A brief explanation

I've spent a while reading this comment thread.

So, for my first post in months I will briefly explain why I choose to engage religion the way that I do.

You'd have to be on my Facebook to know this, but I usually engage liberal theists more than I do fundamentalist asswipes, and I've been asked many times why I choose to do this - after all, these liberal theists are usually my allies on most issues, and they are not the problem in society.  So, why do this?

I'll tell ya!

1) Everyone already knows that fundamentalist religious belief is a huge problem.  Most people agree on this.  I'll attack fundamentalism as a matter of course, and I'll attack it when it rears its ugly head in our government (which is way more often than it should be), but it's something to which most reasonable people are already opposed.  I mean, my evangelical young-earth creationist parents are against a lot of fundamentalism.  I don't think that we need to make our case against that generally because it's just that fucking obvious to people who aren't deluded. 

2) I dislike arguments in which atheists create religious strawmen that are universally fundamentalist.  I don't think that there is an equivalence between Fred Phelps and Martin Luther King Jr.  Pretending as if there is is both factually incorrect and morally repugnant, and is a discredit to the intellectual rigor of the anti-theism position.  I don't think that all Muslims crash planes into buildings, I don't think that all Jews kill Palestinian children, I don't think that all Christians bomb abortion clinics, I don't think that all Hindus burn widows on their husbands' funeral pyres, so on and so forth, you get the picture.  This is irresponsible arguing and does absolutely no good for either side.

3) Because of points one and two, I find it necessary to largely engage with the softer, kinder forms of theism.  I think that those forms indirectly validate fundamentalism because they encourage precisely the kinds of irrational thinking that are the basis of fundamentalism - after all, if it's all subjective and if it's all different names that we call the same force or if the fundies are just cherry-picking Bible verses, there is no position that can posit that the fundies are theologically wrong.  It is all equally justifiable when it's all relative from a theological position.  The Christians with whom I happily ally myself on social justice and economic justice issues are cherry-picking from the Bible every bit as much as the fundies, but I happen to like the results of their cherry-picking better, and I can't say that I'm being intellectually honest if I don't criticize that as well.  My main criticism of religion is not that it is violent because it is sometimes not, nor is it that it is hateful because it is sometimes not, nor that it is [fill in x blatantly socially harmful trait] because it is going to be, at least in a statistically significant portion of the population, not that way.  My argument against religion is that it is irrational and is either empirically untrue or, more and more frequently, unfalsifiable.  These arguments apply equally against the more insidious forms of kinder, gentler irrational thought as they do against the nastier, fundamentalist strains.  The reason that I more frequently confront the former is because of the reasons given above.  If your argument against the fundies is theological, there is an equally valid basis from which to make theological arguments against the good theists.  You can't engage violent and bigoted religious practice from a religious standpoint because it all stands on the same empirical ground: none.

The bottom line is that we don't need a supernatural basis (I did not say "spiritual" because the word is too vague) from which to be good to other people, and refusing to engage the irrational grounds of this premise weakens our society and makes it easier for the fundies.  Religion is basically a self-serving philosophy.  If you are a kind person who wishes well for other people then you are going to cherry-pick whatever irrational explanation justifies the way that you are already inclined, and if you are a selfish, bigoted dick then you are just as certainly going to cherry-pick whatever irrational explanation will justify your oppression of others.  I don't think that you need Jesus to be good and, if you're doing good because you are a Christian, I think that you're doing a discredit to yourself by attaching your good works to an ideology that has no basis in fact rather than on the inherent goodness in humanity; however, my main complaint is that you are justifying the fundies because of your lack of empirical basis for your works.  They have the exact same justification for their nastiness - Jesus said so (or, rather, the Bible did), they just feel in their heart that to be gay is wrong, men and women are inherently different because God just made us different, fill in the blank.  If you don't require a factual basis for your life philosophy then you're giving inches to the assholes.

