Saturday, March 31, 2012

A beacon of hope

-This was originally written after a particularly crappy and yet brilliant day at my old work, at the Red Cross, helping get emergency grants paid to people after the Christchurch earthquake. I'm re-posting it because a lot of people appreciated it the first time around and I hope that more people will gain something from it now that it's in a more accessible place.-

Today was a weird day. I spent the day (not abnormally of late) handing out money as fast as I could to people who by and large, REALLY NEED IT. Most days it's a fantastic job. Today it was harder than average, but better than average. But today reminded me that there is good everywhere.

I think we've forgotten, or maybe we never realised, how damn LUCKY we were that day. I don't mean to make light of the terrible individual tragedies Christchurch suffered on the 22nd of February. I mean collectively, DAMN LUCKY. 12.51pm February 22nd 2011. Just think for a moment, if it had happened an hour and a half earlier or later. People were out of their buildings at lunch. It was a nice day, people were outside. School kids were outside eating. Playing. 90 minutes either way and people would have been back at work. Kids would have been back at their desks.

It was one of those slow starters, we had time to think 'another aftershock' and prepare ourselves. And it was ANOTHER aftershock. We had had so many by then we didn't panic nearly as much as we could have. Imagine if February had been the first one? We had some idea what to do. People knew if they were in a safe place they should stay put, and if they weren't they should get out. People who weren't freaking out stopped to assist the people that were. As the dust began to settle people immediately began to help were they could. I am so very proud of what so many of my fellow citizens did that day. And in the days that followed. Dark days they were, but filled with a constant reminder that humanity can be pretty together when it needs to be.

Before the Dust Settled
Photograph taken seconds after the February 22nd 2011 Earthquake
Credit: Gillian Needham.

People thought I was pretty together that day. Because as soon as the shaking stopped I emailed my sisters (I was well aware that the media liked to go freaking crazy very quickly) to let them know I was OK and on my way to find Kitty. When I got to Kitty's school people wanted to know what was in my pack. My big first aid kit, and my laptop. Apparently this represents organised. I just wasn't sure what I was going to find out there. I knew I would be passing the house of a friend, and I knew that house had not fared well in September's excitement. My backpack already had miscellaneous stuff in it 'just in case' and it was already by the front door. I grabbed what I grabbed because I didn't want to be unprepared. BUT before September, would I have thought of any of that stuff? Probably not. And I DID NOT FEEL IN THE LEAST BIT TOGETHER. I was freaking right out. My primary concern was getting to my kid and making sure she was ok. That included being prepared to deal with the situation if it was SHITTY.

As the news began to roll in of buildings falling and roads buckling, a feeling of silent horror began to descend. People simply could not believe what was happening. I don't know what it felt like on the east side of the city, where so much of the damage had occured. Different I bet. Much worse in many ways too. Most ways probably, I can't even pretend to understand how horrible it must have been, the sound of buildings breaking. The fear for your life. On the west side it was different. There wasn't very much damage, and the sense that so much had happened in other parts of the city was surreal. Hard to come to grips with. Hard to believe.


People have expressed anger over building failures, and the slowness of the rescue efforts. Not very oddly, not so much of that complaining came from within Christchurch. We knew that that 'only a 6.3' was not only a 6.3. I remember standing in the doorframe of my kitchen as my house rocked around me, absolutely SURE this was worse than Septembers 7.1. I remember my shock when the number was announced. I think it's a miracle more structures didn't fall.

I lost a friend that day. I hadn't seen him for ages, but you people all know how I am. Once in my heart, always in my heart. His death was a shock to me. He died on the hills, in a rockfall on his way home after the main shock. If he hadn't stopped to ferry so many people who were on foot up the hill he'd be alive now. But the truth of the matter is he wouldn't be the man that the boy I knew so well grew into if he hadn't stopped for those people. He could not have done anything else.

He is a beacon of hope, like so many others were that day. Those who stopped and helped the people around them. Those that didn't hesitate to start lifting rubble from the smaller fallen buildings. Those who went out into their neighbourhoods to check on the people around them. Those who followed the words of the council and STAYED INSIDE if they didn't have anything specific to be doing. Every smallest act of kindness, every smallest act of bravery. Every smallest act of common sense. These all worked together to hold us all in one piece. Every tongue held because we all knew we were on the edge of boiling point.

Each and everyone of us that could have been a selfish wanker but chose instead to join together and help. We are all beacons of hope. And every little counts.

We have a long way to go. We are still a broken city, but we are on the mend. And for the most part people want to be a part of that. Most people want to help where they can. I am astonished every day by the random generosity of people. Whether it's the odd little donations of things that are dropped into the office 'for people who lost more than we did' or the person that I have to talk into taking a grant they're entitled to because 'there are people worse off than us'. Seriously, their house is falling apart around their ears and they don't want to take our money because someone else might need it more. It's so sweet and sad it's funny. And I hear it all the time. 'Oh no dear, we're not too bad really'. Your house floods every time it rains you say?

People. Can be awesome.

Peace. Out.

*I think I hate the "beacons of hope" BTW, the idea was there but it's copycatting and it wasn't really the morale boost those that are losing hope needed. 

Here they are for those of you who have no clue what these silly beacons are. Best photo I've seen of them, taken by a friend :) 

Human rights. The decent* of man.

-This is an old one copied over from facebook, but I'm reposting it and re-linking it all over the place because I think it's important.-

It was brought to my attention recently that the definition for 'Human Rights' is getting a bit cloudy. Maybe because people are more inclined these days to ask, and expect, to be treated equally regardless of their race, religion, sexuality, whatever.

