Friday, March 21, 2008

Peeking out at the world

I am in Colorado visiting my sister. As I sat waiting in the doctor's office for her this afternoon, I read a book and people watched. The receptionists were perhaps the friendliest women ever, I think that people here are way nicer than back home in Chicago. I still would never leave there, but people are so happy and friendly here. A family walked in, 2 kids and 2 parents. The wife was wearing a full on burqua. I am not sure how to spell that, but the full covering only eyes showing. I had a sharp reaction to seeing this woman, and was actually surprised at my feelings of anger and confusion. As they walked in the door the husband took the baby and walked to the counter and announced their arrival and signed in as the wife walked to the back corner of the waiting room with the young daughter and sat. THe only thing I could see were her eyes, through slits cut into the black cloth covering her head to toe. I smiled at her and her eyes crinkled in the corners and I believe she smiled back. Have I never seen a woman in complete cover like that before? I guess not. I have seen plenty of women in hijab (just head scarf) and dont look twice or feel pained for them but I was disturbed by this today. I have no right to make assertions that anyone is forcing her to dress in this manner, it could just as well be a personal choice of hers that she enjoyed. But why? Why would a woman need to be covered so completely, no anything showing? I am not an idiot. I have read several books and watched several documentaries on women in middle eastern countries and the issue of covering but never had I seen a woman so near to me so hidden. The husband seemed friendly and smiled at me, I always dress modestly and not excitingly(today jeans, barack my world sweatshirt, gym shoes) but I wondered what they thought of me and my attire. Did they care? We were the only ones in the waiting room at this point and I smiled at their daughter as we both looked at the enormous fish tanks and vibrantly colored fish. I just have to say it, What is the matter with the woman that she needed to be so completely covered up? How is this pleasing to any god or God? I believe in being modest, and not letting it all just hang out but in this situation I just saw fear. Fear of women, fear of losing their attention, fear of ideas of lust? I am still surprised at my reaction, i guess having read so much about this and studied other cultures I didn't realize the weight or how this would be or affect me. I am wondering how this could be a good thing for anyone? This is such a sensitive subject and people say all the time that you should respect other's traditions and cultures but that cultural identifier is not one of Christ or love or peace. I feel bothered, and burdened.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Sarah MaryCatherine Murphy celebrates St. Patrick's Day with a blog.

Today is St. Patrick's day. Not many people know he was responsible for bringing Catholicism to Ireland. My grandma's family is from Country Cork just west of the St. Patrick's bridge. SO today before I left the house my grandma made me go change because I had no green on.She said, "I thought you were proud to be Irish?" I said "I am but how does wearing green fit into that?" So now I have a green shirt on and a green scarf. I made my friend Mariko and my boyfriend wear a green shamrock sticker. My grandma has a green shirt on, green pins and she bobby pinned green shamrock's into her hair. CUte. I went to pick up my boyfriend from work today which in Wrigleyville. I saw a bunch of white people being idiots and being drunk at 2 pm. I mean people wearing the flag of Ireland, huge guiness hats, shirts that request sexual favors on account of the irishness of the wearer( %^$#!** me I am Irish), and scantily green clad girls running around in the cold weather and lots of other stupid pseudo Irish attire. OK. So I just want to point out that they DO NOT even celebrate St. Patrick's day in Ireland. I am willing to bet ten dollars (enough for 2 or 3 specially prices Guinesses) that St. Patrick is not thrilled with this American legacy of getting so hammered you puke up green stuff all over Chicago. And i saw some people I am pretty sure were not Irish decked out head to toe in green. My boyfriend, who is not Irish, was confused as to why we in America and Chicago especially, freak out so much about St. Patrick's day and everyone gets hammered. I really had no explanation. I mean, i am super Irish and I have Irishy attributes like I have green eyes and right now my hair is redish (thanks Clairol) and I can knock back a few like it is my job (I don't anymore, Jesus asked me to stop). And it's true that Irish women are super duper fiesty, I will concede to that. Most of the times my family parties include alcohol and we fight alot. Lots of the male members of my family were firemen and policemen. My grandma used to dye the mashed potatoes green on St. Patrick's day when we were little. But I mean, that's about it. My gma's house has Irishy things like a blanket with a shamrock and an Irish prayer hanging but we are basically just white.SO was everyone else we say whooping it up downtown on March 17th. The oppression the Irish immigrants felt do not really have any lingering affects today. Check out this link and see today's post. This website makes me laugh out loud everyday. I especially love the angry posts they get calling them racist. Good fun for all.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Blasts from the Past

My mom came over tonight. She helped me finish rearrange my little living space. It is so great, this configuration she came up. I just needed a fresh pair of eyes to scope out the best layout. I needed a change, and I feel refreshed. I created an office of sorts and I think it will help me to have a place to focus on business, the business of school. So she came bearing an enormous box of my stuff. Apparently, it has been cluttering up her house since I moved out 9 years ago! I sat down tonight and looked over everything and threw most of it out. It was correspondence from family and friends when I lived in Florida, multiple journals from my life, and miscellaneous stuff of all sorts. I was sad and disturbed to read over my journals and see the ridiculousness of my life. Depression, anxiety and lots of wasted time pining over relationships gone astray. It pained me to remember those lost times. Several times in my journals I asked God where He was in all this pain and sadness. I struggled with severe depression until about 5 years ago. I am still struck with anxiety but have a much better handle on everything. It's hard to see how I struggled so much to get where I am and my heart feels heavy tonight. Why didn't I understand about God earlier and how might that have changed my life? I was such a mess and maybe that is why at 28 I am years behind other people my age. Do i regret my decisions? I always use to pride myself on living no regrets and being tough as nails but reflecting on my most private, unabashed moments and seeing the deep conflict in my heart I wonder? I did find this cute poem I wrote in 4th grade though:
I am a rainbow.
I can make others happy
Just as a rainbow has many different shades and hues,
I have many different feelings and ideas.
A rainbow reflects goodness and happiness and so can I.
A rainbow is pure and independent.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

I said Dude.

