The Midnight Wal-Mart Photo Run

Nowadays, everyone has Facebook and smartphones with selfie capabilities… but, back in the mid 2000’s, putting pictures up was a BITCH. I mean, you had to know someone with a website… which we did.

Then, you had to convince that person to let you host your photos there… which happened.

Then, you had to have someone with a digital camera… which we did.

Then, someone had to take the pictures… which happened.

Then, we all had to caption the fucking things back in the day when a page of text took longer than two seconds to load, let alone JPEGs. Thankfully, we had our burned CDs and portable CD players which, if carefully balanced, would do to distract us while Napster-

-I’ve said too much…

Anyway, back in the day, you had to have DEDICATION. You had to have GUTS. You had to be JUST geeky enough to understand basic html, but enough of an exhibitionist to not care that everyone has seen a hippo coming out of my “barn door”.

Yes, Ladies and Gentlemen – for WELL over a decade. How many of you can say THAT in the year 2015? Ha-ha!

Triumph, Middle-School. We’re just young enough not to be Old School, still old enough to teach you bastards some real shit. Keeping it 97%… for real, though, anyone who claims 100 and ain’t, like, Gandhi or some shit, I’m gonna take a pass.

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See It in the Theatre (West Side Story Spoiler Alert – Trigger: Racism; not what you might be thinking)

I think there were three of them. Latino, had no idea what specific ethnicity.

“But our friends are in this,” as my boyfriend and I, late, white, purchase our tickets.

“I’m sorry,” as if we don’t exist, “it’s policy – we don’t sell tickets after the play starts.”

“Then why is the window still open?” Legit.

We make eye contact. I know it’s fucked up. I say nothing.

I get to see my favorite play – and a silly little thing like “a person who actually worked at this getting to have a support system” isn’t going to risk me losing my tickets.

After all, I might never get another chance to see it live.

If you ever do ‘West Side Story’, see it in the Theatre.

You see, the movie makes the white guys look better.

In reality, Riff never dies – he’s the one telling everyone to play it cool.

Consuela gets raped while grieving Bernardo and shoving down her racism to facilitate her gentle, naïve friend’s happiness – she knows better, and she gets sucked up into this fantasy, before cursing them whole lot, like Benvolio and the Nurse rolled into one.

I refuse to be complicit in a racist system. Hoorah. Namas-fucking-te.

Thank you for reading. Please – if you see bullshit, say it’s bullshit. It’s not worth whatever little trinket you think it is, in the long run. After it’s all said and done, all you have is your own soul. For Eternity.

…if you believe in that sort of thing.

(Fe/Male) Role Models

When I was growing up, I was a tomboy. I didn’t want to be a girl – except maybe Xena – I wanted to be Lestat, I wanted to be Stanley’s Alter Ego. I wanted to be Michael Jordan. I didn’t want to be Maxie. I mean, our shows are nothing alike. I digress. I would look at Helen Reddy in “Pete’s Dragon”, and I wanted to be Elliot instead. When I played pretend with a group of girls, I always volunteered to be the male. When I played pretend in a mixed gender group, I would only be the Pink Ranger.

Now, let’s look at these two female role models – Xena and Kimberly. They were gymnasts, martial artists, and physically attractive. They didn’t have to pick one over the other. They didn’t have to choose whether or not to be just strong, sexy, or flexible. They didn’t have to be the Archetypal Gaming Sorceress, only having points in a few skills. They were Capable.

More often than not, we see Capable Males – and they are clearly capable of – Saving a City, Saving the World, and Getting the Girl. People have hawed and hollered about this fact, demanding more substantial and leading roles for women, referring what is known as the Bechdel Test as the standard of female-friendliness:

  1. It has to have at least two [named] women in it
  2. Who talk to each other
  3. About something besides a man

I think we’ve been going about it all wrong. As Morgan Freeman says in his now ever-popular interview with Mike Wallace of 60 Minutes:

Ladies, don’t let a little thing like a penis stop you from looking up to someone, and don’t let it be a reason to look down on someone, either. Vice-versa, if you look up to Nelly Bly more than Anderson Cooper, so be it! I just happen to be talking to the Lady-Folk who, I believe, aren’t doing much besides making a hypocrite of themselves… and I find that to be a problem.

Yes, bemoaning a lack of chivalry then rudely shunning someone sincerely offering you help (not talking about the creepazoids) because they aren’t cute enough (you were saving the ‘damsel in distress’ act for the single new hottie a few doors down who you may have noticed comes home around a certain time every day) or you’re still pumped up from a night of man-bashing disguised as ‘Female Friendly’ doesn’t make you progressive, it makes you a terrible person who uses a person’s gender to justify your disrespect. Bigots can be bigoted about anything, from where someone is from to the car they drive.

