Saturday, December 26, 2009

Inferiority Complex

Two years ago, I was 175 lbs. At 5'4, that was way too much weight for me to be carrying around. I was large-- so much so that I was loosing my ability to buy clothing at normal stores (unable to fit into size 14 jeans). Now, my weight fluctuates a little, but hangs around 114 lbs. I have become significantly more attractive as I have lost the weight. My wonderful Cerinthus started dating me when I was around 175 lbs, but he is certainly happy that I have lost the weight, and constantly tells me how beautiful I am. Although I love him, I somehow feel that I have missed my chance to see what new found attractiveness can do.

Cerinthus is away, sadly, spending the holidays with his family. I have been so busy that I rarely notice his absence, but at the moments when I relax I find myself wishing he were here and impatiently awaiting his return. At one of those moments, I was at a Christmas party when I noticed one of the sons of a family friend looking at me. I could not be sure, but it certainly looked as though his eyes were following me from time to time. The boy was young, only 13 or 14, so obviously he did not tempt me, but I was certainly flattered. About 5'10 and slender with brown hair falling over his eyes, I could tell that at 13 I would have had a rather more positive reaction to the attention. Even being quite a few years his senior, I could not help myself; I began to talk to him more. Of course I did not flirt-- in fact I'm not even sure how one would flirt with someone so young-- but I payed him more heed and attempted to engage him. I guess that I am so starved for attention, having been awkward in high school and spending the last 2 and a half years being fat, that I just cannot let attention go away. I need to feel, somehow, that people think I am pretty and slender. May this primordial urge dissipate before it gets me into more serious trouble.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Do You Need a Ride?

I hate airlines. I flew home for the holidays on Alaska Airlines. Now the airlines are, unfortunately, pretty much the only game in town in terms of travel. This means that they can essentially charge their customers for anything-- Alaska currently charges for any checked baggage. I found this obnoxious. Given that bringing ice skates in carry-on seems to be a gray area in TSA policy, and I wanted to bring home my ice skates so I could practice and show up my beloved Cerinthus when he comes to visit, I decided to not take a cab so I would have the money to pay for the baggage if it were necessary.

The bus stop right near my apartment is only serviced on particular hours on weekdays. Consequently, I had to walk over a mile uphill to bring my bag to the bus that would take me to the airport. My bags were extremely heavy, but they were rolling bags so I figured I could make it. I began my long walk. As I walked, I thought to myself, "wouldn't it be funny if someone offered me a ride?" About a quarter mile up the hill, a brand new Prius pulled up in front of me and rolled down its window. A man, about seventy, asked "do you need a ride somewhere?" I smiled and declined as politely as I could. I knew that that was probably a pretty safe option-- an old hippie with a new car-- but as a pretty young woman, getting into a car with a stranger was never a good idea. So, I continued to drag my suitcase.

About a half a mile up the hill, a beat up red van with it's back windshield taped on with duct-tape pulled up beside me. A young man, clearly realizing how sketchy he looked asked rather sheepishly, "do you need a ride up the hill?" At this point, I was pretty tired and I was thinking about it. However, I was smart, and I knew that I could not accept a ride from someone I did not know (and if I had, against my better judgement, I really should have accepted the ride from the old guy in the Prius). So I continued for another quarter mile.

Suddenly a figure approached, walking, and hailed me by name. "Do you need some help, Sulpicia," said the friend who approached. At this point, I was happy to accept some help, especially from someone I knew. The boy generously took my bag and started walking in the opposite direction. We walked for a half mile before getting to his car, for he had generously offered to drive me to the airport. The car was a fairly new, just-been-detailed BMW sportscar. The ride was pleasant and I was very grateful.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Sulpicia I

I suppose that I should explain my choice of name Sulpicia (III). I just finished a long and hard-fought paper on a late Republican Latin love elegist named Sulpicia, whom I find fantastic. She is often known as Sulpicia (I), because of a later satyrist named Sulpicia (II) (1). Sulpicia is the only surviving female poet from Republican Rome. She wrote a cycle of six poems (2).

