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  • TheBluegrassSkeptic

    Last Goodbyes

    By TheBluegrassSkeptic

    Death for me over the years has rarely been difficult to process and move on. I've buried quite a few, only mourned a couple. The two I mourn are now memories I guard so earnestly a mother bear could not rival my ferocity. These two people immediately bring on the wet eyes and short tight breaths when I just so much as think on their lives, their influence, and my loss.   This past January I experienced a third loss of someone very important in my life. It's hit me very hard, and I am surprised it's taken me this long to be able to pick up a pen and put it to paper finally. It's been thirty days, and this is still difficult to even bother to proof read. I did pour out my initial shock and pain all over social media. I tracked every article on his death I could find. I even found video from where he was that day and watched a VBIED explode in the distance. I had to somehow be there. Witness his chaos, hear the intensity, and visualize the finality that damage brought on in the war he volunteered to fight in.   Albert Avery Harrington had volunteered to fight with Kurdish forces against ISIL two years ago. When he had initially announced his plans, I debated, I argued, and I even pleaded for him to reconsider and find another way to render aid. I knew he would end up severely injured, or worse, dead. But he went anyway, fully accepting the almost guaranteed risks that would change his, and the lives of all who loved him, forever.   He sought life and purpose on his own path, and if death found him, at least it was while he was in pursuit of what made his existence fulfilled. This outlook on life is the only reason I can accept his death without anger or regret. No anger at his dying in a situation that he willingly allowed danger to follow, or regret that I never convinced him to put down this flag for a noble cause.   Our last goodbye was back in September. He'd asked me if I could use my press privileges and get him in to Kurdistan. I'd laughed him off, quietly relieved he wasn't currently in harm's way for the moment. I knew it was only a matter of time though, and once again I would get erratic messages from the front lines in Kurdistan where he would complain about needing sleep and I would promise him the juiciest burger money could buy once he got back.   If.   But he didn't make it back. January 18th he and four others were hit by not one, but two, VBIED (vehicle-borne improvised explosive device) during a special offensive titled "Wrath of the Euphrates" in a small village called Suwaydiya-Saghirah village in Raqqa. The goal was to cut off the supply line to ISIS's stronghold in Raqqa. Three men were instantly killed, and Avery succumbed to his wounds in the morning hours of the 22nd at age 50. He is listed as a martyr with YPG/MFS Kurdish forces and buried in the land where he fought to defend innocents against ISIL's tyrannical cult. It appears their sacrifice has paid off since Kurdish forces have wrested control of Kukhkhan and Bir Said villages from ISIL in northern Raqqa.   While the progress made since his death has been bittersweet, seeing the word martyr was a difficult thing to process at first. See, like myself, Avery was an atheist. He was living proof of atheist in foxholes and he was very much a humanist. One I try to model myself after. Honestly, I don't know how he gave so much of himself to so many. I get exhausted, but Avery thrived on it, I believe. "Give me a mission," he would say. So, when I saw him being referred to as a martyr, my teeth began to grind. The days to come proved even harder when others began to share their own pain and thoughts on his passing.   As I followed up on news posted on his remembrance page, I began reading the thoughts and prayers comments. I also had to walk away from my computer a few times when I read speculation about whether he'd gotten right with god or turned back to Christ on his death bed.   At first, I interpreted this kind of talk as an affront to what he stood for. His legacy should not be tarnished with the idea he was going to Hell unless he managed a last minute conversion. Could people not see the insult to everything he stood for by questioning his very humanity based on a belief system he did not even ascribe to? Those questions and speculations made me cry. They made me angry. I felt Avery's very purpose of pursuing a larger case for compassion on the world stage had been overshadowed. And after my rage subsided, I realized what was wrong with all these thoughts that were screaming in my head.   The word "I".   The long and the short of it all comes down to the fact Avery is dead. He can no longer be personally offended. He can't feel. He is oblivious to the world as he lays in his box under hundreds of pounds of dirt and rock in Syria. This is about my desire to preserve his memory in my life as I feel it should be. When the desires of other's to do the same do not match up to mine, then I want to stomp them out. And this is incredibly unfair. It minimizes the grief of others, it alienates in a time when coming together is most comforting.   The desire or belief that Avery found God and is now in Heaven does no harm to his memory in my life. It puts a comfort to the personal loss of another, and I don't have the right to control another's grieving process by demanding their hopes be dashed. Just as Avery showed understanding for religious culture and customs of those he sought to protect, why can I not afford the same respect to those who now have a gaping loss to deal with in their lives like I do?   This is a practice I will struggle with for years to come, as do all of us, but for those of us who do not believe in a hereafter, we feel the loss even more permanently than those who do believe. Why should I make a demand for conformity on behalf of those who are dead? Why allow the anger to take away from what we have lost? Do I really need to ask them why their God saw fit to allow such atrocity that eventually motivated Avery to protect those God would not? No, I won't do that. Even if when some say this god supposedly had a plan for Avery.   Grief and loss do not belong to only one individual, though the process is individually different because of perception of the relationship one shared with the deceased. All of us who loved and cherished Avery have one thing in common, his death. Some of us will look forward to dining with him at the table in Valhalla, the rest of us have only his influence to pass on through our own actions so he may life on in the life of others - even if some who will be influenced by him, won't even know his name or know he is the source of their benefit.   I can honestly say that my relationship with Avery ended with no regrets, and the past is forever the past, and tomorrow will always show me where we once were together.   I love you, Avery. We miss you.
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Dorbies?

Despite having found out the urban dictionary definition of this word, dorbies still makes me blink my eyes slowly as I digest what happened. Upon further thought on this, I quickly discovered that I am stuck in the perpetual climb of complimental words. While I have never been accused of turning heads where I walk on any occasion, the number of "odd" events had suddenly exploded to unsustainable levels.   As the previous entries have detailed time and time again, I have lost a bunch of weight and am really starting to get slimmed down and also tone up. With this, has come extremely odd behavior from the female side of the equation. A run down of several events that have led me to this conclusion have been weird at best. Mainly, is it normal for "run by" complimenters? By this, case in point - at the store about a month or so ago (3:30 in the morning, was hungry and decided to get groceries, sue me). I am in the produce aisle, this woman of my age or slightly younger by my guess-estimation walks up beside me. Out of natural habit, I always take a few steps away as personal space dictates. A long silence ensues, thinking nothing of it - I pick out my produce and step back. All of a sudden, this woman looks at me and says: "Sorry to bother you, but you're REALLY cute!" then bolts off like I was going to swing an axe at her. Here I am, stunned by what was just said, left standing there with produce in my hand and blinking my eyes like: WTF just happened? No "hey, how's it going?" no "Here's my number, so call me maybe?" just "YOU'RE CUTE!" and runs off.   Add in slightly disguised flirting from a few others, and the off hand comments from already committed women (like the aforementioned user of the word: dorbies) and I'm left with a conclusion: I'm evidently cute and adorable, yet - women run when they see me. I'm so confused. And it also appears that since I get these two compliments the most, I'm never going to worry about being accused of being hot or sexy.   So, cute/adorable with a supposedly sexy voice, and yet - they run. I dunno. Just my random thoughts for the night.

