Saturday, September 29, 2012

Cul-De-Sac Happens

Earlier this evening I attended the wedding reception of yet another friend of mine. Like many of us, I have several different circles of friends, some closer than others, that I have stayed in touch with over the years. Of the group of friends I was with tonight, I am pretty much the only one who is not married yet.  I remember back in the day when we all use to sit around and play games, single and care free.  At the time, it felt like that would never change.  But of course things are always changing and one by one, each of my friends met, fell in love with, and married their now spouses.

I am always happy when people I care about find love, and I love celebrating the occasion with them, but like I have said before, it can be hard when you feel like you are the misfit of the bunch due to your lack of marital status.

I don't know why, but instead of getting sad like I have been prone to do at times, I felt more a feeling of primal rage by the time I returned home.  I felt like I could peel the layers of flesh from my bones while I screamed into the sky. I wanted to rant upon the earth like some kind of earth-bound demon, causing the ground to shake as I pounded my fists into the hard earth beneath me.

But instead I decided to take my poodle for a walk.

This primal walk, as I have taken to call it, made me realize a couple of things.

1. My giant poodle Daisy is seriously out of shape

2. If I had been a pioneer they would have buried me by the close of the first day.

3. Sometimes it is not a good idea to load up on wedding cake and chocolate and then go on a primal walk.

4. There is an unseen bell tower somewhere near my home.

5. Sometimes, no matter how well you plan or how good your intentions are...cul-de-sacs happen.

A cul-de-sac (literally "butt of the sack" in French[1]) is an expression of French origin also used in Catalan and Occitan referring to a dead end, close, no through road (British English, Canadian and Australian English) or court (American) meaning dead-end street with only one inlet/outlet. While historically built for other reasons, one of its modern uses is to calm vehicle traffic.

Learning is fun.

Thanks Wiki.

So there I was, primal walking out all of my angst...I tired to primal run out my angst for a while, but then quickly remembered why I had forsaken running several years back. This was also the point where I discovered that my giant poodle Daisy is in some serious need of cardio training.  The retractable leash that tethered her to me reached its extension capacity as soon as I hit a moderate jog.

Well done Daisy. I can't  help but feel that this is my fault somehow.

So there I was, primal walking out my angst. I was walking near my home and a main road that I have walked a hundred times before.  At one point, I made the choice to turn up a road that led into a neighborhood that I wasn't as familiar with.  My goal was to cut up through, and onto a another main road that ran parallel and resided due east of my current position.

As I turned up the road I realized that the incline of the climb was substantial. 

Very substantial.

I feel it appropriate at this point to mention that while I would consider myself a relatively active person as far as fitness goes, I also don't buy into the whole P90X/Insanity/Push your body till you puke sort of fitness that seems to be all the rage these days. I follow what the good books suggest of "moderation in all things", and for me this includes exercise....which also includes walks.

But this was no ordinary walk. This was a primal walk.

So I told my body to deal with it and I promptly began to climb the ridiculous hill.

I trudged along at an almost manic pace, huffing and puffing, my legs screaming at me to stop and me screaming back at my legs to respectfully shove it.  As I crested the top of the hill I felt a deep sense of accomplishment as I prepared to savor the sweet victory of the top of the climb.

And then I saw it. Or rather, didn't see it. And what I didn't see was the through street I was expecting.  Apparently...this was not one of those through streets you hear so much about. The top of this Everest led to a cute little cul-de-sac, tucked away from the world a thousand miles above the rest of humanity.

My initial reaction....

Son of a .....

Daisy cover your ears.

But then my higher mind kicked in and said something like unto:

Whelp! What are you going to do now? You gonna sit down and cry about it? You gonna stand around and swear and curse the city planner who designed the layout of the neighborhood?  I suppose you could always get mad at yourself for choosing to take a road you were unfamiliar with. That's an idea. Why don't you just stay right here for a while and yell at yourself for your epic road choosing failure. These are all really good ideas except for....

Except for what oh all knowing mind? 

Well...except for the fact that NONE OF THESE IDEAS AID YOU IN ACCOMPLISHING YOUR GOAL OF GETTING HOME. Just sayin.

Stupid accurate higher mind.

But what could I do? When she is right she is right, and it was true that if my goal was indeed to get home, my only option at that point was to turn around and find a different route....Which I did....eventually....after hitting 3 more dead ends....

Of course...this is very much like life.

Sometimes we have a goal. It is a good goal, a worthy goal, a well-intentioned goal...like marriage. And sometimes...we take risks by going down roads (much like pursuing relationships) that ultimately lead us to dead ends. The question is...what do you do when you realize the road you have chosen has reached an end and you can go further? What if this is the 127th road that you have been down that has ended like this?

Well...it seems you have a choice.

You can:

A. Set up permanent residence at the top of that dead end street and refuse on principle to leave, and every time someone walks by you make sure to vocalize to them exactly how unfair it is that the road didn't continue on the way you thought it ought to of. You can rant and rave and cry and curse God or the HOA or whoever is convenient at the time.

OR

B. You can face the reality that sometimes roads end and even though it sucks, the only way to accomplish your goal is to find a new path.

It might also be helpful to remember during these moments that even though it may take time and effort to find a new path, and maybe there might even be some backtracking involved, the original goal is not any less obtainable than it was before.

