Thursday, April 6, 2017

I am a humanist...

Frankly, I'm not particularly fond of or attached to labels.  Not that I don't use them, and even on occasions - such as this one - apply them to myself.  But as I've gone further along in the journey of life, I've discovered that labels actually often do the opposite of what they try to do.  At least as far as people are concerned.

In theory, a label is useful because it can identify certain things about the person to whom the label is applied.  Certain consistent knowns.  Like "that person is an asshole" actually tells you a lot.  (And actually despite some frequent provocation, I don't often use that label towards others.  Unless they're driving like idiots, but that's another post for another day that I hopefully will never actually write).

Red state. Blue state.  Canadian. British. Conservative. Liberal. Professional.

It would be nice if we all fit neatly into tight little easily definable packages.

Or would it?  (And there's a side road into the potential up-sides to assimilation by the Borg...)

There certainly seems to be this pressing desire by a portion of the human population (I don't pretend to measure whether it's large or small) to categorize.  To find neat little categories, or systems by which to group people.  And these types of people (of which I probably am one, since I've often found that people pointing out features about folks they think are "other" are usually features they, too, share... after all - we are human) like distinct measurable systems.

The latest "battle" I've been having - not intentionally - has been about biological classifications.  To be clear, binary biological classifications.  Which, frankly, if I knew more about biology and the history of species with interchangeable parts, I could probably make some really snappy arguments.

But I find myself enjoying - perhaps - picking battles with people who are very certain about their views.  The more certain, stuck perhaps even, they are, the more I seem to be enjoying poking fun at them.

I'm not intentionally trying to poke fun.  Mostly I'm just trying to poke and make them think about some of the inconsistencies in what they espouse.  But it also seems to be a little fun. I'm sure that means I'm an evil person (since we like labels) or perhaps just human.

One of my friends introduced me to the work of Ivan Coyote now - oh - about five or six years ago.  My wife has recently discovered Ivan through this same friend.  And we've recently gone to see the Tomboy Survival Guide.  My wife has been generally apolitical in the world of queer politics and has been surprised and confused by some of the hateful posts others have made in response to Ivan.

One of the first ones had to do with pronouns.  I do snicker a little when others joining the conversation a month or so later have poor grammar anyway.  I'm not usually a grammar snob, but sometimes.  And usually in response to someone who's asked for it.

I stumbled into a label I hadn't heard of before  - TERFS - and that's a whole other ball of wax I won't even start back on today.  But the post essentially was a request to use the pronoun to describe the person that they preferred.  Innocent (in my eyes) enough.  But apparently not.  First, the word "label" TERFS has a little bit of explosive material attached to it.  A little like a land-mine, but different.  I had to detonate it to find out cuz on the surface it looked fairly harmless.

So, someone had written "I don't care - your aversion to your female body shouldn't dictate my perception of reality.  You are a she".  And then the Borg slips down the rabbit hole.

"Gender fantasies" being "imposed on others"

Oh, and I've been given a lot of information about biology and mental illness, and mutilation and feminism and.. oh binary biological boxes.

I was told that I believe that women aren't human beings.  No, I believe that rectangles aren't necessarily squares, but....

Anyway, let's not add math into it.

But mostly I am amused - and saddened - by the logic people profess.

I am amused by a woman who both describes herself as a radical feminist and who clearly describes her behavior towards me as "patronizing".  Uh, do you know the roots of the word "patronizing"? Do you - oh radical feminist - understand that I'd think one of the root "causes" for a radical feminist would be to eliminate "patronizing" behavior, i.e., patriarchy... i.e., well.. anyway.. never mind.

I love someone who describes themselves as a radical feminist and yet feels it's their place to tell other people what to do or not to do with their bodies.

Or a "radical feminist" who might very well have used the word "herstory" in her lifetime but thinks OTHERS shouldn't be able to use or adjust language to match their own world view.

Which is why I started this post about how labels clearly don't accurately identify anyone.  Or qualify anyone for any particular opinion.

What gives us power to have an opinion is our human-ness.

But clearly sound basic principles of what I thought would be beliefs by "feminists" let alone radical "feminists" - things I might have been led to believe through my upper education and degree in women's studies (oh, and English) are not clearly sound basic principles.

