A Room of My Own

the inner ramblings of a self-declared geek

9/11/11 September 10, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — aroomofmyown @ 3:16 pm

I was a senior in college when the planes hit the Towers.  It was bizarre that I didn’t actually find out until about lunchtime.  I had gotten up before all of my roommates for an early class.  I didn’t turn on the tv to check the weather, as I was usually prone to doing.  None of my professors mentioned anything in class.  I don’t know if they were unaware as well, or if they were simply trying to act like everything was normal.  I didn’t have any particular friends in my two Tuesday morning classes, so I wasn’t really talking to anyone.  But there was this strange buzz around campus.  I didn’t know what it was, but you could feel something was going on.

I remember getting in the elevator for my last class of the morning and overhearing a conversation about someone’s friend in New York and whether is was a good idea to be in an elevator.  It struck me as odd, until I got home a few hours later.  All of my roommates were sitting around the tv (a pretty remarkable feat in and of itself for a Tuesday afternoon).   That was the first time I saw the Towers fall.  It was like a punch to the stomach.  I would see it, as would the rest of America, on a continuous loop for the next few days.  After that first week, I swore I would never watch that footage again.

I had the strangest reaction to it.  Watching the survivors stumble out of the rubble, dust-covered, blank-eyed, moving north, north, north, away from the scene, I was struck by how much it looked like a scene out of one of my beloved disaster movies.  Hollywood was much more accurate than they ever imagined.  I think I was in a little bit of shock.

But I was a child of the 80’s.  I had no experience whatsoever with national strife.  We had had it pretty easy until then.  My grandparents were the Greatest Generation.  They endured depressions and presidents dying and real evil in European mad men.  My parents grew up in the cynicism of Vietnam and Watergate.  Their generation learned to distrust their government.  People my age – we didn’t have wars.  We didn’t have huge scandals or necessary sacrifice. 9/11 changed everything.

My generation has now fought two wars, including the longest running one in our nation’s history.  We are insanely more skeptical of our government than our parents before us.  We have faced real evil in fanatical mad men and endured recessions and lived through untrustworthy leaders.  We are the Generation Who Will Never Forget.

I didn’t actually lose anyone or anything tangible on September 11th.  I can’t begin to imagine what it’s like for the people who did.  The 9/11 widows and widowers.  Firefighters.  New Yorkers.  Their experience is personal.  But in a way, I think every American carries that hole in lower Manhattan somewhere inside of them.  We are a nation of PSTD survivors, all grieving and healing and moving on in our own way.

For my part, this anniversary just makes me so goddamn sad.  It seems forever ago, and like it was just yesterday.  You heal, but that hole is still there, like the phantom pain of an amputated limb.

It is my hope that while my generation never forgets, we also learn to forgive.  I can’t bear the thought that our legacy from this would be vengeance and hate.  You cannot replace what has been taken, you can only take what cannot be replaced.  And that honors no one.

Ten years later, the struggle remains.  Forgiveness in the face of unthinkable atrocities.  Peace from the ashes of mayhem and rage.  Grace upon that hallowed ground.

 

When I Grow Up, I Wanna Be… June 5, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — aroomofmyown @ 12:56 pm

I haven’t been able to answer that question since I’ve been an adult.  When I was about 8, I would have answered that I wanted to be an author. I had an amazing third grade teacher who took the time to see past a lonely little girl who didn’t have the coolest clothes or the best lunchbox, but instead had a whole lot of emotion and imagination brewing beneath the surface.  She was the first person to tell me I had a talent for writing.

When I got to high school, I had decided I would be a journalist.  I read incessantly, wrote angst-filled teenage poetry and managed to become the editor of the school paper by the time I was a senior.  But I hadn’t yet learned to think for myself.  I was mostly following the path laid out before me without forging my own trail.

In college, I decided to major in English (among other things).  Novels became how I viewed the world.  A section on post-colonial Indian literature connected me to a subcontinent I would probably never know.  A directed study of Virginia Woolf lead me to an awareness of women’s rights and the modernist movement (and a name for this blog).  But what I really did in college was figure out what I thought –  about politics, about the world, about myself.

