On Being an Empath

5 06 2017

Being an empath means calling someone because a little voice told you to pick up the phone and reach out, and when the person answers in tears on the other end, listening to whatever shitbomb the universe has handed them that day, and never once questioning why you walked away from cooking breakfast to make a phone call that seemed suddenly urgent.

Being an empath means that the tug at your belly button telling you to GET ON THE ROAD because you JUST WANT TO GET HOME feels “normal-ish but with weirdly urgent overtones” until you pass a girl being dragged out of a smashed car on the highway and realize after you’re home and safe that the tug at your tummy and perhaps the reason you got a burger to go instead of sitting and eating may have been the girl on the side of the road, and not so much the wish to be driving home.

Being an empath means that you freak out for no reason suddenly envisioning yourself in a car wreck, only to have someone dear to you call, interrupt your panicked vision, and tell you that they’ve just been in a car wreck, and could you please come pick them up because the car is totaled.

Being an empath means that after the shock wears off, and the tears have dried, you find yourself wondering why you picked the red skirt to wear today. Was it chance or did you know that a random stranger’s blood would be drying on the hem by nightfall?

Being an empath means that “processing” the inexplicable is a no man’s land oscillating between disbelief at the sheer number of coincidences resulting in your well timed appearance in the exact place where you’re needed, and acceptance that “that’s just how this weird quirk called empathy works”…  and that logic, the most honed and well loved tool in your personal toolbox has no place here.

Being an empath means that you’re up too late, wishing the girl in the wreck you stopped at tonight had been coherent enough to tell you her last name, so that you could check on her tomorrow, and knowing already that it will be months before she can hold her toddler again.

Being an empath means feeling it in your core when the world is hurting, and having no ability to fix it beyond accepting the job at hand, knowing that it’s a mindfuck of a job, and doing it anyway.

Being an empath means being tired beyond belief, but too hyped to sleep, and so vomiting words onto the internet seems like a temporary balm, because you know that the job will never be done, the universe will keep putting you in places you’re needed, but that tonight’s chapter of “empathy in action” was shitty and took a toll.

Being an empath sucks. But it’s part of me, and I don’t know any other me to be.





I’ll raise you a Vintage Fridge and Some Canned Goat

25 05 2017

An artist friend of mine died unexpectedly last week.  (I’m sorry Theddy, this is the best I can do in terms of a eulogy, and likely only to be read my my 15 or so faithful followers. But I wanted to tell your story, even if the audience is limited.)


Theddy was made for a world that doesn’t yet exist.  He talked loudly, and could read my face like a book, so he’d often use words that would make me turn red and try to disappear inside the nearest wall (and I can throw down the word “fuck” with the best of them.) He often wore ridiculously resplendent clothing, or t-shirts that you couldn’t believe someone had actually had the balls to make, and he made weird and fabulous art that not everyone understood or liked.  He was truly incomparable (and I know what that word means)… But the best part about him (and many of the other full time artists I know) are their weird and irreverent stories about how they perceive life, and how life perceives them back.

Everyone feels at some point or another that they really don’t fit into the fabric of normalcy. But what if not fitting is a weird sort of gift, bestowed upon those in whom the fairies believe? Be it gods, (I mean, “God-touched” used to be an expression for those that didn’t quite fit, and if I’ve ever met a collective of humans that fit that description, artists would certainly be amongst them…) be it the laws of attraction, or be it just that you entertain the Muses in their ethereal plane, the admission price to such a whimsical place is socially high. But oh, the stories.

The weird, the sublime, the stories that start with, “so there I was…” and all you, the listener can do is to hold on with all your might and suspend your disbelief. Artists don’t just create art, we create experiences. And our stories form a unique body of work, that, even more than our art, is ephemeral and fleeting.

Theddy factors into my story, and I into his.  He’s part of why I’m here, making art, and why I’m going to tell you a story about a vintage fridge and some canned goat.

A few weeks before he died, he mentioned that one of his favorite pieces was still the blue lantern I made, several years back when I was less than an amateur pebblestar (pebblestar being the prerequisite for becoming a rockstar, and a phrase my friend Marrus, also an amazing artist, coined.)

