You are viewing fleabear

Sexual Predators and the Pagan community

This morning I woke up and got on the internet to discover that someone who I consider to be a friend has been arrested for having and distributing child pornography. There are three articles on that talk about Kenny Klein’s arrest, and several more on other sites if you Google his name. This situation came to light on March 26th, so I am a little bit behind the times. Many people are doing the typical response to the situation—they are distancing themselves from Kenny and making the point that the behavior is not condoned by the Pagan community or the Blue Star Tradition, a coven founded by his ex-wife Tzipora. They were the heads of Blue Star for many years. I read some really awful things today, including the viewpoint that he should be locked away with someone named “Tiny.” The writer later takes a step back from this viewpoint.

I understand why people are distancing themselves from this situation and the person. The media, especially conservative media, is going to have a field day with this story. It will be a literal and figurative witch hunt. The case will most probably be used to attack the Pagan community since it proves just how evil and unmoral we really are. It is going to be a really difficult time to be a Pagan and many semi-out people may decide to go back into the closet because who in their right mind is going to want to associate with or hire/work with a known Pagan? They are all child molesters, haven’t you heard?
If the news really gets a lot of media coverage, the Catholic Church may breathe a slight sigh of relief as the world focuses on someone else. In fact, the Catholic Church could openly condemn the Pagan community and I doubt that many people would note that they were being hypocrites.

There will be a lot of hypocrisy in this case. While the scandals in the Catholic Church have sadly made a lot of people judge all Priests negatively, it has not caused the world to say that all Catholics are child molesters. Likewise, a case about a Pastor does not reflect on the whole community. I have not heard anyone say something like “Well you know how those Christians are…..” and no one should make such a statement, but I am pretty certain that people will in this case.

Of the three articles on today, the one that I agree with the most is “Six Rules for Safer Pagan Sex: A Guide” by Caer Jones. The author argues that we as a community need to rethink our behaviors and if I am reading the article correctly, we need to accept how this is a community problem.

“We learned that the path to being a good Pagan was through indulgence, not restraint. Hedonism, not asceticism. And while the attitude was different, the pressure to conform to the community standard was still there. When I came in to the community it was pretty well accepted that those who didn’t embrace the Pagan ideal of sexual freedom were obviously still dealing with whatever rules they were raised with. Eventually there would get past all that repression and join with the rest of the Pagan community. Pun intended.” (Jones paragraph 3)

The author’s words really hit home with me. I have not attended an outdoor Pagan festival in over ten years. At the time I stopped because I was through with camping for various reasons (I am not a nature child) but I still attended nearby Pagan conventions where I did not have to worry about setting up a tent and then having everything I had with me drenched in a thunderstorm, but that is another story. However, one of the things I enjoyed most about the conventions was that I did not have to deal with people being skyclad—nude for those of you not in the Pagan community.

I am not comfortable with my body and I am not comfortable with nudity in general. The amount of peer pressure that I had to deal with at Pagan gatherings was astounding.

There are now women coming forward to tell their story about how Kenny did things that made them uncomfortable and how their attempts to tell someone failed because he was an important Pagan. Personally, Kenny never did anything to me, which may be because I was in my twenties when I met him, but I have a lot of empathy for those who are coming forward. I know what they had to deal with.

I can remember one time when I was standing around the fire after a ritual at Heartland Pagan Festival and a man who was nude, like most of the people there, was also obviously aroused. He wanted to give me a hug and I felt pressured to do so even though I felt really uncomfortable with the situation. I did not know him at all, but I already knew that to say no would only lead to lectures from him and others. So I gave him a hug and then found an excuse to leave the ritual area as soon as I thought I politely could. The situation fits the definition of sexual harassment, but within the Pagan community many would say that it does not fit the definition at all. It was a hug, nothing more. Some would even argue that there was nothing sexual about it, because that is not what being skyclad is about. I also knew that I had no desire to wrangle with the Courts about this because I knew what would be said:

You didn’t say no.
You went willingly to an event where people would be nude.
You stayed at the fire for the dancing, knowing what generally happens after a ritual.

And I could go on. One needs only to read about what rape victims go through to get an idea of what would be thrown at me and I knew that I didn’t have a leg to stand on. It wasn’t worth it and would only serve to most probably get me ostracized from the community.

