Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Saying no. Sexual politics.

No means no is a concept that should be very simple. Except that it isn’t. Human beings make an awful lot of decisions based on individual perceptions, and we all perceive other people’s reactions differently.

It’s all very well to say if you don’t have a clear ‘yes’, then it’s a no. But we all know that most human beings are awkward and uncomfortable when it comes to expressing sexual desires. Seldom does someone flat out ask ‘would you like to have sex?’ even though it’s a sensible question. Nine times out of ten we all feel it might ruin the mood to bring it up so blatantly. **Many women feel like it would be non-feminine to ask. Many men feel they are putting too much pressure on their partner by bringing it up so forcefully. Insert any number of other rationalisations for not asking flat out. We all know that not saying yes is NOT the same as saying no. In most cases. You have to put together the whole package, how are the reacting to your advances? Do they seem to be ‘into’ whatever you’re already doing? Asking flat out also won’t kill you… and it might just save you a whole lot of pissing about trying to work out what your partner is thinking. I’m a hypocrite, I never flat out ask either :P

Let me call on my own experiences as examples: remembering here that I have a dreadful relationship history which has caused me to be very sensitive to the reactions of the person I’m with. Oversensitive in many ways.

So I was at a party, we’d all had a few… as you do… I was a bit tipsy, and there was a guy there that I’m very attracted too. We sort of edged around each other for a while, with nothing very amazing going on. We talked for a long while, we have things in common. A munted sense of humour for example. In fact by the time we stop talking, the number of people at the party has thinned dramatically. We’ve been holding hands while we were talking, its obvious there’s something there it’s just not really obvious what. Now being super gun-shy, I’m not about to push the matter very hard. But I’m not going to entirely let go of it either. The dance floor has cleared so we dance for a bit. For me, its nice being close to someone, I don’t let my guard down very much and being comfortably in someone’s arms is pleasant. It’s getting very late (we really did talk quite a lot of the night away) so I decide the time has come for me to leave. But unusually for me – I don’t want to leave without some kind of obvious mark of affection and attraction. So when we go outside I kiss him. You can tell a lot from a kiss. The first touch of lips is light and I pull back after just a moment. Because I can sense that he’s a little uncomfortable. But he doesn’t pull away, there’s no obvious negative reaction so I kiss him again and this time I don’t pull back and neither does he. I could have hung around and explored more, but I really was getting an ‘I don’t know what I’m doing here’ vibe – so I left. A little melancholy maybe. Also oddly positive, because this is the first guy I’ve really gotten close to since, well I’m sure some of you remember. The first guy I’ve even looked at seriously. And I know there’s a problem. Because I KNOW he has a girlfriend. And I have all kinds of opinions about this.

Don’t abandon me as a hopeless wanton quite yet. The circle I hang in has an interesting set of morals sometimes, in many case a little kissing while tipsy (or high on life, party’s can be intoxicating on their own) is pretty much ignorable and means nothing. Well you know not NOTHING, it’s a fair indication of attraction usually, but it’s not an indication that these people are going to jump each other. Because people have limits.

I am celibate. I have been for (mumble mumble) years. Voluntarily, because as I say: not the most awesome track record relationship wise. So I made an active decision to shut up shop for now. And so far nothing has happened that was significant enough to change that. So for me a little mild fooling around, mostly at parties is all that’s going to happen. Because of my limits. In the past my limits were somewhat different, that’s another story.

The point is that I chose to walk away, because the situation was awkward enough as it was. And my ‘whoop, whoop you’re going to get hurt’ alarms were going totally fucking crazy. They go off at the slightest thing of course, but they had a point this time.

There’s another point here – at one time or another most people end up attracted to or gaining attention from someone who’s already in a relationship. I’ve made all the dumb mistakes: don’t be a dick – sort it out. Immediately. Before you end up being a total cocknozzle. I hear all kinds of excuses all the time – fuck, I’ve made some of those lame ass justifications. They justify nothing. ‘They were the one in the relationship, they should have controlled themselves’ - true - but BALLS, if you knew they were in a relationship then you should have controlled yourself too. It’s not like we can’t imagine being the cuckolded partner. Apply the golden rule.

Here’s one I caught myself out with over that guy up there ^ ‘he kissed me back’. People are stupid. S T U P I D. Kissing you back is hardly an indication of much at all in my experience. Oh sure if someone actually turns me off, or I dislike them for some reason or I have a genuine reason to avoid physical contact with them (you know, like not wanting to completely ass up a friendship) THEN I won’t kiss them back. But generally if the person is at least somewhat interesting I’ll respond at least somewhat. They might not get an awesome kiss full of all the awesome, but they won’t get rejected either. (THIS IS NOT AN INVITATION – C E L I B A T E!). People often kiss back even when they’re actually not very interested at all. When they’re drunk they’re even more likely to kiss back, because there’s all the normal response mechanism AND a bunch of stupid juice. I tried to justify kissing a man I knew had a girlfriend because ‘he kissed me back’. *FACEPALM*. I even knew he had been drinking. Though to be entirely fair he hadn’t had much to drink in the previous couple of hours. Still not ok. We all know that being in a relationship does not negate the possibility of finding someone else interesting – hell its ok to find someone else interesting, it’s what you do about it that matters.

Anyway. No more about this particular debacle. I was made into a more confused person by it. That is all. The point I was trying to make is that it’s important to gauge the responses of the other person. We didn’t speak about it at the time, because talking about it then would totally have made it weird. We talked about it later. It was still totally weird and awkward but it wasn’t full of sexually charged atmosphere. Aren’t I a big meany making him talk about it later? Tough. It’s good to straighten things out.

Even that’s not perfect because people have different ideas about what they deem acceptable.

I have a friend who’s an absolutely lovely lady. She wouldn’t hurt a fly, she’s full of love and kindness. But her grasp of where people’s lines are is not very finely tuned. Her idea of what’s OK is quite wildly different from average. I float around with people who are very easy going, generally sexually forward, and whose lines are generally in a fairly unusual location. By which I mean, most of us don’t get very upset by a bit of petting. But she’s not so good at reading the subtler signals of ‘you’re going further than I want you to’. And she forgets that other people’s partners are not as open minded as hers. One of the problems with my open minded and polite group is that we tend to let people go further than we want to. Because we love them. (Yes, my people I did just speak for all of you: feel free to jump up and down and yell ‘I don’t love any of you cunts’ or whatever you feel the need to) We don’t want to push them away and make them feel rejected. So instead we end up making ourselves feel bad. And worst case, our partners too.

Sometimes I think it would be really nice to live in world where people would say what they mean, and not have to fear hurt feelings all the time.

Reality is not so simple. Feelings are hurt all the time.

So in this little situation one person is failing to catch the signposts of no, the other is failing to make those signs more clear. Both people will end up doing something they didn’t want to.

