A ton of negative comments, cartoons, and articles have hit my news feed today.
Here in the States it is Thanksgiving.
Traditionally, or at least how I understand it, this day is supposed to mark the generosity of Native Americans towards the Europeans that risked life and limb to settle in a “new land.”
Yeah. Not so innocent, of course. And my news feed today reminded me all about how those terrible, horrible Europeans (my ancestors) stole land and killed the native population, and were a disease on the continent.
It just… I don’t know.
Is there terrible history involved with the colonization of the Americas? Um, yes… what form of colonization does not include suppression and killing?
Should these things be celebrated? Absolutely not. And there should be recognition, teaching, and understanding of the horrible nature of the past.
For every person I know that lives in the States and celebrates this day, Thanksgiving has nothing to do with those pilgrims and has to do with three things:
And in that order.
Is it a holiday based in lies? Yeah, okay maybe, but as all things and everything, interpretation and association change. We change. Society changes.
Thanksgiving. Giving thanks. Being thankful. In the end, I think that sums it up, nothing more or less. So, I choose to make this day about being thankful, and I am purposefully ignoring those who would like to make the holiday a political bashing ground.
Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends and readers in the United States and around the world. I give thanks for you, because every single one of you deserves it.
This weekend my husband and I came across several different versions of a particularly special kind of person.
It is the person you most dread seeing.
The one that can keep you fuming for hours and hours after the interaction.
We went to Costco for our monthly influx of bigger-than-needed items, and the store was awash with such individuals. From the middle aged guy in the truck telling the poor women with the three kiddos to get “out of the f*cking way” in the parking lot, to the woman with perfect makeup and high heels (at Costco, on a Saturday!!) who stared through us until our son was a little bit loud then her stare of death shriveled our heads, the place was teeming with the unsavory.
On the way home (our son playing with his new DanTDM character in the backseat reminding us of how awesome the world is), we exchanged stories of the meanies that we interact with on a day to day basis.
There are a ton.
Now, I have spent time analyzing this, that the rudeness and unkindness is because of the unhappiness, so I am not going to go down that rabbit hole today; rather, I just want to give a shout out to those who are kind.
I want to give kuddos to those who smile in the face of the glares, the snide remarks, and the rude hand gestures.
I want to give every single one of you kind people a virtual hug.
“Who would win in a fight; the Devil or Superman?”
“Who is the Devil?”
These are some of the questions I have fielded lately from my five-year-old. He is intensely interested in God and the Devil, and how they fit into his reality. He wants to know where we go when we die; where Heaven is; and the biggie, if God is so good why are there bullies?
In part, these questions stem from the Christian preschool he goes to, but I think it has a lot to do with his essential nature as well.
This kiddo is a thinker.
The problem lies in the fact I am also a thinker, and therefore must be very aware of how I answer these questions. Belief for me is a fragile thing, based on years of thought and reading and more thought. I have gone through my existential crisis and have, through tears and terrors, arrived at my own belief system.
It does not, necessarily, encompass any one religious thought.
But. I can’t explain that to my preschooler. I can’t talk to him about faith and the act of choosing belief (because all belief is a choice). I can’t speak to him about the fallacies inherent in all religious systems; the tension between what is said and what is acted; the irony of picking and choosing and pressing on others a hodgepodge of thought.
No. What he wants to know is where God lives, and I find that my answer is simple: Heaven.
Where is Heaven?
Another dimension. This is a concept he understands from his video games.
What is the Devil?
The biggest bully of them all.
My husband believes in God, a traditional Christian God.
I believe in a bigger and grander being, something that cannot be identified with a pronoun.
My husband’s version is the one I tell my son. God is love. God is good. Where is God? In your heart.
Is it right? I don’t know. Maybe one day he is going to call us out for “lying” to him about the existence of God, Devil, Heaven… and he will be right to do so. And we will have a conversation then about belief and faith. But until then, the concepts that are black and white, good and evil, are those concepts he understands.