From personal experience I knew that I would not get any understanding from the Pagan community in general. By that time I had already received the lecture from a Priestess about how my refusal to be skyclad in a ritual was unhealthy. What was I trying to hide from myself and the other members of the coven? What was I trying to hide from the Gods? We can only be our true selves when we are nude. I was also bringing the other members down with my negative body image and I needed to go into counseling and get help so that I would not continue to ruin other people’s spiritual experiences. She also suggested that I withdraw from the Pagan community until I had healed myself of my toxicity and gotten my ducks in a row, so to speak. It would be better for the community, and myself, if I did so.

Like the situation at the campfire, I never said no. I could have left before the ritual began when it became clear how things were going to go, but on some level I knew that I was damned if I did and damned if I didn’t. If I left then I would have ruined the spiritual experience anyway. Looking back, I should have left because they could have told me beforehand. It would have been the polite thing to do and then I could have gracefully bowed out of the situation. As it was I was given a robe when I walked into the door and spent most of the evening like a deer in headlights, until I broke down in the bathroom.

Jones’s point is extremely valid. Kenny Klein’s arrest is not an incident that we need to separate ourselves from immediately. It is a good reason to look at the Community attitudes and review what we do that that creates an environment that is unhealthy. I still consider Kenny to be a friend and the one thing that I think is good about the situation is that he admitted to the crime. I wish that I could say that he is going to get help, but prisons don’t do that anymore. It is too costly and if Louisiana has for profit prison system, it goes against the standard contract of keeping the prisons at 90% capacity at all times.

Burning his books and music will not help solve the problem. It will only serve as a distraction from the real issue. Those who tried to sweep the behavior under the rug are just as guilty, and I also have to shoulder some of the blame since I have not stood up for what was right. I have caved to the peer pressure to conform as much as anyone else, and then for various reasons, became less active in the community. I should have continued banging my head against the brick wall.

I recently posted a photo from Women of Asatru Facebook group which says “My honor does not come from doctrine. It comes from me deeds. My courage doesn’t come from subjugation. It comes from my determination. They are not for sale. May my actions always reflect that.” By not speaking up in the past, my deeds have not brought me honor and the Pagan community’s deeds have not brought us honor. I hope to have the courage to stand for what is right even when it is not easy.

Works cited

Jones, Caer. "Six Rules for Safer Pagan Sex: A Guide." The Witches Voice. The week of April 20, 2014 to April 26, 2014. Internet. April 20, 2014.
So in an article I posted on Facebook, ""That's Racist Against White People!" A Discussion on Power and Privilege," the writer defines Cracker, and as I read it I started to snicker. The term was used to describe the one who cracked the whip. I have never been called a cracker, but now I would to be so that I can proudly say "Yes I am." Smile wickedly and then walk away.

17 years

17 years ago my dad died of pancreatic cancer. It has been 23 years since my paternal grandmother died of the same disease. Over the years I have tried to deal with the sadness that encompasses me each summer as I get closer and closer to the anniversary of his death. There were a lot of things wrong with my father, but he did the best that he could. He had his own demons to fight and did not have any help.

He died early in the morning. My aunt, his sister, was the one who was with him at the time. Some people have thought that I would regret it if I was not there when he died. While there are things that I regret, that is not one of them. I wish that he had lived longer. I wish many things, but I think that it was a lot more important that she be there with him. I am also glad that my mother was not there. I would like to think that it made his dying easier to have some peace and to be with someone who was not emotionally abusive. A part of me thinks that I am a horrible person for thinking that, but then again, it is just one more thing to to add to the list about why I am going to hell in a hand basket.

In many ways I am still dealing with the aftermath of his death. It seems like I have lost my ability to recover from major problems in my life. At the same time that my father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, Don and I began marriage counseling. I tried really hard to save the marriage, but some things are not to be. I can say that but in reality I always wonder if I could have done something differently. Did I work on it enough? Did I spend enough time in counseling? I have known or heard of people who knew it was over in under six months. I spent almost 2 1/2 years in counseling and still have days where I question myself.

I then spent several months living with friends until I could get my own apartment. I miss living alone in many ways. In fact it has made me question whether I am really capable of living with anyone. Dr. Fletcher says that it is actually very normal to feel the way I do because it is easier.

Living alone should have given me the space to deal with my losses, but I got involved in a bad relationship with a manipulative asshole. I lost a $1,000.00 and almost lost the relationship with Chris over it. I also gained more emotional scars and my fear level reached new highs when my apartment was robbed. The robber I am fairly certain, was the Manipulator number one. I went from loving living alone to hating it. I was afraid of every noise I heard. It was a relief to move in with Chris.

