Archives for posts with tag: war and news of war

I am sipping the cold remains of my second morning coffee, abandoned earlier, on my way into the garden. It’s less than ideally satisfying, as cold coffees go, neither properly cold, nor at all warm. I don’t much care; relative to other concerns it is a meaningless detail. Today, I’m feeling the weight of Memorial Day; it’s been a very long time since Memorial Day was any sort of celebration, for me. It is a day to remember the fallen: lives lost to war, lives lost to violence, a moment to contemplate the wasted human potential sacrificed to the causes of various governments… some of those lacking in moral high ground of any kind. I don’t find it something to celebrate. Instead, I honor those I’ve lost, and the lives lost that matter to others that I will never know. It’s simply my way.

I spent yesterday afternoon in my studio, painting. I’ve commented in other places that I am less likely to paint when I am content, fulfilled, happy, or satisfied. It’s an emotional experience that requires emotional impetus, and emotional momentum, and, for me, a way to communicate what I lack the words for. Make of that what you will. Honestly? I dislike “watching the world burn” in these problematic, chaotic times… but in my studio, and so many elsewhere, these are conditions that have a lot of potential to create great art. (Fingers crossed that anyone is around to appreciate any of it… later on.)

I am feeling a bit glum, and a bit angry. How is it 2021 and sexism is still a thing? Or the chronic condescension of patriarchy? How are so many people unwilling or unable to see the strong connection between sexism & misogyny – and literally all of the other evils of our society? (How many racists do you know who are not also sexist? How many people filled with hatred toward immigrants are not also sexist? How many elected idiots are not also sexist?) Sexism isn’t even limited to men, for fuck’s sake; there are ever so many women willing to carry that apologist torch to maintain this system that burns us all. This is where my head is at today; perplexed and sorrowful about all the human relationships tainted by the ugliness of implicit sexism. I’m not feeling open to excuses, explanations, denials, or “othering”, today. I’m not interested in justification, or placating platitudes. Hell, it’s not even connected to Memorial Day sadness – not even a little bit. It’s just where my head is at. I’m in a place in my own life where I no longer feel any obligation whatsoever to placate various men in my life, although out of general consideration, and a lack of interest in their opinion on an experience of sexism they can not share (and largely seem unable to recognize, as a result), I mostly just don’t discuss it, at all. Complicating all this is that is sometimes feels like a conversation with my father. He’s dead, though… hard to “feel heard”. So the anger comes and goes, not unlike the sorrow of any one Memorial Day; it has a place in my experience, a moment taken to care for it tenderly, to consider and soothe it, and then I move the fuck on to other things. There’s no solution that I reasonably expect to see in my lifetime, and I’ve got things to do.

I put on music to write to, suited to this peculiar headspace, while I sip this cold coffee and practice self-soothing a lifetime of seething rage until I am “okay” once more… For most values of “okay”. It is what it is, I guess. Life is, generally, pretty good. I find it worrisome to see so many people take their anger out into the world, along with a gun… and then end someone else’s life. That seems pretty unfair and entirely inappropriate. I don’t like seeing it become more and more prevalent… but of course, it’s hard to be certain that it has; likes, clicks, views, and the eager drive to capture consumer attention dictates what is in our news feeds every day. The undermining of “truth” – real, factual, documentable truth – has progressed to the point that I’ve even removed satirical and comedic content that uses current events for the foundational content from my feeds. I don’t care to risk my understanding of what is real and true, if I can avoid doing so. I try to stick with content that is fact-checked reliably. It gets harder all the time.

What do we do with all this anger? I feel it, too. I’m trying to find healthy ways to process it, to deal with it, to care for my own tender injured heart without doing damage to someone else’s. Painting is one way. Funny thing; yesterday I was not “painting anger”, although it was among the mixed emotions that pushed me into my studio. I was painting love, and painting hope, and painting joy, and the comfort of emotional safety. I was painting what I want to see in the world and in my own life. I surprised myself with that. Maybe it’s a good practice? I guess I’ll be needing to practice to see what comes of it, over time.

