Single Sunday: Question 3 Response

Here’s the response for the third Single Sunday question of the week: What do you think are the three best things about being single? This week the video is a bit different, because I am in California on a business trip. I tried to get the video out on Sunday (it’s still technically Sunday on the west coast!) so I didn’t get to spend much time planning out the video or doing multiple takes just in case. All of my editing software is back at home, too. I wish I could have spent more time sharing bits about Steven and Belinda’s conversation on Single Sunday’s Facebook page. I suppose you will just have to like the page and check it out for yourself!

Here’s my original response to Question #3:
I love the independence of doing what I want without checking someone else’s schedule. I can go to the movies by myself or with friends, and I don’t have to worry about neglecting my significant other or interrupting plans he may have already made. Being single also provides a good opportunity to discover who you are as an individual. It doesn’t seem like experimenting with identity would be easy while in a relationship. I also really enjoy having close guy friends who know me well and are available to talk with when I need advice. Being in a relationship has the potential to complicate that friendship with jealousy and drama.

After I wrote my original response, I thought more about the identity aspect of being single. You have probably heard from separating couples, whether fictional or real, “She’s not the woman I fell in love with” or “He wasn’t always like this.” I think sometimes people end up marrying someone “different” because their partner wasn’t sure of who they were to begin with. There are other people who base their identity on being in a relationship, so singleness creates an identity crisis. They don’t know who they are as an individual because they built their identity on the relationship. Like in Runaway Bride, it’s not until Julia Roberts’ character is single that she learns about herself or even what kind of eggs she likes. Rather than creating a crisis, singleness should be viewed as an incredible opportunity. How do you like your eggs?

Share your thoughts and join the conversation! We really have been getting new people joining in every week, so continue sharing this site, the Facebook page, and the YouTube videos.

Glee Episode #8: Mash-up

Word of the Day: Popularity. In “Mash-Up”, Finn and Quinn struggle with popularity, trying to figure out how to regain social status and whether or not it really matters. Or rather, trying to figure out what matters. This week, I’m changing things a bit in my blog. There were too many good quotes to comment only on the popularity-related ones.

“My weave!” – Mercedes
I laugh out loud every time I hear this line. Part of it is the delivery. The other part is my new understanding of Black hair thanks to Chris Rock promoting Good Hair on Oprah.

“Now that you’ve joined Lullaby Lees and sperminated the queen of the Chastity Ball and dropped below us hockey dudes on the food chain, it’s open season.” – Karovsky
It’s interesting how people think that having sex makes you cool. At the same time, though, teen pregnancy – one consequence of having sex in high school, can cripple a couple’s social status. And now that Finn and Quinn have lost status in the eyes of their peers, the hockey dudes finally find themselves as predators in the food chain. I like to think that there is something good in humanity that allows us to empathize with our fellow prey, but Karovsky proves that is not always true.

Emma: Yes, and Ken has convinced me that we need to at least be in the same room when the marriage is certified.
Ken: What can I say, I’m a traditionalist.
No Ken, you’re just normal and the only person in the relationship who actually wants to get married.

“This is a disaster. Our reputation as McKinley High’s ‘it’ couple is in serious jeopardy if we don’t find some way to be cool again, Finn.” – Quinn
The head cheerleader/football star combination is always the ‘it’ couple in high school. At my school, there was Craig and Ashleigh. I wasn’t friends with them or part of their crowd, so I don’t know how hard they tried to maintain their status. I don’t know if they felt their popularity was ever threatened. I do know that considering social status as most important turns something small like a slushee facial into a major disaster.

“There’s an important lesson to be learned with mash-ups. Sometimes things are so different they don’t feel like they go together. But the big difference between them is what makes them great. Like chocolate and bacon.” – Will
I enjoy a good mash-up, not just musically but also metaphorically. It’s like life, the way things come together and result in unexpected greatness. But I’m hesitant about chocolate and bacon. I’m tempted to try it and experience the big difference that makes it great.