And, by the way, his conclusion is that God is totally stronger then Hulk, but only because God has access to Captain America’s original serum.
Another storm is gracing us with high winds and rain. The winds are particularly fearsome. As I write this, the house creeks and groans against the onslaught. This morning, someone woke to a tree coming through their living room. The nature of where we live, unfortunately.
I spent most of the night awake staring at the ceiling. My son came in and curled up in our bed at some undetermined point, so as I stared, I listened to the small whine of sound he made with each breath. We all have stuffed noses right now; mine is obnoxious, his is somehow sweet.
I thought about this decision I have made. I thought about going to the library and checking out books on real estate; to supplement and add to the knowledge of this 90 hour training that I started yesterday.
Sadness crept in as I thought about those real estate books stacking up on my bedside table. Before there was Jung, Lacan, and whatever weird book I was reading (Stiff, was the last one). Now. Real estate books.
Am I mourning?
I told myself I would carve out time for the intellectual, for my thought experiments, but my 1 a.m. brain was having none of that; at 1 a.m. the world is coming to an end, didn’t you know?
I will though, because despite the need to do something different, I am still a “big-headed owl” that thrives on the labyrinth that is thought. I will make time.
Oh, and did I mention that after making the decision and taking the first (irreversible) step, my voice left?
Unable to speak. Unable to communicate.
My yoga teacher would have some thoughts on that one… good thing I am not telling her.
A rambling for this morning. A touchstone blog.
Recenter, my lovely readers. Take a breath and a piece of freshness.
And remember, as I am trying to, that all things are for a reason.
It is very early in the morning. My husband is away for business and my son is asleep. The dog snores as he lays in the bed in front of me.
I was plagued by bad dreams all night. Silly, stupid dreams having to do with silly stupid things like my husband having affairs or my best friend deciding we were no longer friends after 18 years.
But they have shaken my mood this morning. I am sure it has something to with the rejection yesterday. Or maybe it has to do with the storm raging outside.
For those who have never bee to the Pacific Northwest, the trees are plentiful and tall. They surround everything and all things. A constant, just as the water is in all of its abundance. In storms, those same tall and massive trees sway in the wind. Gusts of 45 mph plus, pushing and pulling at their rain-heavy branches.
I would like to say that storms do not bother me up here. Storms that bother me are the green skies of Texas; when you look out over the flat landscape and you see the sickly-tinged sky coming ever closer. The smash of thunder so loud it shakes the dishes in the cupboards. The wind that seems to concentrate before pulling and uprooting all in its path.
Those are the scary storm. The kind that requires hiding in closets with blankets or in cellars if you have one.
The storms here, they are different. Not violent like that; not a punch in the face, but rather a pressure, a moving pressure in one’s body as it flows its way through the area.
I am not scared, necessarily, but I am more effected than I used to be… a responsibility of life, I think. The knowledge that storms not only push and pull and destroy me, but those I love as well.
I must be careful of storms, as must we all. They can do so much damage, and yet there is nothing that can truly be done. Only so much preparedness is allowed. Only so much control.
Placing one’s trust in something bigger and not in the least understandable.
Yesterday I wrote about waiting to hear back from an agent regarding the requested sample pages I sent out last month.
Strangely enough, the rejection was in my spam folder from 10 days ago.
This then. The precipitous moment.
The life changing point. The fork in the road.
No. Not really. A year ago I would have felt like that when I was sending out queries every day and receiving rejections every day. I was at a low point. Who wouldn’t be after putting so much work into something only to have it fail?
This year I came across that novel by chance and read through it. I thought, and still think, that it is quite good despite the feedback from agents. So, I sent it out one last time to an agent that I had some friendly interactions. I expected the rejection. Perhaps that is why it happened (seed planted and all that).
Whatever the case may be. It happened. Time to move forward.
