Friday, January 31, 2014

Manscaping - More Than You Ever Wanted to Know

Hair, hair everywhere. What's a man to do?

For as long as there have been humans, there has been an abundance of hair. On heads, on chests, on arms and legs, and yes....down there.

I must include a disclaimer here so that I don't get a bunch of hate mail over this post, and/or totally gross out family members. If you don't want to read about sex, penises, balls, happy trails, vagazzling, tweezing, waxing, chafing or rubbing, stop reading now. I mean it. Like right now.

Last chance.

I'm not kidding. Go.
Okay, now that we're done with warnings and disclaimers, let's get on with the business of the day, manscaping.

This topic came to me as a request from a fan. Someone I have known, quite literally, forever. He's a dude that needs some questions answered. He knows that I can't refuse a challenge, so here we are.

Since at least 4000 BC, people have been removing hair from their bodies. Razors were invented sometime around 3000 BC. Prior to that hairs were plucked out using shells. (I'll just let you think about how awesome of a process that must have been for a moment.)

Facial hair is the hair most commonly and historically removed for men, leg and underarm hair for women, though some cultures have long dictated the removal of pubic hair for women. Oh, and just in case you are wondering, if you search bikini waxing on Wikipedia, there are pictures. I've linked it here for ease of use. You are welcome.

Though the removal of pubic hair is nothing new, the widespread societal expectation of female removal is something fairly recent, at least in this country. Sex and the City didn't just bring back day drinking, it urged women everywhere to get their tingly bits waxed.

And the world rejoiced.

It's a trend that hasn't seemed to let up, though every so often there are stories that pop up alleging that waxing is on the way out, that women are embracing their pubes again, that the moral center of the nation is encouraging growing it long and strong to rebel against the horrors of porn. And so on and so forth. Then vagazzling becomes a thing a few weeks later and we all realize we're still going to be shaving for a while.

So, women have been doing it a long time...what about the men? They've come over to the smooth side too.


I could get into a lengthy explanation about chest hair or leg hair or any other hair, but we all know that's not why you're here. You're here for the naughty bits. Unless you are a porn star, swimmer, model, elite cyclist or runner....you probably aren't shaving your entire body bald because you have to. You're shaving it either because you want to or because someone told you it looked good.

Little secret here. Ready? Most women I know actually like chest hair as long as it's not unwieldy and doesn't fan out too far or stick our of the top of your shirt. Feel free to trim it up, but don't shave it all off. (Also, feel free to discuss among friends, ask your significant other what they prefer, choose to ignore them if you like to be a bear, whatever....however you get your freak on, I'm good with it.) Whatever you do, leave a trace of the happy trail. Please.

Don't do this.
In researching this post, I've been fortunate to have many male friends willing to tell me their stories. Some go full 70's bush, refusing to shave anything below the neck. Some use clippers to tame their body hair, but refuse to shave with an actual razor. Some trim pubic hair only, leaving the chest hair alone. Some were even kind enough to tell me they shave the pubic hair on top but leave the ball hair alone. And then there were the bald boys who go for it all, clippers first, then razors.

Every guy does it a little differently, and they all have slightly different reasons.

Some started during puberty or very shortly thereafter. More than a few started in college. Some started at the request of a significant other. One guy I know started when he found his first gray pube. True damn story.

My only word of caution is this, ladies....if you have been married a long time and your husband has been hairy the whole time, then suddenly decides to shave his balls, worry. Middle aged men don't often just wake up one day and start doing this unless there's a reason, at least not from the stories people have told me.

What are the reasons for a guy to shave his junk? (for the love of all that is right and just in this world, if you are related to me and haven't left yet, go now)

  1. Sex. Really, this is the main reason. Let's just be honest about that. I don't have a penis, but I can tell you that sensations are heightened in the nethers when hairless. I assume it would be the same for a dude.
  2. Oral Sex. It's just better. And your partner is probably more willing to go there if things are tidy. No one likes getting hair in their teeth. Cough. Cough.
  3. Illusions. There is a thing, referred to as the "optical inch", reasoning goes a bit like this: if the bush is trimmed back a little, the trunk seems longer and thicker. 
  4. Cleanliness. Hair hangs on to sweat, and let's get one thing clear: balls sweat a lot. Sweat stinks. Less hair, less place for sweat to fester - less smell.
  5. Looks. You know you've stood in front of a mirror and admired it. If you say you haven't, you're lying. If you are a guy and try to tell me you haven't at least attempted a helicopter, I'm never believing another word you say.
  6. Because someone asked you to. Okay, so maybe this should be the main reason.
     
