passion

Some Thoughts…and a Poem

Yesterday I wrote this line “If you happen to read this and are Pagan, gay, female, or some combination”. I have been corrected by Z. I should have skipped the words “Pagan”, “gay”, and “female”. I should have used the word “human”. Z is a wise lady.

I was reading the comments section on a “politically charged” topic. That comment section prompted this thought…”i was reading a comment section of an article when i came across a guy that said “who cares what the anti’s think?”. he misses the point. the “pro’s” will always be pro. the “anti’s” will always be anti. the view you have to sway is the guy in the middle that hasn’t formed a view either way. if your conduct or commentary is so outrageous that it forces them to have a view, odds are it won’t be the one you want either pro or anti. you have to use reason to give that person a reason to side with you” *editorial, when I write to myself I am not as grammatically correct. Sorry* Where that thought goes, though, is that maybe I need to correct MY approach. It is entirely possible that I need to find a way to motivate the middle to my point of view. Some people will always either agree or disagree. Where the conversation should be is with those that have not formed an opinion.

*editorial…again…I read and love  Kipling. I have to use a filter. I understand that he was a product of Victorian England. I recognize the “baggage” that carries. In the poem that follows, he is being both racist and sexist. Please look beyond that to the truths that are in there. Thanks*

Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)

The Female of the Species

“WHEN the Himalayan peasant meets the he-bear in his pride,
He shouts to scare the monster, who will often turn aside.
But the she-bear thus accosted rends the peasant tooth and nail.
For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

When Nag the basking cobra hears the careless foot of man,
He will sometimes wriggle sideways and avoid it if he can.
But his mate makes no such motion where she camps beside the trail.
For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

When the early Jesuit fathers preached to Hurons and Choctaws,
They prayed to be delivered from the vengeance of the squaws.
‘Twas the women, not the warriors, turned those stark enthusiasts pale.
For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

Man’s timid heart is bursting with the things he must not say,
For the Woman that God gave him isn’t his to give away;
But when hunter meets with husbands, each confirms the other’s tale—
The female of the species is more deadly than the male.

Man, a bear in most relations—worm and savage otherwise,—
Man propounds negotiations, Man accepts the compromise.
Very rarely will he squarely push the logic of a fact
To its ultimate conclusion in unmitigated act.

Fear, or foolishness, impels him, ere he lay the wicked low,
To concede some form of trial even to his fiercest foe.
Mirth obscene diverts his anger—Doubt and Pity oft perplex
Him in dealing with an issue—to the scandal of The Sex!

But the Woman that God gave him, every fibre of her frame
Proves her launched for one sole issue, armed and engined for the same;
And to serve that single issue, lest the generations fail,
The female of the species must be deadlier than the male.

She who faces Death by torture for each life beneath her breast
May not deal in doubt or pity—must not swerve for fact or jest.
These be purely male diversions—not in these her honour dwells—
She the Other Law we live by, is that Law and nothing else.

She can bring no more to living than the powers that make her great
As the Mother of the Infant and the Mistress of the Mate.
And when Babe and Man are lacking and she strides unclaimed to claim
Her right as femme (and baron), her equipment is the same.

She is wedded to convictions—in default of grosser ties;
Her contentions are her children, Heaven help him who denies!—
He will meet no suave discussion, but the instant, white-hot, wild,
Wakened female of the species warring as for spouse and child.

Unprovoked and awful charges—even so the she-bear fights,
Speech that drips, corrodes, and poisons—even so the cobra bites,
Scientific vivisection of one nerve till it is raw
And the victim writhes in anguish—like the Jesuit with the squaw!

So it comes that Man, the coward, when he gathers to confer
With his fellow-braves in council, dare not leave a place for her
Where, at war with Life and Conscience, he uplifts his erring hands
To some God of Abstract Justice—which no woman understands.

And Man knows it! Knows, moreover, that the Woman that God gave him
Must command but may not govern—shall enthral but not enslave him.
And She knows, because She warns him, and Her instincts never fail,
That the Female of Her Species is more deadly than the Male.”

I posted this poem because I think Kipling touches on some truth. That, at the bottom of things, men fear what women are capable of. That women have to face things that men will never face. That, as much as we don’t want to admit it, we place roadblocks in the path of women. That we really do treat women as “less than equal” because it strokes our male egos to pretend to be better than half of humanity. We miss the point entirely. Women are more courageous. Women have been and continue to be repressed and persecuted. It is not that women are lesser than men. Maybe I make the mistake of putting women on a pedestal. Maybe my view is also skewed toward the side that says “women deserve MORE respect than men”. That is also possible. I think that we, men, need to do one of two things. We need to either raise women to the level that we think we are at or, we need to deflate our egos to where we have put women. Probably both…

A final thought…I wish I could convince the world, or even a few people, to see the world through my eyes for just a tiny second. I wish that they would see that having a different faith or love is never going to be a threat. I wish that the ones that think my friends have less worth because the eyes, and the hearts and minds behind them, look out with a different perspective, does not make those eyes wrong. Gay is not a threat to straight. Marriage equality is not a threat to marriage. Pagan is not a threat to Christian. Female is not a threat to male. Period. Ever. Please do not reverse the equations and be a threat to them. Humans ARE a threat to other humans. Kindness and love toward people that mean you no harm are Christian values.

