Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Check out my column this Thursday at KentWired.com!!!

I'm so excited, are you excited??

It's gonna be so amazing!

Monday, August 16, 2010

You Mosque Be Kidding Me!

Note:  Please do not mistake the argument below as anything other than a disgruntled outcry against radical political nuts.  For those who oppose the building of the Muslim Community Center two blocks from the site of the WTC towers for a genuine reason (i.e. not fear-mongering, intolerance, or racial/religious hatred), I respect your opinions and would greatly appreciate feedback via comments below.  Honest discussion is a must.  My message here is simply, don't hate on people just because of their religion or because of some bunk you heard on Fox or because you're scared.  But if you do have a legitimate reason for opposing, I respect your position, and please let me know.  Enjoy!

Alright.  I have had it up to my ears with hearing about this "Ground Zero Mosque."  Anyone else tired of hearing about it?  If I never hear another Bill O'Reilly or Sarah Palin blabbering on about it, it'll be too dang soon.  *Huge Sigh*

First of all, let me point out that for one thing, the Muslim religion as a whole is in no way associated with the crazy wack-jobs who flew planes into the World Trade Center buildings.  They were what we call religious zealots.  That's like the equivalent of those Westboro Baptists who picket at soldier's funerals(you should watch this video if you haven't heard of them).  Now, do we just go hating on all Christians because of the stupid stuff these crazed religious zealots do?  NO.  Get over it, right wing fundamentalists.  You cannot use the screw ups of one extremist sect to condemn an ENTIRE RELIGION.  Now, not everyone is crazy about Christians, but I will tell you that most don't see them in the same light as the Westboro baptists, who just love forcing their young children to shout at soldiers' funerals about how they're all going to hell for being gay and carrying signs that say "Thank God for Dead Soldiers."  The bottom line here is that most Muslims do not believe what the extremists who flew the planes into the WTC buildings believed.  Therefore, no harm done putting a mosque near ground zero.  If we used the same logic here in other instances, we shouldn't allow Christian churches near the sites of burned down abortion clinics. 

Point number two.  The right to freedom of religion is guaranteed in the first amendment of our Constitution:  "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."  (source: U.S. Archives)  Unless you support mucking up the friggin' Constitution itself, the very basis of our American government, you cannot be against building this mosque.  (Oh wait, I guess Republicans do want that... Please see the text of the 14th amendment here.)

Point number three, George Bush himself, a Republican mind you, said that the Muslim faith was a peaceful one and that we should not DISCRIMINATE against Muslims.  Bush also mentioned that the Koran says that killing an innocent human being is like killing all of humanity.  Doesn't sound like evil, murderous teaching to me.  Here's the video of Bush AT A RAMADAN FESTIVAL talking about how we shouldn't hate on Muslims for what happened on 9/11.  It's a good video, so if you can spare the time, watch the whole thing. 

Point number four, there are around 10 million Muslims in the U.S. alone (estimate from islamicweb.com, which used stats from the CIA factbook).  In the world, it's estimated that there are nearly 2 billion Muslims - that's over 25% of all people on Earth.  Islam is also the fastest growing religion, as well as the second largest religion in the world (behind Christianity).  We can't seriously hate 1/4 of the world's population.  It's ludicrous!

Point number five, the so-called "Ground Zero Mosque" is actually a community center.  The New Yorker had an article about it recently, saying "Well, for a start, it won’t be at Ground Zero. It’ll be on Park Place, two blocks north of the World Trade Center site (from which it will not be visible), in a neighborhood ajumble with restaurants, shops (electronics, porn, you name it), churches, office cubes, and the rest of the New York mishmash. Park51, as it is to be called, will have a large Islamic “prayer room,” which presumably qualifies as a mosque. But the rest of the building will be devoted to classrooms, an auditorium, galleries, a restaurant, a memorial to the victims of September 11, 2001, and a swimming pool and gym. Its sponsors envision something like the 92nd Street Y—a Y.M.I.A., you might say, open to all..."  Read more of the article here.  Sounds pretty good, actually.  Doesn't sound like something that would be a detriment to the area or damaging to the memory of 9/11 victims - especially since it will have a MEMORIAL to the victims.  C'mon people, let's stop the hate and be reasonable.  There are community centers for African Americans, Hispanics, Christians - duh, the YMCA stands for "Young Men's Christian Association" - so why shouldn't there be community centers for Muslims.  I can't even believe we have to argue this point.  It's called HUMAN RIGHTS.

Lastly, I want to share a link to a photo project by Daryl Lang which shows various buildings, businesses, etc. that are roughly the same distance from the WTC buildings as the proposed Community Center (aka "Ground Zero Mosque").  You should really check it out.  Some of the buildings include fast food restaurants, a gentleman's club, and a betting shop.  I really don't think this should even be a problem.  I think a lot of the victims would say, 'You know, I really wouldn't want a couple of crazy nuts to ruin the freedom of Muslims all over America,' who, may I add, were likely victims or family/friends of victims of 9/11.  It's just another excuse for people to hate on others. 

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Move Along

I was thinking recently about how much things have changed for me in the past year.  Yes I'm happier and yes I feel more confident than I ever have before.  Things are good.  But I just got to wondering how I left things behind - things that had been my life for as long as I can remember - so easily.  And people who I had known and lived with for two years...  I missed things at Johnson for a while, sure.  But it was really easy to separate myself from that life and just shoot full-speed ahead in this new one.  Like maybe somehow it all glanced right off my shoulder.

The thing about being in psychology is that I'm always analyzing myself, too.  I think what it is, is that I was so unhappy there and so lonely and so caged - I really got to the point, psychologically, where I had to leave.  I needed the opportunities and freedoms of a big university.  Bottom line is, I have big dreams for my future.  I love planning things out, and I cannot tell you how many times I have written out the next six years on paper, visualizing the kind of path my life will unfold into.  I just keep writing out the list, over and over.  I have been filling some of my empty free time with making budgets for after I finish school, looking at houses, researching places to live (I really should be looking at schools, but I'll get to it).  I feel excited again instead of lost and confused.  I didn't fit in there.  And maybe things won't be as good with James only visiting on the weekends, but I think that's really only part of the equation.  I'll be working at the paper, doing research, getting ready for grad school, taking more classes than I'm really looking forward to.  But I do think I'll be happy.  And hopefully, I'll have the time to make some friends.  Hopefully people who I can count on and who won't just be around when it's convenient or when they have no one else to hang out with or because they feel bad or something.  I've always been that person who befriends people because they're good people and maybe they don't have other friends.  I've never cared about popularity.  I just want to be a good person and reach out to others, no matter what other people think of them.  I don't know, I've gotten burned too many times for trusting people.