Someone, in a postion of not insignificant authority, was suggesting that the subject of gay marriage had nothing to do with human rights. Someone needs to buy a dictionary I think. The argument actually ran more along the lines of human rights ONLY being about basic necessity. Food. Shelter. I guess someone better go tell Nelson Mandela. And Martin Luther King Jr. And the many, many thousands of others who have stood up for all kinds of rights that apparently don't count as human rights. WTF dude?

I can manage to agree that at the core of human rights are a bunch of things that everyone should expect to have access to with absolute disregard for any outside influence. That food and shelter stuff, that's not something we should even be arguing about. I don't think however that the fact that I don't need to be able to marry my girlfriend to live, stops it from being a human right issue that I be allowed to, should I so choose. Don't get your hopes up kids, I'm as straight as a poorly manufactured arrow.

I'm getting a bit fed up with all the debate over human rights. Why? Because it sickens me that people need to be told to treat each other with a modicum of respect. It flat out flabberghasts me that people don't grasp the fairly basic concept that turn about is fair play. Why the hell should I respect your lifestyles and credos if you aren't prepared to respect mine? That's not tricky right? I don't have to believe in your god to respect your right to, do I? No. Obviously not. So stop being a gigantic DERP about it and let me get on with my life. Not that anyone actually directly gets on their high horse at me - because I'm seldom stupid enough to tell anyone I think MIGHT. I have a couple of Christian friends who occasionally try to 'save my soul', I offend one quite regularly with my inability to grasp that there is anything wrong with it in the first place.

Certainly according to my own system of belief, I'm doing alright.

I think this over-prevalent attitude of  'my beliefs are right, therefore yours are unacceptable' is crazy. No, this is not a colloquialism. I mean crazy. Actual. Batshit. MENTAL. We have minds, we think, we have opinions. If we all agreed all the time, there would be little point in our having the capacity for debate. Why would it even have developed, if it wasn't useful for something? We're not MEANT to agree all the time, because we would get NOWHERE if we did. Without disagreement, that stick we first picked up to pick an ant out of a log would never have developed into a 27 tool pocketknife. That sits in a draw doing nothing.

Debate is an important part of development, and forcing a lack of debate will only hold us back. Sure there's a whole lot of development we could arguably have done without. But I'm quite fond of my laptop. As evidenced by my lying in bed with it propped up on a few books in my lap while I write this. And the zillion other rants I've written.

It's time, and well past time, humanity accepted its need for debate and accepted that being different is not the same as being wrong. We tell our children off for picking on each other for the little differences in their lives, and yet blithely ignore the gapping hypocrisy going on all around us. We expect our children to learn to be decent and fair human beings, while all around them they see inequity and outright hostility over differences much larger than the things they play at being little bastards over. What exactly are we teaching them?

I've very, very proud of my daughter**. She has an astonishing grasp of fairness, and a matching unwillingness to tolerate inequity around her. She stands up for her friends when they are bullied and, much harder, she stands up TO them when they're being dicks. I haven't had to steer her a lot, she was born this way. It's a pleasure watching her growing into an immensely lovable adult. Sometimes it amazes me how decent she is, given that she's had to grow up in a broken home (thankfully not very messily broken) with a sick mother who has very little extra energy most of the time. I suppose with a lack of physical energy I have put a lot more of my time into mental pursuit - we talk a lot. She's a smart kid, it's amazing to watch mental development in progress. Amazing to watch her thinking through complicated moral situations and come to her own conclusions. We don't always agree, but then I don't expect to.

Peace. Out.

*nope, that isn't a spelling mistake in the title ;)

** I don't mean to sound arrogant here, she is completely awesome. But I actually think she is 90% awesome just because of who she is. I didn't do it, her dad didn't do it, she just IS a very cool human being who's been allowed to develop her own coolness. That's the bit I got right.

Friday, March 30, 2012

It’s not about labels dammit, it’s about having a good time

Another post from the old facebook files :)

I'm not sure I'm in enough of a frothing rage about anything. But it was pointed out that I haven't ranted for a bit and that is simply not good enough!

There is something that's been sort of nagging at me a bit. Mostly because at a low level it combines almost all my peeves. It's all about perception.

I can't say I HATE labels, I use them often enough I can't really be that against them. But I hate labels as a hate device. Let’s pick one entirely not at random "I hate gays"... Really? Know all of them do you? And they're all complete bastards? With no redeeming features at all I expect. Baby eaters too I imagine. "That woman is a cougar"... Really? Because she's over 35 and not afraid of showing she still has a sexual side? If your evidence for the use of the label isn't pretty conclusive how about you just shut up!

I don't actually give much of a crap what people think of me, but I'm a pretty good example of mislabelling. Perceptions of me vary wildly, often based on how much not-at-a-party contact a person has had with me. Because at parties I'm _quite_ silly, and a bit of a 'slapper' (not actually an accurate description! Tease is possibly closer to the truth, but I feel I'd have to be significantly more attractive for that to be true too :P). But the chances that I'll actually 'go home with you' (euphemism - I mean fuck your brains out, obviously) are slim to non-existent. Really. There are _MAYBE_ three exceptions to the NoWayJose rule. And yet still I am given various epithets more suited to someone who hasn't been celibate for I don't even want to think about how long. !@#$%^&* years. ON PURPOSE. Assumptions. The mother of all fuckups.

Well looky there, I've started frothing.