Travi

Travi

 

Love From The Inside ...out

“Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time.”
Maya Angelou     Once upon a time, there was a girl who stopped believing in love. She was cynical about marriage, and thought that it was everyone’s problem, but her own. She and her father had so many problems between the two of them, that they seemed insurmountable, at times. The girl had once left faith, but then she returned to it…and it all felt different than before. Better.   Someone told the girl one day about ‘loving from the inside out.’ She thought about it, and wondered what on earth does that mean? It seems that it’s all about loving yourself first, before you can love anyone else. Until you master this, you will never be interested in loving someone else. Hmmm…seems rather simple to figure out, no? So, the girl set out to love herself, and it ended up being harder than she would have anticipated. See, much of what we dislike about ourselves comes in the form of voices that have demeaned us perhaps during our childhood, or maybe in a peer group. Maybe we experienced an abusive relationship, and those negative voices from an ex are still rolling over and over in our minds. Ever notice it’s easier to churn negative thoughts about ourselves in our minds, than it is to stir up positive ones? Hmmm….   The girl came to a rightful conclusion that her childhood had some healing to do, and that carrying around that broken little girl was just becoming too exhausting. Everywhere she went, and every relationship she had, that broken little girl…was on her back. Ever carry someone around, forever? Lol Well, imagine it!
Her father apologized to her time and time again, for his harsh treatment of her as a kid, but she could never bring herself to forgive him. Until one day, she prayed about it all. And then, she let it go. Into the great abyss… she let it all go. And she decided to approach her dad, and see if he wanted to take a cooking class with her. He said yes, and was delighted to be included in his daughter’s life, again. He grew tired of throwing money her way, concluding that his wealth wouldn’t erase the challenges that had welled up between him and his daughter. No, this time, he would have to step up…and just listen to her. Love her. So he did. He just loved her and an amazing thing happened one day…the girl forgave her father. She started listening to his frustrations over life, and realized that he too struggled, just like she did…with the mysteries and trials of life. He was her father, but that didn’t mean he was infallible.   So, there it was…a repaired relationship, and that broken little girl just upped and walked away. She smiled back at the girl…and waved goodbye. It was at this moment, that the girl finally found herself…her real self…and she loved what she found. She decided to stop dating for a while, and just enjoy this new life that had emerged out of nowhere. Loving from the inside out, started taking shape in her life…and she was radiant. People around her saw it in her life, and would remark that she seemed different. That she seemed….happy.   Then one fateful day…he returned. The love of her life whom she thought was gone forever, overseas…he left for a job a few years prior, and here they were after all this time, eyes locked when they saw one another again. The love was still there after all this time, how could that be? She was always so cynical and jaded…how could this love still be here before her? But it was. He asked for her hand in marriage, and it was as though everyone around them had frozen in their places. The girl said yes, and they felt like the luckiest two people alive, at that very moment.   The girl learned to love from the inside out. She loved herself and now she could extend that love to someone else. If love is meant to be, it will return to you.
I’m that girl. And I learned to forgive, to let go, to love from the inside out, to take chances, to live a life better than I ever imagined. If you want to love others, love yourself first.   Love from the inside out. <3

Deidre

Deidre

 

Just A Random Rant

I'm unsure of where to begin. My heart is torn into pieces, even though I'm the one who left him. I did everything I could to help him. Before we broke up, I was a caregiver for a codependent leech who lacks the ability to care for himself. By becoming a living sacrifice for him, I kept hurting myself, my needs and wants uncared for, brushed to the side. And when I left him, he took all of my help, all of my care, everything I did for him, and spit it all back in my face like it didn't matter.   2 weeks of torture, afraid he was going to take his own life over me. I lost sleep, lost privacy and peace of mind, my phone constantly blowing up. Being blamed for everything when I was the one handling this like an adult, when I was the one who did everything right and didn't act out like a child...really fucking hurts. I experienced a whole new level of anxiety I had never felt before.   And now all of a sudden he's "just fine." Well that's just fine and dandy. I went through what felt like hell pretty much for nothing. He's still alive, still breathing, and I had nothing to worry about from the start.
I was exploited. I was suicidal 3 years ago, and as a pre teen I used to believe everything was my fault. he used these things about me, against me. By threatening suicide and blaming me for it all...he knew my sensitive buttons and how to get attention from me. It was so fucked up. I have never been so hurt in my entire life. And my adult life has just begun.   I'm better off alone, anyway. I wasn't even ready to be in a committed relationship living with my significant other to begin with. It felt so right when it happened, I thought I was ready. But now I see how immature I was to the whole idea of this. I want to just care for me.   I have a horrible habit of people pleasing...and this relationship taught me that I need to put Self Care as my #1 priority, if I'm with a man or not. I should never neglect taking care of myself in exchange for caring for someone who neglects his own self care. It just ain't right. No woman deserves this kind of shit.   This was emotional abuse. I never thought I'd find myself saying that I escaped an emotionally abusive relationship. It breaks my heart when I remember the fact. People fucking suck.   He acted like the victim and saw me as the criminal. But in all reality, it was the other way around. I was being isolated, never got to go out and do anything, always felt like i had to check with him before I went out and did things on my own cuz he got suspicious of me (especially when i went to hang out with friends and guys were there), and when I said I would leave...he mentioned suicide and then I got scared that he would die if I left him. He kept telling me he would change...to give him another chance...and i gave plenty of chances. but what bothers me is the fact that I had to ASK him to take me out somewhere...he'd never do anything surprisingly sweet. I always had to initiate any plans outside the house. And it's not that I wanted HIM to change, I wanted him to change his HABITS that were negatively impacting our relationship. He thought I was trying to change him, he interpreted me as controlling...literally everything I did was because I cared...and he turned it around as if I was being ridiculous. On top of all of this...I tried to help him, even after we split..and it doesn't seem like it mattered.   It was a sheltered life. I didn't even get to see much of the town I live in. But now I do...my friends have my back and they showed me parts of town I've never seen, and it helped me feel more at home than ever. And now I found a new place to live so I'm just gonna focus on me and turn over a new leaf as the new year approaches. It's gonna take me a long time to heal over this...but I did what I had to do for myself. This fucking sucks...

FlowerDemon

FlowerDemon

 

Breathing...

Ok this is going to be a vent, because I realised I get crying bouts and difficulties in concentrating from holding stuff in, and I really need to be able to study.   I'm doing well. I find it's kind of unfair. This is probably some echo from years back.   I'm getting amazing dental care and my depression is healing very well. I still take all the meds and other care as before because I sure don't want to stumble and fall back down now, but my direction is very good.   The problem is I wish my family members could have what I have, and I can't give it to them. There's almost nothing I can do. I'd share the good I have in a heartbeat if I could.   One family member is saving up for major dental care to be able to have a different surgery safely, and I can join in the saving up with a small amount of money, but I wish we could just switch places right now because my condition isn't life-threatening and I'm much younger.   Another seems psychotic or manic, I don't know, I'm not a health professional and I'm being lied to anyway (and this is not my mother, whose delusions I have been familiar with for years) and I'm physically too far away to do much. But I recognise that things aren't okay at all and it's eerily reminiscent of what happened to my mom. If the condition can't be reversed or the person refuses to believe it is a condition at all and won't take meds or other treatments, that'd be the second family member I've lost to the weird world of delusion.   It's easy to live in my cozy little bubble of university studies in this town far away. Luckily it is, else I would waste my life worrying instead of working. But it's funny what my brain does to try and live with these things after I've been closer to them, which I was for two weekends in November.   I'm getting really, really random flashbacks. Bad things, good things, neutral things, things I don't remember thinking of for years. It's very weird, I've never had this before, ever - I've always had some kind of "favourite" memories (usually traumatic) that I replay over and over, but now it's just random, like tv channel surfing. I'm getting mild deja-vu as well. I had a frightening form of it when I had a wrong dose of meds (too high) but it went away when the dose was cut down to what it is now, and now it's happening again, except differently. The weirdest thing though is that I had one of my recurring nightmares, but for the first time EVER it had a happy ending.   The nightmare begins with me being at my childhood home, and I watch a war or a storm begin outside. This time as well it was a storm. I watched it come near in disbelief, and then I realised the house was going to be destroyed. Then something happened - the storm dissolved away a few feet away from the walls, and I went outside with my brother. We walked over dead people, watched the flooded scenery, and I realised I could make it rain candy by thinking of it. It was cool, but then I became afraid I'd think wrong thoughts and make wrong things happen, and then came some waves we just jumped over. I went back to the house to discover it had been renovated and painted bright yellow.   I went to the barn, which had been painted yellow as well, and I cried happy tears for the rest of the dream because in it there was everything that the dream-me knew I'd have loved as a child. I felt intense happiness, relief, nostalgia and appreciation of the beauty around me.   I think my brain is trying to believe that something beautiful can come out of this mess. That's better than the stormy dreams that I wake up scared from, relieved that I wasn't about to die after all. Much better, really.   But I don't know. I still am not comfortable with that being the reality of life; on good days it's great that my life is what I make of it and not a divine plan, but on a bad day it'd be great to be able to believe in divine protection and some buff angel friends standing by your side.   I have to keep a distance for my own sake, but I hate to know these things are happening whether or not I'm there to observe them.   It makes me fear that one day I'll get delusions too and not realise it. I was well on my way there when I was religious, and thinking back on it scares me because a main thing about it was that it all seemed to "finally make sense" or some shit like that. I feel a notch more safe now that I've deconverted and done a lot of work to understand the warning signs, but this stuff runs in my family and understanding things won't stop them from possibly happening. The other day I found myself so irrationally scared, I had to tell my bf to please push me into a hospital if I start behaving really out of character. A good thing he studies psychology so there's actually hope he'll notice that kind of change in me should it ever happen.   Ok. I breathe in, I breathe out, I'm okay for now. That's all I can truly have an effect on and that's what matters the most now.   Here I come, thermodynamics homework. May I not be stopped by a crying fit now.

