I thought I might phase-out “Reverse Exiled” but I doubt it, now. This blog is already so personal– so idiosyncratically synchronized with whatever phase I’m in– it makes sense I would continue to “process write” in here.
UPDATE: I learned about Jon Vaughn’s protest. Some of what I wrote below seems moot but I’m leaving it here to demonstrate how easy it is to miss an important detail like that.
To start, it is so easy to have a good morning when I pour my plant-based milk from a carton with Aly Raisman on the side. Bravo, Silk: this marketing maneuver changed my mind about soy
Better luck next time, Almond Breeze
My mind works in unfortunate ways, though. “Wouldn’t it be a downer if I thought about…”
Then, I think about exactly what I want to forget. Granted, I remember the ways that Aly and her teammates are the best: It Still Makes Me Cry Too. Tangentially, here is a video of Suni Lee being interviewed by Kelly Clarkson ~ 100% heart-warming and I hope Suni’s entire life is filled with wonderful moments. I digressed, sorry-not-sorry.
We won’t forget. I intend to see Aly’s documentary (Trevor Noah interviewed her about it). She confronts the issue. I tried, last time. But I’m not done. Assault still happens. I’m not going to be done. I don’t want to be done anymore ~ not when work still needs to be done. Now, I’m starting to sound like the man who started this blog instead of the one who thought about letting it end. *deep breath* Hurtful things happen in this world and…
“to seek Justice and resist evil…” is tattooed on my chest
The scandal spoiled my alma mater for me. The dirty doctor, yes, but not just him. The athletic director, now gone. The administration that sheltered a predator and wouldn’t mandate our assault prevention program that semester (not that it would change what happened to the athletes but maybe it would’ve made a difference elsewhere in the student body). Administrators are to blame. Our instate rival, The University of Michigan, did not ruin Michigan State University for me. Wolverines are blameless in this matter.
I might have taunted some Wolverines, today, if I hadn’t seen Aly’s face
The Internet has many cruel pockets but no Wolverine fan has ever given me grief about Larry Nassar. Rivalry games come and go but they never bring it up. For several years I’ve had this irrational fear (concern?) that someone will say “THAT is why Michigan State is inferior, so shut-up!” They never do. The Wolverine fans I know are classier than that.
I’m shutting-up of my own accord. I got honest with my reflection in the mirror: “MSU was an inferior institution for allowing that to happen. I wish I had gone to the University of Michigan! I would never wish this scandal on another school but I wish I wasn’t affiliated with it…” But I am. I just needed a moment to get real.
I didn’t parse my feelings of inferiority last time I wrote on this topic. In my dresser are six t-shirts from the two universities I attended (undergrad and grad). Three are from MSU ~ they were all bought for me as gifts. Three are from American University ~ I bought all of them from the campus bookstore (and my aluminum water-bottle, too).
I do have the affiliation I want. Their idea of football is fùtbol. All kidding aside, sports had nothing to do with why I attended AU.
The first building I ever walked into on campus was the grandest: The SIS Building – The School of International Service. I remember when MSU built box-seats for the football stadium; I complained my tuition was rising but I couldn’t use the nicest spaces on my campus (but, y’know, football revenue). At American University some of the nicest places are for students’ use. SIS is the crown jewel of colleges; I graduated from The School of Education but international education curricula overlap a lot with international service curricula. American University cares about the things I care about.
They aren’t perfect but they’re doing alright. In Autumn of 2015 someone spread Islamophobic leaflets around campus. The university responded swiftly and appropriately but that’s not the part that makes me so proud. I was TALK Intercultural Dialogue Program Coordinator. A Muslim student in one of our dialogue groups shared that she was thinking about dropping-out because of the leaflets; her peers in the program urged her to stay. It meant so much to me to hear that. I’d done my small part: I promoted the program, I took care of the logistics, I supported the facilitators. Knowing a student had a group of people telling her “please stay, you belong” made me feel less like a disgraced Spartan and more like a proud Eagle. My Eaglets were open-minded, kind, and proactive.
Did I mention the tunnel? The AU graduate lounge is in the tunnel between the SIS Building and the library! A secret hide-out for overgrown nerds like me? YUP: it’s underground between a three-story library and my favorite building! What a slice of heaven! AU reflects my values. AU offered me a graduate program where I could belong. AU gave me nice places where I could make memories doing research and drinking coffee, blissfully unaware of rivalry games. We all felt this sentence coming: it’s nice to put “American University” at the top of my résumé, before Michigan State. It’s no wonder I got ‘upside down’ on credentials.
I’m regenerating my Sense of Vision
That deserves its own entry. Right now, I think I’d like to tie together loose-ends of what I’ve already written:
- I might not throw-away that soy milk carton
- I should find Aly’s documentary (but I haven’t worked up my nerves)
- The University of Michigan never did anything to hurt me
- I’m still going to say “GO GREEN” if/when MSU wins
- I am an Eagle. I belonged at AU and I love that place
- “…too seek Justice and resist evil” still calls to my heart