“Status is like currency. When your bank account is full, you can get away with doing just about anything.” – Quinn
Money is currency. And when your bank account is full, you can get away with a lot then, too. Just ask all the celebrities who face no consequences for their offenses.

Finn: Totally! It’s like you can’t see their eyes, so they have all the power. I could be looking at your boobs and you’d have no idea.
Emma: Um, no – kids, look. The most important thing is that you be yourselves. Ok? So if people don’t like you for that, I’m sorry but who needs them?
1. It kinda creeps me out when I can’t see someone’s eyes through their sunglasses. And I am not surprised that Finn would take advantage of that and look at someone’s boobs.
2. Why is it so hard for people to be themselves? Is it the fear of rejection and judgment? I say that if people don’t like you for yourself, you don’t need their judgment. You don’t need to go out of your way to be what they want. But it doesn’t mean you don’t need them as a person since everyone has something to offer, and it doesn’t mean you should refuse to accept them for who they are.

“She didn’t wear it to her dance rehearsals, and the night of the wedding her husband kept stepping on the train. It was really bad. The fight was epic. The priest cried. They were divorced three months later. Actually, maybe I shouldn’t wear it.” – Emma
I guess Emma is hoping a bad dance will be her ticket out.

“I know. It’s whack. But I also remember what my history teacher told us last semester. Only Nixon can go to China. I have no idea what she meant, but it reminded me of when my family ordered Chinese food and sat down together for our traditional Simchas Torah screening of Schindler’s List.” – Puck
I missed the first half of this quote during the original broadcast of the episode because I was squealing too loudly and jumping up and down.

Puck: Are you questioning my badassness? Have you seen my guns?
Rachel: No. I’m sorry, but – your arms are lovely. But I just don’t see us working out.
Yes, his arms are lovely. And I will justify my crush on Puck with the fact that the actor, Mark Salling, is really 27. It’s like how everyone roots for Josie and Mr. Coulson to get together when they watch Never Been Kissed. It’s creepy that the teacher is flirting with a student who is supposed to be 17, but we think it’s okay because (dramatic irony!) we know she’s really 25.

“There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be popular. It just means you want people to like you. I think that’s healthy.” – Finn
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting friends. Friendship is healthy; changing who you are in order to form many surface-level relationships is not. There’s a difference between wanting to be liked and denying your true self to achieve that. There are people who are truly popular, who always act like themselves and have many friends. Those are the people who make me jealous. Not the stereotypical “cool” people whose friendships people use to climb the social ladder.

I hear people say, ‘That’s not how I define marriage.’ Well to them I say, ‘Love knows no bounds.’ Why can’t people marry dogs? I’m certainly not advocating intimacy with your pets. I for one think intimacy has no place in a marriage. I walked in on my parents once, and it was like seeing two walruses wrestling. So ‘Woof!’ on Prop 15, Ohio. And that’s how Sue “C’s” it.” – Sue
I find this more amusing than I should, probably because I just watched Jane Lynch in Best in Show, about dog competitions. And I’m about to finish my first week working for a company that produces dog grooming expos and magazines for dog groomers.

“Your commitment to football is about as long as your pants.” – Will
I was just thinking about Ken’s short shorts. Isn’t it supposed to be cold in Ohio?

“You and I and the whole world knows that I am just a consolation prize. How do you think that makes me feel? … Emma is settling for me, and I love her so much I don’t care. But it doesn’t mean I appreciate you coming with your Gene Kelly charm and getting high off of her fawning over you.” – Ken
I feel such sympathy, and sometimes empathy, for Ken. He’s really a good guy, so why doesn’t Emma see that?