Then I was kicked out of graduate school because I owed them too much money. I felt like my life had fallen apart. My dream of being a professor was swirling down the toilet. I tried valiantly to finish my degree on my own, but it was not meant to be. I am still angry over what happened.

So I started working at the Diabetes Action Network for a man who did not control his diabetes. My stress levels were going up as I had to routinely call the paramedics to deal with blood sugar crashes. I was nervous wreck at work sometimes. Eventually the situation would lead to sign up with the temp agency that eventually placed me in my current job, which also makes me nervous wreck. Between angry customers and a toxic environment, I have had a really hard time. At my lowest points I have burst into tears because I did not want to go to work.

This is also around the time that I hooked up with Manipulator number two, another winner. Some people would not agree with me about this person, but trust me, they are bad news. I would go two rounds with this one, although round one would be pretty benign. Things would not explode until round two when the real fun began. Unlike Manipulator number one, this person is emotionally abusive. I not only spent a lot of money on this relationship but I also came close to losing my mind. Say what you will about whether or not I needed to be in therapy, I certainly did not need someone purposely pushing all of my buttons.

Then I lost my first girlfriend, which just added to my emotional mess.

Then Chris lost her job. I have lately felt like that I cannot get a break. When I look back at my history of the last 17 years, it seems like every time I start to feel like I am beginning to deal with and heal from all of the trauma, something else happens to set me back to square one. Consequently, I am emotionally exhausted and raw. The diagnoses of PTSD has come up in therapy, and it makes a lot of sense. I am constantly on the edge. Loud noises startle me. I do not trust people and often have to fight against social anxiety. I feel like the whole world is judging me. I am very paranoid.

As I look back on my recent life, I am amazed that I am still here. Yet, I have also lost the ability to deal with the daily setbacks of life. I view our financial crisis insurmountable for example. I have been attacking myself for not being able to pay for all of our bills on my salary. I have done what I can but it is never enough in my mind.

Now we are battling bed bugs and I am not handling it well at all. For those of you who have gone camping with me, you probably remember my tick dance. It is a lovely show where Flea runs around like a crazy thing screaming "get it off me!" Dealing with the bedbugs is worse because there are so many of them. It is in many ways my worst nightmare--one that I have been worried about since they first started reporting problems a few years ago. Today we put casings on my box springs and mattress. I had not been having issues, but sure enough there were at least 4 or 5 bedbugs that we saw and killed in the process. It is easier to deal with my bed because of the wood floor. The real problem is upstairs and I dread the process of encasing Chris' bed and dealing with the carpet.

Several people have all said that it is just one of those things. It is a nuisance that one must deal with. I am finding that I cannot cope with it. I am a mess. Encasing my bed gave me a panic attack. I had a hysterical fit the other night over it. I am grossed out and have been having issues sleeping. I also feel dirty. I had to call the hotel where Sooner Con was held to let them know. I had to call Zoe to let her know since we shared the room. I had to call Tina and let her know since I watch their house when they are gone. It is like I have an STD. I am ashamed.

I had not even thought about the time of year until Chris pointed it out yesterday. She pointed out that I always have problems at this time of year. Certainly the timing is not helping. I have to wonder if I did not have a history of trauma (and I forgot to put in the whole Mother debacle, like I could forget), that maybe I would not be so freaked out about the bedbugs, my car problems, the money issues and so on.

The ironic part is that I found myself wishing my father were still here to help me with bed bug issue. He was in the pest control business for many year and I always called him when I had issues.

But now I have to try and get some sleep so that I can work tomorrow.


Battling my Inner Demons

I am so tired of battling my inner demons.

The original plan today was to go to work and sit in the kitchen area until 9 AM. However, I had no desire to get there any earlier than necessary. So I have ended up at McDonald's instead. It has become my habit to try check for freelance writing assignments. When I went to the site, I had no desire to write on any of the topics. I then remembered that I had a student interview to grade, so that is what I did. Then I went back to the freelance site and realized that I just did not want to do anything.

The demons reared up, attacking me. They condemn me for being lazy, for thinking that I am too good to write 400 words for a dentist's website and so on. Dr. F. says that I will always battle these voices in my head and that they will always be problematic when I am tired and stressed.

I want to be like everyone else and take a break without the guilt and internal battle.

