Monday, February 13, 2017

Creation


As it is Darwin Day I am watching the film Creation with Paul Bettany and Jennifer Connelly, the couple of too many double consonants in their names.

As I watch movies I am also continually researching and learning about the film, actors, anything IMDB offers, history, the subject...etc. Yes, I am that nerdy. So as usual I went directly to Pinterest to find pics on the film but, of course, Pinterest swamped me with thousands of images designed to teach children about creationism. 

I sat and looked at all of these lesson plans and activity ideas and other dastardly ideas for brainwashing children with ridiculous fairy tales rather than teaching them genuinely awesome realities of life and I thought how disgusting it is. Each adorable image of crafty ideas and color pages and creation song just pissed me off a little bit more.

How much children want to know!
How many questions they have!

How trusting they are!

And what do the faithful parents do? They tell them utterly bullshit stories that shackle their minds and that create blockages to understanding the universe.

I am in love with children and their minds. I adore the light bulb moments, the questions, the curiosity. I love those shining, inquisitive eyes. We are the stewards of the minds of our children and we owe it to them to not only tell the truth but to respect their curiosity.

Let's create the next generation of kids who can THINK without having to claw their way out of belief like poor Charles Darwin had to do.

 Besides, don't forget, the price of the adorable fairy tales...
Hell, Sin, and Mind Prison.
UUUGH.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Inauguration Day '17


I didn't have a plan about the Inauguration Day festivities, should I watch, should I not? As it happens, I just turned it on. Within the first four minutes of watching the word god was mentioned FOUR TIMES so far already. UGH. Separation of church and state?

I just watched Donald Trump being sworn into office as President of these United States. I still can not believe that this man is now our leader. Seriously. 
I have no faith in him. 
I do not trust him. 
I don't believe in him.

I have nothing else to say today. I'm not smart enough to be able to move forward at this moment. So sad.

But I'll be back, stronger...and Bad Ass.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Self-Loathin'


I don't know how I missed it.
Around me people were stressing out about their appearance, their weight, their skin, their hair, their general look. But I didn't stress. 

People were hating themselves for the appearance of their face, legs, ass, weight...and I didn't hate myself. I don't hate myself.

Don't get me wrong, I've added weight (lots of it). I've added chins. 
I'm not delighted with the lesser health associated with the weight and I am working out now, down a few pounds. But that's not what I want to talk about, the pounds.

It's the self loathing.

How many people do you know, perhaps you yourself, who seriously and tragically loathe their own bodies. Are disgusted. Hate the skin that they live in. Can't look in the mirror.

I'm interestingly aware of my own thoughts and words right now as I write this blog post because parts of me want to assure you that I am quite cognizant of my weight and girth. It's no secret. I would like to lose some pounds and I'm working on it. Similarly I'm aware of the loss of my true attractiveness. I used to be quite cute. Losing that was shockingly and embarrassingly difficult. It took me about a decade to come to terms with no longer being cute. I had to seriously consider the value of beauty and youth in American culture and how fleeting, even how false, that genuinely is. Still I mourned my loss of it. 

But during that entire decade I never hated myself.


Self-loathing doesn't happen organically. It grows within a family, a community, a culture. It comes from celebrations of bodies that are absolutely perfect, or Photo-shopped to look that way. Both men and women are exposed to thousands of images day after day of human bodies that are so digitally-edited and manipulated that there is no reality left in the image. Yet we see those images and feel inadequate beside them.

Additionally the culture reveres, weirdly worships, youth and slimness. 

This is not news to you. We all know this and have known this for decades. The first time I ever knew of it was sometime in the 1980s when TV Guide took Oprah Winfrey's head and put in onto Ann Margaret's body. Ann Freaking Margaret. I'm certain such deception wasn't new even then. Now the ability to bend and change and misrepresent images is so pervasive I doubt we ever see a pic that isn't somehow revis....er, butchered.

Yet even knowing this so many of us, mature men and women, and the next generations of our children are wandering around feeling inadequate, unworthy, and full of self-loathing.


How this passed me by is completely beyond me. Not only was the female image actually taped to the wall (pictures of naked women...yes, you read that right; pictures of naked women were a part of my childhood), not only did our father jokingly call his adolescent daughters Thunder Thighs and Truck Butt, not only was there no strong female lead in our home, not only was my appearance one of the major roles that I played in the family identity, and not only were we a strong TV- and movie-viewing family, but the culture of the time was strongly slanted toward extremely thin, sickly looking young men and women in all of the teen magazines and popular womens' mags. How did I miss the body image distortions, because important people around me caught it?

