There is a tremendous amount of power wrapped up in liking someone and being liked.
I don’t mean romantically, although that is also a good idea. I mean simply enjoying the person in front of you for the sake of their fundamental human fabulousness, which is both a thing and a word.
Pause for a moment and imagine a world in which you looked forward to seeing all of these people and when all of these people thought about you, they got warm rushes of happy just knowing you were in their lives. Friends, children, spouses, partners, co-workers, neighbors. People we pass heading into the bathroom at Ikea. That really cute barrista who is obviously WAY TOO YOUNG for romantic entanglement…
We feel fantastic when someone simply likes us. Smiles at us. Is clearly happy to see us. We shine, try harder to be our awesome selves, and dig a little deeper to show up. These are all great things that make all of us better when one of us does them, so as a math equation to make the whole better, we should all try to do this more.
Sometimes it’s hard to like people because they act like blisteringly nasty assholes. If someone in your life behaves like this on a regular basis, I recommend that you reassess your relationship with that person and trade up for people around whom you feel safer and more wonderful.
If you are the blisteringly nasty asshole, for the love of binge watching, knock it off! Deal with your shit and become humane.
There is a friction point to liking other people that needs to be addressed, and it is namely this: You can’t give what you don’t have. If you have not been liked, do not feel liked, don’t even know what I’m talking about, feel tears welling up all of a sudden, probably you have not been liked enough.
We need a lot of liking. And the people around us who depend upon us need us to like them a lot. We do some pretty crazy shit to try to get people to like us. We abandon the sovereignty of ourselves and practice mental and emotional gymnastics in the hopes of being liked.
Sprinkled with faerie dust.
We integrate others’ codes, pretend less is enough, we abdicate direction of decisions that affect every facet of this precious life. We find ourselves being proxy bodies in other peoples’ wonked-out dramatic productions, and we beat the bushes to find rescuers who will distract us from the work it takes to undo all of this self-abandonment.
The first person you need to start liking is… Y O U!
To like yourself, which is critical if you want to like your life (claim your creative rights, set a robust example for your kids, attract the opposite of a opportunistic people-using asshole), you have to move back inside your own body.
Moving back inside your own body looks like:
Escaping the need for an power-over authority dynamics in relationships, friendships, parenting, and religious structure.
Figuring out that promises are empty mouth movements and actions are the only legitimate measurement of commitment.
Expressing our creativity without consulting the Internal Board of Limitation and Judgment.
Attracting friends who see us for our essence while shifting away from people whose agendas include us filling roles in their scripts.
Viscerally grasping that we really don’t need rescuers because the power dynamic and mottled clarity are no longer adequate exchange for the precious life energy we are working to intentionally to cultivate.
And finally, showing THE FUCK up.
It takes a set of brass to move back into your own body. The rest of the crabs may try to pull you back into the bucket. But for every person currently in your life who can’t make the transition with you, repeat this mantra:
Then find someone who likes you or go be with someone you like, and let that connection grow instead.
I’ve been talking about the commune for a long time now, and it’s starting to take shape. I have found like-minded people I want to be around kind of. I’ve even got a charter of sorts. As reported on a fellow commune member’s Facebook profile, it looks like this:
The problem is that the more I talk about it (meaning I have a lot of people who also want to escape to a land of mellow), the more people want to burst into the party. Some of these I gladly embrace [Do you have a still? yes or no – circle one] and some are not. The whole point of having a commune is hand-selecting companions which means, in my case, keeping out the drama.
I was in the midst of another Facebook thread about the recent slate of Skype marriage proposals I’ve been getting when the commune thread came up. Someone who I am personally rooting for but don’t want to live in community with invited herself to the commune. As long as there is climate control and luxurious bedding she is in.
If you are wondering why the pause was awkward, reread the charter above where I make it pretty clear that high maintenance results in automatic disqualification. I consider someone else putting temperature control restrictions on my commune to be a key indicator of high maintenance. Build your own damn commune. I’m not responsible for your climate control or bedding.