It might just mean that you are a little more tired, but also a little more grateful when  you finally reach home.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Post BreakUp Run In

From the dawn of time men and women have began and ended relationships. We all know how it goes; you meet, you fall in love, you start making plans....but then something happens and things start to go downhill at an alarming rate. Maybe it was your fault, maybe it was theirs, maybe you both really messed things up good. But for whatever reason, the relationship ends and you are forced to go your separate ways. And even though it can be one of the hardest things you can do, you manage to sever contact and begin to pick of the pieces of the life you had before.

At first, it really sucks. You spend a lot of time in your room curled up in the fetal position rocking slowly back and forth as you listen to a play list of songs that "remind you of him/her",while surrounded by empty bags of kettle corn and bottles of diet root beer.

Just me?

After a little while though, you emerge from you cave and begin to interact with other living creatures again. You might even start to feel up to going on a date with somebody new. Sure, you are probably not ready to jump right back into another relationship, but you begin to remember how nice it is to have someone to talk to, to laugh with, and heaven forbid, maybe even to share an simple cuddle with.

Before you even realize it, you begin to feel....normal again. Food has flavor, you find yourself smiling at something as simple as a beautiful sunset, and you even catch yourself signing out loud in the shower or while driving in your car. You are beginning to see daylight through what felt at the time like perpetual night, and even though you might not realize it in the moment, you are experiencing feelings of hope and excitement for the future.

But then it happens....

There you are, walking through the halls of school, pumping some iron at the gym, taking in the scene at a local haunt, or merely purchasing goods at The Wal-Mart.  You are contemplating an apple purchase when all of a sudden the skin on the back of your neck starts to goose-bump, and you get the strangest sensation that danger is near. Slightly alarmed, you raise your eyes just in time to see your ex only feet away with their back turned to you.

Your heart starts to pound and your face goes flush as all of the blood seems to drain from your body.  Suddenly, apples don't seem nearly as important as they had only moments ago; but what do you do? Do you turn and run in hopes that maybe they haven't spotted you yet? Or maybe they spotted you before you spotted them and chose to not acknowledge the sighting in hopes that you would not notice and walk away. Do you talk to them? Should you talk to them? And while you are battling with your own mind on the subject, you can't help but notice you also feel torn between feelings of deep longing and sadness, coupled with intense fear and insecurity for some reason. You realize that part of you wants nothing more than to run to that person you used to know so intimately and just hold them and breathe them in like an old childhood teddy bear. You also realize that even though your mind is telling you to abort, your body seems to be in a black hole suction action in their general direction.

Just as you are about to drop your basket of swag and fly to their side like a college student to free food, your higher mind kicks in and commands you to retreat to fight another day. With these new orders you turn and begin to skulk away, using the fruit stands to aid in your concealment. But just as it seems that you have thwarted the doomed encounter you hear your name being spoken, and turn around to meet the gaze of the person you once cared about more than anybody else in the world.

I don't know why it is, but at this moment, every stupid cliche' love song you have ever heard in your life begins to play in your mind, and you are struck with the very real feeling that you no longer have legs.

What do you do now?

Somewhere in your mind amidst It's all coming back to me and Somebody That I Use To Know, you hear phrases like, "Stay strong!....steady as she goes!....hold your ground!...don't let them see the fear in your eyes!....they can smell fear!....are you showing the fear?...You're showing the fear aren't you?...Yup....you blew it."

What follows is an awkward exchange of pleasantries and "how have you been's?", and "you look great's". When what you are really wanting to say is something more along the lines of...

"Holy crap, I miss you so much! Life has literally sucked since things ended and I still don't even really understand why. I think about you still and I hate that I am not allowed to just reach out and grab you anymore because it is no longer a privilege that we enjoy. Do you miss me? Do you think about me? About us? Do you ever wonder if maybe we made the wrong choice in walking away? Are you happy now without me? Are you dating? Are they better than me? What do they look like? Have you introduced them to your family? Why do you smell so good????? And why does seeing you here suddenly make me forget all the many valid reason I had for letting you go?....."

Fortunately, your inner monologue stays just that, and you are able to maintain the small talk that must now be your shared form of communication it seems. You sense that neither party wants to walk away, but you understand that neither party is going to linger longer than they feel is appropriate, given the circumstance. So at some point you tell them that it was nice running into them and that you wish them all the best and to be sure to take care. You might even exchange an awkward hug that is miles away from the familiar intimacy you shared not so long ago. But unlike all of those thousands of embraces that you shared before, this one seems to want to linger just a while more. There is a sadness in this hug....there is an acknowledgment of reality in this hug....you hate this hug....but you don't want to end this hug.

The hug eventually ends though, and the two of you part and go your separate ways, back to your separate worlds to resume your separate lives. And while you might feel a bit shaken up by the whole experience, you quickly find that food still has flavor, you catch yourself smiling at a beautiful sunset, and you still have the urge to bust out into song mid-shower.

To your great amazement....

Life goes on.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

I have Needs

You know how there are those families out there that hug a lot and are really close physically even when they grow up and become adults?

Yeah...my family isn't like that.

Don't get me wrong, the love is there....we just don't show it by touching...or saying things like "I love you"....or making eye contact...But it's there...