We are HUMANS. If women act like gender doesn’t define a person, maybe if WE quit bringing it up as a dividing factor by painting men with the same wide brush as “we” claim “they” paint us with and call it progress (it isn’t – it’s a juvenile reaction to what we would colloquially refer to as “a troll” or “an asshole”, both of which are gender-neutral terms, if you’re not one of those Pro-Females who INSIST on putting ‘-ess’ at the end of every word*), maybe a person’s gender wouldn’t be such a big deal.

Playing up the gender divide does not a “Gender-Divide Go-Away-ing” make.

“But, He’s a he!” “But, She’s a she!” Hell, I’m for making gender-neutral terms the law of the land, but I’m also for not pushing my agenda on people who are unwilling. Something about “being influenced by Wicca”.

Wiccans don’t preach; Wiccans don’t evangelize. Everyone has to find his/ her own path, and we welcome the diversity this brings.

When it comes to Gender Inequality, instead of waiting for the same people in charge of keeping the status quo patriarchal to give us a bevy of female role models, let’s stop thinking about it as Women Role Models and Male Role Models. If you look up to someone, male or female, they’re a Role Model, they have some quality you wish to emulate; emulate it!

Whether it’s having confidence in yourself despite your past failings, making the impossible possible by redefining your life paradigm, or putting in the time necessary to achieve everything you Dream of Achieving, do it.

*Seriously, though, on a Vampire Freaks forum WAY back in the day, someone got up in arms about how all the “Ranks” on the site were masculine in nature and, therefore, they took it upon themselves to do what I just said – add “-ess” to the end of everything. There was a debate about how ‘Vampire’ is a gender-neutral term and, therefore, while Count and Countess was viable, “Vampiress” was just silly and unnecessary.

I’d like to take this to another level – what if we called everyone “Sir”? Or “Ma’am”? Gender wouldn’t be the first thing we’d have to judge in order to avoid risking offense. Maybe the Russians had the right idea with the whole “comerade” thing… “Comradess?” Doesn’t have the bite.

Don’t get me started on the whole “Goody” title.

Perhaps we need a whole new word instead of Sir/ Ma’am, as the dichotomy reeks of – well – dichotomy, which is already deeply imbeded in the subconscious minds of those around me. Especially in Government: We call Supreme Court Judges “Your Honor”, male or female (perhaps as a testament to the whole ‘justice is blind’ saying); however, we say “Mister” or “Madame” Speaker, Mr./ Mdme. President.

Some people aren’t interested at all – some women are willing to take the small injustices in order to keep enjoying what I refer to as “Protected Class Privileges”. Women are allowed to get away with bad behavior in a way men aren’t, in a social context. The WWYD episode should explain more:

“Female aggression is usually seen as not very important, not very deadly, nothing really to react to.”

Insert Double Standard Here.

I was once in a courtroom for a Domestic Violence situation and was asked to leave the room. They were asking the jurors, “If you thought you heard a slap from the neighbor’s house, what would you do?” One of the answers inflamed me: “Well, I don’t know, it might just be the woman hitting the man.”

This was said by a woman.

This is what I mean by “Female Privilege”. This privilege, of course, doesn’t apply to those who choose to outwardly (and convincingly) identify as male or “butch”. Sometimes your level of attractiveness enters into it, depending on the context, but that’s a whole ‘nother story…

Talking to Myself

One of my favorite things to do is hold conversations with my brain.

Now, sit down and strap in for this one:

The warrior of light does not worry that, to others, his behavior might seem quite mad. He talks out loud to himself when he is alone. Someone told him that this is the best way of communicating with the angels, and so he takes a chance and tries to make contact.
At first, he finds this very difficult. He thinks that he has nothing to say, that he will just repeat the same meaningless twaddle. Even so, the warrior persists. He spends all day talking to his heart. He says things with which he does not agree, he talks utter nonsense. One day, he notices a change in his voice. He realises that he is acting as a channel for some higher wisdom.

The warrior may seem mad, but this is just a disguise.
–Paulo Coelho; The Manual of the Warrior of the Light

So, if we’re going off of psychology – Ego, Superego, ID – no, we aren’t “crazy”, there IS more than one entity inside our brains… kinda. The darn thing was BUILT like that, for cripes’ake!!

