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A Ferret Called Wilson

Chasing Happy, Chasing Dreams

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Humans

At the Top

At the Top

Recently I became friends with the former ice climbing champion of Japan. After years of topping the charts in her particular sport, she decided she needed a hobby and took up mountain biking — trials, specifically. Except for the fact that we both often get mistaken for high school boys and practice the same sports, we are almost perfect yin and yang. I have tried my whole life to be the best at something, but have always fallen short, usually because I get swept away with some other hobby. She decided one day she wanted to be a world class athlete and was successful very quickly, but then spent the rest of her career in a pervasive ennui about professional sports in general. While I love mountains so passionately that my bones quake whenever I look up and see them on the horizon, she could take them or leave them. I am very comfortable in cold; she hates it.

There are many differences between us, but at the same time both of us share the experience of dedicating our entire lives to the pursuit of a single goal. In her case it was ice climbing. In my case? It was, and still is, answering the questions that arise when common knowledge just doesn’t make sense. Both of us have spent hundreds, perhaps thousands of hours alone, relentlessly chipping away at the wall between where we are and where we feel compelled to be. We are both very intensely aware of how lonely the path to the top truly is.

Over drinks last night I said to her, “When I was young, my mother always warned me that it is lonely at the top.” She paused for a moment and said to me,

“Maybe. But when you actually do get to the top, the scenery is vastly different than anywhere else. You can see things and meet people from the top that you couldn’t if you were just bumbling around mid-pack. For example, you get to meet the other top athletes from around the world. And even musicians. The top climber might have something in common with the top musician even though one is an athlete and the other an artist. So actually, it’s not really that lonely.”

Suddenly I felt criticized. It’s not that she was saying something so very different, or even inconsistent, than what I said. To be at the top is to have gone somewhere that no one else is by definition. But in my friend’s view, being at the top of your own mountain meant being able to wave to everyone else at the top of the other mountains. You can’t see who else is at the top when you’re still down below tree-line and that’s pretty obvious, too. However, I have never gotten to the top of anything. I was never the smartest in math, or the best dancer, or the strongest climber, or the most moving writer. Everywhere I went and everything I did I would excel far beyond the average schmuck, but I would soon find someone excelling even farther than myself. Try as I would to catch up, they would only ever disappear over the horizon, leaving me both alone and stuck in the middle. So while I know the pain of solitary training, I have never seen the beauty of surpassing all of my competition.

As I sat there at the corner table in the dark, twenties speakeasy style whiskey bar, I wondered to myself why this person who I liked so much was making me feel bad about myself by speaking positively of her own experience. Most of the time she is unhappy with her responsibilities as top Japanese athlete. So why would this one moment of positivity disturb me? It occurred to me that she, like so many people alive today, was implying with her language that the scenery at the top is better than what you would see from the middle. While most people would probably think it pretty cool to meet the top violinist in the world, or the top mountain biker, or the top runner, or any other person who had topped their field, people who have never undertaken the long and lonely struggle of getting to the top themselves would probably not appreciate on a personal level all that the other person had accomplished. It would be much like meeting a famous celebrity. We could react with awe, or respect, but we would not be able to connect with that person because we would not be able to share the experience of being at the top.

I thought about some of my own struggles as I sipped a rich brandy out of an extremely large glass. When I was a runner, people would come to me full of excitement saying things like, “did you hear? So-and-so just broke the world record marathon time in Berlin!” My reaction was always, “So? What does that have to do with me?” I was always much more excited to hear that the overweight office lady who just started running last season broke the 4.5 hour barrier, or to find out that a former professor of psychology had quit her job to become a professional endurance athlete. These were things that I could relate to. The professional athlete with the professional team of coaches and the sponsorships and the free medical support breaking the world record was just irrelevant to me. Who knows? If I had all those advantages, maybe I could break a record, too? In essence, I wanted to hear stories of people like me accomplishing things that I would love to be able to accomplish. That way I could hope for my own goals to be one day realized.