I will also note that all people are irrational and that people can twist science to suit them, and that this has been done to great harm before, but the difference is that religion requires no justification outside of either a) "Holy text says so" or b) "I feel it in my heart."  While people, being human,  will certainly go with those kinds of arguments at times in science, the difference is that science is self-correcting, and eventually it has the tools to disprove and discredit those who would use it for ideological ends.  Any tool, in the hands of human beings, can be used to do harm - after all, we're primates.  However, the basis of science in physical reality requires that it demonstrate itself to be true, and this puts an end to irrational usages as quickly as the people who are using it are willing and able to do so.  Religion and supernatural thinking do not have the same mechanisms, and this is why it is just as important, if not more important, to engage the theists who, because of the bent of their personality or experience, choose to use their subjective, unfalsifiable beliefs to back up their desire to do good.  To refuse to engage the irrational beliefs of the good theists is to refuse to engage the irrational beliefs of the fundies, and also to disrespect the inherent good in the theists who cannot see within themselves to understand that they do not need invisible forces to impel them to do the good that they would do anyway.  I believe in humanity more than that.

Or, what this commenter said (although I disagree with the assertion that all religion is anti-feminist, as my problem with religion is not its positions vis-a-vis feminism so much as its irrationality):

"Being a feminist and a religionist is cognitively dissonant, which is why some people are saying you can’t be both. For instance, there are people who assert that girls and women can’t do math. They claim that biologically men are more built for. They say women can’t think rationally and thus can’t wrap their heads around numbers, and they even have some statistics on their side. They can even claim a strategy of focusing on boys doing more math does good, because it doesn’t waste resources and provides more chances to those who can best take advantage of them. Those boys who got plenty of support in math over the girls in the class might agree with this.
Most feminists would, I think, disagree very strongly. They’d point out that there have been many capable women who could in fact do math beautifully, disproving both the biology and lack of rationality argument. Said feminists might then point out that that this ‘positive’ strategy cuts people out and still treats them differently, ending up to be nothing of the sort. This ‘theory’, they could point out, doesn’t have any evidence. It’s just a mess of unproven assertion, underlined by socialization and upbringing. It’s not a good thing, even if some parts of the population have derived a benefit; they could get that benefit in other ways without excluding others.
Then there’s religion. Any specific claim for any religious faction and in fact most spiritual thinking can be disproven; claims for the age of the universe, the benefit of prayer, any kind of divine retribution; all those have easy and consistent counterpoints, much like the assertion that women biologically can’t do math. The claim that moderate or vague religion helps more than it hurts? The same kind of societal and ethical structure could be achieved with secular humanism, without the downside of having to ‘save’ anyone (and thus assume they’re lost in the first place purely because the evidence doesn’t match up to Bronze Age fairy tales).
If you want people to accept the second claim without or even despite evidence, why not believe the first bit? Why not believe people who assert that women are naturally jealous, or need a strong male hand to guide them? There’s no more proof for your position than there is for theirs, and vice versa.
If someone from a deeply racist part of the South claims that black people can’t be trusted like white men, aren’t as smart and are more suited to manual labor, most of us here would disagree with this person and point out the parts where they’re wrong. We wouldn’t take that position on faith, no matter how strongly said individual believes in it. We’d conclude that repeated exposure to racism has ingrained these thoughts, not that black people are actually inferior. After all, he has no evidence and can even be disproven.
How, then, could you question and that person and then turn around and defend your own unproven assertions, despite their harm? And, if you’re willing to do that, why are you surprised when people worry about what other cognitive blocks you might have? You’re obviously willing to draw lines in the sand that you won’t think past or fully analyze, so why shouldn’t I assume that parts of your activism might be selfish and inconsistent as well?"



I check my stats occasionally because, although I seldom post, I visit my blogroll from the dashboard page, and I get curious.  So, who's out there from Russia who checks this site periodically?  Comment!  I'm curious about you.  Comments really are welcome.


Abstinence and rape culture

Thanks to Sady for bringing this to mind.  You should read her early and often.

I was raised in a Baptist household.  I was told that I should wait until marriage for sex, not because I personally wanted to, but because Jesus wanted me to. 

Now, pop quiz: what is going to be more real to a teenager?

