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classified [Feb. 2nd, 2013|04:55 pm]
rachel
i feel raw, vulnerable.
there's so much to do, and i don't want to do any of it. i want to listen to handsome girl and write poetry and maybe cry.
of the three articles & half book i'm supposed to read and write a response on by tuesday at five, i've read one. carolyn miller's "genre as social action." in it, she says, "the urge to classify is fundamental." which plays into handsome girl. which plays into fat studies. which plays into agency and living in our bodies and all the feelings i keep feeling.
it's funny how i instinctively trust people.
perhaps the worst part of the m.a. is that it's a two-year program. because so many people i like so much will be gone next year. even now, some people i really like graduated from undergrad in december.
being here is learning a new language. it's overwhelming. it's exhausting.
anyway, i want to write something about fat subjectivity. connecting to fat activism means exposing myself to possibly painful things so often--posts on the listserv deriding the newest horrible thing (fat shaming, lately) still include the original article. and then, for whatever stupid reason, i read the original article and spiral.
and i don't want to be that person that's like, i'm sensitive and everything triggers me. everything floods me with these emotions i can't hold down.
but maybe i have to own it.
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case study [Jan. 28th, 2013|10:42 pm]
rachel
(from october 3.)

It’s 4:25am and there’s an infomercial on and it’s shredding me. They say that it’s not being fat that’s truly harmful—it’s dieting. But what can I do? How can I reconcile letting things be? How can I watch this footage and not feel this hit me, knock the wind out of me, lay me low?

How can I resist. How can I be strong or weak or lazy or careful or afraid or proud enough to deny the underlying desire, the burn. How can I know what happens in my head every day. And still suffocate the onslaught.

Over the weekend, I thought: I can’t talk to these fratty boys, I can’t ask them to knock off playing Frisbie into my windows because I can’t face their eyes on me. My invisibility or overvisibility. How vulnerable I’d be, how big a target. Not just my body but the expansive insecurity that I live in, that surrounds me, that envelops me.

It’s one thing to have an invisible identity that you’re free to conceal or reveal at your discretion. It’s another to motion to your body and have it tell a story. Maybe not even a true story, or maybe not the truest story. What narrative might people make up about me? What would it include? What would it leave out? What parts are obvious or somehow hidden, still, layered underneath, closer to my internal organs.

If dieting is the problem, where am I supposed to go from here? How can I stop trying.

And if dieting is the solution, why doesn’t it solve? What do outsiders assume about fat people? That we haven’t tried? That we haven’t dieted? That we don’t care, haven’t starved ourselves, tortured ourselves, berated ourselves over and over, that it’s down to just trying harder? How can I try harder when I know it’ll fail but even if it doesn’t it means working so hard for something that’s prescribed and built in and exploited, how can I separate my self worth from the numbers?

Except to avoid the scale altogether.

But it doesn’t matter. Mirrors tell stories. Clothes tell stories. People tell stories.

Theory doesn’t change the direction my internal compass points.

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committed [Jan. 25th, 2013|11:32 pm]
rachel
i'm doing a ton of things lately, but currently the most pressing has been trying to figure out how to put a committee together. i think, at this point, i have three decent candidates, and i'm in the process of setting up meetings with them to see if i'm on the right track.
tonight i imed one of the candidates, my grant and proposal writing prof from last summer. i didn't know if he'd remember me, since 1) the class was last summer and 2) the class was online and 3) i've never met him in person. but apparently he did remember me, and he asked for my availability for the next couple weeks to set up a meeting, so hopefully that'll happen soon.
otherwise, i have a meeting with a second candidate next week, and i still need to set something up with the third. it's an interesting collection--i'm not sure whether they know or like or will work with each other, so that's something to consider, plus the fact that i don't have solid plans for what's gonna happen from here on out.
the last few weeks, i've felt like i'm not doing a thesis and i'm not doing a phd, but it's possible that that'll change. perhaps tonight. because there are a lot of pluses and minuses for both. i like the intellectual atmosphere in the program, all of my classmates are pretty amazing/brilliant, and parts of what i've done for class have been both fun and rewarding. on the other hand, i probably wouldn't complete a phd until i'm 35 at least, it would include a lot of sustained work that sounds difficult, etc.
i just got really painful hiccups. ugh.
anyway, so there's that.
i'm taking two classes, content management and professional writing theory and research. content management is a 400-level (i.e., undergrad-level) class, but it's the second/third in a series and it assumes that students have taken the other class(es). which i haven't. so i've been frustrated/irritated/off-put by that, but i emailed the prof yesterday and he sent me back a list of tutorials that should help me get up to speed. which makes me feel better.
professional writing theory and research is a grad-level class. i'm one of two second-semester ma's...and everyone else is either a second-year ma or a phd student. which, as you might imagine, is a little intimidating. but the prof is really really good about making sure that everyone understands all the lingo that flies around. in fact, he's my second committee-member candidate for basically that reason. besides that, i met with him for the something class-related and he made me feel a lot better about stuff in general. so yeah.
i'm being pulled in a lot of different directions. the writing center is awesome, i've made some great friends through it, but there's always a ton to do/get involved in. like right now, i'm the second life coordinator, i'm on the grant writing and assessment committees, i consult, i lead a creative writing group for msu students, i attend a community creative writing group, i've been to (and been part of a roundtable at!) one writing center conference, i'm probably going to be part of proposing something at another. i might start scheduling second life hours (which everyone assumes i do anyway, but i don't--katie does). i think that's all the wc stuff, but it feels like a ton. like today, i had meetings from 11 to 3:30.
not that i'm complaining. it's a great place, it's where my assistanceship is through, it's my main support system.
this week i went to dinner with one of chris's (and now my) friends. it was a great time, though i felt like i talked way too much. but i already knew that i have a bunch of hilarious stories, and it was nice to tell them to someone who appreciated them. plus! she's going to come to the next community creative writing group meeting in two tuesdays, which i'm stoked about. and a little weirded out about because of the whole worlds-collide thing.
i've also been working on/extensively thinking about my dad's book. i've been meeting with dean on thursdays to talk about the book or whatever sundry stuff seems important at the time. basically, i make writing center appointments to hang out with him, but it works. he's a good sounding board. i think my next move for the book is to record an oral history with my dad and just have him tell me the stories. i could definitely use the conversational context. another idea is to make a list of things that need to stay true-to-life and then give myself permission to fictionalize everything else.
fangirl moment: marilyn wann, author of fat!so?, is now my facebook friend. look at me networkin'! katie and i are planning to go to the asdah conference in june, where apparently all of the haes insiders will be. i should invite chris--seems like something that might be up his alley. the conference is in chicago, the registration fee is doable (like $40), and katie offered to drive, so i'm there. plus networkin'. plus yeahyeahyeah.
so many busies. so. many.
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(no subject) [Jan. 10th, 2013|02:45 am]
rachel
to-do list, take 2010

