Tuesday, July 8, 2014

My Religion is Love

It's been coming on slowly, but I finally figured it out. Oddly enough it took a wondering mind and a scene from an Anita Blake novel for it to really hit home for me: My Religion is Love.

Let's start with a definition, to make things easier:
re·li·gion
riˈlijən/
noun
noun: religion
the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods.
"ideas about the relationship between science and religion"
synonyms:faith, belief, worship, creed; More
"the freedom to practice their own religion"
  • a particular system of faith and worship.
    plural noun: religions
    "the world's great religions"
  • a pursuit or interest to which someone ascribes supreme importance.

I'm not talking about the first definition. As if. I've been an atheist for 21 years now, and that's never going to change.  There's been a time or two where I wished I could believe in a god(s) or goddess(es), it certainly would make things easier, but I just can't allow myself that safety blanket. Hell, to be perfectly honestly, I'm not capable - I have no faith in things I can't see or feel.

There's only ever been one instance where I felt a higher being might have helped me, and she owns part of soul, should she ever want it. But even so, I'm too much the logical engineer: I just can't really believe in her existence, or any other god's.

No, what I'm talking about is the other two definitions: Faith. And.... "An interest to which someone ascribes supreme importance" fits, but it's a damn ungainly way of saying it.  I'm not sure how else to say it though. But it's not an "interest"... It's.... the thing that makes everything else make sense to me, it's the core of my emotional logic, it's the meaty bit, the driving force, the thing that makes life bearable, makes life worth living. It's...... 42.


Religion is about faith. And for most of my life I have had precious little faith, in anything or anyone. But slowly, oh so slowly, I've found my faith. I have faith in one thing: Love.

I've always been a hopeless romantic. I've always seen every story from the heart first - by that I mean, whatever the story, in my head, it revolves around the relationships, around the love and hurt, and whatever else is always secondary for me.  I've always wanted to believe in love, but I've never..... had reason to. I'm logical, even when it hurts, and love just wasn't for me. But I also couldn't see, couldn't believe the kind of love you read about in books, the kind you'd die to protect, die fighting for, or suffer any hell to keep safe, actually existed in the real world, not really.

Until I found the right man who taught me what it meant to really be loved. Until someone I loved walked through hell for me.


I'm not a hopeless romantic anymore. I'm a hopeful romantic.  I believe. I have faith. In Love.


I've been a hopeful romantic for years. But the faith thing, that's new. And it was only recently that I realized just how deep it went for me.

It's stupid, a horror novel lighting the way, but it did. There's a scene, I think in Blue Moon where there's a demon, an actual demon, just outside Anita's circle of power trying to get in. She's not alone. Her assistant, her ex's injured mother, and some others. For a time they are protected by Anita's magic, but at one point the circle breaks. Sort of by accident they find their only weapon: their faith. Anita tried shooting it, but the bullets went through the demon, he was only solid when he wanted to be. Her ex's mother was understandably terrified, and Catholic I think. So like any good Christian she started reciting the Lord's Prayer. When the demon tried to get close to her, it was as if her words literally stung him. He couldn't get close to her, couldn't touch her. Anita, Episcopalian, added her voice and the demon cringed. She urged the others, if they had faith, now was the time to use it. I may be remembering it wrong, but I think there was another man, not a Christian, a Hindu, who started reciting the Bhagavad Gita and the demon couldn't touch him either. Or maybe it was just Larry her assistant who is Jewish, I think, that started praying. For whatever reason, I walked away with idea that faith was faith, and evil just can't touch it. But this scene haunted me. Because I have no faith. I have no armour against that kind of evil. Or I didn't.

No, I don't think I'm going to find myself face to face with a demon, not in real life, but I'm plagued by nightmares, vivid, terrifying nightmares that I wake up screaming from. So for me, having armour the next time I'm attacked isn't just an intellectual exercise. But it has to be armour I believe in 100% 'cause I'm fighting myself and if I don't believe it, then the gun won't fire, the door won't shut, my legs won't work, and I won't win. And when I don't win it hurts, it burns, I feel everything in my dreams, and I wake up screaming my terror.

The other day, in the shower, this scene popped into my head again, as it does every once in awhile. Sometimes I recite the Lord's Prayer with Anitia, thinking, if I lived in her world, if my cross lit up and made vampires shrink back from me, I could believe in god too. I can't even think of the words now, but I've known large bits of it, memorized it when I was a teen, hoping to find comfort. But that morning as my mind's eye saw Anita crouch beside her ex's mom, holding the woman's hand and reciting the prayer, I stood tall on that red hill and sang my heart out: "Ain't no mountain high enough,  Ain't no valley low enough, Ain't no river wide enough, To keep me from getting to you babe, ..."