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Kindness and a Hug

I wish there were fonts for kindness. If I had one, I’d like to be able to use it on a few or these. *editorial, that’s not the only font I wish they made*

“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1

I’d like to be able to have a civil dialogue. I’d like to sit down with a person, just one, and ask “why” ? Why have you decided that you can be actively mean to my friends? Why do you think that they are “sinners” and think that theirs is any greater than yours or mine? Why do you care what they do? Why do you go to websites that show them support and tell them that they are going to Hell. Why do you question their faith and not hold a mirror to your own? Why do you feel like they are a threat?

I’d like to be able to listen to their answers.

I’d like to be able to reply with my own path to deciding that I have come to a point where I disagree. I’d like to be able to explain how, when I read the Bible, I’m told to focus on my own actions and that I am not instructed to react out of hate or disgust but, out of love. I’d truly enjoy being able to help them find some peace within themselves. I’d love to be able to bring Aj and Z into the room and introduce them and give them a hug. *editorial, they each live about a thousand miles away in different directions and I’d love to be able to give them a hug. don’t think it’s going to happen any time soon. sigh* I wish I could find a way to convince the people that have said “God didn’t create your friends that way” for them to believe, as I do, that God DID make them just the way they are.

I wish we could have a conversation that was not wrapped in strong emotion but, in kindness. I wish that I could find a way to explain that saying hurtful things does not convince people to see your views. I wish I could find a way to explain that, if I decide that someone is going to Hell, then, I’ve decided I know better than God. I wish I could find a way to change the hearts of people so that we could realize that our job is to “‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” That when we have decided that we are called to hate, then we have failed ourselves and our neighbor. I wish that there were a way to convince people that “love the sinner but, hate the sin” is not love.

I really wish there were fonts for emotional loading. *sigh* I hope that if you read these words that you realize this is not a rant but, a plea for kindness. I wish they might give me a lever or an insight. I also wish I could give Aj and Z a hug.

An Open Letter to Aj and Z

Dear Aj and Z, 

I’ve been thinking about a conversation we had the other day. You guys were telling me to back off on these posts if I was getting “burned out”. I decided to write a response. True to form, since the conversation was public, I thought I’d make a public response.

It is my privilege to write about and for you guys. I am allowed, by you, to be a voice. You do not realize how much that trust means to me. You encouraged me to write and use you guys as my examples. You don’t censor, even though I’ve offered, these posts. You guys are the people I go to when I need support. It is the very least I can do to try to return it. You have never judged me because of my past, merely accepted my present. That I happen to love the both of you is an added bonus.

I truly wish I did not ever again have to make a post as your advocate. That would mean that the job was done. Since things are the way they are, I’m going to keep at it. It is a pleasure to have people in my life that I care about enough to want to write for them. It is not some “burden” when the two of you are the subjects. The only things that cause me any grief while I write these are that the wider readers do not see what I see. That there are people that, without knowing you, have judged you. That saddens and angers me. The result is that I write so that I might change the views of those that would change you. 

Please remain who you are. Do not ever think that I will not listen, even if I don’t want to, to your wisdom, advice, jokes, or chiding. If you think I need to hear (read) something, do not hesitate. *editorial, I know that you won’t* I might get defensive but, I will pay attention. I promise. All I ask in return is that you keep allowing me to be an advocate for you guys. You are worth my time and emotional energy. Please allow me to share it with you.

                                                                                                         Respectfully,                                                                                                                                                                                                        Miller

Sitting on the Fence

I’m pondering on the nature of fences. Specifically, what does it take to stop sitting on one ? I’m not sure that there’s a conclusion for every case.

I know that there are issues that I will always remain apathetic about or will have decided that there are enough voices. Politics have worn me down. *editorial, I have no intent of going into party politics or debating the merits of either political party* I also think that there are some issues that have enough voices that mine is lost in the crowd. I may have a view there and might vote that way but, it really doesn’t mean I’m going to be vocal. 

