dilletante asked me about alternatives to marriage, developing sense of place, edges, nothing, and proyecto lingüistico quetzalteco:
alternatives to marriage:
For most of my early years, I didn't particularly question the cultural expectation that I'd get married later in life, though even in high school, my idea of what constituted "later in life" didn't match that of some of my peers, who were eager to get married ASAP. But it didn't occur to me until college sometime that marriage itself was a thing for me to question. And, of course, when I did, I did so by deciding that it wasn't for me, without thinking much about what that meant. So it took another few years before I started thinking about the alternatives.
But then I realized that naming a relationship before meeting the person I'm going to be in it with is putting the cart before the horse, and that's a misordering that's pretty strongly encouraged by the cultural position that marriage has for us. So I like thinking about all the different ways we have to be in the world of relationships that aren't marriage. Handfasting, multiple committed relationships, living together, living apart, singlehood... These are all good, happy options, many of which don't get the same play on the cultural stage that marriage does, but a world rich with alternatives makes choosing one of them much more meaningful.
developing sense of place:
I actually wanted this one to be developing a sense of place, but there's a four word limit on interests. I grew up with a sense of place, which I took for granted until I left. I instinctively know the compass directions when I'm in the west, and, of course, especially when I'm in Wyoming. I know a lot of the trees and animals that live there, and I know their typical habits, too -- just from exposure to them and hearing people talk about what they know.
New England is really different from Wyoming, and although I love it, I've found it alien for a long time, and somehow, I took living in the city to mean there was no place to root into. After going to permie camp with kcatalyst the other year, though, I realized how ridiculous it is not to develop a sense of place here where I am, with everything around me, both human-made and natural (with appropriate hand-waving about the dangers of that distinction). So, for the last couple of years, I've been working on knowing the world around me. I don't necessarily know the names of all the trees, but I do know how the wind smells when it's getting ready to rain, or how the ground smells when it's sunny, and I also notice when someone's driving the wrong way down the street or if traffic is unusually heavy in the afternoon, or if people on the bike path are smiling more than usual.
Edges are where the action is. In ecosystems, this is where everything's happening: shorelines, riverbanks, forest edges. In social systems, edges are where you get texture, learn things, meet new people. Personally, edges are what I like to push against, because that's where things get interesting and provide the most opportunity for growth. Of course, edges also cut, in the case of knives, or drop off, in the case of cliffs, but you don't get growth without risk, so far as I can tell. And that's part of the fun, isn't it?
Thinking about Nothing makes my brain go all twisty in a fun way. It's an entertaining little bit of mental masturbation that I picked up as a religion major and have never managed to break the habit.
proyecto lingüistico quetzalteco:
This is the school I attended in Guatemala and later volunteered in, which soon became my home down south, and the center of my community there. It's also, both incidentally and instrumentally, the center for a lot of changes and firsts in my life. It's the place that I learned to do interpretation and that I'm pretty damn good at it, discovered that I can make friends, partook of two Mayan rituals, learned to play foosball, and griped about the agony of fleas. It's also my always-available escape valve, as I have a more or less standing offer of a job down there, and it's full of amazing and inspirational people.
Thinking about it for any length of time makes me Guate-homesick, and now I want to be in Xela!