Moving to Wordpress...

In a way, I hate to say it, but I'm moving to Wordpress. At least, I'm going to try it and see how it goes. There's a post over there explaining why. Please check out the new blog at http://starsbursting.wordpress.com/

There's a "follow by E-mail" link on the right sidebar, so if you still want to get updated when I post, please sign up that way. Thanks all. :)

Thinking about making some changes

I'm thinking about making some changes to my blog.

I was thinking about changing the template. The one I have now is from an external site, and as I'm sure you've seen, the pictures end up wonky sometimes when I upload them, and it inserts lines after them and it's just ugly. Here are the Blogger ones I'm contemplating:





I seriously just can't decide.

I also thought about moving to Wordpress. I started with Blogger because I wanted to have ads on my blog, but that's not generating that much income at all anyway, so I'm not sure it's really worth it. Wordpress has much nicer templates and you can do much more with it. I could also make a quasi-website, too.

I think I would lose followers if I changed to Wordpress, however. People can get E-mail updates through Wordpress, or find my blog through Bloglovin and get updates in their E-mail when I make a new post, but not everyone wants to get a ton of E-mail.

So I'd like feedback. What do you all think? If I moved to Wordpress, would you be willing to sign up for E-mail updates? 

Happy birthday to...Patriot Day

I will be 28 tomorrow. The memes on Facebook are already appearing - "9/11 was an inside job!" and "Lest we forget." Reminds me of 11 years ago, when the whole thing happened, and I was just standing there, watching it, thinking, "Man this really sucks. I'm supposed to be celebrating my life, and I'm watching people die on TV. And it's real. Not a TV show. It's real."

I have more thoughts on this...But they will have to come tomorrow. I am dead tired, and my work gave me tomorrow off for my birthday. Sweet. I am sleeping in, bitches.

Update 9/11:

On the morning of 9/11/2001, my parents and I got up and had a birthday breakfast and they gave me presents as always. That started out totally normally. None of us had turned on the news, so we had no idea what had happened across the country. On the way to school, I was listening to the radio. They said the Twin Towers were hit, and I actually had no idea what the Twin Towers were. My boyfriend at the time (we carpooled to school together) got in the car and was like, "The Twin Towers were hit!" I told him I didn't even know what those were. He exclaimed, "You don't know what the Twin Towers are???" - "Nope," I said.

Well, it became clear to me very quickly what the Twin Towers were and what had happened. Everyone knows the whole story and what happened, so I won't go into that. At my school, we found an old TV and made bunny ears with tin foil so that we could watch what was going on. That TV was on all day long. I went to a school where you could basically do whatever you wanted all day, so the TV was sometimes on in the main room while no one was in it. Either way, it was on every time I walked in. But the whole thing didn't really hit me until later in the evening, when I was at my boyfriend's house and saw the news coverage of people jumping out of the buildings. I broke down in tears, and I remember wailing, "Why does this have to happen? On a day when I'm supposed to be celebrating being alive? And people are dying? Why is this happening?"

Of course, in the months afterwards, we got more and more news about what had happened, or what had supposedly happened. The Patriot Act was born, crafted with intricate words, unlike me, who had been crafted by my parents and born 17 years prior. The 9/11 investigation was published. I thought that had happened rather quickly. I thought something like this might take months if not at least a year to fully investigate, but when your government is (probably) partly at fault, I guess it's easy for them to get the information because they had it all along.

This is not a post about government conspiracies or anything like that. I will say, though, that some things really don't make sense. The Twin Towers were hit, and then the Pentagon was hit, and the pictures show a huge, gaping hole that looks nothing like it would had a plane hit it. But that's really not what I want to focus on here.

I was talking to a friend last night. He said his professors on that day kept saying that the world had changed. And I suppose, it had changed. It's amazing that something like this happens and it affects the rest of the world, not just your country. It affected every country that was getting oil from the Middle East. It started a war in Afghanistan that not just the United States was involved in. It carried over into the Iraq war. Years later, the leader of the group that carried out this attack is supposedly found and killed by the United States army. If nothing else, it changed the perspective people had on the United States. People had always loved the United States for one reason or another. This brought the whole world into a sort of solidarity with the United States. But...Why? There are tragedies that happen all over the planet. You don't see schools in Germany and North America letting kids out early because there are massacres happening in Africa. You don't have a moment of silence every day for the people who are victims of terrorism in the Middle East. But on this day, the most powerful country in the world gets attacked, and the whole world stands still.

I understand WHY it was this way in general. As I said, the US is the most powerful country on the planet, so people shut up and pay attention when something like this happens. I suppose that when things go badly for the US, the rest of the world worries what will happen to their countries because of trade and that kind of thing. So maybe people were more worried about the effect this might have on their countries in terms of economics.

But, for example, on July 22, 2011, in Norway, a "lone wolf terrorist" (as he's called on Wikipedia) attacked mostly adults with a car bomb in Oslo and mostly children on the island of Utøya. That was a horrible thing to have happened. Granted, not as many people died in that situation as in the attack on 9/11, and it got worldwide attention, but I'm sure no one was really allowed to leave school early that day, I'm sure they didn't have TVs on in every classroom. The world wasn't drastically changed that day. There were, however, many posts on Facebook about how horrible a tragedy it was and we should remember the victims. If Facebook had been around, I'm sure the same thing would have happened on 9/11, just like it does today in remembrance. Then again, there ware terrorist bombings on the London Underground on July 7, 2005. And then, lots of countries stood together in solidarity again, saying "this proves we need a war on terror! Us against them!" But isn't a crazy Norwegian guy who wants to kill children also a terrorist? Where were the countries standing in solidarity against him?

I just feel it's unfair to stop the whole world when something happens in the United States, but not when something happens in Norway. Lives were lost just the same. The life of a businessman in a Twin Tower is not more important than the life of someone working in the executive government quarter in Norway. Obviously, people in Norway were more shaken up about that situation than we were here, because Norway is a small country very far away. But it seems to me that people in places outside of the US were just as shaken up by 9/11 as people in the States. What makes it that way? How is it so engrained in the world's population's heads that the US is this more important place than anywhere else on Earth? If history were rewritten so that, I don't know, Canada was the most powerful country on Earth and not the US, and someone flew planes into a couple of their office buildings, would the world have reacted the same way? I think it probably would have.

This seems very confusing to me. On the one hand, we have this "grass is greener" complex as humans. I have met lots of people during my travels in Europe who have assumed that the US is an amazing place and better than where they lived. I've also met people who hate the US. But more so, people who are fascinated by it, and I think would jump at the chance to live there. They don't realize, sometimes, how good they have it in their own countries. (I'm talking Europe here, not, like, Africa. The US is definitely better than some countries in Africa, I hate to say it.) But at the same time, they are very proud of their countries. So they have this loyalty to their countries and their people, but they have a "grass is greener" complex.

Man, humans are weird.

I also find it kind of interesting how the world works in reaction to something like this. A bunch of countries (NATO) stood together to attack Afghanistan because of this whole thing. People get so angry, they want their tragedies avenged. I get that. But you would think that a bunch of countries standing together would promote peace, not more war. Or maybe that's just how I wish it would be.

Anyway, all this crap aside...9/11 was a horrible tragedy. Even if it had happened in another country, and even if the whole world hadn't stopped for that tragedy, it's disturbing. There were many victims, and they must be remembered. I have said before and I'll say again that the terrorists were also victims - of brainwashing, of a violent sect of their religion, and were victims in their deaths as well. Most people will not talk about how they can see why the terrorists were upset with the US and why they don't like them. Especially in the States. If you sympathize, you will be given an earful of patriotism, even sometimes by very liberal people. 

I'm just saying...The US is not the best country on Earth. It's far better than many other countries, yes. But it's not the best. And every country has its problems. People need to put the world into perspective and realize there is no place that is the best. We are all just people trying to get through every day alive. Mourn for the victims in tragedies all over the world. Tragedies in Africa, Asia, hell, even eastern Europe. Feel for everyone on this planet, because they are human, too. One human life is not better or worth more than another.



I Choose...

This makes me wonder why I'm still at my job:



Especially the "I choose...to be useful, not used" part.