I'm not sure why this is so, but it seems to suit my family just fine, and I know that if any of my family was ever really in need we would rally to their side...I think...I hope....hmmmmmmm

Over the years, and through the mode of dating, I have had the opportunity of meeting many a man's family.  I have always found it super interesting to compare the dynamics of his family to my own. It was also interesting to try and make the connection between the physical comfort/needs of the man to the level of physical closeness within his own family. In other words, if a guy was super clingy physically, I would look to see if that was because he came from a very physically affectionate family. Likewise, I have often wondered if my seemingly reserved physical approach to relationships had anything to do with the fact that my family never really showed love in that way.

Many of us have heard about The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman which include: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch.

And while it is often the case that we have needs in all of these areas, Chapman argues that we each have a "primary love language" with the others falling in whatever order after that.

Wanna know something funny? Pretty much every man I have ever met who has been familiar with this book has informed me that Physical Touch is his primary love language. Shocker...

The potential issue here should be quite obvious.

Me: Not-sa-mauch a touchy feely kind of gal vs. Him: A creature that seems to sustain his very life force off of physical interaction. Great.

This difference in needs has caused me no end of stress in dating. I often felt like I was having to fend the guy off for as long as I possibly could when it came to being physical, just so I could get to really know him. I know I'm not alone in this, and I have heard it said more times than I care to remember that, "Men are just more physically driven than women" in the first place, so it's not like this is an altogether uncommon occurrence. That being said, this fact doesn't make it any more obnoxious when you are trying to legitimately get to know a guy, and all he seems to be able to focus on is getting you into a hot tub, or a love sac, or alone in his room.

Secret Tip for Men: If you really want to get a girl to open up physically, act as if it is the absolute last thing on your mind. Pretend (if you must) that you are more interested in her mind or her soul and getting to know those things thoroughly. If you do this, one of two things will happen:

A: She will eventually become so turned on by the fact that you haven't tried to objectify her the way that other men have that she will be the one who ends up jumping you.

or B: She will think you are not interested in her because she is so use to having to fight off the physical advances of men, and as such has taken to using physical aggressiveness as a sign of legitimate interest.

If you find yourself in the latter category, you may have to explain to her that this couldn't be further from the truth, and that even though you are extremely attracted/interested in her, you are attempting to really get to her before you involve physical interactions. At this point, I would be surprised if said female didn't launch herself across the couch and have her way with you right then and there.

Of course, there is always the possibility that she thinks of you as a friend and as such has no interest in ever being sexually involved with you in any way, shape, or form.  If this is the case, then it is pointless to pursue anything physical anyway, and you will then be free to move on to a girl who doesn't flinch at the thought of being physically involved with you.     

As for me? I have come to realize something about myself. I use to think that the reason I never wanted to be physically involved with a guy was either because I just hadn't been raise to be a physically affectionate person, or that on a more biological/emotional/spiritual level, it simply wasn't one of my core needs.

Yeah...about that.....I was sorely mistaken.

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Arch Nemesis List: #4

The time has come once again my friends. That's right, it is time to add yet another character to my list of Arch Nemesis...Nemesis's?....Nemesissies?......Nemesi?....I digress.

For those who haven't been keeping up, here is the list as it currently stands.

1. Fruit
2. Nesting Chairs
3. Automatic Flushing Toilets

And now...I add a villain so villainous that it's villainy knows no bounds. A creature so cantankerous that the very jaws of hell from which it was spawned now reject as one rejects poor quality sushi at an all-you-can-eat buffet. I don't want to paint an inaccurate picture here, so let me just say this...if Satan and Satan were to have a child, then the child of this double unholy union would be the next addition to the list. Many of you have already figured it out I'm sure so let me just go ahead and show you exactly what I am talking about.

BEHOLD!!!! The latest addition to the Arch Nemesis List:

 4. Cats

Look at him...just laying there... so innocently....like he is not contemplating the best way to snuff you out by curling up on your face while you sleep. Little jerk...

Throughout history, it has been a widely accepted truth that cats are the seed of hell, and should be treated as hostile in every interaction. Unlike dogs, who's loyalty and devotion have earned them the title of "Man's best friend",  Cats have done everything in their power to garnish nothing but contempt and hurt from those who would be their care takers.

Case in point:

A few weeks back I came down with a pretty wicked virus; complete with fever, chills, aches, pains, and an overall feeling that death was just around the corner. Now, I hate being alone when I am really sick, but unfortunately that was exactly the situation I found myself in. However, I was never entirely alone, because my loyal dog Daisy took it upon herself to act as my watchful nursemaid...

That selfless pooch never left my side during the entire course of my quarantine. THAT is a true friend.

Contrast that, with the hell-spawned demon we have taken to calling Tiger. Unlike Daisy, who seemed to have a vested interest in my speedy recovery, Tiger appeared to have just as much a vested interest in increasing my suffering ten fold. He attempted to accomplish this goal by jumping on my chest and placing his fury disease-riddled-cat-butt in my face. And when that got old, he moved on to playing what my mom likes to call "soft-soft" on the most vulnerable and exposed parts of my body. Now, the name "soft-soft" is a bit misleading. The game of "soft-soft" involves Tiger baring his fully-intact claws and kneading your flesh (preferably the softer areas such as tummies and you guessed it, breasts) like a baker kneads bread.