Love poured from every every word, bright and powerful. I nearly glowed with it. The demon flinched, but not because I couldn't hold a tune, Love took care of that I think. No, he flinched because I was full of faith, and he couldn't touch me. 

And that pulled me out of my daydream. I had faith. True, unwavering, no-doubt-in-my-mind faith. The kind of faith most people save for a god, that's the kind of all encompassing faith I have in love. My faith has been building slowly over the years, so it's not like it came as a surprise exactly.  But I'd never really called it faith, and I'd never really thought of it in terms of religion. Faith had always been the sticking point for me with religion - I just never had faith.  But I have it now. In Spades.

So it occurred to me: my religion is love. And as time goes on, I'm more and more convinced it's true. And that it's what's right for me.

It's not a traditional religion, but since when am I ever traditional?

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Feminist Rant

So I was browsing the internet, as I do, and I came upon something rather interesting: The Quest to Understand Feminism Through 'World of Warcraft'.

It's kinda sad, but interesting all the same. I can happily say my experience in WoW is far more positive than the artist's. So far I've:
  • Met loads of real women.**
  • Been a member of at least two guilds run by women.
  • Been on a raid team where the steady and most competent members happened to be women. 
  • Met a lot of married couples like myself and my husband, who play and raid together. Geek Force unite!
  • Met quite a few young, unmarried men that wished they could get their girlfriend's to play or wished they could find one that did - they were perfectly happy to have women play wow alongside them.
  • Not once, in my just over two years of playing, have I ever heard a comment like "GB2 the kitchen".
I should point out, however, that I am Alliance, not Horde. There are jerks everywhere but we have prettier cities.

**I actually asked many a guild member (in our guild chat room) whether they were women or men, so I wasn't assuming. 

**Also, we used Vent (a program that's like a conference call for a raid team) during our raids. It's hard not to notice when "Faith" the female human on screen is accompanied by the deep Southern drawl of a man, or when "Honey" has the sweetest little voice you've ever heard and you just want to squeeze her.


Anyway! Back to the article. Where's the rant you ask? Well, here it comes: one comment I could just not leave alone. It set my blood boiling and I had to say something. Here's the comment:
Yeah, and then there's real life where women are socially equal to men and just like the special status playing the perpetual victim gets them. Post Modernist "feminism" is the ultimate form of misogyny as it requires women to be victims for it to have any threat of logic.
Oh boo hoo, you went out in public and heard something you didn't like. PATRIARCHY! OOOOoooh. Equal means equal. Deal with it.
 And this is my reply:


Are you serious?!  That pregnant 19 year old wasn't playing the victim. She was raped by a family member, and I can only assume a MALE, seeing how conservative she was she'd be a screaming homophobic otherwise. She IS a victim.

And "threat of logic"?!  You know, just saying something doesn't make it so. Women are NOT treated equally to men. Men are still payed vastly more for the exact same work, with the exact same experience.  Straight out of university, women with great grades will make the same as men with shitty ones( Female 'A+' Students End Up Making As Much As Male 'C' Students). How is this equal?!?

We've come a long way. Women are persons under the law; at least where I live. We can vote. We can own land. We can hold almost any job, as long as we don't mind a pay cut. But are we equal? NOT EVEN CLOSE.

When men are given wives as GIFTS,( South Africa investigates 'wife gift' for SABC head). No, we are NOT equal.

The fact that you think women are misogynistic for wanting true equality, for wanting girls and women to have the same value socially, culturally, intrinsically as their male compatriots says how not equal we are more perfectly than I ever could.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Romantic Comedy's are not a good model for healthy relationships

Laurell K Hamilton asked her fb followers if they've ever had their life influenced by romantic comedys, or had the kind of things that happen in rom coms happen in their relationships. And it got me thinking about it... not for the first time.

When I talk at/rant to Chris, my hubby about this, his answer is that I should blog about it or some such, so for once, I'm listening. ;)

I should start off by saying I used to love romantic comedies. It was my favourite genre in fact. Funny, with a guaranteed HEA (Happily Ever After) ending, what's not to love?

Then I met Chris. But more importantly, I had the very first grown-up, healthy courtship and then healthy relationship of my life.

 So when, months into dating Chris, I wanted a rom com - no, I don't remember which one - I realized just how messed up the genre was as a whole.

When you stop and think about the kinds of things rom coms promote as 'romantic', or 'all in the name of love'... Creepy is what comes to mind.

