Category Archives: resolutions

My Un-Resolution

I don’t make resolutions, at least not New Year’s ones.  I firmly believe that we retain the right to change our lives any day of the year.

That said, I always seem to be a bit more reflective around the first of the year, original, right?  I think about the things I know I should be doing but for one reason or the other never manage to do.  Take this blog for instance: I know I have it, I know I should write in it more often, and yet I can’t quite get a handle on it.  One of the things that keeps me from blogging is this nagging voice at the back of my head tauntingly jeering “you have nothing to say.”  Much to my chagrin, I usually let it get the best of me.  But not this time.  That little mean voice can go straight to hell, or wherever mean voices go.

So I’ve un-resolved to blog at least once every week.  I may not always have insightful, witty (I will always be witty) things to say, but I have promised myself I’m going to write anyway.  My partner claims that it makes one a better writer, I think that’s something good writers tell bad writers to be nice, but what do I know?  With all that said, the first blog of the new year:

Mtv’s Buckwild

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Buckwild is the latest in a long line of Mtv reality television.  It premiered the first week of January and according to Mtv’s website, “Buckwild is an authentic comedic series following an outrageous group of childhood friends from the rural foothills of West Virginia who love to dodge grown-up responsibilities and always live life with the carefree motto, “whatever happens, happens.”  To be clear, I have not yet seen this show and my opinions are based solely off of Mtv’s commercials, their history, and broader trends within reality programming.  The first time I saw a commercial for Buckwild I thought, “so it’s The Real World: Appalachia.”  The commercials stress the rural dynamic almost to the point of caricature.  The show’s participants are shown using the bed of a pick-up truck as a swimming pool, wrestling in mud, and speaking in almost unintelligible accents (indeed I’ve been told the show actually provides subtitles for some of its participants).  The argument could be made that teenagers/young twenty-somethings across the country are engaging in things like mud wrestling, pick-up truck swimming and such activities are not specific to, or reflective of, rural West Virginians.  My issue is not that Mtv is documenting the “authentic” experiences of this group of friends, but rather that it seeks to do so in a way that will serve to perpetuate classism and Othering.

Again, these are just the insights I’ve gleaned from the commercials, but it certainly does not feel as though Mtv is trying to present these people and their communities as relatable, quite the opposite, I’m afraid.  In one thirty second commercial Mtv has managed to reify almost every stereotype Americans have about rural Appalachia and its inhabitants.  Mainly, that they are regressive, unintelligent, poor, and almost alien in speech and mannerisms.

There is the chance that I am completely wrong and Mtv’s Buckwild will prove an insightful and progressive allegory about overcoming stereotypes and classism.  Though I highly doubt it, I guess I’ll have to watch.

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The Start of a New Year

Another year.  Another wave of resolutions that probably won’t be kept.  Everyone wants to lose 20lbs, go on more dates, make more money and so forth and so forth.  I don’t believe in resolutions, rather I don’t believe in the cliche’ hype of making resolutions.  I do believe in setting goals, trying to be a better person than you were last year.  And since this is my blog, I get to indulge my goals for 2012.

 

Reconnect

This is a big one for me.  Those who know me know I often joke about having “10 people in the world that I love”, and while I am very content with my small group of friends, I am keenly aware that I have lost contact with a handful of really amazing people.  Some I’ve known since I was young, since high school and some I met during undegrad, and unfortunately I have the bad habit of losing contact the moment I move out of town.  I intend to rectify this situation.  It is my hope that these people still have space for me in their lives (after all they may have intentionally lost contact with me).  I’m going to try and write letters, yes actual letters, actual mail with a stamp and an envelope that gets delivered to your house by a person, not the interwebz.  In perhaps my biggest attempt to maintain these relationships, I’m going to try and get better at the telephone.  As it stands now, my relationship with aforementioned telephone is not good.  I don’t enjoy using it for anything other than ordering take out or making a doctor’s appointment.  I am not a good phone conversationalist.  But I’m going to get better, maybe I’ll take a class or have my mom make practice phone calls with me.  I’ll keep you all updated.

Get Healthier

Let me be clear: I do not mean “I want to lose 30lbs by next week so I can look awesome in a bikini” No. not the intention.  This is a two-fold goal.  I do want to elevate my physical fitness level, because I want to be amazed at what my body can do.  I want to marvel at the physical capabilities of my own body, to experience things I never thought I could do.  This has nothing to do with the number on my jeans or what the scale says.  The other part of this goal is a healthier mind. I tend to lean towards a sarcastic/cynical outlook on life.  I call it delightfully snarky.  But lately I’ve been feeling more of the snark and less of the delight, it’s easy to be bitter.  It’s easy to expect disappointment.  I intend to challenge myself to quell some of the negativity.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not looking to be Susy BrightandShiny, I’m just going to be a little less cruel where my outlook is concerned.

Return to Music

Those who know me in real life know I’ve played the oboe since I was 10, and I’ve loved every squawk, honk, goose, and other sound since I picked it up.  But this past year or so, I’ve lost touch with it and with my piano.  I let grad school and life and procrastination get in the way of what I love to do.  Now I think it’s time to get back to it, re-learn piano and sharpen my double reed skills.  Whenever I play it always relaxes me, makes me feel like I’m correct, like I belong.  In that moment when it’s just the instrument, the sheet music, and me, it’s a fantastical combination of expression.  It’s freeing, and frustrating, and amazing.

Learn to Sew

Now I can sew a little, mostly hand sewing and basic machine use.  However, my mother is a genius with fabric.  I mean brilliant- from design to construction she’s an artist, and in my 23years I’ve never taken a lesson from her.  Why?  Because I’m stubborn and didn’t always appreciate her talent.  While sewing is not nearly as economical as it used to be there’s a certain pride that comes from creating a something from a pile of paper and nothing.  Or at least I hope so.

Get Published

This will hopefully go along with getting into a PhD program, but even if that is not the case, I’m going to work my hardest to get my work out there.  I’ve been fortunate enough to present my work at many conferences all over the country, but I’ve never taken the next step and revised that work for publication.  Maybe because of time, maybe because I hate the editing process.  Either way, I’m determined to get my work into a magazine, or journal, or something.

Make It Count

I realize this is an abstract goal, and one that can easily be dismissed as a soundbite, but I assure you it’s more than that to me.  I’m a busy person, chaotic, even.  So I tend to rush through things, “savor” is not a word I often employ.  But I would like to change that this year, and really have the presence of mind to appreciate the moment that’s unfolding, big or small.

 

 

Of course there are many  more things I hope to do this year, and I’ll keep you updated on my goals.  I would encourage others to really assess the lives they are living, and if something isn’t right, doesn’t feel the way it should, to change it.  We are so often caught in the cycle of complacency that we forget how powerful we are when it comes to adjusting our lived experiences.  Someone once told me “wake up each morning and be the person you wanted to be yesterday”. So let’s do it.

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