Friday, December 18, 2009

can we talk about jesus for a minute?: in which a frustrated religion student discusses problems with zealots

Okay, I must first warn my Christian friends that they may or may not be offended by the following blog entry. If you are, please know that this was not the intention, and I humbly ask that you lighten up and open your mind a bit....

Now, the story begins on a damp December evening, last night actually...A friend's facebook status was one of those "please repost if you agree" kind of things talking about how people are trying "to take the Christ out of Christmas," etc. I, for some unknown reason likely having to do with sleep deprivation and general aggravation, decided it was a good idea to comment and impart some Yuletide knowledge. All I said was that, as I (and many others) understand it, if any of the nativity tale is true, it isn't possible for Jesus to have been born in December; also, the Christian observance of Christmas was superimposed on the Pagan celebration of the birth of Mithras, who was also, incidentally, said to bring light to the world. Two fairly common facts that even a lot of more liberal Christians don't dispute. Well, youd've thought I pissed on a Bible and spit on a crucifix. I was told I was "full of it" and basically that "ideas" had nothing to do with her faith. She implied that I'd attacked her faith and religion and that she expected the same respect she afforded my beliefs.

Where to begin? The implication of attack? Refusal to acknowledge the historical issues of one's religion? The self-righteous overtones? How about the notion that faith and ideas are mutually exclusive? *sigh*

First of all, let me say that my comments were in no way intended to attack anyone's faith. Even when I was Christian, I revelled in telling people about the Pagan origins of Christian holidays. It isn't about undermining faith; it's about knowledge. I fail to understand how learning about your religion's historical and cultural underpinnings is problematic. By ignoring and denying these, you are in fact denying that religion has a basis in daily human life, when really that's ALL it's about--how we as humans interact with one another and attempt to understand the Universe. I don't think I would want to be a part of a faith that was so divorced from my life that the acknowledgement of a few historical, cultural, or literary revelations could destroy it.

My other big contention with this is the self-righteous assumptions made--not just by my friend but by many Christians. It seems to be quite all right for Christians to make whatever statements they wish about other religions or lack thereof, but if anyone outside their faith dares to talk about Christianity, it is automatically an attack. Guess what? Some of us are simply fascinated by religion and our critiques should not be seen as all-out warfare on you and your religion. If your faith isn't strong enough to survive a little debate, that is not my problem, it's yours.

Lastly, I actually do want to talk about Jesus. My personal faith does not recognize him as the son of any god, except in the way we are all children of the Goddess and God. However, in his teachings, there are things that mesh well with my ethics; what modern Christianity has done with those teachings usually does not. I have no issue with someone following Jesus or being Christian. Hell, I've known Pagans that see the historical Jesus as a face of the God. What I do have a sincere problem with, besides the general misuse of what were actually a few awesome ideas, is the way that many Christians have made Jesus, or rather specific beliefs about him, so sacrosanct that discussion is not possible. I don't want to convert you, I just want a conversation and for you to realize that the man and the originators of your religion were HUMAN and that it did not evolve in a sacred little bubble but alongside human civilization. Therefore, historical and cultural information is important to your religion and faith.

One last thought: everything is based on ideas. Just because it's religion, it isn't exempt. Someone once had the IDEA that following Jesus might be cool....I'm just sayin...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

just an update

okay, so i haven't been on here in ages! i had to come drop off some books at the library on campus, and i thought i'd give you all a heads-up on life and my general obsessions:

1. i successfully defended my honors thesis on Quiverfull! yay! this means i will graduate with honors in women's studies. the defense was not half as bad as i assumed it would be, by the way.
2. due to an awesome professor, i will be able to take the gre! (tomorrow morning, in fact) this means i can apply to grad school for next fall instead of having to take a year off!
3. i am now done with spanish! woot!
4. anna and i are enjoying the hell out of having our own place again. we got all the yule decorations up and functioning last week!
5. i am still sans-employment, but not from lack of effort. i have sent i don't know how many resumes and applications off in the past couple of months. i've had a couple of interviews, but nothing has panned out.
6. my dad's mom, mama betts, died a couple of weeks ago. she and i weren't close, but i miss her regardless. mema, on the other hand, is doing okay. i call her nursing home every week to check on her, and her nurses are so sweet!

i think that's all in my life...but you know my obsessions: michelle duggar gave birth to josie brooklyn duggar a bit early due to preeclampsia...now there's 19 of them plus the daughter-in-law and the granddaughter...at this rate, in a few years, it'll be the united states of duggar...

since we have no internet at the apartment, and it is really hard to type a blog on my phone, though i have and will do it occasionally, this blog will continue to be a bit sparse until after the new semester starts in january...

peace

Saturday, October 10, 2009

...And another generation begins...

As most of the television-watching world knows now, the Duggars now have their first grandchild--Mackynzie Renee Duggar--daughter of oldest son Josh and his relatively new wife Anna. According to the news reports, they couple welcomed their new baby in their home with a midwife and doula in attendance. While on some levels, I applaud this, I also wonder where it may lead.

In the Quiverfull movement is a smaller subset known as freebirthers. They begin having babies at home with a medically trained midwife and/or doula but then progress eventually to completely unassisted births with only the father "catching". Some people would say that this is fine, given that millions of women in other countries especially do this everyday. However, consider the recent case of Carri Chmielewski...she had an unassisted homebirth. She ignored all of the warning signs that it was a difficult pregnancy and looked to be a difficult birth by saying that God would protect her and the baby. The result was that the baby died and Carri ended up in the hospital in critical condition.

Freebirthing may not be an issue in many cases where the parents are well-prepared and knowledgeable and the birth is unproblematic. However, in cases such as the Chmielewskis, there are obvious issues.

The High Price of Being Gay...a commentary on the NYTimes

NYTimes article

Okay, so I read this article this morning through a blog I frequent. In theory, I love that they took the time to run all these numbers and show the world the financial hardships associated with being a non-existent couple. Health insurance, taxes, etc...they covered it. BUT I have an issue with their calculations. They based the numbers on a best-case and a worst-case scenario: best--both partners make $70,000 a year, worst--one makes $110,000 and the other makes $30,000. While they say that these are based on averages in the three states most full of gayness (California, Florida, and New York) for college-educated couples in their 30s-40s raising kids under 18, I would have to venture a guess and say that a segment of the gay population lucky enough to be making gobs of money skewed those averages. None of the gay couples I know make anywhere near that amount of money. What I would like to see is an analysis of the problems of gay couples living in near-poverty or at least in low-income circumstances. You get into a whole 'nother set of problems there--none of which I am sure they examined....i'm just saying...

Sunday, September 20, 2009

..."Now that's Love."

Last night, Anna and I went with Violetta to see her husband, Brannon (aka Leroy, aka Something) perform his poetry. Unbeknowst to us, it was pretty much all Christian art. Now, in general, this is no problem, and for the most part, I put aside the religious overtones and just enjoyed the music and the talent. A couple of times I was a bit put off by what was said, but honestly, this is me we're talking about. It isn't that surprising. In any case, Christianity aside, Brannon fucking rocked the place. The man is awesome! I'm a total spoken word geek and will watch Def Poetry over and over, and I'm telling you, he's great. (The title of this blog is from the best one he did.)

There is a point to this, and I swear I'm getting to it. They had an open mike section, and I had a notebook in my purse with a few of my okay poems. However, given the crowd, I didn't think it would be such a great idea. The one that would have been the closest to usable was one about Kali, and I'm not sure they sould have appreciated the skirt of arms and garland of heads imagery. I wish I could have though. I've never performed any of my poems, despite the fact that most of them would work better as spoken word than on paper. I've never really had an opportunity. Of course, I also haven't written in a bit, and I worry that I can't anymore. Sometimes I can scribble something passable out, but most of the time I'm wrapped up in papers and thesis stuff and nothing truly creative happens. I used to be a creative writing major for crying out loud! Wtf happened?

The other point I was mulling over last night is divinity and divine experiences. Especially in the music and Brannon's poems, I could feel their passion and love for their version of the divine. For little Pagan me, it served as a worship time, even though the deities I was thinking of were decidedly different from the ones that they were talking about. It was pretty cool. But then I got to thinking that were most of the people in the room to attend the annual Samhain labyrinth or even the Mabon ritual this weekend, they would not have the same experience at all. Some of them might, but...Being Pagan has allowed me to become much more open to experiencing the divine in all its manifestations and wonder. I'm definitely grateful for that...Blessed Be...

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Christian Psychotics, Episode 3: ...and they just keep coming:

The Duggars announce their 19th child!

Okay, most everyone knows that I am studying the Quiverfull people for my honors thesis. The Duggars on TLC, though they never use the word, are a perfect example of this movement: complete rejection of all birth control (so they say, but I'll get to that in a minute), strict gender roles, the whole nine yards...As of now, they have 18 kids, hence the name of their show (18 kids and counting), but Michelle and Jim Bob have just announced the impending arrival (doom?) of their 19th child. This one is due in March, just five months after their first grandchild is supposed to arrive. According to their book, while the Duggars eschew any conventional form of birth control, they do follow Hebrew Bible injunctions about abstinence after birth--40 days after the birth of a boy and 80 days after the birth of a girl. In the loosest of math, she could be pregnant even using their own system, but my question is SHOULD she be?

I am a card-carrying feminist and a firm believer in the power of choice, even if it is not a choice I would make for myself. However, it is worth wondering whether this is a true choice, especially for the girls raised (brainwashed?) in this movement...

