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.
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.
I am going through a restless period that has lasted the better part of a few months now. There are so many things that I want to be doing with my time and yet more often than not I find myself staring idly at a computer screen, occupying my time with pointless videos or video games that feel like little more than busy work. Another day passes, I go to bed and tell myself that I'm going to do better tomorrow, but the same things happens and the weeks pass.
To be fair, I have started a new job. It's part time, I work from home and my hours are flexible, but I suppose it has taken a good portion of my focus and energy. Still I feel that I am wasting time, allowing days and weeks and months to slip by when I could be doing more, achieving more.
I have so many books on Christianity and Atheism that are sitting waiting for me to read, and I want to read them. I want to devour that knowledge, to take notes, to build a foundation for what I accept to be true and equip myself with evidence should I need to defend my position. And I expect that I will have to defend my position when I finally come to a decision as to how to break it to my family and friends that I am no longer a believer.
Every morning I catch my reflection in the mirror and I despair at the amount of weight that I've allowed myself to gain. I stare back at a face with dark circles under the eyes and complexion that could be a great deal clearer and wonder why I take such little care of myself. At the beginning of every month I promise myself that I'm going to get into a routine, I'm going to exercise regularly and eat better, I'm going to work on being healthier. Yet halfway through the week I find myself gorging on chocolate and drinking soda, my exercise streak petering off after four or five days.
I have reading I want to do in preparation for my Masters that I start in September. I've wanted to learn sign language for years now, to teach myself to draw, to expand my social circle. There is so much I want to do and achieve, yet I have achieved none of these things.
I'm reminded of a Bible verse:
'I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.' - Romans 7:15
Strange that it would be a Bible verse that comes to me right now, or perhaps it is not so strange. However, the honest truth is that there is no god to save me from this 'body that is subject to death', I'm going to have to haul myself out of this trench myself. One way or another.
I normally make an effort to go out of my way to avoid any news stories coming out of FOX news. I also do what I can to not bother responding to any discussion panels either. There is one draw that will get my attention, and keep it, in a FOX news article. Pastors, politics, and biblical scripture. The discussion in question today had all three, and I just need to totally go there.
I imagine there are a number of people who draw a complete blank stare when the name Pastor Robert Jeffress is said aloud. He runs a mega church out in Dallas, that is currently 11,000+ members strong, and he has his program Pathway to Victory on hundreds of channels nationwide, and I think broadcast in at least twenty-five countries. The dude is big news, which explains why FOX loves him so much and has him on pretty often as a contributor.
So, when he started shooting off his mouth about how Jesus wouldn’t necessarily be offering shelter to illegal immigrants, and that the real Christian™ thing to do would be to follow government instituted immigration law, lock up our border, and protect our families (he didn’t say specifically from what), I opted to burn a few brain cells and listen. The initial question presented by the host in the
was whether churches were obligated to turn over all illegal immigrants that show up at their doorsteps, or are churches really a safe haven for all.
The host asks Jeffress straight up if he intends to immediately call ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), and like any useless contributor on FOX would predictably do, Jeffress avoids answering the question, going into quite the tirade against liberal churches instead.
First of all, if you don’t have background information about the gentleman showing up before your congregation, asking for assistance, how the fuck do you know if they are a criminal or not? You are going to either have to call ICE and verify their background, or go on…uh…faith..that he isn’t a psycho about to butcher someone in their sleep.
What is pathetic is that he isn’t arguing about finding a way to better offer assistance to illegals without jeopardizing safety, he is literally using the topic as a bully pulpit to push his own ministry’s brand of faith, repeatedly using the word liberal to describe differing church views. But, I digress. Of course, he makes an appeal to Jebus. Jebus of the Bible wasn’t a “wimpy guy”. Jebus said to give Caesar what is Caesar’s, which according to Jeffress, means obey the government. Naturally, he also speaks on behalf of Jebus too, making it clear that his bearded savior was very concerned about the brutal burning death of a three-year.... Read more here at my blog: http://thebluegrassskeptic.com/2015/07/15/jesus-wasnt-a-law-breaking-hippy/
Charles Bradlaugh was an English atheist of the 19th century. In fact he could perhaps be considered THE English atheist of his time. He stormed across the UK, a giant of the free thought movement. Clever, brave with a large heart and a mind as strong as steel, he caused despair and worry among the faithful.
His knowledge of the Bible was deep and profound. He had the ability to show just how error riddled it was and would debate those claiming to follow it in front of very large and spell bound crowds.
Although he has laid in his grave the past 124 years, his example of a superstition free life has had a tremendous and positive effect on my own, and I remain grateful for the sacrifices he made and the challenges he had to fight to overcome to make this life, just that little bit better
For some reason, I always see a brotherly connection between Jesus and Lucifer in the biblical stories I read of them. So, I'm starting a Luc and Jes (Lucifer and Jesus) meme collection. These are some of the first ones, thus far, and I'll post more every week. They're just...fun... I guess.
See all five here at http://thebluegrassskeptic.com/2015/07/12/luc-and-jes-shenanigans-of-heaven/
As many of you may know I met a Young Earth creationist last week, I wrote about it here: http://www.ex-christian.net/topic/68545-i-met-a-young-earth-creationist-today/
There was something in the conversation I had with him that really struck me as one of the big reasons why Christianity was not right for me, and why it might feel a little more right for some people.
Before I'd told him a thing about where I grew up, he said, "Remember when you were small, and you did something wrong despite having been told not to, and your parent corrected you lovingly? I'm not talking about them beating you up over small things, but a loving correction that fits what you did. God does the same."
Obviously he wasn't talking about hell at the time (heh), he was talking about Christians who are in God's guidance, and what kind of things God does to guide them and help them grow.
You know, my problem is that I don't have such a memory. My father might have done that kind of thing yes, but I only remember those talks from when I was a bit bigger. He was mostly dominated by my mother, who had crying, screaming rage fits over the strangest things. She scared me and my brothers into running out of the house to hide when we, or something else, had upset her. She didn't hit us, but she was screaming in our little faces and sounded like someone else altogether, her voice had this odd singing-type tone to it. When we'd been hiding a while, she'd come outside looking for us, asking "Why are you crying? What happened to you?" and even "Did I say something wrong?", and she'd have bread and bun baking in the oven and the kitchen cleaned up.
It was so scary and so out of our control that I couldn't wrap my little mind around it. I started trying to be so good a girl that when I'd reach the tipping point of being good enough, I could stop her rage and everyone would be happy and safe. I wanted to feel that I had some control in it. Obviously enough, it failed miserably, as a pre-school kid can not possibly understand a psychotic adult who refuses to get help.
So when it comes the time that the Christian creates the loving, parent-like God that brings you hardships to make you think and help you grow, and who is close to you like a parent, what did I create?
I created a God I both wanted and feared. I created a God I couldn't understand, a God who says strange and violent things but it must be that I simply don't understand "yet". I created a God I wanted to please, and was shaking in anxiety when I wasn't sure which choices I make would please him most, desperate to get the "Don't be afraid" type message from someone's mouth or a coincidence.
