A blog about whatever randomosity my fevered mind conceives.

Posts tagged “Philosophy

Brought to you by the letter ‘C’…

I know I’m not the only person that does this (I know, because I’ve heard others talk about it before) but when I look back – think back – on my life, there are soundtracks playing over the memories. For example, when I think about the first apartment that I ever shared with Zed – a crappy little place that was only made wonderful by the blindness of new love – there is a never ending stream of Alanis Morissette, Jewel (yes, I had a Jewel and Alanis fad, sue me), Tupac and Oasis songs playing in the background. When I think about hanging out with my cousin (and best friend once upon a time) as a kid,  there are always Corey Hart and New Kids on the Block songs playing over the mental images. Okay, admitting to the N.K.O.T.B. thing is way worse then Jewel and/or Alanis, especially if I tack on a confession about having once even attended one of their concerts, but c’mon, I was only 13! I’m not even going to talk about how I once owned a Joey McIntyre doll, or how I wore a fedora for an entire summer; that’s just way too embarrassing. Anyway, so not the point…  

The point is that when I started thinking about the letter ‘C’ in relation to music, my brain went into overdrive as it tossed out title after bloody title. I’ve been up since six (it’s eight-thirty now) sorting computer files (still working on that, but haven’t had enough time to devote to it yet, so it’s been a REALLY slow process) listening to nothing but ‘C’ songs. Yes, I’m weird… it is what it is.

One of the first songs that came rushing back with a landside of memories was ‘Change’ by ‘Blind Melon’. I have heard this song preformed by a number of different artists, and I have always loved it, but there was a time when it was practically my anthem. When I was struggling to find my way back through the looking glass, I must have listened to this song a million and a half times. I found so much wisdom in the lyrics;

I don’t feel the suns comin’ out today
its staying in, its gonna find another way.
As I sit here in this misery, I don’t
think I’ll ever see the sun from here.
And oh as I fade away,
they’ll all look at me and say, and they’ll say,
Hey look at him! I’ll never live that way.
But that’s okay
they’re just afraid to change.
When you feel your life ain’t worth living
you’ve got to stand up and
take a look around you then a look way up to the sky.
And when your deepest thoughts are broken,
keep on dreaming boy, cause when you stop dreamin’ it’s time to die.
And as we all play parts of tomorrow,
some ways will work and other ways we’ll play.
But I know we all can’t stay here forever,
so I want to write my words on the face of today.
and then they’ll paint it
And oh as I fade away,
they’ll all look at me and they’ll say,
Hey look at him and where he is these days.
When life is hard, you have to change.

; and it inspired me to keep moving forward, no matter what.

People tend to discern different meanings in different songs, but for me this always served as a reminder that I had no choice but to change; to grow, to be a better me. Anyone that has ever gone through a period of deep personal growth can attest to the fact that others in your life don’t (generally) appreciate the change. At every corner they seem to rebel against it, making it (at times) much more difficult to alter your life. Whenever I felt that was the case in my world, I would listen to this song over and over again, reminding myself that I was the ONLY person I had to appease; I was the only one that would be stuck with ‘me’ until my days ran out, so living for others – or to fit into the bubble that others want to stuff me in – was a ridiculous way to live. Yes, this was one of the songs playing when my #1 life philosophy was born; I am the ruler of my own universe.  

Change – Blind Melon 

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On a seriosome note…

For some reason I’ve been incredibly tired for the last week or so, and even though I managed to get an actual eight hours sleep last night (a rarity for me) I’m still feeling a little foggy. It is because of this reason that I wasn’t planning on doing any further posting today, so please forgive me if I get to rambling. Since I’m drifting in a bit of a haze and not very focused at all (again today), I thought I’d just cut myself some slack and take the rest of the day off from writing or doing any serious thinking. I sent off my challenge today and sat back to catch up with the blogs I follow.

There were some try great posts waiting for me this morning (there always is; you guys are fantastic!) but only one hit a soft spot (sore spot) within me with enough force to cause an echo… before I get to that – since it all ties together – I want to talk about something I’ve been meaning to get around to for awhile now.

At the end of my street is a transition house for women (and their children) in the early stages of starting their lives over from scratch. The house is privately funded and depends on donations to keep it running smoothly, and this is how I came to know about its existence in the first place; shortly after moving here, a neighbour came by collecting goods (food, clothing, toys, etc.) for the house on his only day off from work. He was not asked to do this; he’d simply taken it upon himself to do a little good.

