The Legends and the Myths.

Oh my gosh I feel like it’s been weeks since I posted, sorry, I have big college projects swirling around. BU tI am going to take some time to attend to this today!

Can you tell it’s my first time dealing with finals?

Anyway, I have plenty I could write about. The trick will be picking one thing. I’ve been researching superheroes of all things to write a paper on it.

Professors have come a long way; I imagine if 20 or 30 years ago I suggested superheroes as the subject of a research paper, my professor would have given me a look and said “That’s not a real subject.”

But now, it totally works. And with the Infinity War Craze of the past two weeks, and the subsequent Deadpool 2 craze, what more proof do you need that superheroes are relevant?

I haven’t seen either by the way, but look for a review of the first one sometime in the near future.

Though I think I will still prefer the cinematic inferior Justice League to all this glamour of the Avengers. At heart, I still prefer even a partially good DCU flick, to a saturated MCU one.

Enough about that, the point is, superheroes are difinitely in. And those of us who are not in the swim about them maybe should undertake to know at least a little about what fans are crazy about.

Chances are you know someone who is nuts about superheroes. Likely you know someone who is too nuts about them. IF you’re like me, you don’t buy all the merchandise or see every film in theaters, bu you keep up with the comic books world at least enough to know the context of most of the stories.

I read the original Spiderman comics, which hold up even today, and the Silver Age Superman ones, 50s-60s, and of course the 70s Mr. Miracle. I have yet to find a Wonder Woman comic, but I would love to check that out sometime.

Funny story, I remember getting a Wonder Woman comic from the Library back before I could even read. Actually I think my mom got it just because I was looking at the picture. And I started at the words and really wished I knew what they were saying. But all I got twas the vague idea that she was a kid growing up with her mom.

And I can’t believe I didn’t remember that when I read “Superman and Me” by Sherman Alexie, since he had the same experience with Superman.

I’ve always wanted to find that comic, which I now realize had to be the original one, and read it knowing the words. SO in a strange way, comics have been a part of my reading experience almost from the beginning, and Wonder Woman has intrigued my also.

And my mom was not a superhero person, and still is not except by proxy, since she has to listen to us go on and on about it. My mom is smart, she has learned over the years to take at least a mild interest in everything we get obsessed with so that she preserves her sanity.

Superheroes will always be considered somewhat ridiculous, even by the people who love them. Not because they are ridiculous as a characters, but because the idea of one is just odd to us. A caped costumed character is funny. The whole underwear on the outside thing. By the way, did you know that they looked more like that because men used to wear suspenders that kept their pants up higher? When supers were created, that look would have been more normal and wearing nothing over that are would have been indecent. It’s not about underwear at all.

And yes Wonder Woman wore a swimsuit, but even then there were worse ones.

Still, it’s funny to dress in a flag. The pint is, they aren’t meant to be taken seriously.

That’s why we love them. You don’t have to believe they are real in order to get real ideas and emotions from them.

As I have pointed out to others, superheroes are for those who dream. They are a modern mythology. And I would have to acknowledge this even if I hated them, because there is no getting away from it. They are ubiquitous.

I think I love superheroes more than I care to admit on this blog, but I don’t love them just for their flashy fighting and quippy dialogue, though I enjoy that.

I love them because in nowhere else  in our modern world do I find so many characters held up to a real standard for good. And they challenge us to meet that standard. I love the heart behind many of them, the honest look at hardship that many of the creators had to take in writing them out. Mostly, I love myths.

And I’m a dreamer. Without fail, people who dream that I know, they like superheroes.

People who do not dream don’t, or are at best ambiguous.

I’m not kidding, I know people as old as my dad who like superheroes, but they are dreamers; and I know people who think they’re stupid, they aren’t dreamers. And those who are ambiguous also don’t dream.

IS it possible to be a dreamer without liking supers? I am sure it is. But  I do not think it works the other way. What use are superheroes with their outlandish exploits if you do not wish to accomplish things that seem outlandish to you?

Fairy tales will always be mocked by those who do not secretly wish they were true…even those who do. But as Anne of Green Gables has said, the world needs fairies, it cannot do without them.

All that means is not that we need fairies as a fantastical creature to tell stories about, but that we need fantasy. Which fairies famously represent.

We need superheroes in the same way. Whether you are a dreamer or not, you need dreamers. The ones who keep this world afloat.

They are the legends and the myths today, and they keep us linked to older myths and stories. We need that, we need to keep our imaginations alive. And if that looks like a comic spread with some speech bubbles, so be it. I’ll take that over pure realism, that stuff can be soul killing.

Until next time–Natasha.




Just Finish or Finish Well?

Sorry I haven’t posted a lot lately, schoolwork is keeping me busy.

Still it’s a lot of fun. I gave my first real speech this week. I got a B, so it wasn’t too bad. My Teacher said we ranged for A’s to F’s.

I am not about measuring self esteem by grades. Though I will say some people did not work on theirs;

I wonder why students procrastinate. I do it too, though I try not to. I always here students saying this after a not so stellar assignment. “I should have practiced” or “I should have worked on it more but I didn’t.” Or they just resignedly say they’re done with it and they don’t care what grade they get.

It’s like we just want to finish more than we want to finish well.

All us students have something to prove. We want to prove that we can make it. We can ace this college thing. We won’t have to retake the class. Though some of us will.

It’s amazing how cavalier people can be about their grades. They miss class when they feel overwhelmed.

Heck, I didn’t miss class when I had a headache all throughout it. I paid good money for this, and gosh darn it I’m going to keep my grades up.

Which hasn’t been all that hard, by the way. College Professor want to give you A’s so a lot of grading is based on you being there.