I was gonna start into what I actually am, but you know what? If you haven't figured it out on your own, I probably don't want you too. Also I'm in such a negative headspace about myself at the moment I probably wouldn't say anything very endearing. {on that note: How the FUCK is it possible for me to have a size 10 waist and still only see a fat chick in the mirror (and worse in every recent picture of me!)??? I am fully aware of my tree trunk legs - fuck genetics right in the ear - but the rest of me is theoretically not too bad at the moment. Bollocks.}

This actually started because I'm irritated by the 'age disparity' arguement. I really hate being told I shouldn't be with someone because they're too old/young for me. Well actually not me personally*. But you know, anyone. Ok a 30 year old dating a 14 year old is fairly dodgy (aquaintance of my daughter, I do not want to think about it). But between consenting adults who the hell cares? Isn't it more important that the people involved have compatible personailities? And who the hell are YOU to judge anyway? It also gives me the screaming, raging, FROTHING heebie jeebies that it's more acceptable for an older guy to be dating a younger woman than the other way around. Cougar Rights Now!!

At the moment I'm 'interested' in two guys. They're both younger than me. SO SUE ME. Well there's Gary Sinise, he's much older but also much more married, in the wrong country and doesn't know me from a bar of soap. Go figure. Age is not a deciding factor, though there is a certain aspect of being 'able to keep up with me' {wink}. Also it would be really convenient if I could kinda squish both of them into a single entity, keeping the best aspects of both and discarding the douchebag bits. Mind you the talents each of them has in combination... I'd probably burst a fuse. If either of them ever figures out my 'other' weakness I am TOAST.{/wink}

But really. I love you both. Not like that. Unless you give me the opportunity. {titter}{/titter}

As long as no one is getting hurt, what difference do any of those stupid details matter? Age, orientation, race, religion whatever... surely what matters is finding someone you can talk to. Someone you WANT to spend your time with. Someone who makes you feel good. Someone who makes you happy. Someone you can have hot monkey sex with for the rest of your days.

Peace. Out.

* see 'celibate', muthafucka

Cause and effect. Seriously the maths isn't hard.

** This is an old post cut from my old stomping ground on facebook. The link address at the beginning no longer works but the article is now quite elderly and I wouldn't want to bash anyone with a stick over attitudes they MAY now have outgrown. In summary, horrid Republican asshat suggests homesexuality is worse than terrorism. *INSERT WORLD'S LARGEST EYEROLL*.

So you're an intolerant dick. See attached.

Alright so, you're an intolerant dick in a position of relative authority. Even better. But have you REALLY thought about your position? Have you really considered the mind-numbing stupidity of touting your dark-age opinion so loudly? Where exactly do you think the terrorism you put in the backseat to the dreaded, dun-dun-dun, HOMOSEXUALITY (gasp) come from? Do you think these people got up one morning and thought 'hey I know, lets go and disrupt the lives of people we don’t know with acts of violence and terror'? NO.

These things start with INTOLERANCE. So, you know, by all means continue - because the concept of a fabulously dressed army of homosexuals blowing up poorly designed coffee shops and gunning down frumpily dressed right wing douchebags is not that unappealing to me. {Dear Army of the Gay, I am not advocating acts of hilarious violence, I am making an off-colour joke.}.

So while you're busy advocating a return to the burn-them-at-the-stake mentality of old. Think for just one moment about the other side of the coin. In your intolerance and injustice are you not, at least a little bit, saying that intolerance and injustice are OK? If it's OK for you to try force people to your will why, exactly, is it not OK for others to try to force you to theirs? Aren't you advocating exactly the kind of action that leads to that which you revile?

Please bother to research your intolerance better before you broadcast it to the world. Blaming the AIDS epidemic on the Gay population is patently stupid. The Gay population was hit harder in the beginning, but the vast majority of the problem has always been with thoughtless idiots who take no care for themselves or others in their choices. Those people are sadly in all walks of life. Do you have something else you'd like to spuriously blame on another minority group? I see you've already hit the Coloured folk with the 'lazy' stick. Maybe you'd like to blame the poor for cluttering up the streets of perfectly nice cities with their crap housing?

Honestly it's people like you who make this world a shitty place to live in. Before you start wailing on other peoples standards, maybe it's time you examined your own.

Peace. Out.

-I went on a brief odyssey (google search) of this woman, and it shocked me more than any other one human being has managed to. That this woman holds authority anywhere is appalling to me. No one with these kinds of attitudes should hold any kind of power. This way lies madness.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The brief history of a moment

I had a lot of time to think today, I mostly spent it thinking about how sick of being in a crappy mood I am – writing more directly about it the other day did help to get a bunch of this anger and disillusionment out of my head, many thanks to all those who read it and then talked with me about it later. It’s still bugging me quite a lot, but there’s not a lot I can do about. It makes me sad to have lost two worthwhile people over basically nothing.

So, anyway, I was at work and thinking of something to write about. I’m bored with writing about things that fill me with rage, even if writing it all down does usually empty the rage out of me too. An idea occurred to me, which I hope other people may pick up on (but I won’t hold my breath, link it to me in the comments if you decide to do it – and are ok with me reading it :P). I was thinking about good things that have happened in my life. And after a long and twisted train of thought came to this…

Sometimes things happen to us that will stick with us for the rest of our lives, fleeting moments that grab our attention so completely that they become Technicolor memories, memories we can call to mind so vividly it’s almost like living through them again. Not always good memories, there are shadows lurking in my head, but always important. I’m going to tell you about one so vivid to me that my heart flutters thinking about it. Residual memory makes the sensations of touch as real as they were in those few seconds. I hope that maybe others will be inspired to share their own moments. This particular one makes me shake all over when I recount it. I was shaking like a leaf when it happened.

A kiss for the ages:

I was watching ‘How I met your Mother’ the other day and they talked about the drum roll before a kiss. They’re not all like that, but when they are {swoon}. This was one of those things that had been lurking for ages, months of circling each other. Never quite getting close enough. This night should have gone badly, I was not happy with him, he’d been a dick lately. But all evening things kept pushing us closer and closer together, until finally we were sitting side by side, arms around each other. And I was as nervous as hell, I just had no idea what was going on here. He’d been so ‘come here, come here, go away’ for so long that I didn’t want to make any move myself. I wanted him to be responsible for whatever happened. I’m not always all that clever OK.

