Monday, October 25, 2010

The Awkward Love Post

So, in the spirit of awkward teenage love (just fresh into my twenties, of course), I am going to post an incredibly sarcastic, non-serious, campy, cheesy love post about the current crushes of my life. And I'm writing this post to the adorable teenie-bopper and xylophone-ridden sounds of Never Shout Never, like a true hipster scene kid. This should be a dashing roller coaster through my girlish silliness, so readers be advised to hold on tight. Seriously.

Ok, I'm out of the closet.

Before you pull your hair out, my dear friends and family, no I am not referring to the lesbian closet. (But if I were, would you seriously love me any less? Would you? Seriously. Please let the answer to that question be a resounding 'no', because we're better than that. Alrightie, moving on...)

My closet is full of a much less feminine type of species. This species is often seen wearing plaid (which is a major plus for me) and possibly suspenders. These specimens almost inevitably have out-of-control eyebrows and, most importantly, some sort of Eastern European accent.

Yes, I am referring to my physics professors. I think that my baby crushes have escalated since PHY193, through PHY294, reaching boiling point in PHY321, and exploding in my current PHY471 class. Honestly, can these people get ANY more adorable? Now, I realize that this is probably super weird. What reasonably attractive and intelligent lady has her sights sent on old, crusting Eastern European physicists? THIS ONE. ME. I DO. I don't owe any explanation. I just love them. And here is why:

1. Outfits
This one mostly refers to my Classical Physics professor. Now, I hated that class with a burning passion and am happy to have simply passed, but I could usually look forward to my days in PHY321 because my professor almost always wore plaid. Plaid is a momentous joy in my life. I enjoy plaid in every way, shape, and form. I have plaid purses, plaid dresses, plaid bows, plaid pajama pants, you name it. I enjoy plaid so much that I even love it on the button-down starched dress shirt that belongs to a sixty year old Polish man. My physics guy friends think that I'm crazy. I probably am, but hey, if plaid was all it took, I feel like more men of the world would be falling at my feet clad in red and black checker squares.

2. Accent
This is a HUGE portion of my love for Eastern European men. Linguistically, I am half-past in love. Nobody else, save Antonio Banderas, can speak in a more soothing manner than an Eastern European physicist. It's true. It's basically completely intoxicating. It's a good thing that I haven't decided to backpack through various Eastern European countries in search of my soul mate, because that would probably end in, well, death probably. The more I think that Chechnya would be fun, the more delirious I know I've become. Ah, well.

3. General Mannerisms
I'd like to start out this section with an example from today's Quantum Physics lecture. Below is an actual quote from my quantum physics professor, whom I am basically in love with. Disclaimer: Please imagine the following statement being spoken in a Hungarian accent:

"The MSU Football team has not done this well in 44 years, since 1966. This was a very good year, because it is the year that I was born. Oops! Did I just give away my age? Oh well. I didn't know about America then, and I didn't know about football, because I was just pooping in my pants...or my diaper!"

...just digest that for a while.

To this, I nearly responded "Will you marry me?" However, I think that I was too blown away by the sheer brilliance of somebody who legitimately does not give a toss what people think about him, so I just reminded myself in today's notes that I am basically in love, and that is all. Who talks about being an infant and being able to fill up a diaper? Only a person who is genuinely hilarious. I've noticed a trend among these men; they are usually very large-and-in-charge and extremely confident, which I LOVE. And, hey, this professor is only 24 years older than I am. I was talking with my dear friend Caitlin, who shares my sentiments (to an extent, at least), and she brought up the point that far in the distant past, any age plus or minus 24 was basically the same thing. So, things that were acceptable back in the day are of course still acceptable in 2010, right? Right?

Now, it's time to get serious. Nobody is allowed to be alarmed by this post. Because in all honesty, I will never be "that girl" in awkward relationships with professors. At least, not with these guys. I just enjoy the atmosphere of these lectures, for the most part, and would rather have it that way than hating every minute of it while sitting on that cold ceramic seat, suffering through slide after slide and single-mindedly wanting to gouge my eyes out with my spiral notebook. This is not so, at least, not in PHY471. So, there you have it. A thoughtful reflection of my love for the physics department, or at least, the faculty of the physics department. It isn't why I'm a physics major, but it contributes to my enjoyment. It's not why I go to class or stay in the program, but it does put a smile on my face.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Tube Socks and Legitimate Truths

When I'm at the university, I take my life in chunks. Week-long chunks. This week, evidently, I've been exploring the many different ways that a woman can be absolutely pathetic. It's been fun.