I totally made this God based on my childhood relationship with my mother. The fun thing is that the Bible had so much in it to support it, too. Just like it supports many other people's versions of God as well, as there are so many different and contradictory things in it.
This also explains one very big thing that happened to me when I deconverted. I may have mentioned it before.
For my entire adult life, I was guilty that I couldn't make my mom live a better life. She's still sick and miserable, lonely too as everyone who can escapes her rage, and the only person who couldn't do that died in her arms. She lives in a horrible moldy house far away from everything. For so many years I tried very hard to take care of her, and when I moved too far away to do it whenever she asked, I carried the guilt that I wasn't available and thought it was somehow up to me to make sure she exits this world humanely, since she brought me to the world.
The guilt went away when Jesus went away from my world. If she wanted to be happy, she could have worked towards it herself years and years ago. It's not my responsibility. It really is not.
Okay, her illness has taken the best of her ability to reason why a life change would make sense, but that's not my fault either. It's sad and awful, but I don't need to hate myself over not being able to force her to change. She thinks she's doing the right things and that anyone who says otherwise is "jealous" of her. Who am I to fight that?
Just like I don't need to hate myself over God not taking away my filthy thoughts or my sloth (which I now understand to be a part of my own health issues), or worrying that if, for a second, I don't repeat "Thank you Jesus for everything ever" kind of stuff in my head, I'm caught as an ungrateful girl who's just greedy for being pampered.
Heh, if the Christian guy knew how much new self-confidence I have after handling the discussion with him without panicking, and how my own life makes so much more sense now. He probably expected to help me in quite a different way, haha.
I almost want to say that if there was a God (not a Biblegod but a some kind of all-seeing creator being), he could be patting me on the back right now, saying "Good girl, all thinking with that nice brain I designed, all standing on your own feet, knowing you don't need me anymore." But I don't need there to be a God for this to make sense. I'm raising myself into an independent adult, finally - that's it.
I’ve heard this all week in one form or another. On Facebook rants, in hundreds of posts howling in protest against the Supreme Courts findings about same-sex marriage, and in general conversation on the street. My kind is apparently responsible for all of this. We are also referred to as “your ilk”, “godless sinners”, “radical liberals”, or my favorite “leftists”. My support for the rights of all to receive the recognition of marriage under national law has earned me all types of nasty stares, sarcastic jabs at my own life story, and immediate dismissal upon sharing my support with those who abhor it. I’ve learned that my motivations are anything but altruistic. In fact, apparently I’m dead set on destroying the Christian culture in America.
Frankly, I usually don’t get upset over name calling, but referring to me as “ilk” really stung on some levels. It is such a divisive label to use against your fellow American. It relegates me to a less than. Less than American. Less than trustworthy. Less than human. Obviously, this week has left me feeling like the wrath of all Christendom has been put on the shoulders of those of us who are willing to sacrifice a bit of ourselves to make sure families continue to be strong and prosper in this nation. It’s been a rough past few days, but I have a feeling there is a long way to go on the matter of same-sex marriage. This is all because of that one purely trademarked Christian branded word.
Normally, I would dig into the usual tirade about how “marriage” isn’t a Christian only rite, but dear reader, I’m sure you’ve already had the pleasure of reading about half a million blog posts already explaining this fact. No, let’s focus on who is really to blame for marriage’s redefinition. It isn’t I, or my “ilk”, either. No, it is the founders of this Christian tradition that we can find roaming within our legislative halls. It’s the pastors, the youth leaders, the religious city council members, and state legislators, that doomed the ceremony of marriage to become a one size fits all rite in the government’s eyes.
Let’s get a clear concept of how marriage ended up in government in the first place. The religiously motivated state legislators of our nation’s creation. See, it’s always been a federal government that wasn’t allowed to establish one religion over another in importance or favor.
When the Constitution was ratified, the last thing the founding fathers were concerned with were the states establishing religion. In colonial America, state governments were a completely different beast. If you look back over the laws that governed states, a large majority of them were religious in tenor since separation of church and...... Read more here at my blog: http://thebluegrassskeptic.com/2015/07/12/religious-legislating-killed-religious-marriage-not-the-gays/
Come with me, to visit the rambling past of an irrelevant human female....
As a teenager, I had a tough time fitting in. I was quiet and withdrawn. I had issues being around boys due to being sexually abused for years by neighborhood boys as a child. In grade 8, my mom made me join a youth group at a church near our new home. They kids there weren't bad but I just didn't fit in. I slept next to the girl's youth director and her two little girls when we went on trips because I didn't feel safe for whatever reason. I remember one boy was really nice to me. He went to my school and even though he was kind of popular (B team footballer, member of the school's Young Christians club, and so on), he went out of his way to talk to me, a freakish outcast.
I remember walking home to my sister's house after school. I baby-sat for my oldest niece who was in elementary school at the time. From 4pm to 630pm, Monday-Wednesdays and occasionally Fridays. Thursdays, she had Girl Scouts and I was usually not asked to baby-sit. Most teenagers would have hated that sort of responsibility but I liked it. I was always very close to my niece Nikki. We are only 6 years apart in age and were raised together for the most part.
I started high school and my sister broke it off with her long-term live-in boyfriend at the time. She moved to another town and I was no longer able to watch Nikki after school. Instead of hanging out with friends or getting a job, I just rode the bus home and spent most of my time online. I played Ultima, Warcraft and Starcraft. I participated in RP games on message boards and spent a lot of time on early music file-sharing sites downloading classic rock and metal. I would chat in Yahoo Chat and joined a mixtape/cd trading club online.
Sometimes I worked at part-time jobs long enough to buy something I really wanted, like expensive sneakers or parts for my umpteen computer rebuilds/mods that slowly took over the basement at my parent's old house. I made a few friends despite my lack of social skills and extreme nerdiness. At some point during my junior year, a former 'friend' started a hateful rumor about my sexuality. I spent a lot of time in the company of two female friends. One was just a friend; the other I had feelings for and eventually we would be something more than friends. (*Mariah, for the purposes of this story)
The latter was the child of a strict immigrants who also happened to be Mormon. Mariah was an outcast for those reasons, along with her nerdiness. She was devoted to a certain boy band (WAAAAAY obsessed ). She was also a squeaky clean straight A student who wore bottle bottom glasses and high water pants. She and I were in most of the same classes freshman year, which is how we had become friends. She crushed on all of these unattainable boys, some of whom she'd went to temple with when her parents were feeling 'temple-ish'. Mariah's family were in the process of becoming lapsed Mormons at that point. They had separated like 10 times and her older brother was 'bad news' by Mormon standards. (He was wannabe gangbanger who routinely got into fights at our overwhelmingly white and preppy high school.)
