stereotypes

Are You Effing Stupid?

Are you effing stupid?

Do you blame a bank for being robbed? If you don’t…

Do you really believe a rapist picked her because he thought she was a slut? Do you think that he saw her dressed that way and it made him want to rape her?…or is it because you want some excuse to blame her and not look into your own soul and peer at your own weaknesses?

One of the people I love has been subjected to this…and more…

The worst part of convincing yourself that she somehow deserved it is that by the repeating SHE  starts to believe it. She starts to think she’s in the wrong…That is the part of your bulls**t that really is disgusting. That you try to use your words to convince her that she earned RAPE.

You know that dispassionate part where I can try to step back, this isn’t it. Slut shaming subjects the victim to the crime over and over. It revictimizes. It degrades. It tears people down when they most need building up. Piss on the lot of you.

I’ll take HER side every effing time. I’ll defend her right to dress how she pleases, sleep with whoever she consents to and however often she desires…and if you blame her or attack her, I’ll laugh while she leaves you. I’ll stand with her and you may go f**k yourself…

 

Redefining a Person

I wrote The Worth of a Soul a couple of days ago. This is more of her story…

I spent some more hours talking to her yesterday. Now I know more than I expected to know…I really don’t have a clue where to start writing this…I’ll just try writing my reactions to what we talked about and see what happens…

I’ve never met someone that was so open about their sexuality to me, not a woman. Guys brag, she was just blunt and matter of fact. I know details that I think she shared for one of two reasons, either as a test to see if I’d judge and be pushed away or because she is just not willing to lie to me. Probably a bit of both.

There’s a part of me that says, “fail the test and run away fast as you can”.  She is a “complicated”, for lack of a better term, person. There’s a different part that says, “you promised that you would not.”

Keeping my word will win…not because it’s merely keeping my word, though. Let me try to express what I see. *editorial, I am going to let her read this before posting so she may correct any misconceptions I have*

I see, and said publicly, that there is steel in this Lady. Yeah, like a blade still on the forge or hot from the furnace, it needs some work but, the metal is good…

I see someone that has been betrayed by people she should have been able to trust and that taught her to test EVERYONE so, when she does, she’s just following what makes her safe…when she tested me, this time, there probably will be others, it was with more answers than I implied in the questions…

I also see someone trying to like themselves, really trying, and getting better at it…why would I do something as cynical as to not want to see it through because she’s “complicated” and it would be easier not to deal with her baggage?

*****

Realistically, let’s look at this from the other perspective, her’s…

Why put up with me? I mean, what does she stand to gain?

Every time she trusts someone, they screw up and she takes the fall. People have denigrated her for enjoying being her. They shame her for something THEY encouraged. They ask questions and when she answers them truthfully, they tell her she is wrong. How does she know I won’t do that? My generation has caused the grief and baggage she deals with, so why would she expect any more from me?

All she has to go on is that I haven’t let her down…so far… I have not given away her secrets…yet…I haven’t judged her…yet…I haven’t told her she’s worthless…yet but, what reassurance does she have. The only other things she has to go on are one cryptic and disguised reference in a blog post last August and the one on the 12th of this month. Those and my, unproven, promise that I won’t intentionally cause harm or betrayal. That is not a huge sample size. *editorial, I suppose she could ask Aj and Z, see previous posts about those two, if I’m worth trust but, why believe them? She doesn’t know them*

*sigh*

*****

If she’ll have me as a friend, I’ll let her. She IS a survivor. Sure, she comes with a ton of baggage and a self-image that needs some work, to put it mildly, but, no matter what she thinks of herself, I see something different… I think she wants to see herself as ruthless and cold but, even when someone deserved it, she expressed regret. She thinks she uses people, age tells me that the majority of people that think they are getting something for nothing allow themselves to be used.

Interestingly enough, and I think she WILL disagree with this one, I see innocence and naivety. Yeah, she tests but, she hopes, too.