yunea

yunea

 

New Physical Challenge, And Looking Ahead To The New Year

Can hardly believe this year is nearly over. As the calendar flips over to the 1st of December, we are officially in the final days of 2015, moving on into 2016 and beyond. This coming year offers a grand chance to get this officially situated and squared away, pending a successful contract signing in February. If that happens, the following happens: New place. I will officially be able to get back out on my own again, and finally start to make some headway in terms of being a responsible adult again. Having struggled for the last couple years to get on my feet, the split living arrangement with my brother will finally come to an end. Helpful, but I'm ready to put it aside. If all comes together correctly, the arrangements made after the new place will offer me to pay off some things and start getting my ship righted financially. Once that happens, a multitude of opportunities in terms of what I REALLY want to do will open up. As time draws on, can really start putting my life back together after two failed attempts at doing so. This time however, I'm just sticking with what I know works. No point in trending against the threads of fate and time.

Many of my more outstanding bills will be taken care of by the end of next year, pending nothing extravagant or unexpected (which I always prepare for) happening. As things are paid off, more money out of my checks remain in my bank account, which allows me to look at doing things I want to do, instead of need to do. Long term forecasting aside (not a strong point of mine), even in the short term - it does lead to some financial freedom and some breathing room in terms of stress in my life.   Now, on the new challenge - since I have been putting together some measure of success in the world as far as weight loss goes (65lbs lost), I've decided to focus on toning up as I appear to have hit a plateau. Having hovered around 217-222 for the last two months, it's a safe bet my body has reached it's ideal weight. If that is the case, then so be it. The new challenge however comes in the form of this. I am so psyched about this, having been told from family that participated this year that it was an absolute blast. They are wanting to put together a team to run it, and I decided to put my name in the hat. Along with that, a very dear friend of mine wants to join as well, bringing out team count to 4. Having looked at the obstacles involved, I must say this will involve a fair amount of training - but I feel like I'm up for it. Going to give it my best shot.   As always, I hold high hopes that a new year will hold promise for me, and 2016 is no exception. That all being said, I'm keeping it realistic, and with all due luck (all hail Luc!) - I can finally get back to the life I want to live without having to cave into the stresses that come with living in society. Maybe, just maybe - I can be whole again.

Travi

Travi

 

Why Praying For Paris Isn't Necessarily Useless

I'm going to probably catch some serious flack for what I'm about to say, but bear with me.   I'm not offended by the whole #PrayforParis bit. I have several reasons for this, all of which I think are fair enough. The first being that many folks cannot comprehend what they can do to render aid to such a large scale tragedy, let alone console those who have suffered. This is not a condemnation of their humanity. This is not a failure to act. This is the variations of the biological responses we are all hardwired with in our very nature.   Secondly, the statement "pray for Paris" is necessary. While many, including myself, see that religious conviction fuels the recruitment and propaganda of ISIL to commit such atrocity, it's necessary that the religious communities step forward and embrace the injured and hurt. A show of religious support is not an insult. This isn't merely a lazy man's way of shirking guilt or responsibilities to help their hurting compatriots.   It's a humongous "Fuck You" to ISIL.   ISIL condemns sympathy and empathy for their victims. Praying for Paris is a political statement of defiance against the warped ideologies of jihadis like ISIL. And this prayer is not only coming from Christians, but Muslims. Yes, many feel the Muslim community needs to curtail ISIL, but Islam is not the direct sponsor of ISIL or other similar extremist groups. Islam, much like Christianity, and even Hinduism, has outdated principles that opportunists will use to scapegoat their violent agendas. I cannot lay the fault of all extremists on the step of Islam, Judaism, or even my own atheism. These ideologies, much like guns, bombs, and money, are simply vehicles being used to perpetrate hatred.   Many have pointed out that Christian communities condemn Westboro, and other hateful religious organizations. When the Covenant, Sword, and Arm of the Lord carried out their terror, did everyday Christians gather in mobs and hunt them down? No, they did not. Christians gathered and counter protested their hatefully inspired exhibitions or gave helpful leads to the police. They allowed the governments to intervene on their behalf.   They also prayed.   When the Olympics were bombed in Georgia, did we scream at the Christian majority in this country to get their followers in order? No, we relied on the authorities to figure it out and deal justice to the criminal. Why? Because we knew the Christian community held very few extremists that would bomb, maim, or kill fellow Americans.   And again, they prayed.   Prayer isn't just a feel good tactic, it's also a religious rally cry for communities to join together and recognize a problem. It's a way to gather everyone together and get them on the same page about social issues. An encouragement to put aside spiritual differences and focus on their fellow man. As a straight-laced atheist, I can appreciate the social aspects of prayer when it comes to major events. Now, if you want to get into science, I completely agree to just toss the practice out of the window.   Put aside the spiritual meaning and implications of practice of praying for a moment, and consider the social purpose of such a ritual. It encourages unity and acceptance in grief and tragedy. I would rather all of France held a large prayer rally than hold separate demonstrations against jihadism, Islam, and refugees. When rallies are held highlighting tragedy in a light that looks to lay blame, deeper schisms are formed among the community's varied cultures. That isn't healthy, and it gives the results that ISIL wants from the people it terrorizes: fear and alienation.   Alienation is the biggest tool ISIL uses when recruiting its fighters. This group relies on disaffection, bitterness, and orchestrated persecution to round up more supporters. Gathering together, joining in prayer is the opposite effect ISIL seeks from its killing and hate. As small of a purpose that it seems to serve to the average atheist like myself, I can also see it's at least some type of unified response everyone can participate in.   For the sake of Paris, Lebanon, and the rest of our world neighborhoods, let them pray together. Not in hopes of a miracle, or cure for disease, or peace, but for awareness.

TheBluegrassSkeptic

TheBluegrassSkeptic

 

Righting The Ship, I Think...

As it stands, my return to a workout routine has not been the best yet. Two days in now, and both have been cut short due to the need to get back into my regimen. Today came with my body deciding that it didn't want to run, so my body got weak and I had to stop, almost in a: "Nope, not doing it motherfucker!"   Doing some research a couple days yielded a brilliant guidance tool for measuring your daily metabolic rate: A BMR calculator through google. My BMR is 2104.5 (meaning I don't get out of bed all day), this is what I theoretically burn. Granted, it's not an end all be all, but it's a good guideline. I did the multiplication in the Harris-Benedict Equation and found the following results: For a while, on 2nd shift - I was using the x1.2 equation, which came to: 2524.4. This is how much is needed to maintain on that particular equation. The one I'm working toward again is the x1.55 equation, maybe more later. But for now: 3262 is what I need to maintain my current. However, since I have 20lbs left to lose, I'm focusing on the deficit needed to create that loss. It takes 3500 calories to burn a single pound. Muscle obviously burns more than fat, so focusing on cardio with interspersed weight lifting. It recommends not doing more than a 1000 calorie deficit a day. If I can keep my calorie intake around 2000-2500, I will be good. I'm also keeping tabs on my own workout burns per day, and doing a minor calorie count to make sure I keep it within boundaries. Being back on 3rd shift will help with the calorie count, because I am less inclined to eat on this shift.   Oh that too, back on a shift I can actually feel human on again. I woke up feeling alive for the first in a LONG time today, and god damn it feels great. I knew the shift switch would solve a lot of my problems, and it would appear I was correct in my thinking. Now with the new shift, new overtime potential opens up, and that means extra money to start getting things situated in my life. I think pretty much every wild hair I have in terms of trying to be social is gone (it's a bygone conclusion that my introverted nature doesn't allow much for it), so I can focus on just doing what I need to do for myself. I would say something else about it, but I'm probably jinxing myself. The life of a jinx, you can't tempt fate too much.