Before long the house became the sole recipient of all the things no longer needed around here; clothes, toys, appliances – what have you; all the things we used to donate to the Salvation Army and a little bit more. Often I would employ my eldest daughter to help me drop things off, and over time the both of us fell a little bit in love with the house and its rotating residents. I’ve become friends with the lady (we’ll call her Anne) that runs the house – her own life story is incredible and inspirational, and maybe one day (with her permission) I’ll tell it here – and my oldest goes to school with her oldest, and so the two of us have spent a fair amount of time down there over the past two years. This past Christmas, Anne put us to work making up little goody baskets for the three families staying with her at the time, and my beau has managed to secure a great deal on turkeys from a work contact, so we’re going to surprise Anne at Easter with three giant birds. She might be the best human being I’ve ever met; completely selfless and flawlessly beautiful inside and out. She makes me want to be a better person, which is part of the reason I’ve spent so much time trying to help out down there; charity is often an act of selfishness I’m afraid.

It’s always a little difficult to meet the newcomers; often they wear the telltale signs of abuse, and their eyes are reflective pools of the terrible things they’ve endured – this is hardest to witness in the eyes of the children; and what’s even harder is knowing that a great many of them will eventually go back to the conditions they’re trying to leave behind. The most incredible thing, however, is seeing that look that some of the women get in their eyes, that ‘enough is enough’ look that lets you know that they’re done – no question about it – putting up with a substandard quality of life. These are the women that don’t look back, but run bravely into an unknown future.

No one ever throws parades for these women… but I think they should. None of them set out in life to become someone’s punching bag, but as anyone honest with themselves can attest, it’s all too easy to end up in situations we don’t plan on, but much harder to get ourselves out of them. It takes great courage and strength of will to reclaim your life and make it yours, and I have heaps of admiration for those that manage to do it.

Now, I know a few people that think taking my 11 year old daughter to a place like that is less then ideal; my brother-in-law for one, thinks it’s borderline idiotic; and who knows, maybe they’re right. Personally though, I believe that it’s good for her. It’s good for her to talk to others that do not have her blessed life because it keeps her eyes open to the world around her; it keeps her aware and empathetic. It’s good for her to know that sharing the things we have too much of is going to a great cause, and it’s great for her to participate in the act of trying to better the lives of others.

I believe that those of us who see something terrible occurring in the world around us and do nothing to stop it are just as bad as those actually causing the harm, and this is something I very much want my own children to not just believe, but feel. As many of you know, domestic violence is something that hits close to home for me. Though I try to remain non-judgemental, I am human and thus I am flawed, so forgive me when I say that I have very little use for any grownup who would hit a child (or anyone weaker than them for that matter) for any reason, and nearly as little for someone who would witness such an act without doing or saying anything about it. I want my girls to grow up strong mentally, physically and emotionally. I want them to recognize a bad situation before they walk into it, and not be afraid of doing whatever is necessary to get themselves back out if they should err along the way. I also want them to be strong and brave enough to stand for those not strong enough or brave enough to stand up for themselves.

Anyways, I’ve rambled on near enough for one day, and by now you’re probably wondering what got me started in the first place, so without further ado…

Serisome is one of the fantastic writers at {Seriosome}.WORDPRESS. I love this blog; it’s always enlightening and offers great food for thought. I also love the fact that there are multiple posters and each of them has their own unique style and way of thinking. One of the posts I read by seriosome today (the one that set off the echo) was titled Jasmine’s Story, and I’ve not been able to stop thinking about it ever since. It’s a (true) tale about domestic violence and a woman’s brave decision to get herself and her unborn child out of a bad situation. Read it, and pass it on if you feel the inkling to do as such. I think there’s a great message in it.

I do feel a bit of poetry coming on, but now I’m REALLY tired, so I’m not sure if I’ll actually get to it just now, or if I’ll leave it for tomorrow.


Challenge Day 22: Something you wish you hadn’t done in your life…

Ah, I was so tempted to write some disturbingly dark, faux confession here; in my mind I was picturing a bloody knife glinting in the moonlight, a body slumped behind a car with an open trunk, and tears of fear and regret streaming down my face at the realization of what I’d done, and what I now how to do; but then I figured it might be a little too disappointing to come to a closing statement of, “Surprise! I was just kidding!” so I restrained myself.

You must forgive my momentary departure from reality – the sun’s not even up here, and I’ve yet to finish my first cup of coffee. The material ricocheting around inside my brain bucket at this time of day is rarely logical, which is exactly why I usually reserve the early morning for working on my novel. Busy day again, however, and I don’t yet know what my time schedule is going to look like, so I wanted to make sure I had this done before moving on to other things.

