If only Baz Luhrmann directed my life.
Stephanie Irene. KC girl. Feisty. Feminist. Neurotic. Atheist. Passionate. CATS!
Oh goodness. It’s been ages. Since school got out, I’ve been in a crazy whirlpool of trying to balance friends, family, work, fucking summer school gym, and staying sane. It’s been a good one so far, with a few complaints, but when don’t I have those?
Summer school is basically the worst experience of my life. All it seems to me is a giant waste of time, cause for loss of sleep, and yet more proof of how stupid everyone in the world is (or at least the incoming freshman).
Friend-wise, I know I should be happy. But there are so many things that aren’t just perfect like I want them to be. I hate that Trisha and Katie and Drew are leaving. I hate that Diane-Jo isn’t even here and Parker is quasi-sickly so he can’t do a ton. I hate that my work schedule conflicts with everyone else’s. I haven’t seen Kathy enough. Nick has been basically absentee. Melissa was in stupid Sri Lanka all month. And Elizabeth wasn’t here long enough and when she was, we were always on her mom’s schedule. I have great friends, and I have already done so many great things with them this summer and am looking forward to so many more (like the great, silly summer bucket list Katie, Drew, and I made), but now June is already over and it feels like there’s too much left to do. I would really like for this summer to be as great as last year. And I’m just not in the same place.. last year I was ready for anything: full of naivete and all the blissful ignorance that comes with it. Now, I want all the same fun, but I’m looking for different things. I’m at the point where maybe it’s be nice for my fake boyfriend to actually be a real one. I’ll just have to wait and see on that one, not another one of my strengths. And I’m so unbelievably disillusioned with Nick. What a turd he’s become. He’s not the same at all anymore, and I have no interest or time to continue cultivating a relationship with this ‘bro’. But really though, I am so excited to be coming together again with Kathy, glad to have Melissa back, happy to be exploring a new brand of funtivities with Erika at the wheel, looking forward to more pseudo double dates with Trisha, and ready to complete the summer bucket list. All the while, I am sort of excited to have found a couple of older friends at UMKC that will be good to keep around. Really though, I love my friends, I shouldn’t complain.
It’s been a great summer with my fam. Seeing Coldplay with them in Dallas was so wonderful (not to mention how great it was to let my inner Texan sass run wild). Once again, anticipating Amanda’s arrival stressed me out, and yes, there are things I wish I didn’t have to miss out on while she was here, but goodness, all of our time together was perfect. Stalking Jason Grill and eying the Sporting KC team. Vegging out and showing Katie the KC essentials. All of it was great. We have to all end up together.
College stresses the shit out of me. I don’t even know where to begin. But like, do I want a small school or a big school? Do I want to be a plane ride or a car drive away from home? Do I want a college or a university? How the hell do you pick one place that alters your whole life?
I don’t even think it’s possible to sum up how amazing the concert was last night. I really do think that Snow Patrol is my favorite band. I can barely even think of a single lyric of theirs I wouldn’t get tattooed on my body. Nor can I even express how unbelievably perfect Gary Lightbody is. If I could pick any one person in the whole world to sing to me, it would be him. And this is even with him having vocal problems last night (which he worked though so seamlessly anyway). And I love the way he talks about Kansas City. Because there are few people that see Kansas City as the beautiful assemblage of culture that I do. The whole evening was just perfect, and such a great way to break up all sorts of gross stress.
This is all I ever wanted from life.
So, what’s going on with me. Let’s see.
Last week was suprisingly very good for a first week back from Springbreak! I feel like my classes we easy and it went by pretty fast. Wednesday I spent the afternoon goofing off with Melissa and we had the best talks and decided to be best friends forever and med school buddies and everything. Then Friday night was the Young the Giant/Grouplove concert with Nick. And it was fantastic! Even from far away, I still had a fantastic time. I pretty much spent Grouplove dancing around all silly because I couldn’t see anyway, and then Young the Giant was so good! It was extra great because they played every single one of their songs it seemed like and My Body was the perfect closing song! Plus it was a good bonding night for Nick and me just full of goofing off. I worked a ton Saturday.. and was feeling tired and kind of sick, but I guess that was kind of my fault for staying out late.. Erika came over Saturday night for a very chill chat night. Exactly what I needed. Went to breakfast with Trisha Sunday morning. I do adore that girl. And it just cracked me up and warmed my heart to see her so concerned that I wouldn’t approve of her decisions. As long as she’s happy, I’m happy! Went to an event with Family Freethought Fellowship that afternoon that was just okay, because my mom wasn’t really getting into it and sometimes I feel a little weird being the only person my age. Napped and worked Monday. And yesterday I played tennis with Melissa and watched some of the soccer game with her, then went to Zumba with my mom. I was so active! Today I just hung out with the fam, which is always nice. I’m ready for this week to be over though..