One person in sparring with me made some sort of comment about trans people only being white heterosexual men.  Which even if you accept that argument.. (big IF) still doesn't validate or invalidate general human principles about, well, anything.  I'm guessing the point was that we could dismiss it because it was a movement by privileged people.  Perhaps an indulgence...  ? I'm still not sure.

I was amused, though, and didn't bother to point out and drag poor Ivan back into it, that the conversation began by / about someone who was not born into the body of a white heterosexual male.

But at least the point made to me by that comment explains why everyone is so afraid of gender neutral bathrooms.  They think it's a prank by white heterosexual male rapists.  Sorry, I added that last word because later in the conversation the person did disclose that they had been raped (suggesting repeated molestation) and so it isn't an entirely unreasonable conclusion to draw that this must be the fear.

I've rambled in posts before.  But I am flabbergasted by some of the logic of people.  Mastectomy for a transgender person would be mutilation, but it`s okay for someone who has breast cancer or fears the potential for breast cancer because they might have a gene.  "Mutiliation" is wrong, but tattooing and piercing "don`t hurt anyone" (even thirty five years later, I do remember that my ears hurt when they were pierced, and I don't even want to think about what I would consider "less" traditional places to pierce that are becoming frankly more traditional..).  Giving oneself hormones is wrong.. but, wait, no, not for birth control.  Who is the one to draw the line - particularly for others - as to when a particular behavior is "okay" and when it is a horrific act?

And what do these people think about circumcision?

Now, to be clear, I'm not particularly advocating (intentionally) a belief system - but I do believe (which is completely contrary to my belief in humanism) in a belief system that is consistent.  If you're going to say the world is black and white, then your logic and beliefs should be that clearly consistent.

And it's okay - I do agree that there are inconsistencies in life.  I know I can be contrary.  I often admit I'm contrary, and that I'm wrong, and a whole other mess of imperfections.  But the harder you fight in your clear rigid lines that are anything but clear and rigid, the more I'm going to poke.

I may not be able to - or want to - put you into a little box as you clearly seem to want to put others and yourselves with your own labels of yourselves, but at least be consistent or recognize your own infallibility.  Cuz trust me, we're all wrong at some point.

But it's how we handle each other and treat each other in the end - regardless of label - that matters to me.

Not my first semi-disorganized post, and probably won't be as popular as Married Women Love Breasts but probably consistent with my old post about Isn't "Dyke" derogatory? What is in a name after all?

But perhaps I should listen to my other old post (self publicizing anyone?) and Step Away From the Keyboard....

Good night everyone....






Sunday, February 19, 2017

Fears and Phobias and Rabbit holes

So, racism is a thing.  So, is feminism, and heterosexism, and sexism, and Marxism, and ...

Well.. you get the idea.  There are a lot of isms.

And if Wikipedia is to be believed, "ism" is a neutral connotation.

And then, there's homophobia.

The noun used for distinctions between "gay" (consider it an umbrella for the moment, will you?) and "straight" (same here.. ) is fear.

I'm being a bit simplistic today.  But frankly, lately, I think people need to think in more simplistic terms and learn to respect the commonalities amongst us all in this society rather than pick us apart because of the differences between us as individuals.  (And I do know there are more fancy terms with phobia in it to describe a bit of what's up there, like xenophobia, but you don't here "xenophobia" bandied about as a term a much as you hear "racism".)

If we think in more simple terms, perhaps we can begin to realize that something we hold so dear might really be in direct conflict and contradiction with other things we hold dear.  And maybe find a way to reconcile them.

I've done a bad bad thing lately.  I've been flinging the words "alternative facts" at others.

And I've been doing a lot of reminding to people that the world was once flat.

But I have been drawing a lot of analogies about an area I really don't know that much about.  I really don't.  But I do know about being human.  And while I might not think I have been born in the wrong body, I can respect that others might.  While I might not have been born straight, I can respect that others might have been.  While I will probably never have to be in a position of having to choose whether to have an abortion myself, I can respect for those who consider it that it is a hard choice, and that it is not mine to make.

What is mine to make is to provide them the opportunities to have a true and safe choice.

