November 4, 2008

Here is a word that’s been thrown around a lot in my world lately.  It may surprise you to hear this friends, but I’ve been a bit cynical about the whole “hope” thing. In better moments, I’ve tried to attribute this to the rough summer, weather changing, less sunlight, Seasonal Affective Disorder etc. Whatever.

Now friends, I know a LOT of people who “drank the Obama kool-aid” (as the republican View girl from SNL says). I tried not to visibly show annoyance when people started echoing empty shouts of “change” and “hope” inspired by nothing more than the fact that the man is a good speech-maker. And I do concede that he is indeed a powerful speech-maker. I privately rolled my eyes and had surreptitious conversations with most of my friends and (like-minded) family members about the fact that his speeches were powerful but somewhat empty. We discussed downfalls of the Obama candidacy and how he doesn’t come near anything resembling the liberal icon that Americans are now identifying with. We always end up back at the same place. We know we have to vote Obama because even though he is a neo-con, he is most definitely the lesser of the two evils.

I hit a new low last weekend when one of my favorite people in the whole huge wide world told me that she felt hope for the first time in a long time because of Barack Obama. Granted, I think all of my friends are brilliant, but Luckybuzz? She is in a class of her own. I could gushingly offer evidence of her brilliance but for the sake of the post, let’s just say she has never even sipped on kool-aid in her life. And she feels hope. Because of Barack Obama. I was scared friends. Scared and angry and wanting to beat the shit out of the democratic candidate for president for putting a person who lives in my heart in a place where she could be hurt or disappointed by his imminent failure. That feeling turned into a deep sadness when I realized that it’s not Obama’s fault and that he will probably be as broken as everyone else.

(Don’t misunderstand me friends. I REALLY want to be wrong about this. And if I am wrong, I vow to you here and now that I will be his most vocal supporter. (I mean Im already voting for him, so cut me a little slack ok?) Maybe I will even quit my job and dedicate myself to getting him re-elected in 2012. Who knows? )

But this morning, thanks to another (personal favorite) esteemed blogger I got a different perspective about the whole situation. It occurred to me after reading his post that it doesn’t matter how the whole Obama thing pans out really. (well it kinda does.) No matter what happens, nobody is going to be able to take away the hope people are feeling today. Nobody will be able to take away the new found empowerment people are experiencing. Nobody can change that for the first time in many years, disillusioned people are starting to feel proud to be an American. And the more I think about this, the more hopeful I am getting. Because more registered voters will be participating in this election than have done so in an entire century. People who felt powerless are starting to believe that they can make significant changes on a governmental level. And maybe it isn’t really relevant if they are hitched to a slightly faulty pony on this one. Maybe what matters is that people will see an Obama win as their own success and feel empowered enough to actually start learning about issues and taking steps to make a difference locally. Maybe this truly is the dawn of a brand new time of hope after all.

Oh come on friends. I never said I didn’t like kool-aid!


September 21, 2008

I had the most harrowing nightmare Friday night. I wanted to come out into the living room and write it down immediately but I was petrified to get out of bed. Fortunately, it was a rare night that both children were sleeping in their own beds so I just woke Gill up for reassurance and tried to rationalize myself back to sleep. Two days later in the safety of the afternoon, Im ready to write it down and start working with it.

Gill, the boys and I were all living in a rented duplex of some sort. It had some characteristics of our current home but in the dream we still owned our home but were renting this duplex for some reason. We also all shared the same bedroom, which was like our current master bedroom. The nightmarish part was that we lived next to a huge old 8-plex apartment building that reminded me a great deal of one of the apartments I lived in during the 90s. (Interestingly, the building is now abandoned and I have this secret fantasy of turning it into a shelter for kids who have been kicked out of their homes or abused due to their sexual identity. You know, once I become dirty rich next week…) The apartment building has never once scared me in real life but in the dream, it was widely accepted that the building is haunted. Now friends, I have a legendary fear of all things preternatural. Not only could I not see the Blair Witch Project? But I could not sleep for three days after my friend told me about it even though the hoax factor was already well known. (one day Ill blog about the blair crse project). Yet in the dream, I was creating all types of rationalizations for why it was going to be ok to live there. I even had a plan to get kind lively folks to move in and fill it up so it wouldn’t be so scary. And different very old true friends were coming to me and telling me that no that should not happen, because it was dangerously haunted. The most shocking part of the dream was when my friend, T came to me and said “Crse, nobody can live in there because the haunting is violent and extremely dangerous. In fact, I am terrified for you and your family because you live next door.” T is a mathematician and Ive never heard her talk of ghosts or anything scary at all. Coming from her, the warning had added power.