This prompt is a little difficult for me to answer, and not because I’m hesitating to confess where I’ve hidden all the bodies. It’s complicated because it goes against my customized life philosophies that include not wasting pointless time on wishing and/or giving power to regret. While I do (often) use the words, ‘I wish…’ in common conversation, I do try very hard not to actually wish. It’s like hate; I may be quick to say, ‘ewww, I hate that…’ but the truth is, I believe hating takes more energy than love, and so I really do try hard not to waste my time on the emotion. Can you even begin to imagine how complicated it is being me? Naw, actually these things only sound complicated when I try to put them on paper… nestled snugly in my grey matter, they seem to make a hell of a lot more sense, and they also serve (greatly) to better my life; to make me the best me that I can be. That being said, I am still in a state of personal evolution (and I am still human) thus, while I deeply believe I’m on the right track, and while I do my best to live by my own rules, sometimes things are a lot easier said than done. Depending on the day and my mood, I still wrestle with a few past regrets, even though I know just how pointless it is to do so. So let’s pick one of those things I sometimes regret, and get on with it, shall we?

I have spent a lot of time regretting the fact that I dropped out of school. Yes, I went back and got my GED, and yes, I even got some post-secondary education, but that doesn’t change the fact that I wish I had been able to just suck it up and finish high school on schedule. I know it’s a little silly; I’m aware that movies/television glorify the whole thing greatly; but I missed out on my graduation ceremony, my prom and the opportunity to start my real life on schedule.

Oh, I have a million excuses as to why I dropped out when I did, and some of them are pretty valid – I must allow myself that – but there are people (many of them) all around the world that deal with far more complicated lives than the one I had, that still manage to apply themselves and get a great education. Of all the mistakes I have made in this lifetime; oh and believe me, I’ve made my share of them; I truly do believe dropping out of high school was at least one of the top three. The worst part is that I was a naturally good student; without applying myself, I still managed to pull good grades; and by the time I left I’d already had two scholarships. They were both small – they never would have been enough to drag me all the way through college – but imagine what I might have accomplished if I’d actually been trying? After all these years, that thought still bothers the hell out of me.

Of course, it all just brings me back around to my own rules; there is zero point in wasting time thinking about and/or regretting past mistakes; I can’t go back in time, and I can’t undo/redo my choices. I can wish I hadn’t dropped out until I’m blue in the face, it really won’t make and ounce of difference.

I once knew a very wise older gentleman who summed this one up pretty well for me. Year ago, after listening to me rambling on about the things in my life I wished I could change, he grinned, farted and said, “I’ll tell you what, kiddo… you wish in one hand, I’ll shit in the other, and we’ll see which one fills up first.” Crude as it may have been, it was probably the best piece of wisdom anyone ever gave me, and it was the seed that eventually grew in to this particular branch of my life philosophy.

… Maybe I’ll tell you where I buried all the bodies later…

Damn it! Since I now how ‘Beauty School Dropout’ stuck in my fool head for some reason, I feel the need to hear it… and force you to hear it too!


Challenge Day 21: (scenario) Your best friend is in a car accident and you two get into a fight an hour before. What do you do?

Right off the bat here, I don’t like this prompt for a couple reasons.

First, I hate the whole ‘what would you do in this situation’ premise. If life has taught me anything, it’s that you never know what you’re going to do in any situation until the situation arrives. We all (or at least me, but I’d like to think I’m not alone here) sit back and shout at the TV/movie screen complaining, ‘Oh come on!! That’s so stupid!’ before turning to our viewing partner and saying, ‘Ya, I totally wouldn’t have done that; I would have (insert appropriate sounding course of action here) instead’. Seriously, the other night while watching the season finale of The Walking Dead, I was shouting at the characters about their lack of situational awareness, “Damn it you moron!! Don’t you see the herd of zombies coming across the field? Now is so not the time for that oh-so-special father and son moment! Move your damn ass!” I always seem to have commentary for the characters on the other side of the screen; especially when it comes to horror. (It really only seems weird when I’m alone, and instead of turning to my buddy after I’ve made the comment, I have a little ha-ha conversation with myself.) The truth is, I have no idea how I’d deal with a zombie apocalypse, so this is just me being judgmental – it’s okay though; they’re only judgements against make believe characters so I consider this one a pass.

As a ‘furthermore’, we all (or at least me, but again I’m hoping I’m not alone here) see stories in the news and think or say similar things. For example (and I know I’ve had this conversation somewhere recently, but can’t quite remember when/where); the man who turns out to be a serial killer while his wife of twenty years has no idea… Who hasn’t thought to themselves, ‘Ya, there is no way that one would have gotten past me!’? Again, we have no idea how we’d deal with the situation until we’re actually in the situation. Think about this; how many of us have been so deeply in love with someone that we’ve been completely blind to the fact that they’re shagging half our friends? (*Raises hand*) Now, if someone could pull something like that over our eyes, we have to consider the fact that they might be able to get away with even more devious actions right under our love-sick little noses. Right?