You people make choices and live lives every day that are different than what I might choose or how my life might be.  As long as you aren't out harming me, carry on.

If you need my help, and I am able, I'll gladly give it.  And I'll do my best to stay out of your way and not hamper your journey.  I might not always be successful, but I ask you to do the same for me.

I went down the Twitter rabbit hole last night.   And I haven't yet quite found my way out.

Forgive me.




And this, happened, too...


So, not only do I believe women aren't human, but I'm also responsible for the demise of the human race.  I guess it's good that women aren't a part of that.

*scratches head*

Women aren't human beings

Apparently I said that.  Sounds like me, doesn't it?



I have been away from my blog for far too long, but I must admit there's either way too much to write, or it's too hard to write about what is going on in our society.

I will endeavour to return, because it appears, I clearly have a few things to say.

Ivan Coyote is a very sweet, attractive person who prefers to have the pronoun "they" used to describe themselves.  I admit, I sometimes trip over the pronouns myself, but since I often use the plural when I'm not sure of someone's gender such as someone I haven't met who has a name associated with either gender, or a name from a culture that I am not familiar enough to know what pronoun would be appropriate.

Isn't it helpful, frankly, when someone expresses their preferences?

I really like broccoli.  I'm not fond of peas, so if I come over to visit you for dinner and you're going to have some hot green vegetable, wouldn't it be nicer if you knew what I liked and what I didn't?

Isn't that part of being a polite society that considers others?

Obviously broccoli and peas are simplifying things, but that's in many ways my point.  Respecting others preferences - when they don't harm others - whether trivial or major is kind of a part of being part of polite society.

Oh, but I forget.  We are no longer part of a polite society.  I want to forget that.  I would like us to be a polite society.  Not to the harm of ourselves or others, but to the benefit of us all.  Silly idea.

So, when I suggest instead of needing to place someone into a box of your choosing, we just accept the person as they are, and respect them as a human being, I am suddenly guilty of deciding that women are not human.

Who knew it was that easy?

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Dog Walking... and other Ghosts with shoes...

I saw her dog the other morning.  

I mean, I knew it wasn't her dog.  Her dog was already in her teens when we met nearly two decades ago.  But I must admit I thought she was a unique mixed breed dog with unique coloring.

Until I saw her taking her morning walk.  The spitting image of her dog.

It wasn't the first time I had seen her taking her morning constitutional.  In fact I think it was at least the third or fourth time.  And it led me to think maybe it was a sign.  

Never a good sign, despite my fond affection for her dog.

Seriously, I did search obituaries to see if hers had been posted.

And then, finding none, I tried to let it go.

But it isn't easy letting it go.  A therapist I was briefly seeing during the highest point of terror told me that she had borderline personality disorder and it wasn't a matter of if the other shoe would drop, just when and how loud.  Frankly, that terrified me more than all the other crazy things my ex had done.  And I have lived the last nine years wondering whether the other shoe has finally dropped or if it is still waiting to drop.

One of the inspirational twitter accounts I follow - because hey, let's face it, we can all use some inspiration sometimes - this morning shared with me how we should forgive others not because they necessarily deserve it, but to bring ourselves some peace by freeing ourselves from the role of victim.

I have made progress.  It used to be that every May I would re-live every day of every completely terrorizing act she had done that last month.  Remember the broken items, the waking me up in the early morning, the threats, the bizarre comments she'd make to friends and family.  Each day was an "anniversary" of such refreshing memories.  And this May, I had a brief nagging sense that there was something I was supposed to be remembering - some event that was "special" but I couldn't quite put my finger on it.

And even the faint lingering sense of dread from seeing her dog walking had begun to fade, until yesterday morning.  Yesterday morning, I discovered that she had found me on Facebook.  Fortunately, she hadn't tried to friend me (she actually can't - only friends of friends can and she and I share no more friends in common), but I was surprised when I later went on via computer to see how much of me was, indeed, public that I had thought was private.  Every profile picture and their comments ever were there for anyone to read.  

I started to deactivate my Facebook account then and there.  I still might.

But there she was.  Very much alive.  

I did think it odd at the time that of all the things I decided to search for was her obituary.  

And as much as I may even be able to forgive her past behavior knowing that she was a victim of mental illness, I don't know if I ever will feel safe until I do know she's dead.  