A) A combination of vaguely unrealized desires and the pressure of a boyfriend or girlfriend

B) Jesus

I'll give away the game: It's totally A, unless you manage to sufficiently terrify your child (and I mean about hell, not about pregnancy and STDs, since that is never enough), mainly because Jesus isn't real (or, if you're insistent, Jesus doesn't seem real since there's no proof that he's watching and that he cares, but it's certainly your prerogative to think both of those things), and their partner and/or physical desire is.  Now, when the only reason you've given them to hold off on sex is that Jesus wants them to, and they're not sure if they want to, and they're with someone who is very sure about it, Jesus is going to start looking like a pretty crappy reason not to, largely because he is.  Now, if they have been taught to think about their own desire, and to think about whether or not this person is someone they want to have sex with, to think about whether they've taken sufficient precautions against pregnancy and disease, and to think about whether they are ready for sex at all, then they just might make an educated decision about it.

Now, whether or not religion is important to you, and regardless of your personal take on faith, your child deserves better than this.  Your child deserves to be able to think about what they actually want.  Whether or not you know it, by teaching these lessons, you are setting your daughters up either to deny their own wishes by not having sex when they actually want to and are ready to or, worse, by not being able to be aware of whether or not they want sex, and doing it anyway.  If they haven't been taught that their bodies, that their desire, is important, then it will not factor in when they have sex.  I know that the thought of your daughters having sex isn't a pleasant one, but, for their sake, consider if it's worth her being in bed with someone who tells her that it's better when she doesn't move (that's both in Sady's post and verbatim from my first partner), or being in bed with someone who won't use a condom and not being able to articulate why that is wrong since condoms are for dirty whores who plan.  Is that a pleasant thought?  That's the price of not talking to girls about the validity of their feelings.  The vast majority of them are going to have sex.  Whether or not their earlier experiences (and, for many of them, all of their experiences) are pleasant, consensual, and affirming of their agency, as opposed to confused, unpleasant or painful, and an expression of what someone else wants (the same as abstinence would be) is up to the way that they are taught.

As a bonus, they're being set up to not be able to identify when they're raped because, if most experiences are unpleasant, it makes it harder to tell since many sexual experiences are a violation of their unspoken wishes, and there is not much physical difference between that and a violation of their expressed wishes.  It's fuckedUp.  Don't set your kids up for that.

All of the connections between this and reproductive options are discussed in the post, but I just wanted to talk about the incredible amounts of damage done by the mindset that the main reason not to have sex isn't one's own desire not to or the negativity of a situation, but, rather, that Sky Daddy condemns it.  Thanks, rape culture!


Yes Means Yes, with one hundred percent more Hindemith

Let's talk about rape.  I do that a lot; it's one of the occupational hazards of being A Feminist and all.

So, someone recently posted this on Facebook, and I loved it.  I haven't read the article to which is refers, but the sentiment within the post is something about which I feel strongly because of personal experience.  I absolutely agree with No Means No, but also feel strongly about the need for Yes Means Yes as a paradigm shift, and about the need to acknowledge survival tactics for what they are.  Enthusiastic consent should be the minimum for sexual relations, period.

Storytime!  I have told this story before on my old blog, but I think a different retelling to address definitions of rape is in order.  No, I'm not horribly traumatized by this story, and, on the off chance that someone comments, I don't need apologies for it having happened.  It's just, the rape culture and all.

When I was seventeen-year-old junior in high school, I was dating a senior.  He was very good-looking.  He was also dumb as a rock.  I realized that I didn't want to date him the second he pulled me aside in weight training class to ask for my phone number, but I was fresh out of a relationship in which "no" had meant literally nothing to my ex-boyfriend, and so I had no idea how to say it anymore.  Thinking that I was being ridiculous, that this guy was good-looking, and that I didn't want to hurt his feelings, I gave him my phone number.  We went on a date to the dollar theater, and the first thing he did when the lights dimmed was stick his hand up my shirt.  While I'm sure that was sexy for him and all (especially considering that he was a virgin), to say that I was unenthused would be to overstate my interest in him.  However, I obligingly let him feel me up, and, two dates later, obligingly slept with him, because that was what I did.  I was a nice girl, I'd already slept with two people and, as a conservative Christian, though, in for a penny, in for a pound (the petals were already off the rose!), and thought it would be rude to refuse him.  (Not that the thought process was that complicated.  It was more like, "Well, I'm already a slut, so it's not like it matters."  And not like in a, "Why not have fun," kind of way.  More like a, "Well, I already let one guy, so what's the difference?"  Sex has not been fun for the majority of the time that I've been having it, although it's been fixed.)