Travi

Travi

 

The Struggle Of Moving Forward

Many call me the fool for my inability, or maybe even refusal, to move forward in life from a very traumatizing situation that followed me pouring my being into helping someone I felt like I could love. Watching all of the answers I wanted finally come together, and I'm yet still left with asking where I messed up. While that same many have told me it was nothing I did, it takes two to tango and somewhere along the lines I couldn't connect the dots. Or maybe I didn't want to, blinding myself to reality that all along, I was nothing more than a puppet being played and used for the ends of a woman who I thought needed the help, and she did not turn down.   I essentially went from having everything a man could want, to not even having what he needed in terms of emotional support. I've really had to work hard at suppressing my thoughts and emotions to avoid anymore situation where I felt like I could fall into the trap of letting my guard again and wind up in a situation where I am now: Having put in blood, sweat, and tears toward helping someone build a new life for themselves, hoping to be included in those plans of it - only to watch as someone else reaps the rewards of your labor. It's rather sickening, and also infuriating at the amount of indifference held on the part of the person I tried to help. Is there no such thing as appreciation anymore?   Her and I split on February 27th. That following weekend, she took a trip to Florida with "a friend". For all of her talk of wanting to spend time with her boys, and get things settled on her legal front - she found time to make a trip to, of all places, Florida. With "a friend." I had just finished making the repairs to her truck, having sold a few personal items to help purchase the parts needed for such. Bought her a necklace, dinner, and tickets to a Garth Brooks concert for Valentine's Day. All of this had happened just weeks prior - then the split. It's just like I tried too hard, and that is why I am so hesitant to get into any sort of new relationship. However, with my problems of being demisexual (at least based on research and considering my own habits), casual sex is not a possibility for me. This creates quite the conundrum when it comes to sating the desires of being human, mainly due to the fact that my depression, along with the possible demisexual tendencies make it near impossible to enjoy sex with anyone other than people I have formed some sort of bond with.   I can only hope that her new guy is enjoying the drama free her.   At least someone gets to I suppose.

Travi

Travi

 

Where I Am At Now, Compared To Where I Was At As A Christian

When I was a Christian, I: Constantly felt guilty for the "sinful" things I kept doing, such as pre-martial sex, drinking, masturbation, etc. Kept asking God to take away my desire to "sin" and to live in the "spirit", not the "flesh" Distanced myself from non-believing friends and prayed for them to come to the Lord. Tried to not participate in dirty/vulgar language and jokes Did not watch certain shows or listen to certain music or read certain literature because it went against the Bible,. Constantly felt "convicted" by the holy spirit to change my ways, to preach the gospel to people (even though deep down i didn't want to, but I convinced myself it was God's will and it would be worth doing) Let people "walk all over me", example I had a guy move in with us temporarily because he was trying to look for a job and had nowhere to go. Well, weeks went by and he wasn't on a persistent job search. Instead of standing up for myself, I allowed him to continue to stay there because I believed that I had to offer hospitality and compassion like Jesus did. I came up with excuses for why it was ok for him to continue staying with us, even though deep down I wanted him to leave. (in a nutshell, i repressed my true feelings to be "christ like") Had doubts and nagging questions about my faith lingering in my mind, and I kept asking God to help me with them so I could have more faith in him. Felt obligated to go to church, to read my bible every day, and to pray every day. I wanted God to transform me into a "new creation" so badly, I cried and asked for him to help me overcome my issues, and it didn't seem like anything happened. I told myself "i am a new creation" but it was all in my head. Not much changed about me at all and the people around me didn't notice much either.
 
Now that I have left the church and the faith, I: Do not feel guilty for the life I lead, unless I do something fucked up like seriously hurting someone's feelings I use my own moral judgement to make decisions, and learn from mistakes, forgive myself, and move on. Do not evangelize my spirituality to people, nor do I feel obligated to Stand up for myself way more than I used to, I don't tolerate people's shit if they take it too far. am no longer bombarded by nagging doubts and questions because I have my own views, opinions, spirituality, ideas, etc...and they don't have to match up to an old book anymore. Do not feel obligated to go to church or do anything religiously. I do what I want to do on sundays. Am not trying to become a "new creation" but instead, I accept myself for who I am while improving on things that could be improved on. Am not worried about afterlife, or any kind of eternal heaven or hell, because I don't know what's on the other side, I'm only human. rely on and believe in myself more than ever
 
Overall, I feel free. My life is more enjoyable, less stress and worry and tension. I even took up daily meditation to clear my mind of any stress and it's been effective for me. Deconverting was painful and kind of heartbreaking, but in the end I came out feeling much better about myself and life.

FlowerDemon

FlowerDemon

 

At What Point...

...do we ever catch a break from life's grip? My entire existence seems to be fighting against some invisible force who is hell bent on making my every step a fucking chore. Today alone, I have thrown out my back, had a clamp fall on my head, had my mind explode, and had every thing and its grandmother go wrong in terms of work content. What have I done to piss off this invisible force?   I have struggled since day one on this Earth, being born clinically dead due to being choked by my mother's umbilical cord. Then, even once I was free of that - I was drowning in embryonic fluid that had flooded both lungs. In an effort to save me, it was siphoned out and along with it, the natural lining that protects out lungs. It has never grown back, and my lungs have been the bane of my existence. Asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia - all of them I have battled. Add in depression, anxiety, and the feeling that life is just out to kill me because I have defied death four times now, and you have a melting pot that is ready to blow a gasket.   At what point can we honestly plead to whatever invisible force it may be for some reprieve? At what point are we granted some sort of asylum from having the mind bombarded with so much bullshit and fuckery? People say we are the makeup of our own existences, but I didn't ask for every god damn day to be a fucking chore. I have never asked for much of anything in this life (living is enough), but for some reason - whatever it is, is not happy that normal is an option. No, it has been pressure and pain all damn day, and I don't even get any relief with sleep because we can also add in the fact I'm an insomniac to the list of shit that just plagues my existence.   I have tried nearly every technique there is, in an attempt to turn my days around. None have worked, and the day to day just keeps getting worse and worse. My physical and mental health are beginning to suffer as a result. Most of it is in the shift I work, the worst fucking hours possible from 2:30pm to 10:30pm (1430 - 2230 for you 24 hour people). No life, no chance to do anything unless I wake up early (an impossible chore on most days because of my inability to sleep), and with the amount of mental exhaustion I deal with on a daily basis, my mind is so fried by the end of the day that all I want to do is die. Unfortunately, (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), I'm too god damn stubborn to even do that.   Inaugural entry. Short, but had to unleash some frustration before I broke my hand punching a metal panel. More later.