That still does not take away from the sting of being rejected, nor does it help with the feeling that everything I do fails. Apparently, however, this response is one that is based in human evolution. Being rejected hurts. For real. In a physical manner. According to an article in Psychology Today, the pain one feels upon being rejected travels along the same nerve pathways of physical pain. This is so much the case that taking Tylenol will help with feelings associated with rejection.
*where is the damn Tylenol*
This reaction is because in our distant past, being rejected from one’s society, one’s tribe, was the equivalent of being put to death:
“In our hunter/gatherer past, being ostracized from our tribes was akin to a death sentence, as we were unlikely to survive for long alone. Evolutionary psychologists assume the brain developed an early warning system to alert us when we were at risk for ostracism. Because it was so important to get our attention, those who experienced rejection as more painful (i.e., because rejection mimicked physical pain in their brain) gained an evolutionary advantage—they were more likely to correct their behavior and consequently, more likely to remain in the tribe.”
So Now What?
In the way the Universe works, this morning one of the first blogs I read had to do with rejection. The writer had been rejected admission to a spiritual training. In the second paragraphs, he talks about the lesson inherent in the rejection.
There is always a lesson. We might not be under the threat of death (hopefully), but a lesson is often found while wading through the hurt and the feeling of failure and the feeling of not being good enough. Note, rejection also destroys our self esteem, temporarily lowers our IQ, and does not respond to reason.
Road signs is how I like to see rejection… well, when I have gotten over the aforementioned negative gut reactions. When things start to lose the tinge of failure, I want to believe that rejection is the Universe’s way of showing me my path.
This is not to be, and that is for a reason.
These are my thoughts on a good day. On a bad day, it is more of a f*ck this shit type of response.
Good and bad. Yin and yang.
Might not be exactly an accurate comparison.
Anyway. My point is that rejection happens. It happens in work life. In social life. In relationships, spiritual journeys and in catching the bus in the morning on time.
And like so much, taking what happens and learning from it is the best way of adapting.
Not an easy task. Sometimes an impossible task, in fact.
But still the best response.
My novel was rejected. Again.
It is the third novel that has been rejected to the point that I have put them to the side.
I am not sure what that means. Maybe it is time to throw in the towel.
A career change, as I mentioned?
I don’t know. Something to ponder.
But what about you?!
How have you experienced rejection? What did you learn from it?
The gloomy title of this blog is the last few words of an op-ed piece in the New York times about the declining mortality rate of white Americans. The piece is partially a stab at right-wing conservative, fundamentalist (a stab I don’t mind in the least), but it is also a pondering statement about the United States in general.
There is something wrong here.
Of course there is something wrong, many things wrong, everywhere, but the U.S. is where I live, and the U.S. is the country I am a citizen… and it is the country I would like to be proud of.
That doesn’t happen a lot.
Neil deGrasse Tyson tweeted yesterday that since 2001, there have been 3,400 Americans who have died in acts of terrorism. In the last five WEEKS, the same number of Americans have died by household firearms.
I know our gun policies here in the good ol’ U.S. of A. is a subject of much confusion in other first world countries… AS IT SHOULD BE! Those numbers are ridiculous. Horrifying even.
People, lots and lots and lots of people (and dare I say the same ones that have a decreasing mortality rate) cry foul at even the mention of taking their guns away.
Is this an aspect of freedom that we must hold on to? Something essential from our forefathers that makes it a “God-given right” that we can buy and use (frequently) these items that’s sole and only purpose is for killing?
I am getting off track. I did not mean to turn this into a blog about gun rights (and the overabundance of said rights); rather, I wanted to point out this existential despair that permeates the country I live in. This despair is an underlying aspect that causes, in my opinion, the unfriendly frigidity of most the people I interact with daily.
And not just in the PNW. I went to California over the weekend. My cousin and I were going over to someone’s apartment. The apartment complex had a gate with a key-code. The person we were visiting had texted me the key code but it wasn’t working. As we were trying to get a hold of this person to get the right key code, another car pulled up behind us. I waved my hand at them, and said that we had the wrong key code, could they let us in?