It took at least another five years after college to be okay with all of that, to finally like who I was and feel secure with my place in the world.  And I still didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up, even though I was started to feel decidedly “mature,”  if not yet long in the tooth.

I worked, but I didn’t have a career.  I paid the bills, but I didn’t feel like I was following my dreams or changing the world.  And for a large majority of Americans, that’s what we do.  We go to work, and then come home to our real lives.  But I wanted to love my life and my work.

So I did the unthinkable (at least for a non-risk-taking person such as myself).  I quit my job just as I was starting to make progress financially to start over in a new career.  Untested.  Broke.  Scared.

Because I’m so terrified, I’m pretty sure that means it was the right decision.  The easy path is rarely the correct one.  I may not know what the perfect career for me will be, but I think this is a good start.  And when I grow up, I can say that I am happy.

 

I coulda been a contender May 2, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — aroomofmyown @ 5:10 pm

derby

I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am.

For the past couple of years, I’ve been thinking how much fun it would be to put some money down on the Kentucky Derby.  Now, I know nothing about horses, I don’t really like to gamble, but it just seems like  it would be exciting to be a part of it.

My theory was that I would take $50 and throw it behind the longshot, with the knowledge that I probably would never win, but it would be fun to have something to root for, to cheer.

This year I asked my dad how you go about betting on a horse.  When I told him my theory, he promptly told me I was an idiot, and I would be better off sticking my money in a slot machine at the casino, rather than using the off-track betting system.

After some contemplation, I decided I was too scared to go down to Potowotami and figure out how to do this.  I would just watch the race and that would be that.

The longshot just came in.  50-1 odds.  I just missed out on $2500.

That will teach me to be timid.

 

You’re not dying, you just can’t think of anything better to do March 5, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — aroomofmyown @ 10:08 pm

Not that I imagine the world (or my tiny band of loyal readers) is holding its collective breath over my absence, but I wanted to reiterate that I have not quit this blog.  I have just been facing an enormous case of writer’s block, a blog-clog, if you will.  It suddenly occurred to me that not only am I posting this stuff on my nifty blog, but that people are actually reading it.  Hence, a bit of stage fright set in.  Not to worry, gentle-readers, I am sure the mortification and hesitation will make way for my usual, sarcastic self in no time.

Until then, I am going to drive myself crazy with the stress of primary season and an endless winter.  Seriously.  I don’t think spring will ever come.  Although, there is a part of me that takes pride in the Wisconsin hardiness that ensues from such a harsh winter.  You almost feel like a warrior at the end of it all, battle-scarred and unfazed by anything less than 8 inches.  30 below?  No problem.  An inch of ice coating everything?  Been there, done that.  Total white out and two feet of snow?  I’ll give you a nor’easter.

If we ever thaw out, maybe we’ll find out who our Democratic candidate will be.  Until then, Barack the Vote! With a snow shovel.

 

By the Power of GraySkull August 13, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — aroomofmyown @ 12:39 pm

Just a quick post in honor of the first peeps to leave me comments.  I cannot believe I used to watch that all the time.  My poor mother.  Also, it’s interesting to me that in He-Man, it’s by the power of Grayskull, but in She-Ra the phrase is for the honor of Grayskull.  It’s totally the whole stud vs. slut double standard between men and women, but whatever.  I’m going to stop deconstructing the gender issues of my childhood cartoons.  As a quick P.S. to that thought, I completely do not remember He-Man and She-Ra being brother and sister.  It kind of makes some of my previous action-figure usage borderline incestuous, I think.

Also, apparently I am creating an addendum to the whole movie-quote-as-a-title thing.  Let’s include TV shows as well.  I mean, I should be able to post about 367 times with Buffy quotes alone. 

Thanks to everyone who’s left a comment so far, including my ‘burb buddy and my witty roommate.