I see a person that used the word “slut” because that’s the word she was told and shamed into  using but, the way society uses that word doesn’t apply. She enjoys sex. So fucking what? Sex is fun. She’s working with me to find a better description *grins* The only thing we’ve been able to come up with starts with “cute” and ends with “plays barefoot in the rain” and has a bunch of words in the middle… *editorial, if anyone that reads this has a better word, please let us know*

She’ a person I’m willing to trust. I can type events from my life here but, you don’t get a chance to come far enough inside to cause grief. I’m willing to give her that chance, that means she’s the fifth living person that has that ability…if she’s willing to accept it…yeah, that’s my “test”, her word, of her…

In my mind she is a fellow “survivor”. We survived different things and different monsters but, we both know what it’s like to crawl out of a pit you believed was too deep to get out of…

In her I imagine seeing  someone I want to watch grow up. *editorial, from an emotional perspective* I want to see how much she’s grown in ten years. There is coming a person that has greatness in them…

It isn’t fun being the blade on the anvil but, the great humans in the world have been that blade. Until steel is hammered and tempered it’s soft and useless. After that, the blade must be ground, polished, and honed to be worth something other than a pry bar. Finally, it must have had the flaws removed by the smith or it’s fragile and wants to shatter. When all the work is done, there is something unique and beautiful. Right now, the blade is on the anvil…In ten years, the smith will be finished. I want to be around for that…

If you might think there’s no steel in her soul, no greatness, ponder this, the last blog about her, the one ONLY about her, I was going to delete. I wrote it and decided that it might cause her emotional harm by saying that stuff publicly. She refused. She told me I had to publish it even to including the line, “And deep down, we had a masochist, a young, teenage slut, who wanted nothing more than to curl up in a hole and die, because she was dirty, scared, and shamed.” KNOWING that was the first thing you would read about her. Whatever her quirks, she’s no ones emotional masochist. Even a masochist wouldn’t allow that to be written. Only strength shares that with the world so that she might help them…

In the end, this, she survived. She will keep growing. She is learning that she isn’t what she thought she was. She’s far greater and is beginning to see it…

Like I have said through this, she’ll be able to edit but, I suspect not. I think the points of the whole thing are this, no one has to be trapped in the places they believe they are. If we give ourselves a chance to quit believing the lies, we can grow. She could. She did.

Which One Is Pagan?

I want to try something. I want you to guess which one is Pagan. Is it the pharmacist that fills your prescription and is a single mom or is it the middle aged lady that works in the library? Could it be the quiet clerk in the deli and gives you a sandwich? Lastly, could it be the Goth girl that nannies the kid down the street and cooks for her boyfriend? Those are your choices…

Here’s a story about a “crisis of conscience”. A few years ago, I had, still have, a friend named Aj. Because I was sick. pneumonia, I was spending time sitting on the couch talking on Facebook. Aj and I had been friends and were becoming closer friends. I was learning that I had a “best friend”. Hadn’t had one in years. I think I realized that she was when she actually said it. We shared the same attitudes and values. One day, being my usual smarta$$ self, I made a status that was a Monty Python paraphrase about burning a witch. Her reply was that my closest friend was a witch, a real Pagan witch…

That caused a huge problem. I thought though we had not discussed it, that she was Christian. Her values were the parts of Christianity that I valued and still do. She lived the “love your neighbor” parts. Her walk was peace toward everyone. She took in a child that was not hers and later adopted the child because it was the right thing to do. She lived out being a good wife and mother. She forgave me for being a complete jerk when we met and looked past my faults to see the good in me. Like I said, all of the parts of Christianity I hold close…and my beliefs said she was going to Hell because she didn’t believe in Jesus…

That’s a bad place for me to be. I was given two choices. I could condemn to an eternity of suffering a person I had come to love or I could adapt. No middle ground there. Either I judge or not.

I adapted. I came to realize that, even though she had a strong sense of right and wrong, “sin” is applicable to my faith but, not hers. That I HAD to quit trying to make her a “Christian like Pagan” and accept her the way she is.

This is what I am trying to convey. My belief is that “judge not lest you be judged” is that it is not my place to judge someone’s soul. I go on with my belief that God created everyone the way He wants them to be. He puts people in our lives for His purposes. not ours. She, Aj, was the same person both before and after I knew. She had not changed. The only change was my perception of her. If I didn’t think she was going to Hell before, why would I have to think she was going after I found out. She stayed the same.