This is a pretend-now-but-god-how-much-fun-would-that-be-to-actually-pull-it-off-somewhere-with-a-garden-and-cool-people plan right now. But I am feeling protective of this sacred space-in-my-head.
On my commune, we are going to have Ed in a hammock out front acting as gatekeeper and monitoring intruders. That’s what we have for guys right now. It’s not that we’re lesbians. It’s just that we’ve hit our quota of bullshit. Next to Ed will be a stack of cookies. He prefers cake, but I make cookies and until we draft for a maker of cakes, he’ll have to do with cookies. His cookie stack will be rivaled in height only by the stack of books beside it. Ed is an avid reader.
We’ve got a bevy of freaking smart, intelligent, funny, snarky, stunning female humans, some of whom have an affinity for hammocks and edible comestibles. One of the few times I have tried them (comestibles), I felt the particular inclination to make a number of pictorial representations of what the alphabet should look like, drawn with my eyes closed. That was amusing. There will probably be more alphabet art at the commune. Obviously flip flops and yoga pants.
“This is a place of yurts, campfires, and hammocks,” I said by way of dissuading this wanna be commune member, “I don’t think you would be comfortable here, but you may certainly visit,” I offered. I meant all of that.
I don’t dislike her. I just don’t want to live with her, and I resent someone barging into my safespaceinmyhead. I was feeling all good about my commune, and now I am trying to figure out how to not hurt someone’s feelings. I have a theoretical non-drama-driven community to protect here, People! I am trying to be tactful.
When she argued the point, it probably wasn’t the best idea to tell her that I was basing her being high maintenance on her propensity toward hotel and restaurant snobbery, a point which she is currently arguing with me.
I’ve done some time in HR, and this would not be a good culture fit. I debated involving the witness of other friends who have reported this snobbery and then caught myself and thought, “I am acting like a seventh grader.” I don’t want to hurt her, rather I want to discourage her without her being rejected. How has this energy pierced the veil of my solidly positive commune mojo? I mean, Jesus, we picked up our cookie-eating gate-keeper this week! This is good stuff!
I guess it isn’t a good idea to broadcast something on Facebook that I’m not really quite so kidding about as I thought I was. The lesson might be that all good clubhouses need to be secret and sacred spaces protected. Or maybe Scorpio shouldn’t be the community manager. Or maybe Scorpio should be the community manager. I’ll ponder it in my hammock.
We have arrived at this awkward place because I naively thought your marriage made you entirely safe and therefore I was comfortable being myself without much of a mask. At some point, the tension will become too much and you will say something suggestive to which I will respond.
We will have a steamy time of sexting banter and you will develop this conviction that I really am what you have always wanted and all that you are missing in your stagnant marriage. I will try to point out that you are in the middle of a very intense guilt fantasy, and I am simply the object of your midlife angst. I will be convinced and convincing. At first you will deny this and try really fervently to show me this is not the case. I will actually begin to believe you just about the time that you realize that it is so.
You will become conflicted, begin to backtrack, panic, and blame me. You will disappear, go dark. I will go into retreat mode after a very short period of trying to keep communication lines open. When I realize that is fruitless, I will lock you into a very tiny dark place in my heart and I will lose a long weekend to being completely overwhelmed by negativity and self-loathing. By Monday I will be pissed and filled with a renewed sense of fuck you, and I will begin to recover and wonder why I let myself get off my own life and wrapped up in the idiocy of your guilt fantasy.
You will eventually miss me to the point that you will make contact. We may or may not have a flare up, but I am done with you and am comforted only by knowing that you wake up and go to sleep thinking about me.
If you are kind of married: long strained, separated
You are the worst kind. See above but add in the feverish manner in which you will attempt to convince me that the only reason you are still with her is convenience for kids or logistics or health insurance. You will be struck by my intelligence and attention. I will be struck by what I wrongly perceive as emotional intelligence by your ability to diagnose the strangely textured mess that is your marriage.