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Adventures of a New Vegetarian, Episode 3: Crouching Veggies, Hidden Chicken

So, like I said in the last episode, I not only discovered that Stouffer's cheesy potatoes had bacon, but the only chunky potato soup I could find without bacon had chicken in it. As if this wasn't enough, I got excited when I found seasoned black beans in an easy cook pouch (by Old El Paso, I think). Then I read the ingredients, and guess what I found? Chicken. Seriously, people...why would you need to put chicken in everything? Aren't there enough spices in the world without using chicken?

Oh well, as soon as we have our own kitchen, I'm learning to cook, and then I can make vegetarian versions of whatever I want...

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Mountaintop Apocalypse: Coal Mining and the Destruction of Rural America

I wrote this a while back, and it somehow got saved as a draft instead of posting. So here it is...

I finally got to watch the Focus Earth episode about mountaintop coal mining this morning. That was a quick way to run my blood pressure up. The West Viginia mountains are home to the richest vein of coal in the country, and coal companies are blasting the hell out of the area to get to it. The issue has recently come to the forefront because of famous activists such as Darryl Hannah, but people in the WV hills have been dealing with it for years.

According to the coal companies, they're doing the people of WV and the nation a favor by supplying the fossil fuel, and in some ways, they're almost right. Extremely rural areas of the South are notoriously underdeveloped, and coal mines do provide jobs for some. However, even if they are providing some form of employment, is it worth the consequences? Areas near the mines are covered in coal dust, which causes chronic health problems for the residents. Toxic sludge pollutes the water and land. Not to mention what it's doing to that stretch of the Appalachians. Then you have the problem of what the coal is being mined for...Coal-powered power plants spew tons of pollutants into our air everyday, but instead of weaning the industry from coal, more coal-powered plants are being built all the time. And it isn't just the immediate areas around the plants that are suffering. Polluted air travels well away from the area causing acid rain, which destroys forests, lakes, wildlife, you name it.

So what's the solution? Companies claim that if mining stopped tomorrow, the towns would lose half their population because people would leave for work. I can't argue with that; as I said, the rural South has little development to speak of. Build solar cell factories there, recycling plants, green businesses...you'd give the people sustainable green jobs and eliminate the problems of coal mining--health and otherwise.

Trust me on this: destroy the rural areas of this country, and the rest will follow.

Adventures of a New Vegetarian, Episode 2: I Can Has Chick'n Fingers?

I went to Publix this morning to pick up a few things and found a fabulous. First, Green Giant has these individual trays of broccoli and cheese, corn, and something else, which are perfect for us since we can't cook like we'd like to. I'd rather not use the plastic even though we recycle, but to have veggies when we want, I'll try to cut plastic somewhere else. Anyway, I decided to try Morningstar Farms vegetarian Chick'n Fingers. Pretty awesome! They actually tasted almost exactly like cheap frozen chicken fingers. Admittedly, given the choice, most people would choose organic chicken breast tenders over cheapo chicken fingers, but you eat whatcha got. If you are going to be vegetarian and like chicken, these are perfect. Sadly, I realized that Stouffer's cheddar potato bake, which I love, has bacon in it. It's weird. I've eaten it a hundred times and never paid any attention to the fact that there was bacon...

One last annoyance from our grocery adventures...everyone who knows me knows I love potatoes, and I seek out anything made with them. I especially love potato soup. Unfortunately, most canned potato soups tend to have bacon in them. (Apparently bacon is my new nemesis.). When I saw the Campbell's Select Harvest potato soup without bacon, I was happy...until I checked the ingredients. Chicken! Anna said it was probably chicken broth, but why in blue hell would you put chicken in potato soup? Seriously...

Stay tuned for more Adventures of a New Vegetarian...same veggie time, same veggie station...

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Christian Psychotics, Episode 2: Extending Their Sentences

If you follow me at all, you know that I am studying Quiverfull and that general brand of nutcase. In the course of gathering resources, I got myself on the email list for Vision Forum, a group formed by one of the most-high weirdos himself, Doug Phillips. Today, I received an email promoting a new branch of their homeschool products: CollegePlus! (The exclamation point is theirs.) as a low-cost option for further education in the homeschool community. On the surface, this may be a good thing. One testimonial claimed to have received her bachelor's before the age of 18 and paid only a total of $6000 for it. I'm here to tell you that that is a STEAL! $6000 wouldn't pay for a semester for me here--no joke. Thank you Goddess for student loans! Anyway, as I manuevered around the information on the site, it dawned on me what the creeping discomfort I was feeling was coming from...

One of the major reasons that Quiverfull families homeschool is to remove secular influence from their kids' lives as much as possible and keep them in the home as long as possible (generally until they get married)--especially the girls. Very rarely do you see anything in Quiverfull literature promoting college education for their girls, or even their boys for that matter. The Duggars actually talked about this briefly on an episode. Jim Bob and the girls said that they wanted to be midwives (for which there is apparently a Christian school) or missionaries. Neither of which requires a secular college education. Even among the Duggar boys there wasn't really one who wanted to do anything involving college. Now, I'm not saying that every single person should go to college. There are a lot of people who don't want to and have perfectly wonderful jobs. That is not the issue.

Quiverfull girls are sheltered beyond anything I have ever seen. They are considered not just a daughter but their father's daughter until the day they get married and then they become not just a wife but their husband's wife. Then, usually as quickly as possible, they become not just a mother, but their children's mother. Homeschooling is the norm, and most don't appear to go to any university--religious or otherwise. By giving these parents a college homeschool option, they may be allowing the girls to have a further education, but what sort of education? Most of the homeschool curriculums are character-based, rather than actual subjects, though those do get taught incidentally. I haven't gotten all the info yet, but the college courses seem to be similar--an escape from the "secular immorality" of regular college. So, even though they appear to be getting the higher education many believe is necessary, I am not sure it is what one would call comprehensive. And what exactly are they going to do with it? Unless they break away from their family's beliefs, which many do not, they will have a BA from CollegePlus!, but it amounts to an "MRS degree".

More on this when I get the special info packet...

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Making the Less-Convenient Choice

I just skimmed an article at the Huffington Post about the rising cost of obesity-related health care. The article itself, what I read of it, wasn't that bad, but I'm pissed. In all of these articles and news reports castigating overweight people, no one ever talks about two issues that are very much behind the problem: poverty and the culture of convenience we have here in the U.S. I've blogged a ton about poverty, but this whole convenience thing has been bothering me a lot lately.
Fast food and junk food are a huge part of people's diets here in the U.S. I should know; they've always been a part of mine. While much of the reason is it just tastes good, the bigger part is that it's easy. It's a hell of a lot easier to go through a drive-thru or pop a pizza in the microwave than to actually cook something healthy. Again, I should know. It actually takes thought to go to the store and choose organic, vegetarian, and otherwise healthy food. And most people here don't do that.

If it was made easier and more affordable to eat healthy, people would be healhier. Yes, exercise is important. Hell, we'd rather watch the biggest loser or dance your ass off than actually do the stuff they're doing on the shows. However, you can exercise all day, but if what you're eating is unhealthy, you're gonna be unhealthy.

(By the way, a fabulous side effect of eating organic and/or vegetarian and vegan is that you reduce your carbon footprint like crazy...)

What people need to start doing is making the harder choices. If you have the money, eat organic. Buy the organic free range chicken and cook your own chicken nuggets. Or even better, if you can, go vegetarian. The problem for the people who can afford it is learning to do what might be less convenient, but for a lot of people, it's making it affordable and available. I couldn't have gone organic in Thomasville, except for whatever veggies I got from my father-in-law, even if I'd had the money. Make vegetarian and organic as accessible as mcdonald's to the general population, you save health in the U.S. and the planet in the process...

A little scattered, but I'm just sayin...

Friday, July 31, 2009

Gone Veggie..Adventures of a New Vegetarian, Prologue

Yeah, so I finally decided that I could not ignore my conscience anymore, and I became a vegetarian. Unlike the last couple of times I've tried to go veggie, I haven't been craving the stuff I "can't" have. Yet...we'll see how it goes, but so far, I'm doing pretty good...I tried chocolate soy milk, which I can definitely add to my fridge, but I don't know about regular soy milk. For the things I'm not losing--eggs and dairy products--we're buying organic, which we've mostly been doing for a while. No matter what, at least I'm reducing my carbon footprint and, most importantly, animals are not dying for me to eat. I just hope I stick with it this time.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Rest in Peace E. Lynn Harris

We were in Harry Potter all morning (it's a long movie!), so I just found out about E. Lynn Harris' death a couple of hours ago. For those who don't know, Harris was a fabulous openly gay African-American author known for tackling difficult topics like homophobia, religion, bisexuality, and men on the down low in the Black community. He was hugely popular, and his books were often found in the African American section as opposed to just the LGBT section, which I always thought was awesome because it probably meant more people read his books than might have otherwise. It also meant that stores like Wal-Mart (yeah, I know, evil, but...)carried them, which made them available to people in small towns that may not have had access to a bookstore or a library that stocked them (like Thomasville, AL, where I got one of his late books). His eleventh book, Basketball Jones, was published earlier this year, and he was on tour promoting it when he had a heart attack. The last time a writer's passing affected me this much was Kurt Vonnegut...so, you may be asking, why would a non-Black girl from Alabama love E. Lynn Harris so much?

I will admit that I haven't kept up with his books over the last couple of years. They make my to-read list, but lack of time has made that list very long. His first novel, Invisible Life, was the first gay book I ever read. I was fourteen years old, crazy religious, and just realizing I was gay when I stumbled on Invisible Life in my little small town library. At the time, I was still convinced that I was going to hell because I liked girls. You cannot imagine how comforting it was to live in Harris' characters' lives for a while. They were gay and bisexual and struggling with what the world and their families would think. They were so real to me. It took a few more years after reading it before I finally accepted myself, but I always carried the memory of that book with me. To this day, I can still remember what the cover looked like and exactly where it was on the shelf. Almost every stamp on the library card was mine. What's crazy is I don't think I reread it that many times. Sometimes, I would check it out just to have it. I guess it was comforting in some way to have proof that I wasn't alone in my struggle.

