shy moments: freshman enlightenment

shy momentsMy first year in college was a one of the best years of my life.  I’d already lived a few different places and learned a bit about the world, but not much.  My world was actually pretty small.  Living in a dorm with girls from all over the country was cool, and going to an all women’s college was really fun.  I definitely think there are benefits – at least at that age.

There were about 25 or so of us in our dorm, and I was one of two girls that was in the habit of attending church every week.  That year held the only time I ever decided to just play hooky and stay home and watch tv.  What a horrible day.  So I learned my lesson – my faith is real, and I lose when I fail to respect it.

One girl was a bully, and found me to be her easy target – and I was.  I had girls like that in my life from the time that I was 5 until the time that I was about 17.  Mom fought the battle once, and got the 3rd grade bully kicked off the bus when I was in kindergarten (she writes letters).  After that, I was on my own.  Being shy made it harder for me to deal with bullies, and even now, I wonder at the marvel that I’ve essentially been bully free [with the exception of my current boss, who kinda fits that category] since I was a teenager.  I’ve never actually been able to do anything about them.

For whatever reason, one of my best friends, my first semester there, never told me she was a lesbian.  She ended up not coming back for 2nd semester, and my roommate filled me in, but I couldn’t believe she hadn’t told me.  I suppose she just never felt comfortable, though I’m not sure why.  There were other girls there who were out.  And I didn’t mind either way.  I feel like I remember that I was one of the few – if not the only – who didn’t know.

the only diff? Andy had more rouge. Really.

the only diff? Andy had more rouge. Really.

This was also the first time I had any kind of experience with Mary Kay.  The powers that were decided that it would be useful for us to have a Mary Kay party.  It’d be fun, and we’d learn more about personal grooming [that is…makeup].  I think at least 50% of us weren’t into it.  And then the consultant took my friend, Andy* – the one who wore ball caps and pny tails all the time – and gave her a “free makeover”.  Quelle horror! When the lady was finished, Andy looked like someone else.  At the time, I didn’t know who, because I hadn’t seen her yet.  Years later, I saw her makeup twin on The Drew Carey Show.  Andy was gracious, and moved slowly out of the room, finally making it upstairs to wash all that stuff off.  Thank God we didn’t have digital photos back then.

There was one girl in our program who was Wiccan, and at that point, I had no idea what that was.  I don’t think many of us actually did.  And she could tell.  So she invited someone to come talk to us about Wicca and what it was about.  It turned into a seminar kind of thing in our auditorium, but it was very interesting.  I remember making a point to go because I wanted to know more – I think a lot of people did.  I don’t remember the name of the woman who came, but I remember she was from the DC area, and had a Wiccan tv show on a public access channel.  The presentation included an interesting slideshow from the days before PowerPoint [how old am I?], and held all of our attention.  We learned about the first rule – do no harm or something like that.  That would be because of the rule of three.  That is, whatever you do comes back to you times three.  And she told us that they do cast spells, but they have to be good because of the rule of three.  And I think I remember her saying something about her coven casting a spell to make the Redskins win…

In the course of her talk she told us about how woman-centered Wicca is, and told us her personal story.  She told us near the beginning of her talk, actually, that she had recently been a man.  This was actually very clear [because of her figure, stance, voice, face, and myriad other signs].  She was married to a lady who was also a priestess in their coven.  Being, apparently, quite dedicated to Wicca, she told us that she aspired to be a high priestess, but was barred from doing so because she was a dude.  So she talked it over with her wife, and they agreed I guess.  She was a high priestess when she came to give the talk.

After the talk, she came back to the dorm basement and read tarot for people who were into it – I wasn’t.  Same place where the Mary Kay lady turned my friend into a clown, actually.

It was a crazy year – I missed my sister terribly, had the best baked potato I ever had, and the best strawberry shortcake, came to fear my Spanish teacher, began to curse like crazy and then had a change of heart, learned that I don’t like whole milk, rocked out to Black or White and Smells Like Teen Spirit, and watched the very first/only real season of The Real World.  Somewhere in the midst of all of that I took some classes, too.

*Name has been changed to protect the girl in the hands of the Mary Kay lady.

office gossip: religion in the workplace

There have been enough allusions about the fact that I’m a Seventh-day Adventist Christian, for folks to be picking up on that now. A conversation I had with an old co-worker last night illuminates why I feel so strongly about religious freedom in the workplace. Freedom for and freedom from.

At my last job, I worked a 12-hr swing shift:

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
        MUT-D   N
N N     MUT-D D  
D   N N N    
  D D D D  

[D=day; N=night; MUT-D=make up time-day]

Because I was unaware of the shift at the time I accepted the job [and the fact that it required work on Sabbath], I was surprised when they reviewed the schedule with us during our second week of training. I spoke to someone in HR and after speaking with my manager’s manager (and her manager), and also bringing in a letter from my pastor, we worked out the above schedule.

What I found out last night, from talking with my friend, is that apparently, news of my schedule arrangement reached far and wide across the site. [at its peak, while I was there, there were ~14k people employed there. I left when there were ~11k] Discussion of my “preferential treatment” continues there now, even though I will have been gone from there for 3 years next month. Continue reading