I have half a mind to put in my 2 weeks notice today.

Love is My Religion

One reason I wanted to start this blog was to explore and talk about my spirituality, hence the name "Spiritu:Re:Ality." I haven't really done that yet, so here we go.

In 2004, I came across the term "pagan" for the second time in my life. I came across the concept for the first time during high school, while I was still attending the very traditional high school, before I switched to the very non-traditional school which benefited so much in making me who I am today. So, in 2004, something switched on inside me, and I started thinking, "I want to explore this pagan thing." I started networking with people online, especially with a group of pagan women in Colorado, and met the person who would become the High Priestess of the first coven I ever was part of.



Maybe I should back up. What is paganism? The word "pagan" comes from the Latin word "paganus," which means "country dweller." (Thank you, Wikipedia.) Many people know it as a term describing anything not Christian, but there is much more to it than that. Pagans feel a strong connection to nature and their ancestors, whether they be European, Asian, African, etc. Sometimes pagans experience a strong connection to all of the above. Many pagans see the divine as being female and male at once, and call on a Goddess and God. Others work with just a Goddess, others with just a God. There are many different types of pagans, but the one thing that connects all pagans is the fact that spiritual power can be drawn from nature, and that nature can heal, enlighten, and strengthen someone. There is also energy that flows through every person and every piece of nature, and this energy can be harnessed to make things happen. Pagans conduct rituals, which are very much like praying with a more hands-on approach, and often include certain herbs that are burned as incense, certain stones that contain certain types of energy (such as healing, or invigorating, etc.), and the words that are spoken are more action-based ("May such and such happen") rather than request-based ("Please, God, make such and such happen").

So, there's paganism in a nutshell.

I'm not sure what attracted me to paganism in the first place. I think it was the combination of connection to nature, and the magic of the rituals. (And I mean magic both figuratively and literally - pagans see the manipulation of energy as magic, but I also mean a sense of magic; the feeling of excitement, of something new, of something actually happening.) So, I started studying and practicing with the woman I mentioned above, and joined a coven (a group) of amazing, strong women.



Also in high school, before I decided to look into paganism more, I discovered the Unity Church. My dad had told me his mom took him and his sisters to the Unity Church often, and he said they had a different idea of the Bible and Jesus than most Christians. So I went to one of their services, and I was amazed. They spoke about Eastern religions and philosophy, they meditated during the service, they sang and danced and just experienced joy. Their website said they welcomed people of any and all religions, that they are called the Unity Church because they accept all people and unify them. I remember, after one of the services I attended, there was a woman dressed in all black wearing a pentacle. I knew what that pentacle meant, because I had been introduced to paganism before. I noticed people were not staring at her like she was a freak. They were smiling at her, welcoming her to the church, and treating her like a human being. I was amazed.

I also attended the youth group at the Unity Church for a good while, and actually, I think that is why I decided to look into paganism again. There was a guy in the group who came regularly and wore a pentacle, and I asked him about it and he told me a little about it. And it was at that moment I realized you can be more than one "religion," you can experience more than one type of spirituality at once. Even after I started practicing paganism seriously, I went to Unity Church events and services quite often.

I had always felt a connection to the idea, or the energy, if you will, of Jesus Christ. But I did not feel connected to how he was portrayed in most Christian churches. I've always thought it was a silly notion that a guy died on a cross to absolve me of my sins...First of all, I've never believed in sins, and second of all, how can someone just do that? (If this is something you believe, by all means, I am not saying you shouldn't. It was just silly to me and doesn't work for me.) The Unity Church sees Jesus as a great master with great teachings, and the Bible as one big metaphor that can be interpreted and applied to our lives today. They take out of the Bible what works for creating positive outcomes in our lives, and leave the parts that don't serve them. I can totally wrap my head around that, because I have been doing that spiritually for years.

Those are my basic thoughts on my spirituality. I dabble sometimes in Jewish paganism also (Judaism and paganism are very similar, believe it or not). I attend a Unity Church pretty regularly and am a proud member at one. I have been working with a coven since I've moved here and have learned a lot. I do yoga regularly and it is a moving meditation with effects that trickle into the rest of my life. I'm more a pantheist than anything, and truly believe the Divine, whatever word you want to use for it, is in me and around me in nature and the world, and it is not an entity that is "up there" looking down on me from above. And I've discovered that I feel called to the energy of Mary Magdalene. I love my "grocery store" spirituality. It's what works for me.



But I'm starting to realize, I can't be boxed in. I can't devote all of my time to one group, or one thing. I take what works for me, I leave what doesn't. In my view, all our versions of the divine are describing the same thing, just using different words. My spiritual path will always unfold before me in ways that I never imagined. I look back on my path and see all the wonderful things I have learned. I've taken some things, and left others, and will probably continue doing this forever.




Well, I've been published!

No, it's not the novel I've always dreamed of publishing, but it's a start.

I'm afraid to post the link to the article here, because while most people who read this blog know who I am, many do not, and I don't know if I want everyone knowing my name and whatnot.

But basically, an article I wrote was published on a site that I read almost daily, and I'm super excited that it happened! They also pay! *Gasp*

I have been working on said novel, however. I somehow got this great idea, after hearing about all this Todd Akin crap. It inspired a futuristic, speculative fiction type of story and I've been excited to write it every day, even if I only write for 5 minutes. I've been doing it by hand with a little notebook I carry around with me, because carrying my laptop is too heavy, and my tablet has some annoying habits in the word processor. And the notebook is leather bound and pretty and makes me think it's actually a book. It's all about appearances sometimes, kids.

Some things are looking up. On the other hand, I'm having a logistical nightmare importing my car into Canada and exporting it out of the US (that should be the other way around, but whatever). It's super complicated, and I was given wrong information before I even moved here, so that set everything into motion.

Last summer, I was told that since I'm only a temporary resident here, I don't have to import my car. Well, that's according to the Feds as I've found out. The province wants me to register it, and I was supposed to do that within 90 days of moving here, or something. Well, I didn't know that until well after 90 days. In order to register it, I have to import it. In order to import it, I have to export it.

The Registrar of Imported Vehicle's website says that you have to inform the US border that you are exporting the car at least 72 hours before you do so. It says you should have all your paperwork available. It lists the phone numbers of the US border crossings. What it does not say, however, is that you have to bring the car to the States if it's already out of the States, then submit the export paperwork (which you can ONLY do once the car is in the States), then leave the car for at least 3 business days (which does not include weekends or holidays), and only then are you able to export it. I didn't find this out until I contacted the border crossing and they're like, "Surprise!"

The other super fun thing about this is that my registration from the States expires, well, tomorrow. The Canadian border agency says that I should bring all my paperwork, and I asked about registration and insurance, and they said I should bring everything I have. Which makes me think they might look at my registration. Which means if it's expired, there might be complications. So my mother is at the registry office in the States right this minute trying to register the car while I'm up here.

Logistical. Nightmare.

When this is over, I am going to throw a party or something. Get really drunk and celebrate that it's been done and I don't have to worry about it anymore.

The next thing I'll have to worry about is applying for permanent residency. But that's a whole 'nother story...

I get to deal with this twice next week...Yay.

P.S. This is my 50th post! Huzzah!

To quit or not to quit? That is the question.

Well, it's day 3 of "let's keep shoving the review of your review into the indefinite future," meaning, it happened twice last week and has happened again. It has become clear to me that I am not important to this company, and I am questioning why I should stay here any longer. Right now, I am the only one in the office and I have half a mind to leave and never come back. I am fed up with being ignored, promised things that aren't delivered, and basically, everything about this job. Apparently, they don't need me, otherwise they would be giving me a raise in a timely fashion, they would be excited to do my review with me for said raise, they would give me more work to do, and they would basically respect me as a worker and a human being. While they are not being outright disrespectful, they are pulling my chain, and I am fucking sick of it.