One person very close to me can't believe I can be happy with myself when I have lost that beauty that I was once noted for. Yet I am. I am happy with myself and I think I've figured out some of the reasons why the self-loathing skipped me.


  • I am aware that my value does not lie in my appearance. I am deeply loved for the person that I am and I deeply love myself for how strenuously I fight to be honest and authentic.
    Because the quality of character means everything to the world around us, THAT is what we owe the world.
  • Self-loathing and a distortion of the reality of body creates an inability to see one's self clearly. Once you are into the hatred of your own body, no reality of self actually gets through. Many, many men and women who struggle with this are entirely unaware of their own beauty, inside and outside.
    In fact, I know that you are saying to yourself that there are things that I don't know about you and that is why this one does not apply to you.
  • And, weird as this may sound, having been pretty, I know that having it does not make me a better person. I know that having that thing that so many people long for is a total fools trap because having beauty doesn't bring happiness, joy, or fulfillment at all.
    Being happy, joyful, and doing fulfilling things does.


I can't offer solutions or secrets on how to turn Self-Hatred into Self-Worth, though it is possible. But I can contribute this small thought exercise to the discussion. If you struggle with the distortions of body image, please reread the three points I made above. 

Our society as a whole, not the American culture, the Global Popular Culture worships thin. 
Beyond healthy thin.

Be the change you need to see in the world. Recognize the bullshit TRAP you have bought into and are being controlled by. And do everything you can do to change the way you talk to yourself...because the world needs people who are kind and who know how to love themselves.


Friday, January 6, 2017

Ode to the Common Cold


Ode to the Common Cold

Dear stopped-up head that cannot breathe
I thank you so and here bequeath
The empty boxes of tissue now stuffing the trash
Giving a hint to my growing medication cache.

I cannot breathe out and I cannot breathe in
Everything is chapped from my nose to my chin.
The fucking virus has me hot and cold by the hours
So I sit in hot baths and take steamy showers.

My wise and cool doctor cannot do a damn thing
So I will have to do my own doctoring.
Tylenol for the headache and Advil for the aches
And just let me sleep it off for goodness sakes.

I can't think clearly and my coughing is unproductive
While the phlegm fills my respiratory tract and is wholly obstructive.
The sniffling and coughing and general malaise
Has made me feel miserable for over seven days.

The hacking and chills and headaches have got to go
As well as the useless coughing and each nasal blow.
What caused such a nightmare to behold
It is nothing more than the damn common cold.

So don't come near me and don't breath my air
The viral secretions are absolutely everywhere.
Though my outlook and my mood are exceedingly bleak

Don't worry, though, I'll be out and about in a week.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

8 Guidelines to Being Bad Ass


Everybody's got goals.
One of mine is to be Bad Ass.

I spent dang near fifty years wanting to be a Good Girl and I've found that pursuit to be completely disappointing and dull and not the slightest bit rewarding. I've decided to change my entire approach to life and to become Bad Ass!

It's going to be a journey because I still have Good Girl baggage to shed. I still want people to like me. I still want to be considered Nice. I'm not good at voicing dissenting opinions. I can't post things on Facebook that are unpopular or that some might consider bitchy. I definitely can't spout uninformed opinions without doing the research. And I know some people who have very very inaccurate images of me because they have gotten their information from other people and I can not and will never address their misconceptions.

I'm 53 Years Old!!!!!!! I can do this. I can break these milquetoast habits, erm, personality traits and I can take the risks and state my opinions loudly and proudly. I can be unabashedly myself without regard for how certain people will view me...because they misunderstand me no matter what I do anyway, right?

Now that I'm on a roll...what IS Bad Ass? Well, I did a little bit of research:
The Urban Dictionary defines a badass as someone who does what he wants, when he wants, where he wants. You won't find him on Facebook because he is probably out being cool somewhere. He might be on a motorcycle, but it's probably not a Harley or a crotch rocket because he won't spend that much money to be accepted. He feels no obligation whatsoever to justify his beliefs, values, convictions, morals, etc., with anyone. He likes his music because it sounds cool to him. You won't find him if you look for him because there is no sure way to identify him. One does not think that he is badass; he KNOWS it, and that's that. Alternatively, a badass is the complete opposite of a douchebag.