I don’t know how often other artists are approached to “trade” but, it’s a regular occurrence around my place. If you’ve been to my house, you probably know that unless the trade involves a rare book on weird subject matter, funny socks, or food, I’m unlikely to say, “sure.” I formed the habit of really only trading for base level Maslow’s hierarchy stuff, and after a lot of years of “nope”, there’s not a lot in life I covet enough to trade for.

Theddy’s offer to trade came at a time when he knew our cupboards were pretty lean looking, and some church group or whatnot that donated a ton of food to a local food bank that he was a recipient of, so everyone on that food bank’s list got a few extra bags that year. It was all filled with chili and canned vegetables that gave him digestive trouble. And then someone else had gifted him with canned goat or something. Which he just was NOT going to eat. So we traded: his goat and chili and crappy canned veggies for a lantern.

It got us through the winter. I don’t know what the lantern brought him other than “pretty”, but seeing as how he mentioned it every time he saw me, and we thanked him for the food that kept our cupboards looking respectable and our tummies full… It was a trade made in heaven, as we both thought that we had gotten the better end of the deal.

That same winter, I acquired a vintage fridge. This dude down the street had opened a “vintage” shop that was 90% garage-sale junk with only a few standout pieces. He wanted a stained glass sign for his business. I wanted his 1950’s era fridge. We had one (circa 1970’s) in our apartment, but I was spending 10-12 hours a day, 5 days a week at my studio, and while a fridge wasn’t strictly necessary, it felt like a decision that bumped me up a notch in Mr Maslow’s chart of self-sufficiency. So we traded.

It was an incredible feeling, trading my (often perceived by society as useless much of the time) art for actual tangible items that made me able to feel like I was providing in the most visceral way possible for myself and my little family at the time. Canned goat and a fridge to put the leftovers in.

There has never been any trade so powerful as those two trades. And yeah, I’m thinking about both a lot today, because today I nicked a wire in my ancient fridge going through the motions of defrosting it. It’s ok. I learned what the wire is for. I had several people express concern for my methodology (chisel and hammer to knock the ice off.) I had someone send me a link on where to recycle it.


But ya see, that fridge and I have been through a lot together. Two years ago, while defrosting it, I fumbled the heat gun i was using, and the damn thing nearly left a scar worthy of it’s own story on my face. (Hence the acrobatics with a hammer and chisel.) And I keep it (the fridge, not the heat gun or the scar) because while I no longer have Theddy’s cans of goat and chili in my cupboard, it’s a reminder that I don’t have to keep up with the Jones’, a reminder to stay quirky, (I mean, who else trades stained glass for a 1950’s fridge) and be true to my skills and myself and my art. I may have killed it with my badly aimed chisel today, but if so, it’s just proof to me that my fridge’s destiny and my friend Theddy were tied up in some epic story that I only ever caught snippets of.

I hope whomever inherits Theddy’s lantern hears this story, and takes up his torch, both literally and figuratively. The world needs more tale-tellers, light-bearers, illuminators, artists and quirky-as-fuck folk, if only to remind people that it is possible to trade art for useful and interesting things like vintage fridges and canned goat.

Blessed are the god-touched, for they have the best tales. And on that note, remind me to tell you about the time a cop saw me in my Ren Faire garb and inquired if I was Amish…





Car Buying While Driving a Vagina Model

30 03 2017

Sigh.  I’m one of the most introverted people most people ever meet.  I’m also an INTJ which occurs statistically in less than 3% of women, and means that not only will I typically kick your ass in a game of strategy (if you can get me to sit still long enough to play), but that I will also go into any situation that involves dealing professionally with other humans wearing protective gear – like makeup and nice clothes – and armed with spreadsheets and paperwork.

In other words, the “compliment” that pops up the most often is that I’m “intimidating”.

Buying a vehicle isn’t something I do often (thank goodness) but it’s seemingly so fraught with stereotypical interactions that I walk in loaded for metaphorical bear.  In other words, the car dealer thinks about me long after the papers are signed.  Which is tricky, because I’m trying to be a person who doesn’t generally behave like an asshole.

But I drive a vagina model of human being and, in the world of car buying – wherein every car salesperson I’ve ever dealt with has been a white dude, with 80% of that group being older white dudes… well, let’s just say that collectively, their generalized behavior makes it tough to walk the line between being heard quickly and efficiently, thereby getting what I want… or behaving like a jerk.