Anywho, because this is how my brain works, and this happens to be relevant information, now imagine: In the ancient world, people, most likely, Hand-to-God, heard the voice of God/ the Gods/ etc. ad infinitum, for realzies.

Did that mean it was actually happening? Well… that’s subjective. There is a good chance, according to this guy, it was all symbolic, or allegorical, if you will. If you won’t, doesn’t change a darn thing… and that’s kind of the point. Nomatter what you call “it”, “it” is still there. “A rose by any other name”-sort-of-a-deal.

So, I’m talking to myself… I’m aware of it, but it’s a part of my brain that thinks differently than my conscious mind, so I kinda need to. I am the Universe, the Universe is me. Make sense?

In Witty Propaganda Slogans We Trust

They look upon Fraud as a greater Crime than Theft, and therefore seldom fail to punish it with Death; for they allege, that Care and Vigilance, with a very common Understanding, may preserve a Man’s Goods from Thieves, but Honesty has no fence against superior Cunning; and since it is necessary that there should be a perpetual Intercourse of Buying and Selling, and dealing upon Credit, where Fraud is permitted and connived at, or has no Law to punish it, the honest Dealer is always undone, and the Knave gets the advantage.

–Johnathan Swift; ‘Gulliver’s Travels’

A lot of people think I’m unreasonable, and that’s because a lot of my opinions were formed after, at this stage in my life, 26 years of making it a point to look in from the outside. Not only that, I won’t idly sit by and let people be comfortable in their bigotry. I oppose a One World Government on the personal opinion having no ‘other’ culture to look at makes us that much more susceptible to unquestioningly following the limited information we are given.

For example, in social studies, we were taught America is the greatest country in the world and only learn Columbus didn’t discover America well after we do the traditional ‘making buckled hats and feathered headbands out of construction paper’. One year, when I was a Sophomore in high school, we learned about China, and how they indoctrinate their citizens into thinking China is the best country in the world – which, according to public opinion of Americans, they’re obviously brainwashed – and I asked what the difference was between China saying so to the Chinese and America saying so to us.

I was in JROTC, at the time – so, that was kinda dangerous of me to do, questioning the motives of ‘Murica.

My first introduction to Classism came when I was 7, and was told, in public school, I wasn’t allowed to go back for seconds during lunch. If you’ve never been in this situation, particularly going from a Private School to a Public one, you don’t understand the feeling of negligence that accompanies someone saying, basically, “If you’re still hungry, it’s not my responsibility to make sure you get fed,” to a child. This made it clear to me – people with money are treated special, people without money are left to starve or, at the very least, bear the stigma and humiliation of having to ask for more while defending themselves against those who believe meeting the most basic of Maslow’s needs for all people, in order to thrive as a society, is just a ploy to encourage “them” being unproductive.

Yeah, because nothing works harder than a person so overcome with hunger, they can barely fucking stand. Nothing makes a point like forcing a child to throw away their lunch because they’re too poor to afford it and the school won’t cover it. Does that sound like ‘logic’ or does it sound like institutionalized cruelty? [That’s a loaded question, filled with my own personal bias – I’m going to recognize that fact.] Even if you (school leadership, politicians, etc.) condemn the act, it doesn’t matter, at this point – the traumatic incident is burned not only into the minds of the kids who had their lunch taken away, but it is a very clear warning to the other kids (who may or may not have had the opportunity to supplement their friend’s meal themselves – if they could even spare anything off of their own plate) to fear poverty.

…then again, I grew up believing in the Power of Prayer (which I didn’t understand, and never seemed to work for me, in Catholic School), I believed we were a Christian Nation who ALWAYS did the right thing for no other reason than it was right. Jesus, God-Incarnate, came and told us to “be excellent to each other,” or something along those lines, and we listened because we were all Children of God. I believed the Military was filled with Honorable People who wanted to keep our people safe, not teenagers who got in way over their heads because they wanted to get away with killing someone legally, then found themselves doing congress’ dirty work. [Don’t get me started on how badly the Bureaucracy has dropped the ball, in regards to the VA.]

When entire institutions – Health, Banking, Education – are infected with Fraud, motivated by Greed and ‘Shareholder Primacy’ (which is a choice, not a law, but “Congress and regulators have begun pushing the rules in that direction, and a few court rulings have favored shareholder primacy” despite the fact that “[m]ultiple studies of corporations that stay successful over time… have found that they tend to be driven by goals and principles other than shareholder returns”), you have to learn to see past the humor, the bright colors, and the Bandwagon Effect to use critical thinking in order to determine how much or how little you trust People (read: corporate entities with more rights and protection than individual citizens, whose number on a roster is thrown in as if they agree with a policy simply because they chose – or didn’t have a choice but – to take a job at said company branch) who self-regulate. Find out if and why professionals in the field chose to break away from Government Institutions and Conglomerate Megapowers.