How we came to be face to face, just millimetres apart, I don’t really remember. But there we were, frozen for a moment, not quite touching. He leaned just a little forward, so our noses are pressed lightly together. He gently rubs his nose along the length of mine, and I respond in kind. As we move our lips are brought together, tingling and afraid to go further I freeze again but his lips are very gently kissing mine and for a moment I forget everything else, my lips begin to move too. Slow and careful: no lust, all passion. Tongue moving lightly over lips, teeth gently nibbling. The whole universe completely vanished. And as our lips finally came apart we leaned together, foreheads touching, bathed in a warm glow, completely oblivious to everything around us.

See. I’m shaking again.

Peace. Out.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Recognizing your fucktardiness - 5 steps to a better you.

Actually the 5 steps part is a lie. Genuine fucktards don't want to get better, and pretend ones can change in an instant.

*I am a fucktard myself from time to time. Usually because I am amused by some repetitive behaviour that offers a little cheap entertainment. You know what I'm talking about.

I've just cracked open a bottle of wine, so this one should be either punchier, meaner or stupider in fairly short order. :)

I am deeply disppointed by humanity at the moment. I have some quite good reasons not to be, but I'm choosing to ignore them in favour of the very annoying behaviour I have been a witness too lately. I have had to say 'WTF is wrong with you????!' too many times to ignore. I told you the story of the fucktard and the burnt finger, I have a million more. Oh the finger is so badly burnt it doesn't hurt! There's a big white strip of DEAD across it. LOL.

So you think you might be a fucktard? Early warning signs are:

-thinking your funny even though everyone looks at you like you have a cuckoo coming out of your head when you crack a joke.
-your employees all pull the finger at you behind your back (you can get a special mirror to check for this).
-your colleagues 'forget' to invite you to drinks.
-people you know cross the street to avoid you.
-people you don't know cross the street to avoid you.

Things you can do to avoid being a Fucktard:

-THINK before you act!
-Never forget that DOG is watching you
-Imagine a giant Penis, now merge yourself into that image. AND JUST STOP WHAT YOU'RE FUCKING DOING YOU BIG COCK!

There are some fairly basic rules that people should follow, but seldom do. As much as I am not a big old bible basher, the golden rule is as appropriate as it has ever been. Treat people as you would want to be treated yourself. Seriously this is not a hard concept to wrap your head around surely. At the very least you should be able to grasp the fairly simple premise that 'if I go around being a total psycho fucktard to everyone, what motivation do they have to give the smallest crap about being decent to me?'

So, rules:

-If you're in management try to remember that the people under you are still PEOPLE, and that revolution is still a viable form of protest. (there boys, I slagged the management, happy now?)I could get personal here but I'm fighting that part of myself. Let me just say, if you're running the ship never forget that the little people do all the boring crapwork that you don't wanna. Fuck them off enough and guess who gets stuck with it?
-My personal favourite. NO means NO. It doesn't mean 'please feel free to continue pawing at me', it doesn't mean 'Maybe later'. It means NO. It sometimes means FUCK OFF! An addition to this is: Boys are also allowed to say NO.
-GAY is not a term of abuse. Ever.
-Everyone has their own opinions. Discuss them, share them, be proud of them. Just don't expect to change MY mind, because YOU believe it's so.

You know what I could go on forever, but I'd much rather that other people added their own 'rules'.

Wil Wheaton says "Don't be a Dick"

Peace. Out.

(This post was copied across from the facebook notes I used to rant into - your desire to know about burnt fingers may never be satisfied... unless I copy that one over too.)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Mercury rising. In which I get to sound off about SO many things.

For the record. I don't share either.

Humans are animals. With survival drives. We have instincts that go against the grain of 'civilised' society. Sometimes when we react to something we forget to look at that bigger picture, and see what wasn't done. The lengths gone to, to avoid breaking the rules of society. We only see what was.

Caution: this is a demented rant, caused by specific incidents. I have left out the names, though I really hope that they recognise themselves in it. I'm angry, so it'll womble about all over the place.

It shouldn't really be news to anyone, and yet somehow everyone seems surprised by it when it rears its ugly head and causes trouble: being in a relationship doesn't stop other people from being interesting to you. This basic truism is at the back of so many relationship fails it's almost hilarious. If I hadn't been bitten by it myself, more times than I care to remember. If you're genuinely happy and comfortable in your relationship it'll probably stop you from doing any more than just looking. But if you happen to meet someone that you 'click' with it can all get quite tricky. I guess there's a lot of people who would say, when that happens you should just back away from this new person so things can't get awkward. I feel differently about it. Being a socially awkward (let's just not talk about that statement right now o.k., I'll be doing enough baring of my soul without adding my social dysfunction in) nerdy type with major trust issues, I don't 'click' with all that many people. So having found someone with whom I share common interests, someone who's company I enjoy - I'd rather work at making it into something that is acceptable, than throw it away just because stupid hormones are getting all up in my grill to begin with. With all the other things we can do with our brains and our 'hearts', turning a love interest into a friend shouldn't be all that much to ask.

Of course, there's this complication. Jealousy. Trust. Guilt: Stupid. Irrational. Emotions. This is what has happened to me, and two people I care about. Bringing new people into your life is normal. I mean generally normal, I never claimed to be normal myself. I have this awkward situation now: a nice man whom I generally get along with much better than I do with other folk wandered into my life. On top of enjoying his company and the lame-ass banter we engage in, I am attracted to him. The feeling is somewhat mutual. But he has a girlfriend, so we agreed that we will just be friends and began to work on that (which I derp'd up any number of times – socially dysfunctional, remember?). But like it or not it is fairly apparent to less casual observers that we have complicated feelings. I knew that. To a more denial riddled extent he knew that. But to others it probably looked a bit like we were dancing around each other (we were, just not in the way that many people would have assumed). We were working at being friends. Which, of course, I make very hard because I like being affectionate with the people I care most about.

