Teenaged Angst: 31 Years Later

Yes, another therapy post. You can pass on by if you want.

We were discussing relationships, and she asked me a somewhat off the wall question, at least from my perspective. I can’t exactly remember the question, but it was essentially one where she wanted to know if there was any specific memory that seemed to be associated with what I was feeling.

It took me straight to Homecoming of my senior year in high school.  Now, you have to understand a few things about my high school. It was a boarding school, and I was what could be called a “scholarship student.” I worked as a dishwasher at least both my junior and senior years, and my parents got loans either from family or from the church body that owned and ran the school (yes, it was a religious boarding school owned and run by a very conservative, evangelical Lutheran synod). We were not allowed dances, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t have those “special days.” It just meant that it was more about speeches and awards than about having some — hopefully — semi-clean fun. We had a joke about it (that I told my therapist) that we weren’t allowed to have sex because “it would lead to dancing.” Also, since it was the 80s, and most of the huge anti-hazing laws had yet to be created, there was a form of hazing for incoming freshmen. Anything (short of illegal or against the rules) that an upperclassman (juniors and seniors) told them to do, they were supposed to do.

I was, for a good portion of my high school years, the almost asexual, advice-giving friend. My senior year, I decided to take a risk. I asked an older freshman that I had been hanging out with to go to Homecoming with me.  I wasn’t expecting some huge romantic relationship, just having an escort for my last Homecoming of my high school career.

He stood me up.

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Categories: Mental Retraining, Relationships | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

What the Citizens of the U.S. Don’t Seem To Remember

The United States, as a nation, is fairly young. Most of our acknowledged founders came from Europe, primarily from England/Scotland/Ireland (because the 18th century included turbulent wars and rebellions between these countries), France and Spain with a few others from assorted other Western European countries. I emphasize acknowledged founders, because they were not the only ones fighting for freedom, nor were these founders involved in creating our country.  The unacknowledged founders included many women and so-called  “minorities.” I’m not just talking about the wives of the founders nor any minority that filled the roles of slave or indentured servant. Just because your history classes never covered those roles nor acknowledged their existence doesn’t mean they were not involved.

Yet, there is something to remember here. As a nation, we are only 240 years old (if you take the Declaration of Independence the start of our nation as opposed to when our Constitution was signed in 1789, which makes our nation only 227 years old). The foundations of Western Europe were laid at the devolution of the Roman Empire (approximately 500 C.E.), making the nations of Western Europe approximately 1,516 years old.

If we choose 40 years old in a human being to be their reaching middle age and equate the age of Western Europe as with it, that means that our nation is essentially a 6-year-old (for those who like math, the ratio here is 1,516/40:240/x). If we take the founding of our nation based upon Columbus’ “discovery” of America (for those who like math, the ratio here is 1,516/40:227/x) it still only makes us just 13-years-old. Personally, I think we are closer to the development of the 6-year-old given what I see in our cultural development.

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Categories: Political Opinion | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Women: Moms or Not

There are many people in this world — of all genders — who belittle the work it takes to do basic self-care. Things like doing the groceries, a necessary process, can be a challenge. When I left the house today to stop by my doctor’s office to have labs done, I felt extremely well. In fact, I felt better and more energized than I have for a very long time.

But, it was also grocery day. I went straight to it from the office.

I point out women in the title of this post, because more often than not — at least in the heterosexual portion of the world — groceries are one of the many chores that most often are completed by the female in the relationship, as are things like cleaning, dusting or even washing dishes.

I know that my ex belittled the assorted chores that we (his polyamorous  “wives”) were expected to complete. He excused his unwillingness to do his part because he worked retail, and “blue collar” jobs are harder than any other job. We eventually got him to do dishes,  but even then (as well as the garbage and changing the cat litter) it was never actually a regular thing. We had to “nag” him to get him to do the chores he agreed to do. Even the “traditionally male jobs” at home (i.e. lawn care and snow shoveling) were rarely done without nagging (which is what reminding him that our city had regulations for how long snow was allowed to accumulate on the sidewalk was considered).

