The Scamp is an In Debt, Sexually Active, Tattooed, College Educated Rebel

This rant brought to you by Lori Alexander’s post: Men Prefer Debt-Free Virgins without Tattoos Really Offensive Article. The title alone is the exact opposite of me, so I should have just kept scrolling.

But I didn’t.

Actually, the first thing I saw was a response that a fellow blogger wrote in response to the post by Mrs Alexander. The 25-year-old woman responded to the absurdity of thinking that propagates the blog post (Well Written Response). I agree with a lot of what Alyssa says. In 2018, it should be ‘my body, my choice’ and not ‘my body simply created to push out babies and meekly serve a man’.

I am a  Jewish woman (and not the best one at that) and have no battle with the Christian religion or those who follow any religion for that matter. My complaint is not about religion (although, I have a feeling that God wouldn’t have given women free will, a mouth and a brain if He didn’t want them to use it).

But Mrs Alexander, fuck your standards. You clearly do not understand women (Christan or otherwise). It is also extremely doubtful that you understand men. As you write:

There are many more reasons why Christian young women should carefully consider whether or not they go to college, especially if they want to be wives and mothers someday. Secular universities teach against the God of the Bible and His ways. It’s far from what God calls women to be and do: it teaches them to be independent, loud, and immodest instead of having meek and quiet spirits.

So, go to college and you can kiss motherhood goodbye? Really? Have you been out in society at all in the last oh 100 years? Women were not simply created to please men and the fact that you still think this way, and try and indoctrinate young impressionable women into this line of thinking is criminal. I’ve been to four universities, and not one of them taught me to be loud of immodest. They taught me to value education, to value learning experiences and gave me the chance to meet, interact with, and learn from all kinds of people. I am a better person because of the learning and growing that I did whilst attending university.

In 2018, I also fear the notion of having a ‘meek and quiet spirit’. The world isn’t perfect. Women (and men) should be able to disagree with what they see and hear and should be encouraged to have a conversation. They should not be silenced until they conform, and should be encouraged to be individuals. The only way that change can happen, and that some of the chaos of our current society can be calmed is if women (and men) are willing to speak up and work towards change.  I think Alyssa says it best when she writes:

Many of the brightest, most level-headed, youth in this country are girls. These young ladies are going to shape our world and help to make it a nurturing and supportive place to live. They’re going to find the cures to deadly diseases, make progressive changes in political offices, AND be the most badass mothers yet. And you want to deny them (and the world) the chance to do that? For what? So they can find a partner who sees them as “less-than” and good for nothing but giving birth? I don’t think so.

Don’t even get me started on the idea that women only get a job to pay off their debt and to make use of their degree. Not only do I know women who went to university and then decided to become stay at home moms until their kids are in school, but I know many women who busted their asses to become lawyers, doctors, teachers, and engineers and went to work in jobs they love not out of a sense of obligation, and not to pay off their debt, but because they love their work. Two of those women have kids, and one is currently pregnant. Shocking. Even more shocking, they met their husbands during college, or completed their degrees and pursued careers with the full support of their spouse. I even know a stay-at-home dad who loves his time at home with his kids (he also happens to be a Christan, but I promised to keep religion out of this). That being said, not everyone wants to go to college, and if a woman decides that it is not for her, as long as it is her choice, and she is happy with it, I have no problem with it.

Debt. No one (man or woman) wants to enter a marriage in debt. It is ridiculous to think otherwise. That being said, I can’t imagine many women who are excited to marry a man who has a lot of debt. That seems to be missing from Mrs Alexander’s backward and misguided blog post. I also have a problem with college debt being seen as bad debt. I would be more upset if the debt was from frivolous spending or poor money management skills rather than from furthering my education. Having recently paid off a student loan, I hated having the debt but loved the reason (and the university degree) that came with it.