I was told by my boss on Thursday that I "need to stop stressing" about the review of my review (background story: my boss was supposed to do a review with me after 3 months of working full time, and it got pushed back and pushed back until the executive assistant finally did it. Now I'm supposed to be talking to my boss about that review, and here we are now). I thought that was extremely inappropriate because a) I am not stressing, I am just annoyed, and b) It was obvious the executive assistant texted my boss after I heard that it would be rescheduled again, I said to the assistant, "I'd like this to happen sooner rather than later because it's been rescheduled twice already" and she started getting snippy and saying "this is out of my hands." I understand it is, and I even said, "I'm not saying this is your fault or you're doing anything wrong, I'm just saying I hope it happens soon." Then my boss says I need to stop stressing, so of course, he was told what I said by the assistant. It's very high school.

I was also told a few weeks ago that if I were not here, they would just hire a Canadian to do my job. This was because I found out that they are taking 15 months to process applications for permanent residency, and I can't apply until January of next year, and my work permit expires September 1st of next year, which means they would have only 9 months to process it if I were to stay in the country, otherwise I have to go back to the States, or I would automatically change to visitor status and not be able to work, or my job would have to write them a letter saying that by having me work for them, they would not be denying a job to a Canadian national. Hence, the accountant (who is also a semi-manager-supervisor-person of mine) saying "well, if you weren't here, we would just hire someone else."

So, obviously, they can just hire someone else. No problem.

So why am I so freaked out about leaving? Why am I not just walking out of here? Why am I not quitting?

I don't know. I guess it would make this whole work permit and applying for permanent residency thing more complicated if I didn't have any work in between. Which sounds like I should look for another job, go on interviews, and then quit when I have something else lined up. That means that I would have 3 employers to put down on my permanent residency application, but I guess that isn't such a big deal.

But part of me really wants to just get up and leave and not come back. I could say I'm not feeling well today and go home, and I'm sure no one would bat an eye. I could go home and start looking for jobs. In fact maybe I will do that.

I guess it just sucks when you have to end things. Quitting a job sucks. And I guess I don't really have to do it, but it means putting up with their bullshit for however long I do decide to be here. Do I want to go through that? Do I want them to keep stringing me along, hoping that something will finally happen? I have already tried to express my concern and I have either been ignored, or I've been told I need to "stop stressing." I have a feeling that's what's going to keep happening. So why should I keep putting myself through it? Just to have the convenience of a job that I'm starting to hate? I don't know if that makes sense anymore, for my sanity.

I don't know what to do.
...Yet, I am getting overwhelmed by what is going on in the world and can't get my thoughts straight.

There's this Todd Akin thing...Which gets me totally riled up, and it makes me wonder how people who are so stupid can get into Congress (rhetorical wondering, FYI...I know the answers and don't want to discuss them now). I mean, a woman's body shuts down when she gets raped and she doesn't get pregnant? What about the 32,101 women who get pregnant every year from rape in the US?
What about this woman who got pregnant from rape? By the way, that is a great open letter to Todd Akin and I suggest you read it.

But, he did apologize...And he sounds sincere in his apology. And I have at least a tiny bit of respect for someone who can say something so fucked up and then apologize for saying it. A lot of people would go the opposite and say "Fuck you guys, I'm right and I stand by my convictions!" Instead, he humbly said, "I apologize, and I ask for your forgiveness." That is a very hard thing to do, whether you're a politician or Joe Blow from down the street. I mean, it could be that his advisors were like, "Yo, Todd, you gotta make a public apology or else you're going to have to leave this race." (The human race? HA HA. Just kidding.) But I don't think he's a very good actor, and he sounds sincere.

Does that mean I like him? Hell no. He's a bigot, he doesn't get his facts straight before talking to the public, and he doesn't support abortion of a baby conceived when a woman is raped. But...He showed some balls by apologizing. I think a lot of people would be like, "Still, he said what he said, and he's an idiot." Yes. But change happen in baby steps, and that apology is one of them, I think. Maybe now he'll think more about his stance on abortion. It opened up the chance for dialogue between people about these kinds of things. The revolution will not be televised and all that jazz.

 OMG, OMG this is so freaking funny, and there are more just like it!

Well, I guess that's all I wanted to write, really. There's a lot going on in the world, but that's at the forefront of my mind right now. I could write about Avril Lavigne's engagement to what's his face of Nickleback...You know, the one with the long hair and the voice that sounds like nails on a chalkboard to me...But really, that's not important. Scary, yes (I hope they don't have kids). But not important.

I mean, what is it with celebrities dating for 6 months and then getting married? I swear, celebrities rush into these things like no other. Sounds like a publicity stunt to me.

But it's not important. No siree.

God I hope they don't have kids...Two mediocre singers/musicians (if you can call them that) having kids? Either their kids will end up totally boring, or they'll be the opposite and be musical geniuses. That'll be the day.

But, Avril Lavigne and what's his face are not important. I don't care. Obviously.


Riding Horses and Doing Yoga

Had a riding lesson on Sunday, followed by a 4-hour yoga workshop. It was such a good day. I wore my legs out riding the horse, and at the workshop only did 1 hour of yoga, but both were great workouts and I am sore today. But it's a good sore. I was really tired last night, and fell asleep while watching Arrested Development on Netflix, but I felt SO GOOD.

Horses are amazing. There's something about sitting on that saddle, swaying back and forth as they take their steps, communicating with them by just pulling the reins a little bit, or looking down, or squeezing certain muscles. It's amazing that you can communicate with an animal by making very subtle changes to the way you are sitting on them. They read every muscle twitch, squeeze, or release. They can tell when you are gripping the reins and when you're relaxing your grip. They know which way to move when squeezing your legs a certain way. They know to slow down when you look down because they're trying to be careful. No wonder people rode horses as their primary mode of transportation for a long time. Hell, I'd do it now...If it didn't take so long...And weren't so dangerous.

In my lessons, we've just been walking and trotting, nothing major. But my instructor yesterday had me trot in circles, literally. It's hard to actually keep the horse trotting while going in a circle, oddly enough. He would slow down and get lazy, or sometimes he'd think what I was doing with my body meant he should slow down. You have to be careful about what you're doing, because as I said before, they interpret certain things as commands. But when you do finally have that synchronicity with the horse, you're doing all the right things, and they're responding in the way they're supposed to, it's smooth, and magical. I just love it!



Also, because you are using so many muscles to guide the horse, you are working every part of your body at once. I think swimming is the only other activity that will do that. So my stomach is sore, my legs are super sore, my arms are sore, my shoulders are sore...And doing yoga after riding a horse doesn't help with the soreness factor either. Yesterday evening my legs were shaky, but when I got home, I lounged around and watched shows on Netflix. I felt I had deserved it.

So in case you can't tell, I've been feeling better. I wish I could do that much exercise every day, but I don't know how I would make that work. I also wish I could take riding lessons every week, but I just can't afford it right now, so I go every other week. Being on a horse just clears your mind, even though you are thinking about lots of things at once. It's hard to get carried away thinking about your everyday life when you're on a horse, at least, at first, when you're learning (or re-learning in my case). But I think I could use mind-clearing activities a lot more. Yoga and riding are the perfect combination, it seems.
This article on xoJane has restored my faith in what I am doing with my life.

You should read it, even if you don't read the rest of my post here. It's about fat shaming, not judging a book by its cover, all that good stuff.

The basic gist is summed up really well in the following:

"To paraphrase Marilyn Wann: The only thing you can tell for sure by looking at a fat person is the degree of your own bias against fat people."

"A stance against fat-shaming is not a matter of trying to make anyone feel bad for enjoying exercise/being vegan/wanting to lose weight. After all, there are lots of fat people who enjoy exercise immensely. There are lots of fat people who are vegan. There are fat people who do all kinds of things, because fat people exist in a dizzying variety of perspectives, experiences and lifestyles. Just like not-fat people."

"I choose not to diet, not to try to lose weight...my body’s dramatic response to starvation (and really, that’s what a diet is) makes it impossible for me to lose weight and still have a life that is at all worth living. My priorities are different..."

"Even for those few who manage to beat the odds and maintain a significant weight loss long-term, the price is constant vigilance, and I can’t live with that degree of food obsession and also be at all mentally stable...You may not understand this. That’s cool. We don’t have to fully get each other; we just need to mutually respect one another."