Which may seem stupid, because it should be how well you’re learning, not how much time you’re spending in class, but it’s what they get paid for.

I think it’s easier then actually expecting us to understand it all right away. But classmates keep disappearing, never to return. Even the ones who seemed the most into the class. If you’re a student right now reading this, you have likely been seeing the same thing. Or you’ve been doing it *gasp.

Students seem to have a defiant/flippant attitude. They complain about how hard the assignments are. They really aren’t.

While I question the methods used to teach speech as really being necessary to an effective speech, they aren’t really all that hard. Just time consuming and frustrating when you still do it wrong.

The average student is taking multiple classes anyway. Professors tend to hand out assignments like theirs is the only class you’re taking. Reality Check: some people take three or four. (Hi.)

But the greater fault is with the students who don’t take initiative. One classmate told me he’s not even through the third section of our workbook, as a class we’re in the fourth, and we were supposed to be almost in the fifth by now, since we’re behind.

I am trying to get ahead just so I’ll finish the darn thing, others aren’t even keeping up with the new and slowed down schedule.

Clearly they don’t care that much. Why are they even still there?

If we all have something to prove, why aren’t we proving it?

The trouble is, college feels like extended high-school for a lot o young people. Some of them just graduated last year, like me.

Unlike me, many don’t already have a career goal in mind. And they don’t use the counseling services to make a plan.

They go to school because it’s what they know how to do. They are used to the environment. I wonder if they will feel lost when they get out. A lot of older adults are there too, are they returning? Or did they never attend college?

If it’s the first, could it be that school just feels right tot hem.

The world is my classroom. College is fun for me because the inflow of new ideas is constant. And my classes cover diverse subjects in a nutshell. I find this environment stimulating, My classmates think my favorite class is the worst, just because the’r always work involved.

I think “Well, the professor wants us to actually use this time well.”

I guess I am a true academic. a rare breed among kids my age. I am easy for my teachers to like because I put effort into learning. Not always my A-game, I am not perfect. But I do try.

And it turns out, just being there and giving some effort, even when it’s not 100%, goes a long way toward success. Of course I always try to do the best I can do in the moment, even if the moment is not my best one. Get it?

I am not saying everyone has to be like me. But I am saying that my passion for learning is something everyone should have. Losing curiosity is a step toward losing your soul.

And if everyone had curiosity, they would put more effort into success. A few classes failed is not the end of the world. So long as you realize your mistake and learn from it.

I think that’s all for now, until next time–Natasha.

Loud and Proud?

This is not going to be easy to write.

My ever prolific English Class tackled religion this past week. And how two people were driven away from the church by the thing known as a move of the Spirit. The crying, the shouting, the running around, the jumping up and down. The experience that is baffling to anyone watching it.

And someone in my class even said they gave up on church because of seeing that and not wanting to be that way.

If you are not sure what I’m talking about, then it will be hard to explain it. You really have to see it for yourself. People “get happy” as it is sometimes called.

In the Bible if anyone had a reaction like that it was the Spirit of the Lord coming upon them. Interestingly enough, in the New Testament no record is given of people jumping or running or crying or rolling around on the floor, though the Old Testament has some wild stories about that.

And it’s a staple of Revivals to have that happen.

But it can freak people out.

And I should know, it used to freak me out too, and if I’m honest it still puzzles me on occasion.

I am not a demonstrative person. I might get loud, maybe jump a little on my toes, but I’ve never been so overtaken by God that I behave wildly.

I don’t think it’s bad for that to happen, certainly the people it happens to enjoy it. For them it’s a release, a way to clear their emotions from all the stress of life, a way to feel closer to God.

The Church tends to view these spiritual experiences as more holy, and signifying someone is closer to God, versus the people who sit quietly or at most raise their hands and sing.

While people outside the church tend to view this as us getting overexcited, or perhaps being out of our mind, or just weird. At any rate, it’s nothing they want a part of.

But why?

I do sympathize with the no Christian a bit. That kind of behavior would freak me out normally. It can look an awful lot like crazy behavior. But it only comes on in church. During worship usually. I don’t hear about it happening in someone’s private life. Which is perhaps why people decide the church is the problem. Believe in God sure, but those people are weird…

Well, we are weird, I admit. Any people group is going to be wired to the people not in it, and even to other in it who just don’t jibe with their style. I feel a bit out of place at the Nigerian Church that my dad loves because I don’t get it. My dad doesn’t like the style of where I go. But doctrinally, the two churches are almost he same. So the question is, why is the way we worship such a devise issue for us and for Non-Christians who investigate?

I need to be fair. First of all, I do not by any means think that people have to get excited in the loud and energetic way in order to worship God. My favorite way to worship is in private, not so loud. I do enjoy is corporately too. If that really is an obstacle to someone, then going to a church that isn’t like that is no sin.

On the other hand, one thing that Christians who worship in this way tend to understand is that Worship is not really about our control.

At bottom, being wierded out by God moving in what seems like ridiculous or crazy ways is saying that you know better than God what is appropriate. It is also saying that the world gets to measure how sane it is to act in a given way. Why should the world decide this?

People filled with the spirit aren’t going and committing mass murders, or hurting other people, or filled with rage, not truly crazy behavior.

The reason it’s hated is that is is foreign. Even to other Christians. Every Christian is called to be holy (set apart) from the world. People who are acting crazy and don’t care are clearly not concerned about the world’s opinion of them.

God is not going to make sense to us all the time. So it would follow naturally that the way we worship is not always going to seem sensible even to us. As the people it happens to, they don’t get it either.

But I submit that you don’t always need to get it to know it.

