Saturday, February 28, 2015

In Which Jadi Rants about Mississippi

My county has no bookstore.  Sometimes, I am utterly convinced half the county is illiterate.  I went to high school with people who could barely read.

It’s annoying to be in in tenth grade, listening to a classmate read, who doesn’t recognize words I would think should be relatively easy.

It’s downright depressing to be sitting in an upper level college literature class with the same problem.  Granted, not everyone in a college lit class is a guaranteed English major, but still…

So, I have to go 20-30 miles either north or south to get to the nearest bookstore.  We have some secondhand places, though. Only one of which has a good selection of books.  The WalMart book aisle is a joke.  Sometimes I find some gems at the Dollar General.  Rarely, but it has been known to happen.

Mississippi is the worst in everything.  Poorest, fattest, poorest healthcare, poorest, worst education, highest teen pregnancy and I think even the highest STD rate.  Worst education.  (yes, I am well aware I listed some twice)

They had common core.  Say what you will about it, but given that Mississippi cuts the education funding every time they have to cut somewhere, and common core would’ve meant more money for that, and Mississippi’s at the bottom of the totem pole in education…

Stupidity breeds stupidity.  And Mississippi is the worst in everything, or has the highest percentages of the bad things.

But this isn’t about how crappy my state is.  Well, I’m not technically from here.  I was born, and my family originates, in Louisiana.  And yes, it kind of is.  I'm aggravated tonight, and writing is kind of the only thing I feel like doing.

I was picked on for being smart.  For reading in middle and high school.

I would finish my work and want to pull out my book and read.  I had a teacher tell me he was sick of me not working ahead and made me write definitions on two separate occasions.  Same teacher took my book away once.  Bastard.  So I had a notebook and wrote after I was done.  If he didn’t see a book, just saw me writing, he left me alone.  I might have even kept my textbook out.

My best friend had similar experiences.  Not with that teacher, but with a substitute teacher.

No, no, reading isn’t important.  Like hell.

My little brother’s teacher encourages them to read and keep a journal.  I’m glad.  Maybe they’ll be kids who think.  Maybe they’ll get out of the county, or make the county a better place.

People need to read, even if it’s just a book or two a year.  Even if it takes the whole year to get through the damn book.  I can’t judge anyone who reads a book that slowly.  It took me all of last year to through The Hobbit.

More importantly, if someone wants to read, how dare any teacher discipline her for that?  I was done with my work.  I was already ahead of everyone, and he expected me to move even farther ahead?  Hell no.

I wasn’t talking.  I wasn’t disturbing the other students.  I was reading.

I’m really against dumb laws, but there should be something protecting smart students from the likes of teachers like that.

I should have told my mom.

Well, I should have told my mom when it happened.

My mom is scary, okay?  She would’ve never tolerated that if she’d known.  And she would’ve raised hell for it.

I have a good mom.

Getting back on topic, however, things need to change.  It’s like Ray Bradbury said, “You don’t need to burn books to destroy a culture.  You just have to get people to stop reading them.”

And sometimes I feel like there is absolutely no culture here.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

It's That Time of Year Again

I came into work today to find some of the Easter stuff out.  Christmas is over, Valentine's came and went, and now the next commercialized holiday on the docket is my personal favorite.  Yippee.

I have a lot of mixed feelings about this.  I've been having a lot of mixed feelings about God in general lately.  This has been going on for a while now.  Perhaps even for years.

This time, except for what I've said here, I haven't shared my thoughts or feelings on the matter.  I really don't like being preached to.  "Just a season.  You need to pray more."  I've heard it all.

I like studying every mythology but my own.  The thing about this, however, is that often I see connections and similarities between "theirs" and "ours."

"Something.  Happened."*  Over time, the stories changed and spread.  So now you have a bunch of world mythologies with similar stories.

What makes Christianity so special?  Because it says it is?

Because I can't just accept that.  It's Insurance Policy religion.  Christianity (and a lot of its denominations within) is one of the few to say it's the only way.  A lot of other religions don't care how you get there.

The Bible says don't know too much about the wickedness in the world.  Does that include other religions?  Is that so we don't see the similarities and begin this doubting I'm going through now?

I don't like that notion.  One of the historical eras we learned about, I don't remember which one, had a mindset that if God gave us a brain, the ability to reason, we should use it.

But then, wasn't that what got Eve?  The fruit was knowledge of good and evil.  Yeah, yeah, it was disobedience, but the fruit itself gives me pause.  He didn't want them to have knowledge.

Am I wrong to have questions?  Am I wrong to like learning, to like knowledge?  I think I'd rather a religion--better yet, a spirituality--that doesn't create a bunch of ignorant followers.

And we all know how Christians are at the bottom of the totem pole for intelligence.  Not all of them.  Plenty of great minds have been Christians or at least deists.  In the yesteryears.

You understand my confusion, don't you?  I don't know if there's anyone I can go to about it, because I'm always dismissed out of hand.  

I don't have a problem believing in God.  Perhaps I have a tough time believing in what the Bible says about God.

