Today I went to get my teeth cleaned. And the hygienist tried to make small talk with me. (I say "tried to" because I don't understand why these people think it's a good idea to talk to anyone whose mouth is obviously too busy hosting the War on Tartar to engage in conversation.) But anyway.
The hygienist (whose name is Jan) asked me what I'd like to do with my life.
Without really thinking about it, I bullshitted my way through an answer about working as an editor. If you know me, you know that that's the last thing I want to do. Been there, done that. But that's just the thing. I know it, because I've done it. I can talk intelligently about editing all day long, and those who listen to me can walk away without any doubt in their minds that I am a twenty-something has a head on her shoulders, and one hell of a future ahead of her.
But reality looks like this: While I'm not lying when I say that I'm an English major, I am omitting a major fact: I'm also a women's studies major. And the latter is where my interests lie. At this point, I'm really only an English major because when I transferred to Wayne State last year, the people who looked over my transcripts were like, "Holy shit, you have a zillion English credits. Don't drop that major. It'd be a huge waste." And they weren't kidding; I spent my first year at Wayne enrolled in a bunch of 5000-level English classes in order to finish up that aspect of my degree.
So, sorry Jan, but I lied. I want to be a feminist activist. There are a lot of issues that I care about, but anyone who knows me should be aware by now that one of my biggest passions is reproductive justice. (See that Planned Parenthood badge over there on the right side of this page? Or the NARAL badge? Yeah.) And although I won't get into the details now, suffice it to say for the moment that I've been actively pursuing a career in that field.
I want to tell people about that instead. But I don't, because you can't just make small talk about it at the dentist's office.
And it's not the inevitable "But you'll make no money!" lecture that I'm afraid of. I started out as a creative writing major, so I'm quite used to that. My problem with the way people react is that too often, they flinch. Because apparently, equality is controversial.
Let that sink in for a second. What kind of bullshit world do we live in where those who are putting their energy toward just causes have to keep their mouths shut for fear of offending people who will, in the end, benefit from these efforts?
Really, if the idea of promoting equality is too controversial to be talked about (much less acted upon), then that's solid reasoning right there for me to pursue it. Because clearly we've got a lot of work to do.
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