At that point, I begged gill to move us back home but for some reason, we absolutely could not do it. (This puzzles me in the dream as Ive always said in real life that nothing could keep me in a place I was afraid or miserable). The last part of the dream I was in bed and the boys were asleep at the foot of the mattress, snuggling my legs. I remember thinking, we are safe as long as we stay away. I just have to get them out of here before they are old enough to go exploring over there.

It sounds way less terrifying on paper. But Ive been struggling with what it means. Ive been wondering a bit if it relates to events on Friday. Two significant points about Friday: 1. My pay-check was not directly deposited which is really really bad. 2. Several conversations throughout the day that related to this quote:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”- Marianne Wilson.

This is one of my all-time favorite quotes. In particular, “shrinking so others don’t feel insecure around you” was a key to explaining why none of should do that even though those who feel competitive with us or otherwise threatened by our individual gifts will try to make us do so.

I don’t know how these events might relate to the dream but I do know I woke up thinking of the quote and how the dream warnings came from my oldest, most loyal friends. Is that significant? I don’t know…i know the comments are off but if anyone has any insight into this, would you mind emailing me? I would be eternally grateful.


No pressure or anything. Thanks for reading though!

What my summer did to me

September 9, 2008

Yesterday was “water communion” at my church (I always feel like I should put church in quotes as well. Because you know, Im unitarian and we aren’t really “house of god” sort of folks there). If you want to understand what water communion isyou should go here and read. Anyway, in our newsletter we were asked to think about “what my summer did to me” as we contemplated bringing our water in. I won’t go into the ludicrosity that kept us out of church yesterday (If you are looking for the blog where you get open season on critiquing my parenting,…well…that’s next door). But I was thinking about this question a lot over the weekend and decided to blog about it.

My summer made me sadder but (hopefully) wiser. Repeatedly, I found myself staring the dark side of humanity. Between getting my wallet stolen and other unbloggable incidents, I was forced to face some ugly aspects of human nature this summer. What frustrated and embarrassed me most about the continued series of occurrences was the fact that I really didn’t and still don’t get “why do people act that way?” What would make someone think it’s ok to steal my wallet? Or be publicly rude? Or deliberately dismissive? Or simply malicious? I am not talking about a sharp word or a bad day that you laugh about together later. I am talking about the kind of behavior that makes you embarrassed to witness

By no means do I think I am perfect. Again, just go next door to see how big of an ass I can be. But honestly friends? I don’t really get the whole “being ok with hurting people on purpose” thing. My amazing friend Luckybuzz is married to a wonderful man (who is also my friend) Gospel Bob being of similar mind, shared the philosophy that “It doesn’t matter if you are a serial killer, there is just no reason to be rude.” Friends, I believe this. In fact, I try very hard to live this. I will say that having this creed as a standard has paid off well over the summer as I was able to hold my tongue and refrain from responding to rudeness in like manner on several occasions.

Instead, I analyze these incidents ad nauseum. I’m in denial that people I know (or don’t know) actually intend to behave this way. I want to think I am missing some significant point of communication where the behavior that seems so mean-spirited will make sense. Except I can never find that point. Today my therapist suggested I need to start accepting that even people I respect and care about have the capacity for mean-spiritedness. That, friends, is a blow. I don’t want to believe that. I am not sure what happens to my worldview when I accept that.

Still, I wrote myself a birthday manifesto this year. (Shared it with Lucy on my birthday and have been working on it for a post ever since) I haven’t figured it all out yet but ultimately I’m hoping it leads to better boundaries, a more realistic sense of the world and less disappointment in humanity. Ill keep you posted.

What the hell?

September 3, 2008

Well friends, the nice thing about the companion blog is I have freedom to rant here about my political frustration without tainting the simple crudity that is The Crseum. So…..the past eleven days have been disconcerting for me to say the least. First, Obama picks Biden, then America goes plum crazy over Obama’s speech and then last Friday, out of nowhere…there she was.

So you want this to be my hilary? I waver between incredulous and insulted. Because better folks than I are handling this all over the internet, I won’t belabor my blog with the list of reasons she is SO NOT HILARY. Ive read enough in the past four days to believe that clearly Sarah Palin was not “vetted” in any realistic way. Which makes no sense. But then again so much of this past year makes no sense. Much like 2000 made no sense to me.