The poems are incredibly beautiful. They are written in a first person confessional style, using simple, pedestrian vocabulary and complex sentence structure. Looking deeper, the poems reveal an incredible cognizance of the changing political, social, class structures surrounding her at the end of Republic. For the poems, see the Perseus Project.

Most of the Roman love elegists, as well as the Hellenistic elegists on whom they based their poetry chose to used mythological names to refer to the lover (or lovers in the case of the Hellenistic poets or Tibullus) about whom they wrote. For the Roman poets, Propertius, Tibullus, and Ovid, these lovers are described with vague and contradictory details. This causes recent scholars to believe the names do not refer to real or single individuals, but that the names were rather a technique to hold the poetry together (3).

Unlike the other Roman love elegists, Sulpicia made her expression of lover-as-a-theme much more literal. The name Cerinthus itself comes from the Greek word that means “bee bread,” that which the bees feed to their young, but it has a natural connection to wax (4). This reinforces the servile connection in two ways, according to David Roessel in his essay "The Significance of the Name Cerinthus in the Poems of Sulpicia": "the evocation of wax in Cerinthus and the possible use of the name for servants (5) compliment each other nicely. For wax was the poets servant both in the process of creation and in the dissemination of her words" (6). This name, then, displays Sulpicia's tendency to imbue every aspect of her work with a piece of herself, in this case, making Cerinthus literally as well as figuratively the medium for her work.

Sulpicia's work discusses many themes with which I identify: love, reputation, gossip, familial obligation, the work of writing, and differences in class between self and lover, and self-presentation. Not being a Roman Citizen in the late Republic, I obviously have a different experience of these themes than does Sulpicia-- especially since the main difference in class between my own Cerinthus and I is intelligence or intellectual class rather than socioeconomic status. However, there is a timelessness to her work which I admire and my goal is to use her example and character names to discuss the modern themes of my own ever-changing surroundings.

  1. Yes, I know that I should not cite Wikipedia. However, I didn't know anything about Sulpicia (II) until I looked up Sulpicia (I) on Wikipedia and was not inclined to look further.
  2. There are five poems that precede these six poems in Book 3 of Tibullus, know as the amicus Sulpicae, but these can be ruled out as Sulpicia's own work because of the vast discrepancy in style. (For this claim, see: pp. 268-9 Kristina Milnor's "Sulpicia's (Corpo) Reality: Elegy, Authorship, and the Body in [Tibullus] 3.13" in Classical Antiquity vol. 21, no. 2, 2002).
  3. See Veyne, Paul. Roman Erotic Elegy. Trans. D. Pellauer. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988 and Miller, Paul Allen. Subjecting Verses. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2004 among others.
  4. Roessel, David. "The Significance Name Cerinthus in the Poems of Sulpicia," Transactions of the American Philological Association, Vol. 120. Johns Hopkins University Press (1990). 243.
  5. Roessel 244.
  6. Roessel 245.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Rules of Engagement

I never intended to start blogging. Outside it's below freezing. I've got a cold. It's finals week and I have two papers to finish as well as two finals exams. Most importantly, I have written about 25 pages of an undergraduate thesis on Plato's critique of tragedy in the Laws and the Republic, which has to be complete at a grand total of 60-80 pages by April 30th, 2010. The health and counseling center says that thesising seniors need some balance in their lives. I agree. So I started a blog.

The project is simple: stay sane while writing a senior thesis. The rules are as follows:
  1. No mention of my thesis or thesis topic except in an entry on the date of an actual thesis deadline.
  2. Minimal discussion of work from classes other than my thesis.
  3. Discussion of those things I do not get to creatively or analytically examine in my everyday life due to the general chaos of school, job, etc.
  4. Entries at least once a week to detail my progress in staying sane.
I do not want to be a stressed out ball of frenetic energy. I want to enjoy my life, especially given that this is my last year in college. Ultimately, I think that my thesis will benefit from my decreased stress level.

Thus, the implementation of the rules begins...