Female Pirates and Male Princesses

>> 1.28.2010

Yet another fascinating Women's Studies class today.  I seriously, whole heartedly recommend this class to anyone who enjoys thinking.  Hopefully its the same people who like to read my blog.

Today we read a bunch of children's books, and discussed the role of gender.  There were books where boys were the main character, were girls were the same character, where animals were the same character.  While all of the books had different ways of portraying and communicating the roles of the gender, there were definitely some that made me think more than others.  But regardless of that, I am beginning to develop an incredibly interesting theory (or so I think).  There were plenty of books where parents would read them to a boy or a girl, when the main character was a boy.  When we took those same exact books and switched the male to a female, it quickly crossed off one of the genders the parents were going to read to.

I'm beginning to think that the male gender actually suffers more oppression than females overall in society.  Yes, there are problems like women being bitches even though they are leaders, or the fact that there is unequal pay in the work place.  BUT! There has been much further advance for females than males.  Think about this.  Have you ever read a book where there was a girl pirate? Absolutely! Beyond Pirates of the Caribbean, there have been many noted female pirates.  How about how many male princesses? Doubt it.  The closest we've come to this is maybe having the Rock star in Tooth Fairy- but even then he is still ripped, and busting out of his tooth fairy costume.  They don't create a costume that makes it look comfortable for a man to be a fairy.  Women are encouraged (and accepted by society) when they play sports, when they work in corporations.  Men are mocked when they want to learn how to sew, love cooking, or would rather be a stay at home dad instead of working and being the bread winner.  Fascinating, right?  I could be entirely wrong, off base, or ill educated on the subject, but it has undoubtedly made me think.  What was your favorite book as a child?  Was there any sort of gender influences in the book?  I wonder if my sister (author of http://missdbookblog.blogspot.com/ ) has thought about the influence of gender in children's books.


When the sand runs out

I spent the morning at an old friend's grave
Flowers and Amazing Grace, he was a good man
He spent his whole life spinnin' his wheels
Never knowin' how the real thing feels
He never took a chance or took the time to dance
And I stood there thinking as I said goodbye
Today is the first day of the rest of my life

I'm gonna stop lookin' back and start movin' on
And learn how to face my fears
Love with all of my heart, make my mark
I wanna leave something here

Go out on a ledge, with out any net
That's what I'm gonna be about
Yeah I wanna be runnin'
When the sand runs out

'Cause people do it everyday
Promise themselves they're gonna change
I've been there, but I'm changin' from the inside out

That was then and this is now
I'm a new man, yeah, I'm a brand new man
And when they carve my stone they'll write these words
"Here lies a man who lived life for all that its worth"

And as the cold wind blows across the graveyard
I think I hear the voice of my old friend whisper in my ear

I'm gonna stop lookin' back and start movin' on
Learn how to face my fears
Love with all of my heart, make my mark
I wanna leave something here

Go out on a ledge, with out any net
That's what I'm gonna be about
Yeah I wanna be runnin'
When the sand runs out

-Rascal Flatts


Oh hey, sunshine

>> 1.27.2010

Well, in many ways I got what wanted and needed recently.  I'll admit, the last post was a bit emo (not at all my style) and definitely not uplifting.  But hey, I guess we all have bad days once in a while.

Something I'm learning is the importance of letting yourself feel a certain way for a day.  If I am ecstatically happy, I should enjoy it! If I'm pissed and think the world sucks entirely, I'm learning to let myself feel that way.  For a day. Granted if I am happy for more than a day, that's okay.  But the sad/emo/upset/angry/frustrated mood has a limited lifespan.  The other day, I had a lot of emotions going on.  It was scary.  Sometimes I don't really enjoy my emotions.  I think they are icky and should consist of happy, joyful and carefree only.  BUT that is incredibly unrealistic unfortunately. So, I was on a downward slippery slope to a life long partnership with misery, and then I realized something!

I was the only one who could stop myself.  I was the only one who could figure out how to make it better.  I was the only one who could get back to the happy, energetic, carefree, optimistic Abby people know and love.  And then I was stuck.  How was I going to do this?  Then I thought about what made me feel great.  And that's being kind to others, even if they aren't the best people in the world to me.  I love helping others, making them feel good about themselves, offering a hand, etc.  And that's when things turned around. Hello Operation Gratitude.  I'd tell you exactly what it is, but if you're a recipient of it I can't tell you.  I think you might be able to piece it together based on what's in the name and this post, but I will absolutely let you know how it went once it's over!