When you think about someone, what do you see? Do you see a person, or do you see your own concept of what they should be? If you meet someone, do you decide to impose your views and baggage and conditioning on them or do you take them at face value for who they are? The face value was and is that Aj is someone I love. Her being Pagan changed none of the things that are intrinsic to her, merely my perceptions of them…and not for long as I realized that my perceptions of worth were incorrect. I could not write off the human and friend because I couldn’t live with a difference in faith given that I was the one that had changed…

Aj is my “best friend that is not my wife”. She will be for as long as she will allow me. She answers all my silly questions about her beliefs. She corrects my mistakes and lives with some of my misgivings and uncomfortableness with some aspects of her’s. *editorial, tarot and divination make me uncomfortable* She puts up with a bunch from me because I overthink everything. She also teaches me to understand the parts of Paganism that I am comfortable with…and a whole bunch of other stuff like, how to be a good husband when I need advice. *grins* If she weren’t a Pagan, you’d think “what a nice Christian Lady”. *editorial, she’ll give me some static for “nice” because she wouldn’t use that word to describe herself* Anyway, unless she told you, you wouldn’t know she’s not Christian…

Remember the quiz? I’ve just been talking about the pharmacist. The second, I’ve known for some years and found out a week ago that she’s Pagan/Wiccan. I had no idea. We never talked about it. I thought that anyone that loves Christmas as much as she does must be Christian and gave it no more thought. The nanny is a “nice young lady” that was my first impression and I’ve found no reason to change it. Yeah, she’s also Pagan. The quiet girl that gives you the sandwich, I worked with. Cute as a bug when she wears a sundress *editorial, I think that’s what it’s called, she can correct me if she remembers the day we visited when I was cooking ribs* very smart and, again, Pagan. You’d never guess any of these if you looked at them. They might wear a necklace or something but, they don’t carry a banner that says “Hey, look at me, I’m Pagan”. They just go about their lives and leave it to you to like them as humans or not. None of them were what I expected them to be. I was surprised every time that they were not Christian.

In the end, I keep learning that there’s no stereotypical witch. People are people. They are the many varieties that, my belief, God made. They are unique and wonderful. They have an infinite ability to surprise me with the depths of their belief and convictions. To presuppose that if they do not conform to my faith and worldview denies me their insights. I have learned from Pagans. I have learned from Aj. I am a better Christian and husband for knowing some of the ones I do. I am far more accepting and far less prone to judge.

*exhale*

I realized it comes down to this, I choose to see people with faith. I learned that having  a different basis for that does not remove the basic idea of belief in something greater than yourself. I don’t like every Pagan I know but, I don’t like every Christian I know either. Paganism is “wrong”…for me but, not them…I should have realized that from the start. In the end, I did. I sleep better at night knowing that Aj cares and light candles for me. I’ll give it this, the soul searching was not wasted because I did grow. It wasn’t fun but, it was needed. Out of that pain came insight. I learned that my path is not the only path and the sole lock on morality or faith. Now, and you may ask anyone after Aj, when I find out that an unexpected person is Pagan, my first response is very probably, “cool”…and it is because of the people that God created to live that faith. Caring and compassion, kindness and love, independence and individuality are keystones to Paganism, as is a willingness to accept others the way they are without trying to change them. Proselytizing and evangelism are not, they will live their lives as they are called to and, if you join that path, it is because of their example, we Christians could learn from that, too. We could learn that, if we want someone to “convert”, the best way is by sharing our lives and not our dogmatic views of Sin and Hell.

*exhale again*

Please think on that. You may disagree with my conclusion about Aj…and the rest but, that’s yours to deal with. For me, I’ll gladly take the humans that have offered to let me know them and not judged me. I have gained and I have been blessed for knowing them. It hurt to change my views but, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Humans…that happen to be Pagan…

What I’m For…

I’ve written a truck load of protest posts. I’ve chastised and criticized and satirized. I’ve attempted to defend and offend. I think I’ll just say what I’m for…

I’m for families. They don’t have to have kids. They may be of the same gender or different genders. It makes me no difference as long as it is two humans that have committed to being a team.

I’m for hugs and kisses and cuddles. I’m for any two people that find comfort in the contact of their human making what connection they may. Life is too short to not feel the warmth of a person you love.