So I just feel as if there should be some deeper answer to how I made that transition so easily from Johnson to where I am now.  I think the real answer is that I was always how I am now, but I was afraid to be myself. I thought it would be wrong to just be me.  Because it was all so strict and tight-laced; I had no breathing room.  I guess I never felt like I would be good enough for any of it.  But I know that being me is enough.  And it's really more than enough because I'm being true to myself and not pretending to be something I'm not. I've never been much for lying or dealing with people who lie.  It's just not something I'm cool with.  So I'm glad to not be pretending to be perfect anymore.  I'm glad to just be myself and let that be enough.  I'm glad to not have to pretend like people who never talked to me were my "friends."  I'm glad to have more options for my future and a better chance at achieving what I want in life.  I'm glad to have the heavy weight of expectations off my shoulders.

Sometimes I wonder if this change came about because I left it all behind, or simply because I grew up.  I guess there's really no way to know.  And I don't plan on ever going back.  I just wish that everyone was okay with my decisions and thought that I was enough, too.  But I only need to have the confidence in myself. If no one else can see the good this has done for me and how this is how I was always supposed to be, well it's a pity, but I don't need anyone else.  It sucks, but sometimes you just have to keep on blazing your own trail, and just leave those people in your dust.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

All the Good Women

I am listening to an interview with Sharron Angle (Republican Senator) on the Rachel Maddow Show right now. One question keeps smacking me across the brain:  Where are all the good women in politics?  Alright, the guy interviewing her (John Ralston) played tape of her saying she wanted to get rid of Medicare and Social Security. On a Republican talk show, however, she said we have to protect these programs.  When asked about this apparent contradiction, she dodged the question, pretty much just saying that she didn't think it was a contradiction.  Yeah... I don't get it either.  

Apparently this lady loves to blame things on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.  She blames him for not creating jobs, yet in a different statement, said it was not the job of a Senator to create jobs.  When asked about this, she said it was his job to create an atmosphere conducive to job creation.  What?

Plus, she made a statement recently that she didn't believe it was right to get an abortion in any circumstance.  Not even if raped or in the case of incest or if the life of the mother or baby is at risk.  The reason she gave is that she's a Christian and she believes god has a plan for everyone and uses all kinds of circumstances for good. I don't have a problem with people being religious, I've made that clear in the past.  I do have a problem with using religious ideals for reasons to back (or oppose) political issues.  We have separation of church and state for a reason.  This is a question of morals, but it's a national issue and not all Americans are Christians.  Therefore, it is not fair to use Christian ideals to create policy!  I think most Christians are trying to do a lot of good in the world.  I respect that.  But I do not respect pushing ideals onto others - especially if they are unwilling and have made that position known.  No politician or policymaker or lawmaker or judge or President or anyone in government has the right to push their ideals on the American people.  I suppose that goes either way.  But the bottom line here is that this is not a theocracy, there are other religions (or lack of religion) represented in great numbers in this country, and our Constitution guarantees the separation of church and state!

I'm tired of hearing of all of these Republican women in politics.  I'm sure not all of them are the dunder-headed bimbos I'm ranting against here.  But it seems like there are just too many of those blonde idiots out there trying to run the country and making fools out of themselves.  Palin trying to be President (or even VP for that matter), Mrs. Angle, Ann Coulter... I could go on.  Some of these women say the most ridiculous and stupid things.  And they're a shame to all women.  I'm disgusted.  

Women in politics should not be trying to push their beauty as some kind of qualifying characteristic for office.  Being attractive does not make you more able to run a country or make good policy or anything else, really, besides win beauty pageants.  Maybe if our culture respected intelligence, drive, and strength in women, we wouldn't have so many jokes in our public offices.  I think people didn't like Hillary Clinton because she wasn't what people would call beautiful.  Well, men, keep yourself in your pants and maybe try voting intelligent women into office.  And women, try keeping your prejudices out of it, too, because we all know we like pretty girls as friends better than plain ones.  Well, women in power are not going to be your best friend or your hot date.  They are going to run the country, make important and sometimes life-altering decisions for 300 million people.  

Maybe all the good women are too smart to get into politics.  Makes sense to me!

(And yeah, that picture really says all there is to say.)

Working Girl

Alright, I just got an e-mail from the editor of the paper, talking about Training Week!  I feel so nervous right now.  It's one of those moments when I start to think maybe this wasn't my best idea ever.  Ah!  And we have to come early, probably 3 days for me, being a columnist, so I have to get info. to him soon so I can move in early! Man I feel like a fish out of water - I've never done this before.  But, trying not to feel alarmed.  Oh yeah, and I have to do something online if it's a paid position, but I don't know if it is!  How awkward is it going to be to shoot him an e-mail like, "hey, yeah, I was just wondering, are you paying me for this?"  Well, I guess change is always scary.  It never seems as scary when you're hoping for it or planning for it or whatever.  It's scary when it gets down to it and you actually have responsibilities!  But I will be strong and I will look to the bright side of this.  I'm so excited to be a columnist!  And it won't look bad on my resume.  ; )

Sunday, June 27, 2010

It's a Man's World... (Not)

Oh, so much to talk about, but where to start?  We finally painted at our apartment yesterday, and the color looks great.  We recently lost our kitty - I had planned to write about it, but felt it was somehow inappropriate to post on here.  I'm still writing, but I haven't been making a lot of progress lately.  I did add a new beginning.  I've read several books since my last post (some very good ones, too) such as The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd, which I would recommend to anyone and everyone.  

I also recently watched the controversial movie "Milk" which I thought was excellent.  It stirred up a lot inside me, too.  I suppose I'm one of those people who is only happy when they have a cause.  I just don't like seeing people hated on or oppressed.  All about the equality.  

I was concerned with the lack of women in the movie, however.  I feel like when we talk about gay rights, we just forget about women.  One theory might be that lesbians are better accepted in our society, or another might be that there are less of them, or maybe men loving other men strikes people as much more of a problem.  Maybe our society is just too male-centered.  And I do believe that's true.  It makes me angry.  I will now commence my rant.

The problem here is that no matter how far our society or our culture has come, women are still not equal to men.  Tons of people would scoff at that comment.  Tons of people would also call me names for saying I'm a feminist.  I don't care; bring it on!  Women are paid 15% less than men, STILL!  How is that even excusable in this day and age?  It's ludicrous!  I know women are part of the problem.  Don't mistake me for a woman who hates all men, though sometimes it seems easier to just blame all the problems on them.  I don't.  Women are underachievers, as a sex.  I know tons of hardworking women who have big dreams.  But how many women do you know that settle for lesser jobs?  Why a nurse and not a doctor?  Why a kindergarten teacher and not a professor?  Why a social worker and not a psychologist?  Why not a firefighter, police officer, astronaut, scientist?  So many women choose to sidestep these jobs for ones of lesser prestige.  Is it because we're drawn to children in fields like teacher or pediatrician (as opposed to brain surgeon)?  Do we put off these greater careers in order to get married and start families?

I for one will not put my dreams on the back burner.  I may have been born a woman, but that does not mean  I will settle for less than I am capable of.  That is what makes me so angry.  I know so many women who are capable of so much, but they still settle for less.  