In talking to guys about this and doing research online, I've come to learn that there are some rules about this. 
  1. First rule of manscaping is that no one talks about manscaping, but most guys do at least a little bit of it. If you don't, high five for keeping it real, man. Everyone else, you know what I'm talking about here. Unless you are waxing your friend's chest because he lost a bet...then everyone knows.
  2. Prep work is everything. You don't just grab the razor you use to shave your face, with that dull old blade, take a look at your junk and get to getting. NO. YOU DO NOT. You get another set of instruments, and don't go cheap. If you have clippers, you have two clippers. If you have razors, there is one for the face and one for the junk. Label them. Or just know which is which. In a pinch you might use just the one, but face first. Always face first.
    Always have two. Always.
  3. Shaving your balls the first time has to be terrifying. Like skydiving terrifying. I can't decide which would be worse personally...having something with a running motor that close to your junk or sweeping a super sharp razor along your man bits. I don't know how you guys decide which way to go, and honestly I don't want to know. I just say that whatever you do is your choice. If you're new, here's a tutorial. 
  4. Location, location, location. You do not shave your balls when staying at someone else's house. You do not shave your balls on an uncovered floor. You do not shave your balls with your girlfriend/wife's razor. You may shave your balls in a hotel bathroom. You may shave your balls over the toilet as long as you dust the bowl off afterwards. 
  5. Timing is everything. Got kids? Do not shave your balls when there is any chance they could walk in on you. Just shave when everyone else is somewhere else. You do not want a five year old walking in while you've got a knife to the boys. If you have a lock, use it. After you check to make sure it works 385 times, of course. Turn on some music. Light some candles. Experiment with crouching positions. This is going to take a while, especially the first time.
  6. Sharp, clean and moist. Unless you are just clipping and trimming, you need to pay attention to skin care. New sharp razors are the only way to go. Aftershave will burn like a motherfucker (not that I'd have experience with that or anything), but a nice soothing lotion will help. Cold water will help close up pores after shaving too. I could tell you to shave with the grain, but you're not going to listen. Air it out afterwards. How you go about doing that is up to you.
  7. Maintenance is key. Stay on top of it and it will get easier to manage. Any woman will tell you this.
  8. Clean up after yourself. You just removed the hair equivalent of a small dead animal. Pick it up. All of it. Even the little guys. For the love. 
Courtesy of my good friend, also possible story contributor, The Musings of Munch, an earworm for you, sung to the tune of Miley Cyrus' Hoedown Throwdown. Wax it, shave it, epilate it.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

30 Days of Quotes About Whatever ~ Day 30 ~ John Keating

Day 30~

"We don't read and write poetry because it's cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And, the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. 

To quote from Whitman, 'O me! O life!... of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless -- of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these O me, O life? Answer. That you are here - that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse.' 

That the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. 

What will your verse be?"

- John Keating, Dead Poet's Society



This movie. Oh, this movie. 

As a lover of poetry, of writing, of words, this movie spoke to a part of my soul that I was too young to know even existed yet within me. 

I haven't seen the film in a good long time now, and suddenly have an urge to watch it again, to share it with my children, to want them to understand it. That urge brought on by a commercial, of all things. This commercial.



The first time I saw it, I was moved to tears. I watch it now, for the creation of this post and it speaks to me again. To me, this isn't about a tablet at all, though the marketing is nothing short of brilliant. It is about the words, the way they are woven together, the meaning they carry, the places they urge us to go, the people they insist that we become.

John Keating was an English teacher at a private university in the film, and he used poetry to speak to the hearts and minds of his students. This quote contains a piece of a poem by Walt Whitman, and he used it to challenge them to think more, to love more, to be more. 

I endeavor to do the same here with you all today, which is fitting as this series comes to a close. 

If I ask it of you, I must be willing to do it myself.

Here goes nothing. 

My passion is this, what I do here. Writing. It is an impossible, unrelenting piece of who I am. It is what I am called to do. It is what keeps me awake at night filling my head with ideas and topics and characters and stories. It is what forces me to reveal the things that are hardest to let out. It is what kept me alive in my darkest days. It is what has connected me to people in ways I could have never imagined. It is what has taught me more about myself, about the world, about other people, about my parents and children than anything else ever could have. It gives me a voice. It helps me give voice to others. 

My passion is photography, one that I must make more time for. There are few things in the world that bring me more peace than being one with nature, just being surrounded by it, observing it, then taking it and framing it and capturing it so that it may live on again in the images. I love to catch people when they don't know they are being photographed, when they don't know someone is watching them, when they are the most natural and the most amazingly beautiful versions of themselves. 

My passion is helping others, particularly women as they embark on the journey of motherhood. To know that I can help someone take ownership of one of the most pivotal times in their lives, that I can hold them up, that I can support them, that I can whisper words of encouragement and love in their ears, that I can sit in the shared silence as the world stops spinning just for a moment before the baby cries, is a gift. I am blessed to do this. 

If I can get to the end of my days and know that  I have touched someone with these verses, these passions, these loves of mine, my purpose will be fulfilled. 

What will your verse be?

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

30 Days of Quotes About Whatever ~ Day 29 ~ The Joker

Day 29 ~

I believe whatever doesn't kill you simply makes you stranger.