I’m for a belief in something greater than yourself. I’ve seen the pictures from space. Those photos don’t show humans, they show a rock full of life. We didn’t make it. It was here for us when we got here and it’ll be here long after we’re gone.

I’m for finding common ground. I believe in looking for the things in people that bring us together. We don’t have to share gender, orientation, or faith as long as we recognize the worth in the other person.

Really, guys, it’s simple. If we look at things as divisive, they will be. If we look to include, we do. My faith teaches love. That’s the message I need most. I am capable of being as grumpy and xenophobic as anyone, so I, me, Miller, this human in this skin, needs this lesson as much as anyone. At the end of things, I’ll go to my Maker alone. Till then, I’m for sharing my world with some people worth caring about. I didn’t pick the ones I share it with but, I am entirely grateful they picked me.

The Walls That Harm Us…

I have lived Paranoid. For many years, I used meth. If you have never been awake for a couple of days trying to do enough meth to stay awake for more, you really have no clue how bad that can be. I have been terrified hiding inside my house. All the windows blocked. Jumping at every noise. Afraid that someone will want in. Scared to leave. Crawling around so that you can stay beow the chance of someone seeing in. Peering out through the tiniest crack looking for “Them”…I hid inside the walls, not realizing I created them and not wanting out because outside was Danger…The danger was me…The danger was the Walls…

I like on-line friendships. They still allow distance. My closest friends are on-line. There’s nothing wrong with that. My job forces interaction. I can not hide from it. On the other hand, home is a refuge. It is cool, dark, and quiet. My wife and my life are here…and my friends. People do not physically visit and that’s fine. *editorial, our house is small and there’s not much sitting room. That’s why*

I am no longer Paranoid. It’s been almost ten years since I last used. I can not imagine going back. The cost would be far too high. The price would be everything…

Anyway, the Walls…My best friend is Pagan. I am not. During the time we were starting to develop the mutual respect that led to realizing we were best friends, I had no idea she was Pagan. My world view, after I became sober, was concentrated around Conservative Christianity, and all its baggage…The day I found out, all that baggage came to roost. All the fears of Divination, Sorcery, and visions of Hell came home. I was hit with a HUGE problem. I thought I knew Aj. I knew she was “saved” because I knew her honor, honesty, character, and love. I was given a choice, tear down the Walls my learning had built or consign her to Hell and, by doing that, reject her. Like I say, present tense, “my best friend IS Pagan”. Those Walls that I thought protected me would have walled her out. They would have cost me someone that constantly if a bit testily *grins*, wants the best for my wife and me. I would have rejected one of the people that I, now, love as much as any of my blood family. That “protection” would have harmed me…and, I think, her since she would have lost the love and prayers I send to her. *editorial, my prayers are NOT for her to change but for my God to watch over and protect her*

The Walls…we think they protect us. We think that by excluding people we make ourselves safe. Nothing could be more untrue. Hiding below the windows denies the World. It only lets us see our fears. It creates Paranoid. The only things inside the Walls with us are our own Monsters.

It isn’t the outside we have to fear. It’s the inside. It’s the loneliness and xenophobia that says, “different is wrong” not realizing that EVERYONE is different…

*****

For what it’s worth and to clarify, Aj’s beliefs do not include the concept of “Christian Hell”. Mine do. Either was, I do not think that her soul is going there. I’m not a “universalist” by any reach. I just don’t think that Hell applies to people not of my faith. I believe that God is big enough and powerful enough to have made a place for all His Creations…for that matter *grins* Aj would even dispute that part of my beliefs because she believes differently…*grins again*…

She’s a Slut, B***h, Dyke, or a Whore?

“She has to be one of them, right? I mean, any guy could see that. She’ll sleep with ANYONE”…except for me …”Maybe she’s a Dyke?”…or it could be that she isn’t…

We have a huge double standard that has been given tacit approval by most of the guys I know. We, the reasonable guys, keep our mouths shut.

I’m no one’s excuse for a Feminist. I don’t need to be. The women I know and love are more than capable of competing with any guy in any arena that doesn’t involve brute strength. They don’t need me to say “she is Woman, hear her roar…”

So…here’s my take, for what it’s worth…

Let’s get the easiest out of the way first…She might be gay. In that case, deal with it. There’s nothing wrong with either of you…

Second, she might have just gotten out of a relationship, either good or bad, and isn’t dating/sleeping with anyone…again, no reflection on either of you…

Third, she might not be dating because she’s going to school or working on a career and doesn’t have time in her life…

Fourth, you might be an a$$hole or stink or any of a million other reasons like you’re a moron. In which case, the problem is YOU.