I don’t know exactly what happened, and I can’t find out for fear of making it worse. But some combination of bad things has blown up in our faces, and I am left standing over here feeling cold and alone. And angry, which I feel justified in, merely for the lack of decent communication. Is it too much to ask that one of them actually tell me what happened? Apparently. I’m angry that it seems that bad things are being given more weight than good. Jealousy is a terrible thing, I remember when it would rear its ugly head with my last partner - I would fight with myself over the rationality of it all. Oddly, I often thought that it wasn’t really him I didn’t trust but other people. There’s so much wrong with that train of thought. Did I think he was incapable of saying no? Possibly, given that our relationship didn’t start all that tidily. All of the reason I will never be a part of someone cheating again is tied up in that time. Maybe I thought that if he’d stray for someone as boring as me, what chance did I have that some other bird wouldn’t pull him? Low self esteem is also a killer. I actually think that my crappy self esteem was behind my ‘stealing’ him in the first place. To prove I could. That’s pretty fucking LAME when it comes down to it. It’s not like that this time. I’m not interested in stealing him, I accept that this is not one I can have – which is why it’s kind of blown all my circuits to have it all ripped out from under me.

While this time I am kind of writing about something that has happened to me. Explaining to my friends why I’m being such a giant headcase at the moment. Getting the angry and sad thoughts out of my head, because I don’t want them in my head any more. I’m also using it as a tool for wanking on about a pair of subjects near to my heart (such as it is). Communication, and the ways we deal (or don’t deal) with infidelities.

So there’s this theory, I’m not going to get into the boring details of what led to me thinking in this direction – here it is, the way I think maybe I see it. Civilisation happened because of women. Male survival imperative (you know, sleep with ALL THE WOMEN so your genetic material ‘goes long’) (yeah, I do love to throw in an inappropriate sports metaphor from time to time, what of it?), anyway, male survival imperative is not well suited to the way our society works. Buying a house, settling down with one partner, turning into a jealous monster every time anyone so much as looks at your partner, that’s all female survival imperative (find the best source of genetic material you can and hang on to him for dear life). Sometimes I wonder how any man manages to stick with it. And sometimes I feel bad for the ones who fail and are hung up to dry without any thought about what really happened. Cheating seldom happens in a vacuum. The whole thing would make a great deal more sense to me if civilisation had grown from a matriarchy. If women owned the homes and men could wander from place to place satisfying their seed spreading desires. The idea of where that might have led interests me a great deal. What would society be like if we had started on that footing. Different.

From the perspective of community structures and social nicety, fidelity: marriage: altruism, even love make sense. In a society where property ownership and stable family equal status it makes sense to settle down with one person, build a family, have a legacy to pass on. But our animal instincts sometimes rebel against it. Sometimes the wolf inside me sees an ‘upgrade’ and just wants to go get me some of that genetic material. It’s a decision based on community ethics to not go nail him. When you’re faced with your partner tripping at that hurdle it’s next to impossible to see past your own pain and sense of betrayal to realise that it probably doesn’t mean what you think it means. It’s easy to get caught up in the ‘you bastard’ (or bitch, whatever) part of it and not go looking for more. Who wants to take the time to disassemble when it’s still a raw wound? But after you’ve told him to ‘get the fuck out’ it’s probably a bit late to bother. Do it anyway, it'll help you next time.

A long time ago, I did a small study into boundary setting within relationships. I had a feeling that people were ‘doing it wrong’ and I wanted to see if I could come up with plausible explanations for some of our stupider failings. A lot of people don’t really talk about the boundaries in their relationships. It’s sort of tacitly assumed that if you cheat you might as well not bother coming home and that’s all you need to know. But if you also assume that we have to fight our programming to NOT cheat then doesn’t it make sense to have actually TALKED about this? I realise that serious conversation with your partner is a hard concept to wrap your head around. But I have this feeling that if you actually love them then it’s in your best interests to know what your relationship is about.

The results of the study I did were interesting, well interesting to me, in that the way  men and women felt were quite different. I guess D’uh is the thing to say here. I mean it’s pretty obvious really that men and women have different interests within a relationship. As much as it’s a terrible generalisation that I wish wasn’t even a bit true, men are less interested in the emotional side of the relationship. I have to say I have a strong suspicion that a lot of that is nurture rather than nature. Boys don’t cry, right? And boys aren’t huggy (or they’re a poof) and boys don’t say I love you (or they’re a poof) and boys don’t make spontaneous romantic gestures (or they’re a poof). Sorry, but apparently I prefer my men a tad ‘poofy’. (As an aside I’d like to note that I find this whole ‘or you’re a poof’ bit very weird. My gay friends have basically the same range of behaviours as my straight friends. The only difference is the direction of their sexual attraction. Feel free to call me gay. It isn’t an insult.) All my best male friends, they’re all emotionally kind of broken. They find it difficult to express their ‘nicer’ feelings openly without feeling embarrassed. It’s ok to be an angry stupid douchebag, but telling your best friend you love them is totally out of order (unless you’re both really fucking drunk). That makes me sad for them. It’s nice to be able to tell someone that you care about how you feel, it feels nice for you AND it feels nice for them. The worst part about it is that I don’t tell them that I love them very often, because I know it makes them feel awkward. Except Mr. Chips, I can say I love you to him as often as I want. He's been repaired.