Now let’s talk about sex. A woman who chooses to be sexually active is not a bad person. A sex worker is not a bad person. Women with free will and brains make choices for themselves. Now, I don’t want to slag off a woman who chooses to wait until she is married to have sex. I have some friends who are choosing to wait because it is important to them, and not because a man has told her she needs to. I happen to like sex (sorry mom), but I waited until I was in love (and in my 20s) before I lost my virginity. I don’t regret my choice at all, and any of the choices (minus one creep named Dan) that I have made since then. No one has ever asked me how many people I’ve slept with (and it is no one’s business).

As for the tattoos…..well, all 25 of them tell a story about who I am and where I’ve been so I regret nothing. I happen to think they make me more attractive. This one doesn’t bother me as much either because I know plenty of people, both male and female that aren’t into tattoos, but a majority of the people I have had the pleasure to meet do not have a problem with tattoos in the slightest. Even the good Jewish boy I almost married was okay with the tattoos that I had when we met (although, I probably would not have gotten any more out of respect for his religious preferences in regards to tattoos).

So, in a nutshell, I am Lori Alexander’s worst nightmare. I’m a 31-year-old single woman who does not currently want kids, has $21k of student loan debt to pay off, enjoys sex and collects tattoos the way most people collect art or stamps (or a number of other things that people like to collect). I’m also independent, living on my own and do not need a husband or my father to explain anything to me. I have no doubt that if I changed my mind about marriage one day I will find a really great guy who loves me, quirks and all.

So who are these men? Where are can I find (and avoid) them? Do I have to start wearing a scarlet letter so they can identify me or are my tattoos enough?

 

I cannot wait to read the comments that this post generates from my friends and family.

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The Scamp and the Writing Challenge: Week 34

Hello from the sick bay! I managed to catch a bug. I don’t feel great. I don’t sounds great.

The good news? The Fringe is over. Tourists will start to go home, and my city will quiet down a bit and settle down. This makes me very very very happy.

The not so good news? It is the end of the month and I am going to hit my 30,000 word goal for my thesis.

…which brings me to the writing challenge for the week: take the third line of the last song I listened to and make that the title and the subject of the post.  I was jamming to the new(ish) Paramore song ‘Hard Times’. The third, and the fourth line actually work well for the way I am currently feeling. They are:

Tell me that I’m alright
That I ain’t gonna die

Given that I feel like death, I know that if I went to see the doc right now, she would tell me I am fine. I need water, plenty of sleep and probably stop going to sleep with wet hair. It has been awhile since I’ve felt this crappy, and I am just happy that it is at the end of the summer and that a lot of the hard work I wanted to do on my PhD has been done.

That being said, knowing that I am falling short of my word count has me stressed. I don’t like falling short, and I would love it if my supervisors would tell me that I am doing okay. I had a really good meeting with them this month, but all I could hear is that I am a little behind the curve of where I should be as a third year, and I am constantly worried about how fucked I got in my second year on data collection.

I’ve already made it farther in this programme than I did in the one in California. I think I can even see the light at the end of the tunnel.

But it is what comes after I make it through the tunnel that has me scared. I’ve made no secret about wanting to become a permanent resident of the UK, specifically, Edinburgh. Work visas are hard to get, especially when I am not exactly a specialist in the field. I still have about a year before I really have to worry, but worrying about finding a full time job here in the city is a constant part of my day.

I want someone to tell me that it’s alright, and that there will be a job for me and I can stay in my flat and continue to miss the sunshine.

Until that happens, I am going to sit on my couch, guzzle tea by the gallons and chip away at my word count. Only 60,000 words to go.

The Scamp and the Writing Challenge: Week 13

…or, The Scamp is a Reluctant Statistician.

I don’t like the writing challenge for this week, so I am just going to make this one up as I go. I’ve been back in Scotland for more than a week, and I finally had to have the conversation that I have been dreading for months. I have spent almost two years collecting survey data and interviewing the staff and students at the uni as part of my thesis research. Most of the surveys were passed out in classes, and then entered into the dreaded SPSS software system. I have just been playing around with the software to see if I remembered how to use it, but I have been putting off doing anything more than finding averages and simple standard deviations within the data.