~ The Joker, The Dark Knight


Heath Ledger. The Joker. One of the best acting performances of our entire generation, the character that infiltrated his mind, the craziest bad guy we love to hate and hate to love.

He was that good. The world lost an amazing actor when he died.

The script for this movie was written by Christopher and Jonathan Nolan, based on the characters we have grown up with. Batman is one of the most mysterious, darkest heroes in the superhero universe, so logic dictates that his enemies must also be mysterious and dark.

This phrase is uttered very near the beginning of the film, during a bank robbery, as The Joker shoves a smoke bomb into the mouth of a bank employee.

The Joker is a twisted person, to say the least. His motivations are different than most villains. He doesn't just want money or power or influence or weapons. He wants chaos more than anything. He literally wants to watch the world burn just to see what people will do when faced with ethical dilemmas.

Why he is the way he is, we may never know. There are several different versions of his past, and in the film The Dark Knight, he spends quite a bit of time telling stories, always different, each one a little more crazy than the last.

On to the quote, one which seems appropriate for a man like him to say.

And, if I'm being completely honest, one that I tend to agree with.

Let me explain.

There is a run-of-the-mill quote very similar to this one, uttered in a million different incarnations, about how what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. There's truth to that one, of course, assuming that what you deal with doesn't damage you too much. Living with PTSD now, though there are days I would say I am stronger, there are also days I would say that I am too damaged now.

I think we all learn and grow from our experiences necessarily, that we gain perspective and wisdom, that we mature and expand our view of the world. Or we should. Not everyone does. Some people take their experiences to be the only ones, their perspective to be the only one, and then spend the rest of their lives laboring under the delusion that the version of the world they see is the only one.

So, what doesn't kill you can make you stronger. It can also make you damaged. It can also make you bitter and deluded.

This quote isn't that one, of course. It is a mockery of that quote, twisted and mangled by the raving lunatic shoving a smoke bomb into an innocent man's mouth.

It's also true.

At least for me, it's true. I've been through a lot. There were times that life beat me down, kicked my ass, shoved me down further and left me to rot. It was that bad for a while. I've lost a lot. I've had to do things no one should ever have to do. I've been scared, I've been alone, I've been used.

I survived it all, somehow, probably just out of pure stubbornness.

Now that I'm here, hopefully past the worst of it, I'm this version of myself.

I'm stronger in ways, weaker in others. I'm smarter and wiser but far more skeptical and cynical than I ever was before. I'm more prone to show emotions at times, more likely to stuff them away at others. I'm more interesting for sure.

And I'm a hell of a lot stranger than I ever was.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Things That Piss Me Off Tuesday - the it's winter and everyone is angry edition

I'm writing this while re-watching this week's episode of Sherlock, so I apologize in advance if it tempers my rage. It's hard to be angry when Benedict Cumberbatch is being all swoonworthy right in front of me.

I'll still try.


You guys....it's January, calm down
It's winter. In winter, it is cold. In winter, there are storms that bring snow with them. This is what happens. This year is particularly cold and snowy for parts of the country thanks to the wonder that is the polar vortex.

Still. It's January. It's winter. This happens every year, though perhaps not to this extreme.

I'm amused, to say the least, by the posts I'm seeing on Facebook. The parents pissed that school is canceled. The parents pissed that school isn't canceled. I'm amused because I don't work for a school district and don't have to put up with the emails and phone calls by all the pissed off parents.

Here's the thing.

The districts have to worry about safety first and foremost. They really aren't concerned with inconveniencing parents, honest. They have to worry about road conditions and whether the buses are equipped for winter driving. They have to worry about the kids who have to walk to school or to the bus stop. They have to especially worry about the kids that have to do those things but don't have coats or gloves. They have to worry about the required number of days in the school year. They have to worry about whether the school year will be extended into the summer, which would inevitably piss more people off.

This year, districts that never have to worry about any of this shit are having to worry about it.

Have we had snow days that were unnecessary? Of course. Have there been times that it should have been called and wasn't? Of course. There's no perfect way to interpret weather forecasts because of the simple fact that they aren't always accurate.

Give the districts a break. They are doing the best they can with the information they have.

The people who don't read, but comment on everything
This. So much this.

If you're going to take the time out of your day to ponder a response, type it out and wait for the shitpot to get stirred....for the love of all that is soft and fluffy in the world, read the goddamn article first.

This is probably one of my biggest pet peeves as a writer. I really and truly enjoy commentary and even criticism on what I write, but before you give me feedback that I will take to heart, you have to read what I actually wrote. You can't glance at a title or a picture or the comments being left by other people and know what I wrote. It doesn't work that way.

I deal in sarcasm here people.

Case in point, I wrote a piece for Lefty Pop about Justin Bieber yesterday. It wasn't even really about him so much as it was about the news networks running stories about him over actual news stories that are far more important. I had a picture of the Biebs in the story. Some people just saw that and jumped to conclusions. Head:Wall.