Puck: No one deserves this feeling. You know what the worst part is? It’s not the burning in your eyes or the way the slushee drips all the way into your underpants. It’s the humiliation. I feel like I could burst into tears at any moment. Rachel, I’m sorry, but today when the clock strikes 3:30…
Rachel: You’re choosing football over glee, which means we probably can’t be together anymore.
Puck: Yes. Damn, I feel like such a bad Jew.
This scene (the whole episode, really) continued to melt my heart for Mr. Noah Puckerman. The sensitivity, the understanding, the vulnerability… *swoon* But my favorite part was at the end when he whipped a yarmulke out of his pocket.

Rachel: Are you sure about this, Noah? I mean, choosing us over the team means you might get a slushie in your face every day.
Puck: Bring it.
Artie: Where’s Finn?
Oh, Noah Puckerman. Such bravery and maturity in risking the humiliation that makes him want to cry. And Artie. The delivery of his line was subtly brilliant. It carried the perfect amount of sadness and naivete, like a kid eating steak, wondering where his pet Bessie could be.

Finn: If I don’t do it, the guys on the team are going to kick the crap out of me.
Kurt: Well we can’t have that, can we?
Finn: What are you doing?
Kurt: It’s called taking one for the team. Now get out of here! And take some time to think whether or not any of your friends on the football team would have done that for you… Someone get me to a day spa, stat!
Kurt, this is why everyone loves you. Such a good lesson about friendship.

Rod: You didn’t think that we were exclusive, did you?
Sue: That’s the only way I do it, Rod.
For some reason, I wouldn’t expect this of Sue. But I suppose if Sue wants something, she has to be the only one who gets it.

Will: These are the moments, Finn. The crossroads. The ones you look back on when you get old and think, ‘What if’.
Finn: I don’t buy that. I don’t think any one decision makes your life. Unless you accidentally invent some kind of zombie virus or something.
Will: No, you’re right. Life’s a series of choices. A combination of moments. Little ones that add up to big ones that create who you are.
In high school, I used to put too much emphasis on the weight my decisions had on my future. I stressed out about choosing classes and whether or not I could get a job if I took art in 9th grade instead of Spanish. But every moment is a part of who you are, whether it’s something life-changing or mundane. Unfortunately, I missed the poignancy of this scene when watching it on TV, because we were viewing it on a standard definition screen. On the wide shots, both Will and Finn were off the screen. We could hear the voices but could only see the goal post.

“If it is one minute late, I will go to the animal shelter and get you a kitty cat. I will let you fall in love with that kitty cat, and then on some dark cold night I will steal away into your home and punch you in the face.” – Sue
EPIC.

Will: I just can’t get those two songs to go together.
Emma: Yeah, it’s because they don’t. We both know that. They’re both good songs, though.
Will: Great ones.
If Emma could only see the value of the “Thong Song”, then maybe they could make it work! Try harder to make it work, Will.

Rachel: They’re delicious.
Kurt: And filled with empty calories. You know why they’re called slushees, don’t you? Because your butt looks like one if you have too many of them.
You are what you eat, I suppose.

“You’ve never been hit by a slushee before, Mr. Schue?” – Artie
The best part about this line is the way Artie slowly rolls his wheelchair toward Will as he speaks.

Glee Episode #7: Throwdown

Word of the Day: Power. It’s amazing what people will do to gain or regain power and how some people are naturally powerful. It is also interesting to see what people do with the power they have, whether they use it for good or “evil”. Do they become a super hero or a super villain? I also enjoyed this episode’s look at the minority group in the midst of the power struggle over glee club.

“It sucks. You get all the stress and the worry, and none of the control.” – Finn
I suppose depending on your beliefs about the world, all of life is like this. In the grand scheme of things, we have very little or no control over what happens. The only thing we really have control over is ourselves and the decisions we make. We can choose to react to the world without the stress and the worry, even though everything else is out of our hands.

“Santana. Wheels. Gay kid. C’mon, move it! Asian. Other Asian. Aretha. Shaft.” – Sue
We’ve grown to expect this kind of insensitivity from Sue, but it still catches me off guard. I guess I would like to think that no one would be this insensitive. Yet I laughed. Maybe it’s because it reminded me of a personal incident when a professor asked the class to discuss what we liked best about being white. He turned to me and seeing my confused expression said, “Or fill-in-the-blank. There’s only two of you.” He didn’t even say Asian. Or other Asian. Fill-in-the-blank. Oh man, was I angry. After a while, though, I was able to see the comment for the ridiculousness and awkwardness that it was.

