Monday, August 19, 2013

Not Helping... Just Sayin'

Adjective – Destructive to both sides in a conflict

I learned a new word today. And surprisingly, if I’m honest, I’ve felt like this at times in my past. Not often, but it has happened. You have probably felt this way, too. Admit it.

Let me set it up for you - When you are in an argument do you find yourself saying things at just the right moment you really shouldn't, but can't stop yourself because you enjoy the hurt you see in the other person's eyes or body language? You feel a little powerful, don't you? A small victory for the big price you'll pay later.

It is destructive for both sides when the person you trust wants to rejoice at your pain. The connection you share can get tattered and torn if it is something frequently done within the boundaries of your relationship. The offender is hurting to begin with if they resort to this power play, the offended begins to doubt what they share and ultimately, the wounding becomes a game both will play. The attacks get more malicious if this tactic is used consistently, the wounds even deeper.

During conflict, if we focus on ending what is causing us pain rather than what short term gratification we'll feel with the pain we cause, better behaviors will emerge to help us reach what we really want to achieve. If feeling more powerful over the other person is really only what we want, then maybe we shouldn't be in those particular relationships.

Let's guide ourselves to a place where we are helping to ease the pain, not adding more of it to the mix.

I make it my mission not to be considered an internecine woman.

Friday, August 16, 2013


I'll be eighty years old then. Always thought I would make it to at least that age, maybe beyond.

Let's suppose I do. It means I'll have experienced two years on this earth being religion-free according to Nigel Barber. Having lived mostly as an atheist up to that point, I wonder what I can expect to see, to hear, and to feel about my surroundings.

For a good many of those years I was fighting or arguing with those of differing opinions about the existence of a god. My frustration frequently spilled out in various writings on my blog and other venues that allowed me to voice my opinions. Many didn't like what I had to say. To think I would finally arrive at a time in my life where pointing out the inconsistencies wasn't necessary anymore, well it seems almost incomprehensible to me.

I suppose I would still be loud about other things annoying my sensibilities. Injustice will abound in other areas, I'm sure. My deeply held sense of righting wrongs springing up as necessary. That's me - always ready to fight the good fight. But to experience this battle being over... finally. That would feel good.

Imagining a world where reality is its motivating and inspiring force, wow. We did it! We have attained the final stage of rational outcomes. Some would say that's heaven or paradise, well it sort of is. Everything this atheist movement has been fighting for has been about validation. Finally, the information has vindicated us! The facts upon which we have based our conclusions with respect to the topic of religion has challenged the religious sector completely to its core and destroyed it. Religion doesn't exist any longer because the atheists got it right. Sweet victory, religion has died. That would feel good, too.

If religion is gone, finally and forever, churches become obsolete. In their place, refurbished buildings for practical purposes. I see affordable housing, recreational centers for kids and other more desirable buildings. When I drive down the street I won't have to go yech and shake my head anymore. That would feel wonderful!

No more worship songs! The trance-inducing, swaying hips, hands raised high, tear stained or near tear stained faces kind. Yes, the spell is broken. The delusion is gone. And with it go the strange lyrics supporting the delusion, forever.

The phrases "I'll pray for you" and "God Bless America"  or god bless anything won't be spoken anymore. Yay! Our money might read something like "In Reason We Trust" or "E Pluribus Unum", both reinforcing the reality our country now stands for.

Nathan Phelps
The best part of it for me would be seeing how the kids would be raised and what their un-indoctrinated futures would potentially hold for them. They would be free, really free to think without being pressured by outside forces to act, speak and be a certain molded kind of way. I would enjoy being around the expressiveness of those children who turn around and do the same for the next generation. Shame I won't be around to witness two hundred years from now.