I remember how she would cry and cry about how those boys wouldn't look at her. She'd write them long notes in her most careful girlish handwriting and slip them into their lockers as we walked the halls of our high school during our lunch period. Outcasts didn't get to eat at our school. Not unless you wanted some pretty rich bitch to 'accidentally' lob trash at you since the only tables we were allowed to sit at were next to the trash cans.
One day, Mariah and I were in the bathroom by the shop class wing where we always went to hide from the teachers who patrolled the halls. I pulled my cigarettes out of the ceiling tiles and was sitting on the counter smoking while she sat on the floor crying about some jerk named Jeremy who wouldn't give her the time of day yet again. She got up and started pacing as she plotting a new strategy to get him to notice her. I knew he wouldn't turn his head in her direction. It wouldn't matter if she got contacts or wore a 'sexy' dress or whatever. He was a cross country team preppy bastard who lived in a big house in a gated community that we'd snuck into a few times just so she could drive her dad's car past his house in the slim window between us getting off of work at the local sandwich shop and her 11 pm curfew.
When she passed me, I grabbed her hand and told her so. We were there in that moment, I was holding her hand and I realized it felt good, natural. I wanted to pull her close, but I didn't. She didn't move away and that was the first time I knew that I was 'different'.
If only it were that easy to be 'different' in a small conformist town...
Mariah and I were pretty close sophomore year. We spent the nights at one another's houses a lot. We lived close enough to walk to each other's places when she couldn't borrow her dad's car. We would go to the movies a lot and sometimes during the movies, we'd hold hands. I would hold her during scary parts sometimes too. When we stayed at my house, we'd sleep together in my queen sized water bed and she'd giggle and say that 'the wave motion tickles me!'
She would take off her glasses and I would stare into her eyes...she had sad, deep eyes. Tired face most of the time from spending too much time reading and studying. Her breasts were big and when she'd take off her bra, they were just....BAM! In your face. Sometimes she'd let me touch them, but nothing else. She found it strange that I wanted to, but seemed to be okay with it. In retrospect, that was probably when I crossed the line that led to the rumors starting.
The summer between sophomore and junior years, we went to summer school. Mariah was on her quest for extra credit and I was there because I had failed math and wanted to avoid gym class during the school year. Being in the locker room with other girls was very...let's say...challenging for me for obvious reasons.
A mutual friend (*Kate, for the sake of this story) was also there and the three of us were kind of a clique that summer. Mariah and Kate had been good friends prior and their parents actually liked them being friends. No one's parents seemed to like me. I was 'odd' and a 'bad influence' because I didn't go to church and wasn't all that academically inclined despite being in advanced classes and well-spoken. Plus I was a goth kid whose parents allowed her to smoke and listen to heavy metal including the big bad Marilyn Manson!
Being around the both of them made me confront my burgeoning sexuality. They were both very attractive to me. I have a thing for abnormally tall women. Mariah was 6'1. Kate? She was 6'3. They should have been athletes, but they were nerds. They were both so chesty it hurt. Bursting at the seams. The three of us were in gym class together. Can you even imagine how excited I was? That was the only time in my pathetic nerdy life that I was ever excited to run laps.
Bounce bounce bounce. Bounce bounce bounce. If I were a guy, I'd have had a raging boner the whole time. But since I'm not, I didn't. I did spend a lot of time masturbating to the visions at home though.
Everyday, we'd go out to lunch together. Wendy's or Pizza Hut since those were walking distance. We would sit there and talk and eat. Mariah would push her glasses up her nose like 500 times as she gasped between bites of whatever. Kate would listen patiently like a wise old sage and then deliver some witty remark that would have us laughing afterwards. I was merely a spectator and occasional interpreter between the two of them.
Kate and I started spending a lot of time together. She had a car, a white '83 Mustang GT. It had been her stepdad's pet project for awhile, then it was her mom's 'fun car'. Her parents were loaded. They lived out in the middle of nowhere on a ranch and they had all kinds of crazy shit out there. A garage full of her stepdad's projects, a 'lounge' built onto the front of their house that included pool tables, a jukebox and fully stocked bar and god knows what else. We would go out there while her parents were at work and spend our days sipping Long Islands and Jack and Cokes while she rolled joints.
We would smoke the joints as we relaxed in the lounging chairs on the back porch. She'd crank up the volume on the ancient boom box. We sang along to old songs and sometimes she'd sit on my lap as we sang and passed the joint back and forth. Other times we'd reverse hit as she straddled me. She rarely wore a shirt when we were at her place. Always bikini tops or ittybitty wifebeaters. Her girls were just THERE, in my face. How could I not look, not touch?
There were a few times when played 'teasing' games like 'Pass the Cube' where we'd take ice cubes dipped in whiskey and pass them between our mouths until one of us missed or choked and spit what was left over the railing. One time we played strip poker. Another time we got really fuckin' blazed at like 10 in the morning and snuck into her neighbors pool to go for a midday skinny dip. Crazy shit like that was common when we were together.
A weird tension developed between us. I had strong feelings for her, wanted to do things with her...especially after I saw her in cowboy boots and a hat with not much else in between. BUT...she had other people. An unrequited love with a fellow member of the academic elite. (Later on, she'd spend several years with him only for him to come out as gay.) There was also a strange relationship between her and her forensics partner Whitney. Whitney was bi and open about it. I'm pretty sure her and Kate were a thing around that time.
Besides fapping a lot, I began to question where I stood in terms of sexuality. I knew I couldn't come out in school. Or at home. My school was conservative and this was back in the early 00s, right before gay became somewhat okay. My parents, despite being permissive and lax about most things, were not cool with gay either. I felt alone and had terrible anxiety. I quit my job and reverted back to playing computer games 24/7.
Mariah and I maintained a close relationship. She couldn't get a guy to look twice at her even after she lost 40lbs and got contacts. She was sexually frustrated and I was willing. We spent some time 'practice kissing' in her basement bedroom. At my house, we got drunk on Smirnoff Ice while listening to The Cure and The Get Up Kids. She would let me do other things once she got to a certain point of buzzed. The lights went off. I would listen to her moan and I'd crank the music up.
'Oh God....' I can hear her now. She was a slow starter and I was inexperienced and a bit too eager. I remember kissing her ears because she liked that and I remember how she would squeal if I got a little too nibbly on her neck. Hands on breasts, hands on waist, hands on thighs, and whatever comes next...
Those were good times, times when I could be honest about how I really felt and want I really wanted. I trusted and I was legit in love. Big hearted me.
The rumors started junior year. I guess Mariah or Kate had leaked my secrets to other people. Maybe someone else had figured them out. I don't know. Suddenly, I was a 'dyke' and a 'lesbo'. All of the good times stopped happening. Mariah and I quit going on our weekly journeys to the record stores to hunt for new sounds. We quit hitting the thrift shops and vintage shops. She quit calling me and eventually we drifted apart after she got accepted into Honor Society or whatever it was called. She finally got one of those preppy fucks to pay her some attention and that was good enough for her.