I had a lot of interesting ideas about why so many people are prejudiced against gay men.  And why men are so obsessed with things like war and sports.  It may be that men are being held back in this society even more than women.  Our society casts men as strong providers, unemotional, logical and problem-solvers.  They get things done, and they are manly doing it.  Men don't cry.  They don't feel weakness.  They are tough and they protect their women (please! I say, dripping with sarcasm).  Well, it's not as if men are born without feelings or fears.  They aren't perfect.  They make mistakes, they have needs.  But society doesn't want them to get too close to each other.  If a man has a close friend, people talk about them.  They might be made fun of or called gay just for having a close friendship and caring for another man.  Women do that all the time - it's expected.  But the only real relationship in which it is okay for a man to be vulnerable is with a woman.  That's all fine and good, but it sounds awfully lonely.  

About sports, and war.  I've heard that they both give you a great high, something some people crave.  But the most important thing about these two, and it's not just my own musings here, is that they provide brotherhood.  This is one other situation in which it is okay for a man to depend on another man.  To love another man and have a close connection to him without being seen as acting outside of his role.  (Because somehow we've gotten so homophobic that a man can't show his feelings or admiration of other guys outside of certain restrictive boundaries.)  No wonder guys crave these things.  Everyone wants to feel wanted, to have close relationships with others.  Sure, the whole brotherhood thing isn't the only reason men participate in war or sports.  Maybe not even the main reason.  I don't know.  But I do think it is a reason.  Men are stifled and weighed down in this culture.  They are constantly being told they aren't good enough.  Not good enough at their jobs, not good enough in bed, not good enough at being fathers.  

And while we're talking about fathers, let me just touch on the epidemic of crappy fathers.  I hear about them left and right.  Men leaving their kids, cheating on their wives, abusing their families, just plain not caring.  Maybe this is because men don't have very good role models of what a good father looks like.  We need a movement toward more caring and loving fathers.  And part of that process, which has already started, is that women need to let men take care of their children.  We have a tendency to want things done a certain way and when the man doesn't do it perfectly, we just do it ourselves.  Not only does this put more pressure on ourselves, but it leads to that apathetic quality seen in so many fathers today.  They can't care about something they aren't allowed to participate in.  And how much richer would their lives be if they could have more responsibility in the care of their children?  How much more time would women have with some of that burden off their shoulders - time enough to fulfill those big dreams she maybe didn't think she would ever achieve.  Maybe if we had more equitable roles, people would be more tolerant of those who choose alternative lifestyles to the traditional.  

We all need to learn to be more tolerant of others.  If you believe in god, good for you.  Don't shove it down other people's throats.  If you think being gay is wrong, fine.  But don't hurt another person or discriminate against them because of it.  Keep it to yourself.  Respect others.  Understand them and the fact that they did not up and choose a lifestyle they somehow "knew" was "wrong," but they are simply being who they are.  And they deserve that right.  Thousands of young LGBT kids contemplate suicide, lots of them do kill themselves - all because we can't be more accepting of them.  We are all human.  We all get afraid, we all care what others think, we all need encouragement and support.  If your intolerance is leading to loss of life, maybe you should rethink what you believe, or at least how you deal with others who you deem 'in the wrong.'  All the stupid jokes you made as a kid, every time you say 'that's gay' or call someone a name, just think about how different things would be if their struggles were your own.  

I wish I could solve all the world's problems.  I want to be active, but this is a time of inactivity.  I know I just need to have the courage to start what needs to be started:  a new way of thinking about the world and the people around us.  Tolerance.  Love.  Acceptance.  Respect.  I hope when I leave this world, I'll have left it just a little bit better than when I arrived.  And I really mean that.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

We're in Deepwater Now

Yay for new posts!  Now let's get down to business.  I'm sure everyone has heard about the recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  Big news!  Well, I was watching Rachel Maddow recently when I heard an interesting bit of information.  

Apparently, a spill by the same company as the one going on right now, happened in the same place - the Gulf of Mexico - back in 1979 AND - here's the kicker! - they used all the same techniques to try to get rid of it and guess what!  Yeah, they didn't work then, either.  

Alright, first of all, I'm pretty upset about this whole thing.  It seems obvious to me that we are simply not ready to handle drilling offshore in such deep waters.  (Sorry, a little pun there, unintentional if you believe it.)  The oil spill going on right now is about 5,000 feet below sea level.  If you look back, the similar one I mentioned from 1979 was about 200 feet below sea level.  That spill lasted an amazing NINE MONTHS.  I kid you not.  So, why in the world would we believe we can handle a spill in 5,000 feet if it took us nine-friggin-months to clean up a spill 30 years ago in only 200 feet?  

Well, perhaps you think, well we have better technology now.   Perhaps we do, but if I recall correctly, the same sort of back-up system in place in the Deepwater Horizon was used in the 1979 spill.  And, yeah, it didn't prevent a spill then, either.  Perhaps if we had better methods for cleaning up the spill, then it would be okay to delve so far beneath the ocean waves to pump up oil.  But, yeah, we don't.  The same methods are being used to clean up this one as 30 years ago.  The same chemicals are being sprayed into our oceans (endangering sea life) now.  And it's been proven these chemicals are unsafe to the animals whose habitats our greedy oil tycoons have invaded in the first place.  But, we keep on using them.  

Apparently, these chemicals are not only unsafe for the animals (and also, not biodegradable, big shocker there) but they are also not actually supposed to be used for getting rid of the oil, only dispersing it into a larger area.  Seriously.  As if killing more wildlife will make the situation any better.  Their cap didn't work either.  What about relief wells?  They're expected by August.  Yeah, two months away - and that's just the best case scenario.  (Side note: have you seen all the ways people are thinking up to soak up the oil?  Human hair, goat hair, etc. - but no one is taking them seriously.  What if these things could work?  It's better than shoving golf balls down there, like some doofus at BP suggested.)

Let's talk about how BP has lied about the output of this gushing well from the beginning, shall we?  At first they were saying less, then they were saying 5,000 gallons a day (which happens to be the number they said they were cleaning out of the well, too - strange, huh?), now we know it's closer to 40 to 50,000 BARRELS a day - each barrel containing 50 gallons.  I cannot even comment on this, it's just too shocking.

On top of all this, the oil spill is also threatening the marshes lining our coasts.  Big deal, right?  Well, these marshes, besides being home to countless species of animals and plants that deserve better treatment, are really important for slowing down the progress of hurricanes that come on shore.  The marshes literally save lives every year.  And they are currently being destroyed by this completely out of hand leak.  (And I hesitate to even use the word 'leak' as it's a ridiculous understatement - as if it were a leaky faucet, dripping out oil every now and then.)

I'm sure you can tell I'm pretty ticked off by this issue.  And I will go a step further.  I do not believe we should be drilling offshore.  Not only can we get dangerous leaks such as the one still gushing 2,500,000 gallons of oil every day (I hadn't actually written out the number until now; can you even fathom that much oil?  It's an absolute travesty!), but the simple truth is that we just do not have enough oil on this earth for it to be a sustainable energy source.  