I’ve been feeling rather good lately. Not really having any particular issues. I am just feeling ready for a change of pace.. all the boys I know are stupid and annoying and especially short! haha.. But things with friends are really good! I am really enjoying becoming closer to Melissa and getting all excited for our futures together! I absolutely need more Kathy in my life though; lately it’s been like we have so many things to talk about that even when we are together we have too much to say to know where to start. I am also feeling like I need to be a better friend to Drew. I didn’t realize before how much he’s struggled in the past, and he’s been so happy lately, that I just want to make sure that his last couple months stay wonderful!
Also, I have been particularily excited/anxious about going to France lately! It’s just that I have felt so far removed from the whole US culture and idealogy lately and am constantly falling in love with more and more things about French. I don’t even know how I can love it so much when studying it is the bain of my existence, but I absolutely do. But then sometimes I feel weird about the idea of just going and being a whole ocean away from my closest acquantence. I mean, what if no one talks to me and I never meet anyone? But that is sort of an endearing idea though.. I just feel like this is how I am going to find myself. Everything I am not sure about now will finally be cleared up. And I feel like I should get another job this summer to make sure I get to go, but I don’t know if I want to mess with that or work that much or anything. I already hate working at the pool, but I know I am not going to get many hours at Stam, so I should really suck it up and do it, but I don’t wanna. Just me being a stubborn baby. I’m not being sure if it will be necessary, but I mean, it wouldn’t hurt.. And it’s not like this summer is going to be like last summer anyway. I hope it is as good though, just in different ways. Or the same ways would do too.
Sort of been having a spazzy identity crisis lately. I mean, not really anything serious, just being a highschool student is enough I think to make you go a smidge crazy. I just don’t like being confined to these people anymore and I don’t like my future being in such limbo and I don’t like having no mediums to experiment and find myself! Again.. France = solution to all problems.
So I was infinitely sad to see Amanda go on Sunday, but it was so nice to get up early with her and my mom and have breakfast before she left. Then I wasn’t all drowsy for the goodbye and it wasn’t so hard knowing that my mom and I are definitely going to try to visit her this summer and she will be home for a month before leaving. And then a two month winter break for us to spend all sorts of time together. So it was hard to see her go, and I am still lonely when I am alone, wishing we were watching How I Met Your Mother together or watching the stars downtown, but it has been a good spring break so far.
Sunday and Monday I basically worked all day long. So that was uneventful. But then yesterday I slept in and then Melissa came over to play tennis. As it poured down rain. So we went down to Westport (listening to the amaaaaaazing new Shins album the whole time) and had Italian for lunch and judged a couple on their second date and laughed about the egg that came on top of my pasta and it was a jolly good time. Then she had her first bubble tea and more good chatting. Went into some random Westport shops and I found Girl With the Dragon Tattoo! Went to Zumba with my mom, finished my movie, and rounded out the evening alone, with plenty of time to ponder over my wonderful day and how much I adore Melissa.
Woke up today with no plans of the sort and everything turned out great. Nick and I had coffee and a much needed catch-up. Coffee turned into a perfect downtown adventure as we decided to get summer jobs together working at high end men’s clothing stores. Commence wondering into every men’s clothing store on the Plaza. Can’t wait to be working at J Crew or the like together. Had a late lunch at Spin! and finished off with Christopher Elbow ice cream. The whole thing was great. Then went with Katie, Drew, and Allison so Katie could pierce her bellybutton. Somehow we decided that we all needed ‘Fuck you you fucking fuck’ shirts and made that our even goal. Success. I adore Katie and Drew so much and I don’t even know what I am going to do next year. But I think we’re hanging out again later in the week so all will be well for now. For a day with no plans, it ended up perfect.