Travi

Travi

 

Of Guilt And Birth Certificates

So today I once again attempted to find where my mom hid my birth certificate and SSN card. She had mentioned that she had it all together for when we would go to get my passport. I know it has to be somewhere. So, I often go hunting for it when my mom is off somewhere. I often find stuff like drawings, crafts, school assignment, papers, and progress reports from preschool. This stuff eats me up. I feel really guilty for want to leave and rebelling against my family's wishes. I know I need to press forward but, it just eats me up.  
I'd like to think my mother has two sides to her. One side, is a scary wave of anger that breaks me down to nothing. The second is a mother bear who ferociously protects her young. I do know she loves me to death and when I leave it will break her heart. I know she loves me because I am a stranger's child and she chose to adopt me. Her insistence of me having a conservative faith is evidence she loves me. Even if it's hell for me.  
Being an atheist makes me realize that life is a precious commodity. I still need to get out of here before it's too late. I can't spend another minute trapped in a place that renders me mute and frightened.   She would be likely enraged if she found out I was on a site like this.   She will be likely enraged when I ask her for my papers.   I'll ask anyway.   If she doesn't give them to me I will get certified copies.   This will enrage her.   I'll do it anyway.

LadyNightingale

LadyNightingale

 

It's All Been All Right.

It seems that once a month is a good interval for updates.   Life's been good. Yesterday was such a day, if I still believed in God I'd have thanked him for all the nice coincidences. I didn't miss a bus because a garbage truck appeared in its way before it reached the bus stop I was running late to. I've had the flu, and the local pharmacy was offering zinc pills for free because they're great for people with the flu. That kind of thing after another. At some point I noticed the silence in my head. The impulse to thank God is gone, but it's still so fresh a change that I actually notice it's not there.   In other news, I had my blood tested for some genetic disorders, and the tests came back negative. Of course it was negative for those that were searched only, but I had to know about those exact ones, and the rest are so much more rare and don't sound like me that I probably don't have them anyway. So that means I'm not in the group of people who have a hugely heightened risk to have some nasty complications and very sick children. That's very good. Of course those things can happen, but at least the risk is not extra high, you know?   I've also met my facial surgeon. He wants me to see a different psychiatrist to figure out I'm mentally stable enough to go through the years of braces, bite correction surgery, and braces again. I understand, it's for my best, but I do hope I will pass the tests. After all, I've gone through some huge physical problems before and have an idea of how it is when it affects your normal life. I lost my ability to walk some years ago, and got it back by persistently following my physiotherapist's and personal trainer's advice and never doing the things they precisely told me to avoid. These days my muscles know how to keep me in the right positions and I rarely get any leg pain. I can't run or jump, but that's no big deal - the point is I don't have to devote my days to thinking of my legs anymore because I once did so. I suppose it's largely similar with the facial surgery.   Which brings me to my next topic. I've been having a recurring dream of running. In the last dream I ran barefoot in snow and it didn't hurt, in the one before that I ran into a lake and started seeing the dream backwards in the dream-me's mind's eye, decided I didn't want to die, and got out. There have been other running dreams too. I don't know why. The dreams always feel good and I can go much faster than I could even before my legs got really bad. It's odd, I've had more experience of dreams where I become catatonic and just watch the dream, unable to do a thing myself.   Maybe I'm looking forward to a (the?) day when I can run again.

yunea

yunea

 

Back To Christianity

Well, wasn't going to post anything about this, but because I've come to know some of you, and care about you...albeit in a virtual way...I thought I'd share this here.   I've decided to go back to faith. Not my former faith life, that 'former' me is gone. When I deconverted from Christianity, no one could ever prepare me for the journey that would lay ahead. There were days, when not having any beliefs at all were great. I'd say...liberating, at times. And then there were moments, when I missed my faith...the habits, rituals, traditions. But, I had given up on seeking a god anymore, and definitely didn't think much about Jesus, any longer. The Bible still isn't proof of a deity's existence, but if I'm honest, faith is meaningful to me. Buddhism attracted me for a time, and other beliefs. But, I resigned myself to the fact that this life is what matters. And it does. Something happened to me though over the past week. I can't explain it, and even if I tried...you all might think I'm wishful thinking, or that what I'm feeling isn't real. Maybe it isn't, but there is a joy that I have, thinking of Jesus again. The man. Not all the trappings of a story that could very well be man made, but the person that he may be. There are historical accounts that there could have been man named Jesus, who was crucified. But, why he was, we don't know. But, of what I feel, there is something there...something my heart sees. My eyes can't see it, nor my mind understand it, but my heart sees it. His love. His desire to see me happy and whole. It isn't the same as I believed before, that if I didn't believe, something horrible would happen. This feeling isn't coming from fear or wishful thinking. I'd never have guessed that I'd ever come back to this faith. But, there may be a way to follow our own path, and still follow other paths.   So, anyway, just wanted to share. I don't intend on clinging to a church, or going back into the cult like behaviors of my former faith life, but I do plan to go to church this weekend...and maybe just go to different ones, just to be close to people who feel like this.   I have made some nice friendships here, and hopefully, this won't turn you away from me. We all have a separate path to take in life, and who knows where this one will lead, but for the first time in a long time...I feel at peace. Even if we discover in the end, that there is nothing...a great Nothing...what I feel right now is still worth seeing through.   Oh, and don't worry. I won't preach to anyone here. lol That's not my thing. This is a personal path, and it's time I stop struggling...and just let it lead me.

Deidre

Deidre

 

More On What Prompted The Last Entry

I last wrote about how I've been thinking of my late brother, and how I was feeling a new anger about how my mother handled (well, didn't handle) the situation when we were all living at home.   It didn't come out of nowhere. You see, last week, I met a person with pretty severe Tourette's. He had extremely loud vocal tics, flailing of arms, and also continuous very, very hard coughing. It was obvious he wasn't doing any of it to be a nuisance, and he wasn't very healthy anyway with his obvious overweight and general lack of hygiene.   I met him during a class where we were supposed to discuss our homework exercises. He sat in a chair that I sat in later, and left it stinking of guy sweat. That coupled with his random screams and coughs that hurt my ears, my senses went into severe overload pretty fast. I also had flashbacks of my late brother, and found myself starting to have a panic attack. I had to exit the class with tears flowing down my face, and go home to rest. I had trouble doing anything very meaningful for the rest of the week because memories kept popping up, distracting me.   I wrote to my teacher explaining what happened, and he responded with apologies and said he'd arrange so that the guy would not appear to the homework class anymore but could still complete the course.   Yes, that's what you do when someone's illness (for which there is no cure) disturbs everyone. With that arrangement, the others get to have their homework class without disturbance, and the guy can study too.  
Gladly, my ability to concentrate is back now. I've decided to take up some yoga and do a whole lot of exercising at the gym as soon as I am able to pay the fees. Those should help, should this weak spot of mine (or some other one) cause trouble again.

yunea

yunea

 

A Bit Of Venting

It's been a month since I last blogged. Life has calmed down and changed into a lot of routine, with my studies having started again and my health being okay for now.   One emotion keeps emerging, though. A new kind of anger. It's one I haven't allowed myself to feel before, because I was so occupied with trying to make sense of bad things being my "fate" or "god's will" or whatever so they must just be accepted and "understood" and the worst thing, thanked about.   It's been about exactly a year from when I really, honestly questioned God's existence for the first time, and it's only now that this thing flashes before my mind's eye.   It's my mom. She had a sick child (my eldest bro, who's dead now) who spent all his days bullying his younger siblings, which was me and my other big brother.   When we were really little, he broke our toys and ripped our comic magazines. When older, he'd come rage right in our ears when we were trying to concentrate on our hobbies or whatever, saying the most hurtful things he could come up with (and he was surprisingly clever at that for a mentally handicapped guy). And he couldn't help it, but our mother could have.   She never wanted him to be on any medications because she "wanted him to feel everything". Even when those emotions were horrible for everyone around him and probably scary for him too. Many boys like him were living in hospitals or other homes so they wouldn't be such a burden on the family, since there was very little or practically no hope for them to be productive citizens anyway.   Why was it okay for him to feel everything and bully us from day to day, for years and years? Why did she let it happen?   Sometimes she'd have her own psychotic rage bursts and I'd run off to hide and cry. She'd snap out of it, forget what just happened, and come find me. She would ask me if I was crying because my ill brother had hurt me. Even when I'd grown up, she told me she was always terrified of him hurting us.   Then why not do a damn thing about it?   I'm trying to understand her point of view, what kind of sick logic went on in her head. I've been known to think I deserve chaos around me, and I've tested my luck/being in guidance by doing crazy, random things. I've wished to be in pain to experience God's love. I've been horrible to people for reasons I don't even know to this day, it just "felt right" to destroy budding friendships that could have been nice. Did she maybe somehow think it served her right to be in a situation where she had to fear for the well-being of two of her kids when the third one was dangerous?   I don't want to talk to her.   She is stacking apples and a little bit of cash for me when I go over, only enough to cover my expenses of the travel, so it's not like I can't do without. I don't know how I can bring myself to going anyway. I get these dreams that I'm over there and gigantic waves of water wash over the scenery, and my legs feel too heavy for me to swim.   I'm letting my anger come and go, it's no use suppressing it or trying to pretend it's wrong or means something deeper than it does. I'm observing it for what it is, or that's what I try to do anyway.   How I wish our dad had not been such a nice and emotional person. He should have taken us away from that woman. I guess he knows that.  
Okay, that felt good. I'm going to try and find something nice to eat now.