In this scenario, I get suckered in by your explanation and the attention that you are enjoying showering on a woman when actually what is going on is that I just haven’t quite made it to the part where I realize probably the reason your wife isn’t responding to you is that you are a boy in a man suit and she has figured this out. You still love her but you miss her attention. Soon you will realize that I am an actual person with actual children. You will begin to think that I am after you for your resources and you will begin to do the math on the cost of being involved with two households. You will also begin to realize that now that you are considering making a real move, you might as well figure out if I would be the right person to do this with.
You will begin to backtrack and though I will save myself the embarrassment of finding that your dating profile is re-activated, I am pretty sure that it is. You will start to ask me questions that are designed to instill doubt in me, but I won’t have quite figured that out yet. When you test me with the idea that you may never divorce, and I respond very rationally with the scenario of my life energy going toward what takes best care of me and if I am on my own financially, how is that going to feel when my efforts come before you, you are slightly offended.
When you suggest maybe I just like you because you have a good job, I will hate you from my core and know that you understand nothing about me. I will be too passive to break it off right then, but I will lock you into a very tiny dark place in my heart and I will lose a weekend to being completely overwhelmed by feelings of rage and hatred. By Monday I will be pissed and filled with a renewed sense of fuck you, and I will begin to recover and wonder why I let myself get off my own life and wrapped up in the futility of being your toy.
Your wife will eventually get her sense about her and leave. You will eventually date other women and realize what an idiot you were. There will be no flare up. Linking my willingness to trust you and let you in to me wanting you for your money was a bad, bad move.
If you are single
I will make it very clear that I have three kids half time. I will explain that I am volcanic financially, and I’m not in a position to rush into anything. We will be struck by each other’s witty banter and business acumen and we will end up sleeping together way too soon.
I knew this was a bad idea, because you will begin to backtrack and panic almost before morning hits. Though feedback I’ve received would indicate this is not a lack of skill in the intimate arts, I am beginning to wonder. I am not going to rush you into a dark box because this is new territory. Maybe single guys are different than married guys.
At least you answer the phone when I call and ask, “I just want feedback. I’m not trying to stalk you.” You explain that I have three children and am financially volcanic. Most of a Saturday blown out, but mitigated by a text from the married guy who assured me I am still desirable. Whatever.
When you call back months later to ask me for help with a writing project and ask if I’m still sexy, it takes great pains not to tell you to go fuck yourself.
If you are single with kids from five different women
You are such a sweet guy. You are kind, you listen, you tell me I am amazing and you clearly enjoy being around me. You open doors and hold my hand. And then I find out that you would really like to get custody of your youngest daughter and you think I am just the woman to raise her.
There are two reasons that I am not gay. The first is that I am not physically attracted to women. The second is that if I were, women have the same baggage men have.
I lose far too much time wondering why we humans need contact when it seems to be such an impossibility. I lose far too much time wondering why I still want connectivity when I see little evidence of its existence. “Just take your mind off it,” people say, like I’m 13 and having my first crush. Understand this, I’m 46. I get that it doesn’t happen when you are looking for it.
My fear isn’t that I can’t find guys who find me attractive. Shooting fish in a barrel. My fear is that I am creating a decision point somewhere between my head and my heart where I am trying to kill my desire for it. I find myself getting bitter and having a really short leash on anything that smacks of doubt or rejection. I am fighting the belief that I must be somehow defective. If for no other reason than because I don’t even want to try with single available men.
I wonder if distrusting men is in my blood and I am acting out some karmic debt. It makes me sad because I’m kind of fun to be around and I am a generous soul.
Dear Stupid People who swim in a mire of ignorance, racism, paranoia, and religious fervor,
Get off of the Interwebz. Or, stay on the Interwebz, but quit posting content to the Interwebz.
I’m probably just cranky because I found out I’m a man today. I don’t want to be a man. I like men, but I don’t want to be one.