And if that wasn't already enough, the foul beast had yet another misfortune in store for me, waiting just around the corner.

The first time that I was able to get up and walk around after being couch bound for days, I was drawn outside by the diabolical little bastard, under the guise that he had been locked out of the house and was in desperate need of getting back in. The moment I opened the front door the little cur had vanished into the ethers as far as I could tell, but had instead left in his merciless wake a tiny dead baby bird. Not an adult bird mind you, or even a teen-aged angsty bird....no no....a poor helpless, and probably flightless baby bird. And just then, as if on cue....as if he had been waiting and relishing this moment for sometime, I heard a rustling in the foliage beside me and turned to see this....

Now I know it might sound crazy....but I swear to you I could hear something that sounded like heartless maniacal laughter coming from the same patch of green where the murderer now sat in sadistic triumph.

I could go on and on about the depravities of the feline race, but I fear I would exceed my content limit. Also, I am fairly certain that I have been, and continue to be under surveillance since I began writing this post.  Make no mistake my friends, even when you think they are being sweet and warm and engaging, remember this....Judas was one of Christ's most beloved disciples....and we all know how that turned out.

You have been warned.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

What Do You REALLY Want?

Diets suck. Telling yourself that you can't have something is probably the best way to ensure that you are going to fixate on that very same thing. Take my kettle korn addiction for example...no please...take it! Stupid?....stupid. My point is, the harder I told myself I couldn't have it, the more I craved it.

This isn't a new concept; I have known about this internal struggle for many years. It's funny though, in all of those years I never thought to do what eventually turned out to be the cure; that is, give in...

It sounds counter-intuitive I know, and I'm certainly not suggesting that we all go around simply giving into whatever whim or addiction we fancy; but I believe that in some cases that giving in and just allowing yourself to have something is exactly what you need in order to get over it.

In the case of my popcorn/kettle korn issue, I decided that instead of telling myself I couldn't have it anymore, and trying to restrict how much of it I consumed on any given day or in any given week, I would instead allow myself unlimited access to it. I gave myself unrestricted permission to consume as much crunchy, salty, sugary awesomeness I could handle. I remember one day I went out and purchased 3 different kinds of popcorn and ate a handful at a time from each bag. On another occasion,  I made chewy caramel corn (a specialty of mine) with the intent of giving it away....which I did....after consuming half of the batch. To be totally honest, there were days where some form or forms of popcorn were pretty much all I ate. I'm not going to lie, there were moments when I legitimately feared that I would die from Scurvy before the addiction gave out. I was sure that I was utterly destroying my innards with all of the corn kernels passing through. and though medically this may have been a very stupid idea, I never told myself no. If I wanted popcorn, I ate popcorn. But then, one day, the most unexpected and remarkable thing happened. I woke up one day, and to my amazement... I had zero desire to eat popcorn. I had several bags of different flavors lying around the house and when I looked at them I thought...Geez...I am really sick of popcorn....I'm gonna make a smoothie.

The impossible had happened. I no longer felt like a slave to the beast. And whereas before, I was telling myself I couldn't have it, now I was telling myself how much I literally didn't want it. Here is the thing though; I had tried to do this in the past, and it didn't work, but I think I may have figured out why...

No matter how hard you try, and no matter how good you get at lying to those around you, you will never truly be able to lie to yourself when it comes to your true desires. You can sit around and justify and rationalize all the day long. You might even think that you have logically convinced yourself of X,W, or Z, but ultimately you still want what you want, even if logically you know you shouldn't.

In my past attempts, I had "told" myself I was "allowed" to have it whenever I wanted; but of course, I was lying to myself. I was lying because even though I was "allowing" myself to eat the popcorn, I was all the while telling myself how pathetic I was for doing so. Along with that, there was always that little voice in the back of my head that sat in constant judgment, reminding me that if I kept it up, I would surely die or worse...balloon up to the size of a large sea mammal and then no man would ever want me and then I would die, fat and alone. What a douche right?

It wasn't until I wasn't frightened by the consequences or the threats of the voice inside my head that spread nothing but doom and consequence,  that I was finally able to see what it was I was really wanting...and it sure as hell wasn't popcorn...tasty though it be.

So the real question is...what is it that you really want?

So often our addictions or even just every day desires are nothing more than a front for something we want so much more. A woman who is craving real intimacy might become a sex addict; while a man who longs for the approval of the world might become a slave to his job or to money. I think that so often in the case of true addiction, there comes a point where the original reason you turned to your drug of choice, be it sex, pills, food, or what have you, becomes lost, so much so that you yourself may find it almost impossible to trace it back to its origins. And sometimes, in extreme cases where there has now become a chemical or neurological dependency, knowing the reason "why" may not be the most important part of getting you better.

So what about me? What was I really wanting? Or was it just that I personally find popcorn so amazing that I truly wish to live off of that and maybe a salad every once in a while?

What I discovered was that what I was really wanting was not the popcorn itself, but rather, what I was wanting was the knowledge that I was free to choose. I wanted the feeling of having permission to eat the popcorn. Like I said in the beginning of this post; it seems like it is exactly when we tell ourselves NO that we fight the hardest to oppose that. Maybe this says something about my nature, or about human nature in general really.