I’m going to dredge back into my past and pull up something I don’t like talking about, some of you know the story already, skip ahead if you like: but it’s very relevant to the no means no discussion. It illustrates my point with ghastly clarity.

I had just broken up with a long term boyfriend, it was all a remarkably weird situation: we were still good friends we had simply grown apart and as we both accepted that, no one had to feel like a heel and no one had to feel rejected. We were so OK with it that we continued living in the house we had shared for another six months. He had met a new girl and wanted to bring her over to meet me. (Yes I am perfectly well aware of how weird that must have seemed to her >.< ) Anyway, a mutual friend came over to join us for the evening – mostly so that I wouldn’t be in the third wheel position in this odd little meeting. He was being sort of a wanker to the new girl so I retreated to my room with him before he went too far. But then he got the idea that since we were in MY room listening to music, maybe it would be a good time to have a crack at me himself. (Yes in fact he is a total moron with girls, however did you guess?) We were in that slightly awkward he’s kissing me, and while I’m not into it I’m not anti enough to actually tell him to shove off. Also my brain is not at its best what with having my ex in the next room with his new girlfriend. He starts pushing for more, and I’m now more clearly not keen. But he’s not paying attention and persists. I’m stopping his hands from going places I don’t want them, I’m telling him to back off. Note: I still haven’t flat out said no. Because manners are sometimes so fucked up that you continue being all careful of the other person’s feelings even when it’s becoming obvious you should kick him in the ‘nads. This is a FRIEND. I don’t want to be mean to him. Try to understand that this is a confusing moment, your friend has started becoming a monster, but most of your head is still trying to treat him like a friend. Then the moment passes, he goes too far and I’ve grabbed him by the throat in the universal sign of ‘get the fuck off me or I’m going to hurt you’. And then he’s sitting on the end of my bed in shock. Because he came that close to hurting me without ever having realised how close he was getting. The sensible part of his brain had fucked off for the evening because the other bit was all over-excited that he might just get some. Oddly I have a small amount of sympathy with these young boys who find themselves accused of rape after a date that got a bit hot and heavy. Not because I think they’re innocent but because I understand how you can be carried away by the moment. How you can miss what might later seem like screamingly obvious signals. It’s a hell of a way to find out about it. It doesn’t forgive them their actions, because at some point it must have been beyond screamingly obvious that she just wasn’t that into it. And they should have stopped. At the very least paused to make sure. Or maybe it needs to be more carefully explained that if she’s just lying there like a piece of wood you’re doing something wrong.

We had an odd experience going on in our group last year. Someone who was pushing the boundaries of the no means no code, and appeared to have no idea she was doing it. I suspect if I pressed her she would be startled to hear the idea that a girl COULD cross that line. Men are just as vulnerable to sexual pressure as women, they’re just less likely to scream rape later. Because admitting you were date raped by a girl is a hard thing for the male ego to process. Hell it’s a hard thing for the female ego to process date rape too, but women don’t have the added pressure of wanting to appear ‘manly’. I bring this up because I think it’s important to realise that anyone at all could do it, anyone at all could have it happen to them. And everyone who has had it happen to them SHOULD have their voice heard. Forcing sex on someone in this kind of situation is an appalling violation of trust. If you think you might ever have forced your attentions on someone against their will then I hope you will listen to me and pay more attention to your partners responses in future. Whether it be a first date or your 50th anniversary, no means no.

No means no. Yes means probably. And anything in between is a grey area and you should pay attention. If you don’t want the awkwardness of actually just flat out asking, then you have to be prepared to remain observant to your partner’s mood. Because crossing that line is an awful thing to have done to someone.

Peace. Out.

**might as well bring up the obvious here – I’m not trying to be sexist or homophobic or whatever else I may have touched off by writing this from such a heterocentric perspective. To be clear, feel free to rearrange in your head to fit your own configuration. I happen to be a straight, white, female so I’m writing from that perspective. All the way through this I have addressed this from a heterosexual female perspective. It’s pretty much interchangeable to whatever is appropriate for you though.

Monday, February 27, 2012

The religious argument. It burns me.

The following came about as a result of my thinking about the argument about contraception. I didn’t include it with that, partly because it was getting quite long as it was, partly because it would detract from the point I was trying to make. So it does hinge a bit on the contraception debate, is what I'm trying to say :P

I’m going to phrase some stuff here as if I were contemplating the religion of it. Because I am. I’m not anti religion. I’m anti using religion to make others do things your way. So let’s put it like this: if you take away my right to use free will in a decision haven’t you taken away my ability to make the ‘right’ decision? If you make it so that the will of your God is forced upon me, haven’t you excluded me from the ability to become righteous? I’m trying to find my way here, to how the argument that ‘God said so, therefore it’s law’ makes any sense in God’s big picture. Aren’t we supposed to be living a good life, making good choices that reflect our faith in God? How can I make ‘good’ choices if you’ve taken away all the ‘bad’ options? If I can be called righteous even though I had no part in making myself so, what is the point?

Alright, I’m going to try to see a little further into the other side. So there is this whole sanctity of life argument. Which I have many opinions on myself. But I want to think from the point of view of someone else today. The problem is, I can’t find anything to back up the conviction that life begins at conception. I mean obviously from a purely scientific perspective, it does sort of. But which part of being alive is the important part in this argument? Obviously simply being alive isn’t enough or God would be insisting that we all eat nothing but seeds - or maybe not, is there anything we can safely eat on that premise? Dirt doesn’t seem very appetising. The important ‘line’ is what? The soul? When does that arrive? It seems to me that this God fellow hasn’t actually given us enough information to KNOW his will on this one. Which is OK because he gave us free will for just this sort of occasion. Reason. The trouble with reason, is that what you reason isn’t necessarily what I reason, and who are you to tell me I’m wrong? Just another fallible mortal I’m afraid. Yes, I know, you might think you’re special because you’re one of God’s chosen people. But you see that’s just your opinion, and mine differs.

It irritates me greatly when people use the ‘God said so’ argument, because the only evidence you have for this is written by fallible humanity. And no matter how much more special you may think the leaders of your Church are, to me they are just people. Every bit as fallible as everyone else is. Think I’m wrong? Go have a look at the history of your religion. Every church has its douchebags, just like every other part of human endeavour.

Religion is very important to very many people, and in many lives is a very good thing. The trouble is which religion is right? I have no idea, and due to a number of personal convictions, I have chosen to go with, none of them. But given that there are way more religious denominations than I can be bothered counting, and each of them differs in a number of ways from each other, who then should get to tell me how I should run my life? Pretty simple. None of them. Having actively chosen not to follow any religious organisation it becomes none of their business. I live in one of the many countries in the world in which Church is, at least in principle, separate from State. Kudos for me, I suspect it might be inconvenient to be an agnostic in a religious State. FYI Church dudes, this also means State is separate from Church. This can be a massive bonus for you. Think about it before you start getting too excited about running the country you’re in. If nothing else ‘attempted religious genocide’ looks really bad on your resume.

