Thursday, July 14, 2016

Things About Judgement

I have many, many shortcoming and failures in my life of which I am keenly aware and generally not proud of. Let's just get that out of the way. 

Perhaps I am much less likable than I imagine. 

There's a good chance that I have fewer shining talents than I fantasize about. 

Maybe I'm not nearly as kind or quite as non-judgemental as I want to be. 

I would like to think I have a certain level of self awareness, but the last few weeks have made me question all of this. 

But even the worst human beings are still human beings, and several national and a few local - even personal - issues lately have brought my humanness and that of all of the people around me into startling clarity lately. 

More than just your run-of-the-mill, single girl, circling the drain of her 30s self pity, I've had a few legitimate kicks in the gut lately that might have been uncalled for, unjust, or just plain mean, but they've made me examine myself and how I treat other people. All the other people. Not just the ones I like. 

I know certain things about myself. I know I'm not lazy. I know I love my family. I know I try to live a good, ethical life. I know I fail more often than I'd like. 

And I know this can be said for many people that I might easily judge for their different lifestyles and beliefs. 

Along with an entire nation, I witnessed the murder of five law enforcement officers who did not deserve to die. Officers who were protecting people that they probably disagreed with philosophically. It would be easy to blame ignorance and lack of education for the violence. But sanity does not require a diploma. 

So far 84 people have died at the hands of a ruthless killer in Nice, France. People celebrating Bastille Day - their independence. Murdered with a truck. Proof positive that people don't have a gun problem, they have a heart problem. In Nice. A place that, for name alone, should be exempt of such horrors.

I read about the horrific slaughter of people of many religions for radical ideals across the world. It would be easy to generalize about debauched cultures and rampant evil... Which is out there. The same generalizations could be made about Christianity for centuries.
 
Everybody has a solution: take away guns. Buy more guns. Ban certain religions. Enforce stricter laws. And everybody's solutions share common traits: they are mutually exclusive, black and white, and require global adherence.  

Cruelty comes so naturally to human beings. Kindness is such an exercise for us. We're so busy needing to be RIGHT that we forget to be GOOD to other people. We've declined so far that we have to actually specify out loud which lives matter. We lash out in self-preservation. In offense for countless wrong against us and our ideals or perhaps just our lifestyles. And what does our lashing out gain us? 

It gains us a world fraught with senseless violence. It gains us ridiculous public figures. Our celebrities are criminals and criminals are our celebrities. It seems to be the only way to keep our radical individuality entertained: Like the Gladiator in the arena, mass murderers of every variety, from terrorists to pharmaceutical giants and our political candidates stand with the blood of innocents dripping from their hands screaming "are you not entertained?" 

And we feign shock and horror and abomination and change the channel and share the post and create a hashtag and add our two cents to the debacle that is humanity. 

We have created this world. By our protest, by our silence. By our petty insecurities and our late thirty-something pity parties. I have not been the change I want to see in this world, I have been another creaking cog in the machine of destruction. I have been too intent upon being right. 

Humankind will never agree on one religion or political platform or for that matter, whether Sting made good music. The power of humanity is in the differences we hold. The strengths and weaknesses. The balance we can bring one another. The power of humanKIND is in the end of the word. The kindness. Love is Kind. 

Whether you are bible thumper, a Muslim, a pagan or a hedonist like me, as a human being you have to know in your heart of hearts that we're all on this tiny spinning rock together, bleeding red and beating hearts across continents and cultures. 

So here is what I am learning: know your own conscience and act accordingly. Do not be swayed by bitterness or frustration over those that are so different than you, because really they're not. Vote your conscience in the upcoming election. Not for the lesser of evils. Choose kindness with your friends and neighbors regardless of the color or creed they belong to. We are all the same race: the human race. 

Trust your selected gods to intervene in the affairs of men. Govern your own heart. Your own actions. Your own words. See the lack of self government in this world and thank your selected gods for the instruments of external government in lieu of men who will choose kindness. Respect the law whether you agree with it or not - your action or inaction put those laws and the ones who made them into power. Support the ones who hold the thin blue line between us and the unkindness that runs rampant. Support the Warriors here and abroad who defend our right to disagree and still live peacefully together. Back the forces that guard us from the lawless and deliver justice swiftly on our behalf. 

Be the change. Be the love. Be the hope for a kinder world. 





Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Things About The Dentist



I don't care how bada$$ you think you are, getting dental work done is just plain miserable. And this coming from a girl who has her mouth wide open and flapping most of the day...

But I also struggle from a mutant strain of claustrophobia that makes me cut all the necks out of my t-shirts so they don't "choke" me, and keeps me from tucking sheets under any edge of my mattress - in case any random body part needs to make a rapid escape. So imagine my delight at a plastic-and-metal contraption rammed sideways in my mouth preventing me from closing it, swallowing effectively or even worse... Talking! 