I honestly think the Urban dictionary thinks that only male paramilitary douchebags can be bad ass...furthermore I don't think that the person who wrote that definition is bad ass. So I will read some other words on the interweb because, obvs the Urban Dictionary has alot to learn about who and what is bad ass. At some website called Nooga.com I found an article called Eight Traits that make you a Bad Ass. That sounded promising. In brief the suggestions are: 

  • They say yes first, then figure out how to deliver
  • They think differently than everyone else
  • They speak up
  • They have a replicable skill that others can learn
  • They live by their own code
  • They have the audacity to do things that others only wish they could do
  • They never, ever, ever give up
  • They don’t listen to the haters

OK, I like that, but something is rubbing me wrong there. I don't think I have it in me to not listen to haters and dissenters. There can be wisdom there at times, at least there can be opportunities for learning...I think. I'll read some more.

Oh GEEEZ...some more ridiculous advise is given to young searchers on a website called LovePanky.com: Your Guide to Better Love and Relationships. Apparently a bad ass requires a person to have a wicked stare, to speak in six word sentences, and to never blink. Or smile. Or show emotion. Good grief, who writes this schlock? And who is the poor young person seeking guidance from these sources? Surely the same people who used to read the ragmag Cosmo when I was younger.  Slowly raises hand with a blush.

Without giving Wiki a single whiff of mojo, an article there called How to be a Bad Ass seems to think that Clint Eastwood and being cocky is the same thing as being a bad ass... CLEARLY my quest is not going to be complete by reading bullshit expected to be consumed by skinny boys in high school who are already bad asses by being themselves but who think that muscles and assholery is bad ass because stupid social media misinforms... UUUGH, those young boys will have tons of mind mush to wade through to get to themselves. How discouraging. This online search is not helpful at all.

And for the love of all things holy, don't read this bullshit.



Looks like, a usual, I will have to figure it out for myself. So what do I mean when I say I want to be a Bad Ass? Because this has been something I've wanted for decades now; seems I would have figured it out by now. I see certain people and I think Man, I want to be like that! They speak their mind and take no names! (Hello Rayven) Or I think She is so smart and cool; I want to be like her! (Hello Mary and Megan) Or I notice my own reticence to say certain things in a public forum and I wonder why I am so wishy-washy...but I also know that words have power and there is consequence to their use...and I care about those things.

Actually, I guess I have figured it out because there are a few qualities that are essential in badassery, in my opinion, qualities that have absolutely nothing to do with black leather, cigarettes hanging out of your mouth, steady stares, preferring scotch over fooffy drinks, or having muscles on muscles. There is no short cut and there are no accessories necessary. Fooffy drinks are delicious. And every skinny person, heavy person, lonely person in the High School of Life can be a fricking Bad Ass according to my Eight rules of Bad Assery. Just remember, when I say rules I mean suggestions. Do your own thing. Because FUCK rules.


  • Embrace your Interests with a Passion.
    Is it the Civil War reenactment? Writing historical fiction? Anime'? Archery? Etymology? Cosplay? Weight lifting? Debate? Chess? Softball? Get into it and enjoy it with gusto. Not everyone can do that and many people don't have the intellect that it takes to enjoy it. So YOU enjoy that, be enlarged by it. Embrace your very own interests.
  • Be Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable.
    The truth is, people tend to judge and short-cut-think and hide in groups. Having the courage to stand alone, to be misunderstood, to quietly have integrity is SO freaking bad ass. And so is pushing your own envelope. Trying things that are difficult, speaking up with a quivering voice, approaching someone with an introduction and risking rejection...that, My Friend, is bad ass.
  • Fall Five Times, Get up Six.
    Resiliency can be one of the most difficult qualities to develop because you are only called on to be resilient when there is failure, depression, loneliness, discouragement, humiliation, public stuff, and fatigue. And no one else is there to see it, the reboot. No one but you. Being able to get back up and begin again in a very internal and personal decision...and is so so bad ass.
  • Remember that Social Media is Full of Shit.
    Don't be taken in by the artificiality of social media images and claims. No one looks like that. Everyone chooses what they show in public. Everyone has doubts. No one shows their B game. Being human is the same for all of us; some people just have a better ability to flaunt and exhibit their sleight-of-hand image. Everyone. And good looks are both fleeting and insubstantial. Internal beauty always always always means more.
  • Be Your Own Best Friend.
    That's right, talk kindly about yourself. See your own efforts. Recognize your good intentions. Build yourself up instead of focusing on the stuff that didn't work. We all, all of us, have failures and growth areas. We can acknowledge those growth areas and encourage ourselves to be better tomorrow than we are today...that is the way to bad assery. Not perfection. But self improvement.  Self empowerment. I'm not kidding about this. When you build yourself up, when you put your own breathing mask on first, you are able to do for others...
  • Avoid the Kardashians.
    Whoever the hell they are. Unless you like them. Real substance, real information, real education, real knowledge. That is the stuff of the real bad asses. The person walking on the moon didn't get there by learning about who the super stars are dating. They got there by personal growth and integrity, by learning about the sciences, and by looking up. And by being resilient. Because even astronauts puke...only they do it in the presence of other astronauts.
  • Say NO to that which does not Feed you.
    People and activities that drain you emotionally, financially, spiritually, or any other way are generally options in our lives.  Choose what brings you growth, love, goodness. Because being a bad ass means not letting people kick you when you are down. And learning to say No is a real ass kicking thing. Some people never learn it...but you can.
  • No One is Fearless.
    Feel the fear. It often informs us somehow. Then step up to the plate and do it anyway because facing it is Bad Ass AF.