I had problem yesterday at work because for some reason I imagined going back in time to take care of myself as a child. Evidently, DFS was called in when I really small because I banged my head against my crib. My doctor noticed the bruising on my forehead and called the authorities. When the case worker arrived, I was evidently banging my head, so the case was dropped.

A previous counselor said that many babies do this, but I wonder how unhappy and bored I was as a baby. I wanted to comfort the younger me, pay attention to her. My guess is that is what I wanted, attention. However my mother was too depressed and or too self centered to give me the attention I needed.

Would my demons be so strong today if I had gotten more attention as a child? I don't know and I will never know.

The Schedule from Hell

Chris and I are currently sharing my car until the funds are available to get hers back on the road. She finally has a temp position with the University. She is working at Academic Support and they are on the bloody summer schedule--7:30 AM to 4:00 PM. I hated that schedule when I worked it and I hate it more now since I start work at 9:00 AM. So I am losing an hour more of sleep (I normally often get only 6 hours, so hello 5!) to get her to work on time, and then I have to find something to do for about 75 minutes. I have been doing freelance writing, but I would rather be asleep, especially when I teach in the evening. Then my day does not end until 10:00 PM.

I survived week one and then slept about 11 hours a night on the weekend. It is Tuesday of week two and I feel as bad as I did by last Thursday.This does not bode well.

Decision Points Theater

One of the podcasts that I listen to is The Best of Left which highlights the best of progressive and liberal media. I am a little bit behind and so I am listening to the episode which focuses on the opening of the Bush Library.

The main focus is on the Decision Points Theater which Rachel Maddow's team got permission to not only go to, but were also allowed to film. The major decision point talked about in the majority of the clips deals with Saddam Husseim. You are given three choices which are that you can work with the UN, lead a force comprised of many countries to deal with the weapons of mass destruction, or nothing.

Now my choice would be UN sanctions, but most of us remember the decision that the Bush White House made. I do not agree with it and I would assume that the show would explain why they made the decision that they did. I fully expect that they would rationalize all of the decisions.

Decisions Points Theater goes farther than that evidently. Maddow chose to do nothing and had to listen to condescending lecture about why that was the wrong thing to do. She and her crew expected that they would see clips from the time which explained the decisions that were made. To their surprise, they got to watch film footage made recently in which Bush explains the decisions that were made. Also, they are still relying on "facts" that have been disproven, like the weapons of mass destruction.

Maddow and the other commentators who talked about Decision Points Theater all focus on how children who go through this exhibit will be taught lies, and will not know that the facts have been disproven. I agree that this is problematic and sadly, not surprising.

What bothers me the most though is the condescending lecture for choosing to do nothing, and it sums up a lot of my issues with Republicans/Conservatives. They seem to have forgotten that not everyone is going to agree with their decisions. We have a right to disagree and that does not make us equivalent to small children who must be chastised.

I don't agree with everything that the Obama adminstration does but my decision to vote for him twice does not make me stupid, a traitor or an errant child. I am tired of the Republican Party treating Progressives and Liberals in this manner. I am sure that many people feel that the Democrats and Liberals treat Conservatives in this manner. I disagree, but evidently it appears that disagreement is treating someone like they are stupid, a traitor, or an errant child. Decision Points Theater highlights exactly what is wrong with our political system.