I went to the dentist, I thought to have my teeth cleaned the other day. NBD, right? Apparently I had my teeth cleaned in March and my memory (like a steel trap) withheld the information that this was a cavity filling. A cavity of proportions much larger than expected, according to the very nice and not at all judgement Doctor. Who told me that it actually "wrapped around." What that means exactly, I have no idea. Wrapped around the root? The nerve? My entire jaw?

Anyway, I got lucky this time and they actually offered me nitrous. You know - laughing gas? Actually the way the conversation went was this: 

Dental hygienist: you don't need nitrous right? 

Me: is that an option?

DH: sure if you need it!

Me: how do I know if I need it? Is it fun? 

DH: well, I guess... Do you want to try it?

Me: um, obvs. 

So anyway, they hooked me up to this fighter pilot mask and started pumping this air into my lungs that smelled faintly of juicy fruit gum. I was waiting for the irrepressible urge to laugh (because why else is it called laughing gas) or some euphoric sense of peace and tranquility. But mostly what I noticed as she crammed the massively invasive dental dam in my mouth and smothered me in drool bibs and germy sunglasses, was an innate sense of every-little-thing's-gonna-be-alright. 

I mean in the back of my head, there was a certainty that I was going to suffocate on a pool of my own saliva and a collection of foreign objects piling up in the back of my throat, but for whatever reason (I.e. Nitrous Oxide) it seemed perfectly alright. I nearly choked to death when the dentist and his hygienist were talking about popcorn chicken from KFC and I tried to participate in the conversation. I guess the laughing gas made me forget that I wasn't really able to talk around all that paraphernalia, no matter how dear the subject matter to my heart. I gave up in a fit of coughing laughter and gave up trying to be garrulous during the procedure.

Really, the filling went pretty quickly, and despite not being able to opine on the merit of KFCs popcorn chicken vs a new local burger joint, I made it through with only one near drowning experience an no full-blown panic attacks. So I would give the nitrous a thumbs up for making a terrible hour and a half slightly less terrible. I have been thinking a bottle of that stuff would make life in my house more bearable on certain mornings when Everyone wakes up fighting. 




Saturday, July 2, 2016

Things About Dreams

Maybe it was the too-late at night dinner that we ate after nine o'clock when middle school softball finally got over. Maybe it was the clip from a some late night show where Emilia Clarke sang MMBop in dothraki. Maybe it was the fitful sleep from the day before, or the cumulative anxiety of trying to direct a herd of cats in a high school drama production. Who knows what it was, but I had the strangest dream a few weeks ago. I was riding a bicycle along a gravel road and I came across two loitering mountain lions. Both immediately decided that I was an excellent dinner-to-go option and I spent what felt like an eternity (in my dream) using my bike as a shield/weapon, flinging it at them and crouching behind it, while screaming incoherently until a car came along the road and scared them off. I woke up exhausted (in real life), with my arms and legs feeling like I had just scaled a cliff wall, and my voice hoarse from yelling. Dreams are funny things. Who knows where they come from, and who knows why... I do know that throughout the grueling ordeal I was in total control of the outcome, which is interesting since I willed the random car along just when my strength was gone. I suppose it's a metaphor for something, this dream, but I can't think for what.

I know for a fact that my dreams are usually jam-packed full of whatever it is I am longing for in my life but lacking... often a gallant hero with his strong manly arms around me... but occasionally a frantic hunt for a toilet and a dramatic sense of urgency. Lucky for me when I wake up from that one, the porcelain throne is just across the hall. The former situation finds no respite in real life awakening. It would be nice if I could dream about eating all night and wake up full, just like I wake up tired and sore after fighting imaginary cougars in my sleep all night. Then maybe I wouldn't want to eat all the day long and would actually break through this weight plateau that taunts me - but much like the dreamland romeo, this is a wish that will probably never be realized.

Sometimes I wish I had more control over the subject matter of my dreams, and not just the plot. But then again I think it's a fascinating glimpse into the recesses of my brain that I either cannot (or choose not to) access. Like for instance last night when I dreamt that for my birthday, my friends hired a cohort of ridiculously good-looking male celebrities to come to a party for me so that I could choose any one that I wanted to kiss. Obviously I bypassed Ryan Gosling and Brad Pitt to lock lips with Bradley Cooper, who instantly fell madly in love with me for the rest of time. Or at least until I woke up. *Sigh*. The rest of the guys were nice enough to hang out with all my friends and family for some beer and laughs, even though none of them were the lucky recipient of my birthday kiss. Well, we can't all be winners, boys. And this is EXACTLY why we call them dreams.

It is almost compelling enough to give up all gainful occupation and resign myself to a strict sleeping schedule. Maybe I will find someone in my dreams to pay all of my bills too. Or I will just finally succumb to the treacherous mountain lion(s) or whatever they represent and won't have to worry about any of it. They say if you die in your dreams that you do in real life too, I wonder if I marry Bradley Cooper in dreamland if that would come true as well? Guess I don't know, yet...

cue next weird dream...