However, looking at the website for the U.S. Energy Information Administration, it seems coal could become a bigger problem (see the link below, there's an interesting graph on page 66, on the right (don't worry, the link is only 5 pages long) showing that coal is projected to have the largest share in our energy sources by 2035.

Still, what about all those great renewable sources like wind and solar?  According to the EIA (mentioned above), in 2007 we used a total of (maybe you should sit down?) 101.545 QUADRILLION Btu (Side note: "The British thermal unit (BTU or Btu) is a traditional unit of energy equal to about 1.06 kilojoules. It is approximately the amount of energy needed to heat one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit." - direct quote from Wikipedia.)  I wasn't even sure that kind of number existed!  It's like a thousand trillion (which is a thousand billion, which is a thousand million, etc.)  It's like a thousand times our national debt - Times another hundred!  It's ridiculous.  Out of that, 86.212 Quadrillion Btu came from fossil fuels (total).  Petroleum was accountable for 39.773 Quadrillion Btu.  Coal was close behind with 22.776.  But the renewables? - total, about 6.813 Quadrillion Btu, with wind at 0.341 and solar at 0.081.  

We're really in a pickle here, folks.  That oil isn't going to last forever, and as we can see from this oil spill, which I forgot to mention before is way way worse than the Exxon Valdez spill up near Alaska, drilling offshore is dangerous.  Our economy can't handle importing so much fossil fuel from the Middle East and other countries.  I don't know much about Natural Gas (23.637 - usage in 2007), but coal pumps harmful greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.  I generally think Obama is doing pretty well, but where's all that renewable energy he was talking about?  I wish it were more of a priority for him (though I understand what kind of mess he has to clean up after the last ding-a-ling in office).

Everyone should take a look at the report on electricity, here:  http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/aeo/pdf/trend_3.pdf as well as the energy usage report I quoted, which can be found here: http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/solar.renewables/page/trends/table1.html 

I am truly sorry for any inaccuracies, and don't forget to post your comments!  This should be a good one for discussion.

Progress on the book:  somewhere around 15 pages so far, and major plot developments worked out, at least in theory.  It's looking pretty good.  When I don't have any ideas for the scene I'm doing, I go back and do some editing.  Overall, it's going well.  I'm currently reading another Danielle Steel book called Toxic Bachelors.  I think I'll start making a little note of what I'm reading, from now on.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Remembering, Hoping

Well, as everyone knows, today is Memorial Day.  I actually did not think up this post because of the (then) upcoming holiday, but because of a book I read recently.  Just fyi, it was called Message From Nam by Danielle Steel and it was very good.  I can overlook the overly romantic bits (but not in the tawdry sense, mind you, it wasn't a trashy romance novel, but there was some unrealistic falling in love going on) because it was a great story about growing up and realizing that life is not how we always hope to believe when we're young.  The book made me realize two big things.  One is that no one gives enough respect to servicemen and women, especially those from Viet Nam.  Second, I think I understand better why so many Americans believe in some kind of god.

First, I know I really have no concept of what Viet Nam was like or what those men went through fighting that war.  It was one of, if not the worst wars we have ever been involved in, especially if you look at the casualties.  I think this book helped me understand war a little better.  I know part of the reasoning behind her view of the war is still idealistic, but I'd like to think a lot of the boys over there were fighting for the people they'd lost and those that they loved.  Maybe not all of them had that motivation for fighting.  And I'm sure not all wars had the same motivations for their soldiers to fight.  I don't know.  I will not pretend like I know much about war or others' motivations for anything at all.  And I am a huge idealist, and still pretty young, so there are a lot of things I have yet to understand.  But I try.

I wish people would stop hating the soldiers and start hating the wars.  Most soldiers are there because they believe in something good and worthy - freedom, for many - and they want to protect that.  I'll be upfront with the fact that I am a complete pacifist and don't support war as a concept.  But I'm not quite naive enough to believe that war isn't sometimes necessary.  Whatever the reason is - be it misled notions, religious fervor, greed, failed communications with other nations, or something else - war is sometimes unavoidable.  I guess I like to think that we just aren't quite there yet - the place where all of us can live peacefully together and use communication to get what we want and need, instead of force or fear.  But the truth is that there are people in the world that do bad things.  I can't let myself believe that there are bad people out there.  There are sick people, who have psychological problems, there are hurt people, angry people, wronged people, people who have let greed or vengeance overtake them.  But we don't start out bad.  I can't believe that about humanity.  All I know for sure is that I am not a bad person.  I don't want to take anything from anyone.  I don't want to wrong, or hurt, or kill.  I have to believe that it is circumstances that make us do desperate or bad things.  And who knows where I'd be if something terrible had happened to me - like if someone had murdered someone I loved or something.  Who am I to say I wouldn't be changed by that and perhaps do something I would not do, as I am now?  But I'm getting off track here.

Whether you believe we are fighting the current wars for a good reason or not, whether you believe the soldiers fighting are brave or stupid, noble or crazy, courageous or irresponsible, it does not matter.  They are still our boys and girls fighting and dying for what they believe in.  Fighting and dying for us.  So it really doesn't matter what any of us think about the war - good or bad - we still need to support our soldiers out there, who place themselves in danger every day for us.  

Secondly, I recently lost my great-grandmother, but I have not lost someone very close to me.  I wish I had known her more and been closer to her, but the fact is that I didn't see her much and she hardly recognized anyone at the end.  I don't know what that kind of grief feels like.  But I do know now that it is very hard for many people to think that someone they love dearly and have put so much energy and time into, was just gone.  It makes the pain a little less to think that maybe there is a god out there and the person you love is out there, somewhere, in a better place than this.  Especially if you lost someone like the character in the book, in an ugly war, for no reason, so young and hopeful and scared.  To think that the person you love is just gone is really hard to bear.  I don't blame anyone for hoping there is something better out there and that maybe, one day, they can see that loved one again.  I wish there wasn't so much animosity between people that believe in god and those that don't.  I'm guilty of fighting about the issue, too.  And I wish we could all just give each other peace and respect.  We all have opinions and struggles.  We come to our conclusions and decisions by different means and for different reasons, but we should respect that in each person we meet.  Some people who disagree with us seem irrational, defensive.  But everyone is scared, underneath it all.  The truth is just that we do not know what is out there.  We do not know what is after death, if anything.  And we can all at least recognize that none of us have the answer, none of us know for sure.  

In the end, each one of us dies.  In the end, we each face that unknown and have to meet it.  What lies on the other side, none of us can know.  But we will all meet the same end.  And that is that, my friends, nothing more.

In other news, I am busily writing a book.  My goal:  100 pages by the end of the summer.  I want to finish by the time that I graduate with my B.A.  I want to publish and I just get excited thinking about it.  Well, I'm about a tenth away from the summer goal, which sounds ridiculously small, but if I keep at it, I know I can finish.  And besides, with my track record for writing books, I'm doing pretty dang good.

Thank you to everyone who reads this blog, and I apologize for not having the opportunity to write a lot.  We hope to get dial-up at the apartment soon, because no one has service in our podunk little town.  