I wish that I had written or emailed him to let him know how much I loved his books years ago. Well, thanks E. Lynn, wherever you are...

E. Lynn Harris.com

Thursday, July 16, 2009

because i obviously don't have enough distractions....

it has come to my attention that, contrary to my own beliefs, i am the biggest procrstinator in the Western Hemisphere...since my first semester back had me finishing everything early, i can only imagine that it has developed slowly over the last two years rather than simply being a dormant condition of which i was unaware. that being said, there are several websites that have been contributing much to the sad procrastination that is enveloping me...

So here they are, my favorite time-wasters:

1. Facebook...obvious time-waster...iphone app and online
2. Twitter...not alone here, I know...iphone app and online
3. 11 points...awesome site I just discovered that is exactly what it sounds like...top 11 lists...because "top ten lists are for cowards" lol
4. Texts from Last Night...again, an obvious site...posts of texts and text conversations...and lemme tell you, when you search by area code for your own, you can get awfully frightened by what you find
5. Overheard in New York...random things, wait for it, overheard in New York City
6. I Can Has Cheezburger...this is made much worse by the iphone app...lolcats, dogs, and ppl at my fingertips 24-hours-a-day?! hell yeah
7. Epicute...cute and interesting things with food...the lolcats of the culinary world...
8. Cute Overload...way too cute animals
9. FML...code for fuck my life...massive amounts of posting of people probably having a worse day than you...

3 oh 3 is a magic number...and i'll leav it at that

Ghost Adventures Season 2, Episode 7 Preview

I've started getting my email updates for each show, so here's the preview video for this week's lockdown: Moon River Brewing Company, Savannah, Georgia

Moon River Preview


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Sunday, July 12, 2009

Too Lazy to Be Green

So, most of you know that I try to be as green as I possibly can. I am certainly no Ed Begley, Jr., and there are a lot of things that I could probably do better. But I'm getting better as time goes on. Most of you also know that Anna and I live with my family while I am going to school. A few weeks ago, the landlord came out here and did some yard work and happened to move a recycling bin next to the back steps. I had no idea, but the bill for trash pickup includes recycling pickup as well! We can recycle cardboard, plastic, glass, aluminum and tin cans, magazines...basically pretty much anything. We've been living here for almost 2 years, and not once has my mother mentioned the recycling--except for coke cans, which they get money for. When I asked her about it, she said they were just too lazy to deal with it. OMFG Okay, the back steps are right outside the kitchen door--literally a door and about 5 steps from the kitchen trash can. It is absolutely ridiculous that people are too lazy to do these things. They are not difficult or expensive at all. Not everyone has the money to go out and buy a Prius or build an eco-friendly house (we certainly don't), but there is no effin reason you can't take a plastic bottle or tin can a couple more feet to a recyclin bin. NONE. It's already being paid for, so in fact, you are wasting money by not using the service...

just needed to let that out...

Ghost Adventures Season 2, Episode 6: Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Wow, look at me, a post on time lol...This was the best episode yet! Eastern State is a great location; I think you could get awesome evidence in broad daylight there. Considered one of the most haunted locations in the world, it started in 1829 as a hardcore solitary confinement prison, with each cell being completely blocked from the others, and prisoners were shrouded when being moved to keep them isolated even when out of their cells. (One interesting fact they noted here was that the Quakers apparently came up with the idea that extreme solitary confinement would help the inmates find forgiveness, repentance, and God.) Throughout its history, the guards used torture to keep the inmates in line, using such things as the tongue clamp (which they "clamped" on poor Aaron) and the "mad chair". Many, many men died at Eastern State, and in looking at the old death records, Zak noted multiple suicides and one listed as death by "masturbation". (what the...?)

The Smorgasbord of Evil

Anyway, while the location was awesome to see, what stood out was the evidence. In one of the cells in cellblock 12, you can VERY CLEARLY hear "...I knew God-God..." and "hungry" in what sounded to me like two separate voices. In the hallway near this area, you also hear "hi". Now, sometimes evp's are garbled and grainy and they could be saying any number of things. Not these. The words were clear and easily understood. Later, the guys split up and went to three separate areas: Zak to Al Capone's cell, Aaron to the infirmary, and Nick to a cell where an inmate had brutally murdered a guard. Aaron heard some footsteps, and there was a small bit of noise in Capone's cell. But Nick had an intelligent presence; twice, his name was spoken. Once was in answer to his asking "Who's locked up in this cell?" That was not a good thing, I don't think. Active negative spirits can take parts of you, whether you know it or not. I would personally do a cleansing after every lockdown, but that's just me....

Next week: Moon River Brewery, Savannah, Georgia

Ghost Adventures Season 2, Episode 5: The Birdcage Theater, Tombstone, Arizona

This is almost a week behind, but…Oh, and I can’t find the notes I scribbled during the show for this, so it may be a bit spotty and short. I apologize…

Despite my general lack of enthusiasm for all things western in genre, I have always loved the movie Tombstone, so I was kind of stoked to see what they would find here. The building they were investigating has a serious history of supernatural experiences, some captured by other ghost hunters and employees there. It served as a bar and brothel when it was open and now serves as a museum, complete with the Black Mariah (the old west hearse) on display. They caught several disembodied voices, and I think they were fairly disappointed not to have seen the naked woman ghost reported to them in the pre-lockdown walkthrough. :-) As usual, poor Aaron was sent off on a mission by himself. This time, they sent him up to the Black Mariah to investigate. I feel bad for him sometimes…but the faces he makes are simply priceless! (We love you Aaron!)

As I said, I can’t find the notes I scribbled, and I am writing this a full week after watching the episode. If I get a chance to watch it again, I’ll edit.

Next Week: Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Ghost Adventures Season 2, Episode 4: Magnolia Plantation, Natchitoches, Louisiana

Okay, I’m a couple of weeks behind, so bear with me while I catch up…

This episode was awesome, guys! It was fun seeing them in a Southern country setting. I love Zak, Nick, and Aaron, but they are definitely city boys lol. Case in point: Zak got buzzed by a carpenter bee and was heard to say “What is that? A helicopter?” Then when told what it was he asked if it would kill you. Priceless. :-D

Anyway, on the initial daytime walkthrough, the park rangers kept referring to the black x’s painted everywhere as “historical graffiti”. Well, anyone who knows anything about Voodoo knows that’s bullshit. Zak thought the same and looked it up to find their Voodoo significance. As with Castillo de San Marcos, I understand that the rangers are federal employees and are probably told to keep any Voodoo and/or ghost talk to a minimum, but I mean, come on. At least don’t treat people like they’re morons. A couple of anthropologists working on the site were interviewed, and one came up with quite a few items of interest. I particularly loved the Miraculous Medal that had been altered to represent Urzuli.

Prior to the lockdown, the guys participated in a Voodoo ritual to open the door to any spirits that may be trying to come through. Bloody Mary was cool, and the face that was photographed in the smoke was awesome! The ritual apparently worked because the spirits were definitely around. In the main house, which is still privately owned, there was the requisite knocking and voices, and an attic closet full of drying gourds freaked Zak right on out. But in his defense, he was in a very dark room with nothing but some night vision to see by. A room of gourds would be a bit strange in those conditions.

The second half of the lockdown took place on the park half of the grounds. Nick was sent off to the old slave hospital, while Zak and Aaron were locked in the cabin that used to belong to a slave healer woman named Aunt Agnes. While Zak and Aaron were waiting for the ranger to lock them in, lights in the next cabin began flashing on and off, seemingly in response to questions Zak was asking. I honestly think they should have gotten the ranger to lock them in that cabin instead, but being that it was government property, they may have only had permission to be in Aunt Agnes’ cabin. I don’t know. What I do know is that the evidence the two of them got in the cabin was pretty clear. After Zak mentioned that there is no slavery now (at least not official slavery on the scale of what the spirits would have experienced), they heard and recorded what sounded like a ritual or celebration. And a disembodied voice very clearly said Aaron’s name. One of the highlights: Zak saying to the spirits, “Do some Voodoo magic on us!”, Aaron: “Don’t taunt them.” Zak: “Am I taunting?” Aaron: “Dude! You’re taunting the hell out of it!” OR the “crawfish supernatural” (that tickled the hell outta me)

Next episode: The Birdcage Theater in Tombstone, Arizona

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Solving Rural Obesity, a Primer

I just read an article at the Huffington Post about obesity in the U.S. Apparently, Mississippi is still the "fattest", but Alabama is closing in quickly. The researchers in the article were like, "we should improve school lunches and sidewalks so the people can walk their neighborhoods instead of driving." What? Okay, the school lunch thing is spot on, because there are areas where that may be all or nearly all that a kid gets to eat that day. But sidewalks? That will work in large cities--Birmingham, etc., but most of Alabama and Mississippi are rural. Sidewalks are not going to help at all. Even if you have sidewalks running all over the place, things are too far apart to bother.

I'll tell you how to solve the obesity problem in the rural South: GIVE PEOPLE OPTIONS. I have always maintained that if you give someone on food stamps or even just a very low income healthy choices for prices they can afford, they will pick them over the unhealthy ones. For example, say you have exactly $20 for groceries, money or food stamps, to last you a week or two. Are you going to buy $1 pizzas and 8 for $1 ramen noodles that will last or a small amount of fresh produce that won't? No matter how much better for you the veggies are, the math simply doesn't work. If farmer's markets and healthy food were made available, accessible, and most of all affordable for the rural poor, they would take it. No one wants their kids to be obese and increase their risks for health problems, but in a choice between healthy and hungry or full but heavier, what do you think will be the choice?