“I’m all about empowerment. I empower my Cheerios to live in a state of constant fear by creating an environment of irrational random terror.” – Sue
Sue is the kind of person who does not use her power for good. She’s also the kind of person who doesn’t understand empowerment. The root of empowerment is overpowering fear, stirring up within you the strength to achieve. Empowerment is not about instilling more fear.

“You can’t stand to see a woman in a position of power. Your psychosexual derangement would be fascinating if it weren’t so terrifying!” – Sue
Will doesn’t have a problem with women in positions of power. If he did, I don’t think he would try so hard to get all of his students, male and female, to succeed in school. No, his problem is that almost all of the women in his life are emasculating him. Do I think that being a man means having dominance over women? No, not entirely. But it is his inability to defend himself, to go from being abused by Sue at school to being abused at home by Terri (“I just don’t want to feel as powerless in my home as I do at school.”), that threatens his manhood.

“Here’s the deal Wu. My husband does the taxes for some very powerful mid-sized law firms in this town, and I’m sure somebody will be more than happy to take on my lawsuit.” – Kendra
Because there’s nothing more powerful than a mid-sized law firm. In a small town. With two OB/GYNs. Who are both Asian?

Finn: If we wanted to hear Mom and Dad fight, those of us who still have two parents would just stay at home on pay day.
Mercedes: I agree. Glee is supposed to be fun. And furthermore, I don’t like this minority business. I may be a strong, proud, Black woman, but I’m a lot more than that.
1. Loved Finn’s line and the perspective he offers.
2. I’m really glad that Mercedes acknowledges that her identity goes beyond race. I think race and ethnicity are important parts of one’s identity, but sometimes people fail to see anything else in themselves. I have encountered people who are so centered around their racial identity that they have developed a negative attitude toward the world, because in their eyes everyone is probably “ignorant” or “racist”. They have probably spent so much time self-segregating that they fail to see the common ground that we all share.

Artist Talk

And this is what I had to say, more in depth…

Often times when I consider ideas of identity, it is easier to say who I am not rather than who I am. When others try to put me into a box, it is easier to point out why I do not belong there than to offer an alternative categorization. The concept for my exhibit evolved from this idea of discrepancy in identity and the desire to express how I differ from societal expectations.

In art classes, we tend to joke about the poor math skills of artists, but over the past four years I have noticed how bothered I get by this practice. Throughout my years in school, my parents placed great emphasis on academics, and I was able to experience success, particularly in math. I cannot say with much certainty if I have maintained the same mathematical abilities as I had in high school. However, I can say that I am frustrated with the idea that some people will underestimate my abilities simply because I am an artist. When I first began coming up with concepts for senior show, this frustration was on my mind. Originally, I wanted to use this work to prove that while I am an artist, I am not bad at math. I considered exploring the forms and typographical qualities of calculus equations to demonstrate the integration of the arts and academics. However, after speaking with Professor Prescott about the “artist personality,” I realized that there are many assumptions about artists other than those regarding our math abilities.