Truth to Power

At therapy this week, Dr. F used the phrase “truth to power,” a phrase that I had never heard before. I did a little research on it and found that it is used by the left, and others, to describe what one needs to do to when standing up against totalitarianism. Evidently the political right really dislikes it. In my therapy session, it represents my need to stand up and speak out against the lies that that I have been told and believe about myself, as well as the lies that people want me to believe today.
The next day as I drove to work listening to The Best of the Left Podcast from 5/21/13, the phrase came up in one of the voicemails played at the end of the show. The caller was responding to an earlier podcast which focused on the justice system and how unjust it is, especially if you are not white. The one thing that he said that really stood out to me is that we are creating a new type of criminal. The caller went on to talk about how instead of going after real criminals, cops now go after drug users and other non-violent offenders, often because the non-violent offenders are easy to get.
As I listened, I was aware that it was a wow moment on several levels.
We are creating a new kind of criminal. Kaitlyn Hunt and other young people who have had to deal statutory rape laws are one example. Before writing this, I read a lot of articles about her case. Many articles were exactly the same, but the differences were interesting. According to Kaitlyn’s parents, the parents of the other girl made no attempt to express their concerns about the relationship. In another article, the mother complains that she and her husband tried three times to talk to Kaitlyn’s parents about the relationship, but they were ignored. Hence they had no choice but to go to the police. Who is telling the truth? I have no idea, but it is clear that the police did a sting operation to “catch” Kaitlyn. Many sources pointed out that it seemed a bit over the top given the situation. In my mind, one uses such a technique to catch a hardened criminal, not an eighteen year old who does not have a prior record.
Many of the articles also pointed out that the situation, a senior dating a freshman, is extremely commonplace. One even stated that if we as a society do not want seniors dating freshman, then maybe they should not be in the same school interacting with each other. One person even responded to a post about the issue saying that this is one of the costs of being an adult. The problem that I have with this attitude is that most teens are not aware of the laws. I was shocked and angry as a teen to learn that I was jail bait and that society had decided that I was incapable of consent. It is a concept that still angers me today when I think about it. My attitude then is the same now, who died and left you God that you can decide when I am able to make my own decisions?
My school made me study the Constitution, but no one made me learn about the laws that I was subject to and that could condemn people I cared about. It wasn’t until I had been dating someone four years older than me for a year or more that I learned our relationship was illegal. Later when I was eighteen, I dated someone who was thirty and discovered that technically my parents could still take him to court in most cases if they wanted to. Nothing angered more then, or now, than having someone explain to me that I really did not know what was good for me, or what I wanted.
Yes, I am very aware that Kaitlyn Hunt’s case hits close to home for me. I have often been thankful that I did not find myself in a similar situation. I consented in both cases and while the relationships were not always great, I have never regretted the choices that I made. Consequently, I have yet to have that realization that many adults have when they decide that such laws are really a necessity based on their own past mistakes. I cannot tell if there is something about me that has never grown up, and is therefore still a spoiled, rebellious teenager who needs to be taught a lesson, or if the truth is that something about adulthood blinds us what used to be obvious examples of injustice.
I especially find it funny that in Florida’s Romeo and Juliette clause, it does not cover Hunt because the other girl was under the age of sixteen, but would cover a twenty-three year old who was dating a sixteen year old. One of the articles used the word trolling to describe a twenty-three year old going after a sixteen year old. So in this way of thinking, Hunt is more of a predator because she is four years older even though there would be seven years difference between a twenty-three year old and a sixteen year old. Personally, if the people involved are together because they want to be, I have no problems with it. However, if one speaks in the mode of truth to power, then if people are going to talk about the four years difference between the two girls and how it is too much of an age gap, then a seven year age gap should also be intolerable.
But as the caller on The Best of Left pointed out, the focus on this new class of criminals means that real criminals are ignored. I guess that there are people out there who feel that their teenage child is safer because young adult sexual predators like Kaitlyn Hunt and other young men before her, are now off the streets. However, statutory rape laws seem to rarely touch the real sexual predators. We and our children are not safer because these teenagers have been arrested and jailed. It does however give us the illusion of safety.
If we are to speak the truth to power, then we need to admit that the belief that we are safer is a lie. A lie that has destroyed and will continue destroy the lives of young people. They are our future. Is the illusion of safety worth it?
If you want to get people on the bandwagon for just about anything, tell them that what you are doing it to protect the children. Those words will help pass just about any new law no matter how badly written. We can see a recent example of the negative consequences of one such law in the case of Kaitlyn Hunt. The laws in place in our country that deal with sexual predation are often abused. The ones who suffer are young people, mostly young men, whose biggest crime is dating someone younger and reaching the age of consent first. Statutory rape laws are meant to protect young people from adults who would take advantage of them. However, in the case of Kaitlyn Hunt and many young men, the problem is a case of the letter of the law versus the spirit of the law.

There are jurisdictions who are concerned with justice and fairness. They specify that there needs to be minimum age difference for the law to be applicable. These clauses are called “Romeo and Juliet” clauses and are in place to protect young people from the situation that Ms. Hunt finds herself in. This is an important clause because it means that mommy and daddy cannot go after their child’s boyfriend/girlfriend, who they dislike, once that boy/girl reaches the age of the consent. Sadly, there are a lot of jurisdictions that don’t have a “Romeo and Juliet” clause, allowing statutory rape laws to be abused. I wonder how many young men’s lives have been ruined when they are found guilty of corrupting a minor and then labeled as sexual predator. Of course even in jurisdictions with a “Romeo and Juliet” clause, it often does not apply in the case of same sex partners. In general I think that the whole situation is yet another example of how America does not live it up to its own ideals of justice.

