Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Just Write 159: The Confidence Gap

“If life were one long grade school, women would be the undisputed rulers of the world.”

Lately, lots of people have told me, "You need more confidence." It's as if confidence is the superhero that can save the world.

I find that being told I need more confidence is infuriating mainly because I don't think I need more confidence. I think I'm arrogant and should back off a little. Also, I think my confidence is quite different from what we usually assume confidence is.

I prefer to be cautious, gather more information, and then take my chances. I have taken risks and been rejected. In fact, I apply to most things and expect to be reject. However, I still don't think I lack confidence. The more people say, "You lack confidence," the more I want to say, "No, I don't. You lack perspective."

Still, there is a phenomenon of women's lacking confidence. Women don't take as many risks as men. Yeah, maybe because women know better than to blow their chances (oh, look at that uncalled for sexist comment!), and perhaps the way the world defines confidence is all based on a male's perspective in a man's world. Perhaps, we should redefine what confidence looks like and what it actually is.

While reading "The Confidence Gap" in the Atlantic, I saw myself in these women's shoes. Some of the things that the Atlantic describes sounds like me. The quote “If life were one long grade school, women would be the undisputed rulers of the world" sticks out to me the most. In fact, while I was in school, I thought I was only good for school work, and I was gong to be straight out of luck when I graduated because I sucked at everything else and had no skills. It was a dang good thing I got an internship while in school because if I hadn't, I really would have been unemployed and out of luck for a longer time period.

But the main point is that this whole idea of confidence is frustrating. I am tired of hearing I need more confidence, and quite frankly, I'm not going to listen to those people anymore. Maybe I "need more confidence" in some areas of my life, but definitely not in others.

When I look at why this whole situation is frustrating it's because people say "You need more confidence," but then they don't explain how to gain confidence.  So, how does one gain confidence? People claim, "Oh, you just need to believe in yourself and take action."

Though I suggest that step one to gaining confidence is making sarcastic remarks to the people who tell you you need confidence. Example: "Ohhhh, I'm sorry my actions don't conform to your definition of a word that's confounded with multiple meanings." Though of course, my method is not helpful or conducive to furthering good feelings, so it may be better to abort that mission.

I have sincerely forgotten where I was going with this. But perhaps we cannot measure confidence through actions because some people define confidence as "the belief in yourself." Believing in yourself is an internal thought, so how can you tell that I believe in myself? You can't unless you're a mind reader. Our external actions do not always coincide with our internal beliefs. That's why cognitive dissonance exists. If people think taking action signifies confidence, then maybe "confidence" isn't really what's being signified since it's an internal belief. Maybe people don't need to be more confident. Maybe they need to be bolder or more courageous. Perhaps there is not a word in the English language that describes "needing to take action." It's really unfortunate that "confidence" has taken on this definition that I don't think describes it.

Confidence and taking action may be correlated, but I do not think that they are the exact same thing. I believe that you can be confident and yet not take action. And there's nothing wrong with not taking action. Sometimes we are more fulfilled with the smaller things in life.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

How to Love Yourself

Everyone says you need to learn how to love yourself to become happier, live a fuller life, and also successfully build other relationships. No one ever mentions how. Perhaps it's different for each person. So, I'm going to take a crack at ways to show oneself love.

How to Love Yourself
  1. Brush your teeth each night so that each tooth can grow up healthy and strong
  2. Have a glass of your favorite drink (soda, coffee, beer, whichever is your favorite) when you go out with friends (or just go out to eat) even when its full of empty calories
  3. Smile at your accomplishments
  4. Accept that you messed up and that mistakes happen. It's human to err.
  5. When your brain keeps calling your names, try to change your thinking so that you use more loving words. For example, "How could you mess that up? You're so stupid!" changes to "Oh, that didn't go to well. What could I have done differently?"
  6. Make your favorite foods and then eat them
  7. Compliment yourself when things go well. For example, "Wow, I really did do a good job on that essay" or "Wow, I really did keep myself organized at work today."
  8. Give yourself comfort by sitting on a comfy couch, buying a really comfy mattress, or enjoying a few more minutes of rest.
  9. Forgive yourself if things don't go as planned
Truth is I'm not sure how to love myself, but that doesn't mean I shouldn't try. It's just taking a lot of time to learn how to love. How about you? How do you love yourself? Feel free to create your own blog post and link back or just leave a comment about what you like to do. I'd like to hear your ideas and share the love!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Young Women's Right to Vote

