What I see from here
This blog may be about anything - ranging from the mundane to highly charged. Really, it's an outlet for whatever happens to be burning a hole in my mind. It's about ideas or thoughts that occur to me when I'm not sleeping at 2:11 a.m., taking a shower, driving around, reading, or sitting in a meeting letting my mind wander because the meeting is boring and/or stupid. What you and I share is that neither of us knows what it will be about. But, hey, stick around and we'll see what happens.
may will be curse words. Deal with it.
And another thing: Yes, I am aware that it is sometimes a long time between blogs, and here's the thing. I don't care. If you do, I cannot help you with that.
P.P.S. oh yeah, I erroneously deleted some stuff I didn't want deleted, so I've put that back in with its original publication date shown. In case you care.
July 12, 2015
But that's not what this is about. This is about things staying the same while they change, and that neither change nor sameness are wrong...
I was raised Catholic (I'll wait while you get the groaning out of your system.)..........................
That meant going to church, "celebrating" the Eucharist, singing, being at one with a community, and the inevitable shaking of the hands at the end of the service to solidify that they see and feel each other and they have a shared commonality. Their church community helps them feel less alone. What I call the kumbaya experience - a thing I've intentionally avoided for decades. I willingly left all that behind me some time ago and have not missed even a moment.
Today the speaker I wanted to see (Chris Ryan) was at the Portland Sunday Assembly. I hesitated to go, because the words Sunday and Assembly were next to each other in the same sentence. Naturally, my distaste for these kumbaya communities raised the hair on my neck, so I did what any good non-believing cynic would do: I researched the group and found they are in a fact a secular organization. At least they wouldn't have their imaginary friend there with them, so that weighed on their side. Still, I was hesitant, because I know that anywhere people gather like that they are going to want to hug and touch and reach out. I have of late become more the "don't fucking touch me and don't count on me to participate" kind of person.
Finally, my desire to hear the author speak on his book subject won over my hesitancy to venture into the kumbaya circle.
Upon arrival there were a lot of smiling women there wanting to greet me, give me a nametag, and make me feel welcome in their community. Understand that I do not have a full-on aversion to humanity or kindness, but these days I'm less inclined to participate in group hug events - whether they are physical, spiritual, or emotional. I should interrupt my thoughts here to say this: this morning I woke in a mood that should have kept me from venturing amongst humans, but my desire to be a part of an intellectual exchange overcame my aversion to emotional or physical interaction. So, I yanked up my big-girl panties and made my way there.
The smiling faces of the happy happy joy joy greeters did little to change my mood, and what I discovered was that even in secular gatherings, nothing is different. There may be no dogma, and the invoking of an imaginary friend is missing, but the singing joyful noises are the same as you find in any church on any block in any town, and I could not abide. They had two sing-along songs (and I must say, the music did not suck), which I sat through, but the minute they organized the "introduce yourself" activity I found my legs and escaped. Fortunately, there was a bench outside where I was able to sit until the speaker was introduced. The woman I had been sitting next to - who seemed to have an intuitive sense that I was uninterested in the clamoring of a group of happy people lit up with life - came out and got me when Chris was being introduced. Admittedly, a nice thing to do.
I won't get into the talk (although you definitely should check it out), but I will say that this morning's activity was a lesson for me in myself: a lesson that served to emphasize for me that personal change is an interesting transition from who you were to who you are. It was a lesson in being the same but different. I learned that I continue to have an overwhelming desire to be a part of interesting dialogues and exchanges, but that I am also averse to being around other humans practicing any sort of spirit-lifting kumbaya hand-holding spirit embracing togetherness.
Big deal, right? This is not a discovery that will matter one bit for the world or the humans who swim in our quagmire of human muck. But it matters to me for a couple of reasons.
I am different than I was 10 months ago, but it's not a bad thing. The new alone me is able to make unfettered observations about myself and others when I do venture out.
I like being around strangers - even if they are strangers I don't want to be around - because I don't have to be what people who know me think I am.
I can be a person who does not smile and refuses to wear a name tag, and not one person will ask "are you okay?"
I do not need to engage with people. I can be alone in a crowd and I can sit by myself in a restaurant full of people and no one will come over and say "hey Liz, join us!"
I am a person who no longer feels deeply or cares much. In fact, I've come to realize that much of what I talk about with passion now is more knee-jerk reaction from years of being involved in those things than it is truly caring about the topic.
This freedom means that I can take a job that is outside my field because I no longer have that deep-seated urge to do or belief that I can change the world. The truth is I cannot, and I have become okay with that.
What stays the same is that when everything is washed away what I still have is my intelligence, and that intellect will carry me through - over and above emotion - for the rest of my life. It will hold me safely apart from being a part of connections that eventually unravel. It is the thing I have valued most in my life, and no matter how much has changed in my life, that one thing stayed the same, and it is the one thing I can count on.
So, I've got that going for me.
July 4, 2015
On this Independence Day, one must question not only Conservatives' lack of commitment to upholding the Constitution of this country and it's laws, but whether this Country is truly a great institution capable of standing under the weight of time, change, and dispute. Kenneth Karst in his book Belonging to America, said: "There are no footnotes on the flag." I say you cannot hold the constitution in one hand and a whip in the other. You do not get to praise this country and its founding while changing history and using that changed history to try to shift the present. You cannot claim to honor the founders while ignoring the reality of what they wanted and hated and loved and dreamed of for the United States of America. You cannot have it both ways.
People of this nation have forgotten what this country is and instead have divided into groups of hate and dissent vs. acceptance and equality vs. apathy and ignorance. We are at a crossroads, and we best choose definitively soon, because fabric can only be pulled and frayed so long before it comes apart. Are we truly a more perfect union and a country that understands freedom, or has our experiment come to an end?