yunea

yunea

 

Christ’S Rebellion – Book 1: The Wayfaring Son

The Christ’s Rebellion series is here! Book One: The Wayfaring Son hits the Amazon bookstore on 9/14/15, and is available for pre-order by 9/9/15. Only 99¢ if you pre order, otherwise will be $1.99. Each episode will be released every two weeks. This novel is complete.   Son of a carpenter, or son of God? This is something that Jesus of Nazareth is on a journey to discover, but he isn’t sure where to begin until he meets his future mentor John the Baptist. Little does Jesus realize he will become more than a student of John, but eventually take over leadership. The journey is full of politics, trials, and supernatural visitations that leaves the bond between Jesus and John the Baptist strained almost beyond repair, and making them both question the sanity of the would be messiah.   No one can say for sure if a wayfaring child of Nazareth is the predicted king destined to unite Israel, and Jesus cannot be sure if he is even sane to believe what he hears whispered from the heavens. The only way to know for sure is to follow this ethereal guidance he has received since he was very little, and hope he eventually arrives at the answers he is looking for.
Is he the predicted savior of the children of God?   Christ’s Rebellion is a six part series taking you on the mind bending journey of Jesus of Nazareth and his disciples from the beginning of his ministry until their eventual demise while trying to pull man out of the middle of a heavenly battle for acceptance from the very being that created them. This is not a simple retelling of the New Testament account, but instead an exploration in missing depths like perspective, politics, and the more human side of the participants that many Christians have come to cherish and strive to be similar to in their daily lives. It’s a new adventure filled with supernatural warfare, heart ache, and desperation between the creator and the created.

TheBluegrassSkeptic

TheBluegrassSkeptic

 

When Religious Shepherds Fail Their Flocks

Jehovah spoke to me, told me to act. Vester Flanagan.   America, we have to stop the double standard being applied to Christianity. Just like in Islam, and even within Hinduism, you have your extremists. Still many Christians beg me not to judge the entirety of their religion, yet turn right around and denounce the entire lot of the Islamist community as extremists.   Jesus lovers everywhere, it’s time to understand that this is where extremism starts. In the actions of lone individuals, who inspire other loners, who eventually band together and cause devastation. We do not need another rampage of Christian terrorism like the Sword, the Covenant, The Arm of the Lord. We do not need more of Waco, Jim Jones, Heaven’s Gate, or Christian Identity.     Don’t recognize any of the groups I’ve named, or only Jim Jones or Waco? You need to get your head out of the sand and start paying attention to the devastation, tragedy, and terrorism, that has been wrought on the innocent in this country. You must start recognizing that your doctrine in this heated time of politics and belief will produce tragedy, and you can help to prevent some of this.
Temper your anger. Temper your message.   If you cannot do this because it is watering down your Lord’s importance in your life and the world, how am I wrong in seeing your doctrine as encouraging violence? How can I not be convinced there is a gaping hole between practice and interpretation? And the latter, I believe, is the biggest condemnation of your so-called relationship with the divine of woo.

I’ve been meaning to ask about this for a while now, and I plan to have a conversation with several pastors of varying denominations in my area over the next month. Over the last few years of the increased incidents of violence, many revolving around some type of bigotry and sense of self-righteous justice, I couldn’t help but see how most churches immediately disown the perpetrator of tragedy. Nine times out of ten it’s a No True Scotsman type of attitude. “He isn’t a true Christian because we never do that sort of thing.”   I’ve got news for you, you can’t change the rules for qualification when a member shames your community.   Fact is, a person committing atrocity fits one of the main qualifications for being a believer in Christ everlasting. Being a sinner that is. You can’t judge the individual’s level of sin either, and worse, you cannot judge one’s remorse or even a claim of divine command for the crime committed. It’s not within your realm. But..... Read more at my blog The Bluegrass Skeptic here: http://thebluegrassskeptic.com/2015/08/27/jehovah-told-me-to-act/

TheBluegrassSkeptic

TheBluegrassSkeptic

 

Hey Girl, Stop What You're Doin'....

Hey girl, you’ll drive me to ruin…   Zeppelin seemed oddly appropriate listening for tonight while I was reading more and more articles revealing well-known celebrity men being revealed on the discreet cheating site known as Ashley Madison. A large majority of the men being outed are Christian, have families, and a few have already had major headline backlash for other incidents of malfeasance that are recently made public. One such fellow would be the seemingly headline plagued Josh Duggar. Honestly, though, the fact these fellows were on a website that facilitates cheating isn’t much of a surprise.   I grew up during the Jimmy Swaggart and Jim Bakker scandals. If you aren’t familiar, these guys are mega church televangelists who ended up crying on television screens across America and the world, asking forgiveness from their audience members and wives for extra marital activities. Swaggart had a thing for prostitutes, and Baker treated his secretary as such. Swaggart actually remains in religious preaching positions to this day, where Bakker ended up being kicked out of his church, only to end up creating a whole new show still popular today.     So, seeing the newer scandals of today where pastors and holy rollers for Christian values are being caught with their digital MasterCard racking up membership fees on sex clubs isn’t much of a shock for me.   Getting back to my opening lyric from Led Zeppelin’s Communication Breakdown, I wanted to bring into focus what I find more upsetting in all of this public airing of dirty laundry. The wives, partners, and families, of these men. It’s not just that Satan was at work in their hearts, as Sam Rader claims about his own membership on Ashley Madison, or that their idol Jesus is ashamed of their hypocrisy. It’s the fact that Jesus comes first and the families of these lecherous men are required to forgive because their marriage isn’t about them, but God.     This is my beef. It isn’t the fact of hypocrisy being committed. I will never hold anyone to the unrealistic moral codes of religious doctrine, even when being told it is possible and the only way to live one’s life. Let’s just say that the concepts of avoiding temptation at all costs, marital purity, and everything else inside that stupid book are a bit more than I think a person can really chew, and I’m okay with that. My beef is that Jesus is the Sham-Wow being used to soak up the mess this kind of hypocrisy leaves behind. Jesus isn’t just used for the men to deflect responsibility to, but he’s also the main pillow for the jilted lovers and wives to hug and cry into at night while still proclaiming dedication without reservation to the hypocrite they are stuck with.     I’m pissed because this is the only choice these people are programmed to use when Read the rest here on my blog:http://thebluegrassskeptic.com/2015/08/23/hey-girl-stop-what-youre-doin/

TheBluegrassSkeptic

TheBluegrassSkeptic

 