And that applies to the many people who don’t experience this. We are not lesser as Christians. The folks who “get happy” are not always the most spiritual in their everyday lives. In fact, often that is the case. Maybe they need it more because of that.

God connects with people however He can, and for some that is quiet, for others it is loud.

I submit that God Himself doesn’t really care so long as the connection is real and true. Why would one little person jumping up and down discomfit God? Why would one person not doing that give Him pause?

What does give Him pause is genuine heartfelt worship, which means not feeling inferior to your fellow believers nor taking pride in being more holy than they. It means giving up control one way or the other. admitting you can’t control whether your worship loud or quiet. Just so long as you worship.

Everyone has their gift, be it small or large, and they can bring that. That’s all that God requires.

And if it’s all that we require of each other, we wills top comparing ourselves. That’s just not important.

Those are my thoughts, until next time–Natasha.

Well behaved women Seldom make history.

Laura Ulrich used the above sentence in her history of unknown puritan women. You may have seen the slightly altered “Well behaved women rarely make history” on anything from a car to a mug to a t-shirt to a book. I read it in a book by a Christian Female Preacher. The Sweet Potato Queens put it into their theme song.

I admit it’s a brilliant quote.

But I  wasn’t surprised to read in Ulrich’s account of the slogan’s impact that it had caused a lot of women to justify the most wild and uncouth behavior.

Bad girls have more fun they say. Kind of like nice guys finish last.

Well I submit to you that nice guys only finish last with women who don’t like nice.

I wouldn’t be one of those. Though I admit I can’t stand tame.

And that’s the thing, I don’t think the term wild is a bad word. I hear it used as if it were bad. Wild is used as synonymous with out of control, crazy, rebellious, and bad behaved.

But in my book, wild just means something is in its natural state. Untamed by man. But it does not mean something is at odds with man.

Wild things can be a gift. The only way to survive in the wilderness is knowing how to live off wild stuff. A wild animal tends to have instincts that a domestic one doesn’t. There is something raw and yet vulnerable about wildness that touches us.

But what about being well behaved? I don’t think being ill behaved is the way to make history, not the kind of history I want to be remembered for. The attitude about this seems to be that as a long as a woman is making history, she is doing something noble and brave, no matter what kind of history she is making. In that way a sex icon is as important as Marie Curie.

I don’t think so. Every one has heard of Helen of Troy, everyone has heard of Joan of Arc. Which do we know more about? Which do we want to be like?

I love famous women, if they are good, and I love empowered women. I just never understood empowered to mean “Do whatever darn thing you want to get attention; talk trash about men; and abandon motherhood.” Come on ladies, is that really what it means? I bet you don’t agree with that idea either.

I think few women really think that’s how to be a real woman. Just as I hope few men think that shooting each other and getting girls knocked up is how to be a real man.

Now just for context, you guys should know I am not the kind of woman who sits back and shuts up by nature. I have been strongly hinted at that I should do this. And I can’t say, after what I’ve been reading about it, that I don’t wonder if I might have been treated differently had I been a man.

It’s hard to picture the same people telling a guy who was as enthusiastic as me to tone it down a notch. When does that ever happen?

I mean, it does happen to my dad, who’s like me in that way. So I guess it does happen to men.

I will say this, I think part of the problem is women who make themselves heard can have a very snooty attitude about it. Like we should listen to them just because they are a woman and outspoken. Funnily enough, don’t you immediately feel more interested in a woman if you hear that she’s outspoken and opinionated.

And also oddly enough, I rarely hear a man described that way. Men stating their opinions forcefully seems to be a given.

A woman who really is outspoken will be whether it’s considered normal or not. Take Katherine from “The Taming of the Shrew” as a fictional example. Women like that won’t shut up no matter how much men shake their heads. And that’s not always a positive.

I know women who will give their opinions when applied to, but they prefer to talk about more personal stuff. A woman has political opinions, sure, she probably has strong ones. She doesn’t let her husband speak for her because she’s afraid, she lets him because it’s not what she likes to talk about.

Women don’t like arguing with their friends. (Though they may like arguing with their husband or their mother.) So they don’t talk about hot topics amongst themselves. It gets too heated. It’s that simple.

I know I don’t bring up hot topics when I want to have fun with people because it’s too explosive. And I know men who don’t care if it is, but I don’t know any women like that.

This isn’t a lack of confidence, it’s just women preferring to bond without conflict. Men bond through conflict.

Not that a woman never can enjoy conflict. I enjoy it. Typically more with men then with women. I consider that to be a thing men bring out in women, for a good reason, strength calls out to strength.

In fact, women want to be part of a man’s world because the man is in it. I don’t care if I just ticked someone off. It’s still true.

How many women say they are independent of men even while saying they’ll beat them at their own game.

If you’re trying to beat the men, you’re not exactly independent of them. You have to have someone to beat.

It also backhandedly admits that men have done a lot of amazing things. And I think men have every right to keep dong amazing things. I get a real kick of beating men at stuff. But I don’t grudge them their right to win also.

I think the wild side of men is what stirs up the wild side of women. I see it all the time, women sneak into men’s conferences, women read books about what men should be like just to know what to look for, women like movies that are geared for men. (I liked Braveheart. Most women who saw it did.)

That’s not because women are weak. It’s because women are smart. We know there’s something for us in both worlds. And if men are smart, they’ll pay attention to what women like too. I don’t begrudge a man the enjoyment of a few chick flicks , some of them are meaningful stories.

Some men enjoy more feminine dominated stuff. That’s okay. In the end, it’s not what you do but the way that you do it that shows the differences between people and between genders.

I win like a girl, because I am one.

Until next time–Natasha.

Real Life Stories.

Permit me to write about something that probably makes me a geek: Story Structure and Cliches.