The practice has created a situation of widespread drug abuse, affecting the long-term health and well-being of millions of young people. This mess has prompted long-time ADHD advocate Dr. Keith Conners to call the rising diagnosis rates a “concoction to justify the giving out of medication at unprecedented and unjustifiable levels,” that has resulted in “a national disaster of dangerous proportions.”

–Excerpt from Forbes Magazine, ‘The Dark Side of Big Pharma’, 12/26/13

This is the world we have been living in, a world in which those who question the legitimacy of an authority are diagnosed with having ‘ADHD‘ (which is determined by, among other things, ‘inaccurate work’ [which I thought was the point of, you know, going to fucking school in the first place], ‘being unable to play quietly’, and ‘completing other people’s sentences’) and ‘ODD’ – Opposition Defiant Disorder:

These behaviors might cause your child to regularly and consistently:

  • Have temper tantrums
  • Be argumentative with adults
  • Refuse to comply with adult requests or rules
  • Annoy other people deliberately
  • Blames others for mistakes or misbehavior
  • Acts touchy and is easily annoyed
  • Feel anger and resentment
  • Be spiteful or vindictive
  • Act aggressively toward peers
  • Have difficulty maintaining friendships
  • Have academic problems
  • Feel a lack of self-esteem

In addition, your child isn’t likely to see his or her behavior as defiant. Instead, your child will probably believe that unreasonable demands are being placed on him or her.

“Does your child want a good, logical reason to obey, and, refuses to, since you only have the ‘because I said so’ card? [I know for a fact I was one of those children.] There’s a pill for that! Now, your child can be the compliant, B+ student you always wanted to brag about (warning: may cause sleeplessness, affectations of growth and weight in children and teenagers, and “abnormal thoughts, aggression, agitation, anxiety, delusions, depression, hostility”)! Don’t take the time to question the legitimacy of the schools – you know, the ones who will debase and humiliate a child to spite the parent – CONFORM, CONSUME, OBEY.”

…fuck that. I’ll take the lightly beaten path of Albert Einstein FTW.

Albert Einstein, as a youth, would have likely received an ADHD diagnosis, and maybe an ODD one as well. Albert didn’t pay attention to his teachers, failed his college entrance examinations twice, and had difficulty holding jobs. However, Einstein biographer Ronald Clark (Einstein: The Life and Times) asserts that Albert’s problems did not stem from attention deficits but rather from his hatred of authoritarian, Prussian discipline in his schools. Einstein said, “The teachers in the elementary school appeared to me like sergeants and in the Gymnasium the teachers were like lieutenants.” At age 13, Einstein read Kant’s difficult Critique of Pure Reason—because Albert was interested in it. Clark also tells us Einstein refused to prepare himself for his college admissions as a rebellion against his father’s “unbearable” path of a “practical profession.” After he did enter college, one professor told Einstein, “You have one fault; one can’t tell you anything.” The very characteristics of Einstein that upset authorities so much were exactly the ones that allowed him to excel.

— Bruce Levine, Ph.D, ‘Why Anti-Authoritarians are Diagnosed as Mentally Ill’, 2/26/12

Failing/ Moving/ Growing

I’m leaving in a little over a week. I’ve had it with this state.

And I’ll tell you why – I don’t have kids. This is a place for children, not for adults. It’s the Garden of Eden. I don’t belong.

There’s no shame in it. On the contrary – I’m humbled by the opportunities that have presented themselves, the people I’ve met in the last few months.

When my ex dumped me last October (for good this time), I felt like everything I had to live for was gone. A part of me fell into the whole Iowa trap of ‘Get Married, Have Kids, Die Here Having Only Lived Vicariously Through Your Children’. Unless you’re doing something productive and for the good for the community, you’re pretty much a bump on a log doomed to relive your high school days.

They say “When the student is ready, the master will appear.” Well, wouldn’t you know it? That’s exactly how it happened. You see, I met a really great group of people in my local community, which opened me up to an online community, which led to my moving. Everything happens for a reason. Everything is propelling me towards my destiny. I feel lighter, somehow. I know this is what I was born to do – leave.

