“Yes Please”

AmyPoehler

Amy Poehler’s book is doing me a world of good right now.

“Great job,” he said.

“You guys missed my cue,” I said.

“No one noticed”

“I did”

“Relax, it was great.”

“Relax” is a real tough one for me. Another tough one is “smile.” “Smile” doesn’t really work either. Telling me to relax or smile when I’m angry is like bringing a birthday cake into an ape sanctuary. You’re just asking to get your nose and genitals bitten off.

Her stories and vignettes about her life and career are good therapy for women. Check it out.

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The Crash and Burn Syndrome

 

A picture of a caterpillar smoking a hookah. T...

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I’m a weirdo, I admit it. I go along almost as happy as you please and then I let things build up internally. I take an insult here and a jibe there from a coworker. I become miffed at a misspoken word or I get irritated about something. These little things add up day after day and sometimes week after week and BLAMMO!! I explode and go on a tearing bender of a fit and lay waste with my scathing wit or anger everyone who just happens to get in my way! Well, ok, maybe it’s not that bad, but it feels like it sometimes. Then, I am fine for awhile until the cycle starts up all over again.  Anyone else do that?

So what’s the answer? Religion used to soothe me. Reading still distracts me but sometimes I can’t concentrate enough to read. I’ll watch a good movie, but they only last two hours at the most.  So I’ll take a whole weekend and just become a hermit. Except I can’t do that much anymore now that I live with my daughter. But I can sure try!  Yesterday I watched the Tim Burton movie Alice in Wonderland. The movie was visually appealing and a definite work of art, but the story wasn’t so great. No, it didn’t follow the original much. Same characters, different plot. I did become very sidetracked by the glorious score by Danny Elfman:

I could listen to it all day. It soothes me.

Then I read my book for awhile:  The Gate House by Nelson DeMille. I had to put Greg Iles away (The Devil’s Punchbowl) without finishing it. It bordered on torture porn and don’t we have enough of that with all the television shows that feature the female victim of the week. I mean really! How many times do we have to see rapes and murders of young women? Aren’t there enough of those in the news. We are a world full of voyeurs.  But in any case, I don’t need that to calm my nerves now do I? My counselor once asked me why I didn’t just pray to God and, granted she was a Christian counselor, I told her that God and I didn’t communicate much anymore. She said that that didn’t matter, the very act of praying would help. So I did and right before gnawing my paws off while trying to go to sleep on the worst of the nights, I asked God to help me out here a little. Anything would do, a little peace of mind or some new insight or hey, how about some nice calming peaceful feelings? I then went to sleep and woke up feeling much better.

Now I don’t know if God did anything or not, but it doesn’t hurt to think so. It also didn’t hurt to ask. And I didn’t even have to straighten up and fly right first! Some parents could use that lesson.. ahem.. In the coming weeks when one of the most important days of my life comes to pass (my wedding), I need to remember why my fiancée and I are doing this, how little time we have on this earth to love each other, and frankly how tiny some of those seeming insurmountable problems appear from an eternal viewpoint. Whether eternity turns out to be nothing at all or some celestial kingdom, it can’t hurt to imagine one’s life in such a time frame. People get so overwrought about things that are meaningless, me especially. My philosophy should always be,  “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die!” Sometimes there’s some great shit in the bible! 😀

Quote of the Day (even the Week!)

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“At the very least it would mean something about every day, to the best of my ability, resisting being a fake. Resisting the fake answer, the false front, the superficial conversation in favor of something more deeply human, more deeply connected to what really matters about being alive, whether it sounds religious or spiritual or correct or not. It means worrying less about being perfect and being concerned more with being authentic or real with other people. Much of the religion I was schooled in was about putting myself away, aside, behind me in order to become something holier and closer to God. In other words, to draw nearer to the Really Real I needed to be less me. Perhaps it was a mid-life revelation or just wearing out on that that led me to a different understanding that my humanity was God’s chief gift to me and that if I was going to find the Really Real it was going to be within that and not separating myself from that. It meant that the holiest thing I could be was the flawed human being God had made me to be.” (Barbara Brown Taylor)

Would You Like a Shot of Whiskey With That Stress?