If you are not into film reviews like I am, or book discussions, you may not feel this subject is important, but I submit to you that it is and it affects your life more than you think.

Let’s jump in:

First of all, a story structure is the type of story you have constructed. Each genre has a few different structures to it. Romances have a comedic structure, or a sappy structure, or even a adventurous structure. It all over laps.

The structure, as you can probably guess, is the blueprint of how the story plays out. Its’s how you use your characters and plot devices, how you narrate the story, and how long it is. A short story has a different structure from a long (in this case 300+ pages) story.

The reason story structure is important to the non-writer or reader is because it will be present in pretty much every area of your life that you hear anecdotes, sermons, lessons, plans, or ideas in.

It can tell you a lot about a person when you know the structure they use to talk about themselves. Are they dramatic? Are they pragmatic? Are the emotional or are they stoic? What does their self;narration tell you about them.

I think, ladies and gentlemen, that the adage that life is a story is the truest way to describe it. The way we measure each other is through the elements of story. The way we talk is shaped by it.

You may have heard the saying that we are each the hero of our own story. I do not think that is true. It is quite possible to be the villain of your own story.

I was just watching a Superman movie, and before it came on some creators of a different Superman story were shown talking about their own personal kryptonite. The last man said “I would say I am probably my own kryptonite.”

That man is honest.

We have other weaknesses, but we are our own worst enemy most of the time.

Ever wonder why the protagonist who constantly makes mistakes and misses the point annoys you so much? They remind you of you.

People have acknowledge that we dislike the most human characters most strongly. In real life that is also true. People who screw up constantly frustrate us. The one worker on the job who has to be re-shown how to do something again and again, that student who’s a little slow, that junkie who won’t stay clean, you when you look at what you’ve accomplished in your life and think you could have done so much more.

We are vicious on these people as a society, and sadly often as individuals, I do it too.

But are we really just mad at ourselves?

I’m not the first person to suggest that, and I won’t be the last either. I am just throwing it out there.

In a story we root for the capable and the good. I’ve known some commentators to think this is delusional of us. That we don’t want to face up to our humanity in the flawed characters.

But writers understand why the good characters have to be the role model. They are the best of us and we only get better when we have a better person to admire and imitate. The human characters cannot do that for us because they can never be our superiors. In life you cannot look up to the person that is failing constantly. You have to find someone who is succeeding more that you.

Let’s talk about cliches/tropes now:

A cliche or trope is thing that writers use a lot, if it’s a trope it’s just a way to tell the story that is necessary to the style. But a cliche is overused, unoriginal or lazy.

In real life cliches show up everywhere as old poetical slogans, cheesy commercials, lame excuses. Don’t you hate them?

I know I roll my eyes.

But tropes are more interesting. I often, as part of the people group of internet review watchers, here people complain that a solution was used in a movie or book that seemed like magic, or too good to be true. Or even occasionally too bad to be true.

Tropes are fascinating simply because they show up in real life, tropes are what make stories seem real to us.

Here’s a few of them:

  1. The Chosen one.
  2. The magical happy ending
  3. Redeeming Wicked Characters

You’d be surprise how angry people get over the last one.

The chosen one means the hero is selected, one might say called, to be the answer to the stories problem.

It’s something we see in real life a lot. We know some [people are born to do certain things, and could not be happy unless they did them. Artists are born, writers are born, speakers, and those are just the common language ones. There’s thousands more.

We can see how historical figures were meant to shape the world. Gandhi being one of our more popular examples now.

The magical happy ending can be unrealistic, but more often then not it comes because the chosen one set things right. Peace is restored. People begin to thrive again. How often have we seen this in history? And even in our own lives. Maybe our happy endings don’t last,  but the principle remains. You notice any time a story becomes a series the happy ending is temporary. It is meant to resolve one problem, not every problem, and that is how we live it out in our lives.

As for redeeming evil characters, we don’t see this as often. But when we do it’s surprisingly true to how stories portray it. People change because someone is kind to them; because they realize what they’ve become; because they have a revelation of truth. This is how characters change in stories, and it’s true to life.

Why does all this matter to the person who does not care about assessing stories?

Because stories are going to shape how you think about this stuff in real life. IF you don’t believe someone in a story can change, chances are you don’t believe people can change.

It’s funny to me whenever someone acts like how they view fiction and how they view reality are separate. Like it’s not their mind and beliefs in both areas. Give me a break.

I hope this was enlightening or interesting to everyone, until next time–Natasha.

Are Millennials nice?

Let’s talk about millenials again.

This blog is directed partially ot them anyway, and I think we get a bad rap. Not that I don’t have my furstrations with people in my general age range. (Which is getting close to 20, yikes!)

I’ve always observed the people around me to be fairly nice most of the time. So when I started school, I wondered if my sheltered christian bubble would burst.

But so far it hasn’t. I’ve been blessed to be in classes with nice teachers and seemingly nice students. n fact I almost think it’s a God thing.

I know not all people are nice. I would not be shocked to run into some not nice ones. yet I usually don’t. Everywhere I go, on the bus, in school, to the store, people show little considerations of each other. They maybe don’t bend over backwards to help, but they will be decent. Move out of the way for someone in a wheelchair, help someone else understand their homework, be willing to cheer people on even if they are the competition, and scoot over so you can fit on a crowded bus. All real examples.

In one of my classes a fellow who people either jokingly or seriously said was racist because he is wary of black guys since getting mugged by one covered for the black student who couldn’t make it to class. They seem to be on good terms.

Now I know the whole racist thing is not always a serious remark, but that’ kind of my point. Instead of being oversensitive about it, they ignored it.