But I'm day dreaming and being wishful, maybe even a tad irrational; something I try not to be. We don't know what the world of 2043 will really look like, it's anybody's guess. Even though religion might be gone, it doesn't mean stupid shit won't still happen. I predict (based on previous history) humans will somehow figure out a way to fuck something up, if not everything. I hope I'm wrong. If I really am still alive then, I'll mark my calendar and report back on what's really going on. Count on it.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Taking In More Air Than My Lungs Need


When you reach the point where you fill up sufficiently past what you need, there you are truly at ease. You've gotten to a state or place just beyond content. Life feels like that too, not just your lungs.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


It's the Sioux word for the white man "one who has everything good".  This is the watered down and more palatable version of what it originally meant. Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong provided me with this insight, but where it took me ultimately was altogether different. It's fascinating to learn new things, but I'm always amazed where my mind will go with what I've learned or how it decides to process. When the subject matter is one thing and your brain decides to veer off into your emotions, I ask myself  -  Why?

Considering all the crap I've dealt with this last year, I'm still completely amazed that I feel rather OK. There's a strength there which I can't completely understand where it comes from, but I just feel like I'm one who has everything good. That's probably why it resonated and I ingested it differently than what was the intention of the author. That or I'm going to redefine what Wasichu means again; evolving it to a whole new level. Progress; something good out of something bad.

Regardless of the circumstances, whether angry, frustrated, happy, sad, chill... whatever... I feel like everything IS good. It's as if it should be because it can't be anything else. The focus on reality is what grounds me and gives me the feeling of stability. I've always felt having a close personal relationship with reality, like my cover on my Facebook page boldly and proudly proclaims, is part of the reason for being skeptical, an atheist and one who is always searching for the truth.

I don't know it for a fact, but I think this connection to reality is what gives me this peace. Maybe it's just age and life experience. Or meds. Interestingly, I found out one of the heart medications I'm on helps with relieving anxiety. Could be I'm just fooling myself about my deep thought process and the chemical cocktail I'm forced to take because of a faulty pump is giving me what I never had in my younger years! Nah, just kidding - hard work, deep insight and a really interesting ride is what put me here.

The older I get, the more I drop off those things keeping me away from reality. I examine everything in my life and get to the bottom of why I think the way I do and if it doesn't cut muster, it's gone. One less ill-conceived, unrealistic reason for clinging to a fallacy opens a whole new way of understanding and clarity. Accepting the experience, good or bad, for what it is even as emotions are evoked by those events; the reality of each situation continually centering me. I feel them, I express them and then I ultimately accept the reality of the given situation. My strength comes from my clarity and what to do next. And from this acceptance comes an over all sense of being wrapped in good.

Here's to feeling that way until the day I die. Maybe I should get the word Wasichu tattooed on my body. Then it'll be permanent. Yeah.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Who Didn't Know This Was Coming?

And yet another 'big name/high level in the atheist', or as I like to call them 'longer in the movement than me' people, has now been named in our movement's Achilles Heel!

Now before every one's hair on the back of their necks starts bristling, keyboard ready and fingers twitching... I'm not saying there isn't a problem. There is if women are being raped, attacked, assaulted - verbally or otherwise, or in any way being demeaned because of their sex. And it should not be tolerated. What I am trying to say is that this is not unique to the atheist community. Women have been on the shit end of the stick when it comes to these issues for thousands of years and are still dealing with them. Slowly, things are changing, but they still face a battle. But had we not had rational people at the helm of some of these major atheist organizations, we wouldn't have seen regulations and guidelines pop up as quickly as they did when allegations began to be leveled. What is different between this country's history within various organizations/movements dealing with women's issues and our atheist community, is atheists have been quicker to address and, in general, been a lot more responsive to the voices of the vocal women (and men)  in this movement.

I could be wrong (and I frequently am), but I haven't seen the problem as wide spread as the chatter on the Interwebs would indicate. Having never personally experienced any bad things happening to me because I'm a woman at an atheist convention is primarily why I say this, but also after getting to know many women in the movement, I've not heard one case of harassment or rape at a convention. Maybe they didn't share their story with me. Or maybe I never had it happen to me because I'm not pretty enough, maybe I'm too old, maybe it's because I'm a tall and strong looking woman, maybe because I usually just go back to my room alone or if I do meet up with people it's in a large crowd or if I'm with someone, he's not a dick. And I'm also not saying with my assessment of why I've never been raped and someone else could be raped or mistreated badly is because they would have to be pretty, young, short and waif-like, like to party, hook up with one guy, or just a bad judge of character and basically asked for it. That's NOT what I'm saying, so don't make that judgment either. I'm speaking strictly from my perspective.