I think one of the reasons that I never made it to the top is that to me, being better than other people doesn’t seem to mean much. I like when people cheer for me and praise me. I love it when my friends, people that I truly respect and care about, speak proudly of something I did. If I were a top athlete, news anchors and specialty magazines would say things about how amazing I am, but I would know that it’s their job to say those things, and I would know that the day someone else overtakes me would be the last day that any of those strangers would care. If I ever were to become the best at something I would want it to be because I did something or discovered something that no one else did. I would want it to be a reflection of who I am, not simply an artifact of the relevant competition at the time. To me, the value of making it to the top would be that it would validate all of my effort and all of my uncertainty along the way. I imagine that my friend and her colleagues at the top of their fields are all enjoying a similar type of validation. I imagine that to most of them, being at the top means that they are close to their own potential and that defeating the other competitors isn’t the point at all.

When we finally left the bar and walked out into the eerily cold night air, I couldn’t help but think to myself: She says you have to get to the top to hang out with the others at the top. But what are we doing right now? All I’ve ever been able to do well in my life is be stupidly happy over the incredibly mundane. And yet I get to spend my Saturday evening sharing drinks with a champion athlete and hearing stories of a world that only a handful of other humans will ever get to see. Somehow, I feel like I might have found a shortcut.

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Discrimination or Ignorance?

As an active woman with a high sex drive and a very prestigious job, I defy basically all the stereotypes about gender. I’m pretty comfortable defying stereotypes at this point. At 30+ I have plenty of experience being cat called, written off, and misinterpreted and I also spent a good ten or more years trying to fit the typical female mould, too. Many women today call on other women to further defy the stereotypes, “to break out of the mould!” as it were, and achieve unprecedented levels of self actualization. I want to talk about something else. Gender stereotyping is a form of passive discrimination. By assuming all women to be a particular way, we can overlook important ways in which our decisions make women’s lives more difficult. Ignorance, on the other hand, is a deeper form of discrimination that goes beyond passivity into institutional. Ignorance, ignoring the differences, means that not only are we likely to make decisions that are unfairly hurtful to women, but we may do so under the false belief that we are actually offering equal opportunities for all. Sports are one of the easiest places to see gender ignorance.

Women and men are physically different. While no one would deny this basic fact, many people operate as if the differences don’t exist. Products marked as “unisex” and sold as sporting equipment are often products designed for men. Most bicycle seats are too narrow and too flat to support a female pelvis with a vulva. T-shirts given away as finishing prizes at road races are almost invariably cut to fit a male torso — wider and shorter than an appropriate female cut, and often sized for men. The result is that out of half a dozen road races that I’ve run, I only have one finisher’s shirt that actually fits my body. Most are too large because sizing starts at men’s small, and too wide so that they fit me like a tent more than high tech sports apparel. Rental equipment for ice skating, bowling and skiing is also unisex, which we can easily read as “for men”, concluding that the majority of production in the sports industry ignores women.

Gender ignorance in sports is not just a feature of product marketing, but in many cases the entire environment ignores the differences between male and female. I recently left my climbing gym in tears because after climbing there regularly for a year I was still unable to complete half of the monthly routes marked for beginners. Over and over again I see guys join the gym and quickly skyrocket from total noob to intermediate and advanced in a matter of months, but I can never cross that critical first barrier of being able to climb the beginner’s routes. Gym regulars, over 90% men, have tried to comfort me by saying that it is just this gym’s style to label their routes much easier than they really are. It would be comforting to me, I replied, if there was a “pre-beginner” level of monthly routes that were within my ability. However, there are not. But because I have nearly a decade of climbing experience and far more upper body strength than the average female I am confident that it is not my ability which is lacking. On the contrary, the attempts by the regulars to comfort me are actually clear indication of the ignorance: they mistakenly assume that my frustrations will be as short lived as theirs were when they shot past the beginner level years ago. They fail to see that as a female, the level at which physical strength becomes a limiting factor on my progress comes much sooner than for males. My climbing gym is a prime example of an institutionalization of female gender ignorance and it irritates me constantly.

