Yes, they’re like assholes.

Originally posted elsewhere, December 20, 2013

In almost any controversial thread, someone will inevitably say one of the following:

  • You’re entitled to your opinion.
  • I’m entitled to my opinion.
  • [Insert third person pronouns here] is entitled to _____ opinion.
  • Opinions are like assholes. Everybody has one.

The person saying that, when not responding to an outright personal attack, is generally defaulting to avoid further discourse, because they – or the person with whom they are having the discussion – aren’t capable of debating the point with logic or fact.

Contrary to popular belief, opinions can be right or wrong. Not all opinions, certainly. Some things really are subjective. I am of the opinion that celery is gross. That is subjective.

Other things simply aren’t, and are no more justifiable by labeling them as opinions than one can justify Barney the dinosaur because apples. It’s nonsense.

If I stated that it was my opinion that dinosaurs didn’t ever exist, I would be misusing the word opinion, to represent either being misinformed, uneducated, or ignorant. There are objective facts that prove otherwise.

If I were to say that homosexuality is a sin, because Bible, it’s the same premise. Misinformation, lack of education, or ignorance. I’m not a Christian. I was raised in that faith, and have since rejected it, though, so I have more than a passing familiarity with the contents of the book upon which it is based. Before rejecting that faith, when I was still a Christian, I actually read the thing, cover to cover, four times.

I no longer believe in it, but I understand that some people do, and that’s their choice. For the purposes of this argument, let’s say the Bible is a factual historical document. If you believe that to be true, then you believe Jesus died for the sins of all mankind. That only by grace, and not by works, is one allowed to enter Heaven. Jesus’ death had another very important consequence. It rendered every law in the Old Testament null and void, with the stated exception of the Commandments.

Rom. 7:6: “But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.”

Every bigot who tries to use Christianity as an excuse for their hatred and judgment of homosexuality is, therefore, ignorant, misinformed, and uneducated.

Even accepting their premise – that the Bible is factual – their opinions are WRONG. Not just morally or ethically wrong, not just culturally wrong, but factually inaccurate. They are attempting to justify their fear and hatred and intolerance of an entire group of people based on inaccuracies.

They are, by definition, bigots.

Bigot: a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance.

-Merriam Webster

Calling them bigots isn’t a matter of opinion, but of fact, demonstrated through their own behavior.

Sure. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. That isn’t, however, a justification for being a bigot. Opinions can be wrong. Everyone is also entitled to be wrong. Just as others are entitled to call them out on it, or to react to it by, say, suspending them from their employment on a television network that doesn’t want to be associated with bigotry.

Opinions are like assholes, and everyone does, indeed, have one. It’s still considered impolite to allow them to spew shit all over in public.

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When I say, “I can’t”

… I mean that I can’t. Whatever it is, I am absolutely incapable of doing it.

There’s this thing that happens, for me, since the seizures actually started having an impact. Too much auditory stimulation makes my head all splodey. I can’t listen to music above a very soft level, and simultaneously carry on a conversation. I can’t chit chat at a concert. I can’t keep up with a discussion while watching TV. I can’t handle being involved in a conversation with people who talk over others, monopolize conversation and do not grasp the natural give-and-take of communication.

CAN’T.

If at all possible, I get rid of one type of stimulation, to let another in. I turn off the music, or pause the movie, or ask my friend to hold the conversation until the concert is over. I ask people involved in conversations with me to be courteous, of me and one another.

When that isn’t possible? I have to shut something out. I have to ignore something. I have to somehow close down that part of my brain, or I go bugnuts.

It’s a physiological thing, over which I have very little control. It leads to me being somewhat easily overwhelmed or frustrated. I’m sure it is frustrating for those who are close to me. Fuck. It’s hell, for me. I didn’t ask for this, I didn’t choose it, and I don’t fucking want it, but I’ve got it, anyway. So, I deal the best that I can.

Part of that is stating that I need something to stop, or to have a break in the onslaught, for a bit. When I do that, I need to be heard. I need for the conversation or music or wtf-ever to fucking STOP. RIGHT. NOW.

NOT when you finish your thought… or the next one… or the one after that. Not when the song ends.

NOW.

If you can’t manage to do that, after repeated reminders, I cannot, for the sake of my own health, be around you. Period.

Can. Not.

Originally posted elsewhere, December 24, 2013

Anything. Everything.

Eyes shining
glittering
brimming over
un-shed tears
of mirth
Your shoulders shaking
breath catching
jaws and ribs
aching from the onslaught

I puff up
come over
all indignant
offended
self-righteously put out

but the truth

The truth is
this is where
the limits falter
wither
and die

Because it is entirely possible
that no limits exist
in the lengths to which
I will dance
play the fool
submit to
embarrassments beyond measure

Just to see
to catch your frivolity
your exuberance
on each inhalation
to tremble with your delight

to see the sparkle
in your eyes

and to know
it belongs also to me

What would I do?

