Regarding Grief and Change

I wish grief was as simple as following “the five stages of grief” 🙁 that would greatly simplify life! It would be nice if they were in order, too. But they aren’t.

The mythic of the 5 stages of grief and the order they go in was formulated by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, a wonderful and beautiful pioneer of grief, death, and dying. She was the seminal author on this topic.  Does that mean she was right? No. Does that mean she was wrong? No. Was she revolutionary? YES!! YES!!!

She introduced the topic and expounded on it. She made it acceptable to talk about grief and the process we go through.  She made it okay to talk about dying and our reactions to it. I’m grateful for that. You have no idea how appreciative I am of that.

Grief makes us human because we have human responses to loss. The big thing to remember is that it’s just not death that is a loss. In some ways, death is a traditional and unambiguous loss. You have no choice about it. It’s permanent. But other kinds of loss? More ambiguous because the person you are losing is still alive, active, and possibly doing things that are painful for you.

The grief literature is very extensive about death and permanent loss, but it’s not as good about the more ambiguous loss. I have total sympathy for this. The ambiguity resonates with me: because people are ambiguous about their feelings.  They can feel multiple things at once.  In the face of opposing feelings, even seeing two sides to the issue (which I think makes it worse), it can make a conclusion or resolution worse.

My final advice about anyone going through a loss or disappointment: IT IS OKAY, YOU WILL BE OKAY. WHAT YOU FEEL IS OKAY. AND IT TAKES TIME. DON’T LISTEN TO PEOPLE WHO JUST SAY “GET OVER IT.”

Because your feelings and your process are YOURS. You own it. It’s yours. Be it. Express it. Feel it. And most of all, take your time.

 

 

Bring Back the 1960’s, Please

Let’s bring back the ’60’s. Let’s bring back sit-ins and marches. Let’s bring back protest music. Let’s bring back flowers in guns. Let’s form idealistic communes again. Let’s scare the conservatives into a moral panic. Let fundamentalists know they ain’t the only religion around. Go nude if you want to. Have long hair, don’t shave your pits or legs, give up deodorant. That’s not a joke and I’m not trying to be funny. I’m actually serious. It’s a protest against societal norms. The popularity and endurance of Bernie Sanders has shown me that we are ripe for this.

Can we resurrect Pete Seeger and John Lennon?

They say young people don’t vote. People think their votes don’t count. What actually scares politicians is an active voting population. Think about that. It does scare them. Low polling numbers works in the politician’s favor. An active, informed voting population is scary because it has power. A protesting, action-orient constituency is totally frightening.

Anger and activism, my friend: embrace it.

GOP : The Party of the Hypocrites

It  seems hypocritical to me that the GOP were all over Bill for his sexual  philandering, but have kept mum about Trump’s.  They should be  consistent.  Either don’t let it bother them when any body does it, or  be bothered when anyone, regardless of party, does it. They don’t attack him for his multiple marriages, his cheating on at least two wives, children by multiple mothers, etc. But you know they’d attack anyone else who did that. What’s wrong with them?

A third woman alleges she was sexually assaulted by Donald Trump

Why I’m not mad at Melania Trump

Regarding Melania Trump’s speech at the 2016 Republican National Convention: I’m not mad at her personally.

Do I think there was plagiarism?

Yes.

Do I think it’s her fault?

No.

I’m not mad at her personally — I think, honestly, she probably didn’t write her speech. (Even thought she said she did, but she did say she got a little help.) The speech writers probably interviewed her and then wrote the speech for her. I’ve read some articles about why they like to parade out the wife. They are the “humanizers” of their husbands.

There was no doubt some incredibly poor vetting of the speech and I’m really surprised that I haven’t heard of speech writers being fired instantly.

I jokingly wrote to a Facebook friend: “rhaps the Rick rolling speech writers are secret Democratic spies sent to derail the RNC!!!! LOL.  Which, actually, I hope is kind of the case.” However, I must say that I thought her delivery of the speech was pretty good.