Kate had her shit with Whitney and the two of them were on the DL. They kept their distance and I secretly hated them for being able to have what I wanted. I ended up at the alternative school for 'fuck ups' because the rumors turned to bullying. I lost all of my friends. I hated school and attempted suicide.
You hear a lot about how bad gay boys have it, but lesbian girls have it bad too. It's easy to assume that girls who like girls can just keep it a secret and they have more opportunity to be intimate and so on. I guess that was true, but we still pay a price. Some of us pay more than others. Some of us will never outlive our pasts.
Senior year was miserable. I met a guy at the alternative school and decided that I was going to be straight. I pretended to like him and lost my virginity to him. I hated myself. I didn't even want to be with him. But I felt like I had to pretend to care.
That year was hard anyway. My mom had a nervous breakdown and I was living with my sister and her two daughters. Money was tight and I was basically playing Mommy everyday after school. I cried myself to sleep on a crappy loveseat covered with cat hair most nights. Sometimes I'd go home to my parents' house. I had a bedroom there, and high speed internet. A computer. I'd escape into music and Warcraft III and feel like I was okay for a little while.
I wasn't allowed to be there with just my mom though. She was unstable. Plus I was needed at my sister's house...so my adolescence was pretty much over at that point.
Towards the end of my senior year, Mariah and I 'made up' or whatever. We ended up going to prom together. I had my first slow dance to some forgettable early 00's pop hit whilst my head was buried in Mariah's cleavage. She wore a beautiful vintage gown, black body with a white silk collared top. Form fitting in all of the right places. I wore a dress (last time I did! ) and combat boots. A disco ball twirled above us and the two of us sat a table by ourselves, save for the only out lesbian at our school. She was a junior and she had come with a senior friend who had left early for some reason. I didn't know her well, but we had a good time chatting.
Mariah and I left and faced the long drive back to our hometown. We stopped at a park and sat in her new car listening to pop punk hits of the time. Such as:
The lyrics to which I still find hauntingly telling:
"This may never start. I'll tear us apart. Can I be your enemy. Losing half a year. Waiting for you here I'd be your anything. So get back, back, back to where we lasted. Just like I imagine. I could never feel this way. So get back, back, back to the disaster. My heart's beating faster. Holding on to feel the same."
We kissed in the front seat and held hands as she drove one handed all the way home. I spent the night at her house and that was the last time we ever did anything. In fact, it was one of the last times I talked to her. I will always remember her and wish that we could've been a real thing.
Maybe if I had been a guy or she had been a lesbian, we could've been something. She was my first love.
And that's where I end this long ass rambling blog.
Just back from a week in Poland. 90+% catholic population - I observed several times, as I wandered around in tourist mode, people kneeling in the aisles of churches, crossing themselves or dipping their fingers in a receptacle of (presumably and supposedly holy) water in order to give themselves a little wash in the general shape of a cross.
That aside, it's a friendly and seemingly quite prosperous country, with some remarkable scenery (we stayed in the Tatra mountain region in the south).
What was interesting however was a trip to Auschwitz and Birkenau. In effect the former is a museum and the latter a memorial, about 3 km from each other. The sheer horror of what went on there is perhaps something you don't realize at a distance. Apparently the vast majority of Jews who went there survived about one hour - the time it took to process them through to the gas chambers. The few kept alive were put to work shaving the bodies of their murdered fellow Jews (human hair was taken to be woven into cloth - one display is two tons of human hair and there is a sample of the cloth to view), removing gold and silver teeth and cremating what was left. As for non Jewish inmates, we were informed that one German officer had gone on record as stating that no-one should survive longer than 3 months.
I felt sorry for the guide. He gave the impression of being worn down by the sheer weight of the misery about which he had to speak day after day, and at one point, after describing the executions in the prison block, seemed about to burst into tears.
The problem for me, when I think about the attitudes of militant religionists (and I fear the attitude is remarkably similar between Muslims and Christians, even if it's only the extremists of the former who are actually taking up arms at present) is the realization that hatred can grow from any doctrine that is taken to extremes. In the words of Bertold Brecht:
"This was the thing that nearly had us mastered. Don't yet rejoice in his defeat, you men. For, though the world stood up and stopped the bastard, The bitch that bore him is on heat again"
Unless you count my mother who went in and out of faith in Jesus/UFOs/conspiracies/whatever, the first Ex-Christian I knew of was the third oldest child in a Pentecostal family. She had six siblings and her parents were very active in more than one of the churches in the area.
I was a teenager, she was a few years older than me. I had recently converted to Pentecostalism. I was convinced that my life was going to be much more fulfilling, fruitful, happy, meaningful, miraculous and whatever because allegedly God Himself was now talking to me with the mouth of fellow Christians and from the pages of the book with the golden page edges, and that I was talking straight to God Himself with the tongues his Spirit was helping me speak.
(Yeah, the churches in that area are quite inclined to preach that Christianity makes your life better with God's loving guidance, and you get to get rid of the shackles of sin and also you get a spot in Heaven. Maybe not so surprisingly from that background, they got heavily involved with Hillsong type activity recently, but that's another story.)
I was convinced God is real, mostly because I was convinced there was mutual communication.
And then there was that girl, who was pregnant out of wedlock with the child of a man of a different race, and there was word on the streets that she was saying "There is no God". Her mother cried so many tears praying over her in our prayer gatherings.
I didn't understand. She'd grown up surrounded by prayer and all kinds of "alleged" miracles. Her mother would fall over slain in the Spirit on her own when praying hard enough during Easters. How could someone who'd grown up in the middle of that say that there is no God?
I was a little afraid of the girl, even. After one particularly powerful prayer circle meeting in their home, with her family members and a few of the young people I used to know, I walked right into her outside the room. I was feeling pretty funny from thinking I'd once again received a message straight from God, and there is that girl who didn't join in, with her polite smile and certain strange silence. I felt she was missing out and choosing emptiness. I really didn't understand why.
I've been thinking of her. I'm not on Facebook, and I forget the name of the guy she was with, so I can't check if they got married and search her up with that surname. I wonder how she's doing, and I regret that I never asked what her initial deconversion story was.
You know, I love mug shots where the perps have big grins on their faces. Specifically, the cat ate the canary kind of look. This week’s headlines managed to present one that couldn’t be missed, and dare I say, I think there are even twinkles in the eyes of these men. In the mug shot, you see three of six men who took it upon themselves to heckle Joel Osteen, pastor of the Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas. All seven were eventually escorted out of the church and booked on misdemeanor charges of criminal trespass.
I wonder how many folks were possibly undiscovered, and planted in the congregation that day for the sole purpose of hijacking a few minutes of Joel’s divinely blessed presence.
Now, according to a statement given by Osteen’s church, the hecklers weren’t there bashing God, but Osteen, referring to the mega church pastor as a “liar”. Turns out the six men that were hauled out of there were members of another ministry called Church of Wells, located in Wells, Texas. And this isn’t the first time these fellows have gone to outside venues, even the high school in their hometown of Wells, and raised some serious Cain with the city’s residents. According to KSLA News, church members, including an elder, have had multiple run-ins with local authorities over the last year while protesting outside schools, churches, and universities.