The sun is out today, I'm ready to move forward, and am staying happy. Or at least trying to.

Thanks blog friends for reading.  It's been awesome to be able to write to you, and I sincerely hope you've enjoyed what I have to say.  If you don't let me know!!



I need some sunshine

>> 1.25.2010

The whole point of this blog was for me to take "the shit that hits the fan" and turn it into something more positive- something to learn from, to take away from, to be better because of it.

Well, now I'm in a spot where I hardly feel like I can convince myself of those things, let alone the blog world.  It's been rough.  I feel like over the course of this past year (2009 included) a lot of people have just taken giant swings at me, and I've never had a chance to fight back.  I know its a quality of society to focus on all the bad and not remember the good, but I mean seriously, how much longer can this last for?  I am absolutely sick and tired of people lying to my face.  I'm tired of people pretending to be my friends when in fact they can only do it when its convenient for them.  I'm tired of people hating on me, especially when they won't even tell me why.  I'm just tired of it all.

Its days like today that make me want to pack my things, say goodbye to Drexel and Philadelphia, and disappear for a while.  Well, maybe not disappear entirely because I'd miss things like First Day of Spring at Rita's, my few quality friends I have here, Christmas time in Rochester, and the other lovely little things that make me smile.  But, sometimes I wonder what it'd be like to just move away.  Start over again.  I liked restarting from high school to college- maybe it'd be nice to do it again.

I wonder if I'd change more.  If I'd be a completely different person (when I started college, I was not OCD. I also had terrible relationships with boys. I think I've changed).  I wonder if I'd have less of these days where I just want to crawl into bed and not get out.

I also wonder if this is just life.  If being miserable once in a while is part of the big picture.  If its part of learning whats important, whats not.

I guess I'm just miserable and wondering right now.  I'm praying I won't make any irrational decisions, but I can't make any promises.  I'm staying away from tattoo parlors, piercing places, hair salons, and shopping centers.


After a while

>> 1.23.2010

I don't know why it happens like this, but I feel like after a while, when someone says something over and over and over again, you start to believe it.  Without going into too much detail, tonight I wrote an Incident report that was too long to go into the system.  Back in December, there was a guest who decided he didn't want to cooperate after he vandalized using slander etc. on my floor, and was then banned from the building after the police had him in the car for a while.  Well, said kid decided to come back tonight, and cause the same sort of trouble.

Based off of the knowledge I have, he isn't anyone I'd surround myself with, but listening to him get up in my face and tell me how I don't care about my residents, how I don't know how to do my job as an RA, how he's going to tell the Dean to fire me gets to me.  I shouldn't believe it, but I do.  I also fear that when he threatened to come back and find me and another RA, he really meant it.  And I don't think he meant find us to meet up for coffee.

I don't think people really know what goes into this job.  Three years into it, I'm still learning.  It's amazing what you do sometimes to protect the students in your hall.  It's amazing, yet sometimes bizarre, draining, and bewildering.  I want this part of it to end though.  I want to not fear students I've confronted, I want to not be best friends with the Police Officers on campus (even though it does have its perks).

And I wonder what made the conduct office think this kid was safe to come back to campus in the beginning of the year.  Why did it take me freaking out for them to realize he wasn't such a great idea?


Some of my very favorite photos

>> 1.22.2010

Today I went through all of my photos on my computer, and found a few favorites I wanted to share with you- enjoy!

Winter Wonderland

The view from my floor

A few of my residents

My 21st Birthday!

Energy Plus @ Drew Elementary School

Ithaca Falls

A beautiful sunset


Memorial Day Weekend at the beach


My parents are champions

The sky

A mini cat walk

Merry Christmas in NYC

Miss you Grandpa

Bridget, Zoe and Rachel ready to take on Drexel!

That's me and Kevin!

(C) Abby Dineen, 2009


At least I know

So, here is a premise to a few blogs to follow: as part of my Women's Studies class (also known as gender studies) I'll be blogging after class. I'll be blogging about the things I learned, the questions I still have, the things that upset me, the things I got excited about. I hope that you'll find the information practical- not just something I have to do for a class.

Yesterday, we landed on an extremely interesting conversation about how baby "boys" and baby "girls" are identified at birth. Without getting into intense detail, I learned a this: 1) There is no definite answers 2) Doctors base it off what they see 3) If they don't know based off of what they see, they tell the mother there is a medical emergency, and go through a process of elimination. First "process"- can the baby reproduce? If not, can the baby penetrate/pee standing up? And lastly, if not those, its easier to "make a hole than build a pole". I sat all during class wondering what it must be like for a doctor to go through that. Do they care? Do they just do what is easiest? What are their motives? Very interesting. Then I asked if a parent is usually informed. And they aren't. Because very few people are educated about this situation, and know exactly what to do. Of course there isn't a straight answer, but there has to be some sort of problem solving process.

