Posted in activism, asexuality, bigotry, bugaboos, faith, LGBTQIA Pride, life, Personal, politics, sexuality, society

6/26: Building Bridges… #politics

Since the election in November here in the US and the Brexit vote in the UK, our society seems to have fallen into a free-for-all of hate and violence. I’ve posted on the vicious cycle in the past. Quite recently, in fact. Since that post, I’ve seen news of more vehicles being used to plow into crowds of Muslims during Ramadan. And then there’s 45 (I don’t use his name) breaking a long-standing tradition of the White House celebrating Eid. He also didn’t say a word on Pride Month, so at least his hate is consistent.

One thing I’ve noticed, at least here in the US, is that a large number of people killed or harmed in hate crimes are not “white Christian people” (for the record, if you haven’t figured it out, I’m a white somewhat-Christian female), but people of color as well as non-Christian religions and LGBTQIA. Vehicles plowing into crowds of Muslims outside their own mosques, LGBT being attacked and arrested for wanting to show their pride, black men and women being gunned down by citizens and police alike, etc… the list just keeps going.

This cycle is perpetuated by fear of the unknown. That fear becomes hate. Are there attacks by non-whites? Yes. But the ratio of white attackers to non-white attackers, at least in the US, leans toward more whites than non-whites. Here in Portland, hate crimes and discrimination are on the rise. And we’re a pretty damn liberal city. Our surrounding cities and counties are not so liberal, though, and we have a lovely mass transit system here. One I use all the time. If my queerness were more obvious, I might get some random jackass giving me shit. My mohawk isn’t quite enough. Remember, this is a very liberal city. And I’m not quite queer-looking enough to get harassed.

We fear what we don’t know or understand. This is fairly common human nature. The nature of our society. The thing is that we have access to more information at our fingertips than our not-so-distant relatives. If you don’t know something, look it up. Ask questions, talk to people. If you fear Muslims, go to the site for TED Talks (also, if you have Netflix, they have a fair number of them there as well) and look up the religious ones. If you want to understand POC or LGBTQIA, …. ASK! No harm in putting a question out there.

The only stupid question is the one that never gets asked.*

Ask. Listen. Learn. Seriously, learning isn’t just in a classroom. Each day, we have a chance to learn from our surroundings. Take advantage of that.

The more we know, the less we fear. Okay, except for spiders… that’s my weakness… I know plenty about them, but still don’t like them. But when it comes to humans, just learn. When we communicate and learn from each other, the barriers we build in our minds and our society will break down and we can work together.

That’s all for now… sorry I’ve been quiet.

~Amanda

(* – Although if you ask me, as an Asexual person, about amoebas or how we mate, that is one question you should keep to yourself. It gets old.)

Posted in activism, anxiety, bigotry, community, empath life, faith, life, peace, society

6/19: Can’t Shut It Out (aka Dragon Gets Angry and Philosophical)

Hate begets hate.

The cycle just keeps going. Every morning, I wake up to news of anger and hate. People using guns, knives, vehicles, etc to maim and kill. People on the fringes of society who loathe and hate those who are different. People who want revenge for something the people they harm didn’t do.

I’m am Empath. I cannot block out what is going on. The emotions that whirl around in our society today. Anger, hate, anxiety, fear… it keeps going. It keeps hitting another level. Genocide, bigotry, prejudice. It keeps ramping up. Another attack. Another shooting. Another vehicle plowing into a crowd.

No matter the race or religion of the person with the anger, it is terrorism. Terrorism is not something “they” do. It’s something “anyone” can do. Terrorism is striking terror and fear into other people. Usually a group or subculture. I look at the various attacks of the last several months and I see hate and anger being forced onto a group of people… making them afraid.

Some terrorists want you to retaliate. Daesh and other fringe groups. They do NOT represent all Muslims. Not by a long shot. As someone said (whom I can’t remember the name of), “If all Muslims were terrorists, the rest of us would be dead by now.” When you have millions of followers of Islam, just as with -any- other religion, you will have the angry, deluded fringe. It isn’t even just religion. It’s political groups, it’s subcultures of our society.

One example of a non-religious incident: A couple of years ago, a Furry convention up in Seattle was under fire because a few people, possibly not even con-goers, decided to trash hotel property. In a considerable way. I’m not talking dinging the corner of a desk. I’m talking willful destruction of property. The hotel contract was cancelled and they couldn’t find another hotel in Washington State to host them. That convention is now on hold until everything settles down. All because of a few jackasses who fucked things up.