I'll straight up admit that I don't watch Fox News, though my family does, both my immediate and my extended one. My college friends have consistently warned me away from Fox, claiming that its both bias and uninformed. However, sometimes the things that Fox News does make headlines. Particularly, this one: Fox News Hosts Tell Young Women Not To Vote, Go Back To Tinder And Match.com.

Fox News tends to lean towards Republicans, and then Republicans wonder why women won't vote for them. Dear Republicans, dissociate yourself from Fox News and maybe you'll have a chance at winning.

In my opinion, telling young women not to vote is an act of sexism. You're essentially telling women that they shouldn't exercise their rights. Women received the right to vote in the 1920s, and quite frankly, I'm glad that we did. By voting, my voice has a chance of being heard. Dear Fox News, I am sorry to tell you that I am a young woman, and I will be voting in this November election. My voice needs to be heard.

Besides just telling women not to exercise their voices and rights, Fox News also implies that women are bimbos who only focus on relationships and have no idea what's going on in Congress. Sorry to burst your bubble, but women are informed. We aren't solely chasing after men, trying to snag a husband. We are working hard towards bettering our lives, and bettering our lives involves voting for the people who support us. Whether we are Republicans, Democrats, Independents, or don't belong to a party at all, we vote for who shares similar values with us and vote for those who we think lead us in the correct direction.

Digging a bit deeper, we also see that Fox implies  relationships are pettier than voting since "uninformed" women should focus on them instead of voting. Chasing men and relationships apparently doesn't require as much effort as voting.

Does anyone else see this as messed up? First of all, why do people assume women are only chasing men instead of wanting a deep, lasting relationship with another human being. On top of that, relationships sometimes take more work than a 9-5 job. It takes openness, honesty, vulnerability, and patience to make a relationship work. These things are not trival. They are part of human survival. Where would we be if we couldn't cultivate connections and relationships with others? We would be hermits, lonely, and mostly likely  have undeveloped and untouched potential. Other people add to our experiences and enrich us. Why should we view seeking relationships as demeaning and petty? No, forming relationships is just as important as voting. It's another way to make our lives better or worse, and seeking them and speaking about them will help us get through this mess of life.

So, women of the USA, let's get out there and go vote! Let's show Fox News that we are informed. On top of that, let's get on Tinder and Match.com and show Fox that relationships as just as important as voting. And while we're at it, let's take selfies of getting on Match.com right after we vote and tweet them to Fox News on Twitter.

Women, voting, and relationships all have importance in life. I think it's time for the world, especially Fox News, to acknowledge that.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

La lluvia

Hay una cosa que es aterrorizante de la lluvia en el norte. Cuando llueve, la agua se derrama mucho mucho mucho. Las calles llenan con capas de agua. Es muy differente del sur. En el sur, hay la lluvia, claro, pero yo no tengo medio de esa lluvia. La lluvia se absorbe en la tierra el minuto que el agua choca la tierra.

Tal vez la lluvia no se absorbe en la tierra porque ahora yo vivo en una ciudad. En el sur durante mi tiempo en la universidad, Baton Rouge inundó cuando llovió. Es porque Baton Rouge tiene un horrible drenaje pero Baton Rouge no inunda como esta ciudad. Baton Rouge inunda cuando llueve por muchas ahoras. En esta ciudad, inunda en treinta minutos. Yo creo que la tierra es differente entre el norte y el sur. La tierra del sur absorbe más de la tierra del norte. Yo no sé por qué. Yo no tengo miedo de la lluvia en el sur pero en el norte, no quiero salir fuera cuando llueve.

