Saturday, January 7, 2012

It's New Years. I Make Lists.

I love New Years. In fact, as I get older, I think I love New Years almost more than Christmas. I love optimism. I am an incurable optimist, and I always think something great is coming. Like, you know, some people look at the world and see that the glass is half empty. Others see the glass is half full. I’m one of those people who look at the glass and goes, “Okay, everybody get ready, because this thing is about to fill up, and I don’t want to miss it.” Sometimes, this is a good thing. Sometimes, not so much. But usually, even when it does nothing else, it reminds me that I am okay, even when nothing else is.

Example: This year, I began my first year of University after a five-year absence where something happened and it took a long time for me to recover from it. But I felt like I was ready, and more importantly, I felt like I was tired of being an uneducated smart person. Unfortunately, I failed to take into account that A) the last time I was in post-secondary education, it was college, and B) Distance education is complicated. At least three times this year, I wanted to quit. I loved it for the first three months, and after that, I felt like I hated everything about it.

I’m still in school. Presently, I don’t know if I should be. But I am, because it was something that was taken from me, and that is unfair. Also because people make a big deal about my being smart, when really, they’re just amazed I can hold a normal conversation, and dammit, if that many people are going to call me smart, I am going to make sure they’re doing it on MY terms. It is a new year, and I will continue doing all the things I did this year: I will work hard to write every day, and I will read every day. Those are the most important things. But there are a few other things which fell by the wayside, and I’d like to change that. So here goes:

1.    I will post more often, because writing every day is no fun when no one’s reading it.
2.    I will keep my house clean and stop eating like a student. Not only have I gained a lot of weight, thanks to the constant stress eating and being too lazy to cook food, which, by the way, has NEVER happened to me, but I’ve been sicker this year than ever before, and this is coming from someone who is never altogether healthy.
3.    I have always taken pride in the fact that I enjoy food without being overindulgent, and I’ve always been good about money in the same way. I have no problem spending money on things just because I want them (see: multiple trips to England), but I don’t need to leave the house with money in my pocket in case there is something I want. Stress, however, has the unique and horrible side effect of massively lowering my impulse control. I’ve been through some rough roads with depression before, but this is just ongoing stress and struggle. So I buy things I don’t need or want, hoping they will cheer me up. They don’t. I must stop doing that.

Basically, I just want to get back to Ally before Ally was a student again, and still be Ally The Student, because another thing about distance education? You think it’s going to take you next to no time, because you can customize it. But it is complicated and often takes more time than regular schooling, and I cannot live like this for four or five years.

I am taking up the Goodreads challenge again, because it was a lot of fun last year, and helped me to read more. I am also writing more, and in fact, I have a little announcement, more on that later. But another thing I have been doing while being stressed is I have been noticing that the crazy goes a bit deeper than I realized, which, of course, is to be expected and is still a surprise. But. To combat the crazy and the self-loathing that goes with it, I promise every day to do something I am proud of. This year, in fact, right now, I am doing something I always wanted to do and becoming a child sponsor. I chose the Because I Am A Girl program with Plan Canada for 3 reasons:
1.    I’m a feminist, duh.
2.    It’s not an organization which promotes religion as the answer to feeding starving children, so there’s no conversion going on here. That’s important for many reasons, firstly, I don’t think a person should have to give up the faith they may have acquired to pull them through the hardships, in order for it to, uh, not be so hard. Secondly, I’m not Christian, so I don’t like the idea of my money going to spread ideas I don’t believe myself.
3.    I like that I can direct my funding to the countries and communities with issues that matter to me. I am currently sponsoring a little girl in the Togolese Republic, where the foundation works to provide infant and mother care, education for young girls, and bringing women’s political issues to the forefront. I was a preemie baby who struggled to attend regular schooling and now, occasionally, writes about social justice. It’s a no-brainer, really.

There are of course, other reasons, but those are the main reasons. So today, I will be doing that. Dunno what will make me proud tomorrow. Maybe I’ll perfect my ham sandwich or something. (Trust me, if you’ve seen me in the kitchen, you would understand the achievement.)

Now, I must head off. I have to read Joseph Conrad for an English class, and something on sexuality for my Health class.

Oh, while we’re on the subject, can we talk about sexual education? Firstly, I don’t know how it is for anyone else, but our sexual education classes in high school always went with our phys ed classes. So for those of us who didn’t take phys ed, we missed out on all that. Talk about desexualizing the disabled.

Seriously, someone talk about that, because I’m ace, and I can’t.

Also, an asexual taking sex ed must be the world’s most annoying student. I actually considered briefly writing an email to my instructor explaining that I was having a hard time with a textbook that described lack of interest in sex among females as a serious health problem, similar to impotency in males. I am not stupid, and I understand that some people with a lack of a sex drive have serious health issues, but THESE ARE NOT THE SAME THING!

I have not written the email. What do you think?