One of the hardest parts for me about college so far had been refraining from saying comments that I would not hesitate to make at home. (DISCLAIMER: this is also one of the best parts of college so far, because it means that I’m meeting a lot of people who are different than me and it is those who are different than you, more often than those who are the same, who teach you new things). There are a lot of topics that my family talks about freely and frequently. One of these is Romney bashing, the other is the topics of racism and sexism. I have very unique relationships with my main 8 ladies in that we will sit at the beach on our camping trip and debate everything from politics to race to religion to what is unfair to well, everything for a good two hours. It is around them that I say things that I know wholeheartedly are offensive (like countless God jokes) to some people and I know that they know that I’m only kidding. I miss that. I miss being able to say anything and knowing that I’m in a safe place where I won’t be stepping on any toes.
There are a lot of conservatives here and it’s really hard for me not to open that can of worms all the way. For example, we went to the showing of Iron Jawed Angels and the sponsor of the Feminist Majority Club gave a little talk about how important voting is as an opening. I really enjoyed that. I, personally, am a feminist. Not a women are better than men feminist but an everyone needs to be treated equally and in reality, women earn 77 cents to a man’s dollar feminist. Beka, my roommate, thought the opening talk and the shirt that the sponsor was wearing (This is what Feminist looks like) was the funniest thing in the world. She couldn’t get over it and I’ve overheard her talking to someone back home about it at least 3 times, describing it as hysterical. We opened the can of worms a little bit on our way back to the dorm after the movie. She said it was more the fact that she’s never been exposed to things like this, just heard about them, that makes her think of them to be “strange”. I admitted to being a feminist. I think a lot of radical notions have been attached to that word, which causes people to prejudge, but also people just think differently in other parts of the country and even though that is something I experience with my Southern relatives, it is not something I have to deal with on a daily basis in liberal Madison.
People are also a lot more religious here. One of my suitmates prayed before eating dinner once and I took a double take. Not because it’s something that I frown upon, if you want to pray, pray anywhere and everywhere, but it’s just something that I have never seen someone do at school before. At opening convoction, the campus spiritual leader led everyone in prayer. She did make it non religious by only saying God and not Jesus, etc, and naming God in many different languages but it shocked me. You don’t pray at school, and Cottey is not a religious school. So how is that allowed? It was very strange. Yesterday was Sunday and quite a few of the girls on campus went to some church or another. A handful of them asked me if I was going or if I’d been and I would say no and they would kind of pause for a moment and then say oh. I’m not used to being somewhere were talking about religion is followed by judgement.
It’s just strange encountering people who aren’t Madison liberals. There are, of course, girls who are more towards the Madison side of things here, but I’m still not comfortable enough with them to let even 1/3 of my comments slide of my tongue. Things like that take time though, I suppose.
The other things is that some people here say things like “That’s so gay” and “retarded” and those are two phrases/words I have never said and I learned not to say in sixth grade. My ears burn when people say them. I don’t hesitate to ask them not to say them. I can’t stand the sound of them, they literally hurt my ears and my heart.
Oh the bright side, I’ve been having really good days. Algebra in 30 minutes!