November 02, 2012 ~ Comments Off

healthy thrills

I get a tiny thrill every time I turn down an unhealthy lunch invitation at work. I don’t know if it’s that my co-workers always go places that serve only BBQ, burgers & fried accessories; if that’s all Memphis has to offer; or if they invite me along only when they’re venturing down into the greasy bowels of heart disease hell, but it definitely feels good to say no.

This is especially true on the days they return groaning after consuming buffet-style ribs or I notice one of my co-workers looks paunchier than usual.

October 25, 2012 ~ Comments Off

life and death

The idea of death upsets me so much sometimes. I’ve always been afraid of loved ones dying (disproportionately so for a young person) but especially now that I’m not a Christian, it’s really hard to think about. I’m not sure, even as a Christian, I believed there’d be a heaven with constant worship and happy angels and puffy clouds, but everyone insisted there’d be something like that, so it made me feel a little better about my fate. But, of course, everyone I knew (aside from my best friend, Mandy) resided outside our faith and didn’t care about Jesus and surely wasn’t going to end up there with me, so all I could feel was fear for them and a lack of knowing what to say or do that would convince them to believe. I remember once trying to tell my mom she should believe in Jesus. I feel like it was horribly awkward, but all I remember her saying was, “I’m too old for all that – it’s too late to start believing in things.” Of course, that seemed patently false to me, but I also knew that was her way of shutting me down and changing the subject.

There are definitely times I think about God and whether he exists. In the last couple of years, there have been multiple instances where I thought, WHY do people believe in God? Other than biblical stories (which we can’t prove) and faith that there’s a reason for everything that happens, both good and bad, there really isn’t any reason to think there is a God. I’ve never heard him say anything or seen evidence of him (that I know of). I know we’re supposed to see someone being kind and think, hey, there’s Jesus or the Holy Spirit working in someone’s heart! But I just have to wonder, what if it’s just that person being nice and God has nothing to do with it?

I was just on Facebook and my friend Melissa linked to a woman’s obituary. She’d linked to another woman’s obit earlier in the day – both of them were relatively young (in their 40s or 50s) and well liked within the community. So I went to read the second obit and noted that she’d left her husband, Dennis, behind. Well, I made the mistake of going to the guestbook and seeing “Denny” leave a note for her. Oh, man. OH, MAN. That was a bad move. He called her, “My beautiful starfish.” He also talked about God plucking her up and taking her away, and that he’d see her “on the other shore.” I wept.

Now all I can think about is Bryan dying, and what that would mean. Not for me being left behind, but for him being dead. What’s he going to face? Where’s he going to end up? Or is it just blackness and nothingness? Or is there no consciousness beyond life? I worry about what it means for us to die and never be able to see or talk to each other again, or even know the other person is safe or happy or whatever it is ethereal beings can be.

Maybe we’ll both live long, blissful lives and be fine with the idea of “going to sleep” when we’re 80+ and being at peace, rather than thinking and wondering about the other person’s well being. But what if that doesn’t happen? It’s just so scary.

And what if God really does exist and we’re going to be SOL in the end if we don’t start believing and worshiping right quick? With all the other belief systems in the world, it seems hard to fathom that this one group is right and everyone else is wrong. But what if they are? And what if God isn’t the ever-loving, totally-cool-with-everybody deity that he’s often portrayed as? What if he’s really pissed that we were with him, then left him and never came back?

I think time and age have made me realize that there are a lot of potential truths in the world, and that everything is far from the black-and-white clarity I perceived as a kid. But I still wonder if the stupid mistakes I make along the way aren’t going to potentially have even worse results down the road. The life decisions and moves and job changes and lifestyle decisions and bad habits and not being willing to take a chance and try to just be happy for a change… I feel like that could all bring on a lot more sadness later in life when Bryan does die prematurely or I lose a limb or get in an accident and can’t walk. Then all those things we didn’t do and all those pounds I didn’t lose and all those risks I didn’t take won’t be options anymore.

*shudder* It’s too fucking scary.

October 22, 2012 ~ Comments Off

not-hate

This morning, I stumbled upon the Goodbye Obama 2012 Facebook page, after a friend commented on one of their posts. I visited the page, knowing well the level of vitriol it would contain, but wishing that my seeing it would somehow make it go away.

The content of the GO12 posts and follow-up comments was upsetting to me not because I disagree with their opinions about their own candidate, Mitt Romney, or because I feel they shouldn’t have a say in who becomes the 44th president. They should. They will. But why does that choice require buckets and buckets of hate to go along with it?