The people who believe whatever people tell them
This. So much this.

Maybe it's just been an off week for me, but I've seen a lot of people sharing fake news stories, sharing articles from satire sites as though they are real, sharing so-called facts that someone told them as though they are true at all.

Stop that.

Maybe I'm just the most skeptical person in the universe, but I fact check everything. I tend not to believe anything people tell me. I doubt most of what I read. I love Snopes. You should love Snopes too.

Chances are anymore that if something rubs you the wrong way, makes you overly happy, makes you overly pissed off...you should verify that information before you spread it all over the book of face. There's plenty of real stuff out there to outrage you, to make you happy, to disgust you...stop falling for the fake stuff.

The Gays Are Coming!!!!!
The weekly developments in the struggle for equal rights have taken some bizarre turns. Two weeks ago, a judge ruled that Oklahoma's ban on gay marriage violated the Constitution, so legislators there have taken the next logical step...they want to ban all marriage as a way to forbid gay marriage. If everyone can get married, then no one can.

I'm going to take my toys and go home, the 2014 elected grown-ass adult version.

On the Grammy's Sunday, during the performance of the song Same Love, 34 couples got married. 68 people who love each other pledged vows and exchanged rings in front of the world. It was beautiful. I was crying from here, feeling so many feelings at the same time, honored that I was able to see it.

Then the homophobes of the world had to chime in. I'm not including the screenshots of what they said for a reason. You can read them here if you want.

Congratulations to all the newlyweds.

“At some point in our lifetime, gay marriage won't be an issue, and everyone who stood against this civil right will look as outdated as George Wallace standing on the school steps keeping James Hood from entering the University of Alabama because he was black.” - George Clooney

Can't you just be Christian? Or quiet?
This story brought out my inner Luther. And reminded me of a conversation I had with a friend very familiar with this area of the country just last week, where she made many of the same observations.

There is a sixth grade teacher in a public school telling kids that the Bible is 100% truth, that evolution is impossible and that anyone who doesn't believe in God is "stupid". A Buddhist student in the class got fed up with this and told their parents. Parents went to the school district with complaints, where they were told by the Superintendent that "this is the Biblebelt", then given options.

The options?

Change to a school with "more Asians" or change their faith.

No, I'm not kidding.

The ACLU filed a lawsuit on behalf of the family.

30 Days of Quotes About Whatever ~ Day 28 ~ Norman Reedus


Day 28 ~

"Damaged people gravitate towards damaged people."

~ Norman Reedus

This series is almost over. I am so conflicted about it, for a few reasons. First of all, I love quotes. I love learning more about the people who say the words that become famous. I love interpreting things. It's what I do. Some of you out there reading have adored this series. We lost everyone else along the way though, and I can't honestly tell if it's just adjusting to Facebook's latest "improvement" that drops my reach, if most of my fans are turned off by this series, or if I'm just getting boring in my old age.

I can't tell.

Do you know who Norman Reedus is? He's best known for his role as Daryl, the guy that I want right next to me during the zombie apocalypse.

This guy.



Swoon. In real life, before he was the crossbow wielding badass, he was a model and artist. He has built Harleys and exhibited his art all over the world. I was trying to think of a way to wrap up this series that was interesting to me at least, and since he is very near the top of my list, I looked for quotes from him.

Then I found this and I decided that he should just move in with me.

Because this.

Damaged people gravitate towards damaged people.

Do they ever.

I have this theory. And forgive me in advance because this theory is totally going to make me sound like an asshole to anyone who doesn't understand where I am coming from...

It's this.

Perspective is everything, and the only way to really have it is to live through enough terrible life experiences. Get through on the other side, after you've survived and re-evaluated and reorganized and reassessed. Once you've seen what you are made of, what other people are made of, once you've been totally honest about your flaws and embraced them, then you can actually begin to understand what the point of all of this is.

Until then, you're just chugging along doing what you think you are supposed to, reaching for things you think you want, valuing what you think is important. Even if it's all bullshit.

Necessarily, to have all that vital life experience, you have to have been through a lot.

Those experiences don't just bring knowledge and wisdom, they bring baggage too.

I have a matched set.

With a steamer trunk.

Am I a damaged person? Some people would certainly think so. There are times that I wonder if I'm broken myself. Sometimes I am, if I am being completely honest.

The people who get me, the people who understand me the best, the people who I can tell things to, the people I can trust to be there for me without judging me or placating me or handing out irrelevant advice....they've been there too.

Does that mean we're all complete train wrecks?

Maybe.

Stop staring, already.

Then again, we've all got issues. Live long enough and there's bound to be something fundamentally screwed up about you. It's how you cope with it that matters.

I prefer to cope using zombie apocalypse shows.