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Makes No Friggin' Sense

*Big Sigh*

Okay, so my limited access to the internet is really starting to get to me.  You have to understand that at school I spend the majority of the time I spend in my room on my computer.  Yes, I can access the internet at Jamie's and the library (as yet unvisited by me).  However, there is another problem.  I am suffering from information withdrawal!  I don't have USA Today here at home.  Yes, I can get it at the library, but like I said before, I haven't been there yet.  Besides I've been at Jamie's house since Friday because we went to see a baseball game this weekend.

Okay, a little about the game first.  It was a lot of fun.  I've been to an Indians' game with Jamie and his parents before, but this one was a lot more exciting.  I've also been to a Lake County Captains' game (minor league) which was a lot of fun.  Anywho, we got club seats this time which was WAY better than just going out to eat before the game.  We ate sooo much food.  I'm sure it was bad for my figure, but really, who cares?  There was pizza, hot dogs, hamburgers, salad (which was actually very good, and I'm not generally a fan of salad), peanuts, cracker jacks, popcorn, ice cream, cotton candy, nachos... I could go on and on here, folks.  And the french fries were amazing!  

They did end up losing but they put on a good show for it.  They were down by 2 runs in the last inning with one out and a guy on 1st and 3rd when Shin Soo Choo got up to bat.  It was so much fun because they have all these cool little puns for him, like 'Here's lookin' at Choo kid' and 'I got Choo babe' (and they pasted his face in pictures to match).  Everyone was cheering and yelling Chooooooooooo (and I was yelling Choo Choo) and clapping and making a TON of noise.  He ended up getting another out though, but there was so much hope there.  They'd lost the last game I saw of them (against the same team - the Cincinnati Reds) and I was really hoping they could come back this time.  The next guy up (Kearns) hit what looked like a home run, but the other team caught it and it was all over.  It was kind of sudden.  But I really had a lot of fun, and I can't say that about a lot of sporting events I've been to (not that I've been to a lot of them, really).  

Afterward there was an amazing fireworks show that seemed to go on forever.  It really was a cool night.  Plus, we got Slider figurines holding O-H I-O signs.  Oh yeah, I almost forgot.  We also got a practice ball : D  We got there pretty early, when the Reds were practicing, and one was hit up into the club seats a few sections over and we went and got it.  Jamie was so excited.  : )

Other than this, I'm really hoping to get a job soon, somewhere, but not having a lot of luck finding anything, especially since I don't have the option of driving somewhere.  If I can't get a job, I may try to get an internship (can't remember if I said that in an earlier post).  Also, I set myself a goal for finishing this new book I want to write.  I've only written a short excerpt from it, but I have ideas.  I have yet to finish any of the books I've started or gotten ideas for.  But this one I set a goal for, so hopefully it will end up coming to fruition - I have until the day that I graduate with my BA (which should be May of next year barring any unusual circumstances) to finish it.  One of the things I really want to do in life is write.  And that includes writing at least one novel (hopefully more).  

I think I'm good for the research next fall and I have my columnist job.  Next year is going to be good, I think.  Plus my roommate seems really cool.  I just have to get through this summer without going crazy.  The good thing is that you don't need the internet to write a book (well unless you have to research) and it usually just ends up being a distraction from the writing, anyway.  So hopefully I will get a lot done this summer on that.  I'm thinking I should aim for 1/3 of the book by the end of the summer which should be around 100 pages or so.  I'm not really sure how much that is in a word document, though.  I'll have to see if it says anywhere online.  Oh, internet, how I need thee!

I don't have any rants prepared for today.  I'm pretty much crippled without my newspapers.  How did I ever subsist without them?  I have a little something coming up, but I left my notes for it at home, and alas, no internet there.  It's coming soon, though, never fear.  I do have a few thoughts, though.  I think that the more I learn about how the world really looks, the less rosy that it seems to be.  I guess I'm idealistic, in a lot of ways, but I like to think of myself as a realist, as well.  But I keep hearing about people doing really low things to each other.  I've come to this place where I just understand everyone to be human, whether or not they do "evil" things (I don't like that word anymore).  But what causes people to do horrible things to another human?  Or to an animal?  What causes people to rape, kill, steal, cheat, or lie?  What causes people to hate?  I can't believe that it's human nature.  I personally don't want to do any of those things.  I don't hate a single person in the world.  

And what about the justice system here?  It just seems to messed up, biased, and unfair.  How are there such vastly different sentences for the same crimes?  How can they let someone off on a plea bargain if they're guilty?  Why can't we just forgive people and give them second chances (at least in some cases)?  Why do we lock up petty criminals so that when they get out, they're into hard crime?  Why do we target certain races or classes of people and profile them as criminals?  Why does no one seem to care about "white collar" crimes as much as "lower crimes" such as robbery?

Bottom line, how come the world makes no friggin' sense?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Summer Goings-on: an Update

Okay, so I wrote an entire post a couple of days ago and right when I went to post it, I got an error message saying that it had tried to post it at the same time, or something ridiculous like that.  Anyway, the entire post somehow got deleted, even though this site saves my posts every couple of minutes or so as I type.  Weirdness. Anyway, I wrote some stuff about respect and junk, which I'm sure to rewrite at some later point but which I haven't the energy to rewrite at the moment.  

News:  we have a cat.  Her name is Katie and she is super friendly.  She's black and gray and must be kind of young still because she's kind of tiny.  My dad told me she was the runt in the litter, though, so she may stay small.  She was my cousin's but she had to give her up because of allergies.  I worry about her a little because she doesn't seem to eat a lot, unless you give her canned food, of course.  But we seem to be out of that for now.  We'll see.  I have to remember to call and have someone go check on her tomorrow as I am currently at James' house.  We still don't have internet at home and I have yet to visit the library in town.  However, I plan on going there soon to get a card and check out a few books.  

I have no idea how the job thing is going to work out.  I didn't get the secretary job at the rehab place near Jamie's house.  But there's a Save-a-lot opening near our house, so I might have a chance there.  Unfortunately, both of us live in small towns with few places to find jobs.  We'll see.  If I can't get a job, I'll have to start a book or something.  I've been meaning to do it for ever, so I might as well do it now when I have nothing else to do.  I also think I'll head down to the library most days to read the newspaper and probably update the blog.  And check my facebook because I am addicted, unfortunately.  

I'm just hoping to stave off that summer feeling of uselessness and lethargy that seems to overcome me every year.  I can't wait until I no longer have to spend the summers lazing about at home and I can actually get a real job - all year round!  Actually, when I (hopefully) get into grad school, I'll have classes year-round and you're actually not supposed to get a job while in the program so you can focus on it.  Plus, you have so much to do, there really isn't any time.  There's clinic hours, classes, research projects, a thesis, and a dissertation to keep you busy.  No one needs a job on top of that!  Plus you get a tuition waiver and usually get a stipend in Ph.D. programs.

Well, it's late.  This has been just a post about my life, I suppose.  I guess I should write more of these.  The opinion pieces are more interesting and more my preferred posting style, but I think it's nice to get some of the real-life everyday stuff in here, too.  Well, adieu for now.  Until tomorrow, or perhaps a later date.  