“Get the f*ck out of the way if you don’t know it,” was the reply we got, as the man, late 20s with his wife/girlfriend of the same age in the passenger seat, made obnoxious hand motions at us.
What made him be such a dick?
I guess we were lucky he didn’t have a gun.
The point in all of this rambling:
The despair that permeates our country, is one that compiles and spreads.
To show my age, one of the most brilliant movie quotes of all times is from The Matrix:
“I’d like to share a revelation that I’ve had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species and I realized that you’re not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment but you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed and the only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet. You’re a plague and we are the cure.”
Despair. Anger. Hate. Intolerance.
We are spreading them like a virus.
What is the cure?
A rather gloomy thought for this Tuesday, so have some more pictures I took while visiting. End on a good note.
What is the thing that would tempt you to the dark side?
Funny thought question for this morning, but an interesting exercise in identifying personality traits. And you know me, all about those personality traits.
Somewhere, once upon a time, I read that everyone has one thing that would tempt them to murder, or other nefarious activities. The idea is that if an evil entity promised you *fill in the blank* in exchange for your soul, you would do it.
Sound familiar? It is an insanely popular theme in books, movies, etc., speaking to human’s forever battle with temptation.
I don’t care about cookies, but if someone was to offer me higher intelligence, I would have a serious problem.
I read an article on Slate this morning about being and functioning as a high IQ person. I do not have a high IQ; it is somewhere in the lower echelon of average actually… and this has forever bothered me. I want to have a high IQ. It is the weirdest, strangest feeling of inadequacy (there is that word again), and I have always wished that I could be one of those highly intelligent people that are able to solve puzzles and mathematical equations.
But it is ingrained. DEEEEPLY ingrained. The kind of desire that you feel in your gut, that makes your hands tingle. The kind of feeling of missing something… something HUGE.
Therefore, if an evil entity came to me and said: “I will make you like this, I will make it so ‘you can likely see deeper, further, and more incisively…'”
I would. I think.
And therein lies the dilemma and construct of all great super heroes… and super villains.
There are two roads to take from this junction. One is to wonder if I would become evil when faced with this choice. The other is to try to understand why I have the need to be more intelligent than I am.
It’s like looking at the stars and knowing that I will never be able to touch them.
An interesting thing has happened the last several weeks. It does not have to do with what I am posting, the exploration I’ve done in order to look into the shadows and shine a light; rather, it is the reading that I am doing as I peruse the countless blogs associated with wordpress.
I often despair at the interactions around me. The grumpiness. The hurry. The sheer frustration that peels off of people in chips bigger than my thumbnail.
There is something going on in these blogs that is amazing. I sound cheesy perhaps, but it is truth. People are searching out truth.
It is amazing.
I have read blogs about women trying to find their sexuality in a world that works against that very sexuality. I have read about men doing the exact same thing with aching detail that shows, without a single limiting factor, that they too are moving against some limiting sexual construct.
There are blogs about people coming back from depression, anxiety, self-harm through all sorts of different avenues, but always with this blanketed feeling of hope.
There are those whose journey is physical. A wandering of wonder as they move from continent to continent, always with this idea of looking, examining, feeling the world in their bones and under the soles of their feet.
So much searching.
So many questions and attempted answers.
But so much hope as well.
It is this that I have come away from in my couple of weeks of being and seeing this community. I have issues. Serious and dark ones. Isolating factors that have created personality quirks that no one would want; however, I have found that there is a solidarity that exists. It does exist. These people might live in India, London, Scotland, Canada, or Brazil, but the commonality exists.
The world is a huge place.
Humans scattered all about it.
But we are so much the same. All of us.
I suppose I should have known that already, and I have, at some point… this thought is not unfamiliar.
It is awfully nice to be reminded though.
So, my dear, lovely readers out there who write your souls and who share your worlds, thank you!