I don't think I'm fat. Sometimes I think I LOOK fat, but I don't think I am fat. I have decided to do what Lesley (the author of the above article) is doing - shifting my priorities to what is healthy, regardless of how it will make me look, and enjoying things in life instead of obsessing over things that distract me from the things in life that I should be paying attention to, like time with friends, or a really awesome piece of cheesecake, or even doing yoga (or writing run-on sentences, apparently).

The one thing that I ask myself is, "Will my body let me do things like yoga, take walks, jog, or hike?" If I am sitting around a lot eating fries and hamburgers every day, it's going to be harder to do the physical things I want to. That is one thing that bothers me about having a desk job; it's like I can feel my arteries withering up from too much sitting.

But in reality, I can do those things, and while I'm still trying to get back into things like jogging and hiking, and it's going slowly, I know I will get there again. And I may not lose a ton of weight in the process, and that's fine. As long as I'm feeling well enough to do those things, I don't really care. I can have a huge pudge and a round ass, as long as I can climb a mountainside without feeling like I'm going to die!

I want to feel comfortable in my skin, regardless of what people think. There have been times in my life when my family members have made comments about my weight (fat-shaming, even if they meant well), which was always really hurtful, because I feel like I gained weight very quickly and it just has been a huge struggle to lose it since then. It's like I was a skinny kid one day, then I hit puberty and the next day I gained a bunch of weight. But I'm trying to put those comments behind me and focus on feeling good, whether that means I have curves and or I don't. I also know that my boyfriend would be really sad if I didn't have my curves anymore. But I'm not doing any of this for him or for anyone else, I'm doing it for me. (By "doing it" I mean focusing on my health and what makes me feel good.) I'm not doing it for the media who think I'm not toned enough, I'm not doing it for my mother, I'm not doing it for my sister, I'm not doing it for my father, I'm not doing it for my friends...I'm doing it for me. Trying to find the happy medium where I feel good and balanced, healthy and lively and alive and strong.

Damn girl! That's hot! (Though it makes me sad that the website it was on had an ad for losing weight with Slimband...Totally not the point. By the way, this model is Tara Lynn, and she's like "I don't care what the scale says, yo!" OK, maybe she didn't say "yo," but that was basically what she said.)
OK for once I am actually NOT tired. This has been a good week in terms of fatigue, and that could be due to the fact that I've exercised pretty much every day. Except I may not today. I really need to cook and do laundry. Maybe I can dance around the kitchen while I cook or something.

My life has been good, honestly. But, I warn you, there will probably be some moaning in the paragraphs ahead.

My period is about to start, so I feel like crap. Whenever it's about to start, the day, or two days, before it does, I start feeling reeeeeal bad about myself. I start looking at other girls and comparing myself to them and seeing all my faults. Like today, I feel fat. My stomach is pooching out too much. Woe is me. I also start looking at my own life and finding everything that is wrong with it. "My life isn't going anywhere, my boyfriend doesn't compliment me as much as I wish he would, I don't want to do this job anymore, I wish I could be more flexible in my work, I wish I were a writer, I wish I had more time to write, I don't have enough money to do the things I want to do, I don't have enough time to do what I want to do." Etc. etc. etc. It just spirals down from there.

Then I start thinking about those memes. You know, like this...

...Of course I go on Google trying to find an example and there's, like, nothing. WTF?

OK, like this:





Or this:




OK granted I really like those quotes, and any other day I would be like "yay, I'm going to print that and put it on my bathroom mirror so I see it every day!" (Do I ever do this? No...) But on the day before it's time to surf the crimson wave, I'm like, "FUCK YOU INSPIRATIONAL MEME. YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT IT'S LIKE TO BE ME. MY LIFE ISN'T GOING ANYWHERE, MY BOYFRIEND DOESN'T COMPLIMENT ME AS MUCH AS I WISH HE WOULD, I DON'T WANT TO DO THIS JOB ANYMORE" (insert the rest of my aforementioned list here).

What is up with my hormones? I know this happens to, like, everyone else who gets their period. But for me, it's the day or two before it starts, then I get it and I feel bloated and tired and like I want to eat all the junk food on planet Earth, but I don't feel all bad about myself. It's just the day(s) before. So weird.

Does anyone know what happens to our hormones in our bodies when we're about to get our periods? Would be interesting to find out.

Anyway, right now, I feel like I'm stuck. I'm at a dead end job, and I don't take the initiative to change that (like, sitting down and fracking writing something so I can try to get published). Don't get me wrong, when I have things to do at work, I like my job. But lately, I've been sitting there...staring at the screen, bored...Actually, even if I have things to do, I don't want to do them.

Where's my motivation? What killed it? What do I do about it? I have no clue. It's like the fact that nothing is moving in my life is making me also not move. Oh wait. I think it's the other way around. When I don't move, my life doesn't move. So what am I supposed to do?

I sometimes feel like one day, I just won't come into work, I'll quit silently, never go back, and do whatever the hell I want. (Hands up if you've ever felt like doing this.) I actually have done that in the past. I called in one day and said "I'm not coming in anymore." And that was that. I didn't worry about the consequences, I just did it because I was unhappy being at that job and I had to get out of there. Now, I go, "But my bills! My rent! My cats! My this, that, and the other thing!"

So my conclusion is...I need balance. I've had this idea to work part time and work on writing the other part of the time. I don't know if I can do it financially, and I certainly can't yet, and I don't know if I'll be able to save up enough money to be able to do it in the next year. But, it's something I'm seriously considering. Until then? Finding any spare minute I can to work towards something productive, like a novel, or a screenplay, or something. I want to be my own boss. Well, I should probably start working on that now before I end up 50 and sad I didn't try.

Alright memes. You win. This time.
I don't know if I can do this anymore. Life, that is. Not when I'm feeling so tired all the time. It was better for a few days, and now it's back.

I think there are a few possibilities here:

1. My medication. I started taking Celexa in 2006, then stopped in 2011 and started Cymbalta. I took that for a year, but I was tired all the time, so I started Celexa again because I never had major fatigue problems with Celexa. I started it again in February 2011, and in March, suddenly started feeling tired and have felt that way since Maybe in the year I wasn't taking Celexa, my body changed somehow so I now have a different reaction to it.

2. I'm understimulated at work. Well, this is something I know already. There are times when I have things to do and I'm engaged all day. There are more times that I am bored, staring at my computer screen, falling asleep. So maybe sitting here so long is what is making me so tired. My body isn't moving enough, my brain isn't working enough, and I'm turning into a puddle of jelly in business casual clothes.

3. I'm not exercising enough outside of work. Yeah, I was doing yoga every day and feeling better. But one thing happens that takes you out of the routine, and it snowballs and soon you find you haven't done yoga in a month. Ok that's not true. I've gone to some classes. But between money problems and being busy, yoga has taken a backseat. Not good. I need to schedule it somehow, just like I would any other activity in my life. If someone asks if I want to get together on Thursday at 6, I say "no, I can't," because I have a date with my yoga mat. I've been thinking about getting a monthly pass at a yoga studio. They offer tons of classes and it's cheaper to do that than it is to keep dropping in at different places. But, then I realized I could pay around $60 for a YMCA or YWCA membership, where they offer lots of classes, and not just yoga, and I could even go there on my lunch break and use the yoga studio when it's not being used. Booya. So that's the plan now.

Sorry this post isn't very controversial or thought-provoking. It's just me whining and moaning about how hard my life is. I saw a video today that was a white, middle aged, middle class guy talking about how white guys should stop complaining so much. He said something along the lines of, "When women are taking all your job and getting paid more than you are, I'll complain with you, I'll be in the front of the line at the protest. But until then, shut up." And it got me thinking about how I struggle almost every day with this fatigue stuff, and other things, and I wonder if I can really justify complaining. I have it so much better than so many people. I have a roof over my head, an income, a great family, great friends, a hot boyfriend, I'm not dying of cancer (that I know of), I have food in my fridge, clean running water, and I can wear whatever I want every day (within reason). But...when you're not feeling well most of the time, it's really hard to be grateful. You just don't have the energy. It's hard to say "I have it so much better than all those starving kids in [INSERT COUNTRY HERE]," because when you don't feel well, it's hard to enjoy what you have. And you may have a roof over your head, but you don't feel well enough to acknowledge it.