And this is where I can say hey- at least I know! I was riding regional rail out to Norristown, and happened to find a co-worker who was also on his ride home. He's about 32, has a 2 year old girl, and his wife is pregnant with their second child. Well did I find myself in the most perfect situation to educate or what? So I told him. I told him about the discussions we've had behind gender, especially identifying in an infant. I am not sure if I enlightened him or scared him more, but regardless, he is now informed. I hope that if the doctor says to his wife "we have a medical emergency with your sons ____" they will know to ask the doctor the right questions. And now, he can say "hey, at least I know".

Knowledge is powerful. Keep spreading the word(s) that need to be heard.

On a side note, I've enjoyed at least half a box of girl scout cookies this week. Sorry diet!


It's never fun to say goodbye

>> 1.20.2010

Yesterday, I finally placed a letter in the mail that I had wrote about a month ago. I was holding on to it because I was afraid, and frankly still am. That letter was a goodbye to my Grandparents.

Without going into too much detail, my family has the typical drama, and some. A few years ago, my Mom's parents decided they didn't like my dad, and that slowly trickled down into them not talking to us. Key facts: they live about a mile from us, I use to see them on a weekly basis in high school, I spent many weekends there with my othe siblings, I always thought family would always be there for you. In a previous post, I mentioned I learned that wasn't very true. I realized the value of maintaining and growing relationships. I realized that sometimes, you just have to say goodbye.

When I lost my one Grandfather (Dad's side) in September, it was the first death I had to go through. It was a rude awakening that life was not permanent, that it could quickly slip away from underneath us. I also realized that my time with my other Grandparents may be limited as they get older.

I haven't spoken with my Mom's parents in the last two years. I haven't seen them, heard from them, at all. Their health is waining, and given that I live out of town I don't know when I'll ever speak to them again. So, I wrote them a letter. I wrote them a letter thanking them for the roles they played in my life when I was younger. I thanked them for the overnights, the day trips to the peers, the 1/2 days in kindergarten that was spent with my Grandpa in the park (I still remember this vividly- I got a McDonald's Happy Meal). I also kindly said goodbye. It could be permanent, it could be temporary, but I wanted the chance to say it before it was too late. I didn't want to look back and wish that I had told them about how they influenced me and helped me become the person I am today. I also wanted to let them know that I consider this goodbye- I don't expect them to change at the age of 75, that's just unrealistic. But I also don't need to still be hurt by their present actions.

I just think about that day in the park, the days on the pier and the carousel and smile. If I think about to day, I'll just cry.


Why don't you just communicate?!?!

>> 1.19.2010

Something I will never quite understand is why it's so impossible for people to communicate. If you're mad at someone, they ask you why, and then you shrug your shoulders and say "I'm not mad", you're an idiot. I know it's not that easy. I'm a frequent offender of the above situation. I get angry, walk away, and then maybe 10 minutes later come back and say why. But I do try and get my feelings/words out there, especially when I am given an opportunity to.

I see this whole lack of communication thing happening left and right. I was watching "Little People, Big World" last night on TLC, and BAM! their marriage is failing because of a lack of communication. It's applicable to many people, including my parents. While I was home I had to step in and navigate how they were going to bake pies. I mean seriously, you're both 50 years old and can't say "this is what I need, this is what you need, how can we make it work?". Instead, their 21 year old daughter had to come up with a plan so they could both bake their pies and get to bed at a reasonable time. This doesn't make any sense to me. Have their communication skills always been this bad, or did they figure they didn't have to work on them any more once they had kids? If you all would like to know why I am not a fan of marriage, see exhibit A (my parents). But we'll save that for another blog post.

How come it is so difficult to communicate? How come the people who communicate directly and honestly are considered a bitch for doing so? I don't quite understand it all. I wonder what the world/divorce rate/murder rate/etc would look like if we took a second to figure out if we're communicating effectively or not. I vow to do my best to communicate properly/politely/effectively/accurately, and I hope that if I'm not doing so I'll have someone near by who can call me out on it.


Paris Hilton in class

>> 1.12.2010

I must preface this post with the information that I am taking a gender studies class this term. I absolutely love it- it's filled with thought provoking questions and conversations, and very little lecturing. Now that's my kind of class.