It didn’t matter what kind of job we women had. The time I spent as a driver for a handicapped company was considered just “sitting on my butt” for hours a day.

Too many of us essentially have two jobs, one working for an employer and one working for our significant others.

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Categories: Gender Inequities | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Why Your “Faith-Based Appeal to Reason” Rings False

NOTE: Remember — while I am a Wiccan now — I am also an evangelical pastor’s daughter, attended religious schools from 5th grade until my sophomore year of college and continue to have Biblical discussions with my entire family, including the nephew who is following in his grandpa’s footsteps. That wealth of  Christian doctrine and Biblical understanding doesn’t just disappear simply because I converted to a different religion.

I’m seeing and hearing quite a lot of people who are on the conservative side of the spectrum trying to talk those who are on the liberal side into “giving President Trump a chance.” Heck, even President Obama is encouraged the country to do so.

And many of them take the stance that since he is President that he was anointed by God to that position.  Looking at it from a Biblical standpoint, that stance is supported by the Bible. It is particularly noted that many of them also use Mark 12:17 (“Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.”)

But, that is also where the problem with this stance comes into play.  They have chosen to look only at Mark and not some of the other chapters and verses that discuss this in more detail. Let’s look at a couple of places taken from the Bible that speaks to this specifically:

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Categories: Christianity, Relationships, Religious Ruminations | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Dies Heil (Latin for “Days of Hell”)

I don’t remember where I originally heard this Latin phrase. But it is very descriptive of how I feel as an American right now. No, I’m not planning on dumping on the people who voted for Trump. Some of them did so not because they are racist, sexist, homophobic or any other label you want to give them.  So, why did they?

And no, not all of them are “rural hicks” as many urbanites seem to want to paint them.

Some of them actually have traditionally voted Democratic.

We have to talk about the elephant in the room that isn’t President Trump (and, yes, I cringe when I say that. But I was taught to give respect to the office of President regardless of who sat in the Oval Office) who is over in the other corner stomping on our Constitution.

The Democratic Party shot itself in the foot. And they are still not taking responsibility for what they did.  Party insiders decided that Clinton was “THE Candidate” even though there were real concerns about her ethics and her choices. No, it wasn’t a “Republican smear campaign” as they tried to reframe those concerns.  Those of us who have actually watched her rise to power who didn’t trust her had very good reasons for doing so.

But the party leaders wanted to follow up after the “first African-American President” (That seems like it should be a trademarked phrase, as often as I have heard it spoken about) with the “first female President.” And instead of actually looking around for a woman who didn’t have Clinton’s additional baggage, they chose instead to force her onto their constituency.  THAT is as much a reason for why we have Trump as our president as all of the other reasons people are talking about.

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Cravings & You

This should be short and sweet (OK, maybe I do pun sometimes. What’s the pun? I craved picked beets, and not all sugar is made from cane. Some of it comes from beets).

Every once in a while, I’ll get a craving. Sometimes it’s real, and sometimes it isn’t.

So why are there real and unreal cravings?

Well, the answer to that involves a story from my life (really? Like I NEVER tell stories about me here – for those humor-challenged, yes, that was sarcasm).

During much of my childhood, adolescence, and young adult years my parents often blamed my weight on “sneaking food” or when I hit teen years, that I must have an eating disorder. (Yes, fat people can have eating disorders. And yes, even anorexia and bulimia).

At one point my father insisted I join an eating disorder support group. Well, less of a support group and more like group therapy.

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Loving Your Enemies — Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Christmas 1957 Sermon (PDF, 0.192 Mb)
— Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Too many white people, including those who consider Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to be a role model, forget that not only was he a Civil Rights leader or a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate but also a Baptist minister. They seem to only think about the one speech — “I Have a Dream.” Coming from a very religious family background, I cannot forget he was a minister.  And as such, I have been trying to read through his sermons.