I am currently suffering through finals week of the winter quarter. I had to take this seminar class on multiculturalism in America and it was pretty awful. Not organized, the teacher was a wussy and let these arrogant theatre kids basically run the class. At Depaul, it being a private institution you get alot of suburban rich kids raised by these new age liberal parents who send them to Chicago so they can learn about the real world. It's alot of pretension, sometimes more than I can handle gracefully. On the other hand, it being a private institution I am getting an excellent education with lots of grants and aid for which I am seriously and completely grateful and humbled by. Anyway, my rant here is concerning the last day of this meandering troublesomely disorganized class and the straw that broke my tolerance camel's back. I was late for class. My cousin called from Colorado as I was walking out the door for class and I was super excited to talk to her. SO I was late and the only seat was by the two theatre guys in the class that I usually avoid like they are on fire. The final class we just sat around and talked about misconceptions of everything in the world and on and on. In the class is this conservative minded guy from Russia. He probaly has only been here for a quarter of his life. He somehow made a statement that homosexuals and intravenous drug users are the most likely to get AIDS. That was what he said, basically those two populations are the most likely to contract AIDS. Theatre kid 1 (who is from Portland and his mom is a lesbian and he had 2 mommies, he tells us every chance he gets which was like everyday in class) almost wets his corduroy pants. He screams out in frustration, "My mom did not create AIDS!!!!" I leaned forward ( because he was sitting across from me) and just said "DUDE! seriously?" I recoiled in horror. Not from this ridiculously unnecesary reaction he was having, but because I said the word DUDE. ew. where did that come from? Anyway, theatre kid 1 went on to plague us with his beliefs that gay people are not doing anything wrong and they are not more likey to contract AIDS than anyone else. Theatre kid 2 patted him on the back and was like "it's ok calm down." Theatre kid 1, while raking his super-messy-I-just-got out-of-bed-at-2-pm-right-before-this-class hair in frustration, responds "Dude, no, I mean, Dude, thats my family, dude. For real. Its not like this in Portland. People there know my mom did not create AIDS." I felt the need to point out that Igor, my Russian comrade, did not suggest HIS mother or anyone's mother CREATED AIDS. He merely said that homosexuals are more prone to contracting the virus. Now I dont give a hole in a chocolate covered donut if, in fact, homosexuals are more at risk to contract it or not, Don't have sex and if you do then use protection, but I wanted to throttle theatre kid number 1 for making a huge scene and being what I felt was way to oversensitive for like the 90th time in this quarter. I was actually too tired from staying up all night writing my final 10 page paper on the Ethnic Myth to reach across the table and smack some sense into him so I just stared at him. My friend Loressa, however, was not tired apparently. She turned to him and said, "He (meaning IGor) was not making it personal, calm down, he just doesn't know." Theatre kid 1 turned to Loressa, who is Black, and said 'What if I said all Blacks are bad? Or all Blacks should be oppressed?" Wow. Whiggity what? Now I leaned forward and said, "Shut the front door, no you did not just say that to her." She said "Why you gotta go there?" and then she turned away. I was speechless.

Theatre kid 1 and I have a bit of a history in that class. One day he was going on and on about foreign labor and the poor workers and outsourcing when I noticed something. SO I raised my hand and asked if he felt so strongly about that and we had to listen to him for like 10 plus minutes interrupt class, why was he wearing Nike's? He got super pissed and said we all patronize the evil corporation. I said yes and maybe we all feel bad about it too but we aren't yelling in class for ten minutes about it when the topic was the immigrant experience of Chinese Americans. Another day he was treating us to a super special glimpse into something about the government being evil and as a people we need to join together and I probaly agreed with him but he just kept going. I mean he is so passionate about EVERYTHING its like we all just stopped listening after awhile. So I asked him why if he is soo passionate about all this change and need for human aid why is majoring in theatre? He could have punched me in the face if he wasn't half my size and knew I could snap him like twig. He said, "theatre is a medium that changes the world the most." I said I think Jesus is.

SO... yesterday we had to peer grade each others final papers. Guess who got mine? He wouldn't tell me what he gave me but he put a sad face on it. Excellent. Can't wait to find out after the teacher reviews it. I feel better now. Dude.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

I can see clearly now

My uncle died today. Actually, it is my Grandma's brother so my great uncle, Uncle Harry died this morning.

In June, my grandpa will be gone five years. I love him immensely. More than any other man, he raised me as his own in the absence of my father. His birthday is tomorrow, March 6th. My gma and gpa were married for 57 years. She misses him everyday, and we talk about it often.

THis week with the loss of her brother and the bday of her deceased husband and best friend looming, we had alot of talks and reminiscing. She told me a story that was so amazing I have to share.

My grandpa was losing his eyesight slowly but surely. Cataracts/glaucoma and age was just wearing down his vision at a rapid rate. He visited many doctors and my gma administered medicated eye drops daily. My gma was saddened by his failing eye sight and wanted to do something to help. She sought medical advice and was assured it could be done, then approached my gpa. "I want to give you one of my eyes," she told my gpa. He wouldn't hear of it. She went on to explain, "You are my navigator in life, you help me find my way. IF you can't see and lead us, then we are both lost." He refused and the matter was eventually dropped. SHe would have gone through the rest of life with one eye, so my gpa could have sight.

Is there a more obvious example of love (aside from Jesus dying for us)? She had 2, he would have none so why not share with him? She is an amazing little lady that i can learn alot more from about giving of myself. I think we all could.