That wasn't rape, though.  It was a couple of dumb teenagers acting like dumb teenagers, and my exhibiting behaviour you would expect from an indoctrinated kid who had been abused.  He had little- to no sexual experience, and most of my sexual experience was indifferent at best and abusive at worst, and condemned by my religious upbringing to boot.  I thought I was worthless.

One night, when we had been casually seeing each other for perhaps four months or so, with an increasing level of disgust on my part, I was settling in to have a nice night alone with just a glass of tea and the CD of my band's spring concert.  I didn't want to go out, and had let him know repeatedly before that I appreciate a phone call before he dropped by.  Perhaps that makes me a crazy hypercontrolling nazi bitch in the eyes of some, but I'm an introvert, and I would far rather have been allowed my space from someone who wasn't even my boyfriend.  I don't care who you are.  I need warning if I am going to interact with you IRL, and I was even less social in high school.

I was settling in to listen to the march from Hindemith's Symphonic Metamorphosis.  I don't know why this is what sticks so hard in my head, but it is.  I just wanted to listen to the goddamn march and be left alone.  I didn't want anyone to come by expecting anything of me.  I mean, listen to that march!  Shit!  I don't care who you are; you want to play the horn listening to that.  My evening was booked.

There was a knock on the door.  Irritated, I looked through the eyehole and found myself rolling my eyes.  Fucking, this guy.  Since I was a nice girl, I opened the door instead of just pretending not to be home, and he wanted to go out, which translated to he wanted to have sex.

I did not want to, for a variety of reasons, and I told him, "Guy, I will go out with you, but I do not want to have sex.  There will be no sex.  I AM NOT HAVING SEX WITH YOU THIS EVENING, GUY.  So, um, DO NOT EXPECT SEX."  He probably nodded or gave some other sign of acknowledgment, but this dude was dumb enough that it didn't really matter.

We went to a movie.  It might have been Hannibal.  Whatever.  The movie ended, and he went through the usual routine of starting to make out in the back of his van in the parking lot.  I put a halt to those activities so say, "HEY, GUY!  REMEMBER THE PART WHERE I SAID NO SEX!  THERE WILL BE NO SEX!"  Now, understand how averse I was to it, considering that I'm pretty sure that this was the first time I had said no in a situation that didn't make me feel physically threatened.

Well, when one isn't planning on having sex, one doesn't buy condoms, but he figured, in his wisdom, that perhaps he should stop by a gas station and buy them anyway because, hey, it might happen!  My asking to go home (since we were not having sex) was just a "maybe."

We went to our usual dark spot and he started to take his clothes off.  I said, "HEY, GUY, I WANT TO GO HOME, AND WE ARE NOT HAVING SEX, OKAY GUY REALLY."  So, if we're counting, that's, like, a spillion "nos", approximately.  Well, just in case, of course, he kept disrobing, and then he started to undress me.

Honestly, I do not even remember exactly how we got to the "having sex" point.  I remember that I said no the entire time, but he couldn't have taken all of my clothes off.  This is why I'm talking about survival tactics.  I'd actually been forcefully raped before, with full physical threat, and I knew what that felt like.  I didn't want to go through it again.  I kept on saying no to him, but I went through the physical gestures that would spare me being held down and forced to have sex.

I don't know when I stopped protesting.  I'm pretty sure it was well into the act.  That would have been the point where I started crying, silently, not responding at all to his ridiculous flailing, because why bother?  I was no more than an appendage for his pleasure.  It wasn't even that he gleefully disregarded my "no."  I wasn't even sufficiently human to warrant notice when I said it.  I lied there and wept silently, did not move, did not respond, and stopped saying no, because I didn't want to fight back against this guy.  I mean, he was nice, right?  Even if he ignored me saying no?  It's not like he forced me.  He just knew that I wouldn't back up the word with my fists, with my feet, with my teeth.

Afterwards, we got out of the van, which was good, because I wanted to scream.  I didn't know that the word "rape" applied to what had happened there.  All I knew was that I hated him more than I had ever hated anyone, abusive ex included, because at least my abusive ex had thought I was human enough to abuse.  This guy literally did not see me as a factor in our sexual relations.  He asked me to sit by him, and put his arm around me, which was odd, because he was rarely affectionate, and I didn't want it from him, either.  Maybe he knew I was upset.  I don't know.

