Dear Megyn Kelly and NBC: Don’t

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I don’t know who in the hell got it in their head that interviewing lunatic Alex Jones would be a great idea. Please spare me your “shining a light” on conspiracy theories, Megyn. You need to pull in ratings for your show to impress your new bosses at NBC. At this point, with all the outrage at your frankly obscene decision to interview the nutjob of nutjobs, I can’t imagine who would back you.

But, I know how hard-headed people can get when their pet project is challenged. I’ve been there at a job with someone who had stupid, irresponsible ideas and fired anyone who challenged them. I was one of those people who got fired for saying THIS IS NOT THE WAY TO DO THINGS. IT’S IRRESPONSIBLE. It didn’t do any good.

Megyn, I defended you when Donald Trump verbally sexually harassed you even though we have very little in common in terms of political views. I’m hard-pressed to defend you now. Regardless of your excuses for wanting to interview Jones, you’ve already piled more stones on the families of murdered children, you’ve forced them to confront and debunk his lies again, and that damage can’t be undone. The only thing that you, Megyn, and your bosses at NBC can do at this point is apologize and cancel the interview. It won’t do much, if anything, but at least Jones’s fellow lunatics won’t be able to tune in and watch him in primetime.

Please stop. Please don’t do this. Please remember how you felt when trump was attacking you, and do not do this thing.

Please.

 

The Surprising Emotions Evoked by Wonder Woman

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I expected to feel excitement and “female empowerment” when I finally saw Wonder Woman. Instead, I watched the movie in silence, crying, and hoping no one would notice. My mother and sister were also mostly silent. Some people around us were laughing and gasping, but it seemed that most of the women in the theater were struck by the same sense of awe as I was.

When I was buying our tickets, a women in her fifties asked me if I had seen the movie yet. She had also bought tickets to Wonder Woman. When I said no, she looked as if she wanted to say something, but she just shook her head. I realize now she must have been there for a repeat viewing.

I’m 44. My mother is 69. My sister is 37. None of us have ever seen a movie with so many powerful women. Honestly, the whole movie could have consisted of life on Themyscira and it would have made me happy. My mother is a retired police officer and said she physically felt the blows the Amazons dealt to the invading Germans.

The thrill during that sequence wasn’t about seeing women beating up men. It was from seeing women defending themselves, each other, their home, their way of life, and winning . . . but of course in a situation like that, the loss of life obscures the win. In many movies, a group of people like the Amazons would have celebrated the win and mourned their dead as heroes. The Amazons didn’t celebrate. They knew that something sacred had come to an end.

Hippolyta’s “you may never return” was heartbreaking and ambiguous. Diana’s resolve was also heartbreaking, but unavoidable. At some points, her bull-headed insistence on DOING IT RIGHT NOW made me want to shake her even though I thought she was on the right track. Until the end.

The scene where she is floating in the air absorbing everything that Ares throws at her is fixed in my mind. And then she threw it back.

I, and I am sure every woman, knows that feeling of wanting to throw it all back at someone. I’m not a proponent of that forgive and move on crap. I’m a proponent of throwing it all back at them, whoever they are.

I was shaken as I left the movie. So was my sister. She said she was going to ask her boyfriend to buy her a Wonder Woman doll. I thought hell, no, and we went to Walmart and I showed her all the dolls and bought the one she liked best.

I put up my Wonder Woman posters last night. They are a bit jarring in my room, which is traditionally feminine . . . but what is more traditionally feminine than an Amazon? Strong, passionate, nurturing, a woman who will die defending her family.

Today, I was depressed. I got on Twitter and read the news, the depressed tweets, the angry tweets, the tweets that divide us, I thought about our enemy, our common enemy, enemy to all women even if they don’t see him that way, and I thought that to set things to rights, we all have to be Wonder Woman. We all have to care more about what’s best for others than we care about ourselves. We all have to be willing to sacrifice everything for people we don’t even know, refugees, people dying for lack of someone willing to help.

I don’t see that. I see bickering and infighting and separation. I don’t see the obstinacy that characterized the young Diana: I will do this no matter the risk to myself because it is the right thing to do, and I will see the humanity in everyone.

So this is what I took away from Wonder Woman. The movie opened my eyes to things that I hadn’t fully comprehended before. It made me feel responsible for things happening in the world that I had not considered my responsibility.

It’s more than a superhero movie. It is the perfect movie for our time.

Vampires in Your Life

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We all have them. Sometimes they are psychic vampires. An example would be an abusive boss, who thrives on your fear of losing your job, or an abusive partner, who controls you through threats of losing your domestic stability.

An emotional vampire is someone you care about, and who cares about you, but continually does things that are harmful to your well-being without intent to harm you. These are the hoarders. The people suffering from addiction who don’t realize that their “little” habit harms you. The people who are perpetually broke when they should not be. The people who should know how to live as adults but can’t unless you help them.

How to deal with a psychic vampire: get away as quick as you can, then use the legal system against them if possible.

How to deal with emotional vampires: you can’t. I’m sorry. You can talk to them day after day, night after night, and the behavior that’s harmful to them and to you will never stop. That’s because you (probably) aren’t a medical professional. You have to find a way to live around these people. You have to mentally separate yourself from them. They will drive you mad in a different way than a psychic vampire. You care for or love the emotional vampire. You see the problem(s) they’re having. You suggest ways to change. You have earnest conversations with them about their problems. You make stronger suggestions. They pull away. You explain to them about the ways that their problems affect other people, including you. “I know,” “I don’t know where to start,” “It’s overwhelming.”

And it goes on and on and on.