The Bible, inspired by God or not, was still written by people.  Fallible people.  But this book written by fallible people is still supposed to be infallible.

I've also read somewhere that God is bigger than the Bible.  Thank God.

I would like to think God's okay with someone who has questions, looks for answers, turns the idea over in her mind, and comes back to the mindset she had previously. Or comes to the answer she's looking for, whatever that might be.

But I've been wrong before.

I'm still looking forward to Easter.  I mean to get my chocolate bunnies and make my brother and godchildren their Easter baskets.  I'll probably have an Easter post, hopefully.  As I said last year, the show must go on.  It might not be the greatest, but it'll be honest.

*Why yes, I did take that from Stephen King's Revival.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Free of the Frames

I still try to push my glasses up my nose, even though I don't wear them anymore.

I can't blow my tea and watch them fog up anymore.

I still want to take them off at night, and reach for them when I wake up.

I don't recognize the person staring back at me in the mirror anymore.

I want to scratch under my eyes and still expect to meet plastic frames.

Yes, I wanted surgery.  No, I do not regret it.  I can see.  I can see in the freaking shower now.

But you have to understand something:  my glasses were as part of my identity as anything else.  I feel really weird now, though, because I love people with glasses, think guys with glasses are cute....

But I'm not wearing them anymore.  It's weird, and I feel kind of hypocritical.  If I liked them so much, why did I get rid of them?

They were a handicap.  Well, the glasses weren't my handicap.  My crappy vision was my handicap.  The glasses were just the crutch.

I had my first week post-op today.  Each eye on its own is about 20/25.  Together, they are about 20/20.  I'm certain there's some sensible explanation for that, but I can't tell you what it would be.  Stronger together than apart, I guess.  My eyes are still a little blurry when I wake up, and when I'm tired.  That, I think, is why I still reach for glasses or want to take them off.

It's weird.  I can see without glasses.  I don't need glasses.  I am free of the frames.

When I got my last set, the lady said they had someone get LASIK but she felt naked without them, so she had them make her a pair of falsies.

Honestly, my big thing, although this hasn't happened yet, is sunglasses.  I love big sunglasses.  I've never been able to wear them.  I want those big, diva-ish sunglasses that cover half my face.  And now I can finally get them.  I can go to the beach and not have to worry about my glasses or being able to swim.

That's my thing this summer.  I want to swim!  I can go to an amusement park and get on the roller coasters without worrying about my glasses falling off!

I'm thinking maybe I can start wearing make-up now.  At the same time, I'm like, why start now?  I mean, it would be kind of embarrassing to have crappy make-up at 22.  I mean, by this point, I'm supposed to have mastered this...  Or I could just keep my skin clear and grow my eyelashes the natural way.

I've always been a highly adaptable person.  Darwin's finest, I think.  I'm not particularly swift or strong, but I can adapt like nobody's business.  I think after a while, I'll be fine with this.  It's just this little transitionary period that I have to survive.

I am free of the glass windows that I've had to view the world in.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

The Valentine's Day Post: Cynical Rants and Romantic Dreams

I'm single on Valentine's Day.

I know, it's such a big shocker.

As someone who's been single, been ignored by the male of the species for most of my life, and really waved off by a lot of people, called weird, whatever, I'm kinda just like:

"Screw you!"

I haven't spent so much time alone to just want to spend time with just anyone.  Forget wanting a boyfriend, I don't even think I want any more friends if they're not readers or writers or someone I can talk about BBC shows with.

But, since this is Valentine's Day:

If I ask if he likes Stephen Lawhead, and he doesn't respond by quoting Taliesin, The Skin Map, or some other romantic passage from one of his books, I don't want to date him.

If he won't geek out over the Dresden Files (or any Jim Butcher book for that matter) with me, I don't want to date him.

If he won't cuddle on the couch and watch something with me--be it Doctor Who, Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit movies, or reruns of some show on Netflix--I don't want to date him.

If he doesn't show up at my door wearing a kilt just to make my day (because I am shamelessly obsessed with guys in kilts), I don't want to date him.

If he's going to call me weird, tell me I need help, call me crazy, or anything that I've had to hear before, I don't want to date him.  

(Note:  Those would be grounds for breaking up.  Those are grounds for freaking murder.  Call me crazy, you gon see crazy!)

I'm tired of hearing those things.  I hate being called weird.  I hate being told I'm not playing with a full deck.  I hate being called crazy.  I know people don't mean it, but that doesn't mean it doesn't hurt.  Quit talking to me like there's something wrong with me.

So, yeah, I can be lonely single, or I can be lonely with the wrong person.  If I'm lonely by myself, at least I can do whatever I want.

Yeah, yeah, I want a boyfriend and husband and all that.  But I also want to get out of Mississippi one day as well.  I mean, I really really really want out.  And so there's nothing holding me back, the less entanglements, the better.