Movie Example: Edward sneaking into Bella's bedroom to watch her sleep at night. Even ignoring the fact that she's 16, and he's like 200 or 100, or whatever- he's an old man. Even ignoring the age thing, he's breaking and entering to watch her sleep.

Now, I have actually had this happen to me - sort of - he didn't break in at least! When I was a teenager, I was dating a very sweet boy. He came over one evening when I was having a nap (yes, even at 14 or 15 I liked naps!). My parents let him in, assuming he'd wake me up. He didn't. I woke up to pitch black , not only had the sun set but the power had gone out so there wasn't even filtered light from the streetlights outside my big ass window. The radio was off, but was on when I'd gone to sleep. And I could hear someone breathing in the room. Someone that wasn't me. I freaked. I stayed stock still until the power came back on - longest seconds of my life! With the light from the street I had enough clues to figure out it was my soon to be ex boyfriend, not some serial killer there to murder me. But he just sat there and watched me sleep, for gods knows how long! WHAT THE FUCK?! I was terrified! That is just not cool, let me tell you.


Real life example: When I was dating my now husband, I had an ex call me out of the blue, and tell me he missed me, he wanted me in his life, that he some nights he just sat in his car outside my house, thinking about me, but didn't have the nerve to knock.

My first reaction, a result of watching too many romantic comedies, was: aww, how sweet.

Then I really thought about it.

I hadn't heard from this guy in six months and even then he was just brushing me off. So miss me, my ass.

Also, I'd been spending almost half my time at Chris' place in Toronto but home was still my parent's place in Hamilton (a hour's drive from Toronto); I just wasn't there much.

So this 37 yr old man was sitting outside my parents house. In his car. At night. What? Just staring?

STALKER!! My brain screamed and my pulse jumped. I wasn't worried for myself. I really wasn't home many evenings at this point. But my parents were. Every protective instinct I had came rushing to the forefront.

So I did the only thing I could think of: I talked his ear off about how happy I was. I told him I was seeing a wonderful man (my Chris) that was only a few years older than me (not old and decrepit like him). How Chris was wonderfully geeky, sweet, and oh so good to me. I went on about our amazing chemistry, and how no one had ever pleased me like Chris did, over and over and over again. I told him how Chris thought I was 'worth the trouble', something no other man had ever told me - I always got the opposite. Especially from this guy (yes, he was a self-obsessed jerk). I told him I never thought about him, but I wished him well.

Worked like a charm too! He never bothered me again! 

I really hope he was only feeding me a line, trying to get me pinging for him or some crap. Cause to this day it kinda freaks me out to think about him sitting in his sedan outside my parents house.. last at night.... I mean. what the fuck?


So yeah. Do not model your relationships on rom coms. That's not the kind you want. Take it from a happily married woman. Yay for "boring married life" *snickers* I wouldn't want it any other way.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Poerty. Blah.

Pulled by invisible stings
My muscles jerk wildly
Betraying a secret
I keep even from myself.

The stone ogre is solidifying
Moving oh so slowly
Muscles strain, tendons scream
I bite my tongue to hide my pain.

Bones made of lead,
Muscles like molasses in January
Pushing just to do the simplest things
I am alone in this hell.

They look like good strong hands don't they?
My wrist jerks, my thigh jumps
I hold in the scream burning in my throat

Weighed down by more
Than my own gargantuan size
Fighting the good fight
Try as I might, I'm still loosing.

But is it the war or the battle
That is beating me down?
In the pit of despair
It all looks the same to me.

Fight the good fight.
It's more than just words.
I'll never give up.
I walk through hell for the ones I love.

There is hope. I know it.
I can't see it now, but it's there.
I'll wait out the darkness
Because this too shall pass.

In the light of love
Everything is possible
I believe in the dream
I believe in love.

And someday, some way,
This will get better.
No matter how many times
I fail along the way, I will win.

Never give up, never surrender
There must be a peace
Between my dreams
And this disease eating at me

A modicum of control is all I desire
The disease is part of me. I admit it.
Now, how do I get it to co-operate?
So help me Fria, I will find a balance.



So uh, it was suggested in this course I took, that I try to express my pain in some way... This is one of my attempts. Take it for what you will.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Epiphany

I love fictional characters without restraint, wholeheartedly even. I very rarely love real people half so much.

I'm sitting here crying because I know this is the last season for Amy and Rory Pond as the Doctor's companion. Already I miss them. Already I am sad to say goodbye to them. I fell in love with them you see, and it hits me hard that they...they won't be continuing the story with us.

When Mattiline died