Sometimes the decisions we make when judging a situation don't make a lot of sense. Sometimes when we see someone we care about do something that hurts us we assume that we are the victim, and therefore someone else has to take the blame. Someone else is responsible. Sometimes it's a lot more complicated than that. And more often than not, where we put the blame isn't the only place it can go. Actions can have far reaching consequences, and the decision you make in the face of hurt and anger can lead to exactly the thing you want to avoid.

I'm not going to name names, I'm going to point a finger or two but without names most of the world can bugger off and get their gossip somewhere else.

Finger pointing: If you're going to distrust your partner, how about doing it properly and not then just believing whatever line of BS they feed you to get themselves off the hook. Either you trust them or you don't, if you don't, there's probably a reason why not. Not necessarily because they haven't earned that trust, my trust is very hard to earn (these days) the baggage I carry around with me makes me untrusting by default. If I don't trust someone, it may not be anything at all to do with them, but just that the situation is raising old monsters. As Doctor House regularly says, people LIE. Most people will, if a quick lie gets them out of immediate hot water, just lie and hope you move on without questioning it. If you got as far as not trusting them in the first place: QUESTION IT. Because that feeling of distrust you had right there, it isn't going to go away when your love tells you it was all a misunderstanding. Something else will happen and the distrust that was lurking will jump up and have another go. Because that's pretty much how it works. The bit of you that loves your partner WANTS to believe, but the bit of you that distrusts them (for whatever reason, be it your hang up or their behaviour) doesn't. That bit wants PROOF. And it doesn't go away just because the loving part of you is all happy again.

My back up for this opinion is simple. I was stupidly, blindly, in love. And every time I felt distrust for him, I would ask him about whatever it was and he would tell me whatever would make me stop asking. He would be just contrite enough, mixed with just ‘innocent’ enough that I would back away from the whole thing. No matter what my screaming trust beast was yelling at me, because the love monster’s desire to believe in this all consuming love was louder than the trust beast. I should have listened to my instincts. Because he was a lying cheating miserable bastard who will ALWAYS tell the easy lie. (/bitterness) So I can still love someone, even in the moment that their betrayal is crashing down around my ears, even when I know it's stupid. Even when I know I want nothing to do with them ever again. I wish I had questioned that douchebag's bullshit much earlier than I did. I might have saved myself a lot of angst. And things would be very different now.

And your own douchebag’s bullshit might not be nearly so terrible. In fact I’m pretty sure it isn’t. As much I’m sure there are worse bastards out there than mine, he is kind of in a league of his own. And for the longest time he could do no wrong in my eyes.

So, these people behind this, here’s what I think is going on. One thinks she's confrontational, but isn't - not about the things that matter. The other knows he avoids confrontation and knows that it's stupid but does very little about it. Doomed. And not for the reason they think. But it doesn’t have to be. Getting angry about stuff is not the same as confronting it. Smoothing things over (especially with bullshit) is not the same as dealing with it. So I think that she got mad, and he placated her to avoid the fight. And chucked me under the bus, it would seem. Not just me actually, but I’m not dragging anyone else through the mud with me. I’m having a miserable time, fuck making someone else go there.

Oh looky, we’ve come back to my favourite bugbear. Fucking communication. So many people SUCK at it, and it is so very important. If you have a problem in your relationship your choices are: ignore it, which will lead to either a relationship ending or a relationship turning into a stagnant pool of enduring. Fun. Or you can talk about it. Hey I’m not suggesting it’s a panacea that will instantly cure your relationship. Hell, talking about it could also lead to the relationship ending. But if it does then it would most likely be because you realised the problem was insurmountable. But if it leads to compromise, or some other real fix then you’ll both be happier for it.

Peace. Out.

* I'm not meaning to suggest that only men cheat, I couldn't possibly {hangs head in shame}

** I was going to include a complete history of what actually did and didn't happen with this guy, but you know what - that's nobody's business but mine and his and hers, she can ask me if she wants. I will pull no punches and I think she'll feel better for hearing it. It dawned on me that anyone else who read it would only doing so in the hopes of juicy details (or because for some bizarre reason they enjoy my writing and hope that it might be a 'good' story). If you want juicy details you only have to search 'soft porn stories' and you'll find everything you wanted and a whole lot you probably didn't. The bonus of this is it cuts this diatribe down to about 2800 words instead of a somewhat brain numbing 5000. 

The two sides of a coin can never touch.

Occasionally I rant about intolerance. Which often leads into a rant about religious intolerance. (Because I’m sorry to say that a lot of the most vocal intolerance I see is religiously motivated). Which often leads to some friends of mine being hurt because ‘I hate their beliefs’. Which I don’t. It isn’t religion I dislike, its fanaticism; it’s the uncontrollable desire to force other people to think the same way you do. Only one of my Christian friends even comes close to falling into that category, and she doesn’t quite manage it since she knows when to shut up.

There’s nothing wrong with faith. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to follow the moral code you believe your deity has laid before you. Or the moral code that you have settled upon by any other method. The point at which I start getting upset is when you take your moral set and try to impose it upon others with no consideration for their own moral set. Believing that someone is wrong and knowing they are wrong are two very different kettles of fish. I understand that some of the things I believe go utterly against some of the things other people believe. I believe that I am right. I do not object in the slightest to an intellectual debate of the differences in our beliefs. If your argument is valid you have a chance of swaying me. Please do not be offended if my opinion does not change. I will not be offended if I fail to sway you.

My Christian friends occasionally think that I hate their religion. Because occasionally someone calling themselves a good Christian stands up and says something that I find morally abhorrent, and I feel the need to respond. Because when I see someone hating in the name of their religion it makes me cross. Because the only kind of God I am capable of believing in wouldn’t expect that kind of nastiness from their brethren. So I can only assume that the decision to spout hate about the lifestyles of their fellow man has very little to do with their belief in God.