We drove to McDonalds to get some chicken nuggets.  A song came on the radio.  "I don't care about anyone else but me."  He took me home.  He kissed me good night.  It was all very civil.

Now, what the hell is wrong with our society that, while I was willing and able to call what happened to me a violation, I thought of it as grey, maybe rape-ish, but not, you know, rape-rape, like what happened to me in my prior relationship?  I mean, I DID stop saying no after a while.  I DID take off my clothes, even if I had told him before that I didn't want to.  I DIDN'T fight him.  I didn't think of what I was doing as the survival tactic that it was.  I thought of it as automatic.  There was no conscious thought.

Then, one day while I was in Missoula, I was driving and listening to the radio, and the song that I mentioned earlier came on the radio again.  I hadn't heard it since the day that I had been out with Guy.  I had to pull over, gasping, and nearly vomited.  Oh, God, I thought, that shit was rape.  It was worse, in its own way, than what had happened to me before him, because I had never even given myself the right to claim it as such, and because most people wouldn't think of it that way.

Shouldn't have been fucking when I was a teenager.  Shouldn't have been fucking someone I didn't like.  Shouldn't have gone out with him when I didn't want to.  Shouldn't have taken my clothes off.  Shouldn't, shouldn't, shouldn't.

And there wouldn't have really been anyone I had known at the time who would have said that he shouldn't have disregarded my request that he call before he stop by.  That he shouldn't have ignored me when I told him that we would not be having sex.  That he shouldn't have stopped at the gas station to get condoms when I told him we were not having sex.  That he shouldn't have taken me to the dark spot when I asked him to take me home.  That he shouldn't have ignored me while I said no the whole time.  That he shouldn't have taken his partner's silence as assent, and that, for that matter, no person, male or female, should consider an unresponsive partner a consenting one.  (This wasn't the last time we had sex in which I was unresponsive; a similar occasion was when I had spent all day in summer band and a good deal of the evening working, and he stopped by unannounced to pick me up from work.  I didn't want him to and I told him because I was completely exhausted, I smelled like ass and chicken, and I hated his guts, but he didn't listen that time, either.  I fell asleep for a few minutes during and he didn't even notice.  This is a problem, you guys; it's funny in a let's-make-fun-of-his-dumb-ass kind of way, but it's also immensely fucked up.)  He shouldn't have done any of that shit.  I was raped because he couldn't even be considerate enough to call before he came over, much less consider that maybe the cessation of my protest wasn't consent.

My point isn't to ask for sympathy, so please don't give it.  I don't care what you, dear reader, think about what happened to me, so much as I care about this story's part in the larger narrative.

We need a narrative in which enthusiastic consent is the baseline for consent.  Ceasing to say no is not consent.  I deserve better than to have felt responsible for this asshole's coldly waiting out my protest.  My daughter deserves better than to ever feel that way, and so does every other female.

I apologize for the general trailing-off feel of this, but I don't have much else to say.  That's my story.  Most of the women I know have a story like it.  I'm sick of that.  If it was just me that would be great, but, for fuck's sake, it's women I know, and it's women who have been unfortunate enough to be attacked by powerful men.  We need to remove the option of, "Well, she didn't scream," or, "Well, she stopped saying no," from the equation.  We need a better narrative.



This post is firmly in the spirit of "the personal is political."

This has given me a problem for a long time.  When I sit down to write, I start thinking, and thinking is never good for me.  It always starts as a niggling suspicion: "You don't have anything important to say."  This branches out into the more destructive, "Since you have nothing to say, why don't you read what other people have written?  They have good things to say."

I'm finding this to be particularly poisonous to the process of writing about my past.  Again, I think that I have a history with experiences that fill a wide spectrum of emotions, and I think that I have the ability to frame these events in ways that will make them interesting to a reader.  I don't think that my stories are uniquely fascinating (I think that most people have fascinating lives when you get down to it), but I think that I have the ability to express that people who have been through similar things are not alone, even if they feel as if they are.  That is why I want to write. 

The problem is, a lot of what I want to write about happened to me when I was a teenager.  Now, I don't know if I agree entirely with Twisty Faster when she says that, "Teenage girls are the most despised people on the planet," but it's certainly close, and I see these own prejudices in my own thoughts about teenagers, particularly girls, and very particularly my former self.