This church has been rather ill received throughout it’s community, and they seem almost proud of this, using the push back of the local residents of Wells as proof they are persecuted for simply trying to
. This small church has a major martyr complex to say the least, and they are picking a fight with the more mainstream Christian public.
It’s a feud, fueled by the religious rhetoric of the likes of evangelical pastors like Ravenhill, Knox, and Barnard. It’s a struggle for what they perceive to be true expression of love through purposeful suffering. Of course, Osteen and other mainstream pastors take a more empowering, somewhat inspirational approach with much less intentional exposure to incited punishment.
The difference between the two churches is astronomical in approach. While Osteen supports putting your life down for Christ, The Church of Wells has the attitude that you must turn people to Christ, even if it means you force potential believers to kill you in order to prove your belief to them. It’s quite a sight to read such doctrine being espoused by radical Christian extremists, and I recommend you peruse this rarely exposed level of religious woo at the Church of Wells website.
Just don’t go reading and watching the material on the site all alone. At the very least, cook up some popcorn to munch on while you listen to a carefully selected onslaught of evangelical Youtube sermon highlights, sprinkled with desperate street preaching, that is all set to a woeful sounding melody of “poor me” style hymns. One of the striking things about the behavior of the renegade church is how there are specific tactics used in order to generate the most negative response they can find. Purposeful button pushing that will surely not yield the result of a willing conversation, but inevitable revulsion at such hard line Christian principle being screamed from any venue available. Schools, Fourth of July celebrations, gay bars, and even the streets of Ferguson, seems to be their venues of choice.
You can tell they are on a mission... Read more here at my blog http://thebluegrassskeptic.com/2015/07/02/its-not-the-hatfields-and-the-mccoys-but-pretty-close/
Anyone ever had that feeling of walking on ice or on egg shells, even when there's no reason to be feeling like that?
I've come to the conclusion that my brain is possibly wired to deal with crisis every second of every day....
The majority of my life has been extremely stressful and not all that pleasant, the last two weeks I've had a rather calm life minus my kids running away and my other (real) mum being really fucking sick .. All of that I can deal with.. Apparently what I struggle with is having no major urgent situations or problems to solve. It's like I have to be stressed to function which isn't particularly helpful nor is it a very nice way to live as most here will know.
All I've ever wanted is a normal life, but I have been feeling more and more insane of late and if I don't figure out how to rewire my impulses soon its going to drive me insane, that's PTSD for you I guess. At least I'm aware of it and hopefully on the right track.... Seeing my shrink tomorrow is going to be interesting. Usually I have some ridiculous bullshit stressful scenario to discuss but not this week...
America has an addiction to guns. So much so, we have the largest gun lobby in the world- the NRA -with members serving in our government. This heavily skews gun rights advocacy and regulation, often stunting bipartisan ties during critical legislation opportunities. How did our constitutional right to be armed if our government needs us, or oppresses us, turn into such a polarizing issue?
Why, our second biggest addiction, of course. Fear.
In case you didn’t realize it, America loves its drama. We seriously can’t get through a day without a pot being stirred somewhere. If it isn’t a Senator suggesting we judge gays by biblical standards, you’re sure to hear about a governor somewhere else telling his constituency that America is heading towards civil war. Are you ready to kill your own brother if that happens? Because it’s the lack of Almighty God in our schools that’s causing all of our problems.
It’s a constant societal fear mongering campaign, and the politicians greedily accepting super PAC endorsements to do so, that keeps our addiction to firearms running so hot. I did something time-consuming for this article. I went through the media history of all forty-four presidents, looking for specific activity regarding firearm rights. Going into this semi-loosely, I was only looking for comments regarding gun rights, gun violence, and gun legislation.
As always, I came across the massive pools of misused, oft abused, gun quotations. I had to double check a ton of them, but one in particular was by our first president, George Washington, and he clearly understood the purpose for having armed communities. He was all for America’s citizenry to have independent access to their own guns and supplies, but to what end?
“A free people ought not only to be armed, but disciplined; to which end a uniform and well-digested plan is requisite; and their safety and interest require that they should promote such manufactories as tend to render them independent of others for essential, particularly military, supplies.”
Essentially, if you lock up the armaments, and we get invaded, how can our citizens defend their country? For me personally, this view further cements what our second amendment rights to bear arms are all about. Freedom to defend our nation’s purpose and mission- even if from our own government. And to do so in a regulated fashion. Now I don’t want to just focus on Washington here, and prior to scanning through presidential histories regarding the gun issue, I already had a sneaking suspicion that a lot of this so-called “personal right to protect oneself” type of social attitudes began just after the Civil War. In particular, I have always thought it probably came up more as an issue as our nation began its expansion to the West.
Sure enough, as soon as I got to the 1870’s and President Grant? The NRA is formed, the West is rapidly becoming lawless in the 1880’s, and the gun industry begins to boom in a whole new fashion. Guns became more than just an American household necessity, but an accessory. Everywhere, you start to see new promotions pop up that promote not just craftsmanship and accuracy, but improvised situational necessity. This accessorizing continued on into the turn of the century, further embedding firearms into family life, though.. readm more here at my blog http://thebluegrassskeptic.com/2015/06/24/the-safety-of-the-grave//
June 17th, after about an hour of service, Dylan Storm Roof slaughtered nine unsuspecting church members at Emanual A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina. There were not any obvious signs of his intentions, nor any reason to suspect him of ill will. The 21 year-old simply decided to kill members of this church for what now appears to be racially motivated reasons. Seeing how he was just captured, there aren’t any new answers to his methodology or reasoning as of yet. But there is plenty of speculation abound, including a photo on his social media where he is wearing a jacket proudly emblazoned with white supremacist groups from South Africa’s previous apartheid era.
The entire tragedy brings yet another blow to the reality of race relations within the United States. With the extreme handling of jurisprudence a la Judge Dredd we have witnessed at the hands of police in places like Ferguson, Missouri, seeing youth act out on personal bigotry is sickening and disappointing. But, the situation is even worse. A few leading community members in church and government have taken to the airwaves to make a declaration that hatred against Christianity is a growing problem.
Instead of focusing on the obvious problem of our growing issue with disaffected youth in our society, religious leaders like E.W. Jackson of Hope Christian Church, have decided to ramp up the further divides already present in society. During a time of tragedy, this pastor has taken it upon himself to divide and alienate the public instead of encouraging united effort to heal the rifts of class and race.
What did he say on his Fox News discussion of the shooting that has me irritated beyond reasoning? He told several of the panel hosts, who of course nodded in mindless agreement, that,”…I have to tell you that I am deeply concerned this gunman chose to go into a church, because there does seem to be a rising hostility against Christians across this country because of our biblical views.”