Don’t get me wrong, many people treat their part in religious debate with decency and respect. It’s perfectly possible to have beliefs and not be a dick about it, 98% (a guess) of people manage it on a daily basis. Unfortunately the ones that don’t manage it have a tendency to be loud about it. It’s not limited to those who believe in a God or Gods, Atheism and Agnosticism have their share of douchebaggery too. It’s part of the human condition. Some of us are dicks. Even those of us that aren’t dicks have our bad days. I’m not sure I count myself as ‘not a dick’ either, I have been known to be quite vocal in my opinions. On the plus side (for my potential dickitude) I don’t expect you to change your mind just because I told you my opinion.

Peace. Out.

Contraception. Make up your fucking mind.

The current bun fight in America (well other places too, but the US makes the most noise, probably because they’re the most poorly behaved children) over contraception is making me angry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.

The idea of banning contraceptives fills me with dread. Have these idiots not thought this through? Because the same people who want to ban contraceptives also want to ban abortions which makes no sense at all to me.(Please don’t get me started on that topic, I have complicated opinions). If we all had the same belief set, I could maybe get on board with it. But we don’t, we are a myriad of beliefs & morals. And it’s just plain WRONG to try to force your beliefs on someone else. That is how wars start. I don’t have a problem with someone thinking contraception and abortion are wrong. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. I do have a problem when you try to take other peoples right to an opinion out of the equation. The only fair way is to make it available and leave it in the hands of the individual to decide. There is more to this argument, but I want to stay away from that bit for now.

Sex is primarily the method for propagation of the species. It’s also fun, or rather it should be or you’re doing it wrong. Now I’m actually OK with you believing that it’s meant to be between married people and just for creating babies. I happen to think that’s a very boring opinion, but you’re entitled to it if that’s your choice. But, given that I not only don’t follow that bible thing, but also disagree with it fairly vehemently in many areas – why should I have to live by the rules you say your bible wants YOU to live by? It’s not my book, I’m not even interested in it. It doesn’t fit with my morals and upsets me on a number of levels. It’s not a legally binding document.

I believe that men and women, men and men, women and women… in whatever combination appeals to all involved (and by involved I mean specifically involved, not generally involved in a busybody kind of way)… should enjoy each other as makes them happy. I should be able to commit myself to whichever person or persons want me to, on whatever level of commitment we agree to. This also includes taking responsibility for reproductive possibilities. If we don’t want children, and the means exist to prevent conception while still allowing us to have a satisfying sexual relationship then using that contraception is for me the correct and responsible thing to do. As is taking appropriate steps if that contraception fails. Steps that are appropriate to my moral set. And legal.

There is an argument being made that some forms of contraception are actually destroying the embryo. From the perspective of people who believe that that embryo is a person in its own right already and has its own right to life – I can accept those opinions, they differ from mine but I can accept them. My answer to the people who tell me that those forms of contraception are murder is, don’t use them then. If you believe that by using those methods you are committing murder then you most certainly should not use them. However, I believe that the line at which a life becomes a being in its own right is much further along. For a significant portion of the pregnancy that life is just a bunch of cells with no existence of its own. That’s my opinion, and by my opinion I feel that abortion is acceptable if you have reasonable justification for it. (I’ll open the ‘justification’ can of worms another time) (and the ‘who has a place in the decision’ can of worms)

You see, much like the US, my country is a big old melting pot too. And I’d be mad as shit if people here started trying to tell me I had to run my life by their beliefs. And if the people who are doing exactly that were honest with themselves, they’d hate it if anyone tried to do the same to them. It’s one thing for the government to have made a bunch of laws founded on democratic process. It’s a completely different kettle of fish to have politicians trying to force their flavour on you. In a country that has such mixed culture you cannot base your decisions on one groups beliefs without bigotry, racism, sexism and any number of other –isms. As Ferris Bueller* once said, “a person shouldn’t believe in an ism – he should believe in himself”.

But back to the subject of contraception. What is the problem with it? From a societal perspective it’s a very good thing. It limits population increase, limits the number of unwanted children, lowers the amount of money needed for pregnancy healthcare, childcare & education and lowers the occurrence of many sexually transmitted diseases. Please feel free to add more things it aids with. My brain is on a go-slow today. I really do grasp that some people disapprove of it, mostly on religious grounds. I accept their distaste, I accept that they don’t like my opinion. I’m not particularly keen on theirs either.

Here’s the thing, it’s absolutely lovely if you have the expectation of sex only occurring between married couples, in the pursuit of children. But reality isn’t always the way we want it to be. Reality for me is that, if I choose to have sex, I can enjoy it with whomever I choose, without fear of disease, without the danger of an unwanted pregnancy (ok, to be realistic, with the extremely lowered chance of STD or pregnancy: it isn’t foolproof). Reality for me is that I wish to use contraception when engaging in recreational sex. I’m not trying to be consequence free, I’m trying to take responsible action to ensure my partners and my safety and security. You cannot lay the guilt trip of your beliefs on me because the beliefs I have to live up to are mine. I believe that sex should be between consenting partners, giving and taking pleasure from each other. Between people who understand the risks and potentials and act appropriately in accord with those.

Wanting to enjoy sex does not make me, or anyone else, a slut. Again, your standards are not the ones I have to live up to. Only mine.

It’s being said that a society built on the use of contraceptives sends our children an immoral message. Really? I’m going to use my child as an example here. I hope she forgives me one day for holding her up to the light the way I do. I’m very, very proud of her. My daughter is 15. She understands the consequences of having sex, she understands the risks as well as the joys. She will not give her virginity away lightly. She knows that contraception is very important for teenagers in their early sexual pursuits. Teenagers have hormones, crazy, crazy hormones. That lead them to do stupid things. By educating my daughter in appropriate choices and understanding the consequences of your choices. In teaching her that contraception is available to her when she feels the time is right. In raising her to have a good sense of self esteem, and the understanding that she has every right to say NO. By all these things I have a daughter that I can trust to choose what’s best for her. That I can trust not to make an ignorant mistake. I trust her to look before she leaps. If your children are making immoral decisions it most likely isn’t society’s fault.

I talked to my daughter about this while I was writing it. I told her that there were some people trying to ban contraceptives. She responded, slightly flippantly, by asking if they wanted everyone to get pregnant? She has a point. Though the worse point I think is, do they want everyone to get sick? Because no matter how you want to sell it, people will cheat, people will sleep around, people will move on from old partners. And if you want to tell them they CAN’T do those things either well you’re getting into a whole other argument. One I’ll be wading into shortly.

