What I see from here

I'm not sure what this blog is going to be about. It may be about something really silly, or about a recipe, or something that pisses me off, or about something I read or something I think about. I just don't know, because, well, that's how my mind works. What it will be is stuff that occurs to me whether I'm in my apartment in Portland, Oregon or driving around from one place to another, or sitting in a meeting letting my mind wander because the meeting is boring and/or stupid. So, our commonality is that neither of us knows what it will be about. But, hey, stick around for the ride, put on your seatbelt, and we'll see what happens. Oh, and p.s. there may be curse words. Deal. Peace ya'all.

April 21, 2015

The Letter L

These days I spend a lot of time thinking about love and relationships. More precisely, I spend time trying to sort out what love means and if it truly exists.

Love is a crazy and powerful word when you think about it. A word that we hear from birth, associated for most with safety, light, warmth, and security. Close your eyes, allow the word to thrum through you, and your mind will surely conjure swirling images brought to you by a mix of real life, fairy tales, and desire. The kind of desire that lives deep inside, waiting with the promise Disney, our parents, and books showed us. Look. Just there, over the horizon - you see that radiance? That is what they said love looks like. Stand in the sun on a beautiful day, the heat just enough to make you glow, the wind swirling around you like silent caresses from finely woven silk threads, your head back and your arms outreached toward nothing and everything.  Do you feel that? That's the promise of what love might feel like on any given day. It touches you everywhere and gives you something to remember, even when there is no sun, the ocean is thousands of miles away, and the wind nothing more than a cold nuisance. It is a word whispered on the phone from 2,400 miles away, a touch while you sleep, a kiss so soft there is no word to describe the sensation. These are things we learn to sigh over and call love. But isn't it just a word, like so many others?

Words are a beautiful thing, each with a true meaning, but so often used incorrectly, whether with malintent, ignorance, selfishness, or just sheer inconsideration for others. How very sad is it that among all the words in our vocabulary, love is a word of both beauty and pain, rendered meaningless by centuries of misuse?  People use it with no thought for the real future. It's just a word. They want to be in love, so they find a whole range of ways to use it - to convince just one person that for them it is the real thing. But the truth is, it is not real. It is just a word, confused with other words.

Lust: We have an urgent sexual desire, and instead of using the correct word - lust - we say we love someone.

Longing: We having a longing to hold them, be intimate with them, hold their hand, but it's only that. It is not love. It is just that desire to touch, connect.

Like: We like someone - a lot. We laugh with them. We are happy with them, and as that liking becomes more entrenched we mistakenly think we love them, and we use the word. It is not love, but we load our arrow, aim for the heart, and strike. Because that's our inability to be honest.

Liaison: We are having a liaison. It's exciting. We go to fun events and special places, and we like it so much we want to do it more, so we take them to a nice restaurant where we can make what will become a painful memory, look them in the eye, hold their hand, and say "baby, I'm in love with you." But true to form, that is not love. It is merely a desire for companionship.

Learning: We learn about them, and we don't hate them. We can tolerate them, so we speak to them about a life together, using other words like always and forever. We use these words casually, not thinking for a moment that words matter and leave an imprint, even after we take them back. It's like that burn on your hand in high school when you reached into the fire to pull out the glove you dropped. You'll always have that scar, but all you could think of at the time was getting that glove. You didn't really love that glove, but it was all you had and you learned to ski wearing the glove, so you grabbed for it.

Ludus: There's what the Greeks called Ludus, or playful love. You had fun with them. You had fun at a hockey game, watching your favorite show on tv, at festivals, and in bed. You played together and you laughed a lot and it was good.  Really that was just fun, but we feel a need to attach a name, like taking in and naming a cute puppy because it was cute when we first found it. And you wanted to be with it. Until it grows out of its puppy phase. Then you wondered why you kept it.

Loyalty:  We don't want to be with anyone else. We just want this one person. We are loyal to their dreams, desires, and even their past. We stand by them when they are doing something that at the time seems like a great good idea, and we grab them around the waist and pull them in and say "baby, I'm so proud of you, I love you so much." Really though, that's not love. It's a moment in time that you watched unfold, like a child taking a step, and because clapping your hands seems inappropriate and your emotional vocabulary is limited you take that bigger step and utter the words you cannot take back.

All of these things are very real at the time, and they all are appropriate words that matter and fit. But those words are not in our vocabulary, so we reach for the word that is. We reach into our quiver and pull out the first arrow that comes to hand, place it in the bow, draw it back and release the word directly into someone's heart.

And when the lust has died, the only longing we have is for distance from them, the liaison is a daily grind, what we've learned is more of an irritant than enjoyment, the playfulness is subsumed by life, and the loyalty is long gone, the word love becomes less real. When the things we thought were love are only tracers whose glow has faded, we convince ourselves that it's okay to withdraw the word. We yank out the arrow, pulling it backward, destroying the tissue and muscle inside their chest, and we just walk away. The words I'm sorry - words we were taught to use to make up for our bad behavior on the playground in first grade - do nothing to repair the damage. Sure, those words make the speaker feel better. They walk away, wiping their bloody hands on their pant legs, repeating "I didn't mean to hurt her/him." But the truth is that there just are not enough apologies to staunch that open wound they left in the person who gave them everything and would have given them more. The speaker takes their bow and quiver and moves on to their next victim.