I do not care that President Obama is black. I think that’s a poor reason to vote for him, and I felt the same back in ’08. So this isn’t a race thing – this frustration with hate – it’s just an I-hate-hate thing.

I understand it’s not always healthy to bottle things up, and I understand the draw of responding to vulgarity and anger with the same. I’m sure many of the GO12 commenters have seen the exact same hateful jokes, photographs and slurs flung from the blue side of the fence. But I just really want someone to be the bigger person.

It makes me wonder if President Obama and Governor Romney are proud to see their citizens tearing each other apart, making the person next to them feel less intelligent – like less of a human being, undeserving of a voice in our democracy – because they disagree on who should run our country. These two men disagree on many things themselves, but not everything. And they may be so far afield from each other in certain opinions that they can’t comprehend the other’s stance, and they may find themselves disrespecting that position. But they are politicians. They are playing a game. The future of the nation is at stake and they fully understand that. But politics is something they’ve trained for, something they’ve spent years perfecting.

We as everyday humans are not as resilient as politicians. The hate speech and degradation do not fade simply because four years have passed and one side has been allowed to sit smugly on their throne. It festers beneath the surface, it breeds further contempt and mistrust, it pulls apart families, makes people flee to foreign lands, breeds disrespect and inspires mockery in the rest of the world. How much stronger would our country be if we could stand together on the sensible things?

I do not identify myself as a Democrat or a Republican. And there are many (MANY) issues I don’t know nearly enough about to make solid decisions one way or another. But there are certain things that just feel RIGHT (and, obviously, things that feel wrong) that I don’t understand why we can’t agree on. Renewable energy is one. Let’s set aside our corporate alliances and think about this a moment. Let’s even set aside the potential consequences of practices like hydraulic fracturing on our health, our communities and our landscape. Nothing’s been proven yet, so fine – let’s ignore it. But we will eventually reach our limits with these options. Eventually there will be no more natural gas, no more oil, no more coal – then what? We will not have invested time, energy or money into figuring out how to harness the giant ball of flaming gas that we’ve created even more atmospheric holes for, and that’s likely growing hotter and more dangerous by the day. We haven’t figured out how to direct the winds that blow so hard in many parts of the world. And we haven’t considered the implications of not developing a worldwide strategy for keeping energy use down and doing all we can to improve the world around us, rather than tearing it down.

Things like that just blow my mind. If we don’t invest in renewable energy, how will we ever know if what we know is all there is? What if there’s something else that would allow the workers currently relying on the natural gas, coal and oil industries for their livelihood to keep their jobs and not require additional training only some of them will be able to handle? What if there’s something even easier, cleaner and cheaper than solar, wind and water?

My boss and I were talking recently about taking care of the planet, how sometimes we feel like we’re among the very few who worry about the future of plants, animals and the human race. But he made an interesting point I hadn’t thought about: Even if we end up taking a few hundred species with us, he said, we’re only killing ourselves. Once we’re gone, the Earth will heal itself. It may not look anything like what it does now, but it is likely to return to whatever thriving state it can once all men are gone and it’s allowed to be itself again, naturally.

I think about the state of our world today and try to compare it to the world when I was younger. It’s challenging, because I’m not very old yet and I can’t even really remember the world of the 1990s. But it didn’t seem so bad then. It didn’t seem like issues like renewable energy and who should be our president were as much a pissing contest as they are today. They felt more serious then. They didn’t feed on the side of humanity that enjoys hiding behind Facebook to slip in attacks and belittle peers and (former) friends. They were adult matters for adults to ponder, understand and decide. And while younger people should get interested and take part (please take part!) I feel like those pages and pages of hate-filled comments are NOT the young people that once dominated social media. They are the adults who choose to be spiteful cowards, not to act like adults, be civil and make their points and their decisions in mature, respectable ways.

I guess my point here is: Someday, we’re going to kill our civilization (or the world as know it). Someday, we’re going to wipe ourselves out, whether it’s under the watch of a Republican or a Democrat. In the meantime, I’d rather like to enjoy the world, my country and my fellow citizens, rather than feeling like we’re always balancing on the edge of exchanging blows. I’d also like for us to consider the implications of our actions. And to try to save the polar bears. And to consider those who make less than $18,000 a year to support a family of four. And to really – REALLY – think about how we’re going to make sure we survive the next four years, along with the next four hundred.

October 17, 2012 ~ Comments Off

rainbow ring

I have rediscovered my love for this ring. 12-year-old me, you were right all along.

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Rainbow ring

October 17, 2012 ~ Comments Off

best thing of the day

By HeyVeronica (@HeyVeronica), via Binders Full of Women

Ermahgerd wormern!

Ermahgerd brinders full of wormern!