Friday, December 11, 2015

A Rant

There has been so much hatred spewed across my news feed lately it breaks my heart. Some of it has been so disgusting I feel ashamed to even know these people, much less be related to them. I've made a few posts, and nearly made this one but I can't. I can't see it go ignored by the people I wish to affect, and everyone knows minds are never changed through a social media argument.

So I'll post it here, because it's something I just had to say.

By hating each other the bad guys win.
By seeing people as their race, nationality, and religion and not as human beings with the same hopes and dreams as the rest of us the bad guys win.
By letting fear divide us instead of uniting us under the determination to make the world a better place the bad guys win.

Racism is not and never will be acceptable, no matter which race you target.
Bigotry is not and never will be acceptable, no matter which difference you target.
Being a dick is not and never will be acceptable, no matter what.

Just stop. Stop and think of how it would feel if someone spat on you because you were ____. Fill in the blank. White, black, male, female, Christian, Jewish, straight, gay, it doesn't matter, that type of behavior is abhorrent and should NEVER be okay. EVER.

I feel like a broken record, I'm sure you're as tired of reading it as I am seeing the stories about women being attacked on public transportation because she is half Iranian and was wearing a scarf because she was cold. I'm sure you're as tired of my rants as I am reading about people fearing for their lives, the safety of their children, wondering is their homes, their places of business, their places of worship will be attacked by people that let hate rule their heart instead of compassion. I bet you're as tired of seeing my name pop up in your news feed as I am seeing story after story after story of people being treated as less than human, of politicians talking about making Muslims carry special identification, of American citizens - people born right here in the US and people that have served their country in the armed forces - being told to go back to their 3rd world shit hole country.

When you stand behind your religion as an excuse to hate people, any person at all, you are no better than Daesh.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Raise them to know that there are no gender barriers or roles...

... and they can do anything they want to do in life.
- James Guerry

The day I decided what Witchling's name would be I set her up a gmail account. Now, I realize that maybe it was a little early, I was barely 20 weeks pregnant, but after losing my mother and everything that she'd touched I have become a little manic about making sure Witchling knows as much about me as is safe to share. 

She doesn't need to know about, well... basically anything from age 18 to 22.

I want her to know how I think, what my opinions are on different things, and some of the things I think are important to know. Plus I know me and a baby book just really wasn't going to happen. With the email I can send her thoughts, her accomplishments and milestones, things I want to make sure she knows if I'm not around. So I started a numbered list of things I wanted to make sure she knew, and that's where we come to the point of today's post.

Yesterday I read an article on a mommy site that was a letter from a mother to her daughter detailing all the important things to remember as the girl grew into a woman. I have read several of these lists, and many of them I copied and send to Witchling in her email. This one though? I disagreed mightily with most of the things this woman felt were important. Her list made her seem shallow and bitchy and I certainly did not send Witchling a copy. 

I (politely I swear) disagreed with the author on the mommy blog's Facebook page and replied to some of my Mommy Mafia's comments on the whole thing. Imagine my surprise when the author, her husband, and her friends flooded the comments section with rude and spiteful comments, including one by the illustrious author herself telling the lot of us to fuck off. 


Suddenly the comments were disappearing left and right and we all found ourselves banned. 

Yes dear reader, I have been banned from yet another Facebook page. Apparently I am just not appropriate for public consumption.

So what are some of the things I want my daughter to know?

1. It's always okay to ask for help if you don't know how to do something. It's never okay to make fun of someone who is asking for help when they don't know how to do something. Be patient, and never act like helping someone learn something new, even if it is simple, is a chore or a burden. Always remember that nearly everything you know (including how to poop in the toilet) had to be taught to you by someone. 

2. If you kill people with kindness there is less of a mess to clean up afterwards.You alone are responsible for your thoughts and your actions. How you treat people, doesn't matter if they are good or bad, reflects on YOUR karma, no one else's. 

3. Embrace your past. All of it. Every victory, every defeat, every hurdle, every loss, every joy, every painful mistake, every lesson. If one single thing were different you would not be the person you have become, or the person you are meant to be. 

4. The keys to life are compassion, empathy, and being open-minded. There will be people that do things differently, it's fantastic how many different ways there are to accomplish the same task. There will be people who think that their way is the right way or the only way, don't be one of those people, they are so focused on proving their superiority to others that they miss all the wonderful things those people are doing. Make no mistake, always stand up for yourself and your ideals, but never try to force them upon someone else, it never ends well and everyone loses. 