The first hurdle I have to cross is the internet hurdle.  That’s easy, I generally know what model I’m looking for, I have a price range in mind, I’ve double checked that it’s not a crap car over on Consumer Reports, I’ve run my own credit, Googled the current interest rates, looked at the Carfax, and made an annotated list of questions for each vehicle I’m looking at.  And then the fun begins.  I actually have to call people, an action that uses up all of my people-ing spoons for the day, because I begin to interact with people who are desperately trying to make commission by selling me something.

I have a voice that sounds a little like Kathleen Turner, except not quite as deep, and I drive a full sized pickup truck, often with a trailer in tow. The truck makes hauling my glass crap around the country easier.  I mean, who really wants a bunch of art glass nestled quaintly next to them in their SUV while driving down the road?  That seems like a decision best left to potential Darwin award winners.  So when I call in my Kathleen Turner-esque voice about the “2014 full sized Make Model pickup truck you’ve got sitting on your lot”, it’s rare to not have a moment of… silence.  I jump into that silence and say, “I have a list of 4 questions about the truck. Does it have an 8 foot bed?”

“Was it used for snowplowing? If the answer is yes, I’m not interested.”

“Why is it still on your lot at this price? Is there something wrong with it?”  (This is a reverse psychology question because it culls the really neurotic ones. The ones who don’t take life too seriously usually laugh at this point, and calmly answer my question. And the calmer they are in answering this question, the easier they’ll be to deal with in person.  I’m empathic and being around neurotic people is like having someone constantly needle you with static electricity.)

And then the last question, “Does it have a tow package installed on it?”

There’s always a moment of silence here too.  Followed by either an “I’m not sure, let me go check” or a “yes”.  (It’s never “no” because they want to sell me the car, and I’ve not indicated which is preferable: Is a tow package a positive or a negative?)

When they get back on the line with their answer, then I ask about the particulars. (Or if my particulars can be installed.)

“I’m looking for a Class 3 or Class 4 frame mounted hitch with a 4-pin wiring harness.” Rarely do I get a simple affirmative or “We can install that for you.” Instead, this is the Moment Where Every Freaking Stereotype Plays Out.  They ask: “What are you planning to haul with it?”

It’s hard not to imagine that this question has some bearing on the fact that I drive a vagina model of human being.  Maybe I’m overreacting.  Maybe everyone gets asked this question.  I definitely need a sample size bigger than 5, but for now, anecdotal evidence suggests that boys who buy trucks don’t get asked this question.

So I channel my inner Wednesday Addams, because I love serving up deadpan as an alternative to getting pissed off about everyday sexism.

“I’m driving a 10 ft. cargo trailer with a GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating) of just under 3000 lbs, and I have another 800-1000 lbs of cargo in it.  It doesn’t have a braking system on it, hence the 4-pin. According to your website, I should be well within the tolerances for the ____________ (make, model) I’m looking at.”

After this point, if we aren’t talking shop like two dudes over a beer, I thank them and hang up.

So, having just gone through the truck buying process this week, everything flowed as expected and within normal tolerances until I sat down and tried to negotiate a cap for said truck.  Getting a cap on a pickup before I walk out of the dealership is one of two hills I’m willing to die on. (The other hill being a way to hook up my phone to the radio.) Why? I can’t do long drives without GPS and audiobooks. Luckily this truck came with a radio friendly connector thingy, so logically, I started girding my loins for “the battle of the truck cap.”

Why is this even a thing? Well, the best place to find a used cap is on Craigslist.  And assuming I find one at all for my make and model, I then have no idea if it’s going to actually fit my truck or not until I get there, and we try it on the truck, because I swear, older caps settle a little and never quite fit a second truck like they did the first truck they were put on.  And they’re heavy as hell. (I haul glass for a living, and run half marathons for fun, so consider the context of that statement.)

It occurred to me after the salesman and his manager said, “No way, a cap is way too much money to include in the price we are advertising” that maybe I had no idea of what a new truck cap goes for.  I got up to leave, thanked them for their time, and informed them I was going to look at the second vehicle on my list, “which I believe comes with a cap.”

“Wait! Wait” Both of them said in unison.  The manager then cut in with, “We’d really like to sell you this truck.  What’ll it take?”