I don’t know how any of these people I’ve mentioned are int heir personal lives. Sometimes it’s easier to be polite to strangers..always it’s easier. I get that.

But since it’s complained about a lot that folks just aren’t nice or considerate anymore, and millennials are especially selfish and spoiled, I have to wonder, are we wrong about this?

We should at least consider it. I know this can be more of a Western thing, and all my viewers who hail from the Eastern countries may know a very different story about their young people, but I think in Europe at least this problem is the same. Why?

My guess is that Millennials and down are still lacking a moral compass, but good manners is something just about every parent tries to enforce at some point, and it can be our only nod to some general standard of behavior. Our only way to feel like good people.

And whatever our bad boy/girl songs say, we like to feel like good people.

Frequently at my college the young men hold the door open for both girls and each other. (No favoritism right.) In an age where chivalry is disappearing maybe some of it is coming back in. maybe they just feel they should.

I hold the door open for both guys and girls too. I say it’s whoever gets there at the right time. It would be weird to stand there and wait for someone else to do it. I’m not that committed to making the point.

Maybe I’m lucky, or maybe good places attract people like me who are seeking good environments. Not because I can’t handle worse, but because who purposely puts themselves into a negative environment unless it’s to fix it? Not many people.

I have wondered if occasionally it is my influence that causes this, but I have o proof of that. It’s a nice thought, but it might give one person too much credit.

Still, have we been misrepresented?

Millennials and down are spoiled, it’s true. And our biggest flaw is not an unwillingness to work, or to work hard, but to work consistently. We are a microwave generation. I don’t think that’s our fault exactly, but it is something we need to challenge ourselves to rise above.

It’s not, I believe after observing us more, that we don’t care about people. I think we actually care about more people in a small way than many generations before us. On thing we can’t ignore is that tragedy is happening all the time, and we aren’t all desensitized to it.

But all this caring in a small way has left us unable to handle caring in a large way. We don’t know how to act when an opportuintiy to change someone else’s life comes along. I doubt we recognize that opportunity when we see it.

We can be nice to almost everyone, but truly honest with no one. We can get out of the way for others, but not put ourselves in harm’s way for them.

Why is this?

Because we aren’t made to believe we can or should do those things. We are raised to avoid danger, trouble, confrontation, and discomfort. Conflict is the worst enemy now, not evil. Many young people believe certain evils are fine just so long as you don’t fight over them.

That’s pathetic, but it’s not the young person’s fault. They’ve been taught that fighting is wrong. It’s not.

The way to save this generation is to let them grow up. We keep coddling them. They can handle more. I believe it. They just need to be pushed out of the nest. yes, they will fail at first because they aren’t prepared, but I think we have plenty of stories about people adapting to their circumstances to back up the idea that Millennials will learn.

If they don’t, that’s on them. But we should not let them get away with not trying.

We don’t need to write books for or about young people and their problems, we need to tell them to write the books. They need to make the movies. They need to create the jobs. We need to get out of their way.

Yes, I know that what they’ve been taught is not good. But I see no end to it until they have had time to try and fail and realize there’s more to success in life than they know. When that happens they’ll need us to help them figure out how to fix it. but no do it for them.

That’s my thought on it, until next time–Natasha.

Upgrading kids.

“College is a waste of Time and Money.” is the ironically titled essay I had to read for last week’s classes. I was almost convinced to drop out of the college.

That was a joke obviously. But let’s be serious, is this opinion valid?

The Essayist thinks that if you’re only going out of a sense of obligation, or because you think it’s just what you do after high school, then it is a waste for you.

I do question, as a born and bred homeschooler, how effective institutional education is.

One of the points the essayist brought up is that college is like an extended adolescence for many kids. They aren’t ready to face the world, so they go to school, school is familiar.

That’s so sad, especially when I think how kids used to be raring to get done with school and enter the world at large to make a place in it.

As this essayist or one of the others I read observed, the world just doesn’t seem to have a place for these college kids. They go to college in the hopes that they will find a place afterward. When they are more useful.

I can’t say I blame them. How many kids know how to work?

I don’t blame the kids, by the way, most of them would have been happy to learn a skill if we just stressed it’s relevance, they don’t want to waste their time learning stuff they’ll never use.

When I briefly worked retail they taught me organization, but that was about it. I just needed to be fast and efficient. Which I wasn’t.

We were talking in class about how businesses see workers as liabilities now, not assets. With a few exceptions. So if you screw up, you’re out.

Which explained to me why I got fired. It didn’t matter to them whether I was honest or more dependable, I was just too slow. (Speed takes practice to build up.) Instead of being an asset they could train, I was just a liability.

After all, machines do it better and you don’t have to teach them.

But when we like our machines more than our people, what motivates us to train kids in hardworking jobs?

The great irony of electronics is that they are sucked up by Millennials and younger, even while they bite them in the rear by making those very age groups less necessary and less of a priority to businesses and organizations.

We don’t know much except for how to organize and drive forklifts and run computers.

I’d rather do a real day’s work so long as it was for something good. Some people have said I’m a hard worker, some people say I’m slow. Some people say this younger generation is lazy and indolent, others say we’re full of energy.

I think it’s a matter of perspective. One thing we aren’t is dependable. It hasn’t sunk in to us that there are things that have to be committed to all the way if they’re going to work out. Unfortunately, even schools tend to coddle students, all those second chances and programs to help them get by with less effort.

I’m all for helping someone who really needs it, but our methods don’t seem to working.

One thing people tell me is that I am stubborn. Or determined, to put it more nicely. They usually say it about how I pursue the things of God. But a positive side effect is that determination spreads to all areas of your life. I was not always a persistent worker, but I’ve changed a lot since becoming a Christian, because now I have a a reason to pursue goals.