 

How to lose all your stresses

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Yesterday I told my boss at work that I was leaving my job of nearly ten years next March.  It was a relief to finally say that since nearly everyone knew in the office but him anyway. It was nice to get it off my chest. The stresses in the last 10 years have simply piled up. Some of them are of my own choosing and some of them not. Even good events and joyful events are stress causers. Psychologists have some kind of quiz you can take to measure stress, but I don’t need a quiz. I have a list of the last five years’ worth of stresses which I’m sure doesn’t cover everything, just the highlights:

  1. 1995 to present; moved from Colorado back home to Illinois, diagnosed with chronic hives of no known origin. numerous shots of steroids to bring down swelling of arms, legs, neck, face. Four different antihistamines taken each day to combat it.
  2. 1997: returned to college while my kids were in school.
  3. 2000, 2004, 2005: empty nest of all three children. Off to colleges.
  4. 2000 and 2004; graduated college with a B.A. and an M.A.
  5. 2001: Began new job after many years of housewifery.
  6. 2005: ruptured disk at L7. Microdiscectomy in August; two months recuperation, worked some at home. September: Second son joins the Army. Two loved pets die within a year of each other.
  7. 2007: January, heart catheterization. discovered 99% blocked artery. Stent inserted, endless blood tests monitoring and cardiology visits. Father-in-law passes away, funeral. October of that year, my second son gets married.
  8. 2008: Beloved pet disappears, never found. October: marital separation after 28 years. October: moved out of my house and into  my sister’s place, December: moved out of my sister’s house and into an apartment. Began long distance relationship.
  9. 2009: October: Second son leaves for Iraq. Fall: Husband files divorce papers. Continued long distance relationship.
  10. 2010: March: divorce. April: third move to another place with my daughter and our cat. June, engaged to long distance relationship man. August: first son moves to Hungary. Second son comes back from Iraq. October: Daughter gets in wreck with my car. She’s ok, but the car is totaled. Continued long distance relationship.
  11. Stresses to come: 2010: October: trying to find a used car. December: remarriage. 2011: major move to UK.

All I can say is, thank god for medication! I’ve tried various coping strategies; religion, counseling, finger chewing (childhood habit that has never gone away), talk therapy with friends, co-workers. But really, there’s no cure-all. An anti-depressant has at least helped me get a grip and not go completely bonkers. Wish I discovered those back in 2005!

Feminist Gatekeepers

 

Writing in the 18th century, Mary Wollstonecra...

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Rebecca Traister, Hanna Rosin, and others on why you can’t own feminism. (1) – By DoubleX Staff – Slate Magazine.

Now I understand. After reading these feminists (and I’m surprised that they “allowed” Christina Hoff Summers to comment) I understand better about the feminist gatekeepers. They are elite women-firsters. They are academic women lording sover the lives of any other creatures; fetuses, men, animals, etc. They have earned this right because they believe others have ruled them long enough. Fair enough. I’m on board with that. Men have always taken what they wanted without weighing consequences. It’s their right. However, feminist gatekeepers look askance at anyone who would claim the right to be first themselves, such as Sarah Palin, who they label “unserious.” Why? Because she’s not educated like you or believe in the same policies as you do? As I recall, men in their patriarchal heyday often called Victoria Woodhull and suffragettes “unserious.” Gatekeepers label Palin and other women who disagree with them as dabblers at politics who do not understand what they are talking about.  Why? Because they don’t understand it the way you do? Which education is enough to make them “serious” about their political beliefs. Ivy league colleges? I smell elitism in the air.

Again, ladies, we UNDERSTAND what you are saying. You are saying women have rights no matter who’s involved. You are saying that your body is yours no matter what. Abortion is your banner no matter who you’ve allowed inside your body first. We get it. Fathers have no rights. Grandparents have no rights. The fetus has the least rights of all. The only right that matters is the female because she carries the baby. No parthenogenesis is involved yet somehow this “tissue” is strictly hers to dispose of at will as if no one was involved in its creation but her. We understand that no one has the right to an opinion about the government, about welfare, about employment, but you. Early feminists such as Mary Wollstonecraft and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, ladies who were never governors of their states, are considered “minor” feminists, probably because Stanton opposed abortion as another means of enslaving women by getting rid of men’s mistakes for them. Stanton wrote:

“When we consider that woman are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should Treat our  children as property to be disposed of as we see fit.”  Letter to Julia Ward Howe, October 16, 1873, recorded in Howe’s diary at Harvard University Library

Mary Wollstonecraft wrote:

“Women becoming, consequently, weaker…than they ought to be…have not sufficient strength to discharge the first duty of a mother; and sacrificing to lasciviousness the parental affection…either destroy the embryo in the  womb, or cast if off when born. Nature in every thing demands respect, and those who violate her laws seldom violate them with impunity.” A Vindication of the Rights of Women,”

In other words, there is a price to be paid for such cavalier trashing of nature’s effects isn’t there? I think so. Yet, I am pro-choice myself and think the laws should stay as they are to protect a woman’s health and against crimes committed against her. However, there should be caveats as with any act that has responsibilities attached to it; the rights of fathers who care, and other family members who have a vested interest. No decision should be responsibility free. I don’t believe the religionists that say your body is God’s, but I also don’t go to the other extreme that say your body is yours no matter what.