Trust me.  I understand how odd and sad that is.  I've never really wished anyone dead before. 

And my rational brain knows that there isn't much she could do to harm me at this point.  Any legal claims she might trump up would have passed the stature of limitations now, and either people know who I am - know my character - or they don't.  

But what made her brand of terror so much fun was the unpredictability - not knowing where or who she would strike next.  

And so I wonder.. and wait.. hoping all the shoes have dropped, while knowing, if she's searching for me on Facebook, she's not done.  She hasn't let me go.  And so I can't entirely let go of my vigilance, either.  

There is no pithy end to this post.  No simple sum-up.  I will start to let this go again.  I will become comfortable.  I will feel safe again. But I may only completely let all of this go, unfortunately, over her dead body.   

I would wish that on nobody.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Hello...? It's me again....

It's been a long time don't know if you'll want to see me again...

Alright - sorry, Adele.

This morning in the shower I realized I needed to start writing again.  (I did not realize it had been since September 2014 since I last posted).

There will be a few "throat-clearing" posts, as a former writing teacher would probably call them.

They will be awkward as my fingers find their way again... remembering what it was like to write for personal purposes as opposed to professional ones.

It was easier to blog when I was alone, and I had a flexible job where I could capture my thoughts for a blog entry after having my morning shower and head in whenever.  When my time was more flexible, and I slept whenever I wanted.

It was easier to blog when I had no-one else nearby to share my daily musings with directly -when it was a wonderful tool to distribute my thoughts to a more global and anonymous audience.

It was easier to blog when I remembered my darn password.  Luckily, after the day of gestating on it, it came back to me just in time.  Every device already has it memorized for the e-mail, but that doesn't help for the blogging.

Also, my life has changed significantly.  My biggest rants, er, diatribes, er, soap-boxes, er, daily items of interest are more office-related - like a Dilbert cartoon - or traffic-related.  There are some observations on the blissfully married life, and while my spouse has graciously told me I could write about whatever I wanted, just that she'd love to see me write again, I still feel self-conscious writing about her - fictionally enhanced versions of her, or more truthfully based.

But to not write might be to suggest my life is not interesting - and some days I don't think it's very interesting - it's just life.  That's a good thing sometimes! Lots of times!  But finding some tidbit to expand upon that you might find interesting, that you might find different or even the same as your life, but in a different twist... well....

I do admit that Adele's song is a little haunting.  "Hello" from the other side.. although I don't think she means the *Other* side like in "Ghost", merely the other side of the end of the relationship with whom she's reaching out to.  But it's a song about closure - or lack of it.  Of realizing that perhaps the other person HAS moved on, and even though you (Adele) hasn't finished healing, the other person doesn't care to re-hash it all.

Which, ultimately, is wise.  Re-hashing it all rarely brings any closure.  Often it just rips open old wounds and makes them fresh.  But driving to and from work when I hear the song, it makes me think of someone with whom I left a lot unspoken when I ended the relationship.  Well, saying I ended it implied I had more self-control and will power than I probably did, but let's just say it imploded - majestically - and she was like the coyote with her hand pressing down on the acme detonator, and... and...

I think sometimes about writing her a letter.  Except it wouldn't be writing a letter FOR her, it would be writing a letter FOR me.  I know better than to send it.  I know oh so better than to send anything.  But even then - the "closure" I seek, as the singer in Adele's song - would I really get it?

The singer is upset that who she's trying to reach out to - a thousand times - doesn't seem to answer her calls.  And suggests that means the person has moved on, and that the singer didn't mean as much as she thought she did to the person she's singing to.

That isn't necessarily true.  As one who didn't answer the phone a thousand times, it's because I couldn't take any more.  I couldn't engage anymore.  Which is why if I wrote a letter I would be smart enough NEVER to send it - never to open that door again.

But what, even, would I say?  It's been years.  Years.  And still I have no idea what I might say, how I could explain what she did to me at the time affected me at the time?  How it completely and entirely changed my life and reshaped its fabric.  How I will never be in the same position in life that I was before it all exploded - how there are some "things" in my life I will never get back, that can never be "fixed", or what it would take to fix them would not be worthwhile.