At this point, most people are familiar with the concept of discrimination and are aware that it is not socially acceptable any more to openly discriminate against women. People are also more or less aware that stereotypes can be hurtful and need to be regularly evaluated for accuracy. However ignorance is almost always overlooked by nature. People don’t have words for gender ignorance and can often perpetuate it with misguided attempts to be fair. A road race without gender categories is clearly unfair to women, but if someone said “Prizes to the first three people across the finish line” few people would take note. In my own life I find myself repeatedly having to explain to my friends that their assumptions about what is good and true universally are very hurtful to me because I, as a woman, cannot stand in their position and share their experience. They are good people and they don’t mean to exclude me, but when they say things like “come on, it’s easy!” when I am clearly struggling against my body’s feminine constraints, I can’t help but feel like an outsider.

Let’s be Friends

I know why relationships that end with “let’s be friends” are both infuriating to the dumpee and also never actually turn into friendships. The reason is simple: most relationships of the romantic sort actually skip friendship entirely and go straight from bare acquaintances to intimate lovers. In other words, friendship and romance do not exists on the same continuum of human intimacy. This is why the concept of “friends with benefits” is so hard for people to grasp properly, and also why it makes for a very appealing movie.

Friendship is something that many of us think we understand from a young age. Ideally, a friend will accept you the way you are, know your quirks and triggers, help you out when life punches you in the face and celebrate with you when things are going well. At the same time, in order to be able to do these things for you, a friend should be their own person with their own hobbies and interests that don’t depend on you. They should have their own life and their own family and be flexible enough to spend time with you when you are available, but to also be able to carry on without you when your life becomes overwhelming. Most importantly, perhaps, friends should like each other.

Romantic partners are different. Romantic partners exist inside coupledom with each of their identities being dependent on the other. A romantic partner is an object of affection into whom we pour our love and our angst. To our partner we share the part of ourselves which we believe is worthy of love and in doing so attempt to embody the role of partner ourselves. In a very real sense romantic partners “complete” each other. One of the side effects of romantic partnership is that, unlike friendship, we sometimes feel the need to hide the parts of ourselves that we feel our partners would not approve of, or that we consider unbecoming of a proper romance. Take the husband who has to go out with his guy friends in order to relax and get away from the wife. Or consider the woman who habitually chooses boyfriends so jealous of other men that she ceases contact with her male friends whenever she enters a new relationship.  Romantic partnerships, unlike friendships, do not leave room for others. We can have unlimited friendships, but only one husband.

When you understand that a Relationship is different from a friendship in more than just degree of intimacy, it is not hard to see why so many efforts at friendship post relationship fail. For one thing, a boyfriend has never had to accept the priority of other relationships over himself whereas a friend knows that sometimes he is first and sometimes he is not. For another, a girlfriend who is accustomed to defining herself as “my partner’s girlfriend” no longer knows who to be or how to act when her ex is around, but is no longer her partner. Had they been friends they would have known that it is possible to be temporarily out of communication with each other without it being a death knoll on their relationship. Finally a romantic partnership, perhaps exactly because of its closed and intimate nature, suffers from its own finitude. Whereas a friend can be one of many and be loved just the same, a romantic partner is one of one and therefore any changes in the personality, goals, or desires of the other partner is a full force affront on one hundred percent of the relationship status quo.  There is simply no room for a partner to think that perhaps “it isn’t me.” So simply being around an ex and seeing how that person is happy and growing without you can be very painful if you have never experienced a friendship with that person outside of your relationship.