There was a division in Stanton’s day and it appears there will be in our day. Ideology always creates division. Perhaps it should but people who don’t agree with you have a right to express their beliefs just as much as you do. Agreeing to further the causes of women should not however lie on the stance of a single issue.  Life is never about single issues. Again, modern feminists are making themselves the gatekeepers of an ideology that only a few women will ascribe to and declaring it true and right. They are “mortified” that other women claim their accomplishments as feminist; women who are married, mothers, or in any other category not fitting for complete and total freedom as they see it, a right they only accord to themselves. Is abortion really going to be the test for all political ideologies, left, right, and middle? Really? Feminism will never go anywhere with this mentality.

As for who gets to be feminist? I’ll tell you; only those who agree with the gatekeepers of their generation, that’s who.

Politics Isn’t Worth the Effort

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I must say that in all my 50 years, I’ve never been so disgusted with politics as I am now. I’ve always voted, but I’m not going to any longer. I’ve felt guilty for not voting, but no longer. I’ve kept abreast of events that have happened and read all sides of political arguments, but no longer.  The only thing that I can see clearly at this stage of my life is that politics breeds rancor and hatred. All of it is an age-old battle between those who think they are right vs. those who think they are right. There is no such thing as partisanship. There is no consensus and nothing moves forward. The less people knew the better. Now the internet has fueled a giant war of words and hatred ’round the world. The one interesting news story that caught my eye today was this one:

WESTCLIFFE, Colorado (AP) — A new road sign cautions drivers to watch for Amish horse-drawn carriages in the valley beneath Colorado’s Sangre de Cristo mountains. Highway pull-offs and dedicated horse-and-buggy paths are in the works.

Amid the serenity and isolation of southern Colorado, hamlets like Westcliffe, La Jara and Monte Vista are welcoming Amish families who are moving West to escape high land prices and community overcrowding back East in Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

“The reason we moved out West is the farm land is a little bit cheaper and it’s not as heavily populated, a little more open space and a little more opportunity for young people to get started with their own farms,” said Ben Coblentz, a 47-year-old alfalfa farmer from Indiana. “The general public seems to have a little slower pace of life than what it was back east. Everybody here respects us.”

And respect them I do. I respect anyone who stays above the factions of modern life and sticks to principles such as hard work, community building, and respect for one’s neighbor. They’ve been a consistent witness without ever saying a word in public for our consumption and I long for that kind of peace and silence. I started this blog to expose “the mystery of iniquity that doth now work…” and it seems to be working overtime. There’s something in society that’s rotting from the inside and I don’t want to be any part of it. I want to live life rather than observe it.

I see none of the peacefulness of the Amish while reading the news.  I see none of the ethics that religions espouse when I see vicious slander against public figures and groups purposely fomenting riots. I see no one with the wisdom to hold their tongues when it’s unwise to speak (me included!) I see people who cannot abide others who think differently. I see politically correct language police. And I see that none of it has made this country or this world better than it was 20 years ago. If anything it’s worse. Am I a curmudgeonly “old woman?” Perhaps, but the advantages of getting older is being able to speak one’s mind without fear of reprisal. There will always be haters. I don’t want to be one of them. I can no longer read that hateful mishmash called “news.” I can no longer go through an election cycle that drags hatefully on for years here in America. It wears on me and makes me mean, vindictive, and hateful. I can’t stand that about myself and about what makes me that way. One can never write honestly without being labeled. One can’t sympathize with those who are unjustly attacked without being equated with a particular “ism.” It’s like being in grade school again!.

Like other bloggers who I respect greatly, I’m going to stop participating in the political game. It was intriguing for a while. In fact, I thought it would do some good to show up the misleading mischievousness and hatred of both sides. But pointing these things out doesn’t do that. It entrenches the camps. It only makes sides dig in further and flames of hatred burn hotter. And I’m only adding small sticks to the fire. Do people pay attention to what I write? Of course not, but I have to write this somewhere, and a small seed has to be planted somewhere.  I’ve seen some good examples from religious folk who stay above the fray: Amish, Quakers, Episcopalians, nuns, monks, etc. They’ve shown me that a personal ethic is all that is required to live an ethical life. It’s not my place to speak about injustice.  Some people have that role. I’m sure I don’t. My seed will be to refuse to add those sticks to the bonfire already raging. There are too many voices already; so many that it’s impossible to be heard. I think the internet has been a good thing for getting information out there, but I see that because of it, we are more polarized politically than ever. Good information is out there. Unfortunately, there is more bad information than good.