And yet, I look at my life today.  To feel that, to express that, to think that and not at the same time be tremendously appreciative where I am in my life today - even though six years ago, seven years ago, ten years ago, I would never have imagined myself here - how can I give her power to suggest she damaged my life? And I really don't want to give her credit for where I am today!  I wouldn't be where I am today if she hadn't hit the acme button on our lives.  That is true.

But I am here in spite of that.  I am in this incredibly fortunate and loved place in life and with a wonderful wife and life partner in a home full of love and happiness (well, and sometimes just sameness... even keeled stable life...) because of me and because of the steps I took small slow ones at first and slowly larger ones and faster ones to keep my life moving forward out of the "rubble".

I have had a few transitions lately - final steps in moving forward from things I was given to help me get here, help me move forward - crutches so to speak that I have managed - am managing - to move beyond.  And in the transition process I realize how far I've come.  I shouldn't have had to take this journey - and for that, I guess I still have some resentment towards that other person - but I feel pretty damn blessed at where it took me nonetheless.

Having said that, and adding some more trite sayings that always makes a blog entry complete - it isn't always the destination - sometimes it's the journey to get there, and sometimes the complications of the journey can make you also enjoy the destination even more.

Go ahead, unravel that mixed up metaphor. Ha!

Not bad for my first day back.  Let's not wait another fourteen months to meet again...

Hello, it's me, it's been awhile...

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Choices..

Our lives are full of choices we make consciously or unconsciously every day.  One frequent expression is that if you are miserable somewhere, well, that's your choice.  We envision a world where we have an unexhaustable amount of opportunities I think when we say that to others.

But, at some level, we do have options.  We just might not always like what our options are.  Sometimes to get whatever it is we want, we might have to do things we might not always like.

Wow, speaking of throat-clearing...

So, for the last four months or so, I have been back to work.  That sounds much more than it really has been, but it has been nice to get out of the house and bringing home a paycheck.  The job is ideal for me.  It's part-time, pay is nice, commute isn't too bad (I've lived in Southern California and in the Washington DC area - I know traffic), dress is business casual so no uncomfortable suits.

I am, however, by most people's estimations, over-qualified for the position.  My resume is top-heavy.  You'd be surprised how sometimes that can be a bad thing.

So when I was being interviewed for the position, it was not surprised that the folks were asking with some disbelief about whether I'd be happy here.  Whether or not I might get bored.  And my answer, frankly, was that I could do just about anything for four hours a day.  And if I felt any of those things, it wasn't as if I were spending all day every day doing it.  I could manage boredom for four hours a day.

This from the girl who'd been sitting on the couch for eight hours every day waiting for her wife to return home.  Yeah, I think I can handle the potential boredom.

But the other question, spoken by some of the folks who interviewed me, and implied in the questions of others was, "Why? You have a resume that opens a lot of doors, why would you want to do this?"

And my answer then - perfectly crafted for interviewing situations - was that I valued quality of life.  That I wanted to have balance in my life.  I've worked the jobs where they were careers - end all be all and all consuming.  They were fun at the time.  I enjoyed myself, I excelled (as they could see in my resume) and they were great.  But I am now at a different stage in my life, and frankly, what I was looking for was an opportunity supplement my spouse's income.

They bought it.

The other day the Director of Finance wandered near my desk.  She's relatively new to the position, I'd say "young" although I was younger than her when I did some of my management in my day.  She has been hiring a lot of new people to populate her growing domain.  One such person started at the beginning of August, and is already on vacation.  Yes, I admit.  I am jealous.  I am still a contractor so I didn't even get sick pay when I was out in the hospital recently for a few days.  Anyway, apparently the new guy wrote this memo and made some erroneous assumptions.  She was waiting to talk to the CFO to let him know of the discrepancies so that the CFO wouldn't rely on the conclusions in the memo.

And she's asking me what she should do with her new employee?  Probably a rhetorical question.  So, I gave her a kind of rhetorical answer.  "I don't envy you.  I don't miss managing people.  There is a reason I am sitting at this desk instead of yours."

She laughed with me.  Except I was serious.

As a society, we are tasked with making progress.  With "moving forward".  "Onward and upward".  Push, push, push.