That's another thing.  Given the amount of teen pregnancy in MS, I'm glad I never dated in high school.  I don't have to be a young single mother.  I'm just a young single.  I'm graduating in May with a bachelor's.  I'm getting an education.  I can get out of this little podunk town.

I mean, Stone County wasn't a bad place to grow up, but now that I am a 20-something,  and there is no liquor store because it's a dry county, no Sally's (and I have curly hair, so this is really inconvenient), no bookstore (and I'm convinced the whole freaking town is illiterate), barely any jobs (I know I have one, but I want a better one after graduation), I REALLY DON'T WANT TO STAY HERE!

And I don't have to.  I shouldn't have to.

And of course, this is my theme song.  Don't judge me.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Eyes, I's, and Me

So, I guess I can call the surgery a success.

There were two possible procedures for me.

The surgeon approved me for iLASIK, much to my relief, because I really didn't want to pop a lens out my glasses, even if I could get a falsey lens.

The iLASIK procedure uses two lasers, one to cut a flap, and the other to actually reshape the eye.  This is a laser only procedure.  In the LASIK without the i at the beginning, they used a tiny blade to make the flap.

I had two things wrong with my eyes

1 - I was--WAS!!!!! past tense!--extremely nearsighted.  I think my optometrist said I couldn't see past 6 inches without my glasses.

2 - I had astigmatism.  

The laser corrected both of them.

During my pre-op, I got to watch a little video that explained what both of those terms meant and what my eye looked like with those dysfunctions.

But despite the fact my eyes were formed wrong, they were actually pretty healthy.  I had to have so much retinal tissue and my corneas had to be curved curved.  Otherwise, I would have had to do PRK.  The result would have been the same, but the recovery time was longer.

The flaps that the laser made for my eyes are supposed to heal almost overnight.  I still gotta wear protective goggles to sleep.

Okay, so the day of the surgery:

They had me take a Valium about 30 minutes before the procedure.  I don't think it did anything for me.  I stayed relatively calm throughout the procedure, but once those drops were in my eyes and I was on the way home...

I was climbing the walls of car, almost.  I couldn't get comfortable.  My eyes were burning...

I was in severe discomfort.  My mom dropped me off, and I slept most of the afternoon.

See, the thing about wearing glasses, being dependent upon glasses for about 11 years, is that you can do some things with little to no vision.  I managed to reach up on my headboard, turn on my TV, DVD player thingy, and turn on the Netflix.  I watched/listened to/had white noise to Friends.  I dozed off and on all afternoon.  After the first time Mom came home, I moved to the living room and kinda watched Guardians of the Galaxy.  I fell asleep somewhere between Nowhere and about the Ravager ship.

I feel naked, and not because I'm not wearing glasses.  I still feel like I have them on.  But I don't.  No, I feel naked because all my hair's pulled back in a scrunchie-type hair band.  I'm so used to wearing my hair in my face, but I can't do that with my eyes still healing.  Because my wispy always goes over my right eye.  I try to keep it to the side, but depending on how my hair behaves that day, it can go either way.  So, between that and no glasses, I feel a little weird.

BUT I CAN SEE!!!  Tomorrow is my post-op.  I think I'll know my new vision then.

The surgeon told me they couldn't get my left eye to 20/20, but he would try to get it to 20/25.  Apparently, my right eye was more cooperative.

To get corrective surgery, your prescription has to be at least -4.  Mine was -8.  So, even 20/25 is better than being blind to the point of not being able to function without glasses.

I'm walking around without glasses.  I still see halos around stuff, but it's an improvement.  I haven't had any side effects that I wasn't warned about prior.

Overall, I'm happy.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Some Updates

I got an iMac.

I don’t know what I was thinking other than, I’m not happy with any of these other computers that I’m seeing at Best Buy and if they can finance for me, well, I may as well get something I’ve been considering…

I’m also getting eye surgery.  Today was my pre-op.

My eye surgery can be one of two procedures.

PRK - which, I don’t remember what it stands for.  This is the procedure where they can’t do both eyes at the same time, and the down time between eyes is 3-5 days.  Anyway, this will not do any more damage to my retinas and corneas as opposed to

LASIK - which is a 4-minute procedure per eye, they do both eyes and it practically heals overnight.

The tech said I was on the hair trigger.  I could go either way.  The physician, not the surgeon, said my eyes were healthy.

Anyway, I find out tomorrow.

My eyes were dilated, but I had gotten my tax refund and I wanted a new computer because the Windows Vista I had gotten back in 2009 is driving me crazy.

So, I went into the Best Buy with my sunglasses on, because my eyes were dilated, and was approved for financing and I went home with an iMac.

Woo hoo, I’m in debt!  About to be in more debt!

Add that in to my student loans…

Considering I was okayed to graduate in May…

Life's been busy.

I did my first 90 hour internship stint with DHS.  I'm going to do my second stint elsewhere.


I need to still do 4 essays for my Monday night class 'cause Prof didn't assign them till the last weeks of class and they are not due till Friday.  Need to do that, need to do that.

In the immortal words of Harry Dresden, "My life, hell's bells."