Thursday, February 24, 2011

These Latter Days

It is rarely helpful to compare your situation to that of another in hopes of adjudicating between the two.  Life - and how one experiences life - is much too complex for such behaviors.

After many years of doing quite the opposite of the statement I've just written, I began to realize how destructive it was, and began the long process of pruning the patterns that had so deeply rooted themselves.  I had thought I had reached a point in my life where it became more natural to not compare than to compare.  I was thankful; it truly felt like a more human (and freeing) way to live. 

I was in my therapists office this past week and as I spoke, I began to realize that I was falling back into the game of comparison.  My words in the session indicated my need for external justification (by comparing my situation to that of another) for how I was feeling.  To say it another way, I felt as if my life wasn't bad enough to warrant this "low" I'm feeling and thus I would not allow myself to feel it (or feel incredibly guilty for feeling it).  If only I had to manage multiple children at once.  If only I was working in a job as well as being home with our son.  If only I was going to school full-time rather than part-time....  Then!  Then, I could have reason enough for the difficulties I am having...without feeling so ...weak...and fragile. 

Thankfully, I left her office with a renewed resolve to withhold judgment on myself.  My feelings do not always have to be justified.  I am free to have them regardless of whether they may appear to "match" my external circumstances or not. 

And so I acknowledge to myself, and to you, my few readers, that these latter days have been difficult.  More difficult than I let on to you...and to me. 

"I just don't have much left to say.  They've taken their toll, these latter days." (From "Latter Days" by Over the Rhine)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Family Ties

My brother is an admitted addict to video games.  He's detoxing right now because he is living with us and we don't own a TV.  We laugh together as he recalls his favorite game moments, and how, when he was out of a job, he played video games day and night:  "I didn't leave my chair unless I needed food, to check the mail or poop!" 

But it's also painful to see his process, and see the struggle to find something, anything that can fill that void.  I'm finding we have more in common than I remembered. 


Apologies to Bonnie Tyler, for I can almost guarantee that she did not write her song with a box of chocolates in mind.  But let me continue...

One of my dear roommates was given a large box of chocolates as a "Thank You" gift for participating in a wedding.  The box is as large as 6 cartons of eggs stacked on top of each other in rows of two and was filled to the brim with little single-size chocolate bars.  You know, the kind that people often give out at Halloween.  I write in the past tense because my roommate, being the generous man he is, placed the box on our "Share Shelf" in the kitchen.  I, being the glutton I am, helped myself to 5 pieces the first day, and 10, the second. It is no longer filled to the brim.

It's embarrassing to write that. 

I do not need that chocolate.  I do not even truly want that chocolate.  What I want is a distraction from the mounting stress.  And food is my go-to distraction.  I enjoy it, at least for a while until I realize I've consumed  the daily caloric needs of a regularly-sized woman within the first 6 hours of the day and wasted precious hours walking from the computer to the kitchen to the computer to the kitchen.  And then the reality of what I've done begins to settle as heavily as the consumed food.  Eater's Remorse is as strong as Buyer's Remorse.  But today is a new day, and the refrain from "Total Eclipse of the Heart" is repeating itself in my mind, beckoning me to "turnaround" when I near that damn box and go sit down to work.  I'm going to listen to Bonnie this time. 

Today, I choose to give myself what I need:  focused time reading philosophy, quiet moments for resting (aka, knitting!) and mindful food consumption.  What are you going to give yourself today?

Friday, February 11, 2011

where is the Good that is supposed to be You?

We humans are profoundly fucked up.

Some might be offended by my adjective, but I do not apologize.  What word could adequately describe the incredible evil that we inflict upon each other?

  • We steal children in order to sell them as slaves for labor or sex.  
  • We murder for money, for revenge...for entertainment.
  • We pay to watch movies that laugh at violence and leave the theater with bright eyes, talking about what "cool computer graphics" the creators used. 
  • We strategize how to make more money at the expense of another and call it 'intelligent'.  
  • Husbands hit their wives; wives cheat on their husbands.  Both yell at their children for mistakes their children did not make.
  • We refuse to acknowledge the beggar, homeless, or addict on the corner so that we can pretend they don't exist thus relinquishing any responsibility we might have.
  • We knowingly participate in (and financially support) systems that oppress people and abuse their human rights.
  • We know these things and may cry a little bit but then quickly move on to our hair appointment, study session, church service, shopping errands, and cleaning...promptly forgetting the evil and our connection to it.  

I used to believe that God allowed evil to happen for a reason (perhaps to build one's character or faith).  If that is true, I think God is fucked up too.  How can hell be any worse than a child living day in and day out as someone's tool for sexual pleasure?  Or a child being locked in a closet without food or gentle touch because the father or mother or caretaker had some sick need for control?  What about the child?  How can his character survive?  How can her faith be strengthened?  If God uses evil as Step 1 of a lesson plan, I want nothing to do with God. 

where is the Good that is supposed to be You?

Friday, February 4, 2011


Why do women choose to wear shoes that modifies their walk to the point of humor? (At least from the perspective of the woman who watches behind her coffee cup).  Fashion (and the decisions we make in the name of fashion) never ceases to amaze me.