Looking For Love In All The Wrong Places

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I once knew someone who claimed to be a sex addict.

To my ears, this sounded like an excuse for poor behavior and carte blanche to indulge in things that polite society would consider unacceptable. I should probably confess now, though, that I in general suffer from a quickness to judge and a tendency to think I’m right even before I think things through all the way.

But recently this topic came up again and it got me thinking. There seem to be so many people who are searching for something. You hear about sex addictions and spread of diseases in spite of all types of education campaigns and, perhaps most troubling, very young children doing all sorts of sexual activities- often with multiple partners and sometimes right in school…

Between explicit music lyrics and movies with adult content but child-friendly ratings, there is clearly no lack of sexuality around. So it isn’t sex people are missing.

I think it’s love.

I think people are just plain lonely.

And I think in a classic error, people searching to feel Love, will instead settle for feeling love. Rather than holding out for the true emotion, people will grab hold of the fleeting sensation. After all, it’s so much easier.

But what is easily gained is easily lost, so people jump from encounter to encounter, ever in hopes of finding something that will stick, and rather than classifying themselves as Hope Addicts, they go with the much more hip sounding ‘sex addict‘.

It’s so sad that we as a society find ourselves in a place where a whole generation is so full- of materialistic possessions, of activities to fill our time, of comfort unknown to previous generations- yet so empty that we can’t seem to fill our emotional buckets.

I don’t have a solution. I think every generation has something defining that shapes its coming-of-age. I fear that this generation’s struggle may be a profound, soul-wrenching loneliness. It’s important when looking at a problem to at a minimum correctly label it before you can address it.

So maybe this is step 1?

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m Judging How Much You Judge Me

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My son recently joined a gym where they place a certain amount of emphasis on not judging other people. In theory, I think it’s a nice idea not to be judgy (especially in a gym, where people could be intimidated to work out if they feel like people are watching them and sizing them up).

But as with most things, what starts out as a nice idea can take on the force of religious fundamentalism if one isn’t careful. ‘Hey, don’t comment on someone else’s weight’ too easily slides into things like,

“We’re sorry but we overheard you telling someone that you liked their t-shirt. Unfortunately we have a no judgement policy here, and that was a judging statement…”

In real life we have the power of discernment. When used correctly and judiciously (such a judgy word!) it helps us to navigate the world more successfully. It is quite appropriate to make decisions about things, from what cutlery to use with which course in a restaurant to whether or not to give money to a homeless person based on your judgement. Without judging there would be significantly more traffic accidents (and fatalities!), less if any people hired for new jobs (or at least many less successful candidates), and probably a whole lot of frustrating relationships with the wrong people.

Judging serves so many useful purposes and we do it so many times each day I’m surprised it was ever allowed to get such a bad wrap. It’s as if someone said to everyone in America (or the Western World) “Blinking? That’s just horrid and offensive! People shouldn’t do that! Especially in public and especially around other people!” And everyone en masse jumped on board and said “Yes!! We heartily agree! Blinking Baaaaaad!”

I understand that it is bad form to be a judgemental idiot. But I think that in polite society that sort of goes without saying. Along the lines of yes you can drive but not on the sidewalk and not where there are pedestrians. Yes you may curse in your home if that’s what you do but not in public and not around other people’s children. Yes you may eat stinky food but please brush you teeth and don’t breathe directly into someone else’s face. That sort of thing. Can’t we all just get along?

And for goodness sake, stop judging me!

 

 

Burkini Bans- Or How Many Fools Can You Fit On The Head Of A Pin?

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There is an issue that has wound its way up through the French Courts about whether Muslim women in France could wear something on public beaches known as a “burkini”.  This garment, which looks remarkably like a tunic shirt and leggings, would not be offensive by anyone’s standards, and if the political climate right now was not overly prickly toward Muslim terrorists (and with very good reason), I daresay there would be no issue at all.

Some people would argue that, NO! This is a defense of women’s rights! No woman should be forced (!) to cover any part of her body at all! Women should be free (!) to let it all hang out- both literally and figuratively. And any covering of any part of any woman’s body is a sign of oppression of women.

This makes several critical assumptions, of course. One is that the women who are covering are in some way being coerced, either subtly or outright, into wearing these burkinis (whose comparison to a burka is laughable). One is that a state of semi, or nearly total nudity implies freedom, and is not evidence of its own coercion- either by a significant other, or by societal pressure. That caving into the prevailing fashion of baring one’s flesh in public implies that you are free to follow that trend and not that you feel pressured to capitulate to that trend. And the final assumption is that even if one woman would be truly oppressed by having to cover herself against her will, then that would somehow have implications for every other woman and her status as a free and equal functioning member of society. Which of course if no more true than saying that if one person has to give up caffeine because of migraines then it will put Starbucks sales in jeopardy for the rest of the nation. Preposterous.

It’s an interesting commentary on society that it is almost inconceivable that a woman might actually WANT to cover up a bit. That a woman may prefer NOT to be a spectacle when she is enjoying a beach outing. That perhaps, just maybe, she might want to go to the beach, alone or with her family, and enjoy the breeze and the waves and the water and the calm and not have to be ogled by every man within 500 yards of her as she walks around. Am I saying that all men are gross and predatory? No, of course not. But a beach trip shouldn’t have to feel like a meat market, and if a woman feels more comfortable in whatever she wants to wear, why should someone PROHIBIT her from wearing what makes her feel relaxed? As long as it doesn’t pose a threat to safety, who cares? If it was a white woman in a sarong, would anyone have said something? If it was a teenager in a sweatshirt and shorts, would anyone have minded? Does a maxi dress with a cardigan raise alarm bells? Or an actual tunic top with leggings?