Kathy, we will see each other eventually! I am just not very good about checking my facebook so I miss you when you’re on. But I miss you tons and tons and I’m sorry we keep missing each other.
So my sister’s home. So obviously I am no longer doing anything even remotely productive. Just randomly cackling and watching How I Met Your Mother and doing so much eating. But it is utterly fantastic.
First of all though, small things from last week. Not really much of substance, but I went to dinner with Brittney on Wednesday and it was really nice to catch up with her. Brittney is always just really good about making you feel okay about being a teenager and acting like one, which I tend to struggle with. She makes me feel more on track knowing that my level of self assuredness is more than really necessary. And it’s just cute the way she gets excited about small things and always links everything to ‘It’s because you’re an Allred’.
And then on Thursday I had my NHS induction, which was kind of stupid and way too long, but I couldn’t help but be really moved by how Madam introduced me. And it wasn’t even so much what she said, but thinking about what a strong role she and my French class in general have played in my life, and how at the end of the semester, it’s not going to be the same anymore. Even if I end up taking independent study French, it won’t be with Drew and Katie and Maisie and Jacqueline and even the people I don’t like. And my French class has raised me. They all cringed along with me looking at Ginger Mason last year, got excited with me when I got my tattoo, encouraged me when I was devastated over MSA, and has watched my entire relationship with my more recent friends, like Kathy and Nick, develop. Especially Madam because she reads my journal, and I just don’t see much point in editing things for her, so she can just continue waiting for Nick and I to fall in love, and for everything else that she gathers from how I spend my time to fall in place. And I can’t believe she remembered me specifically from Freshman year, when I wasn’t fun, wasn’t cute, and wasn’t really much of anything too memorable. But being in that class has made me more cultured and outgoing and adventuresome in some wonderful ways. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. So even though I was strangely ridiculously nervous about walking across the stage, I was so overwhelmed with emotion I didn’t even notice.
Then Friday night my mother and I went to protest a homophobic reverend’s presentation with KCAC and another church too. It was just wonderful to be able to get together with everyone, god-fearing or not, and stand up for equality. And I love everyone at KCAC and I value the opportunity to actually get out there and make my values known so much! And it’s amazing to be able to be a part of all these different groups, the Northland Freethinkers and Midwest Skeptics and Freethought Family Fellowship too!
Then Amanda came home!! Saturday I worked and then the fam all just hung out until it was time for dinner and then we all went to La Bodega with Jordan and Jessica from Omaha. They are both so hilarious and so fun! I love that they never talk down to me or try to censor themselves, they are just normal. Jessica was being so funny talking about how she dreams about flavored hot chocolate with complementing marshmallows. Sunday we went to Brunch with them again and then just kind of killed time until dinner at Grandma’s, which was hilarious! Because Thor accidentally flicked a fork at himself and my dad couldn’t find a way to get Amanda and I to be quiet and we just cackled at everything. We went to go see Friends with Kids (which was rather interesting and good; moral of the story: don’t have kids) that night and then then Amanda and I stayed up way too late chatting and having small freak outs and whining in our sisterly ways. Monday morning Amanda, Mom, and I went to tour the Roasterie, which was less exciting than I had expected, and then lunched and shopped on the Plaza! Worked Monday night and then had a fire with the fam! Yesterday, we went to Zumba and to Jazz, which was sort of dysfunctional but still pleasant. Today we layed out when I got home from school, and then Amanda and I went out to dinner at Spin (on Grandma’s dime too) and then went to the Nelson/Bloch Building and layed on the lawn and looked at stars. I couldn’t have imagined a better night.
And I’m not going to school tomorrow, because the fam is going to the Zoo! So it’ll be a good day and then Friday shouldn’t be too bad and then it’s real Spring break, so all shall be well.
Finally home from another ever-so-enlightening weekend with my fellow skeptics at REASONFest. I am so grateful to be able to attend conferences like this and Skepticon and to be able to participate in activities with KC Atheist Coalition. Starting, and now leading, my own SSA group has shown me the tip of the iceberg of the enormous undertaking the leaders of these national groups which facilitate and organize these meetings for the atheists, the agnostics, the humanists, the skeptics, whathaveyou. I have so many new thoughts to get out before the inspiration from the weekend fades.