Of course, since the original premise is men complaining about women not having sex with them, the odds are greatly in favor of option four…

Here’s the deal. We have NO right to the use of another person’s body. There is no right to sex. Period. We have no right to demean or degrade another person just to feed our ego. That some guys think that they do is just so much horses**t. *editorial, to write bits of this, I had to look into the Men’s Rights nonsense. I wish I hadn’t*

I freely admit my bias. My closest friends are women. I have siblings, cousins, and a Mom that are all women. I don’t really think I have a “feminine side” but, I enjoy the company of women, most of the time, more than men. *editorial, I don’t “get” fashion but, that doesn’t matter one way or the other* As a result, I tend to side with them more than I do with a bunch of b***hy whiner guys that are really egotistic misogynist twerps.

Look guys, deal with it. Put your ego on hold…or don’t…either way, realize that SHE has just as much right to dignity as you do. Figure out that, if you continue to be a jerk, you’ll never be in a relationship because you’ll chase away any person you might stand a chance with. Take some time and step back. Examine yourself and stop blaming others. Get over yourself…

*editorial, most men are reasonable, so this is not a blanket indictment of men. Please don’t take it that way*

 

Baking Cupcakes With Purple Spray Paint or, Stereotypes Are For Suckers…

Usually, I’m editing posts by this time of the morning. It seems odd not to be. I woke up late without the tiniest clue what to write about. Maybe that’s a good thing. Nothing within the context of this blog has p/o’ed me. The trolls, meaning people in the world like idiot County Clerks and Public Officials, are becoming marginalized. No one has made any majorly vocal attacks, lately, on the people I love. Yeah, I’m sure some “pop culture” bonehead or politician has said something dumb but, I avoid those like the plague. So, maybe I’ll just wander around for a couple of hours and see what comes out…

Don’t get me wrong. Prejudice and fear haven’t mysteriously gone away. Religious persecution hasn’t ended overnight…nor do I expect to ever end. People will insist on interjecting their views and hates into issues untill there are no more people. I get that. It just seems, for now, that we’re all taking a tiny step back and regrouping for the next go around…

I’m a soft hearted cynical old grouch. *grins* I don’t want to like people. I want to limit my exposure. The problem is, what I want me to be and what I am don’t always coincide. Would that it were that easy. *sigh* My life would be much simpler if I didn’t find myself actually liking people. *Yes, Aj, there is the truth* I can not quite bring myself to only having Aj, Z, and Sweety for friends. Every time I turn around, the list seems to get bigger. *Yes, Kelladillo, this means you*  Go look at the people I call “family” on Facebook…well, you can’t because I’ve got it locked down, never mind. I digress. If you could, you’d find several that are “family by choice”. It seems that I’m nicer than I want to be. *editorial, looking at the number of times I’ve used “I” so far, I’m also more narcissistic…* Anyway…I keep finding people I like. It seem like a bad thing because it makes me have to expand the amount of “energy” I don’t get to keep but, it seems like a good thing because maybe my cynicism is misplaced…a bit…because there are more decent people in the world than I expect and I’ve just been looking in the wrong places…I suppose *sigh* it’s a good thing that I’m finding people that are giving me reasons to be less cynical. It just makes me question my own world view, too…just like I try to convince other people to do…

*grins* I’ve learned, am learning, that there are more people to like and enjoy than just the people that are “just like me”. It’s kind of a running joke, at least to me, to ask “where did all these damn Pagans come from?” The reason for the humor is that I used to not even think they existed. I really did. I thought it was a joke. “Witches, you’re kidding, right?” They, the Pagans, have made me welcome in their world…even though I’m really not part of it. I keep finding out that there are not really any stereotypical Pagans. You won’t see them walking down the street in black robes and pointed hats…*Yes, Shelby, I expect that you might…on Halloween…* They just happen to have a different spirituality than mine, not different morality or ethics…