5. Never be quick to pass judgment, you have no idea what type of day, week, month, year, stress, disability, mental or physical illness, abuse, loss, grief, suffering, etc. that person is going through. 

6. Be kind to those who are unkind to you, but don't let yourself be a doormat. Being kind doesn't have to mean you take what they dish out and ask for seconds. Be kind enough to let them go if they are a bad influence, be kind enough to tell the truth, be kind enough say nothing, be kind enough to let them take responsibility for their own actions. 

7. Know that no one is happy all the time, including you, and that's okay, it makes happiness all the more valuable. Let them/yourself feel their/your feelings, don't dismiss them as trivial or unimportant, there is a reason for those feelings. Don't lose yourself to them though, it's a hard road to come back, and that's experience speaking. 

8. You cannot control how other people act, what they do, or how they treat you. You can only control how you act, what you do, and how you respond to their treatment of you. 

9. Rudeness is NEVER acceptable. Ever. I don't care if you're having the worst day of your life and your entire meal order was wrong, you be polite and use the manners I have every intention of raising you with. 

10. Own nightgowns. Seriously. They are freeing and make you feel a little bit lady-like. 

11. Know there are people you will have to cut ties with, it's okay. It will hurt, and it's hard, but sometimes it's your only option. 

12. Know that sometimes people will cut ties with you, it's okay. It hurts, and it's hard, but have compassion for whatever issue they are working through that makes them feel it's their only option. 

13. Life's hard. You will fail sometimes, but it is only a tragedy if you learn nothing from your failures. No one is perfect, if we were chances are we wouldn't be here. 

That is not all I have, some things are too long, others too personal, but that gives you a good idea of the kind of things I think are important to impart to the next generation. If we spend more time teaching our children to care about everyone, including themselves, we don't have to worry about thinking we need to tell our daughters other women will try to tear her apart. 

Last bit of advice? Wear sunscreen.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Red Cup Drama

We're barely out of the first week of November and already it has begun, the cries of the "persecuted" Christians over the "War on Christmas." What triggered this tirade so early in the season, before we've even been through a well-deserved turkey tryptophan coma? A red cup.

Yup, you read that right.

A little red cup.

Now unless you've been living under a rock for the last couple of days I'm sure you've seen the rant by "preacher" Joshua Feuerstein about how Starbucks has joined the fight against Christmas by removing all of the snowmen, reindeer, snowflakes, and ornaments from the holiday cups they release each year. Never mind they still sell advent calendars and "Christmas blend" coffee, it's the cups that mean war.

So who is this guy that looks so much like the guy from King of Queens I find can no longer watch reruns? Well, turns out he's a sneaky little bugger. I'll let SemDem tell you here or you can watch CultofDusty's video for an idea of the type of person we're dealing with. Overall he seems like a special kind of con-man that preys on prayers, and those are the worst in my book.

Being the mouthy person I am I felt like I needed to comment on his post.
You make me sad. That sounds silly, I recognize that, but it's the truth. You make my heart hurt.
I am not a Christian, I'm completely okay admitting that, but America was built on the idea of religious freedom. I would fight for your right to worship your God just as vehemently as I would fight for my own rights. If I believed there was an actual war on Christians I would stand next to you to help defend you, even though I've been threatened with violence many times by so called "Christians," even though I know you would never stand with me if the roles were reversed. The thing is you are so self absorbed and so sure of your own righteousness that you don't care that you share the holiday season with other faiths. You are so sure that your way is the only way that you are willing to make someone practicing their own faith into a slight against yours. That's not how the world works, that's not how America is supposed to work. You do not have to agree with my religious outlook, you do not have to convert to my faith, you don't even have to like me as a person, all you have to do is accept that I have the same rights, I am an American and free to worship as I wish.
Your war against Starbucks is sad, and I hope that as you fight to keep "Christ" in "Christmas" you behave as if you have "Christ" in your "Christian" heart. I only mention it because the hatred filling up your Facebook pages makes you appear as if you've forgotten His message.
Later, I found out his wife had posted something supporting him on her page, so I went and left this same comment, with a little more added just for her,
I'll share what I posted on your husband's page. I think applies equally here but in a different context. I understand your wish for our country to have laws that reflect your morals as a Christian, but you forget that our nation was founded for all people. We can be a moral nation, a nation that sets out to do the best for its citizens, without being a Christian nation. To try to push your religion onto other people in an area of the country that has always been meant to be secular is disheartening for those of us who feel ourselves called to a different path.
And because it bothers me I'd just like to point out political correctness isn't about limiting your free speech or pandering to those you claim are easily offended. It's about reminding people with a limited, narrow world view that there are so many different, beautiful, wonderful cultures that make up out nation and they deserve the same rights and recognition. 
Now I didn't expect to change their hearts or their minds, people that are angry will always be angry. They seem to look for things to find offensive, but I wanted to see if we could open a dialog, really talk about the situation.

