I feel like the only time I have anything to blog about it has something to do with some kind of pivotal moment in my life. There hasn't been anything pivotal-esque in that past week; just really good feelings on the other side of some big decisions. Therapy has begun, and I know it's early to be so optimistic, but I am feeling pretty damn good :D
In light of the great mood and clear mind I've been experiencing in the past week and a half, I've noticed how much easier and less anxiety-provoking it has been to interact with people and express myself. Those who know me well have heard me complain time and again about my difficulty communicating my thoughts and ideas, but this past week has definitely seen a new side of Tina! I feel like a veil has been lifted; it's wonderful! I have spoken up in class on more than one occassion, even with ill-formed ideas (an absolute first), I have given my opinions confidently in class and casual conversation, and I've been a large part in directing many of my group meetings for class projects. It's simply a new and exciting experience. I feel like I've been granted access to a part of me that's been left dormant for so many years. In real-time, it's only been ten days, but it's certainly felt like a lifetime; and that's definitely not meant in an "oh-my-god-I-can't-believe-it's-been-so-long-I'm-so-bored-of-this" kind of way :P.
One of the things about Jean Vanier's book that I was able to identify with so deeply were his notions of loneliness and the need to belong. When I read those teachings, I thought, "I definitely know what it's like to feel lonely, and I too understand the importance of belonging, so I am well on my way to becoming human." The problem was that I had all along been allowing all of the negative experiences in my life dictate how I viewed the world and people around me (predominately in a negative light). So while I had life experiences that lent themselves to the teachings of Vanier, I did not have the understanding of those experiences to learn from them and apply them wholly to the experience of helping others. This is not to say that in the past ten days I've come to know and expertly put into practice everything that Vanier discussed in his book, but I am certainly in a better position in which to tackle such life-affirming endeavours, big or small.
Moving on, as some of you may have noticed I haven't discussed any volunteering experience which, as I've explained in previous posts, is a mandatory component of this term's portion of the BB program. I have had some difficulty getting in touch with the necessary people in order to secure a volunteer placement at locations that would lend to the experience I hoped to have in Ukraine; but, on the suggestion of Joanne, and for the fact that I may no longer be going to Ukraine, I will be contacting the Working Center. Fingers-crossed!
Finally, I learned something appalling today that I wish to share with all of you. In my Gender Relations class, I always find that there are more and more statistics that startle me in the inequality between the genders. But one in particular today that truly resonnated with me was the shift in the salary earnings of veterenarians. In class we were discussing how, in a patriarchal society such as ours, men, who are the dominant gender and rule-writers, re-write the rules when their patriarchy is challenged, or simply to uphold their position of power. An example of this is a typically female-dominated field becoming "masculine", for example computer programming, and the field experiences an increase in salary. Conversely, male-dominated fields that receive an increase in female employment decreases in prestige, and subsequently the field experiences a decrease in salary. An example of this, and one that has me scratching my head, is that, generally, vets in Ontario today are making the same annually as nurses. Vets are making the same as nurses!! I certainly do not intend to offend any nurses...I believe that is an extremely noble and under-rewarded profession (previous to university, I was in college to complete my bachelor in nursing), but in comparison with the amount of schooling that is involved with that of a veterenarian, it is an outrage. In order to become a nurse today (as of approximately 6 years ago), one has to complete a four year university degree. To become a vet, one has to obtain a university bachelor degree, and then complete a number of years to obtain their Doctor of Venterinary Medicine, and even more if they wish to specialize in any particular area of veterinary medicine. I don't know about you, but that's a HUGE discrepency in terms of amount of time and money spent to become a vet versus a nurse. Vets used to be paid on par with medical doctors, but since the field has seen an influx of female professionals, the field has lost it's prestige and apparently it's value. It honestly makes me sick with frustration at the systemic oppression still rampant in our society that prides itself on how far it's come in equality. Yes, we have come a long way, but unfortunately we (those for true and honest equality) have been silenced by band-aid solutions and quick fixes. The wool was pulled over our eyes, but now everyone else remains blind to it.