And when I was younger, just starting out, I had difficulties understanding a section of the lesbian community I had been a part of that was "downwardly mobile".  That rejected comfy corporate jobs for "jobs with meaning" which were also often jobs with low pay.  I was young.  It seemed too early to give up on the rat race and not to make the most of my potential.

And for me, at that time, that was an appropriate choice.

But it's 20 some years later.  And with experience, I have come to learn that "more" is not necessarily "better".  It can be.  Don't get me wrong.  But it is not always.

I have been very fortunate to have a lot of opportunities, experience, choices and options in my life.  I have been very blessed.  I recognize that.  Not everyone has had the same that I have had.  I will agree with those who think I am pooh-poohing myself that I created some of those opportunities and they didn't all just fall into my lap.  But some did.

I am very fortunate that my wife agrees with holding quality of life as something important. For both of us.  She welcomed the potential of a paycheck when I started tossing my hat out there, but was also sad about the possibility of me not being there waiting at home for her every day when she returned.  There was a part of her that didn't even want me to have to work at all. Which was very sweet.  Although now that she's gotten used to a little extra cashflow, I think that sentiment has passed altogether! :)  But she doesn't feel that I need to be out there garnering a six figure salary.  She knows that we don't *need* all of that, and that what it would take away from us in order to make that kind of salary isn't worth the changes that would come along with it to our lives.

We made our choice.


Throat Clearing...

So at one point what now feels long ago, I was in an educational program where certain writing courses were required.  They were designed to teach us both how to write clearly and concisely, but also how to build and express an argument.

I hated these classes, frankly.  Although I am sure I learned something from them.  As much as I begrudgingly hate to admit it.

One of the things I learned is that when I am having trouble writing about a subject, I often use what the teacher called "throat-clearing phrases".  Words that really added no value to my statement or my arguments or my writing.  Words that I put onto screen (because let's face it, I rarely wrote on paper then) simply to clear my metaphorical throat and begin writing about SOMETHING.  To get SOME words on the paper.

The literary version of "Um"...

When you haven't written in your blog much lately, and not for nearly five months, it seems necessary before one begins writing of substantive topics to have a, uh, throat-clearing blog entry.  Something to get the juices flowing again.  To say "Hi"  "Sorry I was gone for awhile".

Something to remind you how to write.  Except, as that teacher would tell me, it isn't necessary writing well.

I can live with that.  Hopefully so can you.

Anyway - I don't know if I'm back.  I hesitate to make grand promises I might not keep.  I know better than that.  I don't want to disappoint.

So, I'll see what I can do to begin doing this again.  I think one of the main reasons it took a hiatus is that it had served the need I had of it then.  But I'm sure I haven't run out of amusing things to share... so, we'll try again.

Have patience with me dear readers.  I think this is like riding a bike.  We'll see...


Wednesday, April 30, 2014

In Medias Res... or I don't usually get my news from TMZ

In medias res is a Latin term that English majors bandy about to mean "in the middle of".  It's a term used to describe a story that begins in the middle of the action - in the middle of the story - so we know that we're missing something important that just came before.

I've actually used the term before in this blog. because I can be a pretentious English major at times.  ;)

Okay.  Different subject.

How many of you out there have said something stupid in an argument?  C'mon.. we all have.. raise your hands.  You know you've said stupid things in an argument.  Stupidly told your wife that, no, she didn't look good in that dress; or much more stupid things.  When we fight, when we are upset, we ALL say stupid things.  We are human.  We can be idiots.  All of us.  None of us is golden.  Or very few of us.

I'll admit the stupidity of the stupid things will vary.

But how many of us have had a fight with our significant other - or any significant other?  C'mon.. we all have at one time or another, even if the significant other is a sister.  Raise your hands.

How many of us would like that argument aired to any others?

Best way to upset my ex was to raise my voice.  Every time she'd ask whether I wanted the neighbors to hear.  Often at the moment, I didn't care, or didn't think that was I was saying was so offensive if someone else did hear.

But generally, most of us don't want our arguments - our dirty laundry - aired for others to hear.  First of all, if for no other reason, than it's not their business.  Second, because context is everything.  Trying afterwards to explain what set us off to a third party?  Hard enough, sometimes it seems, to explain it to the original party.