A cap. Obviously. Or were you distracted by the voice that sounds like I should be working a call center talking dirty to strange men? Sigh.

So they offered me “dealer pricing” on the cap, and I said, “I’ll at least look”, because truthfully, none of the trucks I was looking at came with caps, (HA!) so I would need that information regardless of where I ended up buying the truck.  And to be able to walk into dealership #2 quoting dealer pricing for caps, and with a vehicle I’m already seriously thinking about at dealership #1 would likely help me really negotiate…

The salesman began by showing me a list of Very Nice Truck Caps, with the manager popping in and out to “help”.  Every single cap was well out of my league if I was going to stay on budget with this truck.  I asked, “Isn’t there anything cheaper? It doesn’t have to be fancy. I need it to keep my stuff dry, I need it to be a regular cap height, like you can not-quite-stand-up-in-it when loading and unloading, and I need it to be cheaper than even the ‘dealer pricing’ of $1600.”

I reiterated these 3 points several times over the next 45 minutes, with zero effect until the salesman explained that “there is just nothing out there with blah blah blah lifts blah blah lighting blah blah…for less than $1600…blah blah blah” (Okay, so I wasn’t doing such a great job listening by this point either.  We had been there nearly 2 hours, 1 of which was trying to negotiate on what sort of cap could be found for less than $1000, and how much of it I could get them to pay for.) I held up a hand in the universal “wait a sec” gesture, and asked, “Lifts? Lights? No.” I then ticked off the points (again!) on my fingers.

“I need a truck cap that is (tap) cheap, (tap) dry, and (tap) tall.  I do NOT need lift assists or any fancy lighting in it.  In fact, I’m perfectly happy if you call a used place and buy one there for me. If they have a used one in glittery purple with flaming skulls all over it in the back of the lot for a wickedly good price, so much the better.  BUY THAT ONE.”

Both the salesman and his manager actually stopped in their tracks. And the manager made eye contact for the first time since I started listing my 3 points. He pulled a face that was fraught with confusion and incomprehension. “Skulls?!? Why?”

I replied in my best Wednesday Addams voice with a perfectly arched eyebrow, “It certainly would make it easier to find in a parking lot with all those white and black pickups at Faire sites, now wouldn’t it? And it’s likely to be priced accordingly. Who the hell wants flaming skulls on their pickup? Other than an artist?”

They found me one.  (Sans skulls, and in some wretchedly boring color.) They will drive my truck there and have the cap installed for me.  And they are paying for half of it, plus the install.  So lest they forget the lady who drives both a vagina and a pickup, when I stood up to go I asked, “Now do you see why I tried to walk out when you said you couldn’t work on a cap for me?”

Nods all around.

In the meantime, Imma gonna go research how exactly one paints flaming skulls on their pickup truck cap.

 





No Exceptions

8 11 2016

That statement can be taken two very different ways and I think it’s necessary to point out both, on today of all days.

DEFINITION 1: the complete exclusion of something. “No shirt, no shoes, no exceptions.” Meaning that you MUST follow OUR rules or be kicked out. Historically this version has also been implied and/or used to separate drinking fountains by race, ban Jews from entering certain shops, etc.

DEFINITION 2: The complete inclusion of something. As in, Gods bless everyone. No exceptions.

As someone who really does have friends that span nearly every rendition of human descriptors, I choose the 2nd definition.  And I think that’s really important.

Especially on Election Day here in the US.  And while I’m a cynical observer of human behavior (as in, it doesn’t surprise me at all the the actual scary things in the zombie show “The Walking Dead” are not the zombies but the living, breathing human beings who are left), I always hope in my heart of hearts that most people live by definition #2.

So for me, my personal ethos dictates that I think over my wide group of friends, and think how they would like to be treated before I cast a vote.  Love. We. Tribe. Gods Bless Everyone.  NO EXCEPTIONS.

And I feel that there while there isn’t a definitive choice FOR that, there is definitely a candidate who is AGAINST particular groups of people.

My gut says that when you’ve alienated or insulted or tried to shame group after group, and minority after minority, there comes a tipping point when there are enough minorities to make a majority.