And I almost forgot!  I got the job on the paper, so as of Fall 2011 I shall be a real life Columnist!  I'm so excited.  I think it's going to be a real adventure. 

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Most Normal Enterprise?

Alright, this post is going to be short, but I wanted to do it to make sure that no one would think that I'd stopped writing.  So it's pretty much just an update of what is going on and what will be happening this summer.  Being a college student, I have to deal with finals this week, so I won't have any time to do any serious posts for the rest of the week.  The fact is that I shouldn't even really be writing now, but I'll be procrastinating and taking breaks in various other ways throughout the day and the coming days, so a quick message to my readers won't slow me down too much.  I have two finals tomorrow, one is comprehensive (Spanish), and I have a lot of reading to do for one of them, as well as a paper that needs turned in on Friday.  I have one final each on Thursday and Friday, too.  Then we have to move out on Friday and sometime during this craziness I need to find time to pack.

As far as this summer goes, we currently do not have internet in our new apartment.  So it really depends on how often I will be at James' house, whether or not I will be able to post very often.  We're hoping to get internet soon, but who knows.  There is a library in town, but I'll have to see what the computer availability is like there.  Other than that, I'm hoping to get some sort of job over the summer to occupy my time, because I can get very lethargic and sometimes a bit depressed if I have nothing productive to do.  So I put in an application at this rehabilitation center near Jamie's house and I'm really hoping it will work out.  We'll see.  I'm most likely going to be applying at other places, too.

Other than this, I will find time to write over the summer, don't worry!  I may have to find online sources for my news, however, since I get my USA Today for free here.  But, nevertheless, I will stay informed and I will keep writing.  And let me just say, that for those who do read this blog, thank you so much.  You keep me sane.  Love you!! <3


P.S. sorry about the corny titles, but really you're just going to have to deal with them ; )

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Day of "Unfair"

Please ignore the cheesy title.  I want to talk about two things today.  The first is the reason for the truly terrible title, and that is the National Day of Prayer.  First, let me premise my argument with this fact:  I am not prejudiced against any religion.  That's actually why I'm writing this.  So please keep this in mind as you read.

I was reading an article in USA Today earlier about how the reverend Franklin Graham (the famous Billy Graham's son and successor) is complaining that his invitation to speak on the National Day of Prayer at the Pentagon was revoked because some of his beliefs exclude many Christians and because he believes that Islam is "evil."  He says that if he isn't allowed to speak "it will be a slap in the face of all Christians."

This is just ridiculous.  Seriously, what kind of person do you have to be to believe that you are that important?  They're still having the prayer, and it's still going to be a Christian prayer.  So who cares if he is going to lead the prayer or not?  Aren't Christians supposed to be humble?  

Intolerance is what I can't tolerate.  I hate how some Christians go around saying that a religion other than their own is "evil."  The reality here is that no one knows what religion, if any, is the "true" religion.  No one has the right to tear down another religion based on their own.  You just can't go around saying that someone else's beliefs are wrong because you have a book that says so.  Well, guess what, Islam has a book that says Christianity is wrong!  So does the Jewish religion!  And hundreds of other religions in the world think it's wrong, too.  Just because you grew up believing something or were told about it your whole life, doesn't make it true.  You could've been born in India and been told Hinduism is right, you could've grown up in the middle east and been told that Islam is right, or Israel and been told Judaism is the only way, or Tibet and been told that Buddhism is true.  You could've grown up in England or China and heard that no religion is right. 

But, here's the kicker, if people just go on believing everything they are told, everyone will keep on believing they have the only true answer.  And people will be divided like this forever, never moving forward or searching for truth.  Do you think it is good for people to blindly follow whatever others tell them?  If your religion tells you to be prejudiced against others, maybe you will be prejudiced.  Maybe you'll commit hate crimes or kill people because of it.  Plenty of Christians were involved in lynchings in the past and the slave trade.  They said back then that it was okay because they thought the Bible told them black people were inferior.  Many Christians do the same thing now with gay people.  They justify their hatred of other human beings without for one second considering that every person deserves the right to live their lives how they choose and not be discriminated against for those choices.  

Not every Christian does this, let me make myself clear that I understand this point.  Not every Christian is hateful or prejudiced.  And I realize I just went off on a huge tangent there.  So let me get back on track.

My other point is that I don't believe that we should have a day of prayer.  The bottom line is that it's just another way for Christians to "spread their message."  It's unfair to people of other religions because they aren't included.  It's unfair to people who aren't religious or are atheist because they aren't included and it can make them very uncomfortable. No one should have to be told they are evil or that the choices they came to from personal struggle are just wrong.  Plus, it's unconstitutional.

Besides, what happened to the separation of church and state?  And why is it such a big deal for people to think politicians are religious?  I think the problem here is that people just can't seem to be able to make up their own minds and choose their own morality without some kind of rule book or something.  Why can't we just be good people and grow up and choose our own values?  Why do we need some pseudo-father to continue telling us what to do, even after we're "all grown up?"

I suppose I'm a bit disillusioned.  I just don't think you need religion to be a good person.  In fact, I think religion can actually impede the road to becoming a good person with all the little prejudices and exclusivity hidden within its message.  I guess I'm really only talking about Christianity here because I don't have the kind of experience with other religions to talk about them.  But I do know that if people would look at the evidence, they might begin to see life in a different light, which leads me to topic numero dos.

If you look at the history of religions, you will find patterns among them that are hard to explain if you think that there is only one true religion.  Many Christians will say that theirs is unique because they're so inclusive or because theirs is a message of hope while others only condemn.  I've heard this too many times to count.  It's not true.  There are themes running through religions all throughout time and space.  For example, Christians practice communion, which entails figuratively "eating" a god's body and blood.  Several other religions do this, too.  Ancient Indian tribes used to eat different parts of their defeated enemies or drink their blood so that the "power" or "strength" from those parts would be transferred to them.  And plenty of other religions spread a message of hope and rest.  It's just one of those things we're told time and again.

Also, I am surprised at how many people know little or nothing about evolution, yet still adamantly refuse to believe it.  First of all, evolution is a scientific theory - which in science means it is a tested and proven hypothesis that is now little short of fact.  It's not some "idea" that someone proposed with no evidence to back it up.  There is so much evidence it's hard to ignore.  

For example, the fossil record shows a progression of more and more complex life forms, the rock record can be radiometrically dated to prove the earth is about 4.5 billion years old, the rock record shows us that the earth's magnetic field has switched thousands of times throughout the earth's history, plate tectonics show us how the continents have formed over billions of years, fossils of the same kind found on opposite sides of the world show us that the continents were once joined (actually they joined and broke up several times over our history), some starlight that we see now would not have reached earth yet if it were only 6,000 years old, since they are so far away, homology of different mammals are evidence for common ancestors, mammals that have returned to the sea (after coming on land for the first time - look up tiktaalik) are evidence for adaptive evolution, evolution that we can see before our very eyes (like Darwin's finches and tortoises), speciation on islands that have formed in recent geological past (where species are found in no other place than those islands).  