I had a reason. So I changed. Sometimes either you upgrade, or you shut down.

And kids don’t have a reason to upgrade, so they shut down.

After all, do they really feel like society needs them? Do most kids feel like their family needs them?

I had a alteration in my perspective after my family moved and I realized that my parents really needed me to be more responsible, and my siblings needed me to be strong and able to help them. I was the bridge between the two.

Because parents tend to shield their kids from responsibility so the kids won’t worry, the kids feel they have nothing to offer. When was the last time you heard a kid talk about being necessary to something. They probably wouldn’t have used that word, but it would have been implied in their tone.

Before the past 50-60 years happened, kids were absolute necessary, even from the age of 6, to their families. They represented difficulties, but once they got older the parents needed them to help with chores, with the business, or with keeping house so the parents could work.

You see prosperity is meant to grow as your family grows. Ideally your business starts small but by the time your kids are old enough to help it’s gotten too big for you to handle. And then from family you get community as you bring in outside workers also.

It used to be that way. But things have inflated too much.

Still, we need our young people. Moms would not be so overwhelmed if they taught their older kids to help more and let them be responsible for stuff. Maybe we can’t let them work jobs (though child labor is only a bad thing when it is excessive, a few hours of it never hurt any kid as long as they were doing something they could handle) but we can let them help us.

There are always going to be mishaps. But adults forget their car keys, leave their phones as home, and lose paper work. Should we judge kids if they knock stuff over or do something wrong because we didn’t explain it to them?

Kids may not like working at first because we’ve taught them they shouldn’t have to do it. But once they get used to the idea, nothing is more rewarding for them then feeling they helped mom or dad do something difficult.

That’s a feeling I think young people shouldn’t be robbed of.

Until next time–Natasha.

How women dress (modesty.)

I couldn’t get into this in my previous post, but I briefly mentioned a discussion in my English Class about how women dress.

Deep breath.

I’ve grown up going to youth group, so I must have heard this discussion at least a dozen times, usually once or twice every six months is when it comes up.

Every time, there were some girls who got really bent out of shape about it. Even offended. And the same thing happened in class. A few women, particularly the oldest one in our class, were in favor of having certain standards, shall we say; and one girl was getting a bee in her bonnet about being held to different standards than men.

If I want to not wear a shirt, or not wear a bra under my shirt, why shouldn’t I be able to; was her argument, a man doesn’t have to do that.

Um…how can I put this? A man doesn’t have a…reason to wear those things for decency’s sake.

To me the issue is really quite simple. Modesty depends on what you’ve got to work with. And wearing revealing clothes also depends on that, often enough.

I don’t wish to make men or women reading this uncomfortable, if you’re sensitive, and I am one of those folks; but I have to be honest too about this issue.

The real problem women seem to have, at least I’ve never yet heard a man complain that it’s not fair that we ask him to dress respectably, is that they have to deal with men gazing at them lustfully, and men do not have this problem.

Well, I don’t know about that. But I think it goes deeper, women also resent the idea that men can tell them to do anything, including how to dress; and then they get iffy even if other women are telling them.

After all shouldn’t girls be able to express themselves however they want?

If I was to be glib, I would say I’d rather not express myself then have me ogle me. And I’ve yet to catch one doing it, thank you very much.

But it’s not that simple is it?

And girls who resent this, do have a point. It’s not fair that women have to worry about it so much. It’s not fair that we have to worry about being raped, or have creepy remarks being made about us, and all sorts of stuff. Statistically, I think women are the victims of more violent cries then men are, though it depends on where you live.

It’s not right that we have to think about all this. My whole bus stop incident was one that I was prepared for, I’d thought about how I would handle it when something like that happened to me. But just the fact hat I knew it would happen and had to be prepared, is pretty sad.

Please men, please be shaking your heads and saying “Wow, that is terrible.”

I hope to God I never get assaulted, but 1 in 3 women are, or is that just the successfully assaulted ones? The attempted assaults could raise the number higher.

And if I’m in a dangerous spot, I hope that I have a good man around to protect me. Because the fact is, few women get assaulted when they have a man around them. In fact, kidnappers and assaulters will purposely target girls who they can tell don’t have a good Dad. Even losers in schools who pick up chicks and use them though they don’t assault them will go for the fatherless.

And I notice it’s the fatherless women who tend to have the most issue with how they dress.

We can talk about rights all day long. We can wish men didn’t lust. We can wish, quite frankly, that women didn’t lust. Don’t tell me any girl over 18 who likes men at all has never ogled one herself. Double standard much?

But the reality is, people lust. People are messed up.

And as I said, I believe there are really good men out there. And good women. I’m truly sorry if it’s never been your experience to meet one. But it’s not too late.

The point is, as I said in my class, do you play with matches in front of an arsonist? Do you drink in front of an alcoholic? Do you do drugs in front of a junkie?

Some people do, they are called being part of the problem. And people who don’t do, but don’t try to help their loved ones who are doing it are called enablers.

Not all men are enslaved to lust, not everyone does drugs. But if you know that someone has a weakness for something and you utterly disregard that by what you talk about, do, or dress like around them, you share the responsibility.

Sorry if I’m insulting your freedom, but explain to me where you get off?

“But Natasha, it’s my body, I can do what I want.”

Honestly, I’ve heard youth leaders try to be delicate and gentle about it, and it goes right over the girls heads. They turn up their teenage noses and stick out their chins and say “I have the right to dress however I want.”

Well, you have the right to jump off a bridge too, but don’t blame us for you broken bones.

But let me back off from laying down the law. I’m risking losing you guys by being too passionate.