Sermons are essentially lectures with a Biblical basis (usually a particular verse or set of verses). Watching my father prepare his sermons and listening to them in church, I can also tell you from personal experience that they also teach you about the character and integrity of the minister.

Particularly important to our current situation is this sermon from November, 1957.

There is a culture of hate and demonization that is splitting this country apart. Sadly, I am seeing many  parallels between our current situation and both the causes of the Civil War (1861-1865) as well as the Civil Rights movement (that most of us seem to date as only being inclusive of 1950-1970, but truly is still part of the whole issue that the Civil War brought to light and honesty – and still continues today, because it has never ended).

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Divination, Prophecy & Fear

 

The real difference between divination and prophecy is that prophecy claims to be a communication directly from the prophet’s form of the Divine and is purported to give a more globalized view. Divination, on the other hand, is a way to assess trends in one’s personal life (either the diviner’s life or the person they are doing it for).

However, both come through the mind of the person giving the pronouncement. Many prophets claim that since the source of the prophecy is the Divine that there is no interpretation. A good example of this is Book of Revelation in the Bible. Except, even though this is considered to be the “inspired word of God” (essentially directly from God through the pen of the writer — with no interpretation) there have been centuries worth of assorted interpretation of it in different ways.

But, it doesn’t really matter what claims that are made. It doesn’t even really matter what the prophet or diviner thinks about it.

The reality of the situation is that no matter the source, communicating that information still has to come through the mind of the person making the proclamation. This means that the information received is given a subjective twist.

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What is missing from ‘How did this happen?’

One of the biggest question many people have been asking themselves since the election is “how did this happen?” I’ve heard many different theories, most of them regurgitating the same old political lines. Well, they might have some truth to them. Is the Democratic Party guilty of elitist progressivism? Definitely. Did they railroad Hillary Clinton candidacy, regardless of any other option? Probably. Has the Democratic Party focused more on urban areas and academia to the detriment of rural Americans? Again, definitely.

The issue is that both urban and rural areas have some similarities, but those similarities are part of the problem. Population density has been the basis of most of the programs, initiatives and policies by our government (including those that have been bi-partisan). It should be obvious that rural areas, by definition, have lower population densities than urban areas. Unfortunately, our leadership (including many Republicans) has ignored the shrinking ability of these communities to support the needs of their people.

However, there is a portion of our nation’s citizenry that many people do not understand. Moreover, I have yet to have seen any discussion of them. These are our fellow citizens who are evangelicals. In fact, when people talk about them, it is usually quite derogatory or mocking. We also tend to give them short shrift because the urban poor are obvious to anyone who spends time in the poorer sections of our cities. The rural poor? The nicest stereotype is Cletus the Slack-Jawed Yokel (from the Simpsons, seen to the right) or maybe the Beverly Hillbillies.

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The Difficulties of the Dead of Winter

No, I’m not going to start moaning and crying about the weather.  Nor about SAD.

However, they do have their place in this post.  I have not been able to keep up with regular posting since Thanksgiving. What I finally sat down and recognized is that I have become more easily overwhelmed.

You have to understand, my family (like myself) can be quite boisterous.  Even my elder sister, who is the least boisterous of us all, has what people have called an “overwhelming personality.” Though, I have to admit, there’s a bit of a tie whether my personality or my Dad’s is the more overwhelming in the family.

When we get together as a family, as does happen during the holidays, too much togetherness can be very overwhelming.  As I work through my issues, I am relearning to actually recognize the first warning signs, which I have in the past learned to ignore or suppress.  It doesn’t mean that I stand up and have a hissy fit about being overwhelmed, it means that I need to recognize the first signs so that I can take a few minutes away to recenter myself.  And if I need more than a few minutes, I need to learn to not feel guilty that I need that space.

But my family is not the only people in the world who can be overwhelming. Sadly, I’m just not quite sure how to communicate that need for space, for breathing room, without the person(s) I’m talking to either going into their own guilt spiral or worse, stressing their resentment about the fact that I need that breathing room.

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