Of course, economic development, sex education, higher literacy rates, and being paid a living wage would help more...but that's a whole 'nother blog.

Monday, June 22, 2009

space cadet: tales of the post-medicated

Sometime last week:

me: i need to renew my prescription for zoloft.
dr: i'd like to look into a few things. i'll call you in something.
me: ok, but i have an extremely low tolerance for anything that makes you drowsy.

Two days later:

dr: i called you in a mild sedative. (which turned out to be .25 xanax)

Today:

me: i will not be taking that again. i took one friday night, was out cold in 30 minutes, had weird dreams, AND basically had a hangover all day saturday.
dr: well, we can at least say we tried. you must have a low tolerance for that kind of drug.

*********************
my kingdom for a doctor who actually LISTENS!!! is that too much to ask? what about the statement "i have an extremely low tolerance for things that make you drowsy. so low in fact that i once slept, like, 8 hours after taking half a goody powder. " makes you think effin XANAX in ANY dosage is a good idea?!?!?! i tell the doctor that i am constantly tired and unable to concentrate and think clearly. somehow this translates in her mind to "she needs to be given meds that make even most people with normal tolerance levels a space cadet." if you can figure it out, let me know.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

home

Those close to me know that my grandmother, Mema, is the one who mostly raised me and is more of a mother than a grandmother. Given my entirely unstable childhood, her house became the one place in the universe that I could count on to always be there and always be the same. I was always safe and happy there. Some of my best memories are at that house on Country Drive. Hell, most of my oldest friends spent a ton of time there too and probably have memories there as well. Well, Mema isn't doing so well now. My uncle was doing a less than stellar job taking care of her and the state of Alabama took custody of her. She's in the hospital now because of a stroke and neglect basically. The alzheimer's that stalks the women on her side of the family is taking its toll, and she's going to have to be in a nursing facility. Mom's been made her guardian, at least for now, and Mema will probably be moved to a facility down here near us when it's possible in the next few months. In the meantime, Mom had to sell the house.

You know, it's been killing me that Mema has been steadily declining, but it didn't really hit me until I thought about the house being sold. My room will no longer be my room. Danny's room won't be his anymore. The flowers and the trees in the yard won't be hers anymore. There's thrift in that yard that came from Mema's grandmother's yard, for crying out loud. It's family history. And it was all I had of home for most of my life....

Friday, June 19, 2009

Ghost Adventures Season 2, Episode 3: La Purisma Mission, Lompoc, CA

This week's location was the La Purisma Mission in Lompoc, CA, which seemed to be relatively similar to the Mission San Luis here in Tallahassee--chapel, buildings, reenactors, etc. Eyewitnesses described some physical manifestations and other forms, and a California paranormal investigator, Richard Senate, related some very clear visual experiences. Novelist Tamara Thorne was also on hand to describe her experiences. Senate claims that the mission is likely one of the most haunted locations in the U.S.

Reminiscent of the prison shower in season 1, Aaron was sent into the old village area as bait, but they only got one questionable evp. They picked up another couple of evps in the infirmary as well. Better evidence came in the form of a thermal image near a battlefield and at least one fairly clear evp ("lay down") when nick was sitting on a bed known to be a center of activity after finding the bed covers messed up. My favorite was the weaving room. The guys measured an almost 30 degree temperature change and flute music.

While I was skeptical of Senate's weirdly specific description of the thermal image, the other evidence was pretty good. I'm excited to see next week's investigation of Magnolia Plantation in Louisiana.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Republicans Do Facebook Too...Unfortunately

Apparently South Carolina GOP activist and former head of state elections Rusty DePass decided to make a Facebook status on a zoo escapee. He said somethimg to the effect that people shouldn't worry about the escaped gorilla because it was just one of Michelle Obama's ancestors and was probably therefore harmless. WHAT?

It is 2009, people! Shouldn't we have begun to move past this race bullshit by now? I mean, I grew up in the Deep South and know that there are plenty of ill-bred people still flying their racism proudly, but stuff like this never ceases to amaze me and piss me off. The only positive thing I can say is at least he wasn't from Alabama...And just one question: does the use of monkey epithets by usually conservative Christian racists like DePass indicate a grudging acceptance of evolution, an intended jab at liberal belief in such, or just your run-of-the-mill "other races aren't human" stance? just a thought...

prescription abstractions

Lately I've been having a few relatively minor health issues--nothing major, but adding up to serious annoyance. And this has happened before, so I know how to fix it. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Anyway, I've been constantly tired, and even when I sleep 8 hours or more, I don't feel like I've slept. I'm having concentration and memory problems, headaches, increased problems with my arthritis and carpal tunnel, and I just generally feel bad. When this happened before (about 6 years ago), it all ended up being side effects of the rampaging OCD and the various other anxiety disorders I've managed to collect over the years. I went on Zoloft, and boom, problem mostly solved. Why mostly? Ah, dear reader, herein lies the blog.

Those close to me know I harbor a general distrust for the medical profession as a whole. As Emily recently noted, what they do is called "practice" after all. I've had a few doctors I would now classify as quacks, and I've done a bit of research into various aspects that has left me skeptical at the least and pissed off. The reading I've done on anti-depressants scares the holy bejeezus outta me, as well. The side effects, after-effects, etc. are icky, frightening, and sometimes bizarre. So, there's that to contend with.

The other thing is a bit more abstract. I've had OCD since I can remember. Some of my earliest memories are colored with my attempts at list-making and hyper-perfection. (I had the cleanest play kitchen on the block. :) ) So, I honestly consider the OCD to be at least a minor part of who I am. "Hi! I'm Dawn--lesbian, Pagan, feminist geek with OCD from low-income Alabama." That's me in a (slightly dysfunctional) nutshell. If I take meds to control it, what does that change? To put it another way, am I the hyper, bouncy, 0 to 60 in 2.5 seconds girl that comes with Zoloft? Or am I the slightly morose schizo with no chemical alterations (other than an odd addiction to Arizona diet green tea)? How much of who I am is tied up in the disorders, and how much will fade away with the meds? I want to be able to sleep, concentrate, and function, but as me--the Dawn my wife and friends love, not Dawn the Zoloft Zombie.

And you thought the hardest part of OCD was getting the vaccuum tracks even....

Friday, June 12, 2009

Ghost Adventures Season 2, Episode 2: Castillo de San Marcos

In the second episode of the season, zac, nick, and aaron travel to st. augustine, florida to check out the castillo de san marcos. according to several eye witnesses, they've had tons of activity including the diembodied head of osceola and soldiers still walking the walls above the cannons. it was interesting that everyone they spoke to described paranormal experiences, EXCEPT the park rangers. of course, the government wouldn't let an official employee avow any knowledge of ghosts...no surprise there.

anyway, the guys had several disembodied voices, and aaron heard footsteps running up behind him after which he RAN back to zac and nick completely whacked out by the experience. one of the clearer sounds was a sort of growl when zac was talking to the spirits in a dungeon cell.

tlhey had an experimental piece of equipment which they believe can be used by spirits to communicate actual words. the results they got with it were relevant and fairly cool. 'upstairs' was one of the responses, and so of course they went out onto the upper wall. on the left hand side of the video frame, you can see a couple of small flashes followed by a constant light moving out of the frame. it looks like a lantern being lit with a flint. you can even see the small back flashes which would be consistent with flint. there are also flashes in the alcoves on the wall where cannons were.

the evidence was pretty good this time, though i wish there had been more visuals. you can't regulate that though. i loved the new toy and am excited to see how it works out through the rest of the season.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Biblical Sex and the Fools Who Promote It, Episode 1

I am obsessed with Religion Dispatches, a fabulous site with tons and tons of articles about pop culture items, books, movements, etc. that are religiously inclined (or atheist as the case may be). Today I was reading an interview with Dagmar Herzog, author of Sex in Crisis: The New Sexual Revolution and the Future of American Politics. The image they placed alongside the article featured a sparkly bra and panties set from the Christian covenant marriage site Marriage Vineyard. Of course, seeing as I am studying this particular sort of Christian psychotic, I went surfing over to check them out. In the process of checking out the sexy wares they are peddling,I came across a free pdf of a book What the Bible Says About Sex. Of course, I downloaded it. One chapter in particular has given me serious pause: "Sex Before Marriage, Prostitution, and STD's".

At the beginning of this chapter, they list the 6 items specifically forbidden in the Bible/Old Testament; number 6 is "rape of an engaged or married woman (Deuteronomy 22:23-24)". My first thought was "what are the implications of that statement for single women? Can they just be raped willy nilly?" A few sentences into the first paragraph, I got my answer:

Seduction of an unengaged virgin is addressed in Exodus 22:16,17 - the penalty is to pay the full bride price and generally marry the girl. Rape of an unengaged virgin requires marriage to take place and the full bride price to be paid. (Deuteronomy 22:28,29) and he may not divorce her ever. The man gets stuck with a hurt, angry woman for life. Thus the penalty for sex before marriage- is marriage.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME? So, let me get this straight...if you rape an engaged or married woman is specifically dealth with as being forbidden. BUT if you rape an unengaged virgin, HIS punishment is to marry her. I have heard of women condemned to marry their rapists, but never from an American Christian source. The kicker is the fact that "the man gets stuck with a hurt, angry woman for life." Okay, what about the victim? They obviously aren't considering this a punishment for her, and do you want to know why? She is a non-person until married. Not an exaggeration, people. All of the literature I'm reading talks about women as pre-married and a furture bride. The woman is never a person until tethered to a man in marriage. She is her father's daughter, a burden to unload at a reasonable age onto some willing schmo, who may have been her rapist apparently...

yeah, gay people are bringing marriage way down with our committed voluntary relationships and crazy ideas about wanting to raise kids...more on this as the research unfolds

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

You can't catch poor, and an adult looks back at harriet the spy

For my Global Women's Issues class, we are reading Global Woman: Nannies, Maids, and Sex Workers in the New Economy edited by the fabulous Barbara Ehrenreich and Arlie Russell Hochschild. Ehrenreich's article mostly discussed the franchise maid industry (Merry Maids, The Maids--for which Anna worked for a while, etc.), and there's a lot about live-in nannies, mostly immigrant women. These articles caused so many things to run through my mind, but two appeared in particular.