I hate statistics. Those who know me, and who were with me through the two semesters that we studied it (hey old study group, I’m looking at you and our old Google Docs) know that you often had to drag me kicking and screaming through an explanation of the relationship between the numbers, and I had to sit with a very formulaic fill-in-the-blank sentence structure so I could just plug in the numbers into the template. I only passed that class because I had people way smarter than me sitting next to me helping me understand what I was doing. I’m a qualitative researcher. I’m more concerned with the hows and the whys, with talking to people or observing phenomena. I like interviews and focus groups. I like interacting with others, and spending time going through documents to learn. I do not spend my time with large data sets.

My director of studies loves numbers. He is a scientist. He loves big numbers, he is very uncomfortable with emotions (which I can see every time I cry in his presence), and he does not think that Grounded Theory is really a thing. We’ve clashed a bit on the theory for my thesis, and in the last few months he has been pushing me to sit down with the statistics and really start to create questions and hypotheses (hypothesi? I’m not sure) to explore for the analysis chapter. He has been after me to meet with him, to create charts and spreadsheets, and to get some hypotheses written on paper.

I’ve been avoiding him and making passive aggressive comments about not wanting to work with the numbers. When that didn’t work, I straight out told him that I was worried that I have no idea what I am doing with the stats, and I am really afraid that I am going to have to do complicated bivariate correlations and ANOVA tests and then have no idea how to explain the results and the numbers that are produced from it. He kept saying that things would be fine, that he would sit down with me and we could do it together and everything would be fine.

Meanwhile, I’m stressing out over stats and the never-ending edits to the paper. I had my 6 month review this week and cried in front of my external supervisor who has met me exactly one time 6 months ago. It is my physiological response to frustration and stress (or anger or embarrassment, or sadness). My external was really nice about it, and did her took her job wonderfully and tried to mediate the situation. She helped me get a really good compromise, and I think my supervisor finally understand where I am coming from.

I also think I will be able to handle the stats I have to do for my thesis.

I know that this is all part of the process. I know that I am not going to always agree with my supervisors, and that I am going to have some bumps in the road, and that there would be some learning that I would have to do. I haven’t been able to meet with all of my supervisors at once in a long time, and sometimes I feel like I am a one woman show. I’m currently the only person working on an Education based PhD, and it is not always fun being a lonely island. It doesn’t help that my depression is up and down and I have killer anxiety. I enjoyed my time in my in California, but I have a stop start relationship with my work, and see it as a waste of time when I take a break, rather than a chance to clear my head and center myself before I continue. Thank the sweet baby Jesus I have a therapist that helps keep me on track.

I hate that cry when I am in situations like that, but I do feel better that things are out in the open. I’m hoping now that my plans to spend the summer with my data will not be as stressful.   In the meantime I will binge listen to My Favourite Murderer and try not to think it is weird that I enjoy listening to tales of murder and two super neuritic women telling me to Fuck Politeness! and Stay Sexy and Don’t Get Murdered.

The Scamp’s Last Day of Her 20s

Tomorrow I will enter the next decade of my life. I’m currently horribly ill complete with fever, cough, sore throat and snot.

But I’m happy. While I was unable to cross all 30 things off the list, I did manage to do 21 of the 30 adventures, and I am just going to keep going until I can cross them all off (I really want to make a good budget so I can pay off my student loans). Today, on the eve of my 30th, I am able to cross two more off the list.