I will be honest with you, I believe friendships to be superior to Relationships. However, I think that Relationships that include friendship can be strong and enduring. I have friends who are married and whose spouses are brilliant beautiful beings. Some of them, when I think about it now, are clearly friends in addition. They tend to have an air of calmness about them when they are together and of course their personalities tend not to differ all that much from when they are apart either. Of course we are all different people in different circumstances to some degree or another. Even at work we behave one way when at home we would not, so to be always and everywhere the same is not a necessary requirement. But some people I feel different around when they are with their spouses and I wonder if perhaps these people are more in a Relationship than they are friends, though I never ask. Ultimately it is a personal decision. My grandparents were never friends, but they were iron-strong partners in over fifty years of marriage. Even today my grandmother, though she has finally given voice to her discontent and struggle during those fifty years, would probably not have chosen a different path. To her, what they had was marriage and the idea of being “friends” with your husband was just not something to consider. This is ok. My hope in writing this short piece is not to criticize and say that one is better than the other, but instead to bring some level of enlightenment to our suffering as we flow in and out of relationships. Perhaps simply knowing that romance and friendship are two different animals, we can afford ourselves and our loves a level of kindness that we couldn’t before.

All the Same Humans, Sort of

I said to a friend of mine about half a year ago that boys are really all the same. She was itching for some sexy time with a local and was having difficulty reading the Japanese. I had just bedded the most ostentatious man in the entire gym and had discovered, much to my dismay, that he is terribly broken. He was a free spirit and a romantic, of sorts, and had suffered a breakup of the worst kind. He confessed to me on our first night together that he had tried to kill himself. In a matter of moments the image that I had of this man as strong and self confident, if a little obnoxious, crumbled into the reality that he is, like all of us, just a human suffering through a world that never taught him how to find his own happy.

At first things seemed to go incredibly well. Now in hindsight I can see that this honeymoon period was due entirely to the honeymoon effect*: when you are on your honeymoon you don’t have to work or take care of children or attend to other responsibilities, it’s just you, and so you are able to experience a period of uninterrupted, artificial bliss. Certainly there were differences in the way we preferred to live our lives, but he verbally acknowledged my boundaries at the same time as I was emotionally willing to try doing things his way, so it seemed like it was working. Everything came crashing down the day he was forced to acknowledge that my polyamory was not just a theoretical personality quirk, but a reality that involved at least one other man besides himself. It was at that point that he and I were called to employ our respective Relationship Skills to either forge on ahead, or die in the fire.

Well, it would not be much of an essay if the story ended with us just talking through our feelings and renewing our intimacy through shared understanding. The man folded in on himself, exploding at me while imploding emotionally. I used every trick in my box. I tried to listen to his perspective and to ask him what his needs were, but he refused to tell me on principle. I tried taking his words at face value, but he repeatedly failed to be honest with me. I tried talking to his friends. I tried getting his friends to talk to him. I tried getting him to talk to his friends. In the end I tried just avoiding him and cauterizing the emotional wound. This seems to be the only sort of relief I can get.

In my frustration I talked to my friend who had, months prior, looked to me as a role model in her own struggles. Why, I asked. Why is he so stubbornly unwilling to do any of the standard activities necessary for relationship maintenance? How is it that he can be content to turn his back into the storm of my frustration, waiting for it to blow over, and then just say “sorry” without actually listening or attempting to fix any of the problems that caused the blowout in the first place? My friend said to me simply, “he likes it that way.” Immediately I knew what she said was truth.

We humans are in many ways all one being, and in as many ways we are all unique. At a most fundamental level we all desire to be loved and to feel safe and secure in our lives and our community. We need to eat and we need to play and we need to feel respected as the individuals that we are. This is true. Life, however, does not put all of us in the same starting position. Some of us learn to ignore our own needs to take care of others first. Some of us learn that the world does not care for us and so we must protect ourselves from it emotionally and physically. Some of us learn how to appreciate each other as individuals and some of us learn that looking with clear eyes at our own reflection is petrifying.