Read more at my blog http://thebluegrassskeptic.com/2015/06/18/graham-e-w-jackson-claim-charleston-shooting-war-on-christianity/
My chest pain is now completely in control now with good pain meds, and there's no inflammation at this point (anymore?), just irritation of the rib cartilages. I also have one more doctor appointment booked in August now to figure out the amenorrhea. Heh, I don't think I've ever seen doctors as many times in a month as I will then, unless you count my week-long hospital stay when I was ten.
I had my teeth professionally cleaned today. That was many different kinds of awesome that I didn't expect, especially the look and feeling right afterwards. How stupid must I have been to avoid the dental professionals? My life could have been so much less painful and shameful if I hadn't. But no, instead of doing the sensible thing, I sat at home being ashamed and praying I'd grow new teeth, having faith that I would, oh yes I would. I almost died waiting. Dang!
So much for God taking complete care of his craziest ones. I never thought that prayer answers would be me deciding to go to a dentist, you know - if it was God, he didn't need me to do that so he could heal me, right? I just had to have faith, right? Besides I was a phobic.
Indeed, I briefly saw the poor dentist who saved my life and shock-cured my phobia earlier in the spring with the emergency operation. He looked busy so I sent him a note afterwards. While I was at it, I also thanked my other dentist who did the laughing gas treatments. That felt really good. Those two people have improved my life quality (and probably my life expectancy) so much, and they probably don't get enough positive feedback. People are notorious for only speaking out about bad treatments.
One of my dearest pet snails is very likely dying soon, so this day is quite a mixture of awesome and heartbreaking. Poor little guy. I miss him already. He might still come back, but I doubt it.
I need a nap. See you later. My next blog won't be about my physical illnesses, I promise.
It’s been a rough goddamned week. At least, I imagine if there were such thing as a deity, this week would have been totally damned to the outskirts of non existence. The fact I work for the postal service is reason number one to obliterate this past week from the memory flavored proteins of my brain. Add on to that the ever increasing humidity of the Ohio Valley I am so “blessed” to be alive in. It’s like sucking on a wet towel every time I have to breathe outdoors. The on and off again reminders that my body is slowly killing me hasn’t been the most pleasant either, quite literally landing me in the ER for a fun time with Oxytocin and pain killers the other night. This week has completely sucked more than its fair share of saltiness, but I try to remind myself there are those who have it worse.
There are also those fortunate enough to escape the clutches of said horrible weeks simply because of a prayer.
You know, I normally don’t hold attributing small successes to prayer against those who practice such things. If small coincidences make your day, have at it, but this week I was so dejectedly human that I seriously got borderline enraged at a coworker’s exclamation of a miracle when the company fuel card she lost was later discovered in her mail hamper. All thanks to St. Jude, of course. I’m sure you are somewhat familiar with the Prayer of Saint Jude. It’s the prayer you’ll see posted a trillion times a week in classified ads in your local newspaper. A direct hotline to make personal requests to God for those cases so difficult, it seems Jude is the only saint you can rely on to accomplish your impossible mission.
How the fuck a gas card would trump lesser issues like starving children, a father desperate to find his missing child, or a co worker suffering from endometrial cancer, is well beyond my understanding. Especially if all one can think to pray for is a missing fuel card during such a specifically formatted prayer request. This isn’t me judging the deity worshiping co worker here. I’m judging the prayer because obviously out of the billions of people on the planet, surely at least one has asked intercession for world peace, right? At least one in a billion over the course of man’s existence? Surely such a request would have been granted by now, statistically speaking. It has become quickly apparent to me that prayer will never be about a greater good if it is truly effective, because it isn’t the greater good that this prayer is designed for, now is it? Seriously, let’s cut the bullshit here. Not in just Christianity with it’s plethora of saints to offer help with any problem you can imagine, but with our New Age types that like to remind us that the Universe hears us and will directly lead us to what we ask for. An example of a Universe prayer isn’t really a prayer though. It’s more like a command is what I’ve been told by a friend of mine that runs a naturopathic shop at a flea market I sell at now and then.
She grew up in a Universalist Unitarian household, so I’m not overly surprised at her path in life. She ain’t no spring chicken either. Pushing into her early sixties, wearing star tattoos, having heavily wrinkled skin from years of Read more here at my blog http://thebluegrassskeptic.com/2015/06/13/hey-jude-dont-let-me-down/
Goddamnit, this is like a some kind of illness blog. I really didn't mean it to turn out that way. I wanted this to be an interesting and thoughtful blog. It just seems that this ripe age of 30 didn't come alone and I need to make notes of when these things happen.
Now on top of all else, I'm amenorrhic, with a couple other symptoms that seem related. After getting smaller and smaller all spring, my last period didn't happen at all. I really hope this would go away on its own, but I'm afraid that here's yet another reason to see a doctor once again. I already have five doctor or dentist appointments scheduled in the near future. Oh and I forgot, there's that Monday appointment that I haven't scheduled yet, for my strange chest pains. So that totals seven appointments, two of which I must schedule.
I do wonder if it's just my brain playing tricks on me. My ability to suggest myself into either illness or painlessness was always good, and it could be that. Or maybe I just really am this ill.
I've never felt ready to be a mother, but it doesn't feel nice to think that I may not actually have a choice in the matter.
Crap...I hope the chest pains and amenorrhia aren't related. Omg. I'm really glad I wrote this blog, this is to remind myself of everything I must tell my doctor.
Uh, it hurts to breathe.
"The devil inside, the devil inside
Every single one of us the devil inside
The devil inside, the devil inside
Every single one of us the devil inside
Here come the world, with the look in its eye
Future uncertain, but certainly slight
Look at the faces, listen to the bells
It's hard to believe we need a place called hell, place called hell" -- lyrics from "Devil Inside" by INXS
True. So true. Evil exists in all of us. Doing the right things in life is sometimes a punishment. That's my take on things, fwiw.
My life is falling apart. I've started smoking again. I'm depressed. I've been depressed for awhile. No secrets. No shame.
My heart has broken into a million tiny pieces. I'm tired and I want to sleep forever. My prayers from my believing days are being answered. Now I wish that they weren't. Fuck those prayers. Fuck the invisible man in his sky palace. Fuck him because he doesn't exist. Fuck him for sleeping on the job. Fuck him for ruining my family.
I want to blame a fictional character for everything bad that has happened in my life. Yeah, I should be past all of that. It's been 2 years since I left the Path™. Sometimes I wish that I could just believe again, believe that there's a loving God who is waiting in the wings to make everything all better. I want there to be someone there to help me out of this dark hole.
But there isn't. There never was and there never will be. I'm fucked and my family is fucked. I can't keep doing this, being there for everyone else, hoping that things will change.
They won't. I need to overcome this, get back on track.
I had a dream a few nights ago that I was shot as I sat in front of my laptop, scrolling Reddit. How pathetic. I sat in my chair for awhile before someone found me. I heard laughter as the people who shot me took all of my shit and stuffed it all into the hatchback of my car. Bleeding to death as my dogs cowered under my desk...I tried to hold on but I passed out before I could call for help.