Wall of Voters

That’s my election prediction.  And tomorrow? I’ll either have egg on my face from a miscalculation that I was either brave enough or stupid enough to throw out into the internet ether, or my hunch will be proven correct. Neither matters, because my vote is already cast, and whether your vote is cast yet or not, I am unlikely to change anyone’s actual vote at this point.  However, how someone treats another person in the aftermath may still be… undecided.  And if my words factor helpfully into whatever weird aftermath we as a nation are headed towards regardless of who wins (because make no mistake, I think there will be an aftermath), then my time was well spent.

Love matters.  So please, no matter what the outcome, PLEASE use love, acceptance, and kindness in your treatment of ALL of the human beings.

NO Exceptions.





Capturing a Tribe

19 07 2016

This whole thing started several weeks back when I was having an Interesting Conversation with someone I share very few commonalities with.  We typically eventually agree to disagree on many a subject, but the moral of the story is that weirdly, we are on some level friends.  It probably has a lot to do with the fact that we try very hard not to be a dick to each other when our beliefs vary. We also use each other as a sounding board of sorts because we force each other to find actual validating thoughts and theories behind what we feel strongly about.  In other words, it’s an accountability check of sorts that ensures I’m not just buying something hook, line and sinker.

I realized what a rare gift that is – being friends with someone you really disagree with, when, a few weeks later, Supreme Court Justice Scalia died. I read Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s writings about their strange friendship, and had that same feeling of “YES!!! She knows what I’m talking about.”   I think people need a counterpart like that to facilitate not only deep thoughts about the particular moralities or ethics you espouse, but also because it leads to deep thinking about your entire frame of reference, and what you are putting out there into the world.

If that weren’t enough, a few days after that, one of my favorite memes popped up.  I like it enough that it’s currently my Facebook profile photo.

img_7807-2
Not only is it true, but I’m finding that in the weird and shaky times that seem to be at an constant and audible societal rumble, it’s an asset.  And I was trying to think of a way to encourage other people to branch out and talk to interesting people in a “don’t-be-a-dick-and-don’t-get-preachy” kind of way to someone that is drastically different than the particular garden store variety level of BFF you happen to cultivate naturally.

And then Pokemon Go (PoGo) came along. It really is now officially a THING. (Like, if you haven’t heard of it, you probably live on a commune with no internet or have been walking the Appalachian Trail for 4 weeks…) If you’re one of the majority who HAS heard of it? Don’t click the “back” button if you’re rolling your eyes.  Keep reading.  It will be okay, I promise.  I don’t actually play the game yet, but I’m using it to make an analogy, so any error about actual game play versus my perception of how it’s played is totally my fault.

What if we all had an app (let’s call it Human Go for the sake of expediency) that was like Pokemon Go but for actual human interaction? (I mean, I’m kidding… sort of.  I don’t really want someone having that much data more data on people than is already happening), but what if instead of capturing a rare creature, what if you got to enter basic data points that “captured” rare humans?

Here’s the qualifier for capture for “Human Go”.  You have to have actually had a 15 minute conversation (face-to-face!) with someone for it to “count”.  Categories include all the pigeonhole-y, stereotypical human labels we humans are currently fired up about.

Using myself as an example, I’ve had a 15 minute face to face conversation with:

An African American

A Caucasian

An Asian

A Muslim

A Buddhist

An atheist (It’s not capitalized because it’s a belief in an absence rather than a proper noun, in case you grammar folks were wondering…)

A Lutheran

A Evangelical Christian

A Catholic

A nun

Several Jehovah’s witnesses

An Amish lady

An amputee

Her partner, a lesbian

A transgender person

A gay dude and his partner with the most amaaaaaaaaazing love of my work. (They were picking out a shiny thing with gifted money from their recent nuptials. What an awesome conversation that was with them!)

A servicewoman who has done multiple active tours

A BDSM instructor

A professional Dominatrix

A furry (One of the people who dresses up and does fur conventions, I’m not speaking metaphorically of say, my dog. Whom I talk to an awful lot for the record, but he’s not much of an active conversationalist.)

A Libertarian

A Republican

A Democrat

A Socialist

A Yugoslavian refugee

A Serbian refugee

A 6’5″ person

A Deaf person

My list could go on endlessly, but I hope my point is made when I say that my world has been broadened exponentially, 15 minutes at a time, one person at a time. I despise the “us” versus “them” phenomenon that seems to be gaining ground.  I feel like it only breeds fear when people quantify the entirety of their social interactions or tribes by a single unifying factor (at the expense and exclusion of others).