The point is that once again, in the guise of protecting people from themselves, do-gooders have actually attempted to strip people of their rights. Under the heading of protecting women, the French government instead would infantalize woman and say that they are incapable of acting in their own best interests. That it is a more enlightened and wise decision to get naked (or practically so) along with the other French citizens, and to not do so implies a level of backwardness and threat to the moral and civic order which simply cannot and will not be tolerated.

For now, the burkini has been protected. This is a victory for Muslims, yes. But more important than that, it is a victory for people who value their individuality on French beaches. Truth be told, I never let my kids take off their shirts at beaches- for modesty, for sunburn, and honestly, whose business is it why?  It’s my family and if we want to wear ski gear on the beach that’s our darn business. As long as my kids won’t drown in the water we should be able to wear portable igloos or tutus or rainbow body glitter. And the government should mind its own beezwax.

That’s just my 2 cents.

 

 

 

 

On being an invalid, but not invalid

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First off, hello from Michigan, and I’m sorry it’s been a while. It’s good to see you are all still hanging in here with me- thanks, and I appreciate it 🙂

I’m never quite sure why people subscribe to this blog (I don’t mean that in a self-deprecating way; I mean that I discuss various topics and I don’t know which grabs people. Is it always the garden story, or are there other reasons? My secret hope is yes…) I hope that whatever your reason for being here, you will indulge me a chronic illness post- even after such a long  hiatus in posting. One of the things that continues to amaze me in Michigan is the contrast between my life here and my life in Seattle. Nothing inherently bad about Seattle, but there I constantly was reminded of my limitations. There were so many ways that my functioning was compromised there that I often felt… For lack of a better way of saying it, like the walking wounded. My life in Seattle got very very small.

Although it had been in Michigan that I was in a wheelchair, in Michigan that I used a walker, in Michigan that I was a frequent flier in the local ER- in Seattle I felt like an invalid. And while I was contemplating things to write for this post I realized that the word in-vuh- lidd is the same as the word in- vah-lidd. And that’s how I felt. Invalid. Invalidated. Cancelled out.

My life started to be defined more by what I couldn’t do than by what barriers I was willing to smash. I stopped leaving the house (not that I’m a very out and about person, but this was a dysfunctional kind of not going out). I stopped eating (yes, it was awesome to lose weight, until my kids cried and told me they thought I needed to be in a hospital). I stopped doing much of anything not because I was depressed, but because I felt like what I was up aginst in the big sense was just so insurmountable. I could enumerate the obstacles, but I’d rather not.

Fast forward to Michigan.

Last week we went berry picking at a u-pick orchard. I took one of my kids shooting. I can go shopping any time I want, because I know where everything is, I know how to get places, and I am comfortable and confident navigating the roads.

I still have plenty of bad days and I’m on a u-haul worth of medication. In order to do a little I rest a lot. I have a ton of doctors and I have to say no to my kids more than I am able to say yes when they ask me to do stuff.

But I’m happy here. I feel capable. I feel functional (even if that sometimes isn’t objective reality hahahahaha). I feel like I have something to contribute .

And even as an invalid, that is pricelessly validating.

 

Your Care For Others Is A Measure of Your Greatness: Why I Love Ruby

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This makes a bit more sense if you are familiar with Ruby’s show (which I HIGHLY recommend- it is from a while back and is available for free from certain services)- but either way, I think Ruby is exceptional in so many ways… I could (and have!) watch/ed her over and over…

 

Our Family In Flux

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Thank you to all of you who have been so kind and supportive throughout the last few posts. I have read all of your comments, and your feedback has been very meaningful and helpful to me- more than I can express to you (part of the reason that I’m not going to try; I don’t want to attempt to say something and botch it…).

As the summer drags on, our family will be going through a number of transitions, all of them good for the family as a whole, and all of them profoundly sad for me as a person.

Oldest son and his wife will have some changes that will be keeping them in the Midwest for the forseeable future. My next two daughters will be moving out to the Midwest at the end of the summer, and one of my sons will be going away to school in a place far from Seattle, most likely on the opposite coast. All of these moves are to their benefit, but for a mom who would ideally like her family to live in an old farm house with room for extended family and grandchildren to gather at the same dining table, this is kind of a bitter pill to swallow. I joke that I would be willing to build a guest cottage in our back yard for the married kids to take turns living in, but in truth it’s no joke; I would like nothing more than to have all my chickadees roost at home and I would have no problem funding that endeavor.

But for practical reasons, that can’t happen right now.

So, we are in Seattle and most of our family is flying the coop.

I think in most families there is an expectation that children will get to a certain age and move on from their families of origin. They go off to college and get jobs and live in whatever city they find jobs and it’s good-bye mom and dad, hello independence. But that has never been our vision and that has never been the goal we raised our children toward. We wanted all of the siblings to be the closest friends, and it was a greater hope that they would stay close geographically than that they would land high-power jobs or take over the world.

The places they are moving will allow them greater opportunities for growth, and for that I am grateful, but on a personal level, I am just so sad that they will be so far away from us. I am trying to focus on being happy for them, and trying to just not think about what it will be like here with them gone, but it’s rough. It’s one more thing about life in Seattle that’s just.. just… hard to put into words…

So, that’s about it. That’s the latest news from the Bass ranch. Happy summer.

Enuf Said ;)

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