I woke up crying, hugging my quilt as my chihuahua kissed me on the cheeks. I had been crying in my sleep. Ever since, I've been thinking that it was someone I knew. I recognized the laughter in my dream. It was spooky. But I still can't place it.
The dream was probably due to my depression. Last time I got like this, I wrote a novelette about killing the person I was mad at. I wish that I could channel my depressive energy into something somewhat productive. Chances are, I'll scroll Reddit and read a few chapters from one of the books in the stack by my bed. I went to the library and spent like 3 hours walking around. Then I sat on a couch in the back of the library and cried into my backpack for like 20 minutes. Finally a passerby asked if I was feeling okay.
Yeah. I feel fucking FANTASTIC. GREAT. I can't wait to get up tomorrow and do this all over again. WTF, humanity? A woman sobbing into her backpack (unzipped, head inside) in the midst of a busy suburban library is nowhere near fine. Do you really need to ask?
I keep thinking that maybe things will turn around once my family gets back on steady ground. I'm just not equipped to deal with the emotions that I've kept under cover for a decade regarding what happened to my oldest sister's youngest daughter. She ended up in foster care and now she's back in our lives, living at my parents' house. She's 18 and in love with a guy. She's adopted a 'ghetto' persona. She's disrespectful and takes advantage of my parents. They feel bad about the way things turned out. My dad is convinced that giving her everything she wants will heal all of the wounds and make her trust us. He can't see that she's using them...manipulating him and my mom.
I handle their finances since my dad travels a lot and my mom isn't in good health. I know how much is going out and coming in. So far, they've spent several hundred dollars on things such as bus tickets, hotel rooms, clothes, and cell phone bills. There is no end in sight and no effort to change things. My dad rolls over and gives her everything. It's sickening.
I'm tired of it all, tried telling him that he needs to put his fucking foot down. Say no. Don't just buy her boyfriend bus tickets because she puts on a little song and dance about how she's lonely and crying herself to sleep every night. Don't just believe everything she says because she managed to get a job at a fast food place and puts on a good show of wanting to do the right things.
What happened to the man who stood up and told me that getting an education was important? What happened to the man who yelled at me and refused to help pay for my college education? What happened to the man that woke me up in the middle of the night to scrub floors and clean the kitchen because I didn't do 'right' the first time? What happened to the man that hit me for crying and tried to choke me for raising my voice to to him when I was a teenager?
If I would have known that being an ungrateful pouty manipulative bitch with a chip on her shoulder would have gotten me everything I wanted without all of the hassle and abuse....man, I would've went that route and spared myself the heartache of doing the right things in life long ago.
So now I sit here and I can't wait for this depression to lift. I'm tired to the bone.
I recently attended a freethinker meet up in my area. I was looking forward to the meeting since we were all bringing food to donate to a local food bank called the Freestore Foodbank. This is a cause I’m always up and ready to contribute my time to since I know pretty often what it’s like to live on a scrap food budget. My cupboard is chock full of discounted food like scratch and dent can goods, re taped dry good boxes, and tons of dollar bags of beans and rice. Yes, I appreciate all too well the assistance of a food bank.
This group get together wasn’t just about the food drive though. There was also a guest speaker by the name of Derrick Strobl, who was visiting on behalf of the Humanist Community of Central Ohio. His visit was to better clarify what humanism was all about. In that process, he shared quite a bit of his personal experiences as a youth that brought him along the path to becoming a humanist.
There were several stories he related that I had completely identified with. I was probably shaking my head in agreement during most of his talk without even realizing I was doing so. One story in particular was to do with a Sunday school class, and being taught via a construction paper book, the colors of salvation: black is sin, red is the blood of christ, white is purity, and gold represented Heaven.
I distinctly remember this same lesson, but not with a homemade booklet. My teacher used large cuts of fabric in those colors, and he would drape himself with them as he explained each one. Except, he had two black drapes instead of one. This youth pastor would always start with the black of sin, explaining how it permeates every aspect of who we are. Then he would wrap over Christ’s redeeming blood, which cancelled out the sin for those who repented. White, being purity, was the result of said redemption. And then he would drape the yellow-gold cloth on the cross on the wall by the podium, explaining we had eternal reward waiting for us since we accepted God.
Then our pastor would get very quiet, still clutching the mis cut draperies around his body, nothing... Read more at my blog http://thebluegrassskeptic.com/2015/06/05/atheism-isnt-supposed-to-be-a-luxury/
Today a February rant caught up with Republican presidential nomination hopeful Mike Huckabee. In this rant, which was held at a Religious Broadcasters Convention earlier this year, the Huckster made some pretty nasty insinuations about the transgender community. Many have pointed out his quote regarding how “He wished he could have identified as female in High School” so he could go shower with the other ladies. I believe he used the term “How convenient it would be to be able to identify”. This automatically implies predatory intent on the part of those transgendered who are actively fighting for equal restroom rights, and recognition of their preferred gender identity.
Really, I’ve heard this argument before, and while it gives a disgusting look into the way Huckabee thinks about his fellow man -especially women- I was more ruffled at his statement regarding little girls, school bathrooms, and 42-year-old transgender men in said bathroom with the little girls. He is very much insinuating this is a vulnerability in child safety from sexual assault. Such fallacious dilemmas and appeals to emotion work in the religious crowds, who – while agreeing with Huckabee – probably have not done one ounce of homework on what transgender is. It has nothing to do with sexual attraction or desire.Transgender is simply about one’s gender identity and finding a way to exist in the identity one belongs in. It has nothing to do with pedophilia, lesbianism, or anything.
For some reason, Christians think of a female, a transgendered male, and a bathroom, and that must mean rape will occur. They cannot let go of the idea of a penis. They’re obsessed. I rarely hear this discussion include female to male transgendered. Never. Christ, Chaz Bono had an easier time and a ton of support compared to male to female trans. I see that when it comes to men, there is a lot of projection of degrading sexual thought of these religious politicians onto the transgender community, the transitioning men in particular. It’s like a Bible removes a politician’s public speaking filter, and endows bigots like Huckabee a feeling of being impervious to criticism.... Read more here at my blog http://thebluegrassskeptic.com/2015/06/02/it-isnt-just-huckabee-who-doesnt-get-the-transgender-community/.
I live. I search. What I thought yesterday may differ from what I think tomorrow. The key is to question, to consider, to develop.
To those who seek their own way, oblivious of the censure of others and the conformist pressure of consensus reality - I would say that is good. But with every proverbial blessing, perhaps, comes a proverbial curse.
It seems to me that those who dare to search, to think, to tread the path that is their own, know only that their destination is somewhere, somehow, something else. It seems always indefinable, never attained and rarely glimpsed with any clarity. In the past I have been accused by Mrs Ellinas of searching, of never being satisfied. She is right. For in satisfaction is stagnation; only in the journey is there development.
And so, I resign myself to a life that will never know satisfaction - because beyond my current view of reality is always a greater, and beyond what I know is always something new.