As painful as it was at the time, now I’m glad. That pain motivated me to do something with myself. I’ve often said, “I can’t have caffeine, so I pretty much run on Spite,” and it’s true. It might not be the prettiest of emotions, but it’s what I feel and it’s real and I have to play the cards I’m dealt – we all do.

The advice I’ve gotten for my trip seems to be “Have an open mind, an open heart, and be honest.” Really? I’ve been doing that for 26 years, and it’s caused me nothing but grief. Huh. So you mean there’s a reason I’ve never felt like I belonged – my tribe lives elsewhere. I get to fall in love with a whole new city full of people I could never have imagined in a million years who will feel like home.

Well, I might be getting a little ahead of myself, but between the phone calls and emails and Facebooking, I feel closer to these people than I think I have most of my friends around here. That’s not to say I don’t love my friends here. On the contrary, I do – I love them too much. They can never love me like that, and that dissonance in my life has caused me unfathomable amount of needless suffering.

I cast off the shackles of Mainstream America and forge my own path through the Third Dimension. I mean, it would be easier to just go through the Fourth Dimension, but I don’t know if I’m doing it right quite yet. I’ll have to work on that.

Stop Spinning, Damn It…

Ugh. Not good. Not good at all.

So, hangovers. Existential nihilism conveniently delivered in the constant threat of puking. Everywhere.

Got me to thinking… what’s the point? We are literally all just waiting to die.

So, my Uncle Dave might have died yesterday or the day before, I’m not completely clear about that. What was I saying? Oh yes, pointlessness-ness-ness.

Having been on the sidelines, instead of fully immersing myself in “Life”, I’ve gotten the perspective of nonexistence. Well, obviously not completely, but I’ve gotten a taste. When I die, the world will keep spinning and, when enough time passes, I won’t even be a memory. Huh. I’ll be a collection of blogs and YouTube videos just like Bill Hicks is nothing more than stand up routines, at this point. And I frikkin’ LOVE Bill Hicks, in all his post-mortem glory.

So, what, it’s possible to be loved after you die? Not really, depending on how you define ‘Love’, which, as far as I’m concerned, is a verb in this context. It is a verb which requires a giver and a receiver. So, I guess it’s closer to say I worship Post-mortem Bill Hicks, as if he were an ancestor. Which, to “my people”, he is.

I seriously tried to talk to my dead uncle yesterday, burst into tears, and come to find out my grandma sent me a message that same minute. Funny – I “reach out to my ancestors” and my grandma gets the urge/ inclination to communicate at the same time. I think the Universe is trying to tell me something…

Anywho, this frikkin’ Universe. Okay. I’m back.

I’ve found myself sinking deeper and deeper into what I can only call my ‘Phoenix Hole’. I need another rebirth. This latest incarnation is equipped with all the latest Maternal Instincts – those will do me no good, where I’m going. It’s capable of withstanding a physical barrage of up to seven minutes in constant duration. I might keep that part, however, it has no offensive martial skills. This needs changed.

I spent the morning thinking I was going to get sick all over everything. I still feel queasy when I eat or move too fast or get overheated. It’s quite clear, however, that my body is not interested in expelling anything orally, at least nothing chunky. I get that taste in my mouth – the taste you get when you’re about to blow – and salivate excessively, but nothing else.

So, I walk about, feeling like grody, thinking about dying, wondering what’s the point of my being here (specifically Iowa). I might just be wasting my life waiting for meaning to appear where there is none. Having been raised on a steady diet of soulmates and destiny, I’ve been waiting for my talking cat to give me superpowers.

Just like I wait to take a directing class, so as to verify my ability to do so, when I did it in high school already. I wait for all of this external validation. It doesn’t exist, at least, not without a price. That price is dependence – the entire point of validation is you do it and don’t have to do it again (passports are marked, documents are notarized, etc).

But, I mean, think about it THIS way: We shed cells at a rate of having a “whole new body” in seven years. If a brand new passport is used every time you travel (as far as I know, that’s not the case), you’d have to get it revalidated. Well, that’s people – we change moment-to-moment. Validation “wears off” at a rate complimentary to the amount of stress we find we can’t handle, IMHO. Someone who validates themselves, instead of waiting for extrinsic validation, is like a person who bathes daily – the feelings of worthlessness don’t get a chance to “stack”.

Now, someone who doesn’t bathe and needs someone to bathe them is going to put off all but the most empathetic or medically-inclined of people. They clean up, but then, it starts to build.

So, how do you toe the line between auto-validation and arrogance? The world may never know…

…huh. I think my tummy has started to settle.