Some times, I just don’t care. There are Issues that are not personal enough, will not affect me, or do not have a solution that makes enough sense to use. Other issues are really “non-issues” that have convinced people that they exist. Then there are issues that I have decided to not spend “emotional energy” on. Aj warns me about that quite a bit. She’s kind of my “emotional energy police”, in a good way. *editorial, Aj is my “best friend that is not my wife” and she tries her best to protect me from myself. She does a good job when I actually listen to her*

I think it comes down to when it becomes personal. When I decided that the issue was one that hit home. When I found a reason to WANT to spend my energy on it. I very rarely react publicly from an emotional point of view. My views are, usually, well pondered and thought out. Not to say that I’m unemotional but, I don’t let them make my decisions for me. It is, for me, counterproductive to get to a point where I’m slamming down the keys as I type. 

For me, faith and love are the same sides of the coin. *editorial, I’ve said that before, just don’t remember if I did here or not* That’s where it became personal. I first learned I had faith in something greater than myself. Then I realized that I was capable of love. I believe that love is also something “greater than myself”.

I met my wife. Learned that I loved her. Married her. Maybe not as simply as that but, that was the progression.

If you have read any of these, you know about Aj and Z. I’ll spare the details of how much I care for these ladies but, I’ll hit the high points. Aj is a person of strong faith. It happens to be Pagan. Z is also a person of strong faith, Christian, who happens to be gay. Because I had known them as people before I found out that either had an aspect of their life that I didn’t know, I didn’t really have a chance to apply any of my preconceived notions. Funny how that works. Neither wears a name tag that says “Hi my name is (blank) and I’m in a group that you are not.” They just go about their lives and let you make your decisions about them based on who they are. 

That was what pushed me off of the fence. Sure, there are a bunch of voices advocating religious freedom. *editorial, my Pagan friends might debate my choice of the word “religion”. It’s what I have so, it’s what I use*

Sure there a bunch of groups advocating “gay rights”. *editorial, please don’t get upset if I didn’t quite phrase that one to your liking either. Again, it’s what I have*

There is one group advocating Aj and Z. *waves*. I’m it. It became personal. I got nudged off of the fence. I hope that my voice and my words might sway someone else to change their views. I hope that my views of my friends might persuade someone else to see them as I see them and, by seeing them the way that I do, decide that they are not to be feared or scorned. I hope that my views might help someone, anyone else to overcome their apathy. I hope that by trying to show my friends as people, that they might gain additional support of their rights to live and love. I also know, that for Aj and Z to have the rights that they deserve that it’s going to mean the same for a bunch, millions, of others. For me, the millions are incidental to the two and those others that I know that fit either demographic. 

It is, and will always be, personal. I think that is where we always decide to get off of the fence. I think that when we do, we are able to speak with passion. I hope that my passion comes through. I believe that change will come when we can use that passion to persuade. I’m glad I’ve gotten off of the fence and spoken out. I’m glad that I was allowed into the yard. I remember, as a kid, sitting on the fence and watching the game. I wished I could play.  Life is not a game but, it is not worth living if you sit on the fence and watch it being played out.

Love and Toys

I’ll warn y’all up front, this might be an other ramble.

I’ve been thinking about love quite a bit lately. For me, it is a part of a process of awakening. I’m either middle aged or 8 depending on the way you count birthdays. Do you count from birth or rebirth? Sometimes I think both ways are needed as they give perspective. The chronological counting lets me know my place in history. The count from my rebirth lets me know my place in self.

*****

Love, for me, is a new shiny toy. It’s something that I don’t have much experience using. Because it’s such an unusual thing for me, I am constantly amazed by it. I remember the first time I told my bride to be that I loved her. It surprised both of us. I had an “did I really just say that?” moment. Then I realized it was true. For once, speaking without considering what I was going to say was a good thing. That I had spoken the truth.

I’m still playing with my new toy. I keep finding out that the capabilities of it and the myriad uses of it are beyond measure. Who knew that it was such a wonderful gift? I didn’t.

I knew that self-loathing was protection and that love was dangerous. Love is still dangerous. It exposes me to doubt and potential hurt. It forces me to expand my sense of self. It teaches me that there are people that have become important to me than I am. It teaches me to accept myself for who I am, faults and all. It has taught me that there are people that i have no romantic interest in and still include in the aggregate of self. It has taught me that being selfish includes others in the selfish bit. It has taught me that I don’t have to be like someone to have them as a part of who I am.

Love is something that I have to learn. I have to find teachers, then I have to allow myself to be willing to learn from them and their example. It’s not easy for me to do that. There are a whole bunch of trust issues stemming from distrust of myself that make that hard. If I don’t emotionally trust me, why would I trust you? If I can’t find it within myself to love myself, why should I believe you when you say that you love me? Why should I take the risk that, if I expand self to you, I might be rejected? Because, this new toy has capabilities that I never knew it had. It can be scratched and thrown around and when I pick it up to play with again, it’s just like brand new. When I find someone else that wants to play with it along with me, it grows big enough for both of us to play with. When we find a third person, they can come play, too. Wow, what a cool toy. It has helped to heal me. Self-loathing is no longer protection. In fact, it’s not even important at all except as a point to divide who I was from who I am. Self-loathing isn’t who I am. It used to be but, not any more. My new toy has changed that.