Monday, January 27, 2014

30 Days of Quotes About Whatever ~ Day 27 ~ Hershel Greene

Day 27 ~

"You step outside, you risk your life. You take a drink of water, you risk your life. And nowadays you breathe, and you risk your life. Every moment now...you don't have a choice. The only thing you can choose is what you're risking it for."

~ Hershel Greene, The Walking Dead



Oh, Hershel. I love this show, I love him. I am still not totally recovered from the mid-season finale. If you aren't current on it, I don't want to spoil anything that happens, so we will just talk about the quote.

Hershel is the farmer/veterinarian in The Walking Dead. He is the recovering alcoholic that still struggles with his faith at times, even though he clings to it more than any other character on the show. 

He became the moral center of the show, the voice of calm, the voice of reason. He is a fierce protector of his children, he is the one they all look to for guidance and stability.  He is the father figure of this post-apocalyptic world.

These words were spoken to his daughter, Maggie and Glen during an outbreak of contagious illness among the survivors. He insisted that it was his duty to do what he could to help those he could for as long as he could. They were worried about him exposing himself to disease. He saw his purpose as bigger.

Though the setting in which the show takes place is clearly a fictional one, his words hold truth in our reality as well. There are risks inherent in everything we do, the only thing certain about life at all is that it will end someday, but the fear of what might happen to us or when we might meet our end can't be the thing that limits us. 

Or at least it shouldn't be.

Instead, Hershel would urge us to suppress the fear. Fear can't be banished, and I think he'd make the argument that it shouldn't, but it can be overcome. We can choose to go out and do the things we should anyway.

He would sit you down right now and ask you what you are living for. What are you risking your life for?

What would your answer be?

Sunday, January 26, 2014

30 Days of Quotes About Whatever ~ Day 26 ~ Robert Downey, Jr.

Day 26 ~

"Listen, smile, agree, and then do whatever the fuck you were gonna do anyway"

~ Robert Downey, Jr.


I quoted Ironman yesterday, so this was the next logical step, right?


Oh, this man. I don't think he ages. Or he made some deal with the devil that grants him eternal youth in exchange for whatever he traded it in for. He is....just...well...awesome.

I love the guy for a few reasons. I loved him when he was the jerk harassing Gary and Wyatt in Weird Science and when he was Charlie in Chaplin, but it wasn't really until he started publicly struggling with addiction that I began to pay more attention to him than the rest of the brat pack. 

Here he was, this wildly successful guy who had lived his entire life in the spotlight, and he was going public with the fact that he had a drug problem. I remember watching him during this time when he was on Ally McBeal and rooting for him, cringing when he relapsed, celebrating when he stayed sober. He finally kicked it for good and the world rejoiced....because goddamn he is a fantastic actor.

This quote is from an interview he did on Inside the Actor's Studio in 2006, years before he started hitting blockbuster numbers in the theaters. He was sober, he was rebuilding his career. His first marriage had fallen apart but he was happily remarried. He was in a good place, maybe for the first time in his life.

That's what makes this quote so fantastic. It can really only be appreciated, I think, when you've been to hell and back a few times. Then you get it. You see what is important. You understand.

I understand. 

As someone who had to do it all in the spotlight, for him the journey was far more complicated by the microscope staring at him all the time, picking apart everything about him.

He learned in that time to work a crowd, he had to. 

He learned to play to the masses, to quiet the people, to silence the critics...but live his life exactly as he wanted to anyhow. Which is what being a more self-realized person is about, anyway, if we are being honest. 

How much of what you do is shaped by what other people might think?How much of what any of us do is shaped that way? Probably too much.

He'd tell you to stop living like that. 

So would I.

You should listen to us. We know stuff.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

30 Days of Quotes About Whatever ~ Day 25 ~ Ironman

Day 25~

We create our own demons.

~ Tony Stark, aka Ironman, Ironman 3



Hi. My name is Kelly, and I'm a little bit obsessed with Ironman.

Okay, so more than a little bit. 

Tony Stark is his real name, you know...genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist. That guy. If you haven't watched the Avengers movies or the Ironman ones, go. I'll wait.

No, really.

I love Ironman for many reasons, and have confessed my love of him on several prior occasions. When the most recent installment in the Ironman saga came out last year, though, my heart grew three sizes.

Tony Stark had to confront the fact that he has anxiety issues. 

This quote is as much about his enemies that he fights in the action scenes as it is about the ones in his head. If you haven't already seen IM3 and failed to listen to me up ^^^ there, I'm going to spoil some of the plot for you. 

Aldrich Killian is the bad guy in this one, though for a while you are led to believe the Mandarin is. Anyhow, back when Killian was a young scientist, he approached Stark with an idea. Tony was too busy with his playboyness to be bothered and brushed Killian off, who obviously was pissed and spent years figuring out how to best get revenge.

All this goes on at the same time that Stark begins to realize how disabling his anxiety problems have become.