All of these and more are great evidence for evolution.  But most people don't know about any of it and still believe that we walked with the dinosaurs (even though the crater where the asteroid landed that killed the dinosaurs has been found near the Gulf of Mexico - **edit: right off the Yucatan Peninsula**).  And let me just point out that the Bible never says that the earth has to be 6,000 years old.  Actually, some dude came up with that hundreds of years ago based on, most likely incomplete, ancestral records listed in the Bible (which also have inconsistencies to boot).  

I think the country needs a little more (or a lot more) education.  Classes in geology and evolutionary biology should probably be required.  And, as a side note, they wouldn't be "in your face, you have to believe this or else" type deals, they'd simply give you the facts and allow you to decide for yourself.  At least then no one could honestly say "show me the fossils."  If we all had the facts and looked at them and really had to just decide for ourselves, maybe there wouldn't be so much exclusion, intolerance, and hatred in the world.  No more "Holy Wars."  Maybe we could all just get along and get on with our lives.  It's your choice to believe what you want, and I respect that.  Just don't be ignorant or intolerant.  Let's all be decent people, eh?

And, just as a final note (maybe a plea to angered readers?), I do not hate anyone, or discriminate against religious people.  I may have sounded indignant, but that's just a cry against ignorance.  You may be a very well informed religious person, and for that, I applaud you.  Just get the facts straight and leave the slighting skepticism at home.  No one wants to hear any more sneers from misinformed zealots who can't take the time to "know thine enemy."  I'm just saying, open your mind to possibilities and come into it with a good heart.  Search honestly for truth and that is what will make you a good and honest person.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

May 4th

Today is May 4th, which happens to be the 40th anniversary of the Kent State shootings.  I don't know how many people know what happened that day.  Before I came here, I didn't have a good idea of what took place.  Before I read the article in the Stater today, I didn't have a good handle on the specifics, either.  (And this is all coming from the Kent Stater from yesterday and today).  Let me fill you in, then:

In the days leading up to May 4th, 1970, protests over the Vietnam war were happening all over the city of Kent as well as on campus.  On May 1st, some students rioted in the streets and smashed several shop windows.  On the 2nd, the ROTC building on campus was burned down by more rioters.  That night, National Guardsmen were called and assembled on campus.  On May 3rd, Guardsmen advanced on a crowd of protesters heading back onto campus after a street blockade, drawing blood from a few with their bayonets and threatening a few students with billy clubs.  They used tear gas on the crowd.  Ohio governor James Rhodes called the protesting students "the worst type of people we harbor in America."

On May 4th, it was a sunny, beautiful spring day.  More protests were planned on campus, with students gathering at the Victory Bell to hear speeches by their peers.  2,000 students gathered on nearby Blanket Hill, chanting things like "Pigs off campus" and "Hell no, we won't go."  Guardsmen in an army jeep yelled through a bullhorn, telling students to disperse and reading them the riot act.  The students laughed back - their peaceful chanting was nothing close to a riot.  Then the guardsmen advanced toward the students on foot, throwing tear gas canisters into the crowd, once again.  Some students threw them back, but most ran up the hill around to the other side of Taylor Hall.  The Guardsmen continued marching forward, confusion and cacophony ensued, and some rocks were thrown on both sides.  A kind of stalemate seemed to happen and the tear gas stopped.  Students began celebrating, chanting, "they're out of gas, they're out of gas," and laughing.  But the Guardsmen knelt and took aim at the students.  A few students came toward them with flags in hand, but the Guardsmen huddled up and then seemed to retreat back up the hill.  Students clapped and chanted, "They're leaving, they're going, we've won."  But, out of 76, 28 of the Guards suddenly turned and fired on the students.  For 13 seconds, the pop of gunfire was heard all around Taylor Hall and the nearby parking lot.  13 students were hit, from 60 to 750 feet away from the shooters.  Four young college students lost their lives:  William Shroeder, Jeffrey Miller, Allison Krause, and Sandy Scheuer.  Three of the four students killed were in the parking lot, several hundred feet from the Guardsmen who opened fire.

It was very emotional, reading that story today.  Hearing the account of the shootings from the students' point of view was moving.  It really hit my heart to finally hear how the events of that night played out.  

This year, Kent State remembered May 4th with a candlelight vigil last night, and several speakers, as well as cancelled classes today.  Several of those who were wounded and many witnesses spoke today on Blanket Hill, sharing their stories with the next generation.  Even though the blood that stained the grass on the hill that day is dead and new grass has sprung up to cover the ground where the slain and wounded students lay, they will not be forgotten.

Please check out the interactive map chronicling the events of May 4th, 1970 at KentWired.com.  Also, check out the article from today's Stater which tells the story of May 4th from the students' point of view.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Let Our Voices Echo

Here in Kent, May 4, 1970 is still in the hearts and minds of all who live or work or learn here.  There have been several news stories in the past few months chronicling the events of that day, and the days leading up to it.  One of the important things that I've learned from these accounts is that protesting really defined that generation.  Students were angry - outraged even - and they weren't afraid to let their government know it.  Even though some protests definitely got out of hand, it's inspiring to see that kind of unification under a common concern among so many young people.

What will define our generation?  Is it perhaps the fact that young people today have more social interactions through text than face-to-face?  Is it our growing apathy toward our own education and futures?  Is it divorce numbers over 50%?  (But, as a side note, they do seem to be falling now.)

What do you want our generation to be defined by?  There are certainly enough social issues brewing today.  What about advances in civil rights, finally allowing the gay and lesbian communities the right to marriage.  What about advances in health care that allow all Americans to have an equal chance at a long, fulfilling life?

We need to speak up - let our voices be heard on the important issues that face us today.  Let's leave our legacy as a generation, stand up for what we believe in - no matter what that is.  We need something that the future will remember us for.  So let's sound our voices in the night and let the echoes ring for generations to come.

Sunday, May 2, 2010


Things change.  I think a lot of our time is taken up by wishing things were back to how they were before, when we thought we were happy, or fighting to maintain the status quo.  Change is hard, a lot of the time.  Sometimes we get stuck in the way things are, afraid of what change will bring to our lives, even if we know they will bring growth.  It's just hard to face that unknown factor in our lives - maybe something we can't control.  

The illusion of control over our own lives is important, psychologically, to all of us.  Because, really, none of us can ever have complete control over any one moment of our lives.  But if we can go on thinking things will happen the way we want them to, we can at least keep our sanity.

Reminiscing is often composed of wishing things now were like they were at a "better" time in our lives.  For me, these times I wish for were often not the rosy, happy experiences I remember them to be.  But it's characteristic of human memory to see the grass as always having been greener at another time than now.  Also, people are much more likely to look back at their teenage and early adulthood with that longing eye and wishful heart.  I guess I should be making a lot of memories right now, huh?  Things I'll look back to in the future with that longing sigh of reminiscence.  But I've had the tendency, myself, to look back at things from my teenage years much more, with that longing gaze.