Peace. Out.

*Ferris Bueller’s day off (1986) Written and Directed by the late, great, John Hughes

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

He said, she said.

OK I've just been going on about communication and how important it is. Honesty, openess all that crap. And then I am reminded of the idea, by several completely different and unrelated events, of how important the perceptions of communication are. You say something, I hear it. And yet somehow in the split second of that apparently flawless communication, something gets lost in translation. You think you said exactly what you meant. I think I heard exactly what you said. And yet we are both on a different page.

A common example, and one that invariably leads to heart break. I'm chucking this one out there because it's bitten me more than once, and I'm prepared to bet I'm not the only one. You say "I love you", what you mean is "I love you right now" what I hear is "I love you forever". If you haven't been bitten by one side of it then maybe you've been bitten by the other side. The bit where you break someone’s heart because they thought you meant forever. I've probably done that too. Oh be honest, I KNOW I've done that and it doesn't make me feel very good about myself.

To be fair: I seriously doubt that very many people do it on purpose, I certainly didn't.

Everyday miscommunications happen. Because we aren't very careful with language. Because what we say is inevitably filtered through at least 2 brains, and no two are alike. We assume that when we say something screamingly obvious to us, it's screamingly obvious to everyone else too.

Sometimes it isn't.

Sometimes we blurt stuff out without really thinking about it, verbal ejaculate. And while most of the time this works ok, sometimes you end up getting spunk in someone’s hair - and most people don't like that. As with all ejaculation, more fun will be had by all if you exercise a little control. A little verbal tantric sex.

As with all things in life a little thought about how you would like people to speak to you if the positions were reversed doesn't go amiss. Not always foolproof, since for example I have a harder shell than most. What doesn't offend me might still rip your undies. So add a little 'what do I know about the person I'm talking to' into the equation. If you know that 'x' is a lot more sensitive than you are then tone yourself down accordingly. Keep to honesty and crap, just couch it in gentler language. If you know a specific subject makes someone nervous, be careful around it. It's pretty obvious when you think about it - how much do you like it when someone else is making you uncomfortable?

Which leads me back into sexual politics. Possibly not an obvious leap to everybody - but there’s another place where miscommunications happen. I was already thinking in that direction so I was easily lead there.

Let’s just leave established relationships out of this. I've kinda done that to death anyway. We know how much miscommunication annoys the crap out of me there :P

One of the most annoying things in the whole universe to me at the moment is MIXED FUCKING SIGNALS. When your actions don't match up with your language. Or your behaviour from one day to the next is just wildly different. OK you're not sure what you want. Tell me that. Instead of boring me senseless with constant changes in temperature. That was way less specific than it sounded ;) It may not even be about me .

Which leads me into an inevitable digression. The question Du Jour* - does being drunk make you do stuff you totally would never ever do normally, that you don't even have any interest in. Or does it just bring latent or repressed behaviour to the surface? Yes, yes alright there's a lot of room for grey area here. Just give me your thoughts and impressions. Anecdotes even if you like. I've done some fairly stupid things while drunk, but I'm not sure that they were 'out of character' stupid.

"Now, back to the good part." Mixed signals. It would be nice if people’s intentions were always clear, but they're not. However, sometimes they are way way way less clear than is technically acceptable. No means no, and yes mean yes. But there's this whole fuzzy area inbetween that can be very confusing. So if you have no intention of letting it get to the 'good part' then it's probably not a good plan to let it get to the hearts racing stage at all. All that fun extra blood flow for nothing. The hypocrite in me is hiding under a table right now. He'll be crawling under the back porch in a minute. Because the other side of this is: if you ARE interested in a little something more, you should probably get that out there - missed opportunities make me cringe. {Yes I have been spending a lot of time cringing lately, thank you shy guy}. I really should take my own advice here. But even my Shy Guy sends me mixed signals. 'Come here, Come here, Go away' bloody hell!

I have a story of mixed signals to share. I'm removing names, because I think I should. I don't want to get anyone in hot water, unless it's a spa pool. So. At a party, nice time being had - both people have been drinking and are probably at similar states of drunkenness. Not massively pissed, just buzzed. So an incident occurs which leads to them sitting in a bedroom alone. Listening to music for entertainment, and talking. She's fooling around with his neck with one hand. He has her other hand held between his. What's the signals here people? Pretty low level stuff here, sorry to disappoint. I just find this one an interesting case study :P I can elaborate a little if asked. No further details, just go watch some porn if you're that desperate.

Peace. Out.

FFS Less intolerance you bastards! -an intolerant rant about intolerance-

(contents may offend - well the odd word here and there...)

It's been a pet hate of mine for years, the way that [many] people feel the need to think less of someone for what they believe over and above that someones actions.

If I'm a demonstrably decent person, what difference does it make whether I think that 42 is the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything or not? If I think we should reincarnate Atilla the Hun and let him rule the known universe, who cares as long as I don't actually make it happen? I like blue and would probably vote labour if there was ANY candidate worth having. Does that have any bearing at all on my ability to create beautiful things?

I have some slightly odd beliefs. Not to mention a slightly skewed moral set. I'm also nice to animals and volunteer at the local Primary School. Which has more value when you judge me? I could say why are you judging me, but face it we all do it. I'd just rather people were a bit less dissmissive of 'good' and a bit more tolerant of 'bad' (I don't mean good or bad of course I mean agrees/disagrees with me or, I can/can't relate to).

But this is not about me - in fact most people I know DO take me at face value despite the constantly changing hair colour and obsession with World of Warcraft. But I watch people blow stuff out of all proportion every day. And god (don't ask WHICH god) knows I've started any number of bitchslapfights with my strange need to discuss ideas. The exchange of ideas should be a beautiful thing. But humanities greed and insecurity conspire to make the free exchange of ideas a timebomb, at zero someone decides that you've said something personally offensive about their beliefs and BOOM. It's a very special kind of time bomb too because it can go off multiple times, and can lie in wait for long periods before randomly going off again.

There's a scale to these things of course. There's worlds of difference between ("I think everyone should wear a purple ribbon tomorrow to express their sympathy at my suffering Fibromyalgia" - "I totally can't wear purple you tool, it clashes with my hair") and say ("I'm thinking of voting RIGHT at the next election" - "OMG all right-side voters are baby eaters, I can't believe you advocate eating babies!") Oddly I can live with the first, but get this tingly thing going on in my (fingertips, lips, whichever bit is most appropriate) at the second... It actually matters not a single bit to me whose side I might have more sympathies with I'll always defend the non douchebag. The more the assailant thrashes about, the more I feel the need to reach for a stone and sharpen my wit. I won't go as far as AGREEING with someone just because they have a douchebag in their face (now THERE'S an image) of course. Tell the dickhead FUUSE4aPWN* though, that I'll do. Or just saying hey I think that guys an AFC*, sorry you had to put up with that - that I'll do.