In the church we are taught that the principle or concept of agency is probably one of the only "eternal" ones that exist. By this, we mean to say that God did not give us agency, but rather, we are agency in motion. It was by our inherent agency that we chose to follow God and this plan to pass through this world. So in a way, it makes total sense to me that it is exactly when a spirit feels like their agency is being hindered, that they will lash back with a fury that can become entirely self-destructive.A soul wants to be loved, but it would appear that nobody loves this soul; in this, the souls agency feels helpless because of course, this involves the agency of another person, of which this souls agency is powerless to control. But this soul wants what it wants, and in it's attempt to satisfy it's very good and noble desire, it may, unfortunately, find a more destructive way of exercising it's agency.

There is of course a balance to be struck here, and also, and most obviously, a great deal of honest introspection and willingness to explore ones own true desires. If I hadn't allowed myself true permission, consequences be damned, then I never would have truly been able to see that it had nothing to do with popcorn, and everything to do with wanting permission to live my life however the hell I wanted to. Who would have thought that something as simple as popcorn could be the doorway by which I was able to see inside to my deepest self.

We can learn a lot about ourselves and our true natures and desires through means that may seem entirely simplistic. But like the good book says, "Through small and simple things are great things brought to pass."

Footnote: There is a great book out there that talks in depth about this very concept. It is called  Women, Food, and God and it was written by Geneen Roth. Much of what I wrote about today are concepts that she has been teaching for years. I highly recommend this book to anyone who finds that they have become a slave to anything in life, not just food.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

A Whole Lotta Skin

I find myself in a sort of a dilemma, a paradox really. It involves women and a whole lotta skin, so this will probably be one of those posts that gets passed around; which is fine, I have no objections against giving the people a little heart and a little humor. So.....butts hu?

Growing up, I was taught that modesty is of critical importance for a young lady. My mother, a conservative lady herself, never would have allowed me out of the house wearing outfits that I have seen girls sporting at church recently.  Here is where my conflict arises. And since I never do anything without dramatic flare, I would like to present it in the form of an angel and a devil on my shoulder engaging in conversation. But since angel and devil denote right or wrong, lets just call them Tic and Nip. Why? I have no idea. This is how I approach a lot of topics; that is to say, I often examine issues from both sides of the argument. Some may call this fence sitting; I call it thinking. Nevertheless, here is how this conversation might sound, were you in my head as a spectator.

Me: Wow....that girl's shorts are leaving nothing to the imagination.

Tic: That is disgusting, doesn't she realize that everyone can see her cellulite? Short shorts are like driver licenses, they are meant to be a privilege and not a right.

Nip: Would you feel differently if she had a flawless body?

Me: That's a good point. Am I appalled because she is wearing immodest shorts? Or because I don't feel like someone her size should be wearing immodest shorts?

Tic: Look, I'm not saying it's fair, but let's be honest. Society has certain standards, and those include standards for physical beauty. This is why you are never going to see a 300lb Ms. America. I'm not saying that it is right or wrong, I'm just saying that a girl of her size needs to realize that she simply can't wear those shorts, even if they are in style. If she really wants to wear them, then she needs to hit the gym a little harder than that box of Ho Ho's.

Nip: But that is ridiculous! Why should this girl feel a need to cover up simply because of some socially constructed dogma about physical beauty? What if fat became the new thin? Then would you feel differently?

Tic: When fat becomes the new thin, then I might rethink the matter. But I really doubt that day will ever come. Reality is reality on this matter, unfortunately. This girl needs to learn the rules of engagement.

Nip: This girl, should be just as proud of her body as any toothpick running around. It is absolutely asinine to place restrictions on a body due to some perceived "flaw". So what if she has cellulite? The real issue here is the obvious double standard, which, I would hope you as a woman would fight to oppose.

Me: It's true, I do feel torn. On one hand, I believe that a woman should be able to wear whatever she wants regardless of her size or shape. I think the bigger issue for me isn't who should get to wear that kind of clothing, but rather, should anyone be wearing it period?

Tic: Absolutely not. If we are going to talk real virtues here, nobody should be wearing them.

Nip: And why is that?

Tic: Because; it sends the wrong signals to men. It is basically a big flashing sign that reads Open for Business 24 hours a Day.

Nip: Really? All that from a pair of shorts? Isn't it possible that she is just proud of her body and choosing to...

Tic: What? Choosing to use her body as a means of gaining attention/affection? Yeah, I'd say that's a little tacky.

Nip:  Now isn't this the pot calling the kettle black. Like you said, I didn't build the social constructs, I am merely pointing out that certain ways of dressing present a certain...openness to sexual availability. If that is what she is going for, then she has learned to play the game and more power to her. You wouldn't fault her for flaunting her flawless smile or sparkling eyes right? In this culture, sex sells, and if you so happen to have a body that falls within the approved pile, then why wouldn't you use it to the fullest extent?

Tic: The issue here is that a woman shouldn't have to feel like she needs to wear that kind of clothing in the first place. But you are right, it is what it is. But here is the thing, if women refused to sexualize themselves, then the men would just have to adapt. If the kitchen is closed, then they will have to find other ways of feeding themselves.

Me: I think I have to agree with both of you. I find it sad that we live in such a society that women feel a need to have to use their bodies and sexuality as a form currency in order to buy love and attention. That being said, I see it highly unlikely that this reality is going to change any time soon. Even if we all started wearing turtle necks and parachute pants, it isn't going to change the fact that a man will be trying his darndest to get you out of said clothing at some point. We are only human after all. 