And I'm certain none of us want to find our arguments posted on TMZ for the world to hear.

What would it be like to wake up in the morning and learn that the President of the US has weighed in on your private argument with your significant other?  I can't imagine. I'd hope that in the heat of the moment I conducted myself with decorum, but the reality of the situation is that in the middle of a fight, I'm not sure how much decorum I have.  Sometimes we, as humans, argue about things irrationally.  We're upset by things we cannot explain, or cannot explain well, or also might have nothing to do, in the end, with what we're telling the other person we're upset about.  (This happened many times with the ex.. she'd explode about x, when she was really upset about z, and it took us awhile to figure out why she was really upset).

I heard an argument recently between two people where one half was doing just that.  Trying to pinpoint why the person was upset.  And the upset person was saying things that didn't make sense, that weren't clear.  And the other person was trying to clarify what it was about the situation that was upsetting.  And getting nowhere.

I heard the conversation in the middle of it.  After whatever offensive thing had been initially said - so I don't know exactly what sparked the fight.  I've been given some clue, but I don't know.  And I wasn't there, and I'm not in the middle of that relationship.

******

Now, let's look at an entirely different situation.  A man sleeps with a younger woman who is not his wife.  He showers gifts upon her, and gives her money.  The usual story.  The wife finds out about it.  The wife sues the girl.  The girl decides to air the dirty laundry.  On TMZ.  Sadly this happens more often than we might want.  All of it.  But it does.

Why are we as a society spending all of this energy on shit that isn't our business in the first place?  Why are we empowering someone who is unhappy in her situation - who has entered into a marriage that is not her own - and allowed her to manipulate us so that news on TMZ - I mean TMZ - is enough to rock the world.  TMZ aired an EDITED conversation.  EDITED.  *ahem* Let me state this again.  EDITED.  That started in the middle of the conversation, where "sorries" are already being given.  And a woman who is trying to "protect" herself is recording a conversation with her lover and trying to get him to repeat what he said, and to corner him into saying something stupid.  On tape.

If you listen to the edited version, and listen to the dance, it is just that - a dance - her trying to get him to say something, to try and figure out what he might have been saying, and him trying to explain himself, and saying more stupid things.  Sounds like most fights.

******

I will not defend what he said. (And a year from now when I re-read this blog entry, I can already see myself scratching my head trying to remember what this is about).  I don't know, frankly, what he said.  It's not my business.  Not my argument.  Not my relationship.  Not something I was asked my opinion about.

Why everyone else has felt the need and the pressure to be involved in what should have remained a private dispute is beyond me.  What makes me angry about this situation is the chain of events that decided the titillating details of a fight between two people needed to be exploited to make everyone so angry and mad.  That we, as a society, blew oxygen on this fire and made this situation such a spectacle.

The guy who said the stupid things might very well be an ass.  Probably is.  And maybe he deserves the condemnation of society for being an ass.  I won't dispute any of that, or be involved in that conversation.  Because that is not what we were given.  We were given a private argument and everyone rushed to judgment about something that was never our business in the first place.  In medias res.

I hope no-one who sits in judgment ever finds half of their fight on TMZ for others to judge.  I'm not sure any of us would fare that well.


Friday, March 21, 2014

Morning E-Mail

Sometimes a lot of disparate things, once you step back, actually seem to tie together.  It had been awhile since I had read my e-mail in the morning, and various bits of things had stacked up.  But this morning, instead of beginning with losing my time by gaming on my iPad, I decided to read my e-mail.

First there were several days worth of Dear Abby e-mails stacked up.  I read casually through the preventative to the more serious questions she was asked: one woman surprised at everyone glorifying in their pregnancies and not hiding their bundles-to-be under smocks, another man wondering if he can trust his partner after he caught him sending inappropriate pictures to another, a woman who had moved in too quickly and found her boyfriend to be a bit abusive (what do I do now? uh, leave?), a man who had lost his wallet - cautioning others to make copies of everything in their wallet so they know what they've lost, another man bemoaning the fact that apparently after twelve years he is finally discovering that his wife never wanted to have children.