Yeah, yeah, I know everyone admires those cancer survivors who are like, "I survived cancer, I can do anything, I'm thankful for every second I have!" And that's great. Good for them. But the reality is that most of us who are struggling can't summon up that much positivity. I feel like my body is breaking down, people. I'm so sorry if I can't be happy sunny shiny all the time. I'm so sorry if that pisses you off or makes you uncomfortable. I'm so sorry that the way I deal with this doesn't match what you think I should do. I'M SO SORRY THIS IS MY LIFE AND NOT YOURS.

People don't get it. They don't understand what it's like to be in someone else's body. They can give all the suggestions they want, they can say they understand, they can claim they have some answers, but most of the time, they don't.

I know what I have to do. I know I have to get back into my yoga routine and do more exercise. I know I shouldn't let anything stop me. I just have to keep telling myself that. So please, just let me be frustrated about this in my own way. Understand that I have to sometimes back out of plans we've made. Understand that I can't be as social as I want to be right now. Understand that I'm in a unique situation and that it frustrates me just as much as it probably frustrates you.

I can has willpower?

Is there such a thing as willpower?

We constantly hear that our diets don't work, we can't get ourselves to the gym, we can't do x y and z because we don't have the willpower. But this book my friend told me about a few months ago says that willpower isn't the problem. There are 6 influences in our daily lives that lead us to stray off the path towards our goals...Ourselves, the people around us, the media, etc. The book is called "Change Anything" by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, David Maxfield, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler. Yeah, that's a lot of people. But it was a really great book that helped me to start eating better...But then I just kinda stopped doing it. It was really weird.

So, does that mean I don't have strong willpower because I stopped reading the book and doing the "plan" I had set up while reading the book?

Maybe I need to set up a "plan" to start living according to my Change anything plan again. That sounds like a vicious cycle.

When I was using the book, I was really making progress. My goal was to eat mindfully for every meal unless I was with other people at a restaurant or party or potluck. Eating mindfully means not doing anything besides eating, really tasting every flavour, smelling every smell, feeling the textures with every bite. It causes people to actually stop eating when they are satisfied, it stops them from overeating, and it reduces cravings. It was really wonderful when I was doing it, but I guess life got busy and I found it harder and harder to eat mindfully when I was always rushed.

So I guess you could say one of my outside influences is my schedule, and my work. Unfortunately, those can't go away right now, so how can I work around them? That's the ultimate question with everything right now. I want to be doing some kind of exercise every day, I want to be writing every day, I want to be able to balance everything better every day. For some reason, that is so freaking hard.

Is there anyone out there who is able to balance their lives well? What's your secret?

Strangely enough, I'm pretty good at balancing poses in yoga. I guess I have to just somehow apply that to my daily life...In yoga, you stare at a spot that is not moving in order to keep your balance, and you try to feel every corner of your foot on the ground or floor, and you keep a little microbend in your knee so that you have more of a solid foundation and your muscles in your balancing leg are keeping you up. Maybe that can be seen as a metaphor for reaching a goal...Your goal is the fixed, unmoving point you are staring at. Your feet are what bring you forward to that goal. You have a solid foundation - a plan - for getting to that goal. Voila. Metaphor. Hmmmm...

Masculinism...WTF?

I'm disturbed by this masculinist movement.

OK, so, I get that feminists came in and they went all extreme and were like "we're tired of being walked all over by men! Men suck! Women rule! Boys drool!" *Battle cry* ...And the like. They really went extreme, so I understand why men would react and become "masculinists." But I think it's dangerous to go either way. Dangerous because it creates just another uneven playing field, which we know does not bode well for society. And not only is it dangerous, it's also just stupid!

I was walking down the street with my boyfriend one day and ran across these posters on a telephone pole:



So, we have masculinists in the city where I live, apparently. OK, I'm going to give it away, after not saying it outright all this time. We have masculinists in Vancouver. (Most of the people who read my blog know it's me anyway.)

What really bothers me about these pictures is the idea that people are saying all men are rapists and men can stop rape. First of all, I don't know anyone saying all men are rapists. I know there are people saying that in some areas of the world, a very high percentage of rape is done by men. But all men? Don't think so. Not even extreme feminists say that ALL men are rapists. And saying "men can stop rape" is a bad thing? Men CAN stop rape. Men who rape can stop. They can choose not to. Unless they are really deranged, I suppose, but then they should probably be in an institution being taken care of, and there's not enough of that going on either (that's a whole 'nother blog post). But yes, men CAN stop rape. They can stop themselves from doing it, they can educate others. That goes for women, too, of course. Women can educate not just men, not just women, but PEOPLE about rape.

Then the second sign. "Sperm! My body! My choice!"

OK, I don't disagree that men have the right to choose to do whatever they want with their bodies, just like women do, but...This just doesn't make any sense. Men produce sperm for their whole lives. Just look at Hugh Hefner - men have sex, and ejaculate, until they are OLD. (I don't know for a fact that Hugh is still ejaculating, but I'm willing to bet he's having a pretty good time in his mansion.) Women can have sex until they're old, but making babies? Not so much. Not after a certain point. Women have limited eggs and limited time to procreate. So, implying that male sperm is somehow being limited is just, well, weird. And I haven't heard ANYONE say, "Men should not be allowed to get vasectomies!" So, what are they complaining about anyway?

My biggest issue with these types of things is the extremism. I don't like extreme feminists, and I don't like the above. I am an equalist, and lots of people will say that it could never happen, with human nature and society we can never be totally equal, blah blah blah. Maybe not. But we can try. We can start treating people with the respect we want to receive from them (the golden rule anyone?). We can stop saying men are better than women, women are better than men. We can acknowledge that we are all on our own paths making our own journeys through life, and no one has a right to say what is the right way to do it. (I mean, unless people are getting hurt in the process, and yes, you can argue that abortion hurts people, but...Let's just not go there, ok? The point is, if someone chooses to do that to themselves, fine. There are people who choose to hurt themselves, not just by abortion but in other ways, and they, in my opinion, are allowed to do that...To themselves. I'd rather they didn't, but who am I to say they can't? When it comes to hurting someone else, on purpose...Yeah, not so much. I digress!)

So, we have the Vancouver Men's Right's Activism group. Their homepage says: "The MRM is a non-violent, non-political movement comprised of men and women who believe, based on a growing body of evidence that the human rights of males are being systematically removed by activists, lobbyists, politicians and academicians who cling to a misguided and wrongheaded belief that masculinity is fundamentally violent or harmful."

Non-violent. Cool. I can get behind that. Non-political? I'm not so sure that's true, especially since they think the human rights of males are being removed, which involves politics, sorry to say. (And is "academicians" a word?) I can also get behind the fact that they feel they're being wronged. Fine. But I still say: no one is telling a man they can't get a vasectomy. No one is telling a man they can't have a job. No one is giving a man a lower paycheque JUST because they're male. Etc.

And it goes on: "A few examples include that Men die roughly 5 years earlier than women, men commit suicide at 4 times the rate of women. In addition, 93% of workplace deaths are male, and while courts enforce financial obligations to women with children,  they have no reproductive rights." What other circumstances are going on here? Why are men dying 5 years earlier? Why are they committing suicide? Maybe it has NOTHING to do with feminism or whether or not males can do whatever they want. Maybe it has to do with something completely different. Maybe it's just coincidence. And where did that data come from anyway? I'm not going to believe something someone just slapped on the internet and called it truth. As for reproductive rights, they kind of have a point there, but I have definitely heard of cases where men were able to get custody because the circumstances with the mother were not right or safe. And if men are complaining about having to pay money to help keep their children healthy, educated, and safe - then they probably shouldn't want to have anything to do with their kids anyway, because kids take MONEY. Hate to say it, but it's true.

This concludes my little rant about this silly masculinist movement. Everything is being completely blown out of proportion, just like early feminists and many feminists today blow their situations out of proportion. Equalism, baby. Equalism.


The Olympics are hard to find...

I'm frustrated. I don't have cable right now because I can't afford it, so watching the Olympics has been almost impossible. I can find live streams, but those are usually happening when I'm at work. There are NO videos of things after the fact, at least, none that I can find. I have really wanted to watch fencing and the equestrian sports, and because it's not that popular, I haven't been able to find videos. I was able to find a video of the women's gymnastics, another sport I like. Sigh. It seems weird to me when corporations are able to determine when and how you get to see things that are supposed to be international, countries coming together to compete in a friendly way and put aside their differences. Apparently NBC is only showing delayed videos and nothing live. That's just weird.