I can hear you laughing.

Josh never replied to my comments, but she did, in a way. She deleted my comments and banned me from posting on her page.

Yup. One more Facebook page to add to the banned list.

I feel sorry for her. How insecure you do you have to be in your own faith that you have to not only delete comments with opposing viewpoints but outright ban the person from commenting again. I can see if I had been hateful, rude, tactless, or ugly, but I really tried to be polite and respectful. She didn't have to comment back, she didn't have to leave my comment posted, and she had every right to ban me for absolutely no reason. It's Facebook, it is not that serious. I'm not mad about it, I just find it funny and a little sad.

It makes me sad that the Christians that seem the most vocal are people like Josh, shouting into a phone camera and spewing rage and lies, people like my VPCP dad and step-mom filling their Facebook wall with hate and bigotry, or people that have disproportionately angry reactions to anyone that dares tell them "Happy Holidays."

Not all Christians are hateful. Not all Christians are close minded bigots. Not all Christians are incapable of realizing they share the world with other people, other cultures, other faiths, and that that's okay.

Not all Christians are assholes, and as we get closer to the 8th level of hell that is the holiday season I will endeavor to remind myself of that fact.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

The only way to make sense out of change... to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.
- Alan Watts

Dear (some) Christians,
Change is scary, I know. In an instant the world you know can become something new, and your first reaction can be fear, and it's byproduct hate. I try not to hold it against you, I do, but sometimes you make it so hard. 

June 26th, 2015 was a historical day. The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) declared marriage equality, ruling that same-sex marriage is now legal in all 50 states. Your knee-jerk reaction was to pull out your smiting sticks and go waving them about in anger. It saddens me because it means you missed the message of SCOTUS completely. I would like to share with you my favorite quote.
“No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right." 
You talk about how “they” will be the ruin of traditional marriage. I’m sorry but traditional marriage has been on the decline for years now (I made a post about it a while back) and it has nothing to do with those seeking marriage equality. Divorce is down, it's true, but how many of you believers in "traditional marriage" are on your second, or third, or more, "traditional marriage?" I'm not faulting you, you have your reasons and there is nothing wrong with it, I'm simply pointing out that "traditional" has evolved over the years to include divorce, maybe it should now evolve to include love.

Yes, love. That's what this whole thing is all about. The right to have their love recognized by the government. The right to be seen as people. By saying they have no right to get married you are saying they are less, they are not worthy of the same rights as you, they are not people.
Can you imagine how that would feel?

I can. I had a family member tell me I had no right to get married. Not because I wanted to marry someone of the same sex, simply because I worship a different god. Their claim was that "Marriage is a covenant between a man, a woman, and GOD" therefore, since I saw the divine a little different, what did I need to get married for anyway.

They were saying I was less because I was different. I will never see that person the same way, and it broke my heart a little they could be so nonchalantly cruel to me, someone they "loved."

I digress.

I'm not asking you to go dancing in the streets and to show up at every single wedding with a bouquet of flowers for the lucky grooms, or brides, or bride and groom. I'm not asking you to marry someone of the same sex. I'm not asking you to abandon your faith.

Luke 6:35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 

If you think us wicked, the LGBTQ+ community and their supporters, then maybe this is all just a test for you. Maybe your god wants to see you be kind to those of us you deem your "enemy" in his name, rather than condemn us in his name.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

If families are trees...

...mine is a pecan tree.


     1.   a group consisting of parents and children living together in a household. 

     2.   all the descendants of a common ancestor. 

I have another definition I would like to add. 

     3. the people in your life that can hurt you the worst.

Now I realize that seems very pessimistic and possibly depressing but I know you all know exactly what I'm talking about. Whether it's a fight with someone that knows all your weak spots or just accidentally being left out of family get-together they have the capacity to hurt us worse than anybody because they are supposed to be the ones that have our back no matter what, right?

Maybe it's just my family.