See the similarities? A small percentage of a group gives the rest of said group a bad reputation. A fraction -a very small fraction- of Muslims are connected to Daesh/ISIL.

And yet, others lash out at anyone they think is Muslim. The attack last night in England. This time a white person running a vehicle into a crowd of peaceful Muslims as they left their mosque.

If you can’t understand why some Muslims stray and start becoming violent, look at the person who injured several peaceful Muslims last night.

Then if a Muslim who has turned to violence attacks a crowd of non-Muslims, the cycle of hate and fear and anger and violence continues.

To end this, we must focus on those who do good in the community. I see mosques opening their doors in times of natural disasters and other situations to those who are not of their faith, but who are in need. I see them going out and feeding people who need food. Shelter when it is needed. I see more Muslims behave more Christ-like than a lot of people who consider themselves Christians.

My core faith is Christianity. I lean toward Omnism overall. I do my best to understand all faiths. I have a lot to learn. But I think we all do.

Focus on those who have strong positive ties and help others. Ask them as a child would ask a parent. What is your faith about? What do you believe? Try to listen to what they say. Talk to people, listen to people, learn from people.

The organist at a church I used to attend was being honored one morning for 40 years of service. He took the mic and told a little tale. When he and his wife converted to Christianity, they knew a few other Christians and many, many friends of theirs were not. He said he noticed that over the years, the scale has tipped so that they know very few who are not Christians and many who are. This stuck with me.

This is partly why I maintain friendships with believers of all paths, as well as many atheists. I try to show what Jesus taught: love, acceptance, compassion. I don’t preach to people… despite being ordained. I sit back and observe and show compassion when I am capable. I’ll readily admit that I’ve been under a lot more stress the last few years, so my supply of compassion is a bit low. But I still try.

One thing I think a lot of people don’t fully understand about Islam is that it’s the third of the three Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity, Islam. Allah is Arabic for God. The same God Christians worship.

If we listen and learn from each other, I believe the fear will dissipate.

What we don’t know, we fear.

So, let’s start learning. Start asking. Go to the sources. Talk to an Imam. Talk to… anyone!

This list of TED Talks is a good place to start. Here’s another page chock full of talks. And then the Interfaith Amigos…

We need to work on building community with those who are not just like us. We can win over hate.

~Dragon

Posted in dreams, faith, job hunting, life, Personal, poetry

6/16: Perched

I’ve been working on different things, all while trying to let my body recover from over-exertion on Wednesday. Today, I did a few small things to help boost my visibility for social media work. But I also became a bit frustrated with the job hunt because I keep trying to break into that field and I get nowhere. And now my sites are down because I don’t have the funds at the moment to pay my hosting.
So I feel like I’m looking in the wrong direction, even though I’m good at social media. Anyway… the poem below is kinda how things feel right now. I feel up in the air, which is how I am in the poem. Enjoy!

******

Precarious perch
Where do I
Land?
The fence below is
Full.
So here
I
Perch.
On a wire just above.

I see land on
Both sides.
One is safe
But
Plain.
Grassy flat land
As far as
My eyes can see.

Others there mill around.
I cannot tell if
They bother
Looking up
Anymore.
Do they wonder
What may be
Beyond the fence?
Do they see the fence?

The other side is
Rocky.
Uneven.
I would be unsure
Where to safely
Land.
Less of my kind
There.
The unknowns
Outweigh
The knowns.

The clouds have
Yet to lift.
I hear they may.
Soon.
I cannot
Stay
On this wire
Forever.

~Amanda

Posted in depression, empath life, faith, life, Personal

6/3: Salt Bowl Prayer

[Light the candle/tealight in the salt bowl]

***

To the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit… and all who came before me and the deities they may have worshipped. 

Watch over me in the coming days as I seek wisdom in myself and in those around me. 

When I am weak, lift me up. 

When I am silent, help me find my voice. 

When I stumble, remind me that it is okay to do so and encourage me to keep going. 

When I do not feel brave, remind me of my strength. 

Guide me through these days of darkness and depression. 

Let this flame clear the sadness and pain.

In all of this, I look to those who came before me for guidance. 

***

~Amanda 

Posted in anxiety, depression, empath life, faith, life, Personal, poetry, PTSD, semicolon

5/21: Wake Up Tomorrow 

Think.
Be positive.
No.
Platitudes
Do.
Not.
Help.
Breathe.
Try.
Can’t win
If you don’t try.
I can’t.
Believe.
In what?
A higher power?
I am a mere speck
Of sand.
A guinea pig
Of failed Celestial
Experiments.
God’s Chew Toy.
Believe.
Why?
Because.
In what?
Try yourself.
I am myself.
I don’t need to try
Being me.
But do you believe in you?
I’m not sure anymore.
Then start with one thing.
Okay, two things.
Breathe.
And
Wake up tomorrow.
Can you do those?
Yes.