I then began considering using typography to represent a statistical analysis of the behaviors and personalities of Messiah College’s artists. I planned to survey the art faculty and students about various artist stereotypes, hoping to discover that such stereotypes were not true. Statistically, do artists have troubled childhoods and substance abuse issues? Are artists more introverted or extroverted? Liberal or conservative? I hoped to find out what was true. Stereotypes about artists were things I never really thought about before. Discussions about stereotypes and identity usually required me to talk about my race and what it is like being Asian-American. It was an interesting process talking about something other than race in a discussion of stereotypes. However, as much as I may get tired of talking about race or racism, I realized that it is an integral part of my identity. I realized that if I were to do a project that explored stereotypes, race could not be ignored. My concept then expanded to the exploration of stereotypes about artists, Asians, Christians, and women – and also narrowed its focus on me as an individual and the various ways I think I break these stereotypes. I chose to use movie stills to represent the stereotypes, because media are often the ones responsible for perpetuating generalizations about various people groups. I decided to use digital photography to explore self-perception because I consider myself an artist when I am behind a camera more so than when I am in front of a computer. The layout of my piece was influenced by these images by Robert Rauschenberg and April Greiman. Each row focuses on a particular stereotype, and when arranged in a grid creates two fragmented full-body portraits that integrate the various aspects of my identity.The portrait on the left expresses what I should look like according to society’s expectations while the column on the right acts as a self-portrait. I used the middle column to connect and contrast the two portraits both visually and conceptually through the use of type. The first row focuses on the artist aspect of my identity. For this stereotype, I chose to use a movie still from “Benny and Joon,” in which one of the main characters is an artist with a diagnosed mental disorder. Johnny Depp plays Sam, another highly creative character with mental issues of his own. This semester I have had the pleasure of taking Abnormal Psychology and learned that research has shown a correlation between creativity and psychosis. This perhaps may serve as a basis for the “crazy artist” image and the stereotypical inner turmoil that drives and inspires the art and creative process. Art has never really been an act of catharsis for me, or an outlet to express the emotional struggles that I am experiencing. The closest I have gotten to this is carrying my camera along with me when I feel like taking a walk during times of stress. I do not sit waiting for divine inspiration, either. I take a much more logical or analytic approach to my work, making lists and jotting down ideas as I brainstorm or look up ideas and imagery online.The second row represents ideas of what it means to be a Christian. Media representations of Christianity are often in a negative light, showing us to be hypocritical like Mandy Moore’s character in the movie Saved! or judgmental like the members of Westboro Baptist Church, founders of GodHatesFags.com. We see that congregation on the news picketing funerals and blaming homosexuals for 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina. The media image used for this aspect of identity is from Footloose, a film that depicts the citizens of the small Christian town of Bomont to be close-minded and suspicious of music, books, and dancing – and new people in general. I fear that people have this image of judgmental Christians in mind without understanding that Christ lived with an open door of love and compassion.The third row depicts my perception of being Asian. This was a particularly difficult set of images to create, because I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to communicate. My parents had lived in the States for about 20 years before I was born, and they raised me in suburban white America. This made it difficult to think about what it means to be Asian, because I generally do not think of myself as Asian, but as culturally white. I chose, then, to explore the assumption that being Asian in appearance means being Asian in culture. The movie still from “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” features what seems to be traditional dress, something that we would consider exotic and foreign. The placement of the hands is somewhat structured and suggests someone subdued, a trait we generally associate with Asians. I decided to counter this with blue jeans, attire that is culturally generic with no connotations of foreignness. My posture is informal and not submissive, but perhaps suggests a sense of defiance.I used the final row to explore issues of womanhood and femininity. In the movie “In Her Shoes,” from which I got the movie still, shoes were the common ground between two sisters who were polar opposites. Shoes and womanhood were among the very few things that the two women shared. This image of the stiletto heel represents the societal expectation that femininity is synonymous with being a woman. Dolls, dresses, high heels – all women are expected to enjoy these things; those who don’t are somehow less feminine and perhaps even less of a woman. I contrasted the image of the high heels with an image of my Chuck Taylors, well-worn and well-loved, and not typically feminine. As I consider my personality, I find that I am not particularly feminine either. When I am in a group of guys, I tend to become one of the guys rather than stick out as the only girl. I have learned that even the way I handle stress is typical of males rather than females. Some may say that all these differences make me atypical, or less than what they were expecting me to be. Those who hold such views or expectations have probably allowed the label to become the identity, and therefore expect something unrealistic. These differences do not make me any less of a person, but rather they make me more of an individual and more of myself.