It's the differences in life that make it interesting. If you have too much in common with someone your relationship with them is almost bound to become stale very quickly. (Did I just hear the sound of divorce lawyers salivating? - forget it I'm not a fucking clairvoyant, and my opinion is unlikely to affect the numbers.) Celebrate the differences of opinion. Enjoy them. Don't sweat them.

Peace. Out.

*Acronyms courtesy of Rtmiss' dictionary of abuse (translations available on request) I have a million more. Well I will when I've made them up.

-contrary to limited opinion this has not been written in response to one incident, but many.
-Yes Charlotte the baby eaters bit was especially for you. Thought it was only fair the 'darkside' wore that one this time.
-All opinions expressed here are mine. Don't like'em? Fuck you. Nah really, feel free to disagree your brains out, just don't expect to change my mind.
-Almost all examples in this were MADE UP so don't feel the need to be a douchebag OK?
-I really do have Fibromyalgia, among other things, but I don't need you to wear a purple ribbon. Please don't, it'll make you look stupid.


Today I started writing on long rant on one premise. I abandoned it in favour of a similar one. I'm going to talk about MY beliefs. I avoid this like the plague usually, and in fact I'm not going to go into specifics I'm just going to say out loud more or less where I stand. Or sit. On the fence.

I am an AGNOSTIC. Not because I'm wishy washy and can't make up my mind, but because I honestly cannot be sure that there is or isn't a God, though I strongly suspect (and almost hope) that there isn't. This feeling is not based on empirical evidence but more that if there is a God I'm not particularly thrilled with his/her/their/whatever part in the universe. On just empirical evidence I am an utter fence sitter. Because I CAN see both sides of the fence. There are some things that happen that have the scent of the unknowable on them, but that may simply be because we don't KNOW enough yet.

I'm not one of those people who's going to say "I want to believe" if I wanted to believe then I just would, simple as that - that IS what faith is about right? But I don't want to believe. I also don't not want to believe. It's not even that I don't care, I simply require some real evidence to push me one way or the other. From an emotive position I lean towards Atheism sure. But I remove that from the equation when I decide my actual position. You could probably intuit that the emotive position comes from deep seated anger, you might not even be too far from the truth.

Way back there I said I almost hope there isn't a God. True I do, almost. Because if there is a God then I have to say 'He' seems to be a bit crap. Life blows goats for an awful lot of people, in a way that seems hardly reasonable. I've said in previous 'benders' of mine that I don't follow any organised religion because I simply haven't found one that actually fits with my image of what both God and the Church should be. More or less true, except of course there's that whole doubt issue. I can't in good conscience join a religion if I don't actually believe in God right? And in fact why would I want to?

I go to a Church funded craft group most Wednesdays. It's not technically Church run, though as it is run by members of the Church in question, that's probably a moot distinction. Every week before we start our craft project one of the members takes a turn speaking about something that has moved them for whatever reason. I decline to take part in this since, I'm not a member of their Church (or any other) and don't want to cause a fuss by getting up and not mentioning God in my praising of the universe in general (because they invariable talk about God in whatever they choose to bring up. Sometimes I question the relevance...) But maybe I should. Maybe it is time that I got up and spoke about mans capacity to be morally upright, kind and generous WITHOUT benefit of a religious faith. Because I'm actually sick of the implication from so many 'faithful' people that I am somehow less able to be a decent human being because I don't actively believe in God. There are ways in which I think my inherent decency (blows own horn) is worth more BECAUSE I'm not a 'believer'. I don't have the hand of God hanging over me making me feel I have to behave. I do it because it's right. I don't lend a hand wherever I can so that when I die I get to go to some imagined Paradise. I do it because it's right. I don't even do it just in case it turns out there is a God. Rofl. Which is not to belittle the truly decent amongst Church goers, there is decency everywhere. Kudos to everyone who did something 'Good' today. I do wish there was a touch MORE decency everywhere.

Being nice is actually quite good for the soul. Even if I don't technically have one.

What I specifically believe is no ones business but mine. And those extremely few people who both want to hear about it AND I am willing to tell. Short list, with people on it that might surprise you. Also probably some people are not on it who would be surprised. LOL, I'm complicated like that.

Peace. Out.

Denial is the worst form of deceit.

Sometimes we even believe the stories we’re telling. Sort of. Scratch the surface very hard though, and it’s very hard to lie to yourself about your feelings. Your behaviour.

This is why I have this firm belief in the idea that you can cheat without any actually sexy sex being involved. Because these things are about deceit. About betrayal. About sharing something intimate with someone other than your partner. Sometimes your partner has different opinions about what counts as intimate. But more often than not any differences of opinion are more about the lies we tell ourselves.

And more often than not, the worst betrayal is in the emotional bonds we form. I care if you fuck someone else, but I’ll probably get over it. If you get all tied up emotionally with another person, that I might not get over. Hence the common cry of ‘It didn’t MEAN anything’. Limits, I guess. After all, there is nothing wrong with making a new friend. And there’s something beautiful to be said for finding your Cara M’anama. The friend of your soul. My best friends have always been guys. This has sometimes caused friction with partners.

Cheating is an interesting subject to me, because I think it’s open to so much misinterpretation. And it’s more often than not treated as entirely one half of the partnerships fault when I think this is seldom the case. Sure, the one who gets caught doing the dirty is a sack full of cocks (or a sack full of cunts I suppose but that just doesn’t have the same ring) no matter which way you look at it. But the reasons why it happens are seldom one sided. I don’t think it’s good that someone is walking away from the relationship all self righteously angry and learning nothing from the experience. Nothing but mistrust. Because they don’t understand why it happened. Human nature being what it is, we don’t WANT to know about the part we played in our own betrayal. We just want to wrap ourselves in anger and self pity.

This non-sexy-sexy-cheating. What’s THAT all about? How can it be cheating if no one actually CHEATED. Definitions. What IS your relationship with your partner? Is it just sex? Probably not, because if that really was ALL it was then you wouldn’t get UPSET by cheating, you’d just get angry. But we get jealous, and hurt because we are EMOTIONALLY bonded to our partners. So then if we become emotionally bonded to someone else, isn’t that still cheating? Even if we are controlling our hormones.
There is a line of course. We all become attached to new and different people over the course of our lives. We find new friends, sometimes close ones. And that can’t be a bad thing. Unless it is. Unless we’re fitting that new person into our lives to replace something that’s missing from our relationship. Harp, harp. I’ve watched too many friends break their relationships this way. Because they didn’t see that they were crossing a line until they were too far over to step back.