A few months ago I went through the terrible poetry I slaved over as a teenager in order to post some of it for mockery, and, after looking at the vast majority of it, was stunned.  I wasn't stunned over how terrible it was (although it was pretty terrible for the most part, and there was certainly comedy fodder).

I was stunned at how ungodly fucking depressed I was.  I mean, it's one thing to look back and say, "Yeah, I struggled with some depression issues as a teenager.  No big deal."  It's another to look back at poem after poem talking about a sense of worthlessness, about blood and death and shit that no teenager should be obsessed with, period.  It took me, for a moment, out of my smug sense of adulthood and placed me firmly back in the shoes of the honestly troubled teenager that I used to be, and it made me cringe, because she deserves better than to be mocked by adults, even if that adult is the person she grew to be.

See, I want to minimize that girl's experiences.  Her earnest morbidity is embarrassing to me; I don't want to identify with her, with her reducing everything to blood, with her bizarre fascination with death.  I want to identify her as privileged and spoiled and stupid, and I want to say that her problems were entirely of her own making.  (Again, to be fair, these things are true, to a degree.)

But I can't do that while giving an honest recounting of abuse.  I can't do that while giving an honest recounting of how incredibly heavy the world felt at the time.  I can't do that while reaching out and saying, "You're not alone."  It's not funny that I was so depressed.  It's not funny that I put up with abuse.  None of that shit is funny, and, if I keep on laughing at myself as a teenager, I'm doing a disservice to teenagers who are now going through some of what I went through.  In minimizing my own struggles, I minimize those of people who struggle now.

I don't know.  I mean, on the one hand, it really has been a decent coping tool: it's easy not to feel keenly the memories of isolation, of mild physical abuse, of self-loathing, of rape, if I shrug them off as normal, stupid bullshit that all teenagers go through.  "Oh, yeah, I was a dumbass melodramatic kid.  You know teenagers."  However, on the other hand, it's easy for me to mock it: I'm here to do it.  If I had actually succeeded in my suicide attempt my freshman year, or if I had tried again later in greater earnest, and if I had died, that simply would not be funny.  And there are kids who do this.

I can't point a finger in the mirror and laugh without doing damage to my perception of people who hurt.

The thing is, I never went to therapy for real.  I never went through therapy for the abuse that I went through because my parents weren't even aware of it until long after it had been over and done.  I ended up making a lot of immensely stupid decisions because of a lack of awareness of the motivations for my decisions, but I came out on the other side.  And I've laughed, because part of me really does find melodrama morbidly hilarious, but it's partially because, when I really sit down and think about how I felt then, I want to curl up into a ball.  It was truly horrible.  No, it wasn't as bad as what a lot of people go through, but what mattered was how I felt at the time.  No, I don't carry the feelings with me, but it is very hard to think about them without laughing hysterically at the sheer absurdity of how goddamn heavy everything seemed at the time.  I never sat down and thought honestly about how awful it was, and I'm having to actually do this if I want to write.  It's hard to think about a time when you were miserable when you're genuinely happy.  It's like throwing off a warm blanket and stepping into the howling cold.  You don't have to do it, so why would you?

Part of what has me thinking about this is the death of Mrs. G*.  See, she didn't really care if it was melodrama.  What she cared about was that there was this kid who had tried to hurt herself.  What she cared about was that she had a teenager who turned into a nervous wreck in the middle of rehearsal and had to be guided out in order to pull herself together.  She cared what my reasons were, sure, but she wouldn't have judged me on them.  She had the time and the care for a sixteen-year-old who had been raped the day before, whose world had fallen apart, and she wasn't laughing.  She was the only person to take that teenage-me and say, "You matter," even though she was at least somewhat aware of how incredibly fucked up I was at the time.  I haven't even done that to myself, because, when I wasn't completely falling apart, I was bitterly mocking my own hurt.  I thought it was absurd, even then, because I was a teenage girl, because my problems didn't matter.  She told me that my problems were real and deserved to be addressed when I wasn't even willing to tell myself that. 

I want to work in a rape crisis center.  The thing is, I don't know how I can do that, how I can do what she did and go to other people and tell them, "You matter; your stories matter," if I don't even do that to myself.