Today, though, is a day for housekeeping, and mindful service to hearth and home. This, too, is “my way”. I’m not sure why Sunday. I could say “the habit of a lifetime” – but it isn’t. Growing up, I most commonly saw housework being done more or less in all the waking hours of our family life – and all of it done by my Mother, or Grandmother, or some other woman, in some other home. I’m fortunate. I get a lot of help from my Traveling Partner. We generally both handle routine basics during the week. I do a few hours of focused housekeeping on the weekend, to get ready for a new week; I like the results, all week long. My partner tackles a lot of the maintenance and upkeep of the house and the technology we live with. It mostly seems a pretty fair division of labor. My resentment, when it occasionally builds up over time, tends to be more about my own shortcomings self-care-wise, and lack of skillful boundary-setting or time management, and discomfort with asking for help when I need it. Recognizing that’s “on me” to resolve, I try to be aware of my bullshit before it spills over elsewhere. No doubt I could improve in this area. lol

I look at my list of chores for today. It’s honestly not “all that”, and definitely doesn’t amount to enough work for any hint of annoyance or resentment or fuss. It’s just a routine Sunday on a long weekend. ūüôā Hell, I may even paint more later – I’m feeling very inspired lately. I don’t suggestion that that is a good thing… it’s just fuel for the artistic fire within.

I glance at the time, and into the bottom of my now-empty coffee mug; it’s time to begin again.

I overslept yesterday. It’s a rare thing, and generally associated with pure panic, incredible anxiety, a feeling of failure, and an excess of emotional self-abuse and callousness. Yesterday? Yesterday I simply overslept a bit, having awakened in the night to the sound of thunder, and spending some time watching and listening to the rare (in this area) thunderstorm. I woke gently. Noticed quickly that it was later than I expected upon waking. Gave myself an understanding smile, and experienced a moment of appreciation for my habit of recent years of getting up very early to slow my morning down to a pace that feels pleasant and unhurried; the result yesterday was that although I overslept by a substantial amount, there was still no cause to rush. I had time for coffee, yoga, meditation, and all the usual sorts of morning related hygiene and ‘getting it together’ stuff I generally do. So… oversleeping was a total non event, and that is what was noteworthy about it.

Perspective, again. It really matters.

What we see depends so much on what we're looking at.

What we see depends so much on what we’re looking at.

I have a peculiar perspective on perspective, though, because although I easily accept that perspective and context change how some experiences feel, I also find that some experiences are unpleasant, ¬†unacceptable, even ‘wrong’, regardless of context. Torturing people fits that category. So does force-feeding them (and by that I mean feeding people forcibly in the face of their specific refusal to eat by choice of their will and intention). Killing people over ideology fits the category [for me] of acts that are unacceptable without regard to context. Genital mutilation, too; I am not opposed to body modification chosen willfully by an individual, but I don’t find it even a little bit acceptable to go around hacking up people’s sex bits when they are children (of any gender, or culture) and not yet able to consent, or in the face of obvious refusal to consent. In fact, that’s the magic word for me – ‘consent’. So yeah: rape, murder, genocide, drone warfare, genital mutilation, domestic violence, acting out against another human being in anger…really, any act of violence against other human beings just isn’t okay with me, whether it is parent against child, spouse against spouse, ex against ex, nation against nation, cop against mentally ill person, soldier against civilian, sports figure against fan, pissed off person against person who pissed them off… it just isn’t okay.

I have trouble understanding why people don’t embrace kindness, compassion, open communication, frankness, clear boundary setting, and respecting the boundaries set by others. At this point in my life I find no argument that justifies a man killing his ex-wife over her desire not to associate with him any further. I find no argument that justifies raping someone. I find no argument that justifies genocide. I find no argument that justifies genital mutilation (and yes, I do include circumcision as genital mutilation, considering the arguments used to support it are just as phony as¬†the arguments used to support female genital mutilation, and it seems an obviously painful and utterly worthless procedure). I find no arguments that make violence against children acceptable, especially at the hands of a parent. I just don’t get it. How can a human being raise a hand against another human being and not understand how vile that actually is? Where is our compassion as human beings?