For me, there is no chance at all that I will physically cheat UNTIL I am already emotionally involved with this other person. Of course there is also a good chance that if I’m already emotionally involved on some level, I’m also not going to be very keen to let go of this other person. So then, can I turn this into a friendship despite other complications? Perhaps. I certainly think it’s worth a try. But then, I find it difficult to open my heart to anyone, so having found someone I can open up to, letting go of them seems like a huge loss.

I’ve been there. I’ve slotted someone into my heart to replace something that was missing from my relationship. I should have just left my relationship. But at the time I was still IN love with my partner, and sometimes seeing the cracks isn’t so easy from the inside. It’s hard to admit that you should leave someone you’re still in love with, for both your sakes. Too hard most of the time. And sometimes it’s hard to avoid the draw of replacing the thing that isn’t there in your relationship. Too hard. When you cannot even see that something is missing. Maybe I wasn’t really in love anymore. Maybe I just loved him a lot and hadn’t noticed the change. Hadn’t noticed when the thing that was missing went from being not such a big deal to a major problem. I knew it was missing. I just didn’t want to believe it was a problem.
I suppose there’s the argument that knowing that there is a problem in your relationship, you should fix it. Not all things can be fixed. Yes, I think I’ve had relationships fail that didn’t have to. But if neither of us could be bothered fixing it, well c’est la vie. I’ve also looked back and been aware that the missing things in a relationship were not fixable. Because what was wrong was about who we were. What I needed was not something he had. What he needed was not something I had.

This was meant to be about denial. Someone new and interesting has walked into your life. Or maybe someone you already knew somehow becomes closer. You’re not DOING anything. Sure, you noticed them, sure you approached them – or they approached you, whatever. But you’re not going to DO anything. Deal with it! Or sure as anything you will end up doing something. And at each step you will keep telling yourself it’s ok. You haven’t really done anything. It’s not going to get out of hand. Everything comes back to communication with me. So here is where I would be talking. But I guess from watching other people that for most the easiest and probably best approach is to just walk away. Decide which bit is the bit worth keeping and walk away from the other bits. It’s easy to look at someone else’s failing relationship and think, ‘oh, he should never have kept seeing that tart if he thought he might end up cheating’ but what if that tart is actually someone he’s meant to be with? It’s easy to think why didn’t she just say NO when that bastard was getting too close. But what if she was so very lonely in her relationship? Does she deserve to feel alone? OK she should have walked away from her lonely, broken relationship. But that’s not always so obvious from the inside.

Should we deny our needs just because we’re already in a relationship? Or should we look at that need and wonder if we’re not missing out on something. Act on that knowledge. Be it leaving the relationship that isn’t perfect or trying to fix it. Are we supposed to be in denial with ourselves? Our partners? Back to communication. Because I guess on top of thinking that communication is good TM, I also think that if you aren’t prepared to try to communicate with your partner there really isn’t a lot of point in being with them. Why bother with relationships at all if you aren’t interested in the humanity of it?

Peace. Out.

A matter of trust.

In the past I've had trust broken. Smashed. MUNTED. It's not been an easy thing rebuildng it, I still have a very long way to go.

I have also been a part of breaking someone elses trust. For which I am still unable to forgive myself. It's not a mistake I intend to repeat.

I'm borrowing heavily in quotes from Billy Joel's song "A Matter of Trust", because some of the lines are outrageously fitting.

Trust, if it's broken, it's the hardest thing in the world to repair.

Every positive relationship in your life is built on trust. From the relationships you have with your family, your friends, your co-workers right through to the relationship you have with your partner.

In the course of your life, it's pretty much bound to get broken a few times. If you're lucky it won't be the all-consuming 'oh my god my life is OVER' wangst overload of betrayal that many get to endure. Or maybe not, because I'm pretty sure that the rage filled angst of several years of recovery from such an event has made me a much better person. Certainly one who is infinitely less likely to be willing to inflict that feeling on anyone else.

Sometimes we walk into a relationship carrying the baggage of previous angst filled experiences. Trust is broken before we even start. Sometimes our new relationship doesn't deserve that trust (looks at the ground and turns slightly pink), but often it has nothing at all to do with the new but is all about the past. Hardly fair, but also hardly surprising. We are creatures built of our pasts. We are the sum total (and more) of our learning experiences. If some of those experiences left us raw, it's hardly surprising when that affects our future decisions.

"...You can't go the distance
With too much resistance..."

Too true Billy. It's ok to walk into a new situation with a certain amount of trepidation. Pretty normal actually. But if it continues to be an issue it will eventually become a thorn. At some point you have to relax and accept the new situation. If you can't trust someone, what are you doing with them anyway? Is it something they're doing or is it you?

"...I can't offer you proof
But you're going to face a moment of truth..."

In every new relationship there will at some time come a leap of faith. When you can jump with both feet from the precipice and cross your fingers. If you fail at this hurdle the time has come to ask yourself, why? What stopped me from jumping? I can't tell you to jump. I won't tell you to jump. But I will tell you that knowing why you didn't might just save you a whole lot of angst, hurt and time wasted. Time wasted? Yep. Because if you know that the reason why you didn't jump is because you just can't trust the other person, then you can pull the rip cord now. Get out now. Before it comes to the bitter recriminations part of the play. Here I really do know that of which I speak. I have been the one yelling 'well if you can't bloody trust me WHAT IS THE POINT?!!?' The one who has decided 'fuck it, if he's going to believe I'm betraying him right, left and centre I might as well at least be enjoying it.' Which is incidentally the point at which I should have left. Having figured out that he was never going to believe me no matter what I did, I should have pulled that rip cord and got the hell out of dodge. But I let 'but, I love you' sway me. He didn't love me, he wanted to trap me. He wanted me to belong to him, that isn't love.

"...Some love is just a lie of the soul
A constant battle for the ultimate state of control..."

If you need your partner to do it your way all the time, you are... DOING IT WRONG!
Your partner comes to you with their own needs. Their own background. Their own friends. Their own baggage. Trying to make them fit into your life and leave none of their own - well actually it makes no sense to me. By all means, involve them in things you do if they want to. But at the same time involve yourself in their life where they want you to. Sure I hope you like my friends. I also hope your friends like me. But making you trash your friends because YOU'RE WITH ME NOW! That's actually pretty sick. If you like someone, why are you so hell-fired to change them? Sure in every relationship there is a bit of giving up of stuff. In a reasonable world this works from both sides. Because: News Flash, NO ONE IS PERFECT. Those irritating little flaws of theirs? You have flaws equally as irritating. If you want them to be willing to give up something of theirs, doesn't it actually make sense to go to the table willing to give up something of your own? You don't have to be a selfish bastard. As much as we are kind of preprogrammed to it, we don't HAVE TO be dicks.

"...Some love is just a lie of the mind
It's make believe until its only a matter of time..."