Maids and cleaning services are apparently on the rise like crazy. The square-footage of people's houses is huge, almost normally at a point at which they can't handle the care themselves. Enter The Maids (or whoever). Sorry ass wages that do not count driving time and ending clean-up time and basic anonymity to the clients who pay a ton per hour, ostensibly assuming that the workers get this money. Wrong. Cleaning is considered one of the lowest occupations on the ladder, though it is necessary. People assume you are uneducated and somehow dirty and unworthy of any respect if you work in these jobs. Having briefly worked as a housekeeper in a hotel, I know all about this. You mention you cleaned hotel rooms (or anything) and a look of pity and/or horror creeps into the other person's face. It's like they think they can catch poor...

The second thought was about Harriet the Spy. This has been one of my very favorite books since I was like 10. The Nickelodeon movie was good, but anyway...what made me think of it is Golly, Harriet's nanny. As a kid, you just think "wow, Golly is super cool" (even if she isn't supposed to look like Rosie O'Donnell, who plays her in the flick), and her mom kinda sucks. Thinking back, you see the ridiculous way she was fired. (She had been with the family since Harriet was born, and they fired her based on one incident, which was way overblown in the first place.) Then you see her visiting her mother, who was apparently mentally incapacitated in some way (cut out of the movie completely), and Golly only got to see her once in a while because of her hours with the Welsch's. It seems almost idyllic to a kid. Parents kinda distant to the point that they leave you alone and an awesome nanny to give cool advice and such. As an adult, you see how Golly was exploited and the issues surrounding live-in nannies, even if Golly was white...

just some thoughts....

We already know the back of the bus sucks...

Recently I was castigated for saying that the LGBT community is treated as a group of second class citizens. Teh offended party (an extremely white man, btw) claimed that I was ridiculous for comparing gay people's problems with those of African Americans, which I never actually did. I find the aforementioned person unworthy of anymore personal replies, but I wanted to address this clearly if in a slightly disjointed way.

First, I recognize that African Americans (and all minorities actually) have suffered and still suffer many, many indignities to say the least. It is a long, painful, and complicated path to civil rights. I do not deny this. I applaud all the women and men who have worked so hard to ensure that their respective groups have the freedoms they deserve and desire.

Second, I will never retract or apologize for my use of the term "2nd class citizens". It is completely appropriate. The LGBT community faces evidence of this daily; trust me, I know.

A 2nd class citizen is someone who holds citizenship in a country but is denied rights considered basic based solely on membership in a group one does not choose to be a member of. (I know, I know...Most of our opponents maintain that gay is a choice. Well, whether you believe it or not, gay is genetic. I never chose who I was attracted to...I just was.) I am well aware that we can vote, etc., but what straight person do you know who doesn't consider love, marriage, and family a right? None that I know of.

The opposition's major claim is that civil unions are the same thing as marriage and that "marriage" is a religious institution. If this is true, explain why you need a license from the government for a marriage to be official. If "marriage" is only religious, the government would not be involved. As for the civil union thing, if they're the same thing, why don't straight people get them? Because they know they aren't the same. We are being handed the idea of a partnership that is separate and supposedly equal. Doesn't that sound familiar to anyone? We don't want separate but equal, we want motherfucking equal!!! End of discussion.

Sometimes I think it would have been easier to be an orphan...

Those of you who know me, know that my family has been going through some weird shit with my grandmother. Basically, my uncle is useless and horrible and unfortunately the only relative close enough to care for Mema. Well, my mom got a call from children and family services in Talladega County saying that Mema is in their custody in a nice safe nursing home and there are pending charges of neglect and abuse against my idiot uncle. I am so pissed off right now! My mom has been trying to get someone up that way to help for at least a year now. In that time, my uncle has done Goddess only knows what that could have been prevented by someone simply stepping in where they are SUPPOSED to do so.

Anyway, there's a court hearing on the 19th, which my mom is going to attend. The judge will decide whether mom or my uncle Vance can be awarded custody or if she needs to be put in state custody, which would mean a nursing home, but at least she wouldn't be with William. I don't know what to hope for honestly. She doesn't have complete dementia, but the Alzheimer's is pretty bad. I know that mom would be able to take care of her; for crying out loud, she worked at nursing homes for years and years when she was a nurse. Goddess knows I would love to be able to see her more often, but she isn't the same Mema anymore. Part of me thinks that it might be better for her to be with Vance and Janice or even in a nice nursing home. That's partially incredibly selfish, I know...I also know that being around that loud ass house couldn't possibly be good for her either. It's like living in the monkey house at the damn zoo. Hell, I'm mostly sane, and my anxiety levels are through the roof in that place. I don't know. I hate this. No one should have to grow old and worry about these things, you know?

Monday, June 8, 2009

Roy Moore rises again, or why is it always Alabama?

For those who do not know, I am originally from Alabama. Despite its many problems, I love my home state. It has some of the most beautiful land ever, not to mention most of our family and friends. But there are times when I am almost ashamed to even acknowledge my place of birth...one of those is when Roy Moore appears in the news. Roy Moore, also known as the 10 commandments judge, is best known for placing (and fighting to keep up) the ten commandments in his courtroom in Gadsden and a mammoth stone version of the same in the AL Supreme Court rotunda. (He was eventually forced to remove them both, thank goodness.) He failed once to get the Republican nomination for governor, but he's at it again. (I do have to give some credit, though: even the Republicans realize that the man is a psycho. For Jeebus' sake, James Dobson supports the guy...) The next election is 2010, at which time I will hopefully have been accepted to UA and will be eligible to vote against him IF he manages to get the nomination this time. Who knows, they may try it simply in a conservative backlash against the present presidential administration. I only hope that they have the good sense to deny him a second time. I will be forced to transfer grad schools if he gets elected.

Any state in which he basically has supreme power is not a state safe for anyone in the LGBT community. For example, he once removed a child from the home of her biological mother and her partner to give her to the father that had been accused of molesting her. The whole lesbian thing was apparently a much worse environment than daddy having his way with her on the dl. I don't know of any concrete examples of his stance on women and women's rights, but I can't imagine that they would be very promising given his supporters and very vocal EXTREME right leanings. So, women beware as well....

I will be following this as closely as possible. Stay tuned for more dispatches from the Alabamian in exile...

Here's an article at Religion Dispatches: "By the Way, "Ten Commandments Judge" to Be Alabama's Next Gov?"

Friday, June 5, 2009

ghost adventures season 2, episode 1: preston castle

Season 2 of the fabulous travel channel show Ghost Adventures premiered tonight. Zac, Nick, and Aaron explored Preston Castle, a former juvenile detention center, near Ione, California. While I've never seen a bad GA episode, this one was exceptionally good (and exceptionally weird).

Other paranormal investigators reported crazy numbers of evp's and disembodied voices, and the guys weren't disappointed. One of the first incidents was a disembodied female voice before they'd even really started. But the clearest one came much later.

They all went into the basement, which is where the head housekeeper, Anna, was brutally murdered back in 1950. Aaron was scratched--3 big long scrapes down the back of his calf, one of which you practically watch form. Zac then begins acting truly bizarre, the apparent result of at least a partial possession, and sends Nick into the basement alone. His digital recorder picks up a VERY clear "...never again..." Zac's possession and some truly classic Aaron facial expressions made this episode awesome...

Okay, we've been waiting for the new season forever! I love these guys. Unlike Ghost Hunters, the sci-fi channel's pitiful excuse for competition, I've never watched this show and thought "oh wow was that fake". I can't wait to see the restof the season!

Monday, June 1, 2009

jeebus i'm old

Yeah, so they university for some reason plays 80's music in the union food court and 90's music in the union courtyard. The other day, "Tootsee Roll" was playing, and I of course remember the words. So I was just bopping along with the music waiting on Meghan. This guy walks by talking to his friend and says, "Dude, do you remember this song? From the second grade!" Wow! I am that old. Since then I have been running this "When I was your age thing" in my head to amuse my enfeebled brain. And I will share because that's what blogging is all about--getting things out of your head that would otherwise gum up the works and make you crazy. :)

When I was your age/When I was little,

1. ...cell phones were big enough to be used as a weapon.
2. ...if we wanted to "jack" a song, we held a tape deck up to the radio.
3. ...Pluto was still a planet.
4. ...NKOTB were actually new and kids.
5. ..."Deborah" Gibson was known as Debbie and was not an actor.

I'm sure I'll think of more...and feel free to add some yourself fellow old people lol


Monday, May 25, 2009

book life 8: the beginning of a plan...