Essentially, the villains of the movie are two-fold. The physical ones he has to contend with and the ones inside his own head, both of which exist because of things he did or said in the past.

Awesomeness.

I am Ironman.

Not really, but kinda.

Now that you have a lengthy explanation of the quote and know most of the essential information about Tony Stark, look at this for a minute.



LOOK AT IT.

Like I needed another damn reason to love Ironman. 

I guess I should talk about the quote, huh?

This one. Just yes. So much yes. As a person who over analyzes everything, who over thinks, who runs constant dialogues in her head and probably makes it all worse, yes. As a person who lives with anxiety all the freaking time, yes. As a person who has a brain completely screwed up by ptsd, yes. 

Are some of my demons external ones? Sure. 

But you know what I do that makes it all ten bajillion times worse????

I let it get into my head. And then it multiplies. 

Tony Stark. 

He's my soul mate, you guys. 

Friday, January 24, 2014

30 Days of Quotes About Whatever ~ Day 24 ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Day 24~

“The man of knowledge must be able not only to love his enemies but also to hate his friends.” 

Friedrich Nietzsche


This.

Quotes like this one make me wish I had pursued philosophy more when I was in college. It's an issue necessarily complicated by the fact that I was far younger and naiver than I ever could have appreciated at the time. With age comes wisdom and perspective which makes you appreciate things like this a little bit more, I think, so maybe it wouldn't have been as magnificent as I imagine because I wouldn't have understood it all yet.

I digress.

Nietzsche was a German philosopher who questioned the validity of Christianity and mused about the foundations of morality. He was an existentialist who believed strongly in the affirmation of self. One of these days I am going to make good on my threat to build a time traveling machine and go buy some of these people a drink.

Anyhow, to the quote.

“The man of knowledge must be able not only to love his enemies but also to hate his friends.” 

I'm just going to go ahead and assume he meant to include "woman of knowledge" too. Wink, wink.

The older I get, the truer this quote is. First, the beginning of the quote. When I was young and naive, along with my patent inability to appreciate philosophy, I didn't understand the value of diversifying my relationships.

I know it now.

It's something that, much to the chagrin of a few, I try to live in this online persona I have constructed. My Facebook page, often the place of heated argument, is one where differing opinions are solicited and encouraged so long as everyone can remain respectful of one another. There are plenty of pages out there who enjoy their viewpoints and who choose to limit dissent. That is their choice. My choice is to be open and accepting of all viewpoints, to do my very best to be tolerant of them, and to allow others the same freedom.

I can't argue against censorship and then censor people. It's logically inconsistent.

And I am really part Vulcan. Truly.

We've had conversations on my page that have remained mostly civil about some of the most heated topics in our society, conversations that would have rapidly degraded on other pages I follow. I like to believe that the reason is, at least in part, because of how I run the page.

There is great harm in being surrounded only by people who agree with you. Your views will never be tested or questioned, which can lead you down very skewed paths of reasoning if it isn't ever held up to the fire.

Talk to people who disagree with you. Understand where they are coming from. Ask them questions. Learn. Open your mind. You won't be the only one who benefits.

As for the second half of the quote, I agree as well, though for a slightly different reason. As for the philosophical reason, hating your friends can come in handy when they are helping to lead you down that path of flawed reasoning I was just talking about.

People who we trust can hurt us, can encourage us to hurt ourselves, can encourage us to hurt others. Perhaps this is because they aren't really friends, perhaps this is because they have ulterior motives, perhaps this is because we don't understand the true nature of the relationship. Regardless, a bit of skepticism isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Plus, sometimes people you like are going to do really stupid things. It's okay to hate them for it.

Promise.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

the fear of being happy

so when you are me and you are in therapy for a while and you sit and you think about things, you realize some stuff that sucks.

this thing i am realizing, which i began to understand last year, but finally understand fully now is this:

i'm afraid to be happy.

and i'm afraid to admit it.

how completely messed up is that?


it takes everything in me to fight this fear back, to contain it, to keep it subdued and tell it that it won't be allowed to tell me how to live my life.

i think it stems mostly from the ptsd. the anxiety sure doesn't make it better.

it's like they get in my head together and make out sometimes. 
i swear.

for a while there, my life was crazy. like beyond insane. like there is no way that i could have made up the things that happened. like someday i will finally tell those stories and then a whole lot of the things that are wrong with me will start to make sense to other people.

anyway.

during that time, i was just surviving. literally. getting from one day to the next day however i had to do it, hoping that something else wouldn't go wrong, knowing that it probably would, wondering what the hell was happening when it did.

the other shoe dropped so many times that every shoe store in a fifty mile radius was fresh out.

that many times. 

it was never just one thing either, never just one person, never just one situation. 

i was being hit with things from every direction almost constantly.

in between those attacks, though, there were these moments. flashes of time and space where nothing bad happened for a hot second and i remembered how to breathe again.