Will anyone notice my lack of posts about politics. Hell no! But I will, and what a relief that will be. I’m not sure what will be the focus of this blog with it’s main mission when I started it. Perhaps a few more reviews of books, movies, television. Perhaps I’ll blog about my family and my new life in another country. Or perhaps it’s really time to shelve it and move on. Not sure. I’ll take it one day at a time, hopefully silent ones.

Quitting Christianity a la Anne Rice: a Manifesto of sorts

Anne Rice

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I’ve gotten angry with religion quite often lately. Like being part of a nation or state which also angers you because of their stupid policies and marginalizing of certain groups, finding your religion consistently betraying its preached principles is very disheartening. And although I’ve claimed atheism at various times in my life, I can never willfully give up that part of me that convinces me personally through experience a belief in a Divine Will that operates in/throughout/above/below the Universe. Many times I throw my hands up in despair and say, “No more of this bullshit for me!” Yet, I always come back.

Anne Rice has gotten a lot of flack lately for quitting Christianity. Some say that quitting Christianity is not possible. I would agree with the semantics of that. If you believe Christianity is an institution, you can quit it. There are differing definitions of “church” although I believe the church is made up of Christians no matter where they are. Others are in agreement with her and have come out of their religious institutions as well. We all agree that the polarization Christians (and all religions) cause when they insist on following this or that dogma, tenet, doctrine, or “prophetic” saying are the prime motive for our coming out. On her Facebook page, Rice has posted the various responses and there are so many that I can’t single out just one. However, I can say that I agree with her 100%.

When I became a Christian, I was not evangelized nor did I “come forward” in an alter call at a church. I had my own experience of Jesus and “God” on my own time and in my own way through personal prayer and from reading parts of the new testament. The Divine manifested itself to me in terms I could understand. It just happened to be in Jesus’ form. My first mistake after this experience was searching out a church where I could meet with fellow believers and connect with others and perhaps compare notes about our experiences. That would have been great, had it stopped right there. Unfortunately, becoming part of a community such as that seems to imply that others can become your moral compass and tell you what you can and cannot do and what you can and cannot believe. This got me wondering what the church is for then. Is it primarily a place where others can compare experiences or is it a club where only those who pay the right amount or who follow all the rules others laid down for us by others, away from the secular world and all its contaminates? Is it supposed to welcome all who wish to come to it or is it primarily set up to exclude? You will find as many explanations as there are religious sects, so nothing can be decided either way. What’s left is the kind of individualism that Rice espouses and that church leaders so despise. It is fundamentally a lack of faith in people to do the right thing at the right time and for the right reasons. I think it’s time we grow up from that.

Church leaders argue that Jesus set up these rules, but of course there is no evidence of this. The bible cannot even be counted on to accurately record the words of Jesus or to set down the history of the church without those, who happened to win the power play of sects back then, redacting those portions that came down to us ahead of time.  The one thing that convinces me that religions as practiced in the world are not absolute truth is due to the confusing witness provided by the varied sects, churches, religions, and practices throughout the world. None are in agreement. If such dogmas were ABSOLUTE TRUTH, there would be consensus about these issues and there is not. Individualism is the only answer here. Actions such as peace, simplicity, and love are its evidence. What I think these so-called leaders fear most is being out of a job! Do they not think that a Divine Will can’t accomplish what it wants with or without us?

My individualism imposes no belief on anyone. My individualism does the most good and spends my money where I see fit. I don’t funnel funds through the church and expect it will go where I want it to go. I send it directly. I don’t evangelize nor do I believe every believer called to do that. This thinking is only an institutional tool to garner the most numbers. In this day and age, it isn’t necessary to evangelize. The information is out there. It’s up to the Divine to speak, not me.  Much like the Religious Society of Friends, I believe in the Light that is in every person. This is the Light of God and it has to be trusted that whoever or whatever Divine Will is accomplishing in the world, what is accomplished is what is meant to be accomplished. The church as a traditional institution has done irreparable harm in the world by not trusting this concept. They believe “truth” is funneled through authority and hierarchy. Judaism and Islam share in the harm done and in believing in imams, priests, prophets, or “special” people. The “big three” have a lot to answer for and I’m not going to blindly follow the herd and say “They told me to” because they claim authority over me. My only authority is my conscience informed by my spirit, however that comes to me (brain, soul, outside me, whatever), through a community I choose, if I choose, and through information garnered from experts in other fields; scientific, religious, or otherwise. Therefore, I will stand or fall on my own decisions, no one else’s.