I am straight-up jacking this idea from editorial ass ( Project Fill-in-the-Gaps)...there are so many books that I want to read, and if I don't set myself on some sort of schedule, I never will. the list is forthcoming...translation: I haven't started it yet. I will though. Swear.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

We poor people are pissed off for a reason...and here it is

Courtesy of my more-well-read-in-news-than-I friend Meghan, there's this article on poverty in America:

The High Cost of Poverty: Why the Poor Pay More

I definitely agree with Meg's facebook posting note: "
read this. and then reread it and reread it and reread it and forward it to anyone you know who does not understand what it means to be poor." There are soooo many people running around just fsu that have no clue whatsoever what the true meaning of poor is. They think that poor means being unable to go shopping every weekend. I would not wish poverty on anyone, but they should at least have to really learn what it means to be truly poor. And this is not a phenomenon limited to spoiled college kids. Unfortunately, most adults have no real idea either. Until everyone understands this, there is no hope for any substantial and lasting help for people living in poverty or near poverty. And Goddess knows it is needed.

For those of us who are or ever were in the category "poor" or "near poor", this article is nothing new. What is so sad to me is that all of this needed explaining at all. I know that many people never grew up wondering if the lights were going to be cut off or if the rent had been late enough times that you'd be moving again soon, but one misguidedly hoped that as people got older, they saw the true face of the bulk of the U.S. Apparently not. My only serious critique of the article is that it, like almost everything in this subject, is focused on the urban poor, who in some cases actually have much better options than the rural poor ever hoped to have. Rural poverty is overlooked all the time, and as someone who calls a rural area well below the poverty line home, this disturbs me. Look into it people...you might be surprised.


where we can all buy furniture


Just as an interesting diversion, you really must go watch this:

At the reeeed house

It's a commercial for a furniture store in High Point, North Carolina, and the theme song is literally "At the Red House...Where black people and white people buy furniture." This thing is hilarious! And what's the funniest thing is that it's a REAL commercial. It almost makes me wish I lived in North Carolina so I could go to this store. There are apparently t-shirts available somewhere, ostensibly for black people and white people lol...You know, I think this is exactly what Martin Luther King Jr. was talking about in "I Have a Dream".

ocd and me, or jerkface does the museum


So, Emily and Brandy decided to come down to Tallahassee and get us rather than us driving home in a rental. A fabulous lesbian mafia jamboree reunion was had by all, and we decided to go to the Tallahassee Junior Museum Wednesday morning. Anna and I have been there twice and love it. The animals are awesome, and the scenery is beautiful. Well, near the beginning of the trail, it splits off two ways, which are actually just the two ends of a big loop that takes you around to all the animals. In my universe, the one ruled by the evil king ocd, you must always travel a circle from left to right, or clockwise. (After all, they wouldn’t have named it counterclockwise if it weren’t counter to how you are supposed to do things, now would they?) As Anna and I always do, we missed the trail turn and ended up back at the beginning, so the four of us had to schlep back to the loop. Brandy went to the right past the incredibly adorable otters, and everyone followed suit--except jerkface the magnificent psycho (that’s me, by the way). I could not bring myself to step onto the boardwalk headed that way. I literally felt a panic attack welling up and started crying at the thought of having to go that way. So, because everyone had already trekked that way, I walked the path clockwise by myself. Anna offered to go that way with me, but wasn’t it already bad enough that I was so crazy as to not be able to walk with Em and Brandy? I wasn’t gonna create more mess, so I went alone. It isn’t a long walk, but that isn’t the point. I couldn’t make myself walk the freakin’ boardwalk from right to left. Something that simple and ridiculous.

The problem is that the only solution I can come up with is medication, and I don’t really want to do that. The last time I took Zoloft I felt twice as crazy as when I didn’t. I did get a lot of cleaning done though…Not to mention the side effects that I have heard horror stories about, especially if you get off the meds. Behavior modification therapy and therapy in general are not exactly the direction in which I feel I want to go. So what the hell am I supposed to do? There isn’t really a lesser of the two evils, honestly. I either deal with chemicals everyday, which aggravates and worries the crap outta me. This is not totally related to my ocd chemical thing…more of a distrust of the entire medical profession and pharmaceutical industry in general. I mean, I’m not going all Tom Cruise-Christian Science or anything. I still take ibuprofen and vitamins and stuff, but the idea of taking a mood-altering substance every single day for what would probably be the rest of my natural life is unsettling to say the least. There is also the problem of not really feeling like myself while on the meds. Now, it could be that I am just so used to feeling crazy that normality in my brain was bizarre and that’s what caused it, but I dunno. Yesterday was a pretty bad ocd day, and they seem to be getting closer together. All I do know is that I’m not sure how much longer I can deal with this.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Multicultural Musings

This summer in addition to the aggravating Spanish class, I am also taking Global Women's Issues with one of my favorite professors. In reading the first couple of chapters for this week's class, I came across a discussion that is stuck in my head--multiculturalism. I have no problem with the base theory. I do think that other cultures need to be viewed in their own context without the imperialist biases of our own society. But I must agree with Ayaan Hirsi Ali's critique of multiculturalism at least in part. Accepting it completely allows turning a blind eye to certain practices simply because they're traditional or cultural.

I started thinking of this because of the recent development in Sweden (see earlier post: "yo, Sweden, wtf?!"), which Anna and I have been sort of debating over the last few days. Quite rightly, she says that by denying sex-selective abortions, you open the door to denial of all abortions. This is very true. However, I don't think that a liberal, pro-choice society has to accept them as valid just because we are a liberal, pro-choice society. Human rights are never negotiable. This is the line we have been repeating to the rest of the world for years, and it is unconscionable that we would ignore this in our own societies at the same time we are promoting it in others. Just a thought...

Book Life 7: Beam Me Up, Chocolate, Armageddon, and OCD in Paris

I won’t say a lot about these books--just random observations mostly--but they were all fabulous.

Mr. Monk is Miserable by Lee Goldberg

It should come as no surprise that I love Monk--both the show and the books. The producers do a better-than-average job portraying his ocd and how it can affect his life. There have been bad guys that got away (at least initially) because of various obsessive compulsive intrusions, for example. I would recommend these books to anyone who loves monk or mysteries--awesome on both counts. This one has Monk and Natalie in Paris and has some awesome tangents into the city's sights and subcultures.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Resistance by J.M. Dillard

Trekkie alert (and no I do not think that Trekker is a better name, nor do I think Trekkie is derogatory): ) I love all Star Trek books, fiction or not. I have a greater affinity for TNG-based (The Next Generation, for those out of the loop) plots, but all are welcome on my shelves. I also have a thing for Borg plotlines, which this one happened to have. All the Trekkies/Trekkers know that Capt. Picard was briefly assimilated at some point, and this book uses that extensively. Great read, but then aren’t they all?

Star Trek Destiny: Book I, Gods of Night by David Mack

For those who don’t like books that jump back and forth from plot to plot, this isn’t for you. Not only does this one jump from plot to plot (though they are ultimately all linked), it jumps back and forth hundreds of years in time. I happen to have no problem with these plot devices and loved this book. The Federation is in the midst of a Borg War (in Picard’s time), and an interesting parallel story develops through the past into Picard and Riker’s time. There is also an upsetting development with Riker and Troi (who are now on the Titan). My main HUGE problem with this book is that it’s part of a trilogy, and I couldn’t afford to buy all three when I bought this one. It ends pretty bluntly, so if you pick this book up, buy the other 2 at the same time if you can. Otherwise, you are gonna be pissed on that last page. (Book 2-Mere Mortals, Book 3-Lost Souls).

I’m Perfect, You’re Doomed: Tales from a Jehovah’s Witness Upbringing by Kyria Abrahams

Given that I am spending half of my time in college studying it, it isn’t a shocker that I’m interested in religion. I’ll read memoirs all day long, especially if they’re no longer part of the religion. But I was particularly interested in this one because my wife’s family is Jehovah’s Witness. I have been to a Kingdom Hall, people, and I tell you now that it is effin WEIRD. Anna verified many of the stranger tidbits in the book, and I still have trouble believing some of it. It is all very true, however unfortunate that may be. A great aside in the narrative was Kyria’s ocd. I really wish she would have gone further into it and maybe explored the link between her religion and the ocd, but still, interesting.

Candyfreak: A Journey Through the Chocolate Underbelly of America by Steve Almond

Unlike most of the food books I read, this one didn't make me afraid to eat things. Almond is a self-professed candyfreak who travels the country in search of the history of some of his and America's favorite candies. I have never heard of a lot of them, as candy is stilll a much more regional thing than I thought. He also discusses how the big conglomerate candy companies are running the mom-and-pop operations out of business or at least absorbing them. Fabulous read, especially if you are as obsessed with food and food history as I am.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

yo, sweden, WTF!?

I have taken to reading the Huffington Post through their fabulous app on the iphone. Today, I stumbled across this: "Sweden legalizes gender-based abortion". It's actually from babble.com, and as it is not very long, here it is:

Don’t like Your Baby’s Gender? Sweden Rules 'Gender-Based' Abortion Legal
Posted by Cole Gamble
Now, according to a Swedish medical ruling, if a mother or couple discover the gender of their baby and decide “that’s not what we were hoping for” they can get an abortion on that basis.
Here’s how it broke down. A Swedish mother of two girls requested two abortions in a row after learning the gender of her fetus. It became apparent to doctors her decision to abort was based on the discovery of gender, which obviously was not the one she was aiming for. Doctors at Mälaren Hospital expressed concern and asked Sweden’s National Board of Health and Welfare to draw up guidelines on how to handle requests in the future in which they "feel pressured to examine the fetus’s gender" without having a medically compelling reason to do so.
The board found such requests cannot be refused, and neither can abortions, thus medical staff cannot refuse to perform an abortion based on gender.
Now the idea of isolating a “gay” gene in fetuses and therefore “eliminating” it has been bandied about by rather tacky political pundits. But before we get to that moral maelstrom, pick-and-choose baby gender is already here. Sure, the day when doctors can fudge your baby’s DNA to increase the probability of a boy or girl is possibly coming sooner than later, but for now, if you don’t like what you got, scrap it and start again.
Does this already happen discreetly in America? I can’t imagine anyone would ever openly admit to their doctor or otherwise that they want to abort the baby because “I really had my heart set on a girl” but that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. Do you think this is more common that people are admitting?