Whatever happened to the Golden Rule? I’m pretty sure these same people trying to make me conform to their beliefs would be very opposed to me trying to make them conform to mine; would be the first to scream ‘foul’ if I tried to get my government to make laws excluding them or forcing them to do things my way.

Your government is supposed to make its decisions without bias. To show no favouritism to any group. Of course it seldom works this way. Because people are greedy, self absorbed and insensitive. We all want it our way. But we cannot all have it our way. So wherever possible we should be aiming to make laws that include everyone; that allow everyone to have their own beliefs. Beliefs should only be a legal issue when they impose themselves on people’s wellbeing. If you believe that God wants you to run around shooting people, it’s definitely time for the law to tell you that’s not ok. Anything that isn’t hurting anyone is no one’s business but yours. Before you say something stupid let me point out that removing someone’s rights counts as hurting them. If in doubt; DON’T BE A DICK.

It’s time, and long past, for people to put aside their malice. To accept that others have the same right to their beliefs as you do. Time to understand that to make others live by your beliefs is to strip them of their free will. 

Peace. Out.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Infidelity. Everyone's guilty.

Over the years I've seen a lot of relationships spontaneously combust because of infidelity. I have some weird opinions about human relationships, like I really don't think most human beings are cut out for total monogamy. But the thing that I want to rant incoherently about today is the blame habits we have over infidelities.

Because almost without exception every situation I've seen, the blame doesn't reach everyone it should.

Let's get to some examples.

A man, let's call him Piece of Crap A or PoCA for short, has a naughty little habit of fooling around just a little bit at parties. He doesn't really cheat, just a little bit of fun. But somehow when he gets found out, it was all the girls fault. She was throwing herself at him. He honestly tried to get her to leave him alone. And ridiculously the girlfriend buys it. Awww poor PoCA, those skanky women just won't leave him alone. And apparently he's too weak and feeble to stop them from kissing him.

But let's take this story a little further. Because I talked to PoCA, because I wanted to know what the fuck was going on his head. And he told me about stress in his life that his girlfriend wasn't very sympathetic with. He talked about confusion in his relationship. That his girlfriend didn't want to deal with. He talked about the terrible guilt he felt over the small slips he made.

Now where does the blame go? What the hell point is there in blame? Talk about what happened and why. Fix things where you can, move on where you can't. There is almost always blame enough for everyone. But almost always there is someone who only looks at their wounds. Standing there saying why? But not actually interested in hearing the answers to that. Because no one wants to hear that maybe just a little bit, they took part in their own betrayal.

Let's move on to insecure crazy bloody madwoman. I only made it that complicated so it would abbreviate to ICBM. Small things amuse small minds. She gets obsessive about things. People. So when she sees this guy that she really likes the look of she becomes very predatory in her efforts to catch him. This guy has a girlfriend, but ICBM doesn't really like her and tells herself that the girlfriend is a horribly manipulative user. And upgrades her pursuit. She does actually care about the guy, it isn't just a hunt-thing. Probably more of a hunt thing than she imagined though. She catches the guy, he leaves his girlfriend.

As with the first case, there are 3 people in this story. ICBM has actively stolen this boy from his girlfriend so definitely some blame there. The guy? Well it takes 2 to cheat. At least 2. The girlfriend? You know this time I'm really not sure, because as much as I know what I saw. That she seemed to be a reasonably happy person most of the time, but that whenever the boyfriend came into the room a kind of fake looking sadness would come over her. She was always telling him to go off and do his own thing while looking miserable about it. So he would stay with her. So again, 3 people who all have some blame they could take. But I'm pretty certain only 2 of them did.

And moving on again, to denial equals reinterpretation person, because Derp is a fantastic name for this guy. This guy has what appears to be a great relationship with a fantastic woman who seems to be crazy about him. And the lucky bastard has an open marriage. Within reason. But things aren't as perfect as they seem. Because while they're open about sexual matters, they rarely talk seriously about anything else. Things that are wrong in the relationship fester because they don't want to talk about them. So Derp begins to spend more time with other people - the communication that is missing in his relationship, he starts to find with other people. And the less he talks with his partner the less he cares for her.

And when it falls apart? Everyone is angry with Derp for cheating. Angry with the other woman for getting in the middle of a relationship. And once again, no one really learns anything.

People are generally either unwilling to blame themselves, or too willing to. To the exclusion of the other participants, who certainly had a role. PoCA's girlfriend merrily blames external forces while blithely ignoring the possibility of an actual problem within their relationship. While PoCA feels guilty for messing about a little, but doesn't deal with the problems he knows are behind it.

ICBM & the jilted girlfriend blame themselves and each other while ignoring the cocknozzle in the middle. Unwilling to see fault in the thing they fought for. While guy in the middle thinks these things happen, and doesn't think much further than that.

And Derp blames his ex, while his ex blames him and neither of them expose the faults in their own behaviour. The new girl thinks she can smile all the way to the bank, but when you get into a relationship by cheating can you really ever believe it might not happen again?

Actually I've seen many a human do exactly that - and been that idiot myself. I don't think once a cheater, always a cheater is necessarily true - people do sometimes learn from their mistakes, but I do think that a relationship that starts in broken trusts is guaranteed to be a lot harder to make work in the long run.

Human beings are animals, we have instincts. That are occasionally at odds with socially acceptable behaviour. we have the capacity to overcome our baser instincts, each and every one of us. Denying we have them is foolish, acting against them to do the 'right' thing, sublime.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Wow. Just WOW. Really? Seriously? FUCK YOU.

This, THIS bill makes me sick to my stomach. (for those who can't be bothered reading the article, a bill presented in Wisconsin regarding classifying 'non marital parenthood' as a cause of child abuse. No I'm not kidding.)