Today we were looking back on the timeline of the feminist movement, and what it's all about. There were some very interesting points (more historical, the usual, etc) but what really got me thinking was this discussion we started about Paris Hilton. Now, I have no personal connection with Paris Hilton, I have never met her, nor do I really ever want to but I just had to bring this up in my blog.

As we were talking about Paris Hilton, one student mentioned that she has everyone doing her job for her, that she's stupid, and hurts humanity. Another student mentioned that she has perfume, but all male scientists making her perfume, and someone mentioned that it was just a name. Now, what I found fascinating about all of this is that these students were doing the same to Paris Hilton that many people do to each other, and maybe even especially towards women. If you prefer being a critic, expect to have critics come right back at you. I don't know what made my classmates think that they knew Paris Hilton well enough to judge her, her character, her business techniques, etc, but I think that whatever made them think that is the same thing that makes people feel like they can judge based on gender. Again, I have no idea what I think of feminism- I just have a whole bunch of questions, followed by more questions. But I think that when we are talking about someone, when we are judging someone, we have to expect that back in just the same way we dish it out. I'm not confident that this will change in the near future, but I hope people are aware that when we judge someone we don't know and label them just based on what the media presents or what their perception is, we're opening up the doors to allow others to do the same thing to us.


Head vs. Heart

>> 1.10.2010

Sometimes I wonder who the winner would be if my head and my heart were to get into a boxing ring. I like to believe that my heart would clearly be the winner, but after thinking about it (of course) I am not so positive. A friend of mine asked me for some relationship advice last night (not sure why, because I know I certainly need some too!)and I kept wondering if she was thinking about the situation with her head, or with her heart. Granted, maybe it's with both, but there really is this continuous battle between the two.

For me, when I think with my heart, I find myself doing things my head told me not to. My heart tells me to eat the pint of Ben & Jerry's because I love it, and my head tells me to stay away because I'll regret it later.

I wonder which one knows me best. I wonder which one I should listen to. I know everyone says "oh, follow your heart!" like its really that easy, but I am just going to put it out there and say it sure as hell isn't. I usually keep my heart locked away. It makes it a little harder to listen to, but also a little harder for it to get hurt. When I think with my heart, everything is confusing and my OCD goes into overdrive because I no longer feel like I have control. When I think with my head, everything makes sense, is logistical and almost mathematic, but at the same time I most definitely do not want to be a robot. I wonder if this battle will even itself out eventually and there will be a nice balance. I wonder if it'll be easier to listen to my heart because my head won't be as obnoxious. I also wonder if it will never balance out, if there will always be this battle, and I will constantly be wondering which one I should listen to.


How people around us can hurt or (hopefully) help

>> 1.05.2010

I am a huge believer that the people you surround yourself with makes a HUGE impact on your life.  Although right now I live with approximately 350 freshman Drexel students, so it might be better to talk about who I emotionally surround myself with.

One of my resolutions this year was to be a better friend.  I think I've already learned a little bit about what that's going to be like.  When words are genuine, when they come from the heart, you are a good friend.  When you feel like you have to lie to not hurt your friends feelings, you are not a good friend.  I know its hard to hear negative remarks about yourself (hello- I would be the girl who cried in front of her manager after she received the first piece of constructive criticism in 9 months), but sometimes they are best when they come from the people that know you best.

Paragraph 1 + Paragraph 2= in order to be a great friend, surround yourself with people you can truly be honest with, and people you trust will be honest back at you.  Girls have boyfriends and Grandma's to tell them how great they are and that even after the addition 10lb gain from the holidays, they hardly notice an extra ounce. If you think about what is important to you (example- health, career, independence, emotional intelligence, happiness), its easy to see if you are on the same page as the people around you.  THINK about it.  Is it easier to go on a diet when you are around someone who eats healthy all the time, or eats junk food all the time?  Maybe you have better will power than I, but I find myself truly drooling when my dear friend is eating junk food.  The drooling effect can be comparable to that of a not-so-great friend finally pushing you to do not-so-great things.

I think this is the hardest part of life.  It's terribly hard to find good friends.   After 4 years of college, I find myself with a select few.  I have tons of acquaintances, but the people I really let effect me- well there are about a dozen or so.  Sometimes its lonely, but at the end of the day I like it.  I like that the people in my life push me to become a better person.  And I like that (as harsh as it sounds), I've been able to successfully stop drooling at certain junk food eaters, if you know what I mean.