So, here goes.

*I have no idea what her politics were, no idea of her position on feminism, and don't want to attribute any views to her that didn't exist.  My point isn't that she was an explicit advocate for victims of abuse, sexual or otherwise, although she certainly played the part by being a generous, attentive person.  My point is that I would like to take that healing care and apply it in areas of interest to me, and I am passionate about advocacy for rape survivors.


So, yeah

Okay, seriously?  I'm pretty bad at blogging.  It's a combination of the inability to hold down a thought for long enough to write a comprehensive post on anything (usually my posts die because I start reading something else), or it's that I can't bring myself to come over here and blog.

To top that off now is the fact that I do believe I'm going to start writing on something.  Maybe.  I don't know.  I say that a lot.  But I have a set of autobiographical stories in mind because, despite how boring I am personally, I've had some bizarre, interesting shit go down in my life.  I can't give a comprehensive story of my life for a lot of reasons, but I can give a series of short stories.  The idea came when I was sitting last year in a hotel room on New Year's Day en route to visit family in Georgia, and they were playing "Clocks" over some sports montage that my gentleman caller was watching, and talking about how it was a Decade!  Over!

And I thought, you know, as decades go, mine has been pretty fucking insane.  Maybe I should write about it.  "Ten Years In The Life: A Checklist Of Shit Not To Do With Your Life."  Except, of course, the later parts that got me here, that required the earlier parts, but whatever.  Everyone takes their own path, and mine is usually exceptionally crooked.  I was one of those kids who probably burned their hands to a crisp repeatedly on the stove.  Make of that what you will.

Anyway, exacerbating that was the death of someone to whom I was not close as an adult, but who was important to me through the worst of my teen years, when I was being abused and was so depressed that it's a miracle that I didn't try to hurt myself again in greater earnest.  I was very sorry to hear about her death because she was truly one of those people who knew what people needed and when and, the day after the worst of the problems happened, when I sat in band class and quietly had a complete meltdown in my chair, she pulled me out and asked me what was wrong.

She was the only adult in the entirety of my time in high school to ask me what was wrong.  It doesn't matter that I didn't have the words to tell her and wouldn't have if I did.  It just mattered that she asked.  That was the kind of person she was.  Mind you, I'm not blaming my parents for this, because neither of them was particularly happy at the time and I was giving them absolute hell as payback for the shit that I was going through.  But, still, she was the only one to ask.

And, in a couple of days, I'm going to a memorial service for her, because it's that important to me.  However, at this memorial service I will probably be seeing a lot of people I went to high school with.

Have I mentioned that I broke and ran from here as fast as I could upon graduation for a reason?  I wanted away.  I did not want to see people from high school anymore.  I wanted to forget about it.

I realize now that that isn't possible or productive, and I'm not running from my past.  It's just, I don't want to see people from it.  One of my greatest fears upon moving back home, and one of the biggest reasons I didn't want to, was the fear of encountering people I knew.  I don't know what to say or to do.  And I'm about to go be around a bunch of them probably, at a service to honor someone who helped make those awful years tolerable.  I'm not looking forward to that part.

So, long story short, this makes me want to write.

Yeah, this isn't about politics.  I won't be able to write about politics for a while without the post containing largely the word "fuck" and the occasional sputtering noise.  I am done with this bullshit.  It's not apathy.  It's the opposite.

So, yeah.  I'm going to continue right on being boring now.


(Currently untitled)

Been a long time,
she said,
years of silence between us.

It has, I said,
not fond
of the phone and its distance

You remember
that time
I fell asleep back then

When we were still
on the phone late at night

Wasn't that so
with you calling out and

Trying to reach
and find
me, your friend, still sleeping

Yeah, I recall,
thirteen and liking the

Telephone back
the advent of texting

It was easy
when young
to communicate and

Somehow the long
dead air
didn't bother me then

I guess I grew
out of
enjoying being so

Aware of the
that springs between people

How have you been
since I
last spoke to you as a kid

Back when silence
was not
something that brought distance

Well, you know how
it can
be when they don't tell you

I did not need
to ask
what she meant by the words

It is a cruel
world now
so different from back then

They never said
that it
was full of people who

Wait in the night
with knives
sharpened and ready for

Unwary hearts
to be
cut still-beating from chests