Whether it's been failing exams (and hopefully this won't be repeated tomorrow...), manic depressive behavior, irritability, slouching, eye-rolls, stress on a homework-free week, loud discussions, being completely allergic to bullshit (excuse me), or any other kind of stupid stupids, it's been QUITE a notable week. At least, for the record, I got sushi out of the deal, as well as a cousin day and a high school girls' volleyball game. But this post is about being pathetic, not eating sushi.

How is it that a girl can go almost four months, being set on fire, being finally free, being finally feeling like a post-anxiety hunk of leftover lunch meat? See, I thought, in my post-depression, that genuinely being okay meant that school would be genuinely okay. I should have taken the hint before I even moved in. Fake dis-enrollment (although it was real enough...), fake firing, fake re-hiring, and a very legitimate failure on a seemingly simple quantum physics exam. Now, I realize, since I've been trying to see things for the way they really are, or rather, for the way that they are invisibly, that this is all probably happening as some sort of test or psychological and spiritual battle. Somebody downstairs is probably pretty upset that I decided not to prostitute myself out to his minions anymore. So, since he knows that he can't have his way with me, he's been slowly chipping away at me using a very subtle pick-ax. How far will she go? How many tears can I squeeze out of this situation, even though she knows that life could be (and has been) so much worse?

It's pathetic.

The thing is, although I've tasted the honey of spiritual freedom, I let him chip a little. Because I realize that I am strong enough not to fall back into the spiral staircase of despair that I used to live on. Here's how I know for sure; here's the big difference: I know that I am okay. I know that I am okay now. Expecting to live in an independent bliss is ridiculous. Not letting yourself have a bad day is silly, because it's usually out of your hands in the first place. I am doing very well. I may be a little pathetic this week, but I'll grow out of it. It's just a season. I have confidence in the fact that on July 6th, 2010, I got better...regardless.


Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Thirteen Weeks. Twenty Years.

I definitely know what it is to be loved. More accurately, there is nothing like Facebook to make a gal feel special on her twentieth birthday. Nearly 200 people. Nearly 200 people wished me well today, and the only thing better than that would be to actually see all of those 200 people today. I wish I could take all 200 of you out for coffee, as I generally wish on people that I want to spend time with, but the reality is that some of you are very far away, and on the other hand, some of you are instead taking me out this week. I can deal with that too. :]

I promised a post about being the Elle Woods of the physics department, and I think that it ties in to today. A couple of weeks ago, I was out with
a friend and this subject came up. I believe that the conversation went along the lines of using my womanhood to conquer the male-dominated and difficult coursework that I love so much, and that perhaps I should get a small dog to carry around in my plaid handbag, nestled in between my Quantum Mechanics textbook and Linear Algebra notes. Of course, I'm not serious, but to be a real Elle Woods, I have to pass the Elle Woods Test.

Elle Woods Trait #1: Semi-perfect Body

Let's face it. Elle Woods, while falling below-average
where height is concerned, is above-average in skin complexion and overall shape. Have you seen anybody rock business-wear so well? Have you ever seen a skin tone that works so well with highlighter pink? Have you ever seen anybody look so put-together in sequins? I certainly have not. Elle Woods is second to none when it comes to professional and creative fashion sense and overall stature.

Now, I have been, for the past 13 weeks or so, attempting to grasp a bit of my femininity. My wardrobe, once replete with graphic tees and fishnets, is evolving into something a bit more class-act. I will admit that. I still love a good graphic tee and a solid pair of fishnets, but only if I can marry it with a killer necklace and dominatrix boots, and some really good eye shadow. There you go. But as for the body? Yikes, let's not even go there. I'm sure my gals have been there before, too. It doesn't seem to matter how many kilometers I swim or how many miles I run, I see "more of jell-o than of Gibraltar" when I look into the mirror. However, I do live on the fourth floor of Shaw Hall, meaning that I bounce up a few flights of stairs every time I want to come back to my room. So, I have illustrated for the reader's amusement my current thigh paired with the projected prediction of what my thighs will probably look like at the end of the semester:

Clearly, there is work to be done. I think that I am quite capable.