I guess in the end, I just have to accept that there are certain realities about the society we live in. There will always be girls with perfect bodies who use said bodies to catch the attention of men. On the other hand, there will also always be women who refuse to objectify themselves in such a manner.  I also think that even though we are all human, and as such, all predisposed to a weakness of the flesh, I can't discredit those who make a conscious choice to not give those kinds of girls the time of day. I don't think those girls are evil at all, I myself have certainly been guilty of flaunting what I got a time or two; but I do feel sorry for them, for all of us really, that we felt like we had to in order to give us the edge in this highly competitive world of mate selection.

That being said, I understand that what is "modest" is nothing more than a social construct. However, it is the construct in which we find ourselves. In an ideal world, people could walk around naked as a jay bird and nobody would say boo. After all, what is the body more than raiment?...as the good book says? We are more than our physical forms, and I do find it slightly bemusing that we have become a society that all but worships something that can never last, and that will ultimately turn to dust anyway, while seemingly neglecting the value of the indestructible soul. We are blinded by biology it seems. Myself included. Too bad really. Too bad.  

    


Friday, September 7, 2012

31 Flavors of Husband...or Wife

There are plenty of things about picking a partner that are difficult, even when you don't have the prospect of an eternal consequence hanging over your head. That little bit adds a smidgen more pressure to the decisions no?

For thousands of single LDS saints, this is the reality of mate selection. For as I have mentioned before, in the LDS faith, we believe that we are not only married in this life, but also bound to our partners in the life to come and on through eternity. Now, that being said, our divorce rate is starting to look more like that of the non-Mormon world, so obviously we also believe in making mistakes as well. However, I personally believe that this concept of "time and ALL eternity", is one that can prove paralyzing to some single saints, rendering them almost totally incapable of taking that next step. I know the prospect of being saddled with a perhaps ill-thought-out choice for the rest of forever does make single life seem not-sa-bad after all.

Though this eternal impact does lend itself to one possible contributor to those who seem to shy away from the altar of marriage. Here's another...

Disclaimer: I believe in personal revelation. I believe people can receive inspiration and guidance from God. I believe that God wants the best for us.

That being said....


It is not uncommon these days to see many LDS singles putting off making a choice about marriage. Many believe that in order to move forward, they must first pray have and receive a clear yes or no answer from God. As it says it Proverbs 3: 5-7

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and He shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes…

While it is true that we should trust in the Lord with all of our hearts, so often we forget that along with this admonition to seek His guidance, we have also been blessed with the gift of agency. I have no doubt that God wishes us to seek His will as we make these life altering decisions; however, let us not forget that God is also the champion of agency, and part of what it means to experience this life is to make choices that come from a genuine place within each of us.

I would like to better elaborate on this concept with the following story I have entitled:

The Parable of the 31 Flavors

A Father and his young son walk into an ice cream shop one hot summer day. "My son", said the father, "You have been such a good and obedient child. You always come when I call you, and you are even kind to your little sister. I am so proud of you, and I want you to have something you will enjoy. I already know how much you love ice cream and so I want for you to pick your favorite flavor from the 31 flavors you see before you."

The young boy at once felt delighted at the task at hand. His eyes lit up as he poured over the possibilities before him; Brownies on the Moon, Cookie Dough, Strawberry Delight, and so many more. Gradually though, the excitement the boy had initially felt began to turn to feelings of anxiety. He begins to fidget and shuffle his feet and his eyes turn desperately up at his father. "Do I have to choose only one?", the boy asks in total earnest innocence.

 His loving father chuckled softly as he answered, "Yes my sweet boy, only one flavor, but you can choose whatever flavor you wish. I want you to pick your personal favorite so that I know you will enjoy it and be satisfied with your choice." With these words of encouragement the boy returned his gaze to the many flavors laid out in front of him. What was his favorite anyway?  He remembered that he tried Rum Raisin once and that did not end well; he recalls liking Rocky Road quite a bit, though he thought the nuts were a bit unnecessary. Furiously his eyes scanned the long case of flavors, contemplating and deliberating. All the while, the understanding father remained by his son’s side in patient yet silent support.

After a few moments the boy began to become quite agitated. It was clear to him that there was simply no way that he could make such an important and final decision, regardless of what he personally preferred. In utter frustration he turned to his father and exclaimed, "There are too many choices! I don't know what I want anymore! Can't you please just pick out my favorite for me??? Please????"  At this empathic plea, his loving father knelt down beside his young son, and with all of the love of knowing parent, looked deep into his sons’ eyes that had now begun to water a bit from the stress of it all and said in a gentle yet firm voice...

"My dearest boy, it is not for me, or any other person for that matter, to tell you what your favorite should be. Only you can truly answer this question, for you are your own person with your own unique likes and dislikes. More than anything I want for you to learn to make decisions for yourself. Not so that you can prove anything to me, but so that you can know the joy of making a genuine choice, so that you may feel the satisfaction that comes from trusting yourself enough to make a good choice. Therein lies the secret my beautiful boy, if the choice you make comes from a place of sincerity and a genuine desire for good, then you need never fear that you have ever made the "wrong" choice. For truly my sweet boy, how can a choice that comes from a place like that ever truly be wrong?"