Ultimately, this is what gets me though. If she was the wife of a Democratic nominee, the Republicans would be all over her for the nude photos, the lack of morals, her obvious lack of depth.  They’d be all over her for being raised in a Communist country and possibly being a Communist spy.  They’d be looking into Ivanka Trump for the same reason. If the Donald was a Democrat, the Republicans would be  having a field day with him — his financial troubles, his bankruptcies, his three marriages, and the fact that his children have different mothers.  Isn’t that what they complain about minorities doing? Having children with different partners?  It’s so all hypocritical to me.

 

national popular vote is not the basis for electing the president or vice president.

Just reminding people that it’s not us that elects the president… It’s the Electoral College. A president can win the popular vote but can lose the election. Last time that happened was the Bush – Gore election of 2000. Gore won the popular vote, but the Electoral College chooses the president.

Even though the aggregate national popular vote is calculated by state officials, media organizations, and the Federal Election Commission, the people only indirectly elect the president, as the national popular vote is not the basis for electing the president or vice president. The President and Vice President of the United States are elected by the Electoral College, which consists of 538 presidential electors from the fifty states and Washington, D.C.. Presidential electors are selected on a state-by-state basis, as determined by the laws of each state.

What if there was no television?

What would happen if there were no television? Why would this be good? bad?

I don’t even consider this a legitimate debate! I think society would totally be better off

My Cell Phone Broke, I feel so isolated!

without television.  It’s in the same category, in my opinion, as cell phones.

If there were no televisions or cell phones, we’d all get out and rely on each other’s presence for entertainment. We’d go to concerts and plays. We’d hang out — face to face. We’d talk. We’d truly see each other for whom we really are.

We’d eliminate our sedentary lifestyle — we’d go walking more.

Humanity Finally Abandons Earth

Humanity finally abandons Earth to explore the Universe but they leave behind a spokesperson in a cryogenic chamber which is designed to open when extraterrestrial life is detected on the planet. After 400 years, aliens finally arrive.  — from a Writing Prompt found at Reddit.

Ha! Haven’t we already, metaphorically speaking, already abandoned the planet? We stopped being responsible caretakers and good stewards of our dear beloved home planet a long time ago.

And if you watch The History Channel at all, you know that the aliens have already arrived.  They either arrived and stayed, or arrived and then left us. I wonder which it is? In history, the aliens were responsible for all our fabulous architecture (i.e. the Pyramids) or all our early advances in science (i.e. the Antikythera Mechanism). Currently, if they are still here, they are responsible for all conspiracies, all mysterious events, the banks, politics (after all, all politicians are reptiles, which I actually agree with)…

I watched The X-Files with enthusiasm back in the day…I knew it represented something very essential in our American mythological make up.  These myths certainly had fish hooks in my brain (to a certain extent).

But back, briefly, to the writing prompt. How would you even choose a spokesperson for all humanity? Who would be willing to be left behind? How would their cryogenic tank be taken care of????? <practical questions with no real answers>

http://www.viralnova.com/ufo-conspiracies/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UFO_conspiracy_theory

The Bible on Gender Identity

image uploaded by Frances Osborne Austin TX
The Bible on Gender Identity

My UU Church is officially a “welcoming church,” something I am enormously proud of.  I don’t think I’d ever be a member of any church or congregation that wasn’t a welcoming church.  I just roll that way.

But until recently, I think that just meant for us that we accepted gay people and gay relationships.  With the addition of a new developmental minister and his ministerial intern, I believe my UU church has broadened its definition and focus regarding transexuality, gender identity, and fluidity.

The ministerial intern is highly active in trans issues — something I immediately noticed when she used the term “cisgender.” Not a term widely known about, but one that I was recently introduced to and was incorporating into my vocabulary.  Learning about these issues is very new to me and I am in that awkward phase where I’m still kind of old school about the binary gender identification — I like to categorize people one way or the other — and alternatively understanding and accepting that people can be anywhere on the spectrum.  And that spectrum is probably both a choice and a biological issue? (I don’t know — would have to find out!  Would welcome someone discussing it with me!)