The same is true for the people I know and love that are gay. I’m sure that someone somewhere fits the stereotype but, the ones I know don’t… In fact, go ahead, try to stereotype Z. I dare you. Try to pin her political views to the stereotype. Try to make her style fit a box. Nope, she doesn’t fit any mould you think she should…

For that matter, neither do I. I can’t seem to find a box to fit…damn boxes again…My past, addict turned Conservative Christian to become sober, should dictate a closed mind. My upbringing, upper middle-class Texan conservative, should have narrowed my views of what I think is “acceptable”. Oddly enough, I can’t do it. I have this tiny difficulty. I can think for myself. I don’t want to have friends that are “just like me”. I’m not “just like me”. I don’t mind that people are “differently normal”. Those are the fun ones. They make you think. They give you reasons to question your perceptions of “proper”. They let you see a different world than the one you thought existed. Sure, there are things that people do that I despise. There are actions and beliefs that I will never condone but, the people I associate with, and that allow me into their worlds, don’t do those things. I’ve never really asked about the rituals of Paganism. I don’t want to know. I don’t want to know what other friends do in their bedrooms. Neithe of those are “my business”. I do want to know, and they sometimes tell me, how their path became what it is. I am curious to know how we got to here, where out paths join for this season…

So, maybe I’ve just grown up a bit? Maybe I have become “nicer” in my middle age? A little less willing to look at the outward appearance or the differences? Maybe I’ve been wrong that “anyone under 30 has nothing I want to hear”…*yes, N and S, there are “kids” that are giving me reason for hope for the future*…and that the world won’t be an effed up place when they are running things?

I think that’s today’s lesson and post. I think that people defy being stereotyped and, if you are able, seeing beyond those is a good thing. Looking for the parts of people that don’t fit your norm or expectations and finding common ground anyway, is not a bad way to live. I wasn’t invited into the lives of my friends and people that are becoming friends because of the diversity nor were they invited into mine for that reason but, *grins* it can be really cool to find something unexpected and marvel at it. People, Humans, are the most interesting thing you will ever find. The good ones are a gift beyond price. Take those unexpected gifts. Learn that stepping out of your world and into another is a “good thing”. It’s worth the effort, I promise…

 

Being Pagan is Against My Religion

Being Pagan is against my religion…well kind of…no, not really…

That expression, “against my religion”, bugs me. There are things that my religion tells me that I shouldn’t do. I get that. What it doesn’t do is tell me to forbid others from doing them. “Against my religion” implies that the people doing those things or believing those things are my enemies…

My best friend is Pagan. She encourages me to be strong in MY faith…even though she doesn’t share it. Hunh? I thought she was against me.

We, Christians, use “against my religion” as an excuse. We say that when we mean, “I think that I want to discriminate against you”. We also say that when we want to feel like victims.

I know a bunch of Pagans and more than three LBGT folk. Not one single one of is “against my religion”. Some of them don’t like jerks. None are my enemies because of my religion. Think about that…

Yeah, there are people that don’t like me. Good for them. There are people I don’t like, too. Seems fair to me.  I just don’t automatically decide that on religious grounds. I don’t automatically like or dislike someone based on my faith…or their’s…I use a more realistic approach. If they’re a jerk or a moron or intellectually dishonest, I dislike them.

I really don’t like excuses. If you think something is “uchy” come out and say it. If you think a religion is odd or divination, speak up. Just don’t hide behind a cherry picked version of faith. The Bible says 60 odd things are “abomination”. The list of ritually unclean and Levitical laws are more than I feel like counting. I can not make it through a day without violating at least one. For me, it’s a greater problem when someone selectively imposes their view than it is to violate one of the myriad things they claim to be against…

I’m not asking that you go out and hug a Pagan. I would. I can think of a couple or four that lived close enough that I wish I could every day. *sigh*  For what it’s worth, there are more than three Lesbians I wish were close enough to hug, too…

What I am suggesting is that you question your own reasoning. Don’t blindly assume that you have the right to impose your views on everyone…Even if you feel that your faith bans something for you, don’t think that it allows you to forbid it for everyone. Someday, it might not be you making the rules. If that happens, the mercy you’ve shown will probably be the mercy you receive…

I Like the Odd People…I’m One

People are messy and squishy and odd. They refuse to allow themselves to be confined to boxes. Every time you think you have someone figured out, they veer…

Follow along and I’ll let you learn from my mistakes. I LIKE boxes. I like routine and predictable. My mind is an odd enough place to live that having stuff, people, be not random is soothing. I even tried to do it to Z for a year. I got over it. It took some pain on my part because I put her into a box that she didn’t make. When I wanted her out of it, I thought she was the one that had to take herself out of it. That was my mistake. She didn’t have to get out of the box because, she was never in it.