For a moment, the boy pondered on the words his father had spoken to him in love and total sincerity. With a new resolve, he again returned his focus to the task at hand. And then, just as it seemed that the boy would never settle on a flavor, and just as the boy was about to abandon the whole idea of ice cream all together, his eyes came to rest on a flavor he hadn't seen the first time he had looked....Mint Chocolate Chip.

His favorite! Oh how he loved that flavor! The smooth mintiness in combination with the sweet and bitter pop of the chocolate chips; it was the perfect ice cream flavor in his mind. With excitement in his voice he turned to his Father and cried, "Oh Father! I love Mint Chocolate Chip! It is my favorite! Is this the flavor I should choose???" The Father however, did not reply, but simply continued to hold his young sons’ small hand inside his own. A bit frustrated, the young boy looks up at his father and exclaimed, only much louder this time, “Father! Please! Tell me if this is the flavor that I should choose! Please!!" But once again, the father remained silent, but instead only looked lovingly down at his now visibly distressed child.

Huge salty tears begin to fall from the young boys eyes; how will he ever be able to move forward with this choice if his father, the one man he trusted more than anyone in the whole wide world won't even help him? He knows he likes Mint Chocolate Chip, but maybe there is a better flavor out there, or maybe there are some unknown flavors in the back of the store or hidden away somewhere that only his father can see from his vantage point.  If this was the case, then why oh why wouldn’t his father, who claims to love him so, not simply point it out to him? And what's more, doesn't his father know him even better than he knows himself? Doesn't that mean that certainly, if there is a person qualified to make this choice it is he? Doesn't he want his son to be happy? So why then would he in his infinite wisdom withhold from him now?

The tears flowed steadily now, and the young child felt as though his father had totally abandoned him in this endeavor. But then, just as he was ready to leave that frustrating ice cream shop that had once held so many possibilities but that now seemed to hold only confusion and heartache, just as he was ready to turn and walk out the door, he heard the words his father had spoken only moments before replaying softly in his mind; only this time, they struck a chord deep within his heart as he suddenly understood what his father had been trying to teach him all along.

It is not for me.....or any other person for that matter....to tell you what your favorite should be.......Only you can truly answer this question.....

The young boy slowly raised his head as he wiped the tears away from his eyes. He then looked steadfastly up at his father who had, in actuality, never left his side, and said with a confidence that can only come from a place of genuine authenticity, "Father, I have decided I would like Mint Chocolate Chip."

"An excellent choice my son." said the father as he purchased the ice cream and handed it to his young son, who, after this experience, was starting to look more like his father than ever before.

The End.

May we seek for the guidance of our Father in Heaven in all that we do; but let us not forget that it was never Gods intention to instruct us in such detail that we lose the very principle upon which the war in heaven was fought. Let us never forget the eternal importance of our agency.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Watch Me Rise

It's time little girl. Time for you to finally grow up. Time for you to finally accept that the world and life isn't going to get any easier. It is never going to be the fairytale you saw as a child. You saw the world through child's eyes and now it is time to see them through the eyes of your own responsibility.

 You are no longer a victim, and it is time you started acting as such. You have only been a victim because you choose to be, and I understand why, but there is no more room for this anymore. There is only room for strength and fortitude and action. Stop sitting around waiting for life to come to you or be handed to you, because it isn't going to happen. Life doesn't owe you a damn thing, you are waiting on an illusion and that illusion and that waiting are making you sick. I'm sorry to tell you this, but you have been buying into a lie, I don't know where it came from but it doesn't really matter. From this point on, you choose how and what your life is going to be.

 You are no longer dependant on other people for your happiness. You are happy because it is your choice to do so or not, for that matter. You need not punish others for your dissatisfaction of life. With that being said, you also don't owe them a damn thing either. When you smile from now on, it will be because it is coming from a genuine place inside of you. When you say "no" it will be with conviction. Say no with confidence, say yes with confidence. Say them because you mean them, say everything because you mean them and for no other reason.

There is pain in life to be sure, but this needless suffering ends now, it ends today. You will not live one more moment a slave to this world or the people in it. You are strong, so much stronger than you have ever realized. I know you never believed this in the past because anyone you have ever loved or trusted told you how weak you were. Weak minded, weak spirited, fragile, sensitive, emotional. So with all due respect...screw them. Let them live out their unconscious lives and wallow in their own delusion where the only way they can feel good about themselves is by trying to stifle your infinite power. They have been successful for many years, too many years, they will have not a moment more. You no longer inhabit their dream...their vision...their delusion. You build your own world now.

No more pity parties, no more woe is me, no more but it "should" have been or if onlys. No more fighting for relationships where you are the only one fighting. If people want to walk out, let them, and bid them well, and if you want, you can even pity them for not realizing what they had when they had you. And no more looking back. You are done looking back to see a someones backside.

No more trying to "reinvent" yourself in a desperate attempt to become what they want. What they want is an illusion, it is some construct that they have built up in their own minds from their own skewed perversion of reality. They would have you twist and bend and break to fit into their version of "ideal". They would take and take and take from you until there was nothing left to take and then they would be sure to point out the fact that you were now lacking. You don't need their love, you need to be authentic. You don't need their love, or their approval, and you sure as hell don't need their permission.