A Bible Story That Few Read To The Bitter End

Many times as an atheist, I enjoy the quick synopsis of horrible Bible stories that are available online via other atheist groups or secular networks. You read about all kinds of outlandish tales like that of haunted vaginas, girls seducing their father with alcohol, or an entire town wanting to rape angels.   Some of the stories want to make you laugh or cringe, while others make you want to cry and rage at the horror they share. Then there are the ones that you thought you already knew the story behind, only to find out the tale takes an even more outrageous turn to the left than you could ever have imagined. There are a number of stories out there that people have thought they knew the entirety of that they learn they actually didn’t.     Job’s replacement family is a good example. A lot of folks don’t put together that not only did God restore this poor tortured believer’s wife and children, but he got completely new people. That’s right, his original wife and kids? Never restored to him. He got upgraded to a newer model instead, because what’s a wife but a replaceable commodity back in the days of wrathful Yahweh. Or maybe the Lord knew something about Job’s relationship that we didn’t, and just knew a complete replacement was in order.   Recently, I had a reader ask me to share a Bible story that I really remember the most, whether in a positive or negative light. And I thought,”What story do you always remember the most, Bluegrass?” It took less than half a second for me to start putting down my thoughts about this particular tale of rape, carnage and political gamesmanship. So, tonight I’ll share these thoughts I have about a Bible story that many don’t quite ready completely. The story is the Levite and His Concubine, which is found in Judges 19 & 20, and 21.
Most folks give a very generalized run down of this story, focusing in particular on the fact that the concubine was put to the street when gangs of rape minded villagers came after the husband in order to “know him”.     The initial plot sounds eerily similar to Lot’s, but it gets worse. Worse than her being thrown to the villagers to be raped all night, she eventually returns back to where her husband was hiding and at some point between leaving that ramshackle hell hole of a town and their final destination, she dies. There are no reasons given, but many accounts I have read claim she died there in the original village she was raped in, just later in the day, supposedly succumbing to the previous night’s assault and injuries. Despite the discrepancy, many agree that the husband did in fact chop up her corpse and send it as evidence to the other Israel tribes as evidence of a wrong being committed that needed some serious payback.
This is where the story seems generalized the most, and I finally had to just sit down and read it for myself.     The tribes of Israel decided they would launch an attack against the entire tribal territory of Benjamin, who was also part of the Israel tribes. Confused yet? Essentially, there was an inter-tribal war over this woman’s assault and subsequent death. And the upcoming carnage was sanctioned by Yahweh too, which is very sad when you think about it. But this is back in the day when they had no king apparently, and could do as they saw fit. Somehow, Yahweh’s authority wasn’t the same as having a king, though I thought he claimed to be a king of kings.   So, what happened? The tribes that decided to go to war against Benjamin eventually won out, but they lost a few times and beseeched their deity for favor in battle, and they got it before their last battle. And it wasn’t just one town that the warring tribes razed to the ground, it was many towns, all of which belonged to the Israel tribe called Benjamin. Women, animals, children, and the men, were all put to death for the honor of the slain concubine.   Now, whenever I read the quick run down of this tale, often they include virgin women being taken as spoils of war in this part of the story, being taken as prizes back to the winning tribes, but that is actually not accurate. And this is also where we travel into the land of What The Heck Did I Just Read?     The tribes fighting for the dead concubine did not spare anyone in the tribal territories of the Benjamites. They slew every single living thing. By the totals given in the story, it would appear that a total of at least fifty thousand lives were lost in just soldiers alone, so adding in all those in Benjamite villages that didn’t fight? Add in the animals that were slaughtered? It was a blood bath, despite the fact that much like a fishing story, the original number of Benjamite soldiers only totaled twenty-seven thousand, but inexplicably doubles in number as the story progresses. Who really cares about the details, anyway? A lot of people died. And puppies too.   So, where does the pillaging of virgins and more slaughter come into play? At the after party celebration, of course! This is the part a lot of folks seem to muddle up, and I think that should not be happening because there is a whole lotta what the fuck is going on here when it comes to story logic.     See, after the tribes kicked the shit out of the Benjamites for not helping turn over the rapists from their territory, everyone got together to offer more sacrifices in thanks to their god. While they were there, the victors felt kind of sad that they essentially decimated an entire part of their people, after all, the Benjamites were one of the tribes of Israel.   At some point during the party, a group of the Israelites got together and thought it was a damn shame that the Benjamites were going to pretty much die out since only about six hundred men were left out of the entire former territory of Benjamin. The only way to restore the tribe would be to get them some wives, and let them start to repopulate. Yeah, I know. Why didn’t they think of the end result prior to committing atrocity? But there is a bigger problem. Unbeknownst to us dear readers of the story, the tribes of Israel had taken an oath prior to battle swearing they would never allow any women of their tribes to marry a Benjamite.   Genocide really was on their minds when they went in to Benjamin, and apparently these victors didn’t realize it.
  This is where I find this story just takes you down a road of dumb and dumber. You have a couple of problems, the first being that the Benjamites are essentially going to die out, and second, the first problem is unacceptable to everyone because you can’t just let an Israelite tribe die out. The third problem is that they all swore an oath to never give their women to the bastards that allowed the concubine’s murderers to go free.   How the devil will they solve the first problem then?   They did a head count there at the celebration. Who didn’t show up for the sacrificial party? An Israelite tribe out of Jibash Gilead didn’t bother to come kill a goat and burn it for Yahweh. Because of their absence, they were put on the hook for the six hundred wives... Read the rest here at my blog http://thebluegrassskeptic.com/2015/08/11/a-bible-story-that-few-read-to-the-bitter-end/

TheBluegrassSkeptic

TheBluegrassSkeptic

 

J Is For Jesus Fucking Christ

Jesus didn't approve homosexuality.
Jesus Saves!
WWJD?
Jesus take the wheel.
Jesus is Lord!
Y'all need Jesus!   Then?   Jesus on stationery.
Jesus on itty bitty gold crosses dangling from your mom's neck.
Jesus on billboards.
Jesus in politics.
Jesus on South Park.
Jesus on toast.   Jesus fucking Christ! I get it already.   Every time I hear someone tell another,"I'm praying for your healing." Saying this while standing next to a friend, bedridden with cancer. Every time someone lets me know that I am loved by the ever-watching Him of the divine invisible planes of Woo. Every time I turn to friends for advice, and I am offered scripture for consolation.   Seriously, I fucking get it.   All the way down to your Jesus fish with the shiny fake chrome finish that you put on the rear of your car, just below your stick figure family decals on your back windshield.   Yeah. Jesus makes your world go round in countless ways. But unfortunately for millions of us around you, we'd appreciate less Jesus pep rallies. When we cry, what is more consoling? The motivational examples of blessings in the lives of others, like that of your aunt finally conceiving that long awaited child? Or would some of us just prefer a hug while we deal with the devastating trauma of loved ones suddenly vanishing from our lives?   The world's suffering doesn't need Jesus. It needs you.   Is it so hard to admit you are at a loss when you see me suffering? I know you are uncomfortable and pained, but don't pass your anxiety of my pain off to a very obviously absent deity. Do something. Admit something. Acknowledge the helplessness you feel, and find a way to help. Ask me what will truly make a difference in my situation. This works across the world on a daily basis in more visible ways than an invisible comforter.     Hold a hand.
Help someone eat.
Donate a few bucks to research.   Being part of humanity, we see situations every day that we sometimes cannot READ MORE HERE at my blog The Bluegrass Skeptic http://thebluegrassskeptic.com/2015/08/02/j-is-for-jesus-fucking-christ/

TheBluegrassSkeptic

TheBluegrassSkeptic

 

Surgery?