I hope this is making sense…

I had made the mistake of forgetting the aspect that the majority of posts of this blog talk about are not all of the Lady. I did what I was trying to convince people not to do. It would be easy to make Z a one-dimensional object if that were my goal, focussing only on the Lesbian part. Of course, that isn’t fair to her…or me. She’s far more complex than that. I felt a sense of loss over someone that wasn’t gone. Funny that, it was me that had wandered off…

I don’t fit into boxes. Maybe the physical part does. The part that thinks doesn’t. Some labels like husband and friend are boxes but, even those have different walls at different moments. Hell, on a given day, I can’t usually figure out what I’m gonna do next. If that’s the case, why do I insist on trying to do that to everyone else?

I agonized over who could be my “best best friend”. How do I pick one that is best? How do I reconcile who gets a bigger share? Then, one day, I realized I didn’t have to. Ask Aj or Z how relieved I was…

Boxes, it was those damned boxes again…So, I outgrew the box I was putting them in by outgrowing mine…and I learned a lesson…

People are messy and squishy and odd. Trying to pin them to one thing is like grabbing jello *grins* Interestingly, I like the oddness of people. I don’t want them to all be the same. I like looking at the facets and reflections. Z’s path isn’t mine but, I enjoy following along. Sometimes we go in the same direction. Others we go different ways. Still, it’s always interesting. She’s just one of those people I enjoy. If I were to limit her, in my mind, to one thing, I’d miss the rest…

There really is a point to this…*grins*…

People deserve our best. They deserve to be given room to be themselves. Objecting to a part of a person limits them to being that one part. It makes their life what we want it to be and not what it really is.

*****

Just to illustrate my point, I had no clue what I was going to write when I started this, I just liked the line “People are messy and squishy and odd.” Even this post didn’t fit a box. *grins*

Aj Was My First Pagan…

Let me tell you a story…

Once upon a time I was an addict. Jan 6, 2006 that changed.  The way I had changed was to find God. My finding included a bunch of reading the Bible and becoming very rigid in the way I saw the World. I was a very much “black and white” person in my moral compass. I was also a very rigid person with my beliefs. Yeah, the sense of humor and basic kindness were there but, there was also a lack of patience and a general sense of frustration. I was an a$$ and enjoyed it. I thought I was being loving…and was not…

A few, 3 years, later I met the lady I would marry in ’10. Truth be told, she was and is more “rigid” in the way she thinks. It is a part of her, given the rest of the construct that she is, I live with it. I love my wife without condition. As my father says, “we all have our flat sides”. I have mine and she her’s.

‘Nother year passes. There is a stupid Facebook game, MafiaWars, I used to play. It is PvP and typically forces personal conflict. I am GOOD at conflict. It fit my desire and enjoyment of my ability to be a sarcastic bully a$$hole. Because of that, I bumped into a Lady named Aj. She is, her word, a bitch. She says she’s good at and enjoys it Given that, it makes sense that we would bump heads. We did. We also became friends. *editorial, yes, if you spend enough time tapping on a Wall and messages, real friendships happen on Fb. Pen pals are also friends*

Other year has gone by. I make a snarky post paraphrasing Monty Python, “burn the witch”. It was just me being a smart a$$. Kind of a semi-random vent in, what I thought, was a safe direction…Aj replied, “some of your best friends are witches…”

Hunh? Wait a sec. What are you implying? You’re not a CHRISTIAN lady? You’re one of those weird people that believes in (fill in the blank) practices? No. That can’t be. You don’t seem crazy. You’re NORMAL…just like me…