*editorial, I’m finding it hard to put in paragraph breaks and had to change the wording to make this first person. I kept saying you and your. Again, this is a bit stream of thought*

This new toy is very cool. It’s educational.

I have learned, from it, about value. I learned that people have value far beyond material worth. I have learned that I am valuable to both myself and other people. I have learned that value is added to me when I can become “we”. I have learned to value the opinions and beliefs of loved ones. I have learned that the external is not what I value. It’s what’s inside of them that counts.  I have learned that, when I meet someone new, I should look for the love within them and the value they have.

*editorial, this doesn’t mean that I love everyone I meet. I’m not that good, yet*

I have learned courage. They, my loved ones, have taught me to be brave. That it takes courage to face myself and be who I am without fear. This courage/love thing is kind of cool all by itself. It causes me to step outside of my “comfort zone” and write. It causes me to have the courage to say “When you hurt my loved ones, you hurt me. I am not going to stand by silently for that.”

I have learned that love is like an old pair of sweat pants, all ratty and comfortable. You don’t have to wear it outside when you go to work but, you know it’s sitting on the dresser waiting for you. It’s also like a bowl of stew on a cold day. It’ll keep you warm and filled and give you energy when you just want to quit.

Something else about this toy. It’s full of surprises. I am constantly surprised by it. I look up and find someone else playing with MY toy and wonder how that happened. I wonder when I let them. I realize that they were there all along and I didn’t even realize it. Then I realize that, not only don’t I mind, that I’m really glad that they are there, in my yard, playing with me and we. I find this toy in the oddest of places. It seems that my toy lives in other yards, too. That we are all playing with the same toy and it’s so very different and, at the same time, so very alike. How did that happen, I wonder? Then I find that since my toy is big enough for me to play with, there’s probably enough that there’s enough for them.

I also realize that this ever so surprising toy isn’t mine… Wait a minute. You mean it isn’t MY toy? How did that happen? I don’t know. My toy belongs to someone else? What? That’s not how this is supposed to work. It’s mine and I want to keep it.

Problem is, if I don’t give it away, then, I don’t get to keep any of it. I can’t explain that last bit, except that, for me, I know it’s the truth. It’s an “all or none” deal. Either I give all of my toy away or I get to keep none. Yet, if I give it all away, it all comes back. What a wonderful toy. It’s like Christmas. I get to give away something I really want and when I do, someone gives it right back to me. How cool is that?

My new toy has taught me passion. If you read this blog, you will find that I am passionate about a very few things. They are, in this order, my wife, my friends, and treating them with dignity and respect. Love has taught me that. This toy has taught me that there are things worthy of it. That it is NEVER wrong to say that those you love need to be treated like they are loved. It has taught me that there are some times that i need to stop “playing” with it and use it as a motivation to try to right a wrong. It has taught me that religious freedom and the end of repression are worth being passionate about because of who I love and the love they have given me in return. That if I love, then I have to try. It’s passion has removed apathy. “Aw, fuck it, it don’t affect me” is not a good enough answer. That, too, is part of the education. 

*****

In all honesty, I don’t love all of myself all of the time. Sometimes, I’m made of barbed wire and broken glass. Some times I treat the people I love with rudeness and disrespect. Sux.

I don’t love everyone in the World. Most days, I don’t even like everyone in the World. Sad to say, I’m not there yet. I don’t ever expect to be. I have learned to not hate…well, mostly. Odds are, if I don’t know you, then you are a fiction to me. Not because you are not real and worth being loved, just because you are unknown. There’s not, in my mind, anything wrong with that. I am a human being. I am limited in scope. I am not Divine. The love of all mankind is something that, I think, if any human says they have, is not possible. That’s ok, though, at least for me.

I’m not gonna stress that someone I don’t know doesn’t love me. I’m not even going to stress that most people I DO know don’t love me and I don’t love them. Why would I? I’m not wired to have that big a group. Other’s have different views on how big a group they can include. Again, that’s ok. Funny thing is, the group seems to be expanding. Very odd.

*****

I think I’m gonna stop writing for now and think about this. I might revisit it later. For now, my brain hurts. Told y’all this was gonna be a ramble. I never thought it’d be this long of one, though. Funny how a blog that started out as a protest has turned into a voyage of self-exploration.

******

I’d like to thank My wife for being my first and last love, Aj for teaching me that I can love a friend, Z for being herself, and Leanna for letting me find out that there are people playing with my toy and I never knew it. Lastly, if you are one of the ones playing in my yard with my toy, thanks for letting me play with you, too. 

*****

Love is the coolest toy in the world. Find yours. Take it out of the box and play with it. Invite some friends over and share it with them, too.