The second reason why I’m not overly fond of this prompt is that it’s so unspecific; how bad was the accident? Did my friend go to the hospital? If so, why; did they break a leg? Did they lose a toe? Do they need a blood transfusion? Are they in a coma? Did they… die? Also, what did we fight about? I need to know how much guilt I’m carrying around. I mean, it makes a pretty big difference what we’re bickering about. Was it over the fact that they borrowed one of my books and folded over corners – grrr – or maybe the fight was because I caught them leech-facing my man… or what if we fought because they were trying to drive home after drinking and I was being my usual self and demanding they stay the night in my spare room… that sort of thing gets me a little uptight, so I could see us having a heated one about that. Depending on what the fight was over and how bad the fight was, it’s logical to assume that I’d deal with the whole thing in a number of different ways. Without the details, how am I even supposed to begin to guess at how I might react?   

Now I know, as a writer I should (probably) just use my imagination and let this one take me wherever it might, right? And yes, I could, but that wouldn’t exactly be honest since – as I said – I have no idea how I’d actually react to this particular situation with this particular friend. Since I don’t want to do that, I’m going to take another approach to this same question; I’m going to tell you something that I have actually had to deal with that is at least somewhat related to this prompt. I’m also going to try to do it in a way that doesn’t come off too gloomy, and then I’ll finish it all off with a ‘the moral of this story is…’ moment.

My father is a bit of a whore; honestly, most of my family calls him ‘the wandering jack rabbit’ because he’s left a trail of kids all across Canada. Not the point, but it relates. You see, when I was about fifteen, I met one of my older brothers for the first time; we’ll call him Arnold. I met Arnold when he came out from Ontario to stay with my dad; I was also visiting the man at the time; and we didn’t exactly hit it off. He got along great with my little sister (I think we’ve been calling her Jade – and she’s my only full-blood sibling, by the way), but he and I just couldn’t seem to see eye-to-eye. I loved the guy, but I thought I hated him too.

Anyway, he couldn’t see eye-to-eye with Daddy-O either, and he ended up coming back to the Okanogan to live with my mom (she used to babysit him as a kid you see, it’s a really long story so we’ll just leave it there), Jade, me and my little brother (we’ll call him Brody).  As time went on, the little differences that put me and Arnold at odds seemed to grow and grow until we couldn’t even be in the same room together without turning it into a war zone.

Arnold had stayed on with my mom and the lot even after I left home, but when I was about eighteen he decided he couldn’t deal with that insanity anymore than I could, and so he headed back to the coast. I didn’t even go home for his farewell dinner, and I never said goodbye. The last time I ever saw him, we’d had a massive blow out about him letting himself into my shitty little apartment to borrow CDs without my express permission.

Less than a year later, Arnold was dead.

Now there were some really shady elements about his death, and no one seems all that certain as to whether it was murder or suicide, but since this mystery doesn’t really factor into the story I’m telling right now, we’ll just move on.

After Arnold left the Okanogan, I only talked to him twice on the phone; they were extremely short, and rather cold conversations. I never said sorry for all of my bullshit, I never forgave him for his, and I never told him I loved him. I was a kid, and I was right (or so we usually think we are when we’re young), and since I assumed we’d have a lifetime to get over ourselves and deal, I never considered the fact that we might never have the chance to really become brother and sister.

Though we weren’t close, his death was one of the hardest I’ve ever had to deal with. The guilt I felt was intense and the sense of loss was even more about lost chances than a lost life. I’d always wanted a big brother, you see, and when I finally got to meet one of mine, I blew the chance, and I blew him off. It took me a very long time to make peace with the whole situation; to forgive myself for being a stupid kid and to forgive him for ending up dead before we could clean up the mess we’d made of things.  

The moral of this story is; we never know what tomorrow brings, so live in the moment and try not to make decisions you might come to regret in the future. Don’t let your loved ones out of your sight while you’re at odds – don’t let your last words be angry ones. Don’t allow little fissures in your relationships to grow into massive canyons; the second the distance begins to grow between you, try to build a bridge. Don’t put things off… It doesn’t matter how young or healthy we are, or how much time we think we have left to heal old wounds; any one of us could walk out that door tomorrow and get hit by a bus, so when/if possible, take out the Band-Aids and get the healing started while you still have the chance.

Yes, it’s all easier said then done, but it’s wisdom I try to live by these days. Am I infallible; do I always follow my own philosophies to a tee? No, I’m a lot wiser than I once was, but I’m still human and thus extremely prone to errors. At least I do make attempts to rectify my mistakes as soon as I catch myself slipping up… and that’s got to count for something.