Sometimes we invent a relationship that isn't even really there. I'm a hopeless romantic, I invent stuff all the time. The trick is knowing that it's just an invention. Your partner is who they are, not what you pretend they are. If what they are isn't enough for you - or is just plain not right for you. Leave. Now. Yes, I am a cynical bitch. Now, LEAVE. Before everybody gets hurt. This has been your *rip the bandaid off* moment for today.
Sometimes we even invent feelings we aren't actually having. I have been known to wonder if, if we pretend long enough does it become the reality? Maybe sometimes it does. But I think more likely it just becomes the status quo. A stale relationship that doesn't even mean anything but is easier to be in than to get out of. Wow. I am just MADE of cynicism. Which leads me to...

"...Some love is just a lie of the heart
The cold remains of what began with a passionate start..."

Happens all the time. Fireworks in the sky, turn to damp squibs when left under the staircase. This is not a reference to Harry Potter. Not all staircases are ones the Chosen One has lived under, and not all squibs are the magically under endowed.

"...And they may not want it to end
But it will it's just a question of when..."

Relationships often sputter and die. Just as often we stick with the cold ashes, because they're comfortable. Or because chucking them out is really uncomfortable. Sooner or later you would be well advised to chuck those things away. Because you both deserve better. You remember that feeling of joy at just being with that someone special? Do you then remember the joy it gave you to know that you made the other person feel that way? Doesn't that other person still deserve to feel that way? Don't you? There is a feeling of 'giving up' about the whole idea, that I don't think is very healthy. Sometimes it actually IS better to give up, move on and try again. For everybody. Settling for OK is all very well and good I suppose, but can't I have AWESOME instead? Just chucking Miss Cynicism out the door for a sec, OK sometimes there is a time to stick with it too. Recognising the difference is another one of those save-you-a-lot-of-grief moments.

"...I know you're an emotional girl
It took a lot for you to not lose your faith in this world..."

I've wandered away from the issue of trust a bit. Gosh imagine, ME, wandering off topic. Pfft.
I actually DID lose my faith in this world. And it took quite a lot of unusual things for me to gain even a small piece of it back. It took a ridiculously decent man, a ridiculously shy man, and a lot of rediscovering the concept of fun. I am still extremely gun shy. It may not appear so to the untrained eye. But if you were paying attention you might notice that with very very VERY limited exceptions I am only letting people get close who were ALREADY close. Whom I already trust, and who have given me no reason to doubt them. There was a dark patch for a while there were even those (un)lucky few wouldn't have got close. I trusted no one. Except Kitty. At no point in any of this did I allow myself to fail my relationship with her. She is a fairly amazing kid. Yes, I know I'm duty bound to say that or some shit. No actually, even with my kid I call a spade a spade. She is an amazing kid. Possibly a little jaded in places - for her age, she didn't come out of the angst pit without scars either. In fact I should be saying an amazing young lady. A child she is, no longer. She has been a large part of the restoring of my faith in the people around me. And she's very very good for me. Because she too calls a spade a spade. She pulls me up when I'm being excessively dick-like.

"...It's hard when you're always afraid
You just recover when another belief is betrayed..."

It really is. And this is what it felt like. I was always afraid, of every new situation. And the slightest setback was like a whole new betrayal. I'm still a bit afraid. Just not as much, and I'm more willing to fight to overcome the fear. In certain circumstances anyway. In a couple of cases, I am quite deliberately letting fear drive. Because the alternative is. Not better. Thanks for that line Jorma.
So, what am I getting at? I don't fucking know. Think twice before you entirely ass up a relationship with your selfish disregard? Possibly something like that, but really I'm mostly just getting stuff off my brain. As is often the case with these outbursts.

"...So break my heart if you must
It's a matter of trust..."

The heart you fool around with belongs to another human being.
Don't be a dick.

Peace. Out.

Monday, February 13, 2012

I have a sign.

It is a source of constant amazement to me, the amount of seething hatred that lurks all over the place over things that really are NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS. It beggars logic, in my head, for the website of a CHURCH – a Christian church, you know Christianity? That religion that has ‘the meek shall inherit the earth’ (Matthew 5:5) , and ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you’ (Luke 6:31) in its texts – would have as its website.

And THIS is the sort of thing they think is OK….

A kid. Wearing a t-shirt. And apparently they’re against corrupting children. *facepalm*

They even have a special page about how much God hates stuff. Seriously.

I was entertained by this one appearing amongst them:

“Proverbs 6:16-19 - "These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren."

There are none so blind as those who will not see.

But this isn’t meant to be just about WBC, as much as I think they are among the worst offenders. Hatemongers.

It’s not even meant to be about the word hate, but about the sentiment of hate running rampant in certain topics. Hate breeds hate. It’s very hard not to see someone spreading hatred about a topic close to your heart and not feel angry. It’s hard to not respond with anger. But if it’s the hatred in their statements that we abhor, then that is exactly what we must do. Answer anger with reason. Answer hatred with understanding.

This is where this became a topic I would no longer ignore, a topic that I feel the need to make a better effort to treat properly myself. There are a number of men in the United States currently vying for the position of presidential hopeful. A number of men full of spite and self-righteous hatred. Men full of arrogance, bigotry and self-importance. Men that it frankly terrifies me to think of in charge of such a powerful nation.

Riding a family values ticket with a clear history of adultery and broken homes behind. Riding a Christian beliefs ticket with a sheaf of misdirection and scare mongering. Riding a moral right ticket while trying to remove rights from many. Every one of them unable to even try to see things from another point of view. Every one of them set to take the whole of his country on one giant leap, backwards.

How does Gay Marriage even become a presidential platform? Are there not far more relevant to everybody things to be looking at? How does one religion become the central theme of a candidate when among the basic tenants of his country is the freedom of religion? That no ONE religion stand over any other? There seems to be a basic failure to understand the concept of a state apart from religion.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti-religion. Not at all. Being very ‘live and let live’ it would be hypocritical of me to be anti something that gives so many people so much hope. It doesn’t work that way for me, but that is a personal choice. I am however against religion as a part of civil policy. Especially in countries where there are multiple belief systems at play. I am against people using their religion as a bludgeon to beat their own agendas through.

This term that keeps coming up, I think just about all the candidates have used it, ‘traditional marriage’. What does that even mean? Even the bible that they all seem to be leaning on isn’t actually clear on what an appropriate marriage is. Marriage between a man and a woman. Ok that certainly exists in the bible, but it is far from the only acceptable form in there. A man and his wife, and his wife’s sister, and both wives handmaidens. That’s in there too. Is that ok? Because it doesn’t seem like that’s considered ok in this day and age. For a start those ‘handmaidens’ were slaves. And didn’t actually get any say. A man and his wife and 300 concubines. Ok with that are we? A man and his rape victim. Pretty sure we wouldn’t get THAT one to pass by vote. But hey, one of those candidates isn’t going to give that same rape victim the grace to remove the baby her rapist put in her either.