Of course, the only gymnastics video I found was from an American station, so they're really focusing on the Americans and not on the other countries. I really wanted to see Canada compete, it's the first time they've gotten to the finals, apparently.

I do have to say, though, the Americans are so strong.

Anyway. Speaking of athletes, I read an article saying that a lot of people compare themselves to athletes when it comes to body image and weight loss, which is really not healthy. Athletes are special, not everyone on the planet is going to look like an athlete or be an athlete. They have to eat very specific foods, they train like crazy, they aren't just normal people on the street. Why do we put people on such pedestals and try to be like them instead of just being happy with who we are, what we have, and how we look? (This is more of a rhetorical question...I don't have an immediate answer, except - society and culture. Somewhere down the line someone really screwed it up for people, making image and looks one of the most important things in life, especially girls.)

This is a bit of a random post, and I apologize for that. I hope you are all able to catch the Olympics, unlike me!
(Where does the blue part come from anyway?)

I went to a Chinese wedding with "Tom" on Sunday. It was his high school friend's wedding. Honestly, it was awesome. The ceremony was kind of religious, they quoted from the Bible and whatnot. It was also done in Chinese and English, which I thought was pretty cool. The reception was at a restaurant, and there was TONS of food. I was so stuffed by the end. The bride had this nice dress that was sequined yet pretty simple, and her she changed into a red dress partway through the reception (I learned new things that night - apparently red is very lucky in Chinese culture). The groom got super drunk at the reception, doing shots with everyone. It was nice meeting some of Tom's high school friends, too. Like we've gotten to that point in our relationship where we introduce each other to our friends. OK, it's more like we've gotten to that point in Tom's relationship with me where he introduces me to his friends. He had already met some of my friends the first time we dated. Anyway, it's nice to know that he is comfortable enough to do that now. Also, we experiened another rite of passage - making our relationship "official" on Facebook (but of course as an open relationship). I have learned I just need to be patient with him and wait things out. Which is fine by me. I want to take things slowly, too.

Anyway, at this wedding, I couldn't help feeling kind of warm and fuzzy. I'm not really into the typical idea of marriage. I don't really see the point, and I don't really want the church or state to be involved in my decision to have a long term committed relationship with someone. I think it's great when people get married, and I'm happy for them. But the typical marriage thing...I don't know. However, I do like the fact that people celebrate their choice to be in a long term, committed relationship. (I want to specify here that by committed I don't actually mean "til death do us part." I actually mean being committed to working things out together when times get tough, being there for each other through thick and thin, maybe even starting a family together. It doesn't mean you have to be married on paper to have this kind of relationship. And it doesn't mean you have to be monogamous to have this kind - or even traditional "on paper" married - relationship. And in either scenario, things can change. Marriages fall apart, long term "not on paper" relationships fall apart. You have to realize that no matter what scenario you're in. Just wanted to make that clear.)

So, I feel conflicted. There's the feminist, modern, 21st century part of me who is like "fuck this marriage crap. It's antiquated and it was only designed to acquire land and for nobles and royalty to get land and power and wealth." Then there's this other part of me that actually wouldn't mind having some sort of celebration to mark starting a life with someone, not necessarily til death do us part, but for the time being. Then there's this OTHER other part of me that wants to be secure in a relationship for the rest of my life (but the former 2 parts remind that part of me that that is kinda unrealistic).

I look at my cousins - one has gotten married and another is getting married next spring. I'm really so happy for them. I have friends who have gotten married recently, and I'm super happy for them, too. I knew two people who had a ceremony but didn't sign any marriage certificate or anything, so they went a few years, then decided not to renew their vows and went their separate ways (I like that idea, a lot). No matter what people choose to do, it's their choice, it's their life, and I support that as long as they are happy. (Though, even if they are not happy, that's their choice, too...) Hell, if 3 people want to get married to each other, I'm happy for them, too.

I guess a big problem I have with marriage is how it's so rigid. 2 people, and in the US and many other countries, just one man and one woman. That's what bugs me. The government and the church feel the need to tell us what arrangement is right and which are not allowed. That seems pretty twisted to me. So while I wouldn't mind having that ceremony I talked about earlier, I feel like getting the government involved would show that I somehow support this rigid, intolerant structure. So I think I'll stick to handfastings maybe, jumping over a broom and calling it a day. ;)

This?


Or this?





Or this?

 (This could be any combination of genders, this was just all I could find. /Disclaimer)


According to this article, "experts" are saying pot might become legal, and soon. And of course, people are freaking out.

"Caulkins said one of the main reasons for outlawing the drug is to make it riskier to produce and sell, driving up prices and curbing use.  A price collapse after legalization in some states could undermine marijuana laws nationally." OK, Mr. Caulkins, professor at Carnegie Mellon, aren't there ways to create the laws so this doesn't happen? Legalize marijuana and stipulate that there will be price restrictions or something?

Further down in the article: "One option would be to impose strict limits on how much of the drug retailers could sell to each customer." Bam. There you go. Actually, I know dispensaries in Colorado are not allowed to sell more than 2 ounces per day to a certain customer. Unfortunately that does mean that the customer can go to another dispensary and buy 2 more ounces that day, because there is nothing linking the dispensaries together to see if they have bought anything at other dispensaries. (Maybe someone should make a database that all dispensaries have access to...)

The article goes on to say, "Caulkins said Colorado’s proposition would allow residents to obtain a grower’s license fairly easily, making the state a good home for exporters of marijuana.

'They would be able to provide marijuana to New York state markets at one quarter of the current price,' he said, predicting similar price declines in other states."

If we were to compare pot to alcohol...Technically, you are not allowed to buy alcohol and take it to another state, according to this BBC article - I imagine you have to be some sort of "exporter" in order to distribute your brand nationally or something. I know the laws about alcohol are determined by each state, not by the federal government. (Another reason I wonder why the United States is called "United" if the states just do whatever they want.) And maybe it depends on which state you're in, maybe some states allow you to take alcohol out, and some don't.

I digress.

If they make the federal laws from the beginning that you are not allowed to "export" marijuana from state to state, then that solves that problem. I don't see why that wouldn't be an option. When Congress passes a law, they can write whatever they want in it, so why doesn't that get added?

Then you get the question about regulation. The Republicans are all about small government (yet they want to control what you put in your body and what you do with your body...hmmm...), and the Democrats don't seem to mind a little regulation. Alcohol is regulated, as I explained above. You can't take alcohol from Delaware into Pennsylvania? You can't drink unless you're 21? Bars have to close by a certain time at night? You can't sell liquor on Sunday in some states? Etc. etc. That's regulation. So, regulate marijuana. Doesn't seem that hard to me. Eliminate the middle man (and eliminate the "gateway drug" theory, which really only happens when people get pot from a dealer who then introduces them to harder drugs - you don't get that in a dispensary; I should know, I used to work in one), regulate how it's distributed and who can purchase it, and that's that.

In case you can't tell, I'm in favour of legalization. I think it's ridiculous that it is not regulated for adult use. And I think it will be legalized, and soon. Probably in my lifetime. Because things are changing so rapidly. More and more states are adopting medical marijuana laws. More and more people are coming out saying they are in favour of it. Alcohol was made legal again first by prescribing it medicinally. Now we know that alcohol is damaging to our system, and we wouldn't prescribe it medically. Yet we don't have much evidence saying marijuana is damaging (except that smoking it is not a good idea). So if it's safe for your body, why not have it legal? Education is a must, of course. Kids need to learn to use it responsibly, just like with alcohol.

I see no problem with it at all, and many people would back me up.

The government is supposed to represent the people, and let the people decide what they want. Over half of Americans polled are in favour of legalizing marijuana. Doesn't that say something? Shouldn't the government be listening to what the people want?

Oh wait. I forgot. They don't care. The people don't want poverty, but we still have it. The people don't want minimum wage to be so low, but it still is. Etc. etc.