I have a month of time to decide whether I choose to have dental surgery.   First of all I'll mention that I'm going to discuss this at length at least once with my great, very experienced dentist before the date comes that my decision for this autumn must be finished. So that puts my mind at ease somewhat. But before that, I'm weighing the pros and cons.   My bite is thankfully not catastrophic. There are many things wrong with it, but it could be a lot worse. I can choose to just have a dental device that I'd use at night to keep it the way it is now, or I can choose to go into surgery, which means wearing braces for a couple years before and a half a year afterwards (on average), and a retention device for maybe many years.   If all was to go right, I'd have my teeth as perfect as they get, and my face would look more balanced, as right now my lower jaw is quite a bit more at the back than it should be. Perhaps I'd breathe more easily, and I might even gain some extra confidence (I already gained a whole lot of it after the earlier dental procedures).   If I go to surgery, there's a small risk of damaging facial nerves and losing sensation for months, years or permanently. Plus it's a long surgery, I might lose a lot of blood, being put under always has risks, I need to find out what to do with birth control to avoid blood clots, etc.   If I don't go, there's a risk that in the long run my bite doesn't work even as much as it does now because my teeth don't touch ideally, and I'll run into some different dental problems.   If I go, it's irreversible. Except if I stop using retention too early, which is when my face will attempt to reverse all changes - though it won't ever be exactly the same as before.   If I don't go, I can still do it later, but the older I get, the slower I'll heal.   Plus I'll get it for cheap now that I'm still a student. Anytime later it'll be much, much more.   I'm trying to find some people online who have had a similar surgery done. I've already found two, both were medical students so they were able to describe things to a great detail in their respective blogs. They were both very, very satisfied with their results. I'll try and reach them to talk a little. One of them even lives in my town. Plus I'll write down all my questions for my wonderful dentist when I see her in two weeks.   It's so much, my head is spinning a little bit. It's always a tough call when your life is affected so dramatically by your choice, and possibly for good too.   I'll also see my psychiatrist tomorrow. That should be all right. I think I'll talk about this a bit to him, too.

yunea

yunea

 

A Mess Of An Entry About Guidance And Stuff.

I said it out loud in the breakfast table this morning: "Thinking you're in guidance makes you do random things". It's a truth about how I used to be, a very sad truth that made me waste so much time and make some very stupid decisions. Well, as it's random, I did make some very good decisions too, but didn't take much of the responsibility for them either - I decided they were me fulfilling someone else's plan.   There was only my boyfriend listening, I'm still not "out" as ex-Christian to my Pentecostal roomie.   I still occasionally read the New Age forum that at some point, in my deepest depression, was the only activity I participated in every day. Well, in fact there were days that I did nothing but. Anyway, these days I read it for the same reason I watch Pentecostal broadcasts - the more I look at those things now, the more certain I am that I did the right thing stopping all of it.   There are some people there who have the same view as I did as Jesus being the greatest, and some who believe something else - but at the end of the day, extreme versions of it are not that much unlike fundy Christianity, even when the hardcore New Agers not-so-surprisingly claim it's "more true" or whatever. There are people who are scared of negativity to a similar extent that some Christians are scared of sin, even sending away "too negative" people from their lives, and thinking all illnesses are both started and cured by thoughts and/or energy.   And of course, there are people who think only they have the right idea of how the world works and what "God" is, and can't understand why everyone doesn't think the same way - they might even suspect there's an evil force at work, stopping the others from being open to it. Or the good old favourite "Oh, you're not developed enough to understand. It's not your fault" that nicely puts them on the pedestal of The Developed Ones. Kind of like "That pastor has God's special anointment" or something.   Also, right now there is a long thread where a girl who's barely turning twenty is turning Tarot cards for those who ask, and the questions are the type of "Does it make sense for me to sell my house now?" and "What does the future bring for me and my new love interest?". I surely remember Christian people praying about serious stuff like that and making decisions from that. Maybe it works for some people, it's been even scientifically researched and there was evidence that in stock market, people who do emotional decisions do best in the long run. Maybe, just my feeling, but maybe a different thing is when your emotions aren't working like they should. I used to feel so much anxiety and even panic that often I didn't even recognise what else I felt, so I prayed for guidance. I even used to think I was a "good" Jesus follower because I prayed for guidance in so many things and then waited for coincidences that I could decide were the answer.   Sigh. What a waste. I could be so much farther in life if it weren't for that.  
I'm having one of my recurring dreams VERY often now. I had it when I just napped and I last had it 2 nights ago, and it's been coming many other nights as well. In it my childhood scenery is filled with new houses, while my mom's house is exactly like it is in reality, that horrible thing.   However, today, during my nap, there was a new version. In it, my mom laughed a very disturbing laugh at me as I was fixing the brakes of my old car. I asked her to please explain, so she hopped on a bike. I took on one too, it was terrible to ride and the chain was just a rope that I had to hold in place with my shoe. Anyway, after a long ride across a field, she took me to a shed and said, "Look what I found. It's yours I know". It was a photocopy of a long article with a picture of a galaxy on the first page, and some untelligible drivel about Paul the Apostle on the next pages. She was saying, "The thing is that you got away with too few consequences when you were young".
I asked, "What the hell are you talking about?" but then I woke up.   It is true though. Not that the consequences as a whole were "too few", but way too few of them were realistic and relevant to real life. Honesty could lead into my mom having a fit of rage, but being able to do things in secret might end in me getting what I wanted and my mom NOT being upset. I didn't learn true cause and effect for a long time, I was really behind my peers on morals, and I didn't have a clue why I should ever be completely honest about everything.   I've been thinking of that a lot lately because especially Christians say that people's sense of morality must be due to God putting it there. If that were so, how is my early life possible, with me not knowing what "keeping a secret" means, thinking cheating in school tests is fine because it gets you a good grade, and a "no" means "this is a challenge for you to find out a way to do it anyway"? (Oh right, it must have been Satan's work. But I was extra blessed and protected because I was born to a sick and poor family. But I was sick and poor so I just had to be extra tormented by Satan. But Jesus has won Satan. But Satan still reigns, God lets it happen to shape us. But Jesus crushed Satan's head. But don't focus on today, eternity matters more than this short trip on the dirtball. But... you get where this is going, right? Nowhere at all that helps you understand and conquer life's struggles.)   Anyway, no wonder I didn't have a very realistic view of cause and effect for a long time and was able to see whatever I wanted as "evidence" of God or whatnot.   I do hope I function better now and don't only feel that I do.   This entry is all over the place, so if anyone actually read all of it, here's a picture.     There.

yunea

yunea

 

Planned Parenthood, Women’S Health Funding On The Line

I’ve taken my time the past week to read through and watch transcripts, videos, and podcasts, regarding the Planned Parenthood defunding campaign where claims have been made the organization is selling fetal tissue for a profit. As many might already know, proven heavily edited videos have hit the airwaves depicting top Planned Parenthood clinic leaders as discussing negotiations for “procuring” fetal tissue. This procurement is being purported as the sale of fetal body parts, not just donation.   And in all honesty, the , makes you wonder at first. The tone of the Planned Parenthood representatives has a very business like tone, maybe matter-of-fact in expression, but the conversations skip around, and are obviously out of order and edited for specifically tailored context. So, I watched the of these undercover conversations with Planned Parenthood big wigs, as well. While still matter-of-fact in tone, and also at times cringe worthy in business humor, it is very clear that donation is being spoken of– not illegal sale and trade of fetal tissue.    The first issue that comes to my mind in this ruckus would be that apparently the American public and government have forgotten that donation isn’t cost free. These costs that are being mentioned covers the time of the employees working there who harvest the donation tissue. These costs cover the cost of space being used in labs to preserve specimens for travel to the agencies that are getting the tissue donation. These costs cover the cost of what Planned Parenthood has to pay the procurement specialists (the companies that send technicians to harvest and prepare the samples). Yes, the donation of fetal tissue by the mother is free. Making use of the donation and getting it to the medical research groups that request use of it is not. Planned Parenthood cannot use its federal funding for the tissue donation program, but it is perfectly legal for them to get the costs of processing the donation covered through a third-party. You hire a company to handle everything for you, and that company has a set rate they charge the research facility for handling the process, and Planned Parenthood gets a varied rate based on each case to help cover their man hours and lab space used in the process.     Additionally, our legislators and potential presidential candidates know that this is a false front to push an agenda. If even a single sentence of accusation were true that fetal tissue was being sold like candies at a market, people would already be in jail. Clinics would be immediately shut down. In fact, a shut down would be the number one result if any of this were true, and it would be immediate, even if only temporarily...Read more here at http://thebluegrassskeptic.com/2015/07/29/planned-parenthood-womens-health-funding-on-the-line/

TheBluegrassSkeptic

TheBluegrassSkeptic