Monday, November 17, 2014

Journal Post: A Dark Realization

I am going to step off of my soapbox for a few minutes and focus on me.  This past weekend, with the help of my fiancĂ©, my best friend, and my therapist, I came to a very dark realization; my views on death are horrific at best.  It's no wonder I struggle with the deaths of those I love.  It's no wonder I mourn for so long and so deeply.  With what I finally was able to admit to myself and others this weekend, it's no wonder that I fear death so much and view death as the enemy.

I know I have talked about death on here before on this post.  But at that time I could only vocalize my fear and hatred for death; I couldn't, or wouldn't vocalize why.  I struggled with not understanding or knowing what happens when we die, or at least I thought I did, and my analytical brain couldn't accept on faith that we just go to "a better place" and that everything magically turns out sunshine and roses.

I brought up this struggle to my therapist and he, being the fabulously sneaky psychologist that he is that I am so grateful I have found, asked a series of questions that led me to finally voice what I had been hiding for so long.  What I really think happens when someone dies. 

You see I view death as this horrific act, something that isn't peaceful or pleasant.  I think when someone dies the pain continues, the physical and emotional.  I think that person is then forced to watch as their loved ones suffer the loss of them, and they also feel the loss of their loved ones.  I think the pain is like a ripping force unlike any other we could ever imagine, and I think the sense of loss of life is unimaginable.  I don't find any comfort in death.

This, of course, explains a whole lot about why death affects me so much and why I grieve so deeply.  It also is not very healthy, and I get that.  My therapist says I am stuck in a sort of purgatory, especially after having lost so many people in my life.  He says that with each loss my theory on what happens we die gets stronger, and as my theory gets stronger my grief gets worse.  So basically I am in a vicious cycle and I can't get out on my own.  Basically I am living in my own personal hell that my mind created based on my experiences with death, that and my extremely over active imagination despite the lack of horror movies, books, or any other overly graphic input.

All of this also explains a lot of my nightmares about separation and loss.  It explains all of the horrendous things that happen to my friends and family when I close my eyes, whether I am awake or asleep.  It may also explain my severe separation anxiety.  So basically, if I could find a way to work through could break down a lot of the barriers that are holding me back in life. 

I know it won't be easy.  I know it's going to mean challenging myself and confronting a lot of fears head on.  I also know I have people by my side who love me and will be there for me through it all no matter what.  And I love them for it.

Friday, November 7, 2014

It's Your Right and Responsibility

I know election day has come and gone, so this post is a bit too late for this go around, but I prefer to look at it as getting a head start for the next election.  I am very discouraged by my friends and even some family as of late.  I am finding fewer and fewer of them are interested in politics at all, and nobody seems to know anything about the issues at hand let alone want to vote on them.  I just don't understand how so many people can have such a blasĂ© attitude towards what is going on in their city, state, country, heck even the world.  This is important people, the decisions made now are going to affect not only you, but also your children, and their children, and so on. 

I guess I don't understand it because when I was growing up it was instilled in me that this was important.  During the election season we watched the debates.  Discussions were had at the dinner table about what the issues were and what the candidate's platforms were based on.  And even though my parents are divorced this was one thing they could both agree on, politics were important, knowing what was going on in the world was important, and above all else exercising your right to vote was important.  I can remember being a kid and going with my parents to vote.  I can remember both of my parents taking the time to explain the process and how it works and why it is so important that every person who can vote does so that they speak up and their voice is heard.

It makes me sad that so many of my peers aren't having their voices heard.  I know you have them, and I know you have great opinions.  I see you voicing them on Facebook.  I hear you talking about them in Starbucks.  But when the vote tallies come in they just don't support the number of people in our age range that can vote.  We aren't showing up at the polls, we aren't mailing back in our ballots, heck in most cases we aren't even bothering to register.  It's easy to register; in most states you can do it at your DMV, post office, county election office, or even online.  It's free too. 