I have felt like it was unfair too. I went through that phase.

It’s not all the girls fault. Whether we can blame men for checking us out if we dress that way, I can’t say, but we can blame them for acting on it.

I’d like to end this with another college story.

The other week I went to an event but couldn’t find the building for a good 45 minutes. (New student troubles.) I asked a few different people for help and they couldn’t tell me. But one young man decided to help me find it. He walked me form one end of central campus to the other. At first I was concerned since it was a total stranger, and not that many people were about. But he never was anything but courteous and respectful. a true gentlemen. He stayed with me until we finally found it, then left me outside the room.

I haven’t seen him since, And I doubt I will since we have different class schedules, but he made my evening a lot pleasanter even if I was stressed out. And later I realized he probably escorted me because there was an assault on or by our campus not that long ago. And I was alone.

I think I would have been fine, but that doesn’t change that I appreciated the consideration.

Which is why I say for one fellow who might have been wanting to use me, I’ve had a dozen who wanted to help me.

I think how men view women is shaped a lot by how women view themselves. If you dress like a sex symbol, don’t BS me that you view yourself any differently. If you dress like a princess, you think of yourself as a princess.

You cannot give off mixed signals and expect to be treated with consideration. Most men will not try anything on a girl they can plainly see wouldn’t go for it. Those who will are the reason we need good men around us.

And that is that.

That’s all I’ve got to say about it, until next time–Natasha.

Attempted Pick up at the Bus Stop.

College and life have a way of intertwining.

I had the most bizarre thing happen to me yesterday, as you know i take the bus to school most days, and so far nothing really strange has happened to me. But yesterday it was finally my turn to get the weirdo-trying- to-pick-up-a-chick experience.

I don’t do face reveals for safety reasons on this blog, so you’ll have to take my word for it that I’m a pretty attractive young woman, but I do not look like the type of person who’s an easy pick up. In fact up till now, I’ve never been asked out or really flirted with (as far as i could tell at the time anyway.)

And I can’t be particularly flattered by this fellow, since he tried the same line on me that I heard him use on a more abrupt girl in the other seat.

I’ve been around homeless people enough times to spot the type. Maybe you know it, they seem lucid and aware of their surroundings, but they aren’t quite all there. I’m sure it’s because a lot of them are on drugs, but there’s still a difference between them and other addicts. Maybe it’s the loss of regular human contact.

This fellow was just a little out of it, so I decided rather then immediately tell him to buzz off, I would do it easily. Anyway it was a public place and there wasn’t much he could do.

After a lot of flattery, and some strangely deep life advice, he came to the point rather subtly by saying he’d like to visit me.

That was when I tactfully told him that I don’t get picked up by guys I just met.–Not adding “Besides, you’re homeless, probably a smoker (I could smell cigarettes), and a little loopy.”

I guess he’s not in it for the long haul because he rather disappointedly got up and bid farewell pretty abruptly. SO much for liking girls for their mind.

I could have freaked out over this, but I figured I was pretty safe since he didn’t get on the bus with me, so I just thought it was funny. Every woman goes through this at one point, at least if you use public transportation and are fairly easy to look at. (Even if you aren’t I’m not sure it makes a difference with some predators.)

But what made the whole thing wierder was I heard someone at my school talking about what sounded like a similar incident, and I wondered if she was at the bus stop too.

Then to top it off, in my English/ junior critical thinking class we got on the subject of men and women, and how women dress, and how women don’t feel safe on campus. And also how men have tried to keep women down for centuries.

And I rolled my eyes.

I get that sexism is and was a huge problem even in America, but from where I stand, it is just stupid for an American, or even Western European woman to complain about it.

Maybe we have a few difficulties (a fact I would put up for debate still) but we have nothing to complain about. We have no reason to rail against men in general just because some of them are jerks.

I get that women have been burned a lot, unfortunately, I also think that woman burn each other plenty of the time. And behind every overbearing man there was a woman who at some point refused to stand up to him, don’t tell me any man is born a bully and a sexist anymore than any girl is, they have to learn it. And Women, mothers especially, have some responsibility for that.

Some of the men I know who seem to have a prejudice against females had unstable mothers, sisters, girlfriends, wives, or other women who scarred them.

I don’t say that any rapist or abuser gets a pass just because he had a bad mother, but I do say he could have been taught differently at some point, though often fathers are more to blame then mothers for that.

Blaming men alone for how women have been treated is kind of stupid, every time there is an oppressor, it is because the oppressed let it happen. Yes, there can be force involved, but force can never contain intellect or heart forever, unless they allow it to.

Which is great, because it means women have some say in how they are treated. Imagine that!

Using my bus stop experience, I could either say that men are predators, and if I were a man it would never have happened.

Well maybe it wouldn’t have happened with that guy in particular, but nowadays men aren’t really any safer then women when it comes to these sorts of things. I can blame men for this, maybe with some justification, they are a big part of the problem.

Or I can be real.

For this one guy who was a weirdo, I’ve had many men treat me with respect, even if without interest. I have had the pleasure of knowing some guys actually like talking to me for my personality, and not my appearance, and I also know that they still appreciate my appearance. Which is fine by me. Am I going to pretend I don’t like a nice looking man? No. That would be stupid.

I don’t need a man to give me permission to play on their field, because I never think about it. If I want to do something, and it’s fitting, and I’m able, then I’m going to do it, I don’t care what they think. And they don’t seem interested in judging me for it. I’ve fought boys before in good fun, I never heard that “but you’re a girl line.” And if I did, I’d probably crush them.