Though my breasts nearly melted off my body from yesterday’s hot yoga class, I do have breasts. I have birthed three children, and though it’s no concern of yours what I do with my vagina, I assure you I have one. (Spoiler alert: the following video does not contain my vagina.)
Unfortunately, however, I am a man because (and the computer graphic in the embedded video says so) my index finger is shorter than my ring finger.
I am not alone though. I share this fate with “Mechelle Obama,” according to the fount of ever-living truth which is the YouTube source for this revelation.
If you want to know more about “God,creation, and where you need to be,” you can track that down through the YouTube link.
In case the title didn’t give it away, this one contains material which may be considered offensive. Video link is very graphic.
What Makes Me Applaud Violence:
One of my very best friends came over and we were catching up. I have known her for 11 years. Our families have spent weekends together, camping and playing games. Her kids are my kids. They are fabulous people. Mean card players.
One of their stunning, smart, funny, articulate, fearless daughters is babysitting for me this summer. I’ve known her since she was five. She now stands about six foot tall. Long blond hair. Completely beautiful girl, inside and out. One of their sons is my Cup O Noodle-eating soul brother. I want my daughter to marry him, but she’s only 11, and he has a girlfriend. He’s a good six-four with smiley blue eyes and a heart of generosity and valor. I’ve known him since he was seven.
Meg mentioned that my soul brother, her son, had had a scuffle at school. “What happened?” I asked.
“One of the boys said he wanted to _____ (sister’s name), so he took him out.”
He punched out a punk kid for being disrespectful about his sister? “Perfect!” I exclaimed.
Sincere. All-in. Fist bump. Teary-from-pride eyes. “If you need any support on that one, I’m first in line behind you,” I told her. Some words don’t need to be spoken, but these were.
The Backstory to Put My Colosseum Fervor into Context:
I’ve been doing some investigative digging at the intersection of rape culture, social media, vigilantism, feminism, power dynamics, gender relations, and free speech. I have daughters and sons and so these topics are important to me on a variety of levels.
It’s been three parts stomach turning and two parts social study. Not surprisingly the concept of “douchebaggery” frequently appears.
I love the word “douchebag.” I would only feel hinkier about admitting that if I had decorum or plausible deniability. Though it does degrade, by association, the feminine care product from which its name derives, “douchebag” describes individuals who practice the baser version of humanity recognized by misogyny, bullying, and exploitation. Sometimes there’s no better word to do the job.
Free speech is a two-headed beast. Free speech does not just protect noble expression. We can say the most reprehensible thoughts imaginable and as long as we don’t threaten imminent harm, we are within the bounds of law. But what does that look like when a drunk high school student’s friend makes a 12-minute video of him laughing about and mocking an unresponsive 16-year-old female student who has possibly been drugged and is being gang-raped and possibly urinated on and posts it on YouTube? Is there anything criminal in that? How can there not be? And yet…
Two of the boys were charged as delinquents for rape (“guilty” for minors), but the coach, whom tweets indicated may have known about the incident the night it happened and who neither reported it nor benched his players when allegations surfaced, got a two-year contract extension. The prosecutor said the girl’s family didn’t originally want to press charges because she didn’t want to be drug through the media mudpit.
Social Media and Bullying:
And tweets and Facebook and pictures…
Amanda Todd, another teen victim of peer douchebaggery, has a tragic tale that serves as both cautionary tale and wake-up call. As a 7th grader, Amanda visited webcams with friends. A guy online sweet-talked her into flashing her chest. One year later, he stalked her online and threatened to distribute her pix far and wide if she didn’t “give him a show.” He did. She didn’t know how he got her info.
Police showed up at her house on Christmas to let her know what had happened. Amanda didn’t press charges because she wanted to move on. Friends turned against her. She became “that girl” among her peers. She suffered major depression. She moved.
Watch the video below for the full story. Slut shaming killed her.
Not just boys are douchebags.