What I really miss right now is James and I in our early relationship.  When things were so fresh and new and we were just falling in love.  Don't get me wrong, things now are amazing and we both love each other more than we ever did as stupid kids.  And the changes we've gone through in life haven't pulled us apart, but we've been able to grow together and accept the new differences in each other.  Still, I feel like an old married couple sometimes.  And I wish I had done a lot of things differently - savored the moments more.  But maybe that's part of the lie we're fed our whole lives - that there's some end to everything we do, like if we work hard enough we can reach that mythical resting place in life - marriage often, or just finding that someone who you feel is your soul mate.  

Women, especially, are often victims to this lie.  We spend way too much time trying to look pretty, say the right things, wear the right clothes, flirt the right way to catch that great man who is going to give us everything we need and take away all of our worries.  Not only is that unrealistic and a huge burden for any man to try to carry on his shoulders, it's also weakening us as modern women so that the time we could have been spending throwing ourselves into our life's work is spent chasing boys.  

But I still believe in love, because I'm living it every day.  But it happened for me when I wasn't trying to find a guy.  I was just being myself.  And isn't it better to have someone who loves you for who you are rather than the girl you think every guy really wants - someone mythical that doesn't actually exist?  Isn't it better to be free to think how you want, do what you want, be who you are?  Maybe that's why a lot of marriages don't last - we're all too busy trying to be someone we aren't to make another person love us.  But if we let that go and waited for the one who loves us for all our weird quirks and silly habits and confusing feelings and all our opinions, maybe we'd all be a little happier.  Then we could kill the lie of the "happily ever after" and stop dreaming of yesterday.  Wishing things would change while being afraid that they ever will.

Change is good and it keeps us moving forward toward bigger and better things.  There is no "happily ever after," but each of us can have a happy life.  And sometimes you just have to let go and let yourself be happy. Take things as they come, adapt, change with your environment, embrace life.  Let go of the past and embrace your present and your future.  Do what you want and go where you want and be at peace with the people and things and the environment around you.  Live and let live, and let go of the past.

Friday, April 30, 2010

A Civilized Discussion

I've been thinking lately about how a lot of liberal people accuse religious people of being narrow minded and just following along with what they're told.  Although this can sometimes be the case, I think it's important for everyone, regardless of our political or religious leanings, to check ourselves and make sure we aren't just following along.

Liberal ideas about gay marriage and abortion are popular right now, especially with young people.  And I really believe that's great - people should always be fighting for human rights and social equality.  The problem is, that sometimes we can get caught up in popular opinion without thinking through our positions carefully first.

My example here is my position on abortion.  I guess I got the impression that most liberal people thought all abortion was okay.  Now, I don't know if that's really the case, but I kind of just went along with it for a while.  But when I stopped and thought about it really deeply, I realized it wasn't quite as cut and dry as I had been thinking.

I am a strong believer in women's rights.  It is a passion of mine.  I think women should have the right to decide when and if they get pregnant and have a child.  I also believe in more comprehensive sex education, advances in birth control, adoption, and just not being a promiscuous person.  But what if a woman is raped?  What if her life is threatened by the baby?  What if another problem like these arises and she just needs other options?  She should have the right to decide when or if she will have a child and the right not to be forced into the role of mother by society.

On the other hand, we are responsible for protecting the lives of all human beings.  Where is the line here?  No one knows, and we should all keep that in mind.  There really isn't an answer.  I'm tired of people saying they have all the answers because it shuts down communication, healthy debate, and the quest for real answers to this problem.

The current cut off for abortions at 22 weeks - which is the age at which a fetus could survive outside of the womb on its own - seems like a reasonable solution.  But lets not let party lines or pre-set moral guidelines determine the answers to these questions.  Let's think for ourselves and not be afraid to think outside of the boxes we put ourselves in.  Christians, dare to consider abortion as a valid solution.  Liberals, dare to mull over the implications of abortion on the human right to life.

If I could say one thing tonight, it would be to think for yourself.  Let go of all the things that tie you to a certain way of thinking or a certain belief system.  And just listen to your own voice.  Listen to what it's saying.  Not a god or a politician, an old book or a liberal talk show host (or for that matter, a conservative one).  Just think for yourself.  Consider all sides of the issue.  Consider our right to life, our right to choose, our right to love freely, our responsibility for those who cannot care for themselves.  And lets start a real dialogue.  Not one marred by dogma or prejudice or hatred or close-mindedness.  But an honest discussion of what we can do as humans together to solve this common problem.  Because it is a common problem.  And we all need to be present in this discussion in order to come to a real solution that works for everyone.  Let the discussion begin!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Pick a Job, any Job

Today I feel like I hit a wall.  I feel like I've known for a while now what I want to do with my life.  At least, I knew I wanted to do something in psychology.  Before it was counseling, then it was clinical, and now what?  Well, I've become so passionate about women's issues that I realized I need to incorporate this and other social issues into my career.  But psychology is focused mostly on the individual and I'm talking massive social change here.  Is there a way to incorporate the two?

I'm going to come back to my personal career struggle later.  I think this is a problem for a lot of young people in college.  We go through high school, putzing around, maybe trying to get good grades, but with little direction.  Suddenly, in college, we have to pick a major - out of thin air sometimes.  Then, if we want a higher degree, we have to specialize even more, which can be a nightmare if you have ill-defined interests or very general ones.  So if you have broad interests, how do you pick a specialty?  The career world, at least from my perspective, seems a lot more specialized and specific than I ever imagined before college.  

Really, I think most kids are ill-prepared for making these decisions.  It's like going from a kid with no cares, to suddenly being a full-fledged adult who has to make life-altering decisions with little help (like career decisions!) and who is responsible for those decisions and all of their actions (many of which had few consequences for them as a kid).

College is a beautiful thing.  We grow and change, open our minds up to new ideas and ways of thinking about the world.  But in the midst of the bombardment of new ideas and developing interests, we have to figure out a very narrow set of interests which we will pursue for the rest of our lives!  No pressure, though.  It drives me a bit crazy some times, honestly.

So what do I want to do?  I want to be a part of social change for the poor, for women, and for minorities.  I want to work with people in therapy.  I want to give tests, do interviews, get creative in therapy with writing, art, and a bajillion other things.  Is there any way I can put all these things together?  

Earlier I was thinking of other jobs I could do regarding my social interests - politician, sociologist, social worker, experimental psychologist, journalist, professional writer.  But I have this hesitancy to leave the field that I've come to know and have fallen in love with.  Do I really want to start over in a completely new field?  I don't think I do.  Because I really do love psychology.  And a search earlier today has given me some hope.  There's a program at BGSU for clinical-community psychology, the description of which perfectly describes me.  

I feel excited about the thought of this program, but these Ph.D. programs are ridiculously hard to get into.  What if I don't make the cut?  I'll have to keep searching for other programs that fit.  And trust my decision, and my abilities, in the end.

Songs/ albums I listened to while writing this:  Haunted by Holly Brook, Death Cab for Cutie (Plans)