Anything
Everything

Originally posted elsewhere, Dec 16, 2013

…this Thing that happens

Originally posted elsewhere, December 4, 2013

I write. A lot. And, yes, I can hear the collective “D’oh!” from the chorus, thanks.

I also read. Also a lot.

I follow this crumb or that electronic heart or a comment that shows up in my feed. Sometimes, I read a sentence or three and roll my eyes and click away. Because they’re when the writer meant there, or Holy wall of text, Batman! or “could of,” or “defiantly,” when “definitely” is the appropriate word. It’s my one elitism, and I won’t apologize for it. Words are important. Seeing them abused and misused gives me mental hives. It burns.

Sometimes I feel the passion, not of simple disagreement, but of violent negation of the words glowing on my screen.

Sometimes, I just shrug and think to myself, Meh.

Occasionally, though, I feel the words. They hit like a sucker punch or a single-tail, they caress like a lover, they enfold me in a blanket of need or love or nostalgia or empathy. Shivers chase one another around my spine like squirrels playing. My toes curl. My breath catches.

I read. I reread. My lips move, usually in silence, as I taste the words.

And I have another crush. Another brain-licking-frenzy inducing crush.

Crushes on strangers make me shy, so I usually just don’t say anything at all. Sometimes, after this word induced wetness has been inspired repeatedly by the same person, I will work up the nerve to send a request. Inane prattle in a message that hides the fact that I want to be slurping up your grey matter while you sleep, because one doesn’t wish to be too creepy, you know.

Sometimes, I am so blown away that I just can’t bear to send a request, a check-yes-or-no note to that smart girl or boy in the next row. So I just admire from a distance, and hope they will notice me.

If I’m lucky, they do. I get a like, or a comment, on something I’ve written, from someone whose brain I’m already licking through the interwebz connection, and I feel like the cute boy (or girl) just made eye contact, smiled at me.

Or they send a request of their own. They ask me to the dance.

Either way, it makes me ridiculously happy.

It’s pretty awesome when the stalkees invite me in for tea.

My Rainbow Garden

Originally posted elsewhere, November 29, 2013

Unless you have been very, very lucky, you have undoubtedly experienced events in your life that have made you cry. So unless you have been very, very lucky, you know that a good, long session of weeping can often make you feel better, even if your circumstances have not changed one bit.

~ Lemony Snicket

I’m a weeper. It’s just…something I do. I cry when I’m sad, or frustrated, or overwhelmed with rage. I cry when I feel ashamed or guilty or extremely self-conscious. I also cry when I’m enveloped in joy, overcome by gratitude or nostalgia or love or peace. I cry while watching tear-jerkers, yes, but I also cry at DIsney movies and Hell on Wheels and Buffy. FFS! I cry if I blush too hard, or laugh too long!

I cry. A lot. I almost always have (that ‘almost’ is significant, but I will get to that in a minute). I probably always will.

I’ve taken an awful lot of shit for this, over the last 30 years or so.

I remember a conversation I had with my paternal grandmother when I was very small, probably only four or five. She kept all the kids in the family during the summer, after school, whenever our parents needed a sitter, so there were always at least six or seven of us around. One of my cousins had probably done something mean, and my feelings were hurt, and I was crying. I remember sitting on her wonderfully squishy lap, my head on her shoulder, and feeling very betrayed by the words that were coming out of her mouth.

You’re gonna have to stop all that cryin’, baby girl. Nobody likes a crybaby. You cain’t go through life bein’ so soft-hearted. Now, go wipe your face and go play with the other youngens.

And I did. I ‘sucked it up.’ I stopped crying. It took a huge physical effort, on my part. And it hurt. It hurt like hell. It made this lump in my throat that was big and hard and painful. This pressure built up behind my eyes, and all through my head. It’s the first time that I remember actually having a headache, and it was awful.

My parents were quite fond of the whole, “Stop that crying right now, or I’m gonna give you somethin’ to cry about!” thing.

Once school started, I figured out that crying would actually entice certain kids to try to make me cry.

When I was older, and involved in romantic relationships with boys and men, the guys would inevitably say, “I wish you wouldn’t… I hate it when you… For fuck’s sake, can’t you just stop all that… Dammit, there you go again with the – crying.” I’ve been told, now, by at least three different people, that a woman crying is the absolute equivalent to “emotional blackmail.”