And here’s another one. Kid in high school in Colorado makes the team and gets hazed a la sodomy by his team-mates in the back of the bus on an away tournament. The team did well. Principal’s son is the victim. Dad of victim finds out when his other son hears the coach’s sons bragging about it. Coach’s sons are perpetrators. No lawsuit, no real consequence. Coach is part of influential family in town. Families played together since kids were young. Family of victim is ostracized. They move. Don’t rock the boat, Baby.
Girls aren’t the only victims in the “boys will be boys” douchebaggery.
If you don’t know about the guys in the Guy Fawkes masks, welcome to Anonymous, a loosely organized hacking collective that takes its inspiration from the dystopian cult movie “V for Vendetta.” The group is known for inflicting DDoS attacks on sites they find offensive (banking, corporate, etc.) and hacking into and distributing extracted personal information (DOX) of people whom they target as perpetrators. Their signature announcement is to hack into websites where the perps live with their voice distorted videos, warning the guilty to be on the lookout.
Response to the Steubenville rape divided the community. On one hand there was the “Steubenville law enforcement is covering up for the football team and, by the way, satan lives there.” And on the other hand camped the, “That girl asked for it. How dare she try and break apart the football team?!!” people. The social media attention either hampered the investigation, was responsible for the justice that did prevail, or was a witchhunt, depending on whom you ask.
I want to be able to simultaneously applaud Anonymous AND root for a fair and effective criminal justice system, but I gotta be honest: it’s hard not to side with Batman on this one.
I talked with a spokesman for the Ohio Attorney General’s office who has jurisdiction over the grand jury that is going to reconvene allegedly sometime to see if there are other’s guilty in the Steubenville incident. Though the grand jury has failed to meet on two separate scheduled dates, and no new date had been scheduled as of a week ago. It’s possible that vetting evidence and doing so according to the legal process to make a slam dunk arrest takes time.
I’m writing that and thinking, “Oh, c’mon. How long does it really take if you want to figure something out? I bet they’re just hoping the press will die down and the whole thing will go away.” And I get that. But I also get that getting that just keeps the whole stupid rape culture thing framed in the “boys will be boys and she shouldn’t have been there” BULLSHIT that is the booster banner on our collective mental gymnasium wall right now.
Even if our daughters make shitty decisions to go to parties without a cadre of friends who have each others backs… even if, like Amanda Todd, they are complete morons and flash their boobs to guys they don’t know online, couldn’t we agree that we are always going to take the side of the person who gets unwelcomed things shoved into their orifices?
Deric Lostutter, the leader of the band who headed up the Steubenville campaign is facing a five to ten times longer incarceration for being involved in the hacking of the team’s website. I did mention above that the coach got a contract extension, right?
…which works really nicely until they accidentally identify the wrong person. In the case of Amanda Todd, Anonymous ID’d Kody Maxson who, clearly a douchebag as winner of an online underage naked girl screenshot video award, was exonerated on all charged attached to Todd’s case.
…or until they get pissed at Israel and blame them for heinousness in general. I like Israel.
The Room Where Bunny Trails Collide:
What’s the “So What?” here? We have kids, some of us. We are familiar with the idea of kids, the rest of us. Kids aren’t supposed to have to negotiate the messed up world of vindictive little bitches with access to Facebook pages or school-wide bullying based on unchangeable attributes. One of my daughters is approaching middle school. I want her to be safe. I want her to have fun. I want to tell her how to stay away from douchebags without her having to know the extent of the potential douchebaggery. I want her to find the making of dorky unicorn videos hysterical for at least another decade and emerge from that phase at some point in her mid-20’s ready to be respected for the tremendously valuable soul that her body houses.
I have sons. Eventually they will have puppy crushes and wind up on some flat surface with a girl. How do they stay out of lawsuits? “They shall remain virgins!” you proclaim? Um, okay.
I want there to be a clear difference between good and bad and I want there to be justice however it happens.