For those who dare to live, to search, to be themselves and who seek to grow into what they may - or even should - be, the blessing is to develop; the curse is to be ever dissatisfied.
My hope for all is to have the independence of mind to go their own way - and never to be satisfied.
It is really disappointing sometimes when I go to various humanist or atheist events in my area. Mostly because a large majority of the attendees are not from my area. I live in northern Kentucky, right on the Ohio river with the Cincinnati skyline lit up every night to remind me where all the action is in my neighborhood. Basically, across the river. When I first started my blog writing about four years ago, it never occurred to me just how alone I am in my actual area of residence.
I mean, you start writing and attend some group functions with organizations like the Tri-State Freethinkers, and figure you’ll see exactly how not alone you are. While it is nice there are many members nearby, across the river, and a few a little over twenty miles away nearby in Florence, I can’t track anybody down in the greater Newport or Covington, KY areas who are actively blogging/event coordinating/activist atheists. It’s just a huge let down.
But not a surprising one.
I don’t think most people realize how religiously handicapped northern Kentucky really is. Most hear the words Christianity and Kentucky and immediately think of Louisville or Lexington. Maybe because of my area being literally on the other side of a bridge that leads into Cincinnati, Ohio, it is assumed things are pretty liberal up here compared to more southern communities in my state. That is where many go wrong. While it is very much safe to assume that the greater Cincinnati area has an effect on Covington and Newport, I think it is an underestimated assumption.
So, like many other atheist bloggers, let me tell you how bad I have it here. Read the rest here at my blog http://thebluegrassskeptic.com/2015/05/30/its-hard-living-in-an-echo-chamber/
So, there are some news. First of all my dentist is arranging me a special check-up, to see what can be done to correct the bite problems she's diagnosed both at the back and front of my mouth. I'm looking forward to it very much! A little part of me has doubts about whether it'll be worth it, but then I remind myself of all the discomfort I've felt for years when eating, and I'm ready to let go of it.
Also, my psychiatrist still didn't diagnose me with anything, but he says that it can't be denied that I do have many Asperger syndrome symptoms.
I did some reading up before I saw him, based on what some autistic people have told me before, and recognised myself in the description of Fragile X Syndrome. It's a problem in one X chromosome, boys have only one so with them it's more serious than it is with girls. It causes behaviour that's a whole lot like Asperger's, but often sort of "not consistent enough" to warrant a full diagnosis of it (though many do get the diagnosis too). It also causes weird muscle and joint problems and facial characteristics that Asperger's alone doesn't - some of which I certainly have, up to a degree that has caused me lots of trouble!
I told my psychiatrist about this and he said he'd never heard of Fragile X, but if I get the tests done, he wants to know the results.
The best part? It's confirmed with a blood test, so I can't possibly end up feeling like I cheated and invented problems I don't have! Plus they do those test in a teaching hospital next to my home!
I only need to get some doctor to believe in this enough to send me there. However, there's an Internet service for people who can't get their own doctors to do it - it's run by doctors who want to help people get their blood tested for inheritable problems. So I can ask them to do it if I can't find a local doctor who will.
I finally feel like this is going somewhere. Even if it turns out I don't have the bad chromosome, it'll be more knowledge either way.
I haven't seen my mother for about a half a year now. I texted her on Mothers' Day, and picked up when she called me back. I shouldn't have. Or maybe it was the right thing to do, the conversation reminded me of what a screwed up place I grew up in.
I told her about the dental emergency I had earlier in the spring and the work I've had done on my teeth since, and how I'm aware I've had certain bite problems since I was small, and that she told my doctors not to treat them. She replied to me that she didn't want me to have braces (or corrective surgery to my feet, or physiotherapy after my car accident, or any other out of the ordinary medical aid I'd have needed) when I was small, because doctor and dentist appointments made me cry. She said that instead she "made sure my mental development was good".
Within a few minutes she also told me that a few years ago she healed a cancer from her eye by eating tomatoes - she'd first thought that Jesus did it and converted back to Christianity for the umpteenth time, but no, it was actually tomatoes, and now her religion's gone once again, or something (hell if I know, she may be expecting a UFO to come get her right now).
That, and that when I have even one kid of my own, I will understand how terrible it is and stop judging her for not getting medical help for the beautiful baby I was.
I could have visited her that day or the day after, I was in the area where she lives.
I didn't go.
For many years I felt deep, nagging guilt that I wasn't taking care of her enough. I knew that it was holding me back from being as joyful as I could be, but I didn't know how to stop it. I even went as far as doing countless New Age rituals to get rid of it. Funny that deconverting has actually removed the weight of her from me, too. I didn't expect that to happen, but it has. Now I understand that she's treating me like I'm worthless not because it's a test from God/the Universe to see how forgiving and loving and pure I really I am, or to point out my weak, incomplete spots that I need to surrender to God. She treats me like I'm worthless because of her own reasons, many of which are rooted in her own illness that she's refused to treat, and they're not my fault.
I'm not responsible for her loneliness, she is.
The irony is that when I was a child, she claimed to hate everyone who "wanted to find fault in me", but we'd sit down in the bathroom and count the deformities and other physical issues I had, over and over again, and she'd blame my father for having bad genes that he passed on to me.
Then for some other things I've been thinking of.
I thought of the cost of happiness. Do I want to be happy? How much am I ready to give up on for the sake of being "happy"? And what does that even mean? Is happiness a some kind of blissful feeling, smiling inside constantly, or is it knowing that you can accept everything that's going on in your life?
Yes, I do miss the bliss of religious experiences, and even though I now know my head created them, it seems that it does require a certain degree of.... honesty? Openness? Trust? What? Anyhow, a quality that I no longer have access to, as I can't self-suggest bliss over myself anymore. I don't dare to try, actually, because I'm honestly afraid of going crazy. Becoming my mother is the last thing I want from my life.
Yet I miss the "otherworldly" feeling of being connected to power, of thinking I'm "the one" after all and the crap in my life has had a bigger meaning and there'll be a some kind of next life that'll balance out this one. But there probably won't be a next life, and I'm thirty and this is 1/3 or more of my life gone by doing what? Believing shit that's not real, being ill and sore when I could have been helped, trying to recover from traumatic stuff in many wrong ways (and a couple right ways too, I gave therapy a try many years ago already, but I was unable to be honest), screwing myself up further, wasting the only life I can know for sure I have.
I probably could make myself happy by absorbing myself in religion again, but I could end up so detached from the world that I'd ruin my own life and possibly some other people's too (at least I don't have kids). Coming down with a psychotic disorder is a huge, real fear for me and I'm rather a dull person just accepting my life than a blissful person for dangerous reasons that could blow up in my hands the way they already have.
I'm seeing my psychiatrist tomorrow, finally. I really have to choose carefully what I say during the hour I see him. There's so much I want to talk about. Well, I think that if he offers me new kind of meds (it's been mentioned before), I'll give them a try.