English: There is something terrifying about rain in the north. When it rains, the rain pours a lot, lot, lot. The streets fill with layers of water. It's very different from the south. In the south, there's rain, of course, but I'm not afraid of that rain. The rain absorbs into the ground the minute that the water hits the ground.

Maybe the rain doesn't absorb into the ground because now I live in a city. In the south while I was at the university, Baton Rouge flooded when it rained. That's because Baton Rouge has a horrible drainage system, but Baton Rouge doesn't flood like this city. Baton Rouge floods after it rains for awhile. In this city, it floods in thirty minutes. I think that the ground is different between the north and the south. The ground in the south absorbs more than the ground in the north. I don't know why. I'm not scared of the rain in the south, but in the north, I don't want to go outside when it rains.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Just Write 156: My Lovely Home

Last night, my neighbors on the right thought it was a good idea to slam cabinets and vacuum at 11:30pm on a weekday. Then another one decided to stomp down the stairs in heels at 5:30am this morning. Lastly, my neighbors on the left decided to just get up at 5:30am and wake everyone else with them. I usually get up at 6am anyway, but those extra 30 minutes of sleep would have been real nice.

My apartment is a nice size. There's more room than I'll possibly ever use at 625 square feet. I have a nice dining room table, a TV and a TV stand, and a bed. I'm pretty set. Soon, I'll be able to afford a sofa. It's a really nice place, but please no visitors until I get a soft spot for you to sit and support your back. I'd rather not torture you with sitting in my dining room chairs for hours.

I have a nice view outside. My balcony looks onto trees, and frequently, I can see giant rabbits and squirrels running by. Occasionally, there's a small chipmunk. Those critters much smaller than I expected. Chip and Dale looked bigger on TV. And did I mention the rabbits and squirrels are huge? They're much bigger than the ones in Louisiana. Without my glasses on, I once thought a rabbit was a dog.

Fall is setting in, and the trees around me are losing their leaves. Some leaves have littered my balcony, but I think the view is pretty. I'll sweep the leaves off eventually, just not now.

5:30am and I was up anyway, so I got out of bed and started my day. Coffee from my single-serving coffee maker (not a Keurig, just a Black and Decker) and then a bowl of store band frosted shredded wheats. It's not the kind of comfort I had at home in my parents' house with k-cups and brand name shredded wheats, but it's just as good.

I seriously thought about moving to get away from the noise. I looked at a few different places, but nothing seemed to be as good. This place was supposed to be "quiet" with grad students, professionals, and families. No undergrads allowed. Maybe I just chose the wrong section.

I packed my bag with lunch for the day, my journal, kindle, and camera. I planned on taking pictures of the trees outside of the office. I'll look like a crazy tourist, but I guess that's okay. At least one good thing about this morning is that I had an extra 10 minutes before I had to catch the bus.

I love where I live, but I hate my neighbors.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Just Write 155: Dragon of Tissues

I became sick last week, and now I am worse. Instead of tiny sniffles, I now have loud gobby sniffs of giant liquid. Sometimes, the snot decides to flow like a creek from one of my nostrils. Just one. That one nostril is as red as Rudolph's nose. Gross, oh, yes. I feel sorry for my co-worker who sits on the other side of my cubicle. It's not my intention to gross her out. It's just...happening.

I just walked to the warehouse to grab a few boxes of kleenex. Instead of swiping tissues from the box on the top of the cubicle ledge, I now have my own stash to use. I'm half-tempted to write "Hannah's horde" on the box as if I am the dragon resting on top of the treasures of tissues. You may come and fight me for them if you wish, but my deadly sneezes may cause you to shrink back. Warning: Approach at your own risk. Sickness is in the air.

This post is a part of Just Write at The Extraordinary Ordinary.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Animal Harborer

I am notorious for harboring animals. In fact, my parents now make fun of me because I can't seem to stop giving shelter to animals in needs.