Okay, so women's studies majors and feminists worldwide have been arguing for YEARS against this very practice in India, China, and other "non-Western" nations who are supposedly not as "enlightened" as we are. Now, Sweden has gone and fucked the curve. No self-respecting "western" feminist can talk to gender-based abortionists from any sort of high ground any longer. One of our own has gone to the dark side.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am pro-choice to the hilt. Whether you wish to terminate your pregnancy because it is a health risk, the result of a rape, or simply because you know full well you can't raise a child right now, I will walk you through the clinic doors. But there is a limit to everything, and this is it. I understand that this legalization would make it just as easy for someone to abort a boy as a girl, but...What started this was a woman who had two abortions because she didn't want another GIRL. I am all for the rights of the woman first, but where does common sense begin? As a pro-choice feminist, it's hard to talk about something that would in all technicality limit abortion rights, but if this is wrong for women in India or China or wherever, it is wrong for women in Sweden. The argument is that they do it because of how their societies devalue women, but just what do you think is the reasoning of a woman in Sweden? The "West" may have slightly better views of women, but that does not equal truly valuing them. And this just proves it.

Friday, May 15, 2009

duct tape those puppies down: a response to the modesty survey travesty

So, my dear friend Meghan sent me this link : the rebelution modesty survey a while ago, and I finally got around to digging through it. Basically, it was a survey given to Christians about what constitutes modesty and what constitutes a "stumbling block" (an obstacle to one's faith). They called it "an exciting, anonymous discussion between Christian guys and girls who care about modesty". I call it a hot mess. Let me first say that I do not think this survey is a crock because it promotes not dressing like a skank. I myself do not care for the skank phenomenon among young women just on personal taste. This could be due to the fact that I was raised by an older woman from the hills of Alabama. I don't know, but I digress. My issues with the survey stem from something much different...

Exhibit 1, a 24-year-old's response to the open question, "If you could say one thing to your sisters in Christ about modesty, what would it be?": "Sisters in Christ, you really have no concept of the struggles that guys face on a daily basis. Please, please, please take a higher standard in the ways you dress. True, we men are responsible for our thoughts and actions before the Lord, but it is such a blessing when we know that we can spend time with our sisters in Christ, enjoying their fellowship without having to constantly be on guard against ungodly thoughts brought about by the inappropriate ways they sometimes dress. In 1 Corinthians 12 the apostle Paul presents believers as the members of one body - we have to work together. Every Christian has a special role to play in the body of Christ. That goal is to bring glory to the Savior through an obedient, unified body of believers - please don't hurt that unity by dressing in ways that may tempt your brothers in Christ to stumble."

Honestly, I don't think a detailed response is necessary for anyone with any good sense, but here goes: WTF! So, even though the guys are ultimately responsible for their thoughts and actions before God, it is STILL the woman's responsibility to make sure he doesn't find her attractive in the least. Some may say to this first example, "well, dressing skankish is a bit wrong for a good Christian girl"...okay...

Exhibit 2, "It is a stumbling block when a girl reaches into her shirt to adjust a bra strap." You try wearing one of these things all day and see if you don't need to adjust. We're not talking about reaching down the front of your shirt to adjust the girls in their respective cups...just reaching into the shoulder of a shirt to adjust the strap is a problem.

Exhibit 3, "Showing bra straps, even unintentionally, is a stumbling block." I will admit that I don't like seeing bra straps, not because I think it's "immodest", but just because I don't like it. But they aren't talking the intentional use of a regular bra under a racer back tank top. They include the accidental showing of a strap. Things like this actually have very little to do with being "sexy" or anything of the sort. This is a ridiculous regulation designed to keep women constantly worried that they are being a "stumbling block" to someone. You can't worry your pretty little head about individual freedom if you're freaking out about bra straps.

Exhibit 4, "Seeing a girl's chest bounce when she is walking or running is a stumbling block." I don't know if these people understand the female physique very well, but the girls move when you freakin breathe! Let alone when you walk. If your chest is large, there is not a lot you can do to hold it down all the time. There are bras that help a lot, but short of duct tape a la christina ricci in now and then, they are not going to stay put one hundred percent of the time. Why don't they just suggest double mastectomies at baptism and get it over with.

And finally, a few of the ones that made my jaw drop with consternation:
*"It is a stumbling block to see a girl lying down, even if she's just hanging out on the floor or on the couch with he friends." I wonder if it's a stumbling block if they're in a hospital bed?
*"Nude colored nylons are a stumbling block." But it is also a stumbling block to wear skirts that show the calves, so ankles are apparently uber-sexy...can't even look at them through panythose...
*"Skirts made out of many layers of semi-transparent material
to form an opaque skirt are a stumbling block, regardless of length." but...it's opaque...what the hell, man...is it the dance of the seven veils thing or what...
*"Jeans are generally immmodest even of they aren't tight." I dare them to tell me that huge baggy jeans are immodest...prove it, seriously.

I will leave the rest for you to discover, but I think you get the idea...None of this is really about women's faith. It's about men not wanting to be held repsonsible for their own thoughts and actions. This is unfortunately not found only in the Christian community. Any time a woman is raped, her clothing, location, and purpose in being in that location are autmatically called into question...it would not surprise me in the least to find that a majority of men who think along the lines of this survey argue that it is a woman's fault if she is raped. After all, she may have been wearing jeans...

Thursday, May 14, 2009

wtf phizer

okay so phizer is going to provide about 70 of its prescription drugs for free to people who have lost their jobs and insurance. this is a great idea. what pisses me off is that viagra is one of them...would they be providing birth control? i think not...wtf

Saturday, May 9, 2009

bloggity blog on the go

i just got a blog app for the iphone, so we'll see if that means i blog more often or not...

Friday, May 8, 2009

damn the man

okay, can we talk about elitist corporate waste for just a minute...on magnolia and park avenue there was this little house that anna was obsessed with...and honestly, it was a perfectly nice little house...it didn't appear to have anything seriously wrong with it, but it was apparently abandoned...so someone bought the property and TORE THE HOUSE DOWN...they're building something as yet unannounced, but the point of the matter is that it was a perfectly serviceable house. there was no functional reason to tear it down except that it didn't fit the layout of whatever useless redundant corporate crap they wanna put there...it just irks me no end to see something that so many people need destroyed for no good reason...*sigh* i hate waste

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Are you kidding me?

Late at night on the local channels, there are commercials for local phone dating lines and sites. While Quest and OnlineBootyCall.com are icky enough as it is, there is a new low in strange and fucked up dating services--enter AshleyMadison.com. The commercial opens with a women sitting in a restaurant with a man. The voiceover asks if you have ever been on a terrible blind date and then says "what if it lasted forever?". The man mimes her getting fat from dessert and gets up to go, saying "happy anniversary". The woman begins making eyes at a guy at the bar and the logo comes up, "AshleyMadison.com, when divorce is not an option".

Okay, let me lay this out for you...there is a website devoted entirely to setting up married women with affairs, apparently this is okay enough that there's nightly commercials. AND ANNA AND I CAN'T GET MARRIED. Someone please explain this to me. The right-wing morons claim that allowing gay people to marry will destroy the sanctity of marriage. And what exactly does this Ashley Madison thing do? Exalt it? I will spare you the ten page ranting and cussing about the complete idiocy of this situation...it would be redundant. They do it for me.

Hoarding Intervention, Part 3: Semi-Panicked at the Lake

So, we finally did the major room purge. Truthfully, we did not get to the corner between the bookshelf and the dresser or what I call the pantry shelf, but it was more an issue of time than anything else. We started around 11 am, and I dropped off the donated stuff at about 7. That closet was waaay more packed than I assumed. Anyway, I did okay. I spent most of the day fighting off panic attacks, but I think I did pretty good. The pen hoard was emptied, as was the office supply stash, and the purse and wallet bins. I unfortunately succumbed to the rising panic late in the day and snapped at Anna, but all in all, it wasn't nearly as terrible as I thought it would be.

I have yet to decide if the relative ease of this purge was due to some letting up of the hoarding part of the ocd or if my brain is simply too fractured at the moment to really panic about it. The office supplies are still in the house, as I intend to give them to one of the local elementary schools, but I haven't once tried to look in the bags to "just make sure" I haven't gotten rid of anything "important". The books are also still here, but that's mainly because I haven't remembered to box them up and we haven't been to the used stores lately. But I also haven't been digging through those. In fact, I haven't even thought about it, and it isn't like they're hidden away somewhere. I would like to think that this is a sign of the ocd getting better, but we'll see.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Book Life 6: "I didn't imagine that loneliness had a scent."

fledgling by Octavia E. Butler

Surprisingly, a lot of people I’ve spoken to have never read Octavia Butler. She was one of the most wonderful sci-fi/speculative fiction writers EVER. I have read both the Patternist and Xenogenesis series, though I haven’t gotten to a couple of the stand-alones yet. Xenogenesis is more traditionally sci-fi in that you’ve got aliens, etc. The Patternist series, whose events begin in Wild Seed, though that was the next-to-last book in the series to be written, is less traditional but one of the most amazing series I’ve ever read. This book, Fledgling, was her last novel.