a few times in those moments, i found something to be happy about. something that was more than just my motivation to keep going. something that was just for me. something that i could tuck in my pocket and keep. something that eased my pain and soothed my soul and reminded me how great life could still be.

each time, back then, my pockets were turned out and whatever morsel of happy i thought i had tucked safely away was ripped from my grasp again. 

and so i learned to stop thinking it could be.

i learned to stop wanting to be happy.

i told myself that it would never last, it would never stay, that it would just hurt me all over again to have it and lose it, that it would just be better not to bother.

and so i did.

i stopped bothering. 

i told myself that whatever this was had to be enough because i couldn't live with the idea that there could be more and then it could be gone. i wasn't going to set myself up for failure and loss again. the anxiety took over and the ptsd layered on top. 

i could just not be happy.

i convinced myself.

if i just avoided it, if i didn't let it in, i couldn't lose it again.

i was wrong. 

i let the fear win, i let the anxiety and the ptsd control me.

i was afraid to be happy. i am still afraid to be happy. 

the difference between then and now is that i'm doing it anyway because life is short and i deserve the chance. 

it is a conscious choice every day, something that i have to wake up and decide. 

my default, at least right in this moment, would be to just stay in my hole of misery and wallow. as long as i stay down here, i might avoid the highs, but i would definitely avoid the fall again.

that's my default.

this is what it is like to be me.

my default would rather stay unhappy than risk happiness.

that's who i am now. 

i don't like default.

i don't like that this all has changed me.

i want to be happy.

i will be happy, even if it scares me, even if it terrifies me.

i can do this.

i will do this.

so forgive me in advance if it seems like i'm overcompensating.
i am overcompensating.
i have to.

now, if you'll excuse me...i have some happy to make.
namaste.

30 Days of Quotes About Whatever ~ Day 23 ~ Joss Whedon

Day 23 ~

“I'll take crazy over stupid any day.” 

Joss Whedon


You knew that once I stopped writing about what I was supposed to be writing about that eventually I would have to nerd it up, right?

Hi. My name is Kelly. I am a nerd. I hope you know who Joss Whedon is. If you don't, I'll tell you.

He's like a junior godfather in the nerd world. He created, helped create, wrote or directed The Avengers, Toy Story, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, Angel, an episode of Glee and a whole bunch of other stuff.

I'm not at all surprised that he said something like this:

“I'll take crazy over stupid any day.” 

Not even a little bit. He creates characters that are practically geniuses, but quirky...so this makes sense. He's an atheist, but a humanist, both of which have been well documented. If you aren't familiar with humanism, it's essentially the idea that our value and importance as humans is inherent, is not subject to or dependent on the existence of a higher power. We are urged to be the best version of ourselves. Whedon in particular would say that this is essential, because this is all there is. 

On to the quote.

I have to say that I agree with him. Honestly. I certainly have my crazy side, and by crazy I mean like certifiable because there is actually shit wrong with me and also just regular run of the mill crazy.

Maybe it's just me, but when people call other people crazy, I don't think it's an insult. Maybe that's because I have lots and lots of my own crazy. Maybe it's because I don't see it as a way to categorize or diagnose people. I see crazy just as being this: when someone does or says something that doesn't seem logical to us. 

That doesn't, by the way, mean the other person is crazy at all. Misunderstood, maybe, but not necessarily crazy. I mean, they could totally be deluded or irrational or unhinged for whatever reason, certainly, but I don't think the term as it is commonly used refers only to those people. 

The truth is that most of us do what we do for a reason, even if it doesn't make sense to anyone else at the time and might make us seem crazy. That reason stems from our unique and individual life experience, perspective, morality and so on...which is the awesome thing about us humans. We're all so different.

I've joked with friends about this, particularly with family issues. I don't think any of us believes our family is totally sane and normal, but at least we understand this particular version of crazy. We're used to it. We know how to deal with it. That doesn't make it normal at all, it just makes it familiar.

Having said that, I'll take crazy over stupid any day of the week and twice on Sunday. 

As for stupidity, I suppose there are a few ways to define it. Stupidity can just be a lack of intelligence, which may or may not be something that anyone has any ability to control. I don't think that's the kind of stupid he's talking about though.

I think he's talking about the oblivious type of stupidity. The people who fail to understand what is happening because they lack the interest or effort required to figure it out. The people who believe whatever they are told, even if it's completely wrong, because they don't bother finding out for themselves.  The people who don't think about what they are doing or saying before they do it. The people that you can't have a rational discussion with. The people who can't or won't understand logic and reason. The people who can't entertain the idea that other people may have differing ideas and opinions or experiences.

The people who make you want to bang your head on the wall.

Those people. 

Give me crazy over that, please.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

30 Days of Quotes About Whatever ~ Day 22 ~ Garrison Keillor

Day 22 ~

“Anyone who thinks sitting in church can make you a Christian must also think that sitting in a garage can make you a car.” 