1. earn straight a's at ou
2. graduate from ou, by spring 2012 at the latest
3. look into grad school
4. possibly take gre
5. possibly go to grad school
6. get a real job
7. move out of my parents' house (for the last time)
8. be more active
9. write a book of fiction
10. write a book of poetry
11. make some/any money from said books
12. love myself
13. live with matt
14. be happier
15. visit nyc
16. visit europe
17. visit new zealand
18. learn to play guitar
19. buy a digital camera
20. become an unrestrained eater
21. get married
22. own a house
23. possibly have kids
24. get a hair cut
25. stop being so nostalgic

each time i do this, the scope gets smaller. am i more realistic, or just too tired to think big?

to-do list, take 2013

1. earn straight 4.0s at msu
2. graduate with m.a. on time (spring 2014)
3. look into phd programs
4. possibly go for a phd
5. write more
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Booking it [Dec. 26th, 2011|09:56 pm]
rachel
In no particular order, all the books I read in 2011.

A bunch by Orson Scott Card:
Pathfinder
The Lost Gate
Shadow of the Hegemon (Ender series, book 6)
Shadow Puppets (Ender series, book 7)
Shadow of the Giant (Ender series, book 8)
Maps in a Mirror
(I have an addiction. I'm getting help.)

Graceling, Kristin Cashore
Fire, Kristin Cashore

Omnitopia Dawn, Diane Duane

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Diaz

Great House, Nicole Krauss

Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood
Bluebeard's Egg, Margaret Atwood

The Name of the Wind, Patrick Rothfuss
The Wise Man's Fear, Patrick Rothfuss

Ready Player One, Ernest Cline

Atonement, Ian McEwan
Saturday, Ian McEwan
Solar, Ian McEwan

The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives, Leonard Mlodinow

The Mother Tongue: English and How It Got That Way, Bill Bryson

The Wild Trees: A Story of Passion and Daring, Richard Preston

The Living Great Lakes: Searching for the Heart of the Inland Seas, Jerry Dennis

Mermaid: A Twist on a Classic Tale, Caroline Turgeon

One For the Money, Janet Evanovich

The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern

Sati, Christopher Pike

The Bean Trees, Barbara Kingsolver

Habits of Change: An Oral History of American Nuns, Carole Rogers

The Great American Stickup: How Reagan Republicans and Clinton Democrats Enriched Wall Street While Mugging Main Street, Robert Scheer

I read four of the books for academic reasons, but all the others were for pleasure. Right now I'm reading both Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen, on my Kindle) and The Lacuna (Barbara Kingsolver, on paper). My New Year's resolution? Read just as much next year.
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(no subject) [Aug. 19th, 2011|11:02 pm]
rachel
she’s reaching out to me across the years,
and i feel her beside me: the her who lived those
thoughts and wrote those words—the her who
might still love me. superimposed on that her
is the her she is now, someone i no longer know,
whose heart is an unruly mystery to me.
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random poetry. [May. 20th, 2011|11:26 pm]
rachel

time unspools, unspools—ribboning
in her fingers, cat’s-cradling. there’s love,
she thinks, and then there’s love. arcing
through her empty spaces, ricocheting,
his voice echoes, echoes: her corners
yield.

 
tangled within, little pieces of light
explode—the shrapnel falls to the ground,
confettied.