Justify this you assholes. I DARE YOU to tell me that I’m doing a shit job of raising my daughter. That my decisions are different from the ones you might have made, doesn’t make them wrong. The evidence is right here. My daughter: open and outgoing, friendly, hardworking, considerate and compassionate. Willing to stand up for what she believes in. Planning for her future (medical school!), doing well in school. I have to shut up now, I could go on about how fantastic my kid is for ever. Much of what she is, is nothing to do with me. She’s naturally a decent person, she’s smart and inquisitive. But she has grown up in a household of mutual respect and care. She has grown into the young woman she now is because she is happy and allowed the freedom to explore her place in the world. She is encouraged to achieve and supported when she does less well than she hoped for. If you told her she was living in an abusive environment she would laugh at you. And be disgusted by your narrow mind. I’m not the perfect parent, who is? But she has everything she needs and more.

If I had stayed with her father, I firmly believe that her life would not be so happy. Because both her parents would be miserable. And living in a house full of despair is NO WAY TO GROW UP.

In the face of sheaves of information to the contrary, they raise the idea that homosexual couples can't raise a healthy child. Why the hell not? A child raised by a homosexual couple KNOWS they are loved, the hoops these couples have to jump through in the first place to have a kid. They will be raised by people sensitive to discrimination, because they've had to face so much themselves. A gay couple may not fit your narrow definition of normal, but your narrow mind doesn't fit my definition of a fit parent.

I have to concur with this article, where are they going with this? Are they going to try to remove children from these situations? That really would be child abuse, removing a child from a loving household to satisfy your bigotry. Do they want to outlaw divorce for parents with children? Just LOVING the idea of forcing unhappy families to stay together, that’s not at all unhealthy. /sarcasm. If my ex husband and I had been forced to stay together in order to keep my daughter the outcome would undoubtedly have been misery, serial adultery from both sides, and an environment full of hate and bitter recrimination. Sounds like child abuse to me. Are they going to forbid homosexual couples to adopt or seek surrogacy? I'd rather they dealt with all the people who actually are CRAP at parenting, before they worry about a problem that doesn't even exist.

If we’re going to bring beliefs into legislature how about this – I believe that raising a child in a house full of bias and bigotry is unhealthy, that a child should be raised with an open mind and allowed to form their own opinions. I believe that a child has a right to grow in a happy home filled with love and respect.

Peace. Out.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

The war against hate, make love not war.

I am a member of all kinds of social networking groups fighting against hate groups. Against the policies of hate. But I’m noticing a growing pattern, of answering hate with ridicule or more hate. It’s always been there of course, it’s actually quite hard to avoid, because hate groups are just so bloody ANNOYING. But there’s a kind of ridiculousness about it, that undermines the whole attempt at good. And in the social networking arena it's becoming more and more common.

You see I have a pretty strong set of beliefs regarding human rights. I believe all humans are created equal, it’s your actions that define your worth. I believe that religion should stay away from politics. I believe that the government should keep its nose out of religion (unless a religious group is breaking the law of the land). I think that rights granted to one human should be granted to all. I believe that it’s possible to forfeit those rights. I believe that race, religion, sexual orientation, occupation, wealth, education, disability (there’s probably a lot more, I’m too brain dead to think of) make no difference to a person’s intrinsic value and that none of those things should affect their rights. And a bunch of other things related to all of that. I believe gay people should have the same right to marry and raise children as straight people. I believe women should have as much freedom as men. Yada yada, ad nauseum - equality for everybody.

There’s this whole other group of people who believe things that are totally contrary to my beliefs. I don’t like the things those people believe. But I do understand that those people are just as entitled to their beliefs as I am. I don’t have to like their beliefs, I do think it’s important to accept that they have them. Debate is healthy, it’s a good thing to have all sides opinions known, and to be willing to discuss those opinions. But it is not OK to force other people to follow your beliefs just because you don’t like theirs. It’s not ok to force people who don’t share your beliefs to live by them.

Every day, I watch the social networks roll. I have a lot of time on my hands – chronic illness is a bitch. Every day I watch the people who are claiming to abhor hate, hating on the people they are against. How can you claim the moral high ground when you are throwing THE SAME slings and arrows? It’s hard to remove yourself from the argument but it’s important to understand that as strongly as you feel about your beliefs, that’s how strongly they feel about theirs. Trying to force your beliefs on other people is not OK. From either side. They want you to believe the same things they do. If you want the moral high ground, it isn’t enough to believe you are right. You have to accept that they also believe they are right and that the thing we need to change or stop are not their beliefs but the things that are removing civil rights from others. The things that are forcing other people to have less, simply because they are different. I hope that people will change their minds about these things, and come to understand that equality has to be above beliefs. Because there are too many different belief sets to satisfy everyone.

The understanding that needs to come is that we are ALL different (I’m not*). That people are entitled to have different opinions. The thing they are not entitled to is to make other people’s lives LESS by their beliefs. This is why government needs to be entirely separate from religion. Because as long as we’re all believing a load of different things and squabbling with each other about them, someone needs to be able to smack everyone on the nose with a rolled up newspaper and decide the FAIR thing. Without bias. I don’t think that politicians need to abandon their beliefs, but I do think they need to be able to set them aside when making decisions that affect everyone.

So if we want to be taken seriously in the fight against hate, we must contain our ire. We must respect the others beliefs, and expect them to raise their game to meet ours. Why should they listen to us if all we yell at them is ‘DO IT OUR WAY’, that’s what they’re telling us and we don’t like it. We must explain our position and make it clear we are not asking them to change their beliefs only asking that they give us the same respect. We are not asking them to change the way they live, just to be allowed to live our own way.

Freedom. Everybody wants it, but we don’t have to take away other peoples freedom to achieve it.

*sorry, obligatory Life of Brian joke.