Posted in anxiety, artsy stuff, creativity, empath life, faith, life, patreon, Personal, poetry, storage, writing

5/21: quick “note”

You guys (and gals) never cease to amaze/amuse and befuddle me. My earlier post was really nothing spectacular… just more of a “hey, I am still alive here” post… and yet 11 likes on it… this one won’t be much better.

Pretty sure I’ve rambled about this before, but tonight’s poem made me think of this. A lot of my poetry is train of thought. I rarely edit them. Most of the time, I hand write them. Those may get a word change or two when getting typed up, but still, nothing radical. My poems also fall into a “freestyle” form. And they tend to be either observational (the one from earlier this past week about being at the station and watching people is that type) or internal and sometimes extremely personal. I don’t write those to get attention or anything… they’re random stream-of-consciousness pieces. Nothing grandiose.

I sometimes read them to my therapist, who loves them as both a written art form but as being therapeutic. They can trigger an intense conversation in session. Tonight’s poem, which will post at 11pm PST, is an internal reflection piece… it’s kind of an internal conversation… take from it what you will. I’ve noticed a lot of people pay attention to the poetry posts. So, as long as you read them and like them, I’ll keep writing them. The monthly Patreon poem will be a longer, likely more traditional, work. These are just short little ones.

Well, half an hour before it posts… enjoy.

And thank you for bearing with me with my frantic situation over storage… and ensuing “crash and burn” this weekend. It takes a lot out of me.

~Amanda

Posted in anxiety, bugaboos, creativity, empath life, faith, life, Personal

5/19: The Power of Words

Dragon in a funk… I think the stress and anxiety over the last minute saving of my stuff in storage took its toll on me. I was okay, actually, until a seemingly minor incident last night that dragged my happy/relieved mood down into the abyss. I won’t go into details publicly. Just… stuff. What I will say in reaction is something that I’ll try to keep neutral:

Words, all words, have power. “The pen is mightier than the sword” right? Some people forget this. Others are well aware and still use words to hurt people. I recently saw some link on FB questioning the term “Toxic People.” It was something to the effect of “people aren’t toxic…” Umm, you’ve never met some people in my life, have you? Likely due to being an Empath, I am like pollen to a bee… And trust me, I don’t end up transforming into honey. A basket case, maybe. But not honey. 

Look, I know people who expect everyone around them to fit neatly into their world view. If you don’t, you get side comments said loud enough to hear, even if they assume you aren’t listening. Sometimes it’s more direct. I have a couple people (at least) in my life who either may not realize some of their words are hurtful or demeaning, or don’t think what they’re saying is wrong. Then there are those people who know damn well they’re negative and hurtful. I have/had all of these types in my life… again, no specifics here. 

The hard part is restraining myself. I get pushed and pushed, whether by one person or several around the same time. If I’m already stressed from all the other shit in my life (ya know, for an introvert, being homeless and staying with other humans is NOT easy), getting verbally “attacked” piles on more stress. I hate confrontation. Always have, likely always will. I’ve had moments when I’ve done well in those situations (had to fire someone in a store I was Assistant Manager… oh, that was ugly), but most of the time, I usually end up retreating and “shutting down.” I get pushed and pushed so many times until it all caves in and I snap. Some of my friends have seen/heard me snap. It ain’t pretty. And it isn’t them (usually)… it’s me and all the shit piling up and my own insecurities and doubts and panic. Sometimes it is them. I try to breathe, raise a middle finger in their general direction once they’re out of sight, and grumble for a while.


Now that that’s mostly out of my system… Words can be used for many things. As a writer of poetry, science fiction, and fantasy, I can create worlds, the people living in them. But words in every day life can also do so much. A simple compliment can lift a person’s spirits. A demeaning turn of phrase, or even just one word, can turn someone’s life upside down. Or right side up.

Right now, I’m exhausted from the stress of almost losing everything. Then some words were said that hurt. My ability to bounce back from them right now is hindered by all the other stressors. I will bounce back. I will deal with it. And hopefully I won’t snap in the meantime.

And hopefully my ramblings here made some sense. My TMJ pain hit earlier this evening, so strong pain meds it is… and I get a bit loopy for a bit once they take effect. I’m off for the night. Play nice kids!

~Amanda