aired, the Hobby Lobby decision was made final, restricting which methods of birth control women employees of that corporation would have available. This decision is not just about equality but letting the private sector become more private. Allowing “religion” (in quotes because I don’t fully believe that was the entire impetus of the corporate law suit) which is a private matter become a public one that you can use to run your non-religious business. Oh, and it just happens that women are the victims of this decision.

The younger version of me would have vowed to stay off the news sites and Facebook for a while and let it blow over. Now, I am not sure I can change anyone’s opinion, but I will take a bigger step in highlighting my views. I retweeted pertinent posts and got sucked into a conversation or two. I even ribbed a friend (a great guy) when he called me a man because I can throw a good spiral and like dark beer.

In my core, I know that women and men are always going to be different; it is human nature. But, I will no longer let things that glare out at me slide. My time listening has given me the knowledge to know when my voice should be heard. The biggest resolution I have is to raise awareness to my two boys who will grow up to be white men (the world will be their oyster), and make sure they value the women who are in their lives; and throughout the world.

Am I a feminist? Probably, but now that I have matured, I don’t mind having the door I opened for me every once in a while.

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Breaking News: No Gays in Sochi

After today’s announcement from Sochi’s mayor Anatoly Pakhomov that thee were no gays in his city, this reporter went on a deeper investigation of the future Olympic games site.

Sure enough, no homosexuals were abiding in the city.  One resident claimed the cold weather was a deterrent for them entering the city.  Other claims include  the proximity of the city to the Black Sea is a primary reason gays do not dwell there.  It is well known in Russia for gays to prefer fresh water locations.

One other thing thing people may notice missing from Sochi is the color blue.  Mayor Pakhomov forbids it from the city with claims that the color taints the vision of the heterosexual population.   However, various shades of cobalt are allowed within the city  boundaries.

Newspapers

My husband will be happy to hear this: I was wrong.

When the salesman came to my door and asked if I would support Lamb’s Farm for $20 I was glad to help.  Then he told me that I was going to receive a complimentary subscription to the Tribune for my donation.  I didn’t want it, but was in too far with the salesman and was feeling pretty nice that day.  Now I am getting a newspaper delivered to me everyday (it was supposed to only be Sundays!).

My husband called me a sucker and maybe I am, but I didn’t expect that I would really mind getting the paper.

I am an avid reader and have had subscriptions to different papers and magazines off and on through my adult life.  The last one, until recently, was for Time magazine.  I ultimately cancelled it because I wasn’t keeping up with it.

Then, my husband got me a Kindle.  I didn’t want it.  I liked the feel of books and thought the device would be too expensive; I had a library card and did not need an e-reader.  But, my spouse said that I would be glad to have it once our second child was born and I was stuck in the house all winter.  It didn’t take long for me to covet it.  Since that day, I have done most of my reading on a device: books, magazines and news.

And now, there years later, I get a newspaper.  I tried to sit down one Sunday and read it.  I didn’t like it.  The pages were too cumbersome, and I didn’t even bother with the ads.  When I do get to shop, the online ads or apps do just fine.  But the worst part of it was having all that paper to recycle.  I felt that is was such a waste of resources, and those who know me know that I have a soft spot for the environment.

So, while my husband and I are known to bicker, I have to say he was right two times.  First, the devices I use to read, surf and message with make me not miss the paperbacks at all.  And, maybe it is okay to be a bitch to the next solicitor that knocks on the door.

Creativity

The four C’s of teaching are: communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking . Being a band director, these four goals resonate well with me. How else can a band be successful if it doesn’t collaborate, communicate, think creatively, and use critical thinking to listen and make decisions every second they are playing?

But this blog isn’t going to be about band.

There is a push for all teachers at my school to rely on the Four C’s in their teaching. But honestly, we haven’t talked much about creativity yet. Being me, that is my favorite concept of the four, and I keep thinking about it. I love creating. Food, words, MUSIC, art. The feeling of accomplishment after I make something is phenomenal. It is at my core.

But when I think about creativity, I feel that it is so much more. Creative thinking can be moments that are a lot less tangible. Every time I make an adjustment to my lesson plan to accommodate a student I am thinking creatively. Sure, I have a “bag of tricks” to try with students that work well, but in 12 years of teaching I think I can count on one hand how many times a lesson went exactly as I had planned. As a parent, I am constantly using creativity. If I wasn’t a mommy gorilla or a robot, my three-year old would probably be stuck in a tantrum somewhere in another dimension right now.

Creative thinking happens at all ages in all sorts of professions. Albeit, some professions rely on it more than others. But isn’t problem solving just another way of being creative. Are we all meeting our maximum creative potential? Probably not. Which is why teachers are being reminded how important it is.

Hopefully, as my colleagues and I–heck, as we all as a society grow together– we won’t put walls up around creativity. It can be simple or complex; a product or an idea. Embrace it.

Pilot redo

Several years ago, I started a blog and took it down almost instantly after I realized people would actually read it.  ( yeah, I am kind of tech illiterate sometimes.) I opened it to get my thoughts out of my head so I could sleep at night and have a place to vent. However, I wasn’t confident enough to open up to readers yet.

After having a private journal for the last few years, I am ready for that feedback. I think it might have something to do with being in my mid thirties and not caring what other people think too much anymore. Also, I am ready to try something new and see if anyone will read this.

This blog will mostly be my reflections on life. Trials of parenting and elements of my career in music education will probably seep into my writing too. I am excited to get started and thank you for listening.