I'm also not being dismissive of any woman's claim of being raped or assaulted. Any crime that is committed should be dealt with quickly and appropriately. Any steps that can be put in place to prevent it from ever happening again should also be implemented. Serious offenses should be taken seriously, period and misogyny should not be tolerated.

Frankly spoken though, all the attention to isolated incidents and certain individuals in our movement gives us a serious bad reputation. Not just from the incidents alone, but the back and forth atheist bashing and 'who's camp are you in?' allegiance atmosphere has created a division that just doesn't make sense to me. Let's not go there, please. It's hard enough to find credibility as intelligent, rational human beings in this religionist dominated country. But now, all eyes are focused on us as if all our atheist men ever do is rape other atheist women and then afterwards we slander the whole male sex in the process when it's just isolated incidents. We're supposed to be the realists, so act like it.

Let's call this what it really is... some men are misogynists, some men are rapists, some are being incredible douche bags and some men who think with their dicks instead of their compassion and brains in a situation that could be complicated by the usage of said appendage - those men are the problem. And again, I think in most situations, conventions or otherwise, the standards and expectations are that men AND women will be respectful of each other. If not, they are dealt with. But let's not demonize ALL men in the process or create an atmosphere where MOST men can't be trusted. That's just unreasonable, and something I thought we atheists weren't.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Read, Think, Write

In that order, that is my formula.

I choose to surround myself with words of all kinds in order to comprehend things. Next, I must ponder them, roll them around in my brain to understand what they mean to me. Once I have captured what emotions are brought up and made them a part of my thinking brain, then I can write about them.

It is incredible to me what comes out because of this non-ending process. Many times the subconscious has a way of burying things for a long time, but then pops up at just the right time to answer questions, give more understanding or reveal something you'd never thought needed resolution. This is why I've loved rediscovering my love of writing. It is an integral part of who I am now. It's helped me reach further inside and tap into depths of myself I never even knew existed.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Heroes, Schmeroes

I don't have any heroes.

Being a hero implies somehow they are better human beings because they might have more courage or ability than the average person. They get put on a pedestal for an act of courage or how they live their lives. They make hero-worshippers out of us, setting themselves up to be better than we are. I have a problem with this. No one is better than any other person just due to some accomplishment. We all have value, it just shows up in different ways.

We elevate these people to a different status as if they were more special than we are. They aren't. They just possess skills we may not have and do things we might not do; it sets them apart from us, but doesn't indicate they are better people for it.

Can we feel grateful they might have more courage or a different skill set or insight? Absolutely. But I would hope that knowing these people who are different and who do things contrary to our ways would be more of an inspiration to learn something new from rather than someone to idolize and just make you say to yourself "Awww, shucks... I wish I was more like her/him.  :/ " Screw being like them! Be proud of your own skills. Are they different? WHO CARES?!?!?! More than likely there are things that you can do that Mr./Mrs. Hero CAN'T do!

Heroes tend to make everyone feel smaller than they are, maybe not intentionally, but it happens. We are not less than them. Remember that. Heroes sometimes reinforce that mantra "I'm better than you because of what I did or who I am." We've all somehow come to believe this. Who wins when we are looking down on those who would look up to the heroes? Nobody.

I don't have any heroes, but I have lots of people I can learn from. The ones I look up to the most are those who would deliberately use their skills, attitudes and courage as an example for all of us to take part in, then share and give more of themselves in that process. They are role models, not heroes. They don't want to be heroes, they just want to be catalysts for change, for progress and for justice.

Let's grow more of them instead.