Going back to Terabil for winter break is a bit like an excruciatingly long dental appointment. I go only because I know it's necessary, and then I retreat to my Happy Place until it's over and I can go home.
Granted, going back doesn't jam sharp metal tools into my gums, nor does going to the dentist last six weeks, but the general experience is about the same.
It's finals here, since AIUA is on the quarter system, and then we're all out for winter break until January. I'm (supposed to be) finishing up all my classes and final projects at the moment, but I've been so tired all the time, regardless of how much sleep I'm getting, that it's hard to work. At first I thought it was caffeine deprivation, but I've been drinking green tea today and I'm still as lethargic as ever. That leads me to think it's more a dread of leaving Avalon, like my subconscious thinks "Hey, maybe if I don't finish my finals, they won't let me go!"
I'm considering taking a summer quarter this year so I don't have to endure summer in Terabil, but I'd have to find and pay for an apartment if I did that.
Seriously, I doubt it's mentally healthy to have to steel myself against potential psychic violence every time I go back to my hometown. I wish it didn't have to be that way, but when every moment my mom can catch me alone is a potential moment to battle against Teh Gay, or when Sunday morning means I get to hear "I do wish you'd find a church in Avalon-- it's so important to be around fellow Christians!" for the hundredth time, it gets old real fast.
Church is another dental appointment experience. Frankly, I enjoy not being around "fellow" "Christians" all the time, given that usually that means simply all the other WASP families that congregate in the same social arenas every Sunday or so. They're not my "fellows" and quite a few of them aren't necessarily very Christian either, unless by "Christian" you simply mean "conservative Republican who bleats the right things." It's not particularly spiritually beneficial to me to sit around a bunch of people who have the effect of making me cynical and withdrawn every Sunday. I could have a better worship experience at a bar-- at least drunk people are willing to admit their problems.
Paradoxically, if my mom really wanted me to go to church, the best way she could do it is to stop bugging me to go. She apparently believes that if she just keeps after me long enough I'll cave and do what she wants, and as long as I'll be reinforcing that belief, I refuse to give in. I'll go back to church because I want to go back to church, because I believe it will be of spiritual value to me, not because I want my mom to shut up about me going back to church.
Much less the fact that if I did pick a church down here, it would have to be a mom-approved church of the conservative Protestant non-gay-friendly variety. Call me crazy but I don't think going to the local Unitarian Universalist church would qualify.
Sad, but true: "Yvonne" said the magic phrase that does a stompy dance all over my hopes: "my boyfriend."
Oh well. Moving on.
While I was home a while back, we were discussing (for whatever reason) the fact that the new puppy needs to be neutered. (Mainly he keeps humping everyone's arm and biting them, and while he's small enough so that kind of dominance behavior's not dangerous it is rather annoying.)
I discovered that I seem to be the only person in my family who can unhesitatingly say the words "penis" and "testicles." There is more than a little irony in this.
Maybe it's lifedrawing class, where you get used to contemplating a nude human in a fairly dispassionate manner, or maybe it's just that everyone at art school has a more relaxed manner towards sexual matters in general, but I don't have a problem with nudity. When I did my nude self-portrait, I was a bit self-conscious hanging it up in class, but while I was actually doing it Maureen and Hans would hang out in the room with me while I was nude (in socks). It was funny when Maureen decided to draw my "shining ass," but it wasn't embarrassing.
On the flip side my family has always had pet terms for genitalia, and sex and genitals are discussed with a sort of giggly hesitation, as if they were something "naughty." They give lip service to the idea that "sex is a beautiful thing" and whatnot, but their ATTITUDE towards sex and nudity says something totally different.
I don't remember ever getting a Sex Talk, or at least anything beyond an explanation of menstruation. Most of my sex education came from classmates and books. I remember being ten or so and reading a book about various stories in a maternity ward, with graphic descriptions of women giving birth or their various sexual ailments. I sort of hid it as if it were a "dirty" book, even though there was nothing actually sexual in it. It was just various stories of women in pregnancy and labor, and I somehow felt like just the fact that it discussed genitalia made it taboo.
On the flip side, I've gotten shit about my more-modest-than-average way of dressing. I have been explicitly encouraged to wear "shorter skirts" and "lower-cut shirts." My response to it is usually along the lines of "I'm not advertising what I'm not selling," which is essentially true but doesn't quite get at the point. Frankly, I don't wear revealing clothing because I don't like being revealed.
Women's clothing is calculated to reveal. It becomes a game to see how low your neckline or waistline can go before it's public indecency. Women's bodies are so relentlessly sexualized that it's numbing. I've gotten to where it's a downright turnoff for me to see a girl whose breasts seem to be making a bid for freedom from their Wonderbra.
My roommate first year asked me once "You have such a nice figure. Why don't you show it off more?" Because to me, my body is not an object for everyone else to look at. It's mine to use as I see fit, when I see fit, and that does not include displaying it for public approval. I'm happy with my body and my looks, and frankly I couldn't care less if some random schmoe walking down the street I live decides I'm fuckable or not. Talk to me, not my cleavage.
So where does this fit into the messages I get about sex from my upbringing? If sex is dirty, why should I use my clothes and my body to elicit sexual desire from men? If nudity is taboo, why flirt with the edge?