I’ve started and stopped this post repeatedly over the last few weeks. I can only describe this particular difficulty with posting as the writing equivalent to avoiding someone’s eyes. As I stated in March 1’s post, this relates directly to the same reasons I was physically incapable of controlling my eye contact with my therapist when we pinpointed a particularly painful memory.
The basics of the memory are described in that post. However, since my therapy session, a few other experiences kept poking at that same set of emotions, choices and actions. This repetition is what caused the epiphany. And, like many such revelations, it hit like a Mack truck.
It’s been so hard to face that epiphany that I have had anxiety attacks just about looking closer at it or dealing with the understanding. I’ve been having to focus on things that deal entirely with mathematics, even though my ability to do so has been seriously retarded by my cognitive issues. Dealing with pure equations — even though it takes me at least 10x as long (in fact, almost 70% of the last two weeks has been spent creating a completely math-based set of data collection for my physical and mental health). Before my breakdown, the data collection set up for simple data entry would have taken at most 8 hours).
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.
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).
For the first time, I’m not going to set up an aside with a favored quote. Oh, I’ll set up one that has pertinent information, but not the quote(s). You’ll have to read (oh, horrors!) the books for yourself.
Now, the problem is, making people think seems to have become a felony. Well, it’s been that way for quite a while, it’s just that we’ve extended Robert Heinlein’s “Crazy Years” by a couple of decades.
Reading either Robinson’s or Heinlein’s books should — in an ideal world — ensure that someone learns how to think just from reading their books. Sadly, as can be found from reading some reviews (and in the case of Heinlein, reading ad nauseum how he is supposedly the anti-thesis of good depending on whatever the critic thinks is important), it is very possible for someone to read their books and still come away as ignorant (AND proud of their ignorance) as they were before they read them.
The word “gaze” when used in a sociological, psychological or philosophical discussion defines the relationship that someone has with their culture and how someone is forced into a particular role due to the power dynamics in that culture.
It is the misunderstanding of the basics of the phrase “the male gaze” that causes many people to stop listening when that phrase or many others like it are spoken.
This Facebook post by Gabe Sapienza is a very clear discussion by a man and an artist of that knee-jerk phrase of “the male gaze.”
I’ve made 8 posts now (why, yes, I DID go count it) about the fact that my ex-husband basically used this comment anytime my life experience was different or not what he expected from the rest of humanity. In the beginning of the relationship, it was something he was proud of because essentially I was willing to look past his choices and protect him from consequences.
It’s only when my thoughts began to diverge with his opinion on things that it started to become a negative.
When I was much younger, I cried at the drop of a hat. In fact, well into my teen years, I cried and raged a lot. It was one of the reasons behind my father stating he would not discuss something until I could look at it logically. Sadly, instead of taking this as advice to calm down before discussing an issue with someone, I went too far to the other end of the spectrum. I developed that Robot/Ice Queen persona that I discussed in an earlier post.
I’ll be the first to admit that I enjoy a wide range of music. Now, I don’t necessarily like all musical genres to the same level. I do, more often than not, like a particular artist, creative or band rather than a particular genre. My tastes range from Disturbed’s heavy metal to the glam rock of the 80s (particularly but not limited to Queen) to some country music (Home Free, and I grew up listening to John Denver on 8-track tapes, as well as some musical sound tracks such as Camelot, Fiddler on the Roof, My Fair Lady and others) to pop artists like Katy Perry and Taylor Swift to some rap artists like Salt-n-Pepa.
There are quite a few female musical talents who are inspirations not only because of their talent, but because as women they encourage me to strive harder to be a better woman. Queen Latifah is one, P!nk is another, as are Jennifer Lopez and Lindsey Stirling.
However, musical women aren’t my only inspirations. In fact, Aurelio Voltaire and Mika are frankly two of the musically creative men in the world that inspire me to not sit back and focus on only one kind of creativity. In fact, these two men (along with a few of my favorite authors) are people I would like to sit down and simply get to know as people (not as their “celebrity persona” which is what you see during concerts or promotional marketing). They put a lot of their blood, sweat and tears into their creativity and it shows.
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