So here we have the idea that it’s ok for a man and woman to marry, in a country that has an appallingly high divorce rate. (I’m talking about the US here, though my own country hardly stands much higher on that front). But Gay marriage isn’t ok because it’s a threat to traditional marriage and the family unit. I have just been reading an article which quite rationally puts forward an argument against Gay marriage. I disagree with it, but it was rational(ish) and well written, without the language of hate. The premise of this article revolves around procreation. The idea that a marriage between a man and woman can produce children where a same sex marriage cannot. But what makes them think that marriage was ever about children? To a lesser extent there could be made an argument that since a marriage provides legitimacy to a child which adds primacy to their inheritance rights, then being able to bear children is a part of what marriage is about. But in this day and age how seriously is legitimacy treated anymore? How much does legitimacy affect inheritance rights anymore? Rarely it does make a difference, though generally only when a deceased parent has great wealth to fight over. Greed conquers all.

But where does this lead us? What does that do to a marriage between a man and woman that cannot produce children. If someone in the relationship turns out to be infertile is their marriage automatically annulled? Does that infertile person now no longer have the right to marry? What about a couple who CHOOSE not to have children? Technically their marriage can produce children, but it isn’t going to. Is their marriage invalidated too? Or do they get a free pass because they could have kids if they so choose? What if a couple marries intending to have children, but then circumstances change their minds. I’m only making this argument because of the slightly ridiculous direction this article took.

Apparently it’s a threat to humanity too. I can’t, even after reading about it, figure that one out. OK, so Gay marriage doesn’t TECHNICALLY produce children. But the wonder of modern science allows for in vitro fertilisation so a baby can be genetically one of a couples. And Gay couples adopt, helping the community by raising children whose own parents are unable to for whatever reason. So the idea that there is some threat to humanity’s continued existence is laughable. Unless Gay is catching as so many people seem to be trying to scare us into believing. Actually when you think about it, even if we all ‘go Gay’ in vitro will still allow the human race to continue quite merrily along. It’s a threat to humanity’s morals. Really? Really, really? Gay marriage is a threat to humanity’s morals because…. I think we’re on that ‘catching’ thing again here. All that immoral and disgusting Gay sex is going to have us all thinking its ok to do all manner of disgusting things. Whatever. All those rapists and serial killers out there don’t seem to have affected my ability to run a fairly decent family.

My point here is this: What is the states part in the decision to allow Homosexuals to marry? There's a couple of points being made out there that sound a little bit like what I'm going to say. Except that they aren't. They're diametrically opposed to what I'm going to say. Marriage in most countries exists in two or more forms. There's the service that your church performs, that marries you in the eyes of your god. And the civil service, that marries you in the eyes of the law. You can have one without the other. Many people choose to only have a civil ceremony. It's less well known but sometimes people choose to have only a religious service. Because the marriage they are undertaking is NOT considered a legal one. For example, religions that allow polygamy in a country (or state) that does not. In the eyes of their God they are married. But not in the eyes of the law. Religious groups SHOULD have the right to refuse to perform a ceremony that goes against their beliefs. But the state should be deciding their eligibility on different grounds. Are they consenting adults requesting a marriage that is allowed by the laws of the land? Are all parties capable of making the decision to join together freely and of their own accord? That's it. That is all of it. Yes, I am aware that brings up the possiblity of some other configurations, I don't actually think this is a bad thing. Free will. It's awesome.

There’s another issue upon which these people are revolving. (Several actually, but these are the ones that are particularly annoying me right now). The abortion debate. There are slightly different stands from each of them, from ‘no way no how, never ever ever’ to ‘well maybe, in extremis’. I think there are several issues here and it’s a bit more complicated than it’s being portrayed. For most I think the line comes down to when a bundle of cells counts as being alive. In the human sense. It becomes complicated because people have very different definitions of what they mean by that. If you’re going to suggest that life is life from the moment of conception and then follow with murder is murder as soon as something is alive, you open a whole other moral argument. I’m having beef for dinner. It was once at least as alive as any other random bundle of cells, at least as sentient as the average foetus. Am I complicit in a murder when I buy and eat my packet of mince? Some would say yes. I would say: I’m an omnivore, eating meat is a regular part of my diet and the cow I’m eating was raised to be eaten. Its right to life gets shunted under the bus when it comes to the ‘right to life’ argument. But really how much difference is there between Bessy and the bundle of cells that hasn’t actually started thinking yet? Bessy is probably considerably smarter. Do humans have some extra super-special right to life? We seem to think so. As trite as the argument may seem, I actually find it very hard to take any anti-abortionist who still happily eats meat seriously. Because I don’t think humans are particularly special. We’re all animals.

But here’s my point: Where should the state stand in this argument? Well as we are talking about the potential taking of a life, I think the state should be taking part in this debate. In so far as it should decide what constitutes a life, what constitutes a human life and who is responsible for any decisions regarding it until which point. This decision should be made based on facts. It should not be based merely on the opinions of any group. And to make this very, very clear it should not be based on mans perception of his deity’s opinion. If God wants a say, he can get up and have one. Until he does, I take ALL the religious doctrines of the world with a pinch of salt. Man wrote them. Man is subject to being fallible. And also to being liars.

Here is the largest part of my problem with religious beliefs entering into state decisions. People stand up and say, ‘God said, such and such, we must stand by God’s law’, now I understand the sentiment behind this. Even as an unbeliever I can understand the concept of following the rules as set down by your deity. But, once again, God’s laws have been written down by people. And we are all fallible. Everything I’ve written here could be entirely wrong for example. And in 500 years people might read this and see an entirely different message to the one I intended. Which is precisely what has happened with most, if not all, religious doctrine. We interpret it. And we re-interpret it. All of the biblical passages currently being used in these various arguments are open to different interpretations. On the same subject, in the context of US politics, the American constitution is open to re-interpretation. Or at least so it would seem. But, the idea is that we can learn new ways to look at the universe, that allow us to re-interpret our understanding of words written long ago.

Read a Shakespeare play sometime. I almost guarantee you that what you take from it will not match with what the Great Bard meant. Because times and attitudes change.

I have said something to this effect before, but here it is even more important than it was then. Ask yourself: if, when you face your judgement day, you can stand before your maker and say I stand behind my behaviour. Now imagine you have just found out that what you thought your maker meant is almost the opposite of what they actually meant, can you still stand behind your decisions?

I would rather take the path of tolerance and be wrong, than take the path of intolerance and be right. I would much rather take the path of tolerance and be wrong than take the path of intolerance and be wrong.

Peace. Out.