Gods I hope not.

I believe I have mentioned before that I live in a very Christian area of the world, and this side of my family is filled with Good Southern Christian Folk. The other side of my family is in Colorado, and while they are not GSCF they are Proper Christian People, and then my parents, Very Proper Christian People. That's all well and good. Find your fuzzies and all that. Both sides have known for quite some time that I am Pagan. They know, they may ask me a question once every three years, but generally we don't talk about that fabulous skyclad elephant in the room. 

Bam. Pregnant. Well, you know not bam, that's not how babies happen. Well, I guess it kinda is. I digress. Pregnant, and then Witchling comes into the world in all her tiny squaling glory. I suppose it may have been naive of me to think that we could just continue to ignore the elephant while I loaded my kiddo up on its back. I figured, "You know, these people all raised their kids without people getting all up in their business as far as faith is concerned, I'm sure I'll be left alone too."

Yes, yes. Once you stop laughing please continue reading. 

See, I knew that we would have to talk about it at some point, but right now Witching is teething and drooling and chewing on the cat. We don't exactly have in depth philosophical conversations at the moment, mostly it's "Yum Yum peaches" and "No don't put that in your mouth." I thought I would have time to talk to my family about it later, but most of all, I thought we would talk about it. 

I thought that, seeing as how they were family, that they had enough respect for me, not my beliefs but ME, that they would bring up their concerns or whatever, I would tell them I understood where they were coming from but this is how DH and I decided to raise Witchling and then we would ask them to respect that and there would be hugs and cherry pie. End of story. 

I'll let you finish laughing again. 

What I never in eight million years would believe would happen would be that they, VPCP, would decide that they would just baptize my daughter the first time I left her alone with them. When I found out I was hurt, I was angry, and I felt more betrayed than I think I ever have, and I've had some big betrayals. 

So I made a post on Facebook, as one is wont to do. 

There comes a point in your life when you have to stop apologizing for being who you are when the person you are is pretty awesome. I try to be a good person every single day. I try to have compassion and empathy for others and I try to remind myself that a lot of hate is born from ignorance induced fear. I stand up for the rights of other individuals to follow whatever path to the divine they feel calls them, knowing that over and over again I will be condemned for my own. I don't hold a group of Muslims accountable for the actions of those who use Allah's name to hurt others anymore than I hold a group of Christians accountable for using their own God's name as an excuse to hate, hurt, and act in a way I'm sure makes Jesus, the "love your neighbor" guy, cringe.
 Faith is supposed to make you want to be the absolute version of yourself for yourself and for others. My absolute best self is 100% Pagan. I have now been Pagan for more years than I was Christian. Most of you on my friends list have only ever known me as a Pagan. I am not a bad person. I don't worship Satan. Heck I don't even litter. I believe whatever you put out into the world comes back to you so I do everything I can to only put out super awesome happy hippie vibes of love and flowers and whatnot. 
Here's the deal though. Every single one of you with children has had the opportunity to raise your child how you see fit. [DH] and I deserve that same respect. I'm not saying we're going to raise her Pagan, or Hindu, or Buddhist, or Christian, or Muslim, or Jedi. I'm saying whatever we decide is our right as her parents and it should be respected and if not encourage at least not undermined. I can tell you one thing I know for absolute sure about how we'll raise our daughter and that is with tolerance and love for all people, regardless of faith.

I followed with a disclaimer about commenting, because there have been some absolutely HORRID comments left on my posts by family members and I am done tolerating abuse. I informed anyone who had any issues to save me the trouble and delete me from their friends list.

Dear reader, imagine the heart warming shock I got as people posted their messages of support. People I hadn't talk to in years, people I would have never thought would support me, and not one single vile comment. I was flabbergasted.

Of course the people who didn't like the post were quite loud in their silent protest, but it was silent.

I know that my family and I will have to have the talk about Witchling's immortal soul. I will calmly tell them how my daughter will be raised, when they can begin taking her to church and under what circumstances, and I will make it abundantly clear that they are not to do anything without my permission first. I will explain that I am not saying that she cannot take part in their faith, or that she will be forced into mine, but simply that I am her parent and I will not be disrespected.

I realize we will probably lose them from our lives at this point. I grew up surrounded by toxic people and I won't expose my daughter to that. She will never want for love with or without them so if I have to let them go to protect her, I will.

I think the saddest thing of all about it is that, at the moment, I honestly don't care one way or the other.