I'm sure there are more, but this is a great start.
And, as it happens, when I use this guide to being a Bad Ass, I see that I am already a bit of a Bad Ass...and getting badder every day.



 Please, in the comments, tell me how YOU are a bad ass.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

2016 was NOT a Shitty Year


It's that time of year for reflection, for looking back and for looking forward and almost everyone I know is disparaging 2016. 

For me, this year was wonderful. 

Old, meaningful friendships
New and growing friendships
Skepticon
Meeting Liz & Reuban and family
Family dinners
Visiting friends
Sleepovers
Visiting family
John's driving
Jerry's exciting work projects
Golden days
Elizabeth's college triumphs
Jessica and Ryan are pregnant!
Elizabeth on stage
JD on stage
So many concerts and plays and shows
Writing projects
K Dramas
Travel to Arizona
Meeting JD's siblings

Travel to Chicago
Travel to Washington DC
Dozens of wonderful family parties
Game nights
The Wisdom of friends
Learning
Growing interest in politics and global events
Laughter
Tears
Camp Quest
Nature walks
Kids and their creative projects
Day trips
Parks
Summer classes
Deep, meaningful, cleansing conversation
Photo shoots
Pumpkin picking
Futures being planned
Baking
Mandalas
K-Pop
Healthier sister, mother, brother, friend
Burgeoning humans
Strengthening family connections
Gift giving and getting
Options being explored and investigated
Loving and Lessons Learned
Tim's growing relationship
Reconnections
Kids with jobs
Safety, safe children
Kids who are friends
Grandparents
Aunts
Lunches and times with friends
Revelations
New hobbies
One-on-one time with my kids
Loving my husband
Surprises
Holidays
Making up reasons to celebrate with ice cream cake
Nights on the town
Wine and Cheese
Good health
Dinner with friends
Snuggling
Sunshine
Moonlight and starshine
LOVELOVELOVE
Perfectly average days...

Yeah, I loved 2016 
One of the best years ever


Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Keeping CHRIS in Christmas


It's a few days past Christmas and I'm sitting here thinking about what we accomplished this past Christmas in our home. Dare I call it Christmas and not the seculars' favored term the holidays
Sure, was a Christmas Day, because that is what we call it here in our home. Others celebrate other holidays.

See, it's simple like that.


Anyway, we had so much family and friends for Christmas. It was WONDERFUL. Trees, food, games galore, gifts, laughter, and so much love. I would hate to miss out on the family celebration because I was afraid of the insistence from religion that this holiday belongs to them. It does not. It belongs to us.

Our family had the wonder and amazing opportunity to see Christmas through the eyes of children who had never celebrated Christmas before. Ever. Seeing their mother open her mind to the possibility of a positive and secular holiday was such a gift and seeing the kids learn the true value of giving.

These kids had never had a tree. They had not sung carols. They hadn't opened a single gift. They hadn't played holiday games. The kids' mother, my dear friend, has been on an extremely long and amazingly brave journey away from her extreme evangelical upbringing and personal belief. Aaaaaaaaaaall of the way to atheism. (*) What a delight to be a part of their lives and to see their boundaries being pushed...

I recieved the most beautiful gift I have ever gotten from these seven children...my heart hurts with happiness just thinking about it.  <3




(*)  My friend has a book available on Amazon.com all about her amazing journey through religion and out into atheism called Free to Be: How I Went From Unhappily Married Conservative Bible Believer to Happily Divorced Atheistic Humanist in One Year and Several Complicated Steps. What a great, great read!