I wasn’t always ‘here’. This hasn’t always been my point of view. I was once pretty ‘pro violence’, in the sense that¬†it seemed to me, then, that any number of things made sense as¬†justification, or at least mitigation, of violence… generally falling in two basic buckets. The first, the sick notion that there is some one ‘right way’ and that all must be forced to comply with that way – the ideology argument. The other, that there is¬†¬†somehow¬†something¬†due to an individual or group, some sort of recompense, or vengeance, or act in their¬†favor regardless of the will or resources of another – the entitlement argument. There’s a lot of cross over, there, but generally it seems to me those two basic misconceptions cover most of it. ¬†The ugliest violations in life are built on those cornerstones of ill-will. I don’t find either of those adequate justification for violence at this point in my life.

There is, of course, more to life than violence, and so much more going on in the world. I avoid the news, but I prefer not to become ‘ignorant’ through doing so; ignorance easily leads one to callousness, cruelty, and casual unkindness through lack of context, or understanding, so I make an effort to be aware of the flow of historical events, while avoiding traumatizing myself with emotional overload. One thing that keeps me engaged in the world, strangely, is the ‘homework’ I do that has evolved around studying emotional intimacy, the nature and function of emotion, my own internal chaos and damage, and the slow process of healing and ‘growing my soul’, and developing emotional resilience and self-sufficiency (all ongoing processes). I’ve reached a point on my journey where¬†much of what I contemplate has to do with issues of consent; it is where most of my own damage lies.

I seriously doubt many of us take a moment to slow things down and look at how often we violate the boundaries of others, overstep the limitations of their consent, violate their consent outright, attempting¬†to ‘talk them out of’ their position, contradict or bully them, or apply coercive tactics to their decision-making, or making demands on their time or resources without regard to their needs and desires. I see these things, now, all as subtle sorts of violation, and inappropriate uses of emotional force. It’s been hard to learn to respect my own boundaries enough to insist others respect them as well. More than once recently I have found myself moved to substantial anger when gentle¬†insistence that my boundaries be respected was¬†not honored…and I find violence an unacceptable way to address that…so…then what? And isn’t that how wars start? It’s a tough puzzle. I keep coming back to a¬†solution¬†of absolute personal freedom limited only by the absolute personal freedom of ¬†each other individual besides myself, and the only honorable restriction being to do no harm to another through an act of my will, and an obligation to society to apply my will to prevent harm when I understand it is possible to do so, and to respect the consent of others as sacrosanct. ¬†So many times, the prevailing attitude seems to be ‘sure, freedom for me – but not them!’ ¬†It’s pretty obvious it doesn’t really work that way.

I’m rambling a bit over my espresso this morning. I’m in a generally pleasant mood. I struggle to understand the violence in the world, and I struggle to understand how it isn’t obvious to more people how unnecessary it is. Of course, perspective and point of view matter, I guess. I think it is pretty grim that anyone’s point of view would allow them to justify bombing school children in their sleep, or laying waste to portions of our very small earth to deprive someone else of the use of it. It seems inhuman and monstrous.

It’s Saturday. I slept well. The morning sky evolved from pale gray¬†to pinks and lavenders, and is now that sparkling clear summertime blue that hints at a hot afternoon to come, interrupted with fluffy clouds to remind me other outcomes are a possibility. Aren’t they always? This was a lot of words to say ‘good morning, please be kind, the world already has enough meanness, callousness, ignorance, and cruelty’ – but it’s really the only point I had, I think. ūüôā

Each day is a good day to make good choices, and a new opportunity to be the woman I most want to be.

Each day is a good day to make good choices, and a new opportunity to be the woman I most want to be.

Today is a good day to do my best. Today is a good day to avoid taking things personally. Today is a good day to refrain from making assumptions, and give the other person a chance to use their words. Today is a good day for boundaries, and a good day for respecting them. Today is a good day for genuine kindness, and gentle frankness. Today is a good day to listen. Today is a good day to change the world.