The first one that is coming off the list is number 29: Stop holding grudges. This one was a really difficult one because I love holding grudges. For the last few years I have been holding some serious grudges. I decided to let them go. I was able to mend some friendships, and I was able to walk away from one and I no longer miss the friendship or hate her for being so selfish and stupid. Letting go of those grudges has allowed me to make room for some new and amazing friendships (I’m looking at you Flamingos) and allowed me to really focus on the friendships and the people around me that keep me out of the dark and twisty. I also feel a lot better about the way I handle most situations because I am not as angry as usual and not as consumed with my grudges and perceived personal slights.

The second thing I get to cross off the list is number 28: Fall in Love. Now, before you get too excited, no, I did not fall in love with a boy. When I added this to the list a year ago, I was hoping that I would fall in love with the boy and move into a different phase of my disastrous relationships. But alas, that was a dud. The person that I fell in love with is way more important though. I fell in love with me. I’ve spent the last year working hard in therapy to sort through all the weird things that go on in my head. I’m learning how to take care of myself, how to find the balance between work and fun, and how to manage my expectations (That is number 30 on the list, but I am nowhere near ready to cross that one off the list, so it is staying unchecked for the moment). There was a moment earlier in the week that I was a little sad about not completing the list before my birthday, but then I realized everything that I was able to do, and how far I came in the last year. Really starting to love myself is a big thing though, and I think it is one of the things that is going to help make my 30s be just as great as I have been picturing them in my mind. Because, as RuPaul says, “If you can’t love yourself, how the hell are you going to love somebody else?”

Can I get an amen?

  1. Learn how to drive in the UK.
  2. Present at an academic conference
  3. Start a new tradition
  4. Go back to therapy
  5. Visit three new countries (Paris, Malta, Hungary)
  6. Ride in a hot air balloon
  7. Quit the tutoring centre
  8. Volunteer for a literacy programme
  9. Read a book that has more than 500 pages
  10. Make my bed everyday for at least three months
  11. Have a solid draft of my thesis completed
  12. Master scorpion pose
  13. Attend the symphony
  14. Learn a rap song from start to finish
  15. Host a dinner party
  16. Create a  budget so I can pay down my student loans
  17. Create something original
  18. Create a solid workout regime
  19.  Go on a long hike (6 miles or more)
  20. Learn to dance
  21. Eat an exotic meal
  22. Learn to cook a fancy meal
  23. Yell at a football match
  24. Go horseback riding
  25. Master British spelling and punctuation
  26. Create a good sleep schedule
  27. See my favorite group in concert
  28. Fall in love
  29. Stop holding grudges
  30. Let go of my expectations

The Scamp and the Writing Challenge: Week 42

Ten weeks left in the year 2016. I for one can’t say that I will be sad to see it go.

I spent a majority of this week on the bus commuting between the campuses to see the students I tutor, so I am a little grumpy about the lack of my own work that got done, a little tired from all the time on the bus, and now that the weather is getting colder, I am finding it hard to get out of the house without a few layers.

But, I’m trying to stay positive, and trying to see the good in things, so I will not get bogged down in some of those things. The challenge for this week is to describe my day in five words. Because Sunday is the day I don’t get out of bed until I absolutely have to, and then clean my flat from top to bottom, I will write about my Friday….I meant to write this on Friday anyway.

Frustrating. I was supposed to have a meeting Friday morning, and after waiting for a week and a half for confirmation on the meeting time, I heard nothing until the moment we were supposed to meet. The email asked if we were still meeting, and said sorry if you were waiting for me to confirm…..thanks. I also got several emails from the office about my impending move into the storage closet. I’ve spent the whole week off campus, so I packed everything on Monday since I knew I wouldn’t be in. I then got an email about the fact that I still needed to pack my desk. Really it meant I had to travel an hour one way on a Saturday to create a cardboard box for my computer. It took me longer to walk up the stairs to my office than it did to do anything else. I’ve still never been told I was moving. I just got the paper that you have to fill out when you move. It really does not make me want to go into the office at all. I already know that I am not a part of the office, but the lack of communication and respect is starting to make me feel bad about myself.

