Monday, February 28, 2011

Sec Def Brief

It's so nice to get a chance to take a breath and write without worrying about all the things I really should be doing.  Finally a Friday where I'm not running out the door.  Finally I'm relieved to be sitting here, well-rested, with a pretty motivated feeling running through my frame and through my fingers tapping away for you, Reader.

The Secretary of Defense briefed us today and I cannot really relay his speech very well because I was more than a little distracted by a thesis meeting I had today with my advisor.  I was one page short of what she expected from me two weeks ago, and I'm late emailing two professors who offered to look it over which is really very kind of them and I should follow up as soon as possible.  There are so many people I should call or interview, but I need this research portion to be a polished thing.  This is the first time I really want to take pride in my work... which sounds funny but I mean before this project all I've ever wanted is to churn out good work without really caring what anyone read into it.  Now I cannot let my paper be misunderstood... I cannot let the message be drowned out.  I have to strike the right chord between challenging, edgy, and measured.

Sorry for the short post, but had to get dinner and nothing to add until the 100th night dinner.

(posted late, but written Friday)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Had it to Here

I realized today that guys can be crummy (or wonderful) whether they like you or not.  And sometimes in a place like the one I'm in you try to overlook how bad a guy can make you feel and that's not the right answer.  Just because he is the majority and you don't want to rock the boat doesn't justify his actions towards you.  And so many guys harbor this unsettling and low on the radar hostility for women because there seems to be the unspoken fear that women have the upper hand here.  And that doesn't make this place unique, there are all sorts of male-dominated fields where being a woman can subject you to "tokenism" meaning that, due to the low representation you have in field, how you perform goes under the knife and everyone dissects it peeling back layers and over analyzing the consequences of your actions.  It's enough to make any woman a little stressful.  It's enough to make a woman want to mitigate the magnification of her mistakes.

I don't mean to sound bitter or disgruntled.  But even when one tries to make me see the bright side, don't tell me I should be quietly and overwhelmingly “grateful” for a country that historically grudgingly paid for the education of my kind -- women -- at the best institution in the world (because originally it was argued that women shouldn’t be allowed into west point because a majority of west point graduates went combat arms and that wasn’t for women anyway so it wasn’t “necessary” for women to be at west point).  They will let me die for my country but will dictate to me how I should go about training up to avoid such death since after all it was MacArthur who said, "You don't win wars by dying for your country you win wars by making the other son of a bitch die for his"  The Army with it's brass ceiling… and if I ever reach high ranks you think people won't malign my name?

America is highly advanced… but ignoring her flaws out of patriotism isn't the right thing to do.

But all this annoyed talk isn't the vent of a jaded young woman, rather this is the talk of a revolutionary.  I am open and ready for rejection.  I carry on.  Our story, the story of women in the military wouldn't be as interesting if we were given every advantage in the field.  In fact sometimes I am exhilarated by the fact that every compliment and acknowledgment I get in this job is hard-earned against the odds in many ways.  If there ever was a challenging situation to tackle, this would be it.  And I love challenges, hell all the women who stay in these tough and difficult situations must be gluttons for punishment!  Women are the unsung heroes of the world, and the unwept for casualties.  I recently read about misandry... the opposite of misogyny... history, the present-day, and the numbers easily reveal that the idea of man-hating while it surely exists isn't the norm.  It's just a shame when a woman hems in her fellow-woman to protect her male counterpart.  If you are free to be a housewife without limitation, and I bar you no ill will, than let me pursue my goals as a full citizen of this Nation.

Monday, February 14, 2011


I wrote this as a response to a very pessimistic statement I read online and I still stand by it:

People is a broad category, and while it's okay to be frustrated with people it shouldn't make you categorize everybody one way or another. Because you're "people" too. So not everyone sees things black and white and that they are on the ...right side fighting against an undefined evil. A lot of people question themselves, or their country if they are serving their nation in a government job for example. In spite of the many far-leaning folks on either side, there are many moderates who in spite of biased news, a bad economy, and a costly war, make decisions with the best logic they can which is in the end fallible because we're all human. We're all "people".
That's all I have tonight, more posts in the near future.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Citadel & Shannon Faulkner

She has her own less than a half a page entry on Wikipedia.  When this woman was a girl, she fought in court for the right to be admitted to The Citadel, an all-male state-supported Military Academy in South Carolina.  The state carelessly gave her exactly what she wanted in 1995 without regard for success of the operation or the social era.  She essentially quit within 4 hours and the cadets celebrated with catchy phrases such as, "Save the Males."  Congratulations, gentleman.  Even though in 1996 they had to let women in anyway... the Citadel has lagged behind the other Academies in terms of female integration.

However looking at the case... every so often there must be some male who isn't fit for the Citadel who quits in less than an hour (we do after all have prospective cadets quit within the half hour at West Point, and usually there is a cheer as the first person to figure out this is not their route quits... but there is not usually a derogatory statement made about that person)... and no one will remember that failure.  No one will remember why he did not become a cadet at the Citadel because he did not have to challenge a system, an academy, a state, or cherished tradition in order to be allowed his chance to show up and fail utterly.

So Shannon Faulkner quit and ended up becoming a middle school teacher according to Wikipedia, and is still a source of mockery and a target of sexist ridicule in South Carolina... but why?  All she did was show up... all she did was ask: why not?  And it wasn't for her... but the same men who will admire the quote by Theodore Roosevelt about the man in the arena, don't realize she was the one in the arena.  For all their bravado... the men  really shouldn't have cheered at all because that only showed how petty they were... and as was pointed out to me by someone else, the greatest leaders are not the overt sexists.  A man who is so insecure he cannot stand the thought of a woman co-existing with him in the workplace, a boy really who is too childish to let anyone in his "boys" club and who throws a fit when the door is opened to women... he isn't really the type of leader I care for, but I wouldn't generalize on all of mankind for his foolishness or his "cold and timid soul".

Theodore Roosevelt's Man in the Arena Quote:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Back into the Fray!

There's so much more to do, and tomorrow and the next days are truly busy.  Currently I'm taking on the tasks of being the grappling coach in my company, a section leader (so seven subordinates), and a firstie (senior) at this interesting institution.  It's not every day that I feel inspired, and I'm sure you can tell from the lenth of time between posts, but today is one of those days.  Listening to Blue Lips by Regina Spektor, for some reason the tune lifts my spirits.

Individually, I'm trying to stay pumped since the brigade open wrestling tournament of 2011.  My weight class - 135lb, the lightest weight class and 10lb heaver than I am - was rumored to be stacked.  I lost twice, and it was a little emotional, but mostly because I don't know when I'll wrestle again.  I guess my passionate reaction means that it will happen one day...

I also was suppose to have hit the 25 pg mark for my thesis today and I got my 15 page draft back Tuesday.  To that end I have to read 85 pages between now and that draft, plus another intimidating document on top of that and I have to start getting hard copies of every case I reference.  I've got two drafts to burn through.  I have an assignment for Officership class, and have to take my screening forms to the Trainers at Arvin Gym again this Monday.

It's always a good thing to be this busy, and at the same time... I wish I could shut everything else off and focus on the paper for some time or that I could settle in my room with a glass of wine and a bigger desk and better lighting and bettter heating.  Basically an apartment to retreat into and work out of!  More to follow (and I've learned to dislike that phrase too!)