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.

P.S. There 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.

August 22, 2015

Stay

Have you ever watched something so sad, something that touches you so deeply, that it reawakens your deepest sorrow? It's a funny thing, emotion, and how it can be triggered. I know about triggers. I write about them in the work I do, so it is not an unfamiliar topic. But even those of us who know about such things can be blindsided at unexpected times. Funny that that is how human emotion works. It catches us.

The thing about it is this: you are going along, remembering your happiness, finding the way to laugh and engage again. You are reconnecting with what life was like before. Your depression is less of a dark gray veil hanging over you, hugging you from head to foot, and more of a shimmering gloss that stays at the fringes, like those ghost images you see out of the corner of your eye but shake off, telling yourself ghosts aren't real. It's not constant or present enough for you to think about it actively any longer, but once in a while it comes to you in the form of a single tear that travels down your cheek. A catch in your throat when you hear a phrase or say a word. A photo. A date. A pain in your heart so sudden and swift you can easily pretend it didn't happen.  

You push through those moments, content that they come less frequently, and you realize you can live with all of this...

Then the thing happens, and it moves you in a way that others would see as inappropriate, an over-exaggeration of what anyone else would have felt or experienced while watching or hearing or seeing or doing. You find yourself suddenly, out of the blue, lying there in your bed, the tissues piled up, crying in a way that you know does not mesh with the movie as you try to convince yourself that it was in fact just this stupid horribly sad movie. But what you know, what you know is that what you wanted was to get that rewind. You want that thing that was taken because it was not enough and too much. You want that person sitting next to you who pulls you back from the brink of darkness, that person who utters one simple word: Stay.

What you realize, what you know, is that in real life he wouldn't be there because that only happens in movies. It's only in movies that they mean it when they say all they want is you, and they bargain with you, and they really love you so much and are willing to stay when staying is the hardest thing, not the easiest, but you are worth it. You cry because that is the sort of thing that doesn't happen to real people - only in the movies. You cry because for them it was enough.

Or maybe it's just me...

July 12, 2015

The same but different

Today the thing that got me out of my home was a talk by Chris Ryan, PhD, on the book titled "Sex at Dawn: How We Mate, Why We Stray, and What it Means for Modern Relationsihps" written by him and co-author Cacilda Jetha. Some of what he said wasn't surprising to me - that part being that we are a promiscuous species not meant to be monogamous. I agree, and those who know me know that I love being right - especially when my theory is supported by science...

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

And about that flag

An observation: Red states and their politicians - who purport to be true patriots and Americans and blah blah blah, who like to believe they support the Constitution and all that it stands for - are deciding they are somehow better than the Constitution. They have decided that following the ruling of the Judicial Branch of the United States Government, as established by the very Constitution they pretend to love and embrace, is unnecessary. Hell, some are even fomenting revolution over the idea of marriage equality! (Really y'all??? REALLY? The idea of two people who are not straight and cis-gendered getting married - an act that is frankly none of your fucking business - is so personal and horrible to you that you are going to get this worked up???)

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?


And if seeing the image of this tattered flag is what pisses you off about this post, you are part of the problem my friend. 




June 30, 2015

Boy bodies vs. Girl bodies (or why boys should not wear short shorts in the gym)

Guys, really. Those short shorts that come up to the place where your thighs intersect? That shit is too fucking short to wear to the gym unless you are also wearing a good pair of tighties underneath. Don't get me wrong. I love a good looking penis as much as the next person, but NOT when I'm in the gym. I don't want to look up to Mr. Peebody sticking out of the bottom of your shorts all like "Hey girl, whatup???" waving at me and shit.

Now, for those of you who are visuals, I've made this handy infographic detailing the difference between boy bodies and girl bodies and why short shorts work for the latter but not the former. Feel free to share. Hell, make a copy and post it in your gym! 



And you are welcome.

Don't make me have this conversation with you again.