Challenge Day 20: Your views on drugs and alcohol…

By now, most of you should know that I’m a firm believer in ‘to each his (or her) own’ and ‘if it feels good, do it’, so one might assume that this would be a pretty straightforward answer. Oh, if only. While I do believe in (and live by) these mottos, there are certain stipulations on them. The most significant restriction being that if it causes undo harm to anyone else, it negates the original philosophy. Because addiction; as life has shown me time and again; tends to be just as dangerous (if not more so) to those who love the addict than to the addict themselves, this is where the whole philosophy can get tossed out the window.

Now, these days I’ve adopted a drug free way to be, but I’d be a complete hypocrite if I simply said, “say no to drugs!” and left it at that. The truth is, I’ve spent more than my fair share of time drifting in an altered state. For the most part, I stuck to the lighter drugs, believing (foolishly enough) that it if came from nature, it couldn’t really be that bad for you. I was so high, so often throughout my teens and early twenties that people almost always asked, ‘what’s wrong with you?’ when I was straight. It was rather amusing actually.

It wasn’t until I sprung a hole in my sack of marbles that I even messed around much with the heavier stuff… self medicating (obviously) is the exact opposite of wise when you’re already a few French fries shy of a happy meal. Still, it seemed like a good idea at the time. In retrospect, I’m lucky I didn’t make myself irrevocably bonkers… one of the idiot moves I made was messing about with meth. Fortunately for me I never made a regular habit of it, and my brain was such a disorganized disaster that I’d likely not have recognized the pull of addiction if it had yanked my eyeballs out of my skull.

At some point during my decent into utter madness, I realized – rather out of the blue, if my memories can be trusted – that I felt disconnected from the stranger in the mirror. It was one thing to be detached from everyone else around me, and a whole other basket of crazy to lose any and all connection with myself. After awhile, the stranger in the mirror actually started to scare me; at some point I even became more than a little afraid of touching reflective surfaces. It wasn’t long after that that I realized the drugs definitely weren’t helping. They had to go, and so they did. There were no withdrawals for me; either I’d lucked out and managed not to get myself addicted to anything, or as I previously stated, I was too messed up otherwise to notice; and this was a good thing.

Drug use is a pretty common occurrence in the world (and family) that I come from. There have been plenty of people in and throughout my life that have suffered greatly from drug addiction; many of which I’d like to talk about a little more here at some point in the unforeseen future; and some that have even been lost to it. I have no excuse for my own idiocy, because I knew – could see – the negative effects of chemical abuse from an early age. Unlike Laney in my novella ‘Reflections: Laney’s Story’ (shameless plug) I didn’t have the excuse of ignorance; instead I walked willingly down a dangerous path; and I will always consider myself incredibly lucky for coming out of those dark woods pretty much unscathed.

These days I am a social drinker, but again I admit to overindulgence in my past. After losing a few of my favourite marbles, I used alcohol along with the drugs to self-medicate. Once again, I was incredibly lucky; I was passed over by the kiss of addiction. I don’t know why this is; addiction runs heavily in my family and I recognize that I have an addictive personality when it comes to many things. I have no idea how I managed not to lose complete control of my life when it came to substances either legal or otherwise. All I can say is that it is what it is.

At the same point in time when I walked away from the drugs, I walked away from alcohol. I didn’t have a single drink for about four years (give or take), and it was only after I found myself in a good headspace that I started to drink again in social situations.

These days I believe that if we remain self-aware we can (at least sometimes) see the dangers of possible addiction before it has the chance to wrap its steely claws around our throats, however – as I well know – self-awareness is often only earned with time, experience and wisdom. This is why (I believe) that addiction most often seems to claim us when we’re ether young and naive, or when we’ve lost the ability to properly communicate with ourselves. Addiction is a dreadfully ugly disease with many faces, but since I don’t really want to get into a heavy discussion about addiction right now (even though I’d originally intended to), we’ll just move on…

Given my own experiences, what are my current views on drugs and/or alcohol? You might be tempted to think that because I have two children I would simply say, ‘DON’T do it,’ and leave it at that. But no; my counsel would be self-control, moderation and education – know what you’re getting yourself into! While I would greatly prefer that my kids never even test the waters, the reality is that most teens – at some point or another – hear the call to experimentation. Rather than being a hypocrite, I choose instead to keep lines of communication open. I’m honest (to a degree – there’s some things she’s not old enough to know in detail yet) with my eldest about my past substance abuse and what I would change (and why) if I were given the opportunity to do it all over again. It’s an ongoing discussion between us, and since I truly believe that knowledge is power, we’ve even done a little research together. I can’t be with her every moment of every day, and at some point she’ll need to make certain decisions for herself… all I can do is give her the right tools to make educated choices.

In closing, I want to revisit my opening statement; ‘to each his (or her) own’ and ‘if it feels good… do it’ – so long as it causes no undo harm to others AND/OR any (needless) harm to yourself. Be smart. Be self-aware. Be vigilant of the addiction monster, and stay educated.