Exhibit A: In my sophomore year of high school, my roommate snuck a kitten in through the window. Someone had thrown it into the lake, and she rescued it. We had it for about a month or so, hiding it each night during room check. We tried desperately to find it a home and get it out of the dorm before we got in trouble. Eventually, one of our friends took it home.

Exhibit B: In my senior year of high school, a friend asked my roommate and I (a different roommate), to keep a fish for a night in our room. The SLA (student life adviser, similar to a RA or CA in college) knew about the fish and was going to confiscate it from its owners' room while they were both away for the weekend. The night that we took the fish to "hide" it, the SLA stormed our room after midnight, and my roommate and I were both positive we were going to get kicked out of school. Fortunately, we weren't.

Exhibit C: When I first moved into the dorms in college at the beginning of my freshman year, I adopted a fish, and it lived with me until my junior year. He was actually the only legal pet I owned until my senior year in college.

Hello. I am Hannah's fishy. I live in fishy heaven now.
Exhibit D: In my junior year of college, one of my ex-boyfriend's cats had 4 kittens. His parents really wanted to get rid of them since they had 3 cats already. So, he somehow convinced me to take one. He brought it over to my apartment, and I kept it for about 3 months until my roommate moved in and told me to get rid of it. The apartment actually banned all animals except fish, and we could've gotten evicted if they saw the animal. My roommate said that the landlady kept talking about cats, so she thought the landlady knew about the illegal resident. I tried to ask a friend to hold the kitten for a year, but my kitten didn't get along with his roommates' cats. I took her back, and then created an extravagant lie for my parents about how my friend couldn't keep the cat, and it needed a home. I'm pretty sure my parents knew I was lying, but they accepted the cat anyway. The cat keeps moving with me between residences as I move to different apartments (except for now since I wasn't sure where I would be living in Pennsylvania, but I will have her again soon!).

You'd think with all the close calls of harboring pets that I wouldn't do it again. However, I can't seem to live without pets. I already talked to my mom about getting a rabbit, which she absolutely said no to because it smells. Well, in the past, she said no to a cat, and I still brought one home...Hmm...Then, I thought, "I'll just get two gerbils." Thankfully, I haven't done that yet since I haven't driven to Petco. I'm kinda hoping the Petco in town doesn't sell live animals, so I can't get them. Part of me also wants to adopt a cat from the local animal shelter, but I keep telling myself not to, in case my current cat and that cat don't get along. I thought about adopting two guinea pigs from a shelter, but thankfully, someone else adopted them before I did. I may have a problem.

Throughout college, I think a lot of students miss their pets. Hence, like me, they end up harboring animals. To be honest, I don't recommend it. Animals are really expensive, whether it's a cat, dog, rodent, or fish. They have high start-up costs since you have to buy cages, litter, food, and such. In fact, one of the things that's stopping me from getting a pet right now is that I keep telling myself, "I can't afford a pet." Another issue is that if I move again, my pets will have to come with me. It'd be very irresponsible to drop my pet off at a shelter when I knew I wouldn't be staying in the area for long.

I'm currently volunteering at an animal shelter, hoping that the interaction with the animals will stem my desire for a pet. A good number of the animals are left there because their owners moved and couldn't take the pets with them. It's actually a problem with college students' having pets during college and then getting rid of them when they change cities to start a new job or move back home. If you really have a need to adopt a pet during college or during a part of your life that may be a little unstable, please remember that these animals require love, money, and time. It's a really bad idea to get one on a whim and then just drop it off when you can no longer keep it or if you don't like it. It's similar to what I constantly tell myself, "I'm not in a good situation to adopt a pet and take care of it properly as it deserves." It's hard to resist the urge, but to myself and other people like me, please resist until you're sure you can give the pet a healthy life. For me, resisting adopting pets is one of the hardest things to do in life. ~.~ I miss my pets.