So in the end, I have to accept that while it is beautiful to believe that we humans are all alike, on a practical level it is not as useful a paradigm as I had hoped. Some of us want to be open to ourselves and to others, and some of us want to plow through life just the way we are, never updating and never truly seeing the world around us. I suppose we can find commonality in that we all make this fundamental choice, and perhaps that commonality makes it more palatable when our choices clash with each other. But I think it is also important to remember that some people really are different and that smashing your head against a wall trying to get them to see the light is a futile endeavor. They choose not to change and in a way, you choose not to change, too. At this level I suspect the choice becomes one of who do you want to surround yourself with more than how do you make it work with who you are surrounded by.

And, I suppose, knowing that this is the choice I have to make does provide me with some peace.


*I coined that term just now ^^

A Stranger’s Eyes

Have you ever looked into the eyes of someone who is supposed to love you and seen fiery, burning hatred gleaming back at you?

At first I wasn’t sure that that is what I was seeing. How could it be? This man is a fountain of inexhaustible affection and romance. It must have been a misunderstanding. We don’t communicate in our native language, after all, so misunderstandings are bound to happen. I ignored it, telling myself that I would go crazy if I reacted to every glint, twitch and shrug. Communication must be intentional if it’s going to work, and the only way to get that is to be firm about only responding to intentional messages. Then it happened again. In fact it happened several times exactly during a period when our relationship was particularly tense.

I believe I have mentioned that I am polyamorous. I am more emotionally stable in a triad or quad of some form than I am single or as a couple. More than that, I have fuzzy sexual bounaries so that I become stressed when artificial barriers, such as the confines of monogamy, prevent me from expressing myself sexually with others. My boyfriendlike partner is a romantic and a pretty solid monogamist (masochistically monogamous, if I may coin the term) so when he was faced with meeting and interacting with my long term partner he lost it. Unfortunately he wouldn’t admit that he was losing it. Instead he tried to bottle up his feelings and chase them down with a glass or ten of beer every day for three weeks. It was during this period where I became aware of the look in his eyes.

It would happen whenever I tried to assert myself. He wanted me to stay out drinking with him and I wanted to go home and sleep: the look. He wanted me to agree that I misused some vocabulary word and I insisted that I said what I meant: the look. Last night he wanted to cuddle and I wanted circulation in my leg, so I shifted off my side, and there surfaced the look again.

When I see him looking at me that way, I am suddenly in a different dimension where reality isn’t what it was. There is this beast in the room that shouldn’t exist according to the normal rules of nature, but there it is and it is filled with pure, boiling hatred directed entirely at me. I don’t know what it is that contains that beast and I don’t know what it is that calls it out. All I know is the eery sensation of wrongness that seeps through my pores when those eyes focus on me. I’ve never seen eyes like these before.

It Doesn’t Have to Be

My father worked in construction for over twenty years, only getting his first full time job after I had already left for college. Before that it was always one job to the next, always hoping that the big businesses would respect the unions instead of hiring illegal Cuban workers under wretched working conditions. He never got sick leave or vacation. He had to use a porta potty every day. There was no cooler on site and he had to carry all his tools in and out every day for fear they would be stolen. Often the workers were not given parking spaces near their job sites, which made things even more difficult.

Today, I live in Japan and I am dating a construction worker — apparently I am my mother’s daughter. A happy man, he never complains about his working conditions and he’s healthy and strong. I doubt he has even considered seeking an alternative form of employment. All around me there is constant construction. It seems as if the Japanese only sell land and expect new owners to bring their own house with them so that my neighborhood in eight months of living here has yet to see a day where there wasn’t construction on my block. I think every building but my own has been operated on by now. The people that I see working seem focused and calm. They take their afternoon breaks in the shade of the neighborhood and the local convenience store provides decent, healthy meals, clean toilets and cold drinks. It does not seem a bad life at all, though perhaps physically tiring.

So it occurred to me that my father’s miserable career did not have to be that way. It could be that construction workers are treated with respect as proper members of society. It could be that we don’t try to provide them the barest basics at the least cost to ourselves, but rather that we provide them what is decent and necessary for a decent man to live a decent life in decent, comfortable conditions.