Confusing. I blame the boy. He fucks with me on so many levels that running into him on my way to therapy left me confused about how I feel about him. I’ve been struggling to get out of the relationship, and making good strides to not keep getting sucked into his emotionless selfish life, but when he kissed me hello and waited for the bus with me and mentioned going on a date to the Royal Botanics like we did last year, I saw that little glimmer of hope that he could be the boyfriend I wanted, even though I know that is not true.

Emotional. I see my therapist every Friday, and the sessions always leave me feeling emotionally wiped out. I also blame the boy for this.

Unexpected. While waiting for the bus, I ran into a friend of mine who was also on his way home. We were able to ride the bus home together and trade tales of our PhD life. I don’t mind riding the bus home by myself, but it was nice to run into a friendly face. It makes me feel like I really live in the city now.

Social. I know, me, social. Crazy. One of the most lovely humans I know was celebrating her birthday. She organized a group to meet at the Royal Botanic Gardens to see the annual light show followed by drinks and dancing. I love spending time with the special special unicorn, so a chance to celebrate her birth seemed like a great idea to me. I was not disappointed. I worried a little because I am not good in social situations when I don’t know anyone, but all of the people I met on Friday night were wonderful creatures. I had a lovely chat with a police officer who let me try and convince people he was a small animal masseuse, met sweet couples, and found a partner in sarcasm. There was no awkward moments, no feelings of being an outsider, and only a little teasing when I refused to go dancing at the end of the night. It was absolutely wonderful.

I was able to end the day on a good note, able to forget about the struggles from the missed meetings, the encounter with the boy, the emotional hour in therapy.  It reminded me that I am not completely hopeless at making friends and enjoying an evening around other people, and that there is hope for me to get a handle on my depression and go back to being my lovely little flamingo in a flock of pigeons.

The Scamp and Her Philosophical Approach

I did not get out of bed until 2 pm today.

I slept. I moped. I stressed over all of the things that needed to be done, what I’m doing with my time and energy, and trying to figure out why I just don’t want to get out of bed.

When I did get out of bed, I moved my pj bottomed ass to my couch. I put on Drag Race and attempted to sort through emails, and maybe get a little writing done.

It is 20 after 5. I’ve written seven words on the ethical considerations of my research, and spent a long time staring at the empty section of my philosophical approach to research.

Which is odd considering the writing challenge for this week is to sum up my world view in one page. This is something that my supervisors asked me to do almost a year ago. I have what I wrote, but trying to say that in academic terms is really difficult. Here is what I wrote a year ago:

Epistemology

Here is what I can say about my world view in non-academic terms: I believe in justice. I believe that those with a voice, those with any sort of power have an obligation to use that power to help those in need. I believe that reality is not a fixed thing, and will not be the same for everyone. My reality as a middle class Cuban-Jewish woman who grew up in California is going to be different than my best friend’s reality While we share common interests and some views on the world, it is impossible for us to understand the world in the exact same way. I believe that we all interact with the world in which we are a part of, but that interaction is different for all people. The way that we process knowledge, and the way that we understand the spaces that we inhabit, is based on the way we grew up, where we grew up, and how we grew up. Because of that, I do not think it is possible to make blanket statements that truth is universal for everyone. I believe that the best way to figure out what everyone’s “truths” are is to talk to them, interact with them, and not try to make their truths the same as my truths. If epistemology is meant to ask questions like: “What is knowledge?”, “How is knowledge acquired?”, “What do people know?”, “What are the necessary and sufficient conditions of knowledge?”, “What is its structure, and what are its limits?”, “What makes justified beliefs justified?”, “How we are to understand the concept of justification?”, “Is justification internal or external to one’s own mind?”, then the best way to describe my approach to the world would be somewhere between camp pragmatist and camp constructionist. I am constantly trying to make sense of the world, but try to do so in terms of how those around me come to their understanding of ‘truth.’ I believe that it is dependent on convention, human perception and social experience. Within that though, I am also interested in the importance of practical consequences, and how the theory, and the ideas that we generate from our research, really affect people. I’m also concerned with what those consequences mean for moving forward with new research. It is my hope that practical and useful knowledge can come from social inquiry.