― Garrison Keillor


Welcome back. Hoping to make this a bit more interesting for the last bit of the challenge, I decided to forgo the rest of the quotes about life and find ones that I wanted to write about more.

Like this one.

Do you know who Garrison Keillor is? He is a writer and humorist best known for his work on the A Prairie Home Companion radio show. He's what I would call an acquired taste, as people seem to love or hate his work, most of which revolves around witty observations about life as he sees it in his pseudo-fictional hometown of Lake Wobegon, Minnesota.


He speaks in almost a sing-songy tone and reminds me of the narrators of old movies.

On to the quote, which happens to be the most popular one about religion according to GoodReads.

“Anyone who thinks sitting in church can make you a Christian must also think that sitting in a garage can make you a car.” 

I love this quote. From the tips of my toes to the ends of the hair on my head. I have said something similar to this more than once when musing about my own observations on religion, though mine usually goes a bit like this:


Sitting in a church every Sunday doesn't make you religious, 
it just makes you habitual.

 I usually manage to piss someone off every time I say that, but I believe it to be true. I've seen, up close and personal, some of the damage that can be done by so-called religious people, even those who devoted their entire lives to the church.

You don't have to look hard to find settlements and allegations and charges and defrockings anymore, though often the abuses at issue had taken place many years ago. 

I know some of these victims. I know how they were quieted and hushed. You can't tell me that a truly reverent person would perpetrate crimes like that on innocent children and carry on as though they are doing the work of the lord.

Just don't buy it. Sorry.

It's not just the abuse cases either, I have known of people held up on some pedestal because of their work with the church, only to find out they are stealing, lying, sleeping with several members of the congregation at a time, using donations to buy drugs and more. I know people who proclaim to follow the teachings of Jesus, yet seem to have completely missed the point of the lessons.

Standing in a building occasionally (or even daily for that matter) doesn't mean anything to me. You have to walk the walk.

Do many people who attend church weekly do this? Sure! Not all of them, though, and certainly not just because they stand in a building. Church attendance, in my opinion is neither a requirement nor a guarantee. Faith is more than that.

My opinion is that faith isn't even necessarily tied to religion. (my opinion here, I don't intend to diminish what anyone else believes, regardless of what some may think)

I know plenty of atheists and agnostics who are genuinely good people. They don't have anywhere they are expected to be Sunday morning, they aren't living their lives out of fear or reward from some higher power, they are just good people. 

Being a good person, you could argue, is what being Christian is about.

Living an honorable life, having integrity takes a lot more than an hour a week. It's how you choose to live your life every day, every hour, regardless of where you happen to be standing at the moment.

Sitting in a church for an hour isn't going to make you a good person any more than standing in a garage will make you a car, Keillor is absolutely right about that.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

30 Days of Quotes About Whatever ~ Day 21 ~ Assholes

Day 21 ~

Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure that you are not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes.

- Steve Winterburn


Hi there. We're changing things up here. I was getting annoyed by the life quotes on GoodReads because they had reached the point of repetition, so I'm going to spend the last part of this challenge doing something a little different every day. 

This quote, sent to me by a friend. She thought this would be a great addition to the challenge, and I agreed. 

This is my blog and I can change my mind, right?  Besides which, I've lived this quote a few times.

First though, let's talk about the guy who said it.

This quote is quite frequently falsely attributed to William Gibson, which would be very interesting if it was his since he's one of the godfathers of steampunk. He has said on numerous occasions that it isn't though.

Steve Winterburn said it. He's a humorist who is best known for his work in the Twittersphere.

On to the quote.

We live in interesting times. There is still a lot of stigma when it comes to mental illness in general, very real stigma that affects those who live with it, and yet there is this simultaneous societal obsession with self-diagnosis. 

You know these people, the ones who google every symptom they ever have. The ones who declare that loving organization must make them have OCD, that because they are sad that their dog died they must be depressed, that because they got nervous before something big happened they must have anxiety. 

Stop that.

Really. Those of us who live with this stuff for real need you to stop.

It makes people take us less seriously. It makes light of what it is really like to live with these conditions. 

And I digress.

The quote itself is right on. I speak that truth from the wonder of living it. When you've been through some of the things I have been, when every time you turn around, someone else is betraying you, failing you, lying to you, it's hell. 

I've been there. For a long time while I was in that place, I tried to rationalize it. A long, long time. I thought that there had to be something wrong with me, that it wasn't possible that there could be this many things wrong. That I was the crazy one.

Some of them helped convince me that I was.

Then, one day it was all revealed for what it was. It wasn't me. It was never me. I was collateral damage, the one hurt because of the things they were doing that really didn't have much to do with me at all.

I was, in fact, just surrounded by assholes. 

Let me tell you, it was a glorious moment when I finally realized it.

When you've thought you were the crazy one, it's freeing, for sure.

Life is a whole lot better now.

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