Friends, the time has come for me to be frank. Im not a huge Obama fan. Why? I will tell you why. I don’t think he’s as progressive as we are giving him credit for being. He keeps saying “change” and “we can do it” and stuff but friends, he ain’t that liberal. Take FISA for instance. Obama supports a broad enforcement of FISA law. After he said he wouldn’t.  And he said he wouldn’t because broad enforcement of FISA law is well…pretty damn Big Brother.  There are other issues friends. But suffice it to say Obama is moving towards the middle of the road. Which does not bother me as much as the fact that people aren’t going to look at him and see this. They are going to see that he was endorsed by “NARAL” as the most pro-choice candidate, but they won’t see that there was a split up until the end about the endorsement. And that the organization backed Hilary until it was clear it was Obama. They will hear that he was the most liberal senator in 2007 but not that he has been hedging towards the middle on several issues including the death penalty, abortions and the war in Iraq. They hear these great catch phrases and they forget that we have to count on this guy to be our president. i just don’t think he knows what he is doing. And what he does know? Doesn’t always seem to bode well for folks like me who are not quite Ron Paul but still hanging on that left fringe. But ill vote for him why? Because the fact that sarah palin could be president…oh i can’t finish that sentence friends….

So here is the thing John mccain. if you really wanted to give me a hilary? You should have thrown a Joe Lieberman my way. That would have given me pause. Or at least stopped me from laughing in your face.

The John Edwards Situation

August 12, 2008

I try to always wear my seat belt. Sometimes I forget. Sometimes i just don’t get around to it. Still, when I break this law, I do so fully knowing that the consequence can reach much farther than just a ticket. My action has the potential to cause my loved ones irrevocable misery. By not wearing my seatbelt, I run the risk of forever changing the lives of two precious little boys and robbing them of the physical presence of the one person who loves them more than anyone ever will again. I risk depriving my life partner of his proclaimed soul mate. I risk making my father’s deepest fear a reality; that he will outlive one or more of his children. Because of the nature of my work, I have an easy hundred people who will potentially face the trauma of losing their helping professional, which is a loss that has the potential to cause regression, pain, and unnecessary grief in general. Say I don’t die. I have the potential to cost tax-payers and other co-prescribers of my health insurance a great deal of money. I will negatively impact the quality of life of everyone who loves me as they transition into the role of my helper. I can’t even begin to list the folks that would be affected if I take that unnecessary gamble and lose. It might be called an accident, but by choosing not to buckle, I take out the accidental component and make a conscious choice to betray a hell of a lot of people.

Yes, John Edwards cheated. I realize I am in a minority but I struggle with this particular behavior being the one behavior in which individuals feel compelled to insert themselves into other people’s relationships. My father (who to my knowledge never cheated on my mother during their marriage) told me years before I ever got married that it was hard to stay married to someone for any significant length of time without great hurts being heaped upon each other. Committing to each other usually involves a lot of promises that generally get broken. People’s hearts get broken. Children are hurt. Families go through trauma. Cheating is not the only betrayal that brings this kind of pain to a family. As a therapist, I can attest to the fact that many other betrayals cause pain that is just as damaging in a relationship/family. Yet, cheating is the one behavior that we use to measure a person’s integrity. We as a society don’t speak out on any other intermarital behavior the way we do about cheating on a spouse.

Furthermore (it is so wrong to use furthermore. Sometimes I just can’t help myself!), I have seen folks dismiss and/or defend public behavior that does seem to provide a much more concrete indicator of poor integrity. Specifically, John Edwards’s conduct during the debates comes to mind. He took cheap shots at Hilary and Obama both and preyed upon the division between them instead of using his position as a point of unification. It was self-serving and to me, much more disgusting than anything he did in the context of his marriage. His behavior was presented as an acceptable campaign tactic by the press. So publicly and directly slamming someone else’s character through lies and exaggeration on tv is ok but discreet betrayal of a personal nature is not? People can easily explain away publicly “shitty” behavior if it supports their cause, party or issue. Yet, these same people will rise up and condemn the same candidate they championed if a private interpersonal behavior that involves sex is brought to light.

When politicians don’t wear seatbelts, we don’t usually hear about it. And we probably don’t need to. Maybe we need to stop being so judgmental overall. If we want to take the moral/religious high-road, it would be helpful to remember some words that Jesus guy: (I know, he can be embarrassingly inconvenient to bring up during moral condemnation) Every single one of us is greater than the sum of our own worst actions.

Hell…that’s just what I think.