I guess all we can do is hope, and talk, engage in dialogue about these things, write our Congressmen (and women!), and vote. That's probably the most important thing: VOTE.


Amazing post about shooting in Aurora

The original is here.

I feel a little bit morbid, obsessively following the news about this tragedy. It's part morbid fascination, part wanting to honour the people who were shot (even though I don't know them), and part fear that this could happen anywhere, anytime. What were the signs something might happen? What was going through his head? Why would he do something like this? Did he really do it so that a hero would "jump out of the screen," as the writer in the post linked above suggests? Also the fact that I am from Colorado makes me more sensitive to the issue. There was a horrible accident in Texas where more than 10 people died, but I don't have a connection to Texas like I do to Colorado, so it's harder for me to sympathize.

I think being a writer makes me think about these things so much, to build characters. After 9/11, I obsessively watched the news and scoured the internet. Same thing with the West Memphis 3, which happened when I was like 8 (I believe I was the same age as the kids who were killed), but I found out about it later in high school and joined the effort to clear the West Memphis 3's names. I have this weird obsession with cults, too. I like to read about them and wonder why people turn out the way they do, what made them into these crazy religious leaders, and why people follow them so faithfully.

(No, this doesn't mean I'm going to repeat the things I've read about, don't worry.)

 Anyway, back to the post. He says, "It’s true there was no Batman sitting in the theater to fly down and tackle James Holmes, as he hoped there might be. He had tactical assault gear covering his whole body, ready for America to fight back." What's driving me crazy about this whole thing is James Holmes just WILL NOT talk. I imagine more will come out when the trial actually happens, but right now it's maddening not knowing why he did what he did, if there was actually motivation behind it, if he just snapped, and if so, why it took him so long before to actually do it (based on the fact that it apparently took months to set up the explosives in his apartment). And on that note, what was up with the apartment anyway? Why did he rig it?

A bit further down he says, "That is one of our obvious strengths, but it is not our greatest strength. America’s awesome strength to fight is overwhelmed by its irrepressible strength to love. James Holmes took 12 lives Friday. Love saved 58 lives. Policemen on the scene in minutes, strangers carrying strangers, nurses and doctors activated all over the city." I find this sentiment interesting, because yes, it is true, there are so many people who live their lives for others, selflessly giving their time and efforts and expertise to keep people safe, to help people, to heal people...Even to help you find that perfect pair of pants or checking you out at the grocery store, or cleaning your office building after hours. All of these things are so important, and every little bit counts. While at the same time, the government does corrupt things all the time, kills innocent people in wars, doesn't give them health care, allows homeless people to freeze and starve, etc. etc. So while the individuals are doing good things, trying to get through every day, holding doors for people in the mall, giving flu shots, and who knows what else, the collective, the umbrella that is supposed to protect us is not. Individuals feel this love for each other as he says in the post, but the government doesn't (no matter how often or how loudly they say they do). It's interesting how things can be so different on different scales - the large scale and the small scale. Just like he says, "The awe of last night is not that a man full of hate can take 12 people’s lives; it is that a nation full of love can save 300 million lives every day." A nation, yes. The people, maybe. But the powers that be? Not so much.

Granted, the structure of a country is what sets up people to "love" each other and generally do good things. America is not the most horrible country on the planet, that's for damn sure. But there are some things that could be a LOT better, especially for a developed country. No country is perfect, but some are doing some things a little better.

"The answer is we love back. We live back. We deepen our commitments to all the unnumbered acts of kindness that make America an unrendable fabric."

"So while James Holmes settles into the cell where he will spend the rest of his life, wondering what we will do to fight back, we will love back. We will go to a park this afternoon and play soccer, we will go to the playground and restaurants and movie theaters of our city all weekend and all year."

These are nice sentiments. They are mostly true. But he says, "We will love back." Yet, so many people are commenting online on the pictures of Holmes in the court room, saying he should burn in hell, he's a "chickenshit motherfucker," he's a coward, he makes them sick, he should die, etc. etc. I wholeheartedly agree that he did a horrible thing, but I believe every person has the potential for good. This does not excuse him, but come on, he is still a human being. Justice should be served, yes, but do immature comments online really help anything? And if we are going to "love back," why are they pursuing the death penalty? There's nothing loving about the death penalty.

I like the last paragraph: "In a movie theater in Aurora 50 years from now, one of last night’s survivors will be waiting in the popcorn line and mention that he was in Theater 9 on that terrible summer night in 2012. And inexplicably, with an armful of popcorn, a total stranger will reach out and give that old man a huge hug and say, 'I’m so glad you made it.'" Because no matter what you think about James Holmes, or the situation in general, it was tragic, people died, families were hurt and are suffering, and it's an awful thing to have happened. No one is going to deny that, least of all me.

So, I like the post overall. I think it sends a message of hope, overcoming, and he pretty much suggests that by being good people, we can can fight back, and maybe even prevent something like this happening again - at least, that's my take on it, because he says:

"My friends were texting me that they had plans to take their kids to Batman tonight but were now afraid to go. Others who were going to play pick-up basketball or go out to dinner were now afraid to leave home. They thought they would bunker down in their home and wonder, 'How do we fight back?'

The answer is we love back. We live back. We deepen our commitments to all the unnumbered acts of kindness that make America an unrendable fabric. We respond by showing that we will play harder, and longer. We will serve more meals, play more games, eat more food, listen to more jazz, go to more movies, give more hugs, and say more 'thank yous' and 'I love yous' than ever before."

 I think he has a point there. If we would just stop thinking about ourselves so much and be in the moment with those we love, talk respectfully, have fun together, hold the door for people more, say thank you more, tell people you love them more...Maybe society would be lifted up by that, and maybe in a small way it could prevent something like this in the future, especially when children see people behaving in that way.

Sadly, it won't change the whole world, and it won't change all of society. I do believe that it can change in the future, but it will take a long, long time to get there. But maybe what he's suggesting is a good start.

 
The victims of the 2012 Aurora shooting
There has been a lot going on lately: Work, play, keeping the house at least somewhat presentable (yeah, right), yoga, etc. I have been trying to get up early to write before work, and that just hasn't been happening. I feel like my health is slipping backwards again, and the fatigue is coming back. I'm ready to go to my doctor and say, "ok, we've looked at obvious things, let's look at not-so-obvious things." It feels like something physical. Maybe the key is doing yoga every day again, maybe the key is 9 hours of sleep per night like my physiotherapist suggested. Or maybe there really is something wrong.

When I'm tired all the time, my creativity suffers, because my brain doesn't feel like it operates at its full capacity. Not only do I feel like I have nothing to write about, but writing it in a witty or creative way is even difficult. So, I apologize for not updating, and for my updates to potentially be boring.

Something that I've been thinking about a lot lately is the shooting in Aurora, Colorado. Colorado is my home state, but I don't live there anymore. When I first heard about it, I was pretty shaken up. I have friends in Aurora, who are Batman fans, and would have potentially gone to a midnight showing of the newest movie. I didn't know any of the victims, however. It's so tragic. I don't understand how people can be so crazy, and I don't think anyone ever will. I actually think something that makes people do these things is, well, society. We go on about how people should "fit in" and act a certain way, and think a certain way, otherwise they are on the fringe and they are "crazy." But honestly, the way we live is pretty damaging, I think. We are so separate, so isolated, we don't live in communities anymore. We may have social communities, but very few of us actually grow our food together, raise our children together, and build community that we live in together. I think that most people have been able to conform to the way we live pretty well - though so many people complain about how they have to work, and how they have to deal with bureaucracy, etc. But some people just take it further and go "crazy."

I haven't seen anything mentioning what the shooting suspect's motive was yet...But oftentimes these kinds of things are motivated by feeling left out, unfulfilled, not part of society, like everyone has wronged them. They just don't "fit in" and the only way to get the point across is it do something drastic a la Columbine High Schoolthe Amish school shooting (apparently he was acting out to "receive revenge for something that happened 20 years ago"), and Virginia Tech (the killer said in a note: "You caused me to do this"). But we don't listen to these people, or see the warning signs, or do anything to prevent these things.