If Pokemon Go can get people off their asses and launch them forth, meeting new people that are completely outside of their “normal” social strata to discuss the spotting of a rare mythical creature, why not extend that to real life?  I mean, talk about a story… “So today I was discussing the merits of running with this 50-something now-vegan guy who – no kidding! – used to be a paratrooper and now runs 50k (31 mile) races for fun.  He helped me with my breathing while running.”

Get out there and play Human Go.  I’d be interested to hear where your journey takes you, and as always, if this post has moved you to action, please share it!

 

 

 

 





Get OFF My Freaking Lawn.

31 03 2016

I try really hard to be a nice person who behaves in a courteous fashion to her fellow humans.  All of her fellow humans.  And that’s the hard part.  Treating everybody as I wish to be treated.

So here I go, making blog hamburgers out of potentially sacred cows, and possibly poking at religion in an election year in which one of the candidates wants to toss all Muslims out of the country. Because, hey, they’re Muslims. (That was sarcasm. And the fact that I have to state that? Sigh.) Except that it’s not and never has been about religion. It’s about the Golden Rule, and the fact that the meat of that tenet shows up in Every. Major. World. Religion. 

(As a comedic aside, can I just take a minute and silently thank the world religions who have never come to my door?  That list includes the Jews, the Pagans, Wiccans, New-Agers, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, well, actually it includes all of the world religions in fact, …except some local Christians.)

When I first bought my house 2 years ago, the local Jehovah’s Witness church (and another Christian church who wasn’t one of the “big” denominations but listed “Christian” in their church’s title on the ubiquitous pamphlet I got handed) came knocking about once a quarter.  Okay.  That’s fine.  I politely demurred taking their literature, explained that I was an eclectic Buddhist who was not interested in converting, and then asked if they would like some water or if they needed use of a bathroom. (Treat your fellow humans as you wish to be treated).  I repeated this process (sometimes repeating myself ad nauseum – “No thank you, I’m not interested. Are you thirsty? Do you need to use the bathroon? No, I’m not interested in your pamphlet. Thank you.” – every time they came to my door for a year and a half.

Now, I own a business.  And from a business perspective, if I tried cold calling the same company or person 6+ times a year to be told, “No thank you, I’m not and will never be in the market for your services. Please take me off your calling list.” I don’t know that I would continue to call. It seems counter-intuitive and likely to garner me an eventual phone slammed down in anger from the other end because I’ve not gotten the message.

From another strictly business perspective, if someone has to continually recruit, (case in point my local Walmart always has a ‘We’re hiring’ sign up) to me that says nothing more than, “We can’t keep good people. We have to keep hiring new ones.” I understand that I’m mixing business metaphors with religion, and that that may offend some people.  If you are becoming offended, hang tight.  Read on a little further – because I’m not actually trying to offend anyone. (If I were, you would know. I swear a lot when I don’t care whom I offend.) So bear with me, there’s additional information I haven’t gotten to yet about this scenario.

So far, the pamphlet-waving hordes have been at my house 3 times this month. (YES, I said MONTH). The first time, they parked me into my own driveway (there were two cars of them tag-teaming the houses on my road) just as I was flying out the door to be on time somewhere else.  We then proceeded to have a “conversation” (them trying to convert me, me explaining “I’m trying to get to an appointment.  Can you please move your car?”) which took way more time than it needed to, and in which I had to repeat my request for them to move their car.  End result? Don’t park me into my own driveway, then WATCH ME lock the door, head to my vehicle, and then proceed to engage me on the wonders of Jesus.  I can’t even.

The second time this month, I saw them coming and got up from my work (because I was afraid that they would see me working at the table through the window and not leave until I answered the door). My experience with getting them to hear my “No thank you.” regarding their literature, and then the last time getting them to move their vehicle swiftly taught me that whatever my wish for our encounter was, it was unlikely to be respected.

RESPECT.  That’s one of the points I’m trying to make.

I put up a sign after that.  “No Soliciting. No Proselytizing. Thank you.”