The thing is, I had known her for a year. We had gotten the start of becoming “close”. I had learned to trust her judgment. She had become a female friend I could go to for advice about my wife. *forgot to mention, at 47 I had never been married. My wife is my first one. In fact, first marriage for either of us. Very single…* She had started the path to becoming my best friend…and the she tells me “that”…and it “boggled my tiny pea brain”. It rattled my world. How could I trust someone that was one of “those”? Those people are CRAZY. She can’t be. She’s normal, damn it…

*sigh*

Aj is normal…for her. I’m not Pagan. She is. I “get” some parts of Paganism. Some have zero appeal to me. That’s fine. I’ve asked questions, a lot of questions, and tried to understand and realized it really doesn’t matter. Her beliefs are hers, not mine. In some ways, she’s a better “christian” than some of the Christians I know…I digress…

In the conversations that followed, we both came to the realization that we were becoming, and welcoming, best friends. *I had some time off of work due to pneumonia and a leg injury so, we had a lot of time to talk* I think she was the one that said it first. I was thinking it and leaving the thought unvoiced because I didn’t want to presume that my “best friendship” was unwanted or unreciprocated.

You gotta understand, I can, and want to, be very rigid in what I think is “right and proper”. I like being rigid. It feels safe. The ex-addict in me craves safety. I need things to fit into boxes. Everything has to have its place in the order of my world. Aj shattered that order and those boxes. Blew them to tiny bits…

This blog is a direct result of my chance comment. The fact that I am willing to unbend is attributable to her. Her openness and willingness to be unashamedly and unreservedly open with me and put up with all my questions have been a huge part. The fact that I had to realize that just because she wasn’t Christian didn’t make her evil also plays a part. Her compassion toward me made all the difference. She could have said, “just another damn Christian that’s gonna hate me” and didn’t but, rather, took the time to try to explain…over and over…what her path was, made, forced me, to change my views.

I had two choices, accept all of Aj or reject her. I love Aj. She’s my “best friend that is not my wife”. I knew that was possible before I knew she is Pagan. It became a reality afterward. The point being, if she had hidden, we probably wouldn’t be close. There would always be some distance between us. She trusted that I could, and would, change or she would reject me. I am entirely grateful to her for taking the chance and making the time to teach me.

I am not the person I was four years ago. Aj teaches me…sometimes by putting a long distance boot in my a$$. I am a work in progress…we all are…The posts about love and LBGT Rights and Religious Freedom are her “fault”. They really are. If she had never “came out” to me, I wouldn’t have unbent. If she wasn’t willing to look past my anger and desire to take quick offense and see something in me, I wouldn’t attempt to learn.

Aj is brutally honest. She has the same quick temper that I have. She just expresses it as exasperation toward “willful ignorance”, mine. She does not tolerate my tendency to put myself down. She just won’t let me. As a result, I either grow or reject her, not just her words but, her. I’d rather cut off my hand than reject her. To do that would mean I have to close off a part of my heart that has been recently opened and is growing. I like the part of me that has, over the last 4 years, learned to love. I like the patience I’m still learning. I enjoy the fact that, by becoming more open minded, it has expanded the groups of people I’m willing to know. I could never go back to who I was. That would mean I’d have to turn away from Aj. Not gonna happen. Besides, who could I tease, and be comfortable doing it with, about being “topless”…in the Jeep? *grins*

She’s more comfortable in her own skin than anyone I know. I am entirely comfortable with her.

I have learned to “adapt”. I can not bring myself to consign her to Hell. She is not Christian, and the morality I was raised with, does not apply. By her lights…and mine…there is nothing wrong with the way she lives her life. It is a very short step from there to my own heresy. It didn’t take but that realization for me to figure out that my rules do not apply to everyone. My rules apply to me. As she says, her beliefs do not include the concept of “sin” and, as a result, sin doesn’t apply. I agree. It’s a Christian concept and applies to Christians…not Pagans.

She made me question my entire construct and she didn’t even mean to. I suppose me being a Heretic Christian is the outgrowth of that. I no longer question who or how someone loves. I am not a “universalist” but, I can not believe that Aj is going to Hell. Her heart is as pure and true to itself as any I have ever seen. THAT heart does not deserve the fate that “conventional” Christians would assign to it; I will not.

Anyway, once upon a time, there was a very rigid man…no longer…

Aj was “my first Pagan”. She came out to me…and that has made all the difference.