Side Note: I want to share a little something with you that I’ve come to be quite passionate about; I feel that one of the biggest dangers that our youth is currently faced with is a lack of education when it comes to Methamphetamines. They’re very cheap and easily attainable, and they have extremely long reaching (and severely negative) effects. I know kids as young as 12 that have already experimented with these drugs. If you’ve got teens or preteens, or even if you’re just a little curious about the drug yourself, check out this video (sorry, I have no idea how to resize it) or at least do a little light reading on the subject. 
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4694182483714623833#

{A little later I think I’m going to gather a selection of poetry to share with you. Some of it is old, some of it new, but all relating to this topic in one way or another.}


Challenge Day 19: What do you think of religion? Or what do you think of politics?

I’ve been looking forward to this challenge since I cheated yesterday and peeked down the list. Religion is – after all – one of my very favourite topics. If you were to be granted unlimited access to the mountain of writing I’ve stacked up over the past two decades, you’d find that religion – in some form or another – is featured (or at least underlying) in a good 70% (or more) of it.

Now, before I get going on one of my customary rambles, I feel the need to point out that my opinions in this matter are just that; my opinions. I do not claim to have all the answers – or even a few of them – and I am not so vain as to believe that my way of thought is the only way of thought. I’d also like to point out that while I always welcome discussion and even debate, I extend absolutely zero invitation to preaching; I respect your beliefs, please respect mine. Now that that’s out of the way…

I did not grow up in a religious environment. Those relatives I do have that are religious generally did not socialize much with the larger part of my clan that is – for lack of a better description – a collection of heathens and blasphemers. Because of this, I had very little exposure to the concept of faith in my early years.

When I was about 6, I attended church (with friends of my grandparents) for the first and only time. I found the entire experience to be both fascinating and more than a little confusing. It was fascinating, you see, because it was this whole new side of life that I’d been previously ignorant to. There we were (my little sister and I) all dressed up in our finest duds and marching off to a Sunday sermon with borrowed bibles clutched tightly in our little hands. It was all so exciting – rather like that first time you glimpse something naughty on a movie screen and realize, ‘hey! There’s something going on here that I never even considered before!’ The experience made me feel all worldly and sophisticated. It made me feel as though my mind had been cracked open, and that I was on the verge of understanding every damn thing in the universe. Oh, if only it were that simple.

I remember that there was singing before the sermon began; everyone stood and sang together from these little hymnal books that had been tucked into the compartments on the backside of each pew; and that part was amazing! Afterwards everyone sat and the sermon began. I can’t recall what religion my grandparent’s friends were, and I can’t remember if it was a priest a preacher or a pastor that stood up at the head of the church to speak, but what I do remember is that the man had this amazingly booming voice that commanded all eyes to remain fixated on him and him alone. I also remember being completely enthralled by this man and the words he spoke, even if I didn’t really understand what he was saying. I remember being completely bewildered from about five minutes into the sermon until the very end, but I left that church with a remarkable new interest; faith… or rather, an intense curiosity about faith.

From that day on, I began praying on a regular basis. I did this in complete secrecy; for fear of being mocked; and I wasn’t really clear how the whole thing was supposed to work, so I basically began with, ‘Dear God,’ and then began to ramble out every wish and hope I could imagine; not entirely different from how I used to babble out my wish lists to mall Santas at Christmas time. It was all quite sweet in retrospect – the innocence of a child desperate to believe that someone was watching over her, that someone cared and would look out for her well being. By the time I was nine, however, I’d begun to think that if there was someone up there, he really wasn’t all that interested in me or my childish prayers – maybe I was doing something wrong.

My dog (and best friend) Charlie – a shepherd – had an altercation with a small brown bear that summer that I was nine. I was down on the coast visiting my father at the time. Charlie’s injuries – while not fatal – caused serious complications with his kidneys and he’d had to be put down. When they told me this, I cried for days on end. I became a despondent, blabbering, inconsolable mess, as I’m sure any child is apt to become when they lose their best friend. Afterwards – for whatever reason – I began praying to Charlie instead of God and this felt a lot more natural. After all, I’d been sharing my secrets with Charlie since I’d learned to talk, and he’d always listened to me. That was a very long time ago, but these days when I ‘pray’ (I’ll explain this in a bit) I still occasionally begin with, ‘Dear Charlie…’

By the dawn of adolescence I’d already begun devouring books by King, Koontz, Barker and the like. These novels opened me up to a lot of new ideas on the whole matter of religion and helped to turn my previous interest into a full-blown obsession. Throughout my teens I would spend countless hours researching religion and searching for faith. I stuck my toes in such pools as Christianity, Buddhism, Islam and Judaism and when I found those waters too tepid for my liking, I explored some of the less accepted faiths like Paganism and Wicca. Eventually my undying curiosity even led me to explore the concepts behind Satanism; something I believe to be very misunderstood – just look up the eleven commandments of Satanism if you’re even remotely curious as to why.