Today my doorbell rang.  Third time this month.  I answered it. A nicely dressed lady tried to (again) speak to me about the wonders of Jesus.  I pointed to my sign.  I said, “Proselytizing is trying to convert someone religiously speaking. Please read the sign. Thank you and have a good day.” And I shut the door.

And I hung up another sign.  

 To me, it’s a Gordian knot of respect and consent and tolerance all mixed up together. (There is a lot of swearing in the video link fyi.)

Don’t make me tea.  Don’t make me your koolaid.  Don’t force me to drink tea or koolaid when I’ve said I don’t want either, thanks. I feel like the current state of affairs has people gleefully stomping all over the concepts of respect, consent, and tolerance.  Please note, I’m not making blanket statements about any group.  I am specifically speaking about the ones who obviously can’t read or don’t care and therefore, keep blithely knocking on my door. But I think it’s endemic of a bigger picture and a more widespread issue.

I was respectful until it was clear I was not respected in turn.  I consented to engage in polite refusal until I got parked into my own driveway.  I tolerated what I viewed as harmless and quirky behavior (and I am not throwin’ stones here – I myself  have an amazingly long repertoire of “quirky” behaviors that pretty much confirms the ‘I’m an eccentric artist-type person’) until it became evident that “no” (which is, in fact, a complete sentence all on its own) only seemed to result in more frequent visitations.

I’ve voted for my candidate, and it’s not Jesus.  I’m not saying Jesus is wrong.  I’m saying that that path is not my path. And when any path – be it a religious path or a political path, social path, etc. – leads people to disregard, disrespect, override consent, and become intolerate of others? Then we have a problem, and I feel like regardless of any broad-brush quality that someone may possess as a descriptor or identifier (blond hair, Jewish, tall, transgender, gay, hairy, bigger than me, taller than me, in a wheelchair, etc.), that, generally speaking, if they are a human being then they are therefore worthy of the holy triumvirate of “how to treat people.” Respect. Consent. Tolerance.

 

 

 





The Hell With The Holidays

19 11 2015

I’ve never been a fan of the holiday season.  (Find me an empathic introvert who is and I will send them a Starbucks card, complete with a drawing of the cup of their choice on the front.)  And by this point in my adult life I have done enough of those crappy gift exchanges that I would rather not go to an event then have to spend one more evening watching or hearing people diss crap I’ve made or baked or bought because it wasn’t their cup of tea.

I remember the day my mom, my sister (who rarely swears) and I (I swear a lot) were having a “discussion” about the holidays. I finally said, “Mom, the holiday fucking suck.” And when my mom cut her eyes to my sister, she echoed the sentiment.  F-bomb and all.

Is it because I’m empathic? Is it because there is such hypocrisy to me in the “spirit of the season” when most of us (and lemme be the first to point out, I’ve been guilty of it myself) go back to treating other humans like less-than-humans the day after the post-coital-holiday-nirvana-glow wears off? I guess it’s an amalgamation of all of this as to why I’ve always thought that the holidays are just a couple of days of the year where the rest of the world takes off work to buy each other lots of crap that no one needs and generally spend time with people they don’t necessarily like.  I want to work to change that mentality.   Even if it’s just me screaming into the uncaring ether on a cyberspace soapbox to my 17 regular blog readers.

 

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Here’s my freaking wish for this Holiday and every other.  Daesh brought it to the fore this week with the Paris bombings. Right now, I’m angry with my fellow human beings, and I’m disappointed in many people I call friends. But I think it’s been there, simmering in the hearts and hearths of the good old USA for awhile.  I really don’t care whether you think Syrian refugees belong here or not, whether homeless vets are more important than Syrian refugees, or not.  (No, really, hear me out.) My question is, “What have you done to change it?” (“It” being defined as what moves you emotionally, whether that be Syrian refugees, homeless Vets, abused dogs, pick-a-marginalized-and-underrepresented-group-it-doesn’t-matter-for-the-purpose-of-this-exercise.)

 

MrRogers

 

Pick something.

Do something about it.  Especially in this so-called “season of giving“, for the love of [insert the name of the god least likely to offend you here] quit drinking the fucking kool-aid laced with fear, and DO SOMETHING actionable.   Not reactionable.

Be a helper.

So mote it be. Amen. Inshallah. Im yirtzeh hashem.