First, let me say that it’s about vampires, but not any vampires you have seen. These are not Anne Rice’s urban beauties or Stephanie Meyer’s ridiculous creatures, but something new and fabulous. They do remind me a bit of the creatures in the Mayfair witch novels, though. If you’ve ever read Butler, you know that a short overview is not possible. Suffice it to say that it is a complex and complicated tale, and if she hadn’t passed on in 2006, I’m sure this would have been the beginning of a new series. Her stories are never just about vampires or aliens or whatever. It’s always about race and family and free will and sexual politics in strange and wonderful ways, though she isn’t so heavy-handed as to make it unreadable to those who simply want a good story. If you love sci-fi or speculative fiction of any kind, do yourself a favor and pick up one of her novels or stories. Oh, and if you’re already a fan, there are two uncollected short stories online that I just discovered. The links are at the bottom of the page at
www.sfwa.org/members/Butler/Bibliography.html (“Amnesty” and “The Book of Martha”).

Book Life 5: Beautiful from Beyond the Grave

Armageddon in Retrospect by Kurt Vonnegut

I never knew the man personally, but I miss Kurt Vonnegut terribly. When he passed on, a small void opened in the world that I don’t think will ever be filled. I have never read a word he wrote that I did not absolutely love. This book is no exception. Armageddon is a collection of previously unpublished bits and a few of his sketches. As anyone who has read Vonnegut knows, there is much of World War II in his ramblings. It left an indelible mark on Kurt and is visible in everything he wrote. His despair over the realization that humans can do these things to one another bleeds through all his work. I don’t have a lot to say about this book except that I loved it, and it saddens me greatly to know that there will be no new Vonnegut to read ever again. So I will simply leave you with a thought from the man himself and two from the introduction by his son Mark.

“Where do I get my ideas from? You might as well have asked that of Beethoven. He was goofing around in Germany like everybody else, and all of a sudden this stuff came gushing out of him. It was music. I was goofing around like everybody else in Indiana, and all of a sudden stuff came gushing out. It was disgust with civilization.” KV

“He couldn’t help thinking that all that money we were spending blowing up things and killing people so far away, making people the world over hate and fear us, would have been better spent on public education and libraries.” MV on KV

“Reading and writing are in themselves subversive acts. What they subvert is the notion that things have to be the way they are, that you are alone, that no one has ever felt the way you have. What occurs to people when they read Kurt is that things are much more up for grabs that they thought they were. The world is slightly different place just because they read a damn book. Imagine that.” MV

Book Life 4: Are you sure that's safe to eat?

Twinkie Deconstructed: My Journey to Discover How the Ingredients Found in Processed Foods are Grown, Mined (Yes, Mined), and Manipulated into What America Eats by Steve Ettlinger

Why do I read these things? I have a vague idea what the truth behind what I eat is, and that vagueness is what allows me to keep eating it. But I have this fascination with and obsession for books explaining food. Fast Food Nation, of course, is near the top of this list, and for those who have read it, you know that you never, ever look at fast food the same again. Twinkie has the same effect. There’s only one problem though. While this book is based on the ingredients label from a Twinkie, the ingredients the author tracks for us are in everything. So, not only will I never look at twinkies the same again, all food labels have become suspect, as I am beginning to think they should have been all along.

What I think is most important to take away from Ettlinger’s book is the need for everyone to understand what they are putting in their bodies and the bodies of their children. We all eat so many processed foods, and yet how many of us actually know and understand what things like polysorbate 60 are? Or even how oils become hydrogenated and flour becomes enriched what that means in terms of resources and effects on the earth and us. I would wager to say very few. Even I of the food book obsession had heard very little of the information in this book. Petroleum plays a MUCH bigger role in food production than one would assume. In an age in which we understand some of what our dependence on such products can do, it is beyond irresponsible for us not to learn exactly where we are most dependent and work to reduce that dependence.

Eating local and organic is one solution, but going one-hundred percent or even partially local and organic is not a feasible option for many people. I can tell you from experience that the rural poor in most areas don’t have a farmer’s market just up the street. Some are lucky enough to have access to some locally grown produce through friends or family (my father-in-law grows the best tomatoes and corn on earth), but there are many more that do not. Food stamps have to stretch, and most times that means ramen noodles and frozen pizza rather than fresh fruit and vegetables. I know that in Tallahassee, there are certain farmer’s markets (such as the sellers at the Park Avenue market) that take vouchers from people who live on food stamps so that they can get local fruits and vegetables. But there is also a bus system and taxis for people to get to these markets. However, even if there was such a system in many rural areas, a lot of people would be unable to take advantage of it because of lack of transportation. To me, this is unacceptable. Eating organic and local is best for your body and the environment, we know this by now. Why should that be available only to the more affluent or only to people living in certain areas. I am certainly not an affluent person. We live as we always have--paycheck to paycheck. But I do my best to buy organic, recycle everything that will stand still long enough, and pester the crap out of my mom to do the same. This is only possible because we live where we do. Back home in Alabama, the only local and organic we ate was from Anna’s parents. If there was a store or market that had provided us with the option, I would have been all over it. But there wasn’t. This needs to change…

“…the point of processed food is to have no direct link to a place, or even to time.” p. 3

The quote from Ettlinger above is important. Eating locally isn’t just about your health. It isn’t just about saving the earth for ourselves and future generations and just because we should. It’s about community. Now, I am not the kind of person that feels the need to know every single neighbor I have (though that is generally the case in Alabama whether you want it to be or not), but…When people are attached to a community by more than just an address, they are more likely to take care of it. If you have a vested interest in where you live, you are careful to treat it well. Think about it: are you more likely to care about your house or a random hotel room? Just a thought…

I will step off my soapbox for now and say that despite what this book will do to your shopping list, I learned, as I said, a long list of random but interesting facts. Here are my favorites:

*The disease beriberi gets its name from the Sinhalese word that means “I cannot, I cannot”, because a victim is too sick to do anything due to extreme stiffness of the lower limbs, pain, and even paralysis. (p. 37)
*Twinkies are no longer kosher because beef fat is now a common ingredient in the shortening blend. (p. 91)
*Morton salt uses the little girl in the rain as its logo because they wanted to advertise that they use an anticaking agent that keeps the salt flowing when it’s raining or otherwise damp. (p. 177)
*One food chemical used to make ingredients in twinkies is a highly explosive known carcinogen and was used in the Vietnam War in tunnel-busting shells. (p. 195)
*Vanilla was not the original flavor of the twinkie filling--banana was. (p. 201)

“Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are.”
-Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, The Physiology of Taste

After reading this book, that scares me--a lot.

Monday, April 27, 2009

gay with ocd...does that mean you're fabulously organized?

So, in reading some comments on an earlier blog (which, forgive me, I did not even know existed for a few weeks after they were posted), I noticed someone had asked me to talk about being gay with OCD…That was in February. I’ve been pondering the connection in my life and if there even is one since then. While this will not in any way be a definitive or exhaustive answer and certainly not representative of all or even some lesbian OCD’s, inquiring minds wanted to know…

I have had OCD since I was a small child. The counting and ordering have been around since at least the age of 4 or 5, and I can remember being absolutely panicked when certain routines were interrupted--more so than just your random little kid. It got progressively worse for a while, and there were times when it waned. During times of crisis, it could be nearly unbearable, but either my family was incredibly inattentive or just didn’t care because no one ever really noticed. They did love that they never had to tell me to do my homework or clean my room…

Around the age of 11 or 12, I realized that I was looking at girls the way I was “supposed” to be looking at guys. Being raised in the extremely religious Deep South, this lead to what is so far the worst period of my OCD--the near six year stretch of scrupulosity and intensification of my other symptoms as well. (In case you are unfamiliar with the term, scrupulosity is basically religion-specific OCD.) And of course, as an aside, this was also the worst stretch of my depression, complete with a couple of half-assed suicide attempts. Some would say that it wasn’t scrupulosity but just hyper-piety. But I can tell you that there is a very distinct difference between the two…and I had scrupulosity. I spent most of my teen years poring over my youth bible and absorbing evangelical and pentecostal hate speech like oxygen. I made time schedules down to the minute--when to pray, shower, read the bible, eat, do homework, you name it. TV was whittled down to some very specific times and shows. In retrospect, I can see that all of this was to make sure that I didn’t have time to think about girls in any way whatsoever. I drove one of my closest friends, who was already out, absolutely nuts trying to save his soul from what I was sure was the eternal damnation we were going to share. I cannot tell you how many times I was saved. (I call it being the terminally redeemed) Each time I would feel so much better and cleaner, if that makes sense, but then I would begin having the “bad thoughts“ again, and I would need another booster shot of the holy spirit so to speak…but around 17, I thankfully finally accepted that I am gay and there’s nothing wrong with that. The scrupulosity faded away, and I became Pagan. Then I just had the regular OCD with which to contend.

So, what the hell is the point of all that? To tell you the truth, I’m not entirely sure. Denying my sexuality to myself and everyone else helped cause one of the worst times of my life, but that isn’t unusual and not specific to gay people with OCD. What impact does the one have on the other now? I am constantly aware of what compulsions I am doing in public, because I don’t want to look crazy (although I’m sure the very panicked look in my eyes when I suppress the compulsions makes me look really sane). And I think that in that is some desire to make my little lesbian life look as normal as possible. The public at large think we are some sort of strange race sent down from another planet with no resemblance to them or their lives at all. In my mind, it’s like, if I can somehow convince them that gay peoples’ lives are just like theirs, maybe we’ll gain an ally or two. Obvious crazy people actions will not assist in this. This is not an entirely reasonable thought though much more sane than many of my theories. It probably makes some symptoms of my OCD worse to concentrate so hard on concealing them, and looks very much like the hiding-the-lesbian-inside thing from earlier.

I am still working through the connections between my OCD and my gayness. This was likely not very coherent, but not much of what rattles freeform in my brain is. I would be very interested in hearing other gay OCD’s talk about the connection in their lives. so, please, if any of you are reading this, feel free to comment or email me…my inquiring mind would love to know…