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let's get lost [Dec. 10th, 2010|10:13 pm]
rachel
i don't want to remember, but i can't forget.

it's been a long time - almost ten years - since i last worried about getting in to post-secondary school. i remember how sure i was that i would get in to u-m. and how i wanted to get in to yale, but didn't. and then thought to myself: not good enough. not good enough by a long shot. and now, thinking about grad school, my inner monologue says: YOU'RE STILL NOT GOOD ENOUGH!

it's kinda pathetic. or...at least sad, not necessarily in a pathetic sort of way.

state has a rhetoric program, which would be fine with me. otherwise, carnegie-mellon has a program that looks awesome. but it's in pittsburgh. and that would mean moving to pittsburgh. and i don't know if i could convince matt to do that, and i don't know if i could do it without him. i dunno. it's complicated.

but! probably/hopefully moving into an apartment in spring, at the very least me and rachel. matt may or may not come with, we'll see how it goes. i have high hopes but not too-too high because matt is stubborn and doesn't like change. but, of course, i'd love to live with him. i think. because of what happened last time i moved in with someone, i'm a little nervous, but i feel like matt's right to say that our relationship is intrinsically different than that last relationship. probably we'll be fine.

i feel old. incalculably old, like i should know something about something but i still feel, largely, that i don't know anything about anything.

i've considered what i'd even go to grad school for, and creative writing is a possibility, but most programs want newer work. and my good work - more like my only work - is all relatively old. i suppose i could write some more now, but i get the feeling that it would seem pathetic and contrived. neither of which do i think would help my case.

over the break, i'll at least have some time to write, if that's what i want to do. i dunno how much time, now that i think about it, since my life is busy anyway. without class, there's still work and matt. and sleeping. and lazing. wherever would i fit creativity into that? perhaps between the sleeping and the lazing.

perhaps i'm both older and wiser, but it's not in an important way. not in a way that matters to anyone, even me. i suppose i can console myself with the fact that, in the grand scheme of things, i'm still kind of young. ish. except it feels like time is speeding up and i can't do anything to keep up with it.
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(no subject) [Aug. 13th, 2010|02:08 pm]
rachel

at two different times in the past, i made fifty-item-long to-do lists for my future. i feel like now is as good a time as any to make a new one, since everything has changed so much since i made the others.

to-do list, take 2010

1. earn straight a's at ou
2. graduate from ou, by spring 2012 at the latest
3. look into grad school
4. possibly take gre
5. possibly go to grad school
6. get a real job
7. move out of my parents' house (for the last time)
8. be more active
9. write a book of fiction
10. write a book of poetry
11. make some/any money from said books
12. love myself
13. live with matt
14. be happier
15. visit nyc
16. visit europe
17. visit new zealand
18. learn to play guitar
19. buy a digital camera
20. become an unrestrained eater
21. get married
22. own a house
23. possibly have kids
24. get a hair cut
25. stop being so nostalgic

it's hard to be as lofty in my dreaming now as i used to be. maybe this is the curse of having been taught tough life lessons? along with these fifty-items lists, i've also done numerous 'ambiguous declarative' lists over the years...and one now can't hurt.

1. you're the nicest person i know, and i'm glad to know you.
2. i've done wrong by you, and for that i'm sorry.
3. your opinion of me is inextricably bound up in my opinion of myself.
4. there are a lot of things left unsaid between us, at least from my side, that i doubt will ever be said, even if you were willing to listen, which i don't think you ever will be.
5. i'm intimidated by you to an extent that i'm not proud of.
6. our relationship keeps going, like the energizer bunny, and i couldn't be more glad about that.
7. although i accept responsibility for my actions, i sometimes blame you for driving me to them.
8. i love you.
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(no subject) [Jun. 26th, 2009|10:43 am]
rachel
i've pretty much been sick since sunday, which means that i was sick for my birthday on monday. i didn't really love it. i'm kind of fighting off the last vestiges of illness right now, congestion and sneezing and a little wheezy coughing.
stacy's wedding is tomorrow, i'm a little nervous about that. why? because i have to ride with matt's parents. plus the whole formal-clothes-wearing plus the whole i'll-probably-have-to-dance. although, knowing matt, i might not have to. but he's the bride's brother...who knows. it's a bit nerve-wracking, that's all i'm saying.
i keep having fits of nostalgia. y'know. i'm twenty-five. there's so much time to reflect on, & so many things i feel like i messed up. i suppose it doesn't help that i don't talk to some of the people in my past, which means that i'm alone to idealize. hm.
i'm working at wejdan's store tonight, i'm dreading it. only because it's with a floater. & i don't like him. it should've been aparna, but she's on vacation this week, that bitch.
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