First of all, I have such a new found appreciation for the importance of humanism. I have been identifying as a humanist for the last several years, but listening to Greg Epstein discuss how ‘not believing something is not enough’ reminded me that we are all humanists (or at least all the secularists I’ve met so far have been). As much as I don’t believe in God or feel the need to reconcile life’s phenomenon with supernatural explanations, it is just a given to me. The values that I constantly evaluate and the morals I strive to uphold are really the things that define what ‘I believe’. I believe in compassion above all. It is my basic belief in compassion for others that leads me to seek to improve others’ condition through the community service that is so important to me, and it is this same compassion that drives me to be a devoted friend and loved one. I want to offer to others whatever skills I have at my devices, be it listening, or understanding, or aid, etc.. I need to remember to uphold this mentality more effectively at times when it is quite tempting to be selfish or lazy. I value accountability, respect, scholarship, curiosity, planetary stewardship, passion, and always reason. It is important that I understand the consequences of my actions, and while I understand most religions have accountability based on the idea of salvation vs. damnation, but I struggle to respect a system in which followers can so easily repent for not following the rules of the gospel that they prescribe themselves to. Because I am able to make my own set of ‘rules’ to live by (in accordance with the law of course and accepted social norms to an extent as well), I take these values very seriously. I would develop terrible cognitive dissonance, for example, if I were to perpetuate slut-shaming, the virginity myth, or any other issue plaguing women that I am so blatantly against. I hold myself accountable to stick to my feminist convictions, as well as others. And I feel I am far more compelled to uphold the morals I created for myself because 1)They are my morals because they are important to me, not because some supreme being told me to care about them, and 2)I am intrinsically motivated to uphold these morals, not motivated by promise of salvation or beneficial rebirth or fear or damnation. I will forever have respect for those who strive for knowledge, and will forever strive for knowledge myself. I can’t think of a better way to improve than to continue educating myself. And how else am I supposed to rectify all of my curiosity? I need to seek out this reason, and I don’t find reasoning and rationality to be the cold, calculated solutions to issues that religion has solved through ‘love’. I think that reasoning encourages love, again in a beneficially motivated way.
When considering the idea of mortality, I am absolutely not afraid that I might be wrong and that I’ll go to hell. To put it lightly, if I am wrong, at least I’ll be in hell with my family and all the cool people I’ve met through KCAC, SSA, or the skeptic conferences I’ve attended. And on a more serious note, it is my very mortality that drives me to live to the fullest. I know so many devoutly religious people who don’t take risks or get all the experiences they want because they are waiting for heaven, for the greatest thing. My grandma is the prime example of this to me. She doesn’t even take adventures in what she eats, whereas I want to try as many new foods as possible, and savor and enjoy my food. I don’t have that much interest in ‘living on after I die’, through my works, my children, etc.. mostly because I believe I’ll be dead. And therefore not aware of whether or not I made an impact. Of course, I still want to be impactful, but for other people’s benefit, not mine.
And I also believe that religion might do more harm than good. Someone this weekend said ‘there is not a single good thing that religious people do in the name of god that secular people cannot do simply for goodness’ sake’ or something to that effect. I admire religious people who do good works, but I don’t credit that to religion. And many injustices, I think are the direct result of religion. And no, you cannot say the same of atheism. Even if you argue that Hitler was an atheist (which I find ridiculous), he was not massacring Jews in the name of atheism. People do however, commit atrocities in the name of god or because of the position that their religion has put them it. Forcing religious figures to be celibate for their church causes sexual molestation and harassment. It has been proven that repressed sexuality can lead to disturbed sexual thoughts and actions.
Sorry this is so scatterbrained.. And of course, it doesn’t even begin to fully explain all my views and beliefs.
So what do I believe in? GOOD (without god). Really, whether or not I believe in god is irrelevant. Ask me what I want to accomplish or what I think is important. Ask me where I find meaning or beauty. Ask me about my morals. None of it really has to do with whether or not I believe in one less god than you do.