Why aren't we listening and paying attention? Why aren't we seeing the patterns and trying to do something to prevent these types of things? I'm not saying that they are in the right, or that they should have dealt with their issues in the way they did, but they had valid concerns and complaints, and they festered inside of them for years and years until they finally snapped. But, is the real solution making people conform to what we think they should be, or changing society?

Honestly, I don't have an answer. But it's something to think about.

Maybe we'll never be able to prevent things like this. But I really think the fact that we are so separated, that we lack community, that we live in separate boxes, that we work in separate boxes, has made people feel unfulfilled. And I think that if we lived how our ancestors did, in groups where everyone was supported, everyone worked together, raised children together, etc., we wouldn't have as many mental issues (if any at all), and people wouldn't "snap."

Not that everyone can live like this these days. But it makes "intentional communities" more attractive to me. I wouldn't mind having a constant support system and community that is there for me, and being there for them.




Little update

Been having a hard time writing lately. There has been a lot going on in my life, just day to day, and I keep waking up too tired to write anything in the mornings before going to work. I will write something soon, I promise!
Consider for a moment Katy Perry's song "Thinking of You." The lyrics are:

Comparisons are easily done
Once you've had a taste of perfection
Like an apple hanging from a tree
I picked the ripest one
I still got the seed

You said move on

Where do I go
I guess second best
Is all I will know


OK, so, the first guy was perfect, he told her to get out of his life or something, and now she's all alone and has to move on.

The rest of the song makes me think she's actually cheating on him, though, especially the chorus:

Cause when I'm with him
I am thinking of you
Thinking of you
What you would do if
You were the one
Who was spending the night
Oh I wish that I
Was looking into your eyes


Then it goes on:

You're like an Indian summer
In the middle of winter
Like a hard candy
With a surprise center
How do I get better
Once I've had the best
You said there's
Tons of fish in the water
So the waters I will test

He kissed my lips

I taste your mouth
He pulled me in
I was disgusted with myself
 

"I was disgusted with myself." Doesn't that sound like someone who is cheating on her boyfriend? Why else would she be disgusted? Unless he was disgusting, I guess. But why would a hot chick like Katy Perry date someone disgusting?

Cause when I'm with him
I am thinking of you
Thinking of you
What you would do if
You were the one
Who was spending the night
Oh I wish that I
Was looking into...

You're the best

And yes I do regret
How I could let myself
Let you go
Now the lesson's learned
I touched it I was burned
Oh I think you should know


"You're the best, and yes, I do regret..." This part sounds like maybe she cheated on him first and then he found out and that's why he broke up with her, then she went back to the second guy, maybe? "Now the lesson's learned, I touched it I was burned." Sounds like it to me.

Cause when I'm with him
I am thinking of you
Thinking of you
What you would do if
You were the one
Who was spending the night
Oh I wish that I
Was looking into your eyes
Looking into your eyes
Looking into your eyes
Oh won't you walk through
And bust in the door
And take me away
Oh no more mistakes
Cause in your eyes I'd like to stay... 



If we take the song to mean that she cheated on him and he found out and she went back to her second choice, well, if she had been polyamorous, this wouldn't have been a big deal. Just sayin'!

(I also have to admit that this song is really catchy and I listen to it sometimes...This fact makes me cringe...Katy Perry is probably the most hypocritical "artists" I have come across. If you're curious about my thoughts on that one, ask.)


Slut shaming!

I have decided that every time I write or do yoga, I will put anything higher than a penny in a jar. Then I will reward myself with something when I have enough money saved up. This might take a while, but it's a good motivator, I think. I started reading a book called "Change Anything" a while back, and it says that when you have a goal, make it into a game. So, this is my way of making it into a game and rewarding myself. We'll see how it goes!

So, my topic today: Slut shaming.

I love Upworthy. They always have the BEST videos. So, this is a 13 year old talking about slut shaming, and it is worth 3 minutes of your time:

This makes me think about how when I was 13, I was so immature. I was still reading the Baby Sitters Club and worrying about my weight, not thinking about slut shaming and how it's a horrible thing. Geez. Was that something exclusive to me, or are kids just getting mature a lot faster now?

Well, anyway, she so has a point. She has many points. I feel like it's a bit of a chicken and egg situation. Which came first, the patriarchy or the slutty clothing? Let's face it, prostitutes have been around FOREVER. Ever since trading began, I'm sure. Prostitution is the oldest occupation, and I see nothing wrong with it, as long as they're being safe (using protection, able to protect themselves from scary clients, etc.). In fact, I think it should be legal.

I digress.

I love how she says: "Slut shaming is the unfortunate phenomenon in which people degrade or mock a woman because she dresses in tight or revealing clothing, enjoys sex, has sex a lot, or may even just be rumoured to participate in sexual activity. The message that slut shaming sends to women is that sex is bad, having sex with more than one person is horrible, and everyone will hate you for having sex at all."

A bit later she says, "It is nobody's business but your own how many people you're having sex with."

Amen, sista.

It's this kind of thing that gives polyamory such a bad name. For some reason, people think they should be involved in peoples' private lives, which is just stupid. If a conservative person were like "don't have sex with more than one person!" how would they like it if I pried into their private life and said "don't pray before bed!"...Ok, that's the only one I can come up with. Conservative people are boring.

Anyway, this culture of slut shaming we have has really paved the way for some screwy notions about sex. If we keep this up, girls are going to grow up feeling horrible about themselves, horrible about their natural sex drive, horrible about their bodies, they are going to feel like they're owned by other people because they think what other people say matters so much, some of them won't be able to even enjoy sex because the whole thing has been twisted into this evil thing...Oh wait, this is already happening.

I'm not sure how we can change this for the betterment of all women out there who want to enjoy sex, and for the girls who should grow up knowing sex is natural and enjoyable. I guess spreading this video and this message is one way. Things spread like wildfire on teh interwebs.

So go forth, link to the video, link to my blog!

Please?

And remember, kids: "If you've given your consent, if you're emotionally and physically ready for it, if you're using proper protection, and if you feel safe and comfortable with your partner, then sex is good. It is nobody's business but your own how many people you're having sex with or how much sex you have. And you don't deserve to be hated on for being sexually active with more than one partner."

Bam. Most mature 13 year old ever.
I had a very interesting experience yesterday. Actually, it was kind of scary. I went to my horseback riding lesson, and found I wasn't in the schedule even though I had confirmed it a few days prior. So they squeezed me in with another instructor who had a private lesson with another student who is more advanced than I am, but she went back and forth between us. We were outside, and it was really hot, there were no clouds in the sky, and I obviously hadn't had enough water to drink that day, because at the end of the lesson, I started seeing major spots. Actually, my vision was pretty much going, and my ears were totally muffled. I put my head down on the horse's neck and just breathed, then finally was able to get off the horse and take him inside and recover. I almost fainted, on a horse. At least he was standing still!

The other girl in the lesson had a worse experience - she actually fell off the horse she was riding while it was cantering. It just kind of kept going faster and faster and wouldn't listen to her when she tried to get him to slow down, and finally she just slid off. She said she was ok, but she asked the instructor about five times what the date was, and said she couldn't remember what happened. Looks like she might have a minor concussion. I hope she is ok and that her parents listened to the instructor and took her to the doctor.

Crazy day yesterday. Note to self: Drink lots of water before riding, eat enough before riding, and get good sleep the night before riding (which I also did not do).

I have been slipping back into my old ways of not putting myself first. I wake up so tired, I haven't been doing yoga every day (going to a class tonight, though), and I haven't been eating great, either. I don't know why I'm doing this to myself. I guess I just forget about myself.

Something I don't think I've shared on here yet: "Tom" and I are dating again, and it has been really great, I feel like I'm coming at it from a different place and that I'm a different person than I was a month ago. But I also think it drains some of the energy out of me. It's hard enough to focus on myself, and bringing someone else into my life to focus on brings my energy level down some, I think. Maybe polyamory isn't right for me right now just because of that.

Actually I have realized that polyamory isn't right for me right now anyway, because I have to really take care of myself these days, and I just don't have the time to date another person. Tom and I haven't really talked about when we would like to approach the polyamory thing again, and I think it's a conversation we should have.

(On a separate note, the name Tom really doesn't fit him at all. Maybe I should come up with another alias.)