Ontology

            This one is a hard view to pin down. I believe that our perceptions are what shape reality. More importantly, since I believe that knowledge is constructed it would be impossible to get to the ‘true’ nature of reality, since that reality is created by each individual. I guess this would make me an interpretist or relativist. The pragmatist in me doesn’t really worry about the ontological issues because I am more concerned with real world applications and have always felt that if I had a clear epistemological position, then my ontological point of view would not be as important.

My main supervisor said it was pithy. It’s still the nicest thing he has ever said to me. Really, I am not sure that that really explains my worldview. I think that bad things happen to good people. I think that sometimes life sucks. I think that family, however you choose to define it, makes everything better. I believe that the world will never be a peaceful place until people learn how to have a real conversation, and how to actually listen to what is being said. I believe that animals make everything better. A puppy makes a world of difference on a bad day.

I believe that the only way I will truly be a good educator is through seeing the world and learning about people. I believe that everyone should be able to get an education if they want one, whether it be university, a trade, or learning through doing. I believe that therapy is a girl’s best friend, and there is nothing wrong with admitting that sometimes I cheat on my diet and eat an entire large chocolate bar by myself. I believe that the world would be a better place if people put down their phones and pick up a book. Reading is after all, fundamental.

I believe that as I get older my worldview will change. I think that is a good thing though. I think my worldview should change as I change. I’d like to think that as I meet and interact with people, as I learn more and experience the world that I will become a better person with a better world view.

 

Scamp Rant

I should be working on a paper that is due next week, but I am mad.

Really really mad.

My mom works hard. Really hard. She spends a lot of time developing curriculum, planning, scheduling, and running events, and making sure that her students leave her room at the end of the year better people. She does most of this as a committee of one, and often does it without ever being thanked or acknowledged for all of the work, time and effort that it takes to run the events, develop the curriculum, and make sure that her students are getting where they need to be academically. She works in an environment where she is belittled by the administration, singled out for mistakes she is not making, and often taken advantage of by some of the other members of the staff.

Today was no exception. She has spent this year learning how to use IPads in her classroom. She has learned how to use programs that would allow her students to make movies, presentations, and other creative activities in class. She has some pretty talented kids, and the projects they have made are pretty great. Her students have a chance to present at an upcoming technology showcase, and today another teacher told my mother’s students that they will present for her at the showcase instead. As of now, the principal is allowing this, putting my mom’s students in a difficult position, and causing my mom to pull out of the showcase and not get recognized for all of the work she has done with her students.

The problem is, this makes my mom doubt her value. She feels that she is not good enough to go to bat for, or to be allowed to showcase all the work that she and her students have done this year.

Everyone who knows her, knows that is complete and utter bullshit.

Here is my rant:

What message is that sending to the students? In the golden age of entitlement that we currently live in, the kids are now being shown that it doesn’t matter who worked hard to put together the presentation, if you think it is something that will make you look good, go ahead and take it. There is no value in doing your own work if you can take it from somewhere (or someone) else, and if you are not one of the popular pretty people, you are not worth defending.

Of course, most of the kids are so self entitled that they won’t even notice this is happening, but it still makes me angry to think that this is what students are being taught. One day these kids will be running companies, working as doctors and lawyers, or raising their own kids. I don’t want a doctor that cheated his way through school, a business owner who stole from someone else, or a lawyer who thinks they are entitled to all of my money without doing any work for me. I know that it is easy for me to sit on my high horse and judge people just because I wouldn’t do any of this to others, but I really worry about what life is going to be like when I am older and need to depend on people who don’t understand the value of being honest, working hard, and acknowledging those around them who work hard.

mini rant over.