This realization rides on the back of a tidal wave of knowledge crashed down on me by my exposure to the book Sex At Dawn. A complete volume purportedly on human sexuality, it is actually a treatise on the capacity and even intrinsic craving of humans to provide and experience compassion. Every day we see the capitalist dogma of selfishness and competition and we think to ourselves that this is the only we that we can be. We see all around us the failure of human altruism and we say that nothing can be done because this is the way we are, but this is not the way we are.

We are compassionate, social, affectionate creatures who have been forced into a world that preys upon our fears of betrayal. Rather than nurture our need for companionship, we are taught to fortify ourselves against loneliness and isolation. We look around and we see citadels of greed all designed to protect the human inside from isolation that doesn’t have to be. If our world was one in which we were taught that our fellow humans would care for us, we would not need to fortify, protect, horde, negotiate, lend, inherit… if we could only drop the assumption that this is the way the world has to work, we would be able to finally see the injustice that we reign down upon ourselves. Injustice like treating critical members of our society like trash simply because “competition” says that if they were worth more that they would have had enough money to provide better for themselves.

This idea that man can be measured in dollars is sickening. We are forced to conclude that women are not as valuable as men because we make less money. Blacks are less valuable than whites because they make less money. South American countries are less sovereign than North because they have less money. Human value just is. You cannot measure it, and you don’t have to. It is possible to live in a better world than the one we live in. All it takes is a realization that it doesn’t have to be this way.

How many, really?

I just finished reading Sex At Dawn. It rekindled in me an intense desire for a family. I don’t really have one right now. Not one that would watch my back, accept me for who I am without judging me, and generally cooperate with each other to just be happier. I have a family that is sick and emotionally crippled from decades of isolation.

And it makes me wonder, how many people in your life actively care on a daily basis about your well-being? I think ten people would be a gloriously large number, but is it possible? Ten?

Dear My Origins

Dear My Former Church,

We haven’t spoken in a long time. In fact, we haven’t spoken since that critical day in August, 2010, when I realized that you had been lying to me all this time. It’s been hard for me to live without you, but as the song goes, “I spent so many nights thinking how you did me wrong and I grew strong. And I learned how to get along!” I don’t need you anymore and I’ve come to realize that, accept it, and own it. There is a scar from our past which will always be with me, but now that the wound is closed and I have come to be able to breathe again I thought I should write to you to give us both a little closure.

I was young when we met, bright eyed, beautiful and vulnerable. You came to me with the promise of joy and protection from the cruel world. You told me that I was weak and you were strong and that you would love me and only want what was best for me. Naturally I was swept away by your promises. What innocent virgin would not be? I bound myself to you and made your presence known in every action, every thought, and every interaction I had in every single day of my life. You told me that I was broken, that I was dirty, that I was the cause of man’s downfall. You told me that my suffering was just and inescapable punishment for my inherent sin and I believed you while at the same time asking you, nay even begging you, to explain to me how your love was apparent through all that judgment.

You were jealous then, and you still are. I didn’t understand until I was married how far reaching the tentacles of your jealousy were. You told me that to marry young and virgin was the height of my virtue and that only a complete denial of my physical self could be closer to your ideal. So I did that. I married young and virgin and innocent. When on my wedding night my husband proclaimed to me that “[He] was going to have sex with [his] wife!” a strange thing happened. For all my young years I had been fighting against an ever increasing tidal wave of sexual energy. It threatened to throw me body and soul out of the light of your glory and into the frothing sea of carnal passion below. You promised me that on my wedding night instead of plunging to my spiritual death, that this tidal wave of energy would instead raise me up, send me soaring in virtuous marital bliss, but when my gown came off and I open my thighs for my new husband…

there was no wave. Indeed it was as if the entire ocean had dried up before me.