Many people lack the resources to fight when faced with a statutory rape trial. Given the fact that it is about a sex crime, fighting it can be very difficult. The Hunt family is going to fight. I hope that they win. I hope that this case, which is a blatant example of homophobia, leads our country to review the current statutory rape laws. We need to stop ruining the lives of the young. No one should be a on the sexual predator list just because they reached the age of consent first. The rules should also not be harsher for the LGBT community. I also hope that courts everywhere will review past cases of this nature so that past wrongs can be corrected.

I also hope the Kaitlyn Hunt’s 15 year old girlfriend gets help as well. I cannot begin to imagine how this has traumatized her. It is reported that she does not agree with the decision of her family. She has stated that she was consenting, but her parents are adamant that Hunt made their daughter gay. Her family’s decision sends a clear message that they do not accept her for who she is. They see her as corrupted. It is emotional abuse no matter how good their intentions. I wonder if her parent’s have any idea that they have created a divide between themselves and their daughter that may haunt them in the future.

It is a tragic loss of innocence.

Taking it easy--or not

So my goal was to come home and relax. It was a nice goal, but it is one that routinely escapes me. I brought home my leftover Mexican Chicken Casserole and 4 tamales (We had a food day for Cinco de Mayo) so dinner was covered. Easy to come home and kick back, right? Not really.

I have dealt with putting away some laundry and put another load in the dryer. I started cleaning off the table and had to stop myself. I started doing the few dishes and stopped myself. I went onto Word Gigs and looked for freelancing jobs and felt both relieved and annoyed that there were none. I was relieved because it is easier not to work when there is none. Annoyed because I really need the money and last Friday evening there was a lot of jobs to choose from.

I find it really ironic that I have such problems with something that other people excel at. When I say excel, I mean that they appear to do it right, at least from my perspective. I am always amazed by people who know how much to do and when to stop and take a break. It is a skill that I envy.

Not taking a break has been a long standing problem and has caused problems in relationships. I have a tendency to view the time that I spend with other people, platonic or romantic, as my down time. In the past it has often been the down time I allowed myself. In one relationship this caused issues because my partner would get annoyed/angry at me for it. I think that they felt that I was making it their responsibility so to speak, even though I had never meant it that way. I saw no problems that the down time I scheduled myself was with them and other people. I think that what they wanted to say was that it worried them since I used to need alone time, and then I wasn't giving myself any alone time.

Looking back, I can see it for the red flag that it was. I missed it then. It warned of troubled waters ahead for the relationship, even if the core issue was an important one. I was not taking a break from work or others and being alone to recharge. This change was a radical departure from my previous behavioral paradigm. However, I was not in the emotional head space at the time to be alone. I was not dumping anything on anyone. I was doing the best that I could given my emotional landscape. Also, it is easier for me to schedule time to spend with others than it is for me to schedule time for myself. I also saw it as 'killing two birds with one stone' as well.

I realize as I write this I was incorrect previously to state that my problem of not taking time for myself has caused problems in relationships. What it did do bring other problems into the light.

Of course, my desire to be alone has also been a bone of contention as well. This issue is more normal in many ways because many introverts have to deal with others being upset that they want to be alone.

It is another example how behavior will always annoy someone. If you want to be alone then someone will be hurt because you don't want to spend time with them. If you want to spend time with others and use it as your downtime, then you are not taking responsibility for taking a break. In both cases the one who is lodging the complaint is clearly stating that it really isn't about you. One of things that therapy has been dealing with is having me learn to hear what is really being said. Not that I can really know what the person is saying since I am not in their head, but I can make some good assumptions.

I am not sure that I am making sense in this post since I am feeling the effects of the hot chocolate mixed with Irish Cream. :) Maybe I should have created an outline before I started drinking.

Okay, so I started with the idea that I have problems relaxing. I then transitioned into talking about how this is a long standing problem which then shifted to a discussion of what people complain about say about them, and on a certain level, those past relationships.