To give you the best I have come up with so far, I am going to provide a bunch of links. I hope they help you. Feel free to attach more and share your thoughts in general.
Happy. A documentary that talks about connection and compassion. Very powerful section where an anti-bullying speaker gets an entire student body into tears about how they’ve treated a couple of students who bravely share their victim experiences with the group.
Remember the movie with Bill Murray where he wakes up repeatedly to the same day? Probably in my thirties, I could have told you how the plot wound up, but this many years later what sticks is the emotional roller coaster he went through as events iterated ad nauseum. Getting outside of self-imposed limitations feels like that. But I have learned how to spell nauseum.
I’m trying out the “Law of Attraction” as a filter to for my self-management. The idea is that our subconscious and underlying beliefs draw to us the stuff of their imagining. That is terrific for people who dream of ponies and fairy sparkles but I’m up against a rough neighborhood. My conditioning has me convinced that I can have love OR success and certainly not both and quite possibly neither. So when I start heading toward success in one area, the wheels fall off in the others. It feels like that movie.
I was at my sister’s for dinner the other night, and my mom was there.
As things go, school is FANTASTIC! I am back in it. My days are filled with research and interaction, technology and writing, ponies and fairy sparkles. Gold stars. Real ones like “Can I use your assignment as an example for my next class?” Expansive ideas — real ones that can lead to cash flow. But when Mom asks how school is going, I am suddenly in junior high. She isn’t asking me how school is going. She is asking me to justify my value. I’m 45 and she’s 83.
(And shut up, she is too. You don’t know her.)
Panic. Look to sisters for immediate assistance — nothing. Each of them takes another peanut butter bar. In “I Dream of Jeanie” would Jeanie have been able to disappear if she’d had to move her nose manually?
I’m pretty sure something really stupid is going to come out of my mouth and I imagine my lips glued together. Not sure what to call ‘IT’, but IT is happening again. Fighting against the magnetic vortex of suckage that IT inevitably brings makes me need a peanut butter bar something fierce. Don’t talk, I tell myself. Just don’t say ANYTHING.
“School is going well. I enjoy it very much.” The straight, honest answer escapes before I even know I’ve spoken. But it was innocuous. Hookless.
“But how are you doing?” Outsiders might classify that as genuine concern.
“But?” “Are?” “Doing?” Meanwhile, I am taking the first of many bites that will soon become half a pan of peanut butter bars and trying to count how many simultaneous attacks the woman can launch. Three at first count. My mother accused me of lying, told me she is surprised when I do well, and let me know that to her my worth is based on my performance. Hmmmm…
“I am doing well. I enjoy it very much. I have turned in all of my assignments.” Goddammit! You saw it coming, didn’t you?
“Oh, good, you have! Does your teacher like you?” Not even kidding. A clapping point for turning my work in?! A professional journalist who designed my program is giving me gold stars and my mother wants to know if I’m popular. And that still has weight. Yep, definitely middle school.
I subscribe to an email list that sends out monthly reports about what are the energy trends happening in our world. This month is about identifying beliefs and patterns that spin string balls from the crap factory. I have an impressive collection of crappy string balls. For sale, as it happens. It is too painful to think of these as attacks coming from the person who was hired to play the role of Chief Nurturer. Instead they are a gift from the gods to illustrate the insidious confusion and sick messages that sabotage my move forward in health and vibrancy. The idea is that if I can recognize them, I can address them and begin to strip them of their power. None. Too. Soon.
I married my mother and called her by my ex-husband’s name. But how do you divorce your mom? And still give her some honor. Are we required to do this?
We all have them: these voices of simmer down, stay small, and who do you think you are? The people who are threatened by our big-ness. They remind us to not be dicks to people we have influence with, to encourage toward audacious living. So next time you hear the cellos, just put the dessert out of reach and wiggle your nose. While we are finding the voices that pull us in the right direction, we may have to build these muscles in a vacuum. But we are not alone. Follow your passion, be unreasonable in your beliefs, and for the love of peanut butter bars, learn how to shut up when you don’t want to say anything. That last one was to me specifically.