Any ways, I am on that fulcrum of accepting and embracing people on the spectrum, and yet being befuddled and confused when interacting with people on the spectrum.  Because my need to categorize the person kicks in.  What pronoun do I use and if I am not sure, is it okay to ask? Is it okay to be confused? How do I be respectful and is there a “one way” to be respectful or do I have to go through a unique process with each person to determine respectful behavior?

My church’s ministerial intern has introduced our congregation to a lot of her friends. I found myself interacting with one of her friends in a way that I am not very proud of.  I looked at this person and just blurted out, “I’m so glad you are here, so glad to meet you, but I am getting mixed signals on your gender!!” After saying that, I felt bad! Ashamed and out of sorts with myself.  Because perhaps I wasn’t living up to my UU values???? Wasn’t “accepting”? (And does “accepting” mean “not saying anything?” another question for another time perhaps).

So what I did was go “confess my sin” to the ministerial intern.  Oh I was so devastated with myself and so hard on myself and so in doubt with myself about my acceptance of people in all their forms and all their fluidity and all their spectrum!!!  (This is an example of what I term “UU Guilt” which is probably yet another blog post!!!)

Later the intern had a lovely conversation with me about this and wanted to work with me about how to handle situations that confused me.  She was worried about me — but I was not worried at all about myself, I was more worried about her friend. Because my supreme value and trait that I care about most in myself is caring about how the other person feels.  I did not wish her friend to be offended, hurt, feel unloved or unwanted, or somehow questioned. Her friend was totally welcome there and my own reaction and confusion was entirely my own.

Further Reading: http://www.apa.org/topics/lgbt/transgender.aspx

Postscript: I just realized that I started off by mentioning what The Bible has to say about gender, and then never pursued it….so maybe a more in depth topic for the next post???

Being Gay is No Big Deal

Anne Hathaway discusses her attitude about homosexuality, her brother, and gay marriage.

I sooooo agree with her. Why is is “brave” to come out as a decent, loving, accepting human being? It’s not “brave” to openly love one’s brother or sister, son or daughter, mother or father, friend or fellow human being.

You can make the argument that Christianity forbids engaging in homosexual love. It’s true — it does. No getting around that. The Old Testament is pretty clear about that.  BUT. It does not forbid its followers from loving, accepting or being decent to them.  God loves and accepts and asks us to do the same. It is not up to us imperfect humans to judge another’s imperfections, choices, inclinations, leanings or makeup (sexual, personality, etc or otherwise).

You might wonder why I, as a non-Christian, address this meme and issue with references to God, the Bible and Christianity. I think it’s because as a UU we do accept Christianity as a religious source. Plus, I’d prefer to discuss religious objections to homosexuality within the context of that particular religion. (And I do have an advantage of having been raised within Episcopalianism growing up) UU itself has no issue at all with a person’s sexuality.  Also, when I write the word “God” there’s always this translation in my head from “God” to “Universe” or “Spirit of Life.” When I hear a Christian/Jew/Muslim say the word “God” I do a similar translation.

Is Kim Davis brave? Yeah. I don’t agree with her at all. But I guess she is “brave” in the same way. She stood up for her beliefs, she took a lot of criticism, she has endured being the most hated woman in the US. (Currently. That could change 5 minutes from now!!!!) I’m certainly NOT crazy about her at all. I don’t despise her, I don’t have anger towards her.  I certainly DO NOT HAVE much sympathy for her. But the UU in me respects her dignity and right to conscious as a human being — even as I’ll contend she needs to step down from her job if she finds she is unable to perform the duties her job asks her to do.  I fail to understand why she does not accept our Constitution’s separation of church and state. Her religious beliefs should not interfere with her performance of her public duty.

Which calls to mind Ben Carson’s statement that he thinks a Muslim cannot or should not be the President of the United States…. which is probably another blog post!