In short my thesis has changed. >;P

I started wanting to create an argument about how this is a problem that I still struggle with but as I wrote the argument shifted to the idea that it really isn't a problem for me. Others will tell me that it is a problem, but to be honest, I do find it relaxing to put things in order. I focus better when I do work and I can relax better in an orderly environment. I am working on coming to grips with the fact that as an adult it is not always possible to have all of your chores down before you relax, but that is a work in progress. After writing all of this I think that the real core issue deals with what I want. Sadly, some do not understand my needs and desires, and some find it threatening in some way. I once had someone comment that if everyone accomplished as much I did everyday that the world would be a better place. I have also been told that my workaholic nature makes other people feel guilty. I do not mean for people to feel bad because of what I do and I usually do not judge others by what I accomplish (that is a whole other topic that I am working on--the need to stop holding myself to the higher (impossible) set of standards put in place by my mother so that it is impossible for me to be good enough.

I get told a lot by others "this is how I am. Cope." Well the fact that I am a workaholic is how I am. I have learned the signs that tell me that I do need to relax, but overall I am content when I am busy, just not overly busy. I can find a happy medium for me. That is the important thing. Learning to listen to myself instead of others. I think that a huge part of the problem is that I have listened to what others think is best for me for so long, that I lost the ability to listen to myself. When I lost the ability to listen to myself it meant that I was more prone to overwork myself. It meant that I was more prone take everything that was said personally instead of running it through a filter to determine if the speaker was really talking about me, or themselves. I lost the ability to trust myself and trust that I know my limits even when others tell that I don't.

Even though it is "work," I feel better having dealt with my laundry. I feel better dotting the i's and crossing the t's. I also feel better after having some Irish Cream.

Gratitude Rant

I want to begin by saying that there is nothing wrong with feeling grateful for what you have. Many of the people I know regularly post on LiveJournal or Facebook and list what they are grateful for in their life. I applaud them for doing so.

That behavior is not what I want to talk about today.

I want to talk about forced gratitude.

Recently at my day job, someone anonymously wrote on one of the white boards the following:

"While you waste your breath complaining about your life, someone is taking their last breath. Be grateful for what you have."

I am relying on my memory, but this is pretty close to what has been on the white board for over a week. Also if I remember correctly, every "you" or "your" is in red, as are "life," "breath" and "grateful." The message is obvious. Stop complaining about the mandatory overtime. We should be grateful that we have a job.

Many of my co-workers, especially the ones I get along with, rolled their eyes. Personally, I was livid. It struck a nerve, and I know the person who wrote it is completely unaware of my personal issues. I realize this but one of the interesting side effects of therapy is that I am more likely to be aware of the reasons why something hits a nerve. In this case it was the memory of how many times my mother accused me of being ungrateful because I did not like something, or did not want to do something that she demanded. Sometimes it was even just being sad when she felt that I had no right to feel that way. I was ungrateful when I was six and I got new bedroom furniture that I did not like. I got the white and gold princess furniture that she wanted when what I wanted was a more plain, maple stained set. I was ungrateful when I was 13 and dealt with depression for the first time because I had nothing to be depressed about. She told me that my life was so good and so easy that I did not understand what it was like to be really depressed.

It is hard for me not to hear my mother's voice when anyone starts complaining about someone else being ungrateful. While there are certainly examples of people who are ungrateful, I find that the worse our economy gets, the more the Gratitude Stick is brought out. Labeling people as "ungrateful" is a great way of maintaining the present situation. You do not have to take the complaints seriously because they are just ungrateful.

There is a lot to complain about. There is also a lot for people to be angry about. I have recently read several articles about how Americans are working more for less. Pay has at best stagnated or fallen for the average American while earnings for the top tier has skyrocketed. It is obvious that Reagan's Trickle Down Economics did not and does not work. Nothing trickled down. If we were talking about a stream, we would say that it dried up, and we are now watching the middle class die while the land becomes a desert. Eventually there will be only bleached bones left.

There are real issues at my job that are making people angry but those in charge do not want to hear about it, much like the wealthy do not want to hear the complaints of those who are under them.

Sadly, history could have told us that Trickle Down Economics was doomed because it failed previously when it was called Horse and Sparrow Economics. The idea was that you feed the horse and the sparrows will get theirs when the horse defecates. I completely understand why it was renamed because the metaphor and symbolism is just too obvious.

I should be grateful that I get to dig through your shit for my daily bread. Wow. Where do I sign up for that? Oh wait, I already did.

Of course in a better world, society would not accuse the complainers of being ungrateful, but instead ask themselves if there is any merit to the complaints instead hitting their fellow citizens with the Gratitude Stick.

Latest Month

April 2014



RSS Atom
Powered by
Designed by Katy Towell