We live in a world of people armed with arrows against those of us who laid down our shields. It's not even a fair contest. It's just a life of lies, deceit, betrayal, and pain.

When it comes to relationships, lets be honest. There is no love. There's just the letter L, a whole lot of wrong impressions, and a path of bodies left in the wake of selfishness and a poor vocabulary.






April 11, 2015

Why Hillary doesn't have my vote sewn up

I frequently get attacked when I question Hillary Clinton's ability to be the right president, or if I say she does not have my vote sewn up. I voted for President Barack Obama against her because she repeatedly failed to answer hard questions, because I question her political agenda, and because I think she's too closely aligned with major corporations (e.g. Monsanto and big oil). 

Does that mean I'll vote Republican? Not on your fuckin' life. But if the Democrat running against her in the Primary is more satisfactory to me than her, yeah, I'll vote against her. In spite of popular opinion, I do not vote for a woman just because she's a woman. You earn my vote. You don't get it.

For further explanation, here's my take on voting: It is incumbent upon politicians to tell us what they are doing. More importantly, it is incumbent upon voters to think and analyze. It is not just our job to vote blindly, but to ask questions of the politicians, or those who aspire to political office. Most importantly, it is their job to answer our questions.  And it is our job to vote for the bigger picture, which is why I would never vote Republican. Their big picture is one of hate, bigotry, misogyny, and greed.

Our system is a hot mess, and part of that is because people vote blindly, or guided by fear, or because they are star struck, and politicians keep terrible secrets or flat out lie. Worse, the Democrats, though they are mostly well-meaning, also have a terrible marketing plan and spend more time engaged in talking about how bad the other people are than they do talking about how good they are and the great things they've done for the nation and will do for this nation.

As a voter I should not be attacked for asking honest questions and expecting answers. Nor should I be attacked for questioning some of the things being done by a person who is asking for my vote.

If you break it down to a giant marketing plan, here's what it looks like:

Republicans have a two-part marketing plan. The first is a party line that they repeat endlessly. Yeah, it's a bunch of fucking lies, but it's also an effective marketing ploy. You know how when you hear one of those commercials where they say the phone number 7 - 10 times in about 30 seconds and it annoys the hell out of you? You know why they do that? Because if you hear something often and frequently, you remember that. Republicans have repeated their lie-filled party line enough that voters believe it as true. The second part of their plan is repeating endlessly how bad the Dems are - lies yes, but lies made true in the minds of those who hear it often enough. Also, Republicans rarely vote outside their party, and their leaders know this.

Democrats have a shitty marketing plan, which has been my greatest source of angst since I was 17 and gaining interest in politics - as a Democrat. They undersell themselves, they let the Repubs paint them into a corner, and instead of pushing back they say "nuh uh, you're mean." They allow Repubs to bully them, and for the most part they turn their backs and tuck their tales between their legs. Their marketing plan is to just scream bad things about Republicans. The important part they are missing is that they aren't giving a message - any fucking message at all - about what they will do or have done. Democrats will vote outside their party line, not because they are idiots, but because they are convinced by the Republicans and not the Democrats.

We as Democrats must begin to demand of our politicians that they do better, speak better, stand up better. We need to make sure that they address their accomplishments, answer the hard questions, and  aren't in bed with the 1%.

Or, we can just say those who don't tow the Democratic line and vote for the popular kid in class can go to hell and they are idiots and see how many we lose through insults, stomping our feet, and allowing the shit that has made us fail continue to be our party rule.

P.S.

For fuck sake, STOP saying that the parties are the same. Do a bit of homework and you'll see immediately the fallacy in that statement.

P.P.S. This just in.

April 5, 2015

Every door opens

Every door opens on a new day, a new moment, a new truth, a new something.

Door #1: Life. It is mine in there, mine to decorate. 

For this time in my life decor that sings to color and fun. A stolen stop sign. A mattress on the floor. A purple wall hanging tie-dyed with a butterfly, like my first tattoo.

Door #2 Opens into my children's rooms

The teenage girl angry and sad and filled with all the angst a teenage girl can muster. But inside, still the child I raised.

The young son, only a toddler. No pain except his bad dreams.

Those rooms in my life, loving my children while waiting for what's next.

Door #3 Enters into my life after children.

Nothing in the room because it's all in a cold concrete box covered with a layer of dust while I risk the backlash of family members in Oregon - pride-filled, yet fearful and sad - all witnessed by me from my Ivy League perch in what they saw as the Scary Apple.

What doors then? 

New love. Trust. A door that opens to the North painted with promises of true love, honesty, and forever.

And then back home. Pain, anger, depression, sadness, solitude, healing.

A door into my new room. Carefully decorated around the absence of him.


March 18, 2015

"It's impossible, said pride. 

It's risky, said experience. 

It's pointless, said reason. 

Give it a try, whispered the heart." 

Oh fuck NO, never again said my brain. I'm standing by experience and reason.