I came away from each examination just as thirsty for faith and understanding as when I went in. While it was answers that I sought, time and time again I walked away with even more questions. I found that every religion I explored seemed to be teeming with contradictions and I grew ever more frustrated. In my early 20’s (since I’d yet to find faith) I started considering myself an atheist, but eventually I began to consider myself as more of an agnostic. I changed my self-classification in this matter when I became aware of certain discrepancies in my own pattern of belief. As time goes on, my feelings and opinions continue to mutate and adapt, but my passion for the subject remains strong.

Though this is a very easy topic for me to discuss, I’m beginning to realize that it is not an easy subject to properly address in totality within a reasonable amount of time, therefore I am going to simplify a few points in my belief structure before wrapping this up.

– I am not religious, though I do consider myself to be a somewhat spiritual.

– I am in a constant state of personal evolution and therefore acknowledge that I have yet to finish exploring the concept of faith.

– I have experienced certain oddities in the world (things some might consider ‘miracles’) that have left me more than a little confused about the existence of higher (or at least ‘other’) beings.

– I personally believe that the bible is not to be trusted. As I mentioned yesterday, it has undergone too many translations by the imperfect hands of man to be even considered as absolute in its original meaning. Also there are far too many contradictions for my liking, and all too often it disagrees too strongly with hard scientific fact. Furthermore, there are tales throughout the bible that appear to have been borrowed from other (older) sources; for an example of what I mean, all one needs to do is read the Epic of Gilgamesh or look to the creation stories in Greek Mythology.

– I believe that organized religion is both a necessity, and a very dangerous institution. It is a necessity (I believe) because there are a great many people on this planet that would be lost without it; some people are utterly dependant upon their faith. It is dangerous because it can encourage close-minded belief and behaviour; how many people have been slaughtered across the ages in the name of religion?

– My opinions on the matter of faith are not built on blind speculation; I have taken the time to read (even research aspects of) a fair amount of religious scripture, including (but not limited to) the New and Old Testaments, the Book of Mormon, the Tibetan Book of the Dead (only in part) and the Quran.

– As a point of interest (even though it doesn’t really enter into this conversation) I am very fascinated in the beliefs (and histories) of the ancient civilizations; Mayan, Egyptian, Greek Sumerian etc; and have spent a lot of time trying to draw parallels between the beliefs of these cultures and popular (modern) faiths.

– I have read a selection of books by Eric Von Danikien and have acknowledged a great many of his points to be extremely worthy of deep consideration. This does not mean that I subscribe to the ancient alien theories, but that I have considered (am still considering) the validity in them.

– I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; I adhere to the philosophy that we are all – each and every single one of us – the centers of our own very individual universes. I believe that within our private cosmos we are our own gods and that we create our own variations of heaven and/or hell with our actions. This is less about religion and more about philosophy, but I do find (for me at least) those distinctions get a little blurry from time to time.

– While I don’t believe in (physical) Heaven, Hell, God or Lucifer, I acknowledge a lingering spark of doubt in my certainty that these things do not exist, and an enduring ember of hope that maybe – just maybe – everything I think I believe is wrong.

I mentioned a little earlier that I still occasionally pray – even though I have no faith in a higher being – and promised that I’d explain this. It’s not something that a lot of people know about me (in fact I’ve only previously told one other person), and it’s not something I entirely understand, but every now and then I catch myself mid prayer. I’ll see something particularly disturbing in the news and then realize I’m silently sending off a little plea in the name of the victim(s) involved, or something in my life will become complicated – an illness of a loved one or the like – and I’ll find myself making a similar entreaty. More often then not, these ‘prayers’ begin with either, ‘Dear Charlie…’ or ‘Dear Grandpa…’ (my favourite grandparent passed just 3 years after my childhood pet) but sometimes I have no idea at all who I think I’m praying to. I find this to be an incredibly curious thing about myself, and hope that one day I come to understand it.

Now I would love to go on and on about this topic; there is so much here to explore in depth and (as I already mentioned) this is one of my favourite subjects; however, I can tell by the length of this piece so far that I am nearing the 2000 word mark already which means I’m at risk of losing your attention if I haven’t already. Perhaps we can explore smaller aspects of this at a later date, but for now, I think I’ve managed to address the prompt adequately enough.

P.S.: I have a bit of poetry currently trying to write itself in my mind in relation to this theme (and loosely based on a true story) and so I’ll now attempt to give the idea proper attention. If it turns out even remotely decent, I’ll share it with you soon.