An emotional vampire cannot envision another way of living. You can talk sternly, threaten to leave, leave, cut off contact, and it won’t make a difference.

The emotional and physical crap they’ve built up is beyond you. They need professional help. You’ll drive yourself to the cliff edge of insanity trying to get through to them. They hear it, they know it, but “it” is their routine. They honestly can’t see how it’s harmful to anyone.

You have to live your own life as much as possible. If you’re a caregiver for an emotional vampire, you should seek out family help so that you’re not carrying the load alone. If you are alone, contact your local senior center or Social Services. They may be able to give you information about respite care.

If you feel that you’re losing yourself to an emotional vampire, seek professional help, or at least reach out to friends.

And that thing you’ve been wanting to do . . . hang the picture. Go to the movie. Cut your hair. Grow out your hair. Get the tattoo. Buy the book. Write the book. You can do it. You have to enforce little pockets of time for yourself, and you’ll have to hear some bullshit about it afterward, but it’s all words. Do the thing you have to do for yourself, and above all, do not lose yourself.

Asthma and your bed’s headboard

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I’ve always had a bookcase headboard. Recently, I saw a movie with a bedroom a lot like mine. The woman didn’t have a headboard. She had lots of pillows and throw pillows propped up against the wall. I thought THAT’S WHAT I WANT. The bedroom needed a change, and the headboard didn’t match the rest of the furniture anyway. I have a new bookcase, so I moved the books and the dolls that were on top of the headboard, took the headboard off (that was a helluva job; one nut was stuck, and it took me an hour with a Craftsman wrench to remove it), took the plastic bins out from under the bed, vacuumed the floor, slats, and boxsprings.

I have not woken up with asthma symptoms since.

I don’t think it’s just the dust from the old books and on the dolls, although dolls are dust magnets. I think that was half the problem, and the other half was not being able to prop myself up in a way that made it easier to breathe. I’ve also had a lot less shoulder pain.

So if you, your spouse, or your child has nighttime asthma or sleep apnea and a bookcase headboard, consider removing it. There are several ways to upcycle a beat-up headboard besides painting or refinishing it and selling it. I’m thinking about using mine as a small “garden” next year.

In addition to no dust and greater comfort, the no-headboard look is trendy right now. It’s easy to add color to your bedroom with throw pillows. I also like using mismatched pillow cases. If you like to sit up in bed and read, not having a headboard makes it much easier. You’ll also gain at least a foot of space. The only problem is not having a lamp on the back of your bed.

When your child has asthma, you need to keep their bed very clean. Headboards and footboards make beds hard to move when you want to vacuum. Now I can pull mine out from the wall and vacuum all around it.

One day, I’d love to have a platform bed with drawers. Not having boxsprings to lift and vacuum would be great. If it’s in your budget, consider under-the-bed storage. If not, well, it doesn’t cost a thing to remove your headboard, and you can find colorful, inexpensive throw pillows at dollar stores.

Fellow pagans, how do you respond?

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“Paganism/Wicca is a made up religion.”

What do you say? My impulse is to say that they’re all “made up,” human expressions of the Divine.

I was told today that we (all pagans of all traditions) are just having fun without having done any research into how ancient peoples worshiped. As this person’s comments were particularly foolish and presumptuous, I told them they needed to get their ass off their shoulders and stop assuming that none of us have done any research into our particular path.

Because we don’t have a holy book, because we’re all different, because we all have our own way of approaching our spirituality and we (largely) avoid dogma, we’re just playing around.

I’ve never understand why religion can’t evolve. I’ve never understood why a spiritual practice built on the foundations of ancient religion isn’t as real as, say, Mormonism, which is a very young religion.

Wicca isn’t easy. For me, it’s hard work continually chipping away at the fear installed in me by Christian school teachers. It’s hard work readjusting my thought patterns from a religion that says “Just pray and believe!” to a spiritual practice that is . . . real life. It’s birth, life, and death. It’s having a pragmatic view of daily living instead of walking around telling everyone MY GOD IS GOOD, I’M BLESSED by people who don’t seem blessed at all, just desperately trying to convince themselves that they are or will be if they keep repeating it. And research . . . the research never stops. New archaeological discoveries, fighting through the fluff to get to the blood and bone, trying to understand how my ancient Irish ancestors viewed their gods and goddesses. Trying to set aside my comfortable modern mindset. Trying not to be pushed into doing things the way that other pagans do them. Not hiding my beliefs and knowing that people think they’re silly and hearing things like this woman on this TV show just said, that she goes to church to feel like she’s part of something bigger than herself.

I don’t need to go sit in a building to do that. All I have to do is water my garden and monitor the growth of my plants that I planted from seed. All I have to do is pick up half of a robin’s egg shell and add it to my shelf of things I find around my yard. All I have to do is look at a modern interpretation of an ancient female figurine and feel that primal awe at how something so simple seems to hold all the meaning in the world.

What do you say to someone who just wants to feel superior and sneer at a “made-up” religion? Do you bother with them at all? Is it our jobs to try and educate them? Does that ever work? Do we have to be nice? I don’t feel like trying to set some kind of example. If someone is behaving like an ass, I want to say “you’re behaving like an ass.”

So how do you respond to the “made-up religion” comments?

Excerpt, Love Lies Bleeding

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I bought wine, vodka, and whiskey. The guy behind the counter asked if he could come to the party. I smiled and wondered how he’d feel about being an hors d’oeuvres.

Two o’clock. I was going to be waiting in agony for the rest of my life for the sun to set. But it wouldn’t be the rest of my life. In nine years I would be his mortal age, if we managed to stay together that long. Then, well . . . then things would really get interesting.