Second there was an e-mail from a friend from my church back home - an inspirational chain mail message of sorts.  Two names on it, send it to the top one who is not the friend who sent it to you, and send them an inspirational message - everyone can use another puppy dog in their e-mail - and then re-send the message to twenty of your closest enemies (because do you really want to harass your friends with chain e-mails) and delete the person in line 1, and move yours to line 2, etc., etc.  Not particularly fond of chain mails, and certainly don't want to invite a potential of 400 emails to flood my inbox full of puppy dogs, and angels wings, etc.  But I did think about the one inspirational quote I keep in my wallet, and whether to at a minimum at least send that along to person #1.

Third there were the blog entries from a high school acquaintance - kinda-friend - of mine whose husband has just had a heart attack in the new year and followed immediately by bypass surgery.  She has two young kids at home, and finds herself swirling with her new world order.  A few weeks back after reading a prior blog post, I had sent her an inspirational message - you are not alone - to her; but she seems to be lost in this idea of a world that is now gone, and nothing but bleakness in front of her.

Leaving my ex-partner of ten years was one of the hardest things I ever had to go through.  Not only because it meant leaving her (although by then, frankly, I was ready for some peace from her, not that she was ready to give it to me at the time), but because given the circumstances (her escalating violence), I felt that I had to leave the area altogether.  Move not only from the physical house that I had bought and had been my home for the past ten years, but also leave the area and the state altogether, cutting off ties with friends, and her family that had been mine.  I ended up moving back across the country to be with my family (a roller coaster of its own).  Packing - or attempting to pack - one night in the middle of it all had proven to be too much for me, so I began wandering the streets of my city - possibly wailing, maybe out loud, maybe just internally, but tears were certainly streaming down my face.  I found myself at my church, a couple miles from where I had started.

No-one was there.  It was 10 PM.  I had a key - I could have gone in.  But the solace I was looking for wasn't directly there.  Instead, I called a church member who I knew only lived a block away - not someone I had necessarily been close to, but I had been getting to know - and I asked if I could drop by.  That I needed to see SOMEONE.  He graciously agreed I could come over.

He and his wife - both long retired - had been retired for the night. He opens his door to this adult woman whose face is covered with tears, and who cannot express in words anything, let alone what she needed or what she wanted.  Or why she was there.  She just had landed there, on his door step, in the middle of the night.

He brought me into his kitchen, and he offered me a beverage, and looked at me trying to figure out what I needed, what I wanted.  What he could do.  And I just sat there and cried, and cried.  At one moment, he excused himself, and he came back with a small slip of paper with words printed on it.  It looked a little like a fortune cookie fortune.

And he just said to me quietly, "This is something that I've found helpful, so I carry it with me, and have a few copies of it."  And he handed me the paper and on it was a verse from Isaiah.

"Do not cling to events of the past or dwell on what happened long ago.  Watch for the new thing that I am going to do.  It is happening already - you can see it now!  I will make a road through the wilderness and give you streams of water there." Isaiah 43
After he handed it to me, I started to calm down a little.  Still crying, but less intensely.  Wiping my face was no longer as futile an exercise as it had been moments before.  I was able to gather myself enough to thank him, and to be ready to head back out, and head back to the place where I had been staying.  I put the slip of paper into my wallet.

There were many moments of despondence through the process of leaving and moving forward with my life.  That one was one of the worst lows, if not the worst low.  But I came out of it with some calm.  And when I hit those other moments - as trite as I admit it sounds - I would pull out that piece of paper and try to have faith.

I no longer have the original piece of paper, but I reprinted the quote onto a small piece of card stock, and on the back side I have a few lines from 1 Corinthians 13 - the famous verse read at most weddings and carry that with me in my wallet.  For a long time since in Canada, my wallet has been fairly empty.  I had my driver's license, my quotes, a small wallet-sized love poem from my wife, an emergency $20 (originally U.S. dollars, now in Canadian dollars).  Then we added a library card.  Now I am adding more cards, and my wallet IS getting fuller, again.

And so when I read the Dear Abby letter, I thought about what was in my wallet - what I would need to copy.  And then I read the chain email, and thought about sending my quote.  And then I read the blog entries, and thought of a more appropriate person to send it to.  Life has a funny way of connecting things together.  Or maybe it's just me...