Elle Woods Trait #2: Quick-Witted Brains

Not only is Elle Woods a sight for sore eyes, but she is a relief from the old blonde woman stereotype. It's impossible to go from a fashion major to a law student to a successful lawyer to a woman working to pass a bill in Washington DC itself without some sort of natural talent. Seriously, give me a person with passion and all I can see is a mouth that runs and eyebrows that dance around on his or her face, and a lot of fist-pounding and cold-sweating, but give me a person with passion, drive and talent and I see potential. Not only potential, but I see promise. Elle didn't just speak of what she wanted. She acted upon what she saw that needed to be changed, because she had the brain for it. This is the person that I should be.

In the physics world, it isn't so difficult to silently float by. A lot of students do that. Maybe it's because we really don't have much to say about infinite square wells since the mechanics of those things are to be accepted before they are to be understood or even challenged. Maybe it's because physics sometimes tells us 'no' too much. Maybe it's because we're afraid of sounding incompetent. Maybe it's because we're afraid of hearing our own voices.

However, I am not afraid of my voice. I am not, but I am afraid of whether or not other people want to hear it. To learn to use my intellect and apply it and challenge myself...these are all things that are developing over my coursework. I'm getting better. I can feel that I am becoming a real physicist. I know that I have the brain to do well and understand. Confidence is not the issue, when I'm simply thinking about myself and how I view me. It becomes more of an issue when I think of how others might view me, of what reputation I already have, and how it might change or become conflicted. It is time that I sorted out what I think and feel, and if people do not agree, it isn't the end of the world. Not everyone agreed with Elle Woods, but she agreed to believe in what she knew to be right.

Elle Woods Trait #3: Loyal Social Circle

Three things: Bruiser, Emmett and Paulette, and Delta Nu. Elle's best canine friend, fiancée and best gal friend, and sisterhood. Ok, here's where I'm going to lose some of you. Here's what you're probably thinking: "Becca, you're not engaged. You said you never would be, and you're definitely NOT in a sorority. What the deuce?" Well, here's what I'm thinking. Elle's exploits as budding lawyer and political bombshell would not have even happened if it were not for Bruiser, Emmett, Paulette, or Delta Nu. Her sorority sisters supported her through her LSAT days, Emmett gave her invaluable advice on her first day at Harvard, and Paulette and Bruiser gave her the chances to fight for the things that she loved.

On the Becca side of things, my exploits as a budding physicist and overall bombshell would not have happened had it not been for my family, my friends, and my colleagues. I have never been truly lonely. I have never been truly in need. This is not to say that my life is free of difficulty, because it most certainly is not and neither was Elle's. My life is simply different, ridiculous, extraordinary at times, but I have never been without the things that I need and I firmly believe that this is because of the people that surround me. My family is helping support my college tuition, which is a wonderful thing because I certainly do not have $100,000 laying around somewhere to pay for my Bachelor's, and the Bachelor's is just the beginning of a long road to PhD. They not only support me financially but they support the woman that I am as well. My family and friends support my beliefs, my standards, my decisions, my intelligence...they are the backbone to my life. I would have no reason to believe in these crazy things that I am studying if it were not for them. I would have no reason to do much of anything. My colleagues believe in me as I strut through my academic and personal lives, and I believe that my success is based largely on that support system.

So, there you go. Three easy Elle Woods Traits. Clearly, the character and I are from two completely different worlds, but hey. I don't think we're so completely different after all. At the end of the day, she came home to her friends and family who love her. So do I, especially on this wonderful birthday. At the end of the day, she knew that she had lived to the best of her intelligence, and she did it in heels. I do this too, on occasion regarding the heels part. I have no intention of using the gender card to buy my way into anything. I won't succeed because I am a woman and they need women, I will succeed because I am a passionate and talented woman and they need more women like me.