I don’t have a penis, but if I did and if it was important to me to know it’s dimensions compared to other area penises, I would use this question as a diagnostic tool. Nothing says ‘My identity is based on how I perform, and particularly in comparison to you’ quite as much as this question. Let’s listen in:
“What do you do?”
“I am an artisan,”
“Then allow me to fetch your slippers as I am a humble peasant with, and this may seem odd, access to your closet.”
Nothing good there. Comparison. No room for connection.
Also, lack of interest. Asking ‘What do you do?’ easily dooms a conversation to mindless lines of inquiry like ‘And what IS the primary line of insurance you write’ or ‘How do you choose which flooring vendors to use?’ What human on Earth wants to ask OR answer those questions? Are you even reading still? Exactly.
Answering the question is no easier. Is the person asking how I make money, what is important to me, or who I am? I over-think things. It’s what I do. I don’t make money, and I could talk for days on the other two. Shall we get a refill?
What I dislike is that ‘What do you do?’ leaves too much to position on REALLY STUPID things. Chicks / Guys dig me more. My watch requires insurance. My driver kicks your bus pass’s ass!
I don’t believe in the power-over dynamic as a way to engage with other people. To my way of thinking, if we have been brought together, it is because we have something to share with each other. It probably doesn’t have to do with how we pay rent or who can support the bigger debt load. Our challenge is to find out what we have for each other in the places that really matter: connection, interest, encouragement.
This afternoon I was at a mingle mingle for a dear friend of mine who is retiring. She is funny, smart, loyal, and team-oriented. She sells insurance to fund her habit of mentoring disadvantaged girls and helping young business women get established (and Habitat for Humanity and Rotary…) because she and her husband are passionate about building other people. Asking this woman ‘What do you do?’ would not uncover that.
I was standing at a tall table, awkwardly, with a group of women I’d never met. I was contemporaneously chairing a committee meeting in my head at which we were discussing the merits of learning how to do casual conversations as a means of not scaring people away. I had made the point that chit chat bores the ever-living crap out of me — thankfully, not out loud — when a woman I had briefly talked to in line approached the table. She provided a painless distraction for everyone looking for a casual chance to flee.
She had mentioned she was related to my friend. I was thinking, ‘I am sure I will like you because you are close with someone I respect a great deal, so let’s find something in common.’ We tried valiantly with the chit chat, but it was simply painful, so I broke down and asked, ‘How do you most like to create?’
She lit up!
‘My husband and I were just talking about that,’ she said. And she excitedly explained an idea she has been dreaming about. She glowed. Speaking, writing, healing. Her heart is ready and her Soul is calling, and just like that, in the middle of an awkward mingle mingle, by asking a real question to a person who also doesn’t like chit chat, I found another a new friend!
I have conversations with the people I don’t scare away 😀
Last week we were collectively raped by a troubled young adult whose supreme act of cowardice and evil resulted in the tragic passing of 26 souls. We are shocked; we are violated beyond reckoning; we are pisssssssed. We are filled with questions, mostly unformed, which swirl around the central theme of WHAT. THE. FUCK?!!
And we are looking for someone to blame because we need this fixed and we need it to go away. NOW. This is one of the ways we process the rage fueled by powerlessness.
We’ve all sat in front of the TV before, humming our ‘oh-dear-we-need-to-do-something’ mantras somewhere along the spectrum between raw brokenness and those-poor-bastards-over-there-ism. But this time it is different. He targeted our kids.
So we have taken up our pitchforks, and in an effort to assuage our limbic fear, we have formed two mobs and are lunging at each other with our pokey tines. We are calling each others’ mobs names and we are being quite ugly toward one another. At least I am. I had to stop engaging on the topic of guns with some of my dearest friends because I realized every person truly only needs one exit for excrement and there are better ways to use my words. (I am, though, still waiting for the email from the guy who offered to send me a picture of his genitalia to prove that it is bigger than my hillbilly brain. And I might have threatened to post it on FB because, and I’m not going to lie, I love a good fight.)