Some people say they don't want to register because it means they will get pulled into the jury duty pool.  Well I got news for you, at least in Oregon, the rules have changed and now the pool is anyone that has a diver's license or state ID.  They aren't even using the voter registration pool anymore so chances are you are already in the pool.  And even if does put you in the jury duty pool in your state, so what.  Jury duty is one of those necessary evils in life much like taxes.  Most of the time when you get summoned for duty you get released anyway.  It's not that great of an excuse.

I've also heard the excuse of, "I don't know who anybody is or who to vote for so I don't want to vote for anyone."  That's just sheer laziness.  In this age of instant information at our fingertips there is no reason why you can't do the research.  You need to make it your responsibility and your business to know who the candidates are, what they stand for, and what kind of history they have.  And it's not just about the people here either.

During elections we are also voting on new laws, laws that for better or worse will impact your life.  These could be laws that increase or decrease taxes.  Laws that protect a certain class of citizen, or laws that take away certain rights if we aren't careful.  Don't think for a moment that the people who want these laws to pass aren't campaigning hard to have people vote the way they want them to.  But what if you don't agree with the law, what if you don't like it?  Well did you vote?  Did you stand up and say I don't think this is right?  If not then you are part of the problem and not the solution.

Now, I'm not telling anyone that they have to vote a certain way, and I never will.  I may give you the pros and cons I see if you ask, and sometimes even if you don't just because I feel passionate about the topic.  But I am begging, pleading, strongly suggesting, and ok downright harassing you to please, please, please vote.  It's one of the simplest yet most powerful things you can do.  It's your right, and it's your responsibility.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Roles Reversed

We all know rape is wrong.  We all know that when an adult has sex with a minor it's wrong.  But do we think of it the same way regardless of which gender is perpetrating the crime on which gender?  I've begun to realize that in general, we don't.  But we should.  What got me started on this path was this story on ABC News

It's a story about a former NFL cheerleader accused of having sex with a 15 year old boy.  The article itself is decently written and gives the facts.  That's not the part that bothered me, it was the comments.  People posting about how the kid screwed up a good thing by telling, and how if they had been getting action from her they wouldn't have said anything.  Even comments such as "poor...lucky kid".  I was simply appalled by them all.  When I tried to post something reasonable about it I was called a turd and a prude.

Here's the thing though, if the roles were reversed...if it was a 47 year old man, even if he was a good looking former GQ model, and it was a 15 year old girl...these same people would be calling for him to be hung up by his testicles.  They would want him beat and castrated.  They would want him beat maliciously, if they even wanted him living at all.  There wouldn't even need to be a trial he would be found guilty in the court of public opinion just from an article being ran and his life would be over.

Women sexual predators historically are handed weaker sentences in the courts, they are given more excuses from their families and friends that are then accepted by the public.  They were lonely, they were depressed and unhappy, they needed help and this was their cry for it.  But male offenders often are given the maximum sentence, excuses are never acceptable and even if it truly was a misunderstanding they are labeled an offender for life with no chance to redeem themselves in the eyes of the public.  They have forever lost our trust.

Now I'm not saying we should trust sex offenders, but I am saying we should treat them equally and look at the circumstances of all cases both of male and female perpetrators.  There are some scary psychopathic women out there too that I wouldn't want my kids around.  We need to start realizing that women are capable of horrific things too.  And we need to hold them accountable.

The current sexual offender registration system is flawed, and needs to desperately be reexamined.  It needs to come with some sort of grading or category system that is easy to understand so the general public will know exactly what type of offender they are looking at.  Is this some dumb kid who at 18 slept with his 16 year old girlfriend and her parents pressed charges, or is this some sicko that molested dozens of kids and got out on good behavior?

The important thing to remember most of all is that not only can men and women be the bad guys here, but that both men and women, and boys and girls, can be the victims.  And males may need even more support than females when they are the victims of a sexual crime than females because of the way our society does view sexual crimes and that we don't typically think of males as the victims.  So before you post something stupid about a male victim, stop and think, what would you say if the roles were reversed.