i'm happy to be back home in the desert sun with good friends and my beloved feline companions. been re-involving myself with dry river, which has been awesome. there are many amazing things that happened over the last year that i had nothing to do with and i've been delighting in the fact that the place keeps going, in it's organic and constantly evolving way. whenever folks step out for awhile, their absence is compensated for by new energy in the form of new folks getting involved and taking things on in their own way. it's anarchy and it's a beautiful thing. it's always riddled with the constant challenges inherent in human interaction, but with folks' love for the space, the community, and the symbolism of it all taking precedence over self-interest. usually. :)
i started sewing, and that has been a very satisfying thing. my mom is an amazing seamstress and always has some project going. when i was a kid, she tried to teach me many different times and i wasn't a very good student. but lately i just decided to dive in and learn- i have made some things i really like! i think the secret to sewing is that a person has to be okay with making a lot of mistakes, going through the tedium of correcting them, and working through that process until something decent has been created. and everything i make teaches me something new. it's like anything else in life- the struggles and the process of making mistakes and correcting them teach us about ourselves and about how to do things differently in the future. the seam-ripper is your friend. both metaphorically and as a sewing tool.
work, however, is a bit of a drag. i started back two weeks ago. i even have a job i like, but i feel myself growing increasingly resentful that 40 hours of my precious energy are dedicated to feeding the capitalist machine that i hate so much. the folks who run my workplace do not have my respect and i don't like that they have authority over me. i'm rather resentful of the whole situation, to be honest. i'm trying to get over it- i enjoy the folks who i work with on a regular daily basis and that's the most important thing. the people who run the place put in appearances periodically- i nod and smile and then go back to whatever i was doing. really, i have it pretty good compared to lots of other job situations i've been in and i shouldn't complain. but i do anyway. such is the nature of my relationship to hierarchical power structures.
i'm a bit sad about not starting back to school myself this time around and feel rejected by the academy. i know funding is tough all over and that i am one of many folks all over the united states who would have started (or continued) a grad program this year if only money were available. i've been trying to not make it personal. but there is still a bit of a sting there. i feel like academia is really the only place where i fit- precisely because it is there that i can not fit and it will be okay. i found the programs that suited me best and even was accepted to my two top choices. but without money, it doesn't really matter. i can only hope that things will be better next year and i'll be funded. if i'm not funded next year- i think i'll put that dream aside for awhile and look elsewhere for my path. it's a sad conclusion to come to- but the loan sharks are circling already and i can only keep them at bay for so long. if i'm not in a phd program, eventually i'll have to do something to make some money or leave the country or something.
i have many grad student friends who are gearing up to go back in the next week or two. my situation is bittersweet- i'm happy for a break from the rigor of academic life and from the pressure of it all. i think i'm still really struggling with how to be me in the face of the masculinized competitiveness of academia and i think this year will be good for me in terms of making my own way and contributing things on my own terms. on the other hand- the pressure is a good motivator to produce quality work and i already miss the constant intellectual stimulus. this last year i realized that i had many female friends in academia who feel the same way i do about the machismo side of it all. and now i'm out of the loop.
and so i'm back to my old life again. some new perspective gained from time away. i realized a lot of good things about life in the united states, particularly in the context of the radical movement, when i was away from it all. we have a good thing going here and i want to dedicate my life to studying about it, learning from it, telling the world all about it, and hopefully leading more people to live outside this beastly machine that constantly threatens to devour us all with our own consumerism and helplessness.