Asking People About Their Sexual Orientation

The article that inspired this post:

If You Think Tom Hardy Shouldn't Have Been Asked About His Sexuality, You're Dead Wrong. Here's Why.

Asking People About Their Sexual Orientation. No. Don’t do it.  Just don’t. Because it doesn’t matter. It just doesn’t.

I’ve NEVER been asked my sexual orientation! I agree that people should not be asked that

My friend TLH said to me, “it’s probably because you are assumed to be straight, and that’s what’s problematic. You get asked if there are rumors or suggestions that you may differ from the norm, and the activism is about normalizing non-heterosexuality. No one is bothered or titillated by the announcement that someone is straight, and our society isn’t bothered at all by public declarations of heterosexuality… It supports and encourages them. It’s when you start talking about any other orientation that people go on about how it’s no one’s business and should be private.”

Maybe I should start publicly announcing that I am straight and that I would be totally willing to have straight relations in the future.  The existence of my son is at least proof that I’ve had hetero relations AT LEAST ONCE IN MY LIFETIME — well, I guess maybe it’s proof, I guess I could have had artificial insemination while being a virgin. This is an intriguing idea…a virgin birth…but maybe that is another post. Hehehehehehe. I guess  you are going to have to trust me that I have had hetero sexual relations at least once — about 9 months before June 1998. And yeah, no, he was not a virgin birth.

The article says “So, apparently, it’s not his personal life that he doesn’t want to talk about — it’s just his sexuality.” As far as I am concerned, people can pick and choose (and then change their minds) about what is personal, or not personal, or what they want to talk about in that moment or not want to talk about in that moment. This is their choice. IT IS THEIR CHOICE.

There is nothing wrong with, “Excuse me, I am not ready/ interested/ available/ focused on that issue on right now etc. Maybe some other time. Depending on how I feel at that moment. Fuck you.” PEOPLE TOTALLY HAVE THAT RIGHT. PLEASE RESPECT THAT. DON’T NECESSARILY CALL THEM A HYPOCRITE FOR IT.

Word.

But still, I was trying to think “what if someone asked me my sexual orientation?” This is offensive: it’s totally offensive: it’s none of their business!!! It’s like being asked when I last engaged in sexual relations, which is also a personal question.

My friend TLH wrote to me, “No one ever says, if a straight person simply mentions a romantic partnership ‘hey, that’s like telling me your favorite sexual position, stop it!’ Because it isn’t. The social norm of publicly announcing our relationship status is just that. People ask in casual conversation all the time if you’re married, it’s expected when you’re around the water cooler in an office setting that someone will say ‘my husband and I moved into a new house’, or to announce you’re having a baby. Every single bit of that is socially accepted and non-sexualized announcement and confirmation of heterosexuality and people don’t usually recoil and say that’s personal and shouldn’t be discussed. It makes it seem like all queer people do is screw all the time, not fall in love and have families and all the other normal things straight privilege lets you do without othering you about it, and that’s what makes it a problem.”

Yeah. Word.

A few weeks ago, a couple came in for the first time to our church. 2 men. 6 kids. 3 from each man. Not that the gender matters, but we do genderize on a regular basis. None of the children even faintly resembled each other. I did not ask, “Sooooo…..how did ya’ll get your children?” OMG. So many assumptions there, so many scenarios, so many <fill in the blank>. We do all make assumptions: the question is if you are going to be an asshole about it.

No matter what, though, regardless of how liberal we are — we do categorize.  *Sorry.* But how we deal with our categorization (I think) is a true measure of how we are.

This is my personal tactic: gee, behave/feel like you want to know the people. See them as people who have lived their lives and made some choices. Details can wait. People will tell you the details you are curious about in time, when the have made a personal connection to you. So I invited them out to lunch, chatted with them, sent them loving vibes. They are going out to lunch with me again today after church. They seem like really nice people, I did indeed connect with them. They are beautiful, the children are beautiful So much realness, so much love.

I am so happy to connect and a person’s gender and sexual orientation and “when they had sexual relations last” is irrelevant or even what position is their favorite.