Of course neither you nor my brand new husband seemed in the slightest bit bothered and the both of you just kept plowing on without me. And so it was that I spent the better part of the next decade in a desperate losing battle to reunite my rebelling spirit with the joy and safety that you had promised me. You know how well that went. You promised me that if I could only make it as far as I did that ever abundant life and joy would be made available to me, but instead you abandoned me to the care of a man. A single, solitary, miserly, inadequate man. Even though I returned to you time and again for an explanation, your promises and your love were as dry as the tidal wave of my former passion. You told me then in my desperation and my loneliness that I should be happy because you had given me everything I could want. You told me that my lack of happiness was my own fault for rejecting your gifts to me.

And so it was one humid summer night that I went back to the cliff where I had last seen the raging sea that threatened to swallow me whole so many years ago. I remember standing on the edge of that cliff and looking down into the sea and wondering if it would indeed kill me. But then I looked for you there on that cliff and though you warned me not to jump, I saw the truth of what your promises held for me: pain, loneliness, self-loathing. Your promises to me were no more alive than an empty desert who so long has not felt rain that it has given up even the memory of moisture. My choice was apparent. I could stay with you and have a slow wasting death of which every day would be safe and secure in the knowledge that there was no more life to be had. Or else I could throw myself off that cliff into the writhing, frothing sea below. Perhaps it would kill me. Perhaps I would drown, or perhaps I would not. Perhaps the waves would cradle me and toss me, bringing thrill and kindness to my parched existence.

You know what happened that night. There is no way you didn’t hear me screaming and calling out my passion. I nearly choked on the surge of life that flooded my body. And I know what you said then, too. You said to all who would listen to you that it was the voice of suffering that rose up from the water. You called them to look at my face and see pain and madness, a fallen woman indeed. But let’s be honest with each other. I feel that after all these years we owe each other at least that much. You did to me what any spurned lover would do. You muddied my name and discredited me so as to mitigate the pain of your own rejection.

Were you a human, I would forgive you for your faults, but you are not a human you are a church. You are massive conglomeration, a katamari of all that is good and all that is mislead in humanity and you wield your power over us young and helpless. Isolated and naive you make of us easy prey. I wish I could say now, My Church, that I forgive you your trespasses, but you do not forgive those who trespass against you, do you?

I guess in the end, though, I am not without fault. I wanted to believe you. You did tell me one thing which was true and that was that in my heart, at the deepest center of my being, I would know truth from lie. And I knew you were lying to me. Your story never made very good sense, but I used all my energy to force that burning star of Truth at the back of my consciousness into the clean and tidy cage you offered me. You told me I should love my neighbor as myself and I knew this to be truth. But you also told me that I should love my husband more than myself and this never sat well with me. How could I love my neighbor, my brothers and sisters in God, as myself and then love one person of my choosing more so than all of them? I tried to convince myself that it was simply a matter of expediency that one necessarily had to spend more of their time with their husband than with the rest of humanity so it made sense to love him more.

You also told me that my body was a temple to the One True God and that I should never celebrate in it. Wait, what? Are temples not for worship? How can I worship with my body if I never use it? You told me that my body, being a female body, was necessarily unclean, but why would a holy and divine being bestow upon me a temple to its glory that was unclean and unworthy of celebration?

I knew these things did not make sense just as I knew that your promise of unconditional and unbounded love did not actually extend to me because of my womanhood. And yet you were so charismatic, so convincing and you made the outside world seem so scary that I would have chosen you then a thousand times over.

Well, I wanted to tell you that I have grown now. I jumped into that frothing sea and I drank it until the waves subsided and they carried me spent on their backs until I reached the shore. I have found my peace now with my body and my womanhood, but not with you. So I thought it was fair warning to let you know that I’m coming back to finish you off. No longer will I allow you to prey upon the young and the innocent. No longer will I stand by and try to justify your lies to my sisters who, unlike myself, are still too afraid to take the leap. You who would sow fear and distrust amongst those that I love are forever my enemy and I will fuck you out of existence.

You have been warned.

A Voice! A Face!

These are the discoveries that change the world. These are why we need historians and artists. These are the truths that get buried under the crush of what we are supposed to believe.

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