Over the years, I’ve learned to mostly hide the weepy me. To excuse myself, even from the company of my nearest and dearest, when I feel it coming on at a ‘socially unacceptable’ time, or for a ‘not-good-enough’ reason. Because almost inevitably, someone would then break out one of those arguments, and I would feel guilty for crying. As I mentioned above, I cry when I feel guilty.

Just last year, at the not-so-tender age of 33, I did a desperate search on Google, and found this gem.

At thirty-three. Why? Because I was in an abusive relationship, where my weep-worthy negative emotions were frequently, intentionally triggered, and then gaslighted away, invalidated, and ridiculed. Translation: he made me cry on purpose. A lot. Then tore me to shreds for crying.

I spent a lot of time in the bathroom with the water running, blowing my nose, lavishly, as suggested in that article, breathing very deeply (yet quietly), and freezing my hands under the spigot, so that I could hold them against my eyes, to make the puffiness and redness go away. I kept eye drops on my person at all times, in case I couldn’t make it to the bathroom, so the tears would seem to be just Visine.

Not crying, when I feel the tears building up, is a damaging thing.

The “emotional blackmail” thing is hard to hear. Hard to process. It makes me all stabby.

I get that the more well-intentioned of the guys who feel this way about a woman crying are just trying to say that it makes them feel uncomfortable. That they instantly feel responsible, and, in most cases, want to “fix” it, whatever ‘it’ may be.

But what the people using that logic don’t understand, regardless of their intentions, is that IT ISN’T ABOUT THEM. Even if the tears flow as a seeming result of a heated conversation we’re having, or something they said, or something they did, the tears HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THEM. Nothing.

They’re a release of emotion, my emotion. My emotions aren’t anyone else’s responsibility. And how I handle them isn’t, either. Nor is it anybody else’s business what I need to do to process, to cope. I’ve been down the suck-it-up route. I’ve been down the hide-in-the-bathroom route. I didn’t like the end of those roads. The headaches, the shame, the pressure behind my eyes, the not-being-able-to-swallow-past-this-giant-boulder-of-a-lump-in-my-throat. The eventual feelings of numbness and detachment and apathy that are far worse than whatever emotion(s) originally made me get all teary-eyed.

There’s a Native American proverb (at least, I think that’s the origin. The interwebz could be wrong.) that states, The soul would have no rainbow if the eyes had no tears.

My soul is full of rainbows. Anyone close to me knows this. I’ve been watering my rainbow garden all my life.

I don’t intend to stop. They’re my tears. I’m entitled to them. Nobody gets to tell me otherwise.

Because they’re not about you. My tears, my feelings, my need for cleansing. Mine. You can’t take them, and you don’t get to judge them.


There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love.

~ Washington Irving

Maturation

Originally posted elsewhere, November 19, 2013

As we grow and evolve and change, so do our ideas and ideals and values.

The things that were once important to us may become less so, or cease to be a factor, altogether.

The mistakes we’ve made, in deed and judgment, become lessons from which we learn.

The people who once were closest to us may be growing at a different pace, or in a different direction, or not at all, so it is often a side effect of that growth that they get left behind.

The people we once regarded with animosity or disdain may become friends, as we learn more about ourselves, our lives, our values, our priorities, and one another.

We do not have to be forever defined by the worst qualities we possess, unless we choose to be.

Those changes, and the apparent disparities they produce, are not equivalent to hypocrisy. They are simply evolution.

I am not, today, the person I was, yesterday. Tomorrow, I will not be the person I am, today. Those changes are incremental, usually, but they are there.

All else is stagnation, and stagnant things stink.

Inappropriate

I am inappropriate

my legs only cross when it’s sexy
and I sit with my knees too far apart in skirts

Your mother called me a hussy
we laughed because it was funny
but also because it was true

She said I am brazen
and I am

I will purr in your ear in public places
bend over in that way that makes you hard
even when there are people around
even if they might notice

I am inappropriate

I sing aloud along with the grocery store Muzak
piped-in pop with vapid lyrics
and bubblegum beats

I tell strangers’ bratty children
that I work for Santa
moonlighting as an elf supervisor
or a flight instructor for reindeer
even if it’s June

I dance when I shouldn’t be vibrant
and sing when silence is assumed
conservatism will be for my elders
even when I am old

I wear silly masks and make dinosaur roars
in the middle of shopping trips

whisper to you
how much I loved the way you fisted me
when we are alone
amidst company
for only seconds
and give you come-hither stares
across crowded rooms

I am inappropriate
childish
licentious
wanton
loose
free

And I will not apologize
for making you wish

you could be inappropriate like me

Originally posted elsewhere, September 2013