About the time I was getting caught up in the energy caused by engaging with the open-minded liberal who had just called me a pussy, a dear friend of mine — a school teacher — posted about her day. Her high schoolers had been asking questions, making requests that would make them feel more safe.
Would she put some paper on the window? Yes.
Would she lock the door? Yes.
“Mizz Ed, would you take a bullet for us?”
To which Mizz Ed responded with teary-eyed conviction, “Every one of us in this building would.”
They needed to know that.
The night of the incident, I was reading an article entitled “How do deal with violent children.” I wanted to know why his mom and dad didn’t keep us safe from their nut job son. I can’t believe they were ignorant that he had issues and that they weren’t trying to get him help. No parent WANTS this for their kid.
Matt saw the title of the article. He’d just kneed his brother in the butt for hogging the WII remote and been met with the perfect amount of scolding. “Why are you reading an article about violent children?” He was wanting to know if his butt-kneeing was grievous enough to the taken to the Internet gods for a ruling. “No, Sweetie, I’m just upset by this whole thing today and I don’t understand how somebody can be so icky.”
They started talking about their lock down drills, so we snuggled up together on the couch while they told me about them. They sit on the rug, very quietly while the teacher locks the doors and puts paper on the windows.
1) What fucked up world has kids going through lock-down drills?
2) Thank you, teachers, for putting the kids through lock down drills.
Talk about lock down drills led to talk about their building and how it’s built for their safety. How the teachers are trained to keep them safe. How every parent that they see would absolutely do anything in their power to keep them safe. How law enforcement is trained and ready to protect them. How we as a family will keep each other safe. How the entire rules of the road are built around school buses. Because we are a society who loves our kids, and if there is one thing that brings us together as humans, it is the safety of our kids.
I left out that when something breaches that code, we feel brutally ripped apart. Together. They’re kids. They haven’t forgotten that yet.
We do this. We protect each other. We don’t fight each other with pitchforks and leave the real issues unaddressed and all of us more vulnerable. We become grounded, and proactive, and we expand to allow complexity and nuance as we walk together toward our solutions.
I’m including a link to an essay written by a mom of a kid at high risk of going wonky. It is very powerful, and it reveals the complexity we face and the ardent need for a proactive address of what we are up against as a society. Let’s do this the right way, Tribe. I promise not to post the picture.
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I was writing an opus on SOPA & PIPA and by the time I got to my point, a number of the lawmakers previously in support of the bills had abandoned ship. Yeah, the Republic! The legislation isn’t yet dead, so I may have to crystalize my thoughts after all, but in the meantime, here are some neat AV summaries of thought from which I draw. Applicable topics dance around economic theory, the nature of employment, the tools available to a citizenry to keep its government in check, and the evils of censorship. You’ll have to cut and paste until WordPress disembarks its toilet of protest and lets me make actual links. Happy clicking!
Summary of Bills from Web-gurus’ & Artists’ POV:
Wikipedia: great overall explanation with a variety of links for further research
WordPress: halfway down the page, an explanatory video that explains the intention and the likely outcome.
Mashable: Pete Cashmore has an IT blog that keep current on trends and products
The Midas Nation: Rob Slee got his start by creating a valuation rubric for privately capitalized companies; his evolution into entrepreneurial guru is based on his keen understanding of business models and value drivers (when you pull the page up, click on the blue box to the left of the page titled, ‘Business in the Aggregation Age: Will You Survive?’)
Challenges of Capitalism: the guy is a Marxist, and while I don’t support Marxist economics, his analysis on the inherent limitations of Capitalism are sentient.
Atlas Shrugged: this book by Ayn Rand explores what happens to a society when the Capitalists do decide to take a break–vastly over-simplified synopsis…