As I say to my sister, I can like sparkles and swords at the same time, I’ll put sparkles on my sword if I want. (not really, it would be impractical, but if I wanted to I would) I’ll wear a tiara with my armor, and I’ll watch superhero movies and chick flicks if I want to.

Not because I have something to prove; but because that’s me. I like being a girl, I don’t think it limits what I have to like or dislike. From make-up to machetes, I can have an interest.

I like boys too, not just from a romantic perspective, but as people. I get something from their company I never get from girls, I never will.

Excuse me if I’m not afraid of men. I’m not naive, I know some of them are bad. So what? Some women are bad too, and I’ve probably had more negative experiences with them then with men.

This is the kind of thinking that scares my dad, because he worries about me. But it’s a waste of time. you cannot guarantee someone a life free from uncomfortable or even dangerous situations, all you can do is prepare them for it.

And I feel fairly well prepared.

Until nest time–Natasha.

The problem with authority.

Here’s one of the main problems I have always had with authority:

Should I question it?

And if I were to expand that, I would add, should I view myself as inferior to authority.

Let;s start with the highest authority in my life, God Himself.

The Bible tells us to talk to God as we would to our father, or our friend, which is pretty humble on God’s part, and surprisingly hard for us to do. If we believe in God at all, then it’s daunting for most adults to think about addressing Him, especially as a friend. That’s why religious jargon is so common in all types of religions.

Just because I can talk to God as my (almost) equal does not make Him my equal. That’s the truth. But God has no interest in creating distance between us and Himself, so He allows for that equal kind of communication.

Language, by the way, is the best equalizer between people, especially for those in authority, we’ve all known the frustration of someone talking over our heads and then talking down to us in a condescending way.

God’s authoriyt is untouchable, so clearly He is my superioer. I hav eno problem with that, He doesn’t rub it in.

But any other authorities in my life are going to be human. Since I dont’ belive Animals to be above me, and the Bible says that even angels are not higher in authority. (Make what you will of that, it’s a whole other post.)

And the problem with humans is that they make frequent mistakes.

Knowing this, and being by nature a bit of a smart alec, I have always been unsure about authoiryt. I didn’t wonder aobut it when I was very young and would call my teachers out on inconcistities in whtat they wee saying when held up agaisnt my NLT Bible. And yes, hat was in Sunday School (I’m not giving you non church goers much confidence in the institution am I? It’s really not so bad as that, I’ve been to much more accurate churches since then.)

When I was under some family friends instruction, this attidtude I had became a problem. I’m sharing this becuase I figure I’m not the only one.

And it’s important even for people in authority to think about this because  I’ve had my teachers be just as confused as me over the nature of our relationship.

My Youth Group Leader used to tell me not to answer every single question, because the other kids wouldn’t even try since they knew I’d answer. I thought maybe he had a point, so I attempted to hold back. (It wasn’t fair though, because in youth they ask you “who knows…?” and it would be dishonest not to raise my hand, wouldn’t it? It’s a honest question, right?)

“Someone other than (insert my name)?” My leader would ask despairingly as the rest of the group looked blankly at them.

Nope. Only me.

I began to get really frustrated with this. Often the leader didn’t know the answer either. Until they looked it up. If I knew, why couldn’t I say?

Why did I have to play dumb for the sake of everyone else?

This came up when those family friend’s tried to teach me also. Whenever I caught on, I would be impatient and interrupt them. Which bugged them. Sometimes I jokingly said “Not the way we do it,” when referring to a lesson that compared to a household function (like cooking.)

I shouldn’t have been rude, but at the time I had no inkling that my jokes were being perceived as disrespectful. I just wanted to be funny.

And that’s when it came up again, my teachers, or just adults in general, seemed to think I owed them greater consideration just because they were older than me. I didn’t have the same freedom with them as I did with my family.

And if they did something wrong, I had to be careful about saying so. Often, I couldn’t say so without offending them.

Once I talked to a whole group of adults about how stupid I thought their arguement with this other group had been. I thought, (and my dad hadn encouraged me in this)that I had as much right as anyone to point this out; but they ended up very offended over it.

Looking back, I think I was right. It was stupid. And I also think a kid has just as much right to point that out as anyone else, sometimes kids are the only ones without an agenda.

I now know that that stuff doesn’t fly with many people. I would say one of the main reasons is, we (because I am an adult now) are insecure.

I’ve caught myself getting annoyed with kids for doing the same things I used to do, and I feel guilty, because I know the kids are right. And I’m wrong. But I don’t want to admit that to them because I don’t have to.

And there’s the rub. People prefer not to admit they are wrong anyway, but most of us who are healthy will admit it to our peers and our superiors, but precious few will admit it to kids. Because kids can’t make us do it.

Kids would, if they could, they are pretty straightforward about their sense of justice. Bless their hearts. IF they had control, we’d all be more honest…and probably in more danger. I am not suggesting we always give in to kids and their sense of right and wrong, kids are apt to be one sided too.

But I do think we need to remember that as far as morality goes, kids are often superior to us. They may lack the social skills we’ve invented in order to not offend each other when we notice something’s wrong, kids don’t have that, they can chafe our hide with their bluntness; but they’re still right.

And adults who are like kids in this respect are usually disliked by many people for their blunt honesty, the wise know they should be listened to.

I don’t know where I fall in this category anymore. I’ve bitten my tongue for many years, and only now are people starting to encourage me to un-bite it. I’m finding some people can accept my more difficult qualities.

But people like me, and I know you bloggers are like this or you wouldn’t use the freedom of the internet to express ideas you have no audience for in your social circles, we aren’t encouraged a lot in this world.

So, here’s to all of you who blurt out the truth and step on toes and challenge authority, and can’t seem to help it, there is a reason we desperately need you.

Until next time–Natasha.