 


Challenge Day 18: Your views on gay marriage…

In one of the past challenges, we explored my (personal) views on marriage, but for those of you just tuning in, let’s reiterate; Robin’s not a huge fan of the whole ceremonial, walking down the aisle in a big fluffy dress to stand before some solemnly faced preacher-type-guy while asking the big man above to lay a blessing down on her. Okay, talking about myself in third-person is creepy – let’s not do that anymore. The thing is, I personally believe that marriage is an antiquated institution, but I’m also a firm believer in ‘to each his own’, and I completely understand the desire to wed, even if I personally have no interest in it.

Let’s explore the ‘to each his own’ statement a little deeper, shall we?

In a post I wrote last month (Exorcising the demons…) I basically went on a rant about my perception of the ignorance still alive and well in the world today. In that post I said, and I quote, “Personally I believe that until I have achieved perfection I will not have gained the right to judge others, and since I am far away from attaining flawlessness, I am chained (by my own rules) to acceptance.” I went on to say a bunch of other stuff, including, “I don’t believe that anyone else living on this planet has earned that right either, since there is not one amongst us that has achieved anything even slightly akin to perfection.” I quote myself now because it summed up my beliefs pretty damn well.

You see, I personally do not give a rat’s ass if you white, black, green, or sky-blue pink with orange pokkadots. I don’t care if you’re straight, gay, bisexual, asexual or even if you’ve opted for a lifetime of celibacy – I don’t have to understand your choices, I just have to accept the flaws in my own humanity and remember that I don’t have the right to judge you… you… you… or anyone else on this glorious little globe.

I think if the population of the world – as a whole – would just embrace this way of thought, we could eradicate the hate and live much happier – more peaceful – lives. However, I’m an idealist only sometimes while a complete realist at others, and I understand that this euphoric world I sometimes like to daydream about is – at this point in time – nothing more than a fantasy… but wouldn’t it be nice if we could all just get past our stupid little hang-ups and begin seeing and loving one another for what’s in our hearts rather than what’s painted on our meat suits?

Now I’ve heard it said (on numerous occasions) that those subscribing to ‘alternative lifestyles’ are not extended the right to wed because of the Church and the beliefs housed within. And I’m sure we’ve all heard that the bible condemns homosexuality (calling it an immoral and unnatural sin) and though my biblical referencing is more than a little rusty (I admit) I believe its somewhere in first Corinthians that it states homosexuals will not be allowed to inherit the kingdom of God. I’m not going to get very deeply into my religious beliefs at this point in time (mostly because that topic is next up on the challenge list) but one question I need to get off my chest, is this; how can any of us be asked to give our unconditional love to a god that isn’t willing to do the same for us?

Keeping that in mind, let’s say for the sake of argument that there really is a big guy in the sky looking down on us… let’s even say that he did set the ball in motion for the big book of books to be written… even if this is true, that book has been translated time and again by the imperfect hands of humanity; whose to say that the original message has even stood through the tests of time? Are we really willing to hate and hold back acceptance because of words that could have – quite likely – been corrupted by the influence of the translator(s) throughout the ages?  

If you ask me (and since you’re reading this, I’ll take that to mean that you are) love is love, and real love is blind. It doesn’t care about your color. It doesn’t care about sexual preference. It’s not going to go away just because someone else says it shouldn’t exist. If you want to express your love for one another by sealing that union in the company of your friends and family under the watchful eyes of a god who may or may not exist, you should have that right just as I have that right. Even though I’m not a huge fan of the hoopla myself, I think every man and woman on this planet should have the right to make that choice for themselves. I find it a little upsetting that there are still so many places in the world that gay couples who’ve spent their entire lives together are still not recognized under their local legislation as legal partners. I find it incredibly sad that so many of us on this planet still believe we’re superior enough to dictate what’s right for others, and thereby make these ridiculous rules and laws that force compliance with our own beliefs.  

So yes, though I’ve allowed myself to get a little rambly once again, and though I may have stumbled a little along the pathway to my point, I believe that every human being on Earth is entitled to the same rights, and that includes the right to wed.

{Note: Due to my personal life philosophies, I am bound to accept and respect  even those I perceive as being narrow-minded; this does not mean I feel the need to gag and/or censor myself or my opinions. While I believe that it is our differences that make us interesting – I’d be miserable in a world full of me-clones – and our differences that make me love you, I don’t expect that you should subscribe to my way of thought anymore than I’m willing to subscribe to yours. Though I am human (and thus prone to erring both greatly and often) I do not mean to come across as harshly judgemental to those of you who believe differently in this or any other matter that I may ramble on about. Though I personally believe that everyone should live under the warm blanket of equality, I love and respect you no less for your difference in opinion. ~Robin~}