But above all things little girl, it is time to stop being so damned afraid. So afraid of everything. Afraid of the world, afraid of people, afraid of success, afraid of yourself. You may never do anything extraordinary in this life, but you will truly be damned if you don't start claiming your life for your own. Only this time, you do it for you...nobody else. This is your baptism by fire. This is your rebirth.

Rise

Watch me Rise

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Leaky Cup: Part 1

Maybe this is just the fever talking....and the gross amounts of DayQuil probably isn't helping either, but I feel like being really honest right now. And assuming this comes out semi-coherent, I think we will have a half way decent post, which I will probably delete later once I have sobered up. You see...cold medicine is the Mormons Alcohol. Ok, that might be a bit of a gross generalization, let me rephrase, Cold Medicine is my alcohol. I never take it unless I am sick, but when I do, I seem to lose all inhibition. Also, let's just assume that whatever virus I have contracted will in fact lead to my demise, I figure, might as well put it all out there ya? Is that enough exposition? Great.

I think I have mentioned before that my childhood wasn't exactly easy. But since I only have my own experience, I find it hard to say how easy or not easy it was in comparison to others. I will say this however; the older I get, the more I start to see the real world effects of my upbringing, some positive, others not so much. My Father was, is, a highly intelligent man who values education and helped plant a love of language in me from a very young age. In a way, I'm sure I wouldn't be writing this blog today if not for him. But like many others, I also had a Father who was removed in many ways. He worked long hours to provide a very comfortable lifestyle for my family. We never wanted for anything; well, nothing superficial at least. It has become very obvious to me in recent years the huge impact my relationship with my parents, and particularly my father has had on the way I interact with the people in my life, and especially intimate relationships.

I know it's really cliche' and easy to start spouting psycho-babble whenever things don't seem to be going our way in life. It is easy to blame mommy and daddy for this or that in order to justify why we fall short in our own lives. But here's the thing, the reason why they have become cliches' is because the belief that how and by who we are raised, strongly influences the people we become, is not new-aged or all that crazy to believe. When children grow up with absent or abusive parent or parents, that child will often form coping skills that are less productive as they move into their adult lives and relationships. That is not their fault, they were just programed wrong. In a very real way, they were preparing for war, not for loving relationships.

Now before you self-motivators get all pissy, let me add that this doesn't mean that a person can't change a pattern of behavior or a thought system that might be destructive or at the least maladaptive; but come on, you can't honestly sit there and tell me that that probably isn't one of the single hardest things a person can undertake in their life. Does that mean you shouldn't try? Certainly not, you should always try, otherwise you will repeat the same destructive tendencies without even realizing what you are doing. That being said, unless you are the one trying to undo literally years of hard-wired programing I have two things to say to you. First, your are ignorant as can be if you believe for even one moment that most of who you consider your "authentic" positive qualities/adaptabilities/coping skills  aren't in majority anything more than the programing you received as a child. Perhaps you just lucked out and got a more positive program. You got Windows XP/Freaking Awesome, and someone else is still trying to run off of DOS. And second, it is not for you to tell someone how or how fast this de-programing should take place. Also, your "stop playing the victim" comments probably aren't going to help the situation either. I apologize that not all of us are experts in the field of self-mastery the way you seem to be. This whole attitude of, "well I had a crappy childhood but I was able to overcome it, so why can't you? No excuses!", is frankly about as ignorant as a person can get. I'm sorry we weren't all born with your obviously superior talent to "rise above it all". Some people have emotional or even mental defects that make it almost impossible to change their faulty programing. But guess what? That is in no way, shape, or form for you to judge or keep tabs on, or inform them of their progress about; unless you are their therapist and they are paying you. As always, why don't you try showing a little less "tough love" (whatever the HELL that is) and a wee bit more compassion.

Life is hard enough when you are looking through clear lenses. Can you imagine for a moment how much harder it would be for someone who is wearing the wrong prescription? They keep putting on that same pair of glasses and keep trying to read that same book, but it just never works, and they can't for the life of them figure out why. All they know for certain is that it never seems to work. It is a frustrating and heartbreaking process to try and step outside of yourself and really take a hard look at your own part in this mess. After so many years of failure in any given area of your life, you might find yourself starting to wonder....wait a minute...maybe this is my issue. But even after you have discovered what that issue or hangup might be, the task of changing it seems almost impossible. You literally feel as though someone might as well ask you to change sexually preferences or deep-rooted religious beliefs. After all, these ill-adapted coping skills are what got you through the war zone that was your childhood. This tricks of the trade are what have protected your heart against those who would broken it for sport. These...beliefs have been the only reliable thing in your life, the only constant in a constantly changing world. Letting go of these, not only feels impossible at times, but you find yourself wondering if it is even a good idea to do so. And yet....you see others around who seem....happier....and you want to be happier too. You see them in healthy relationships and realize that your heart aches for something like that. And not much unlike a child trying to bake a cake, you set out to make your own loving relationship, only to realize that for some reason, you keep insisting on adding salt instead of sugar and the cake is bitter and unfit for consumption. And so it is, that you repeatedly and consistently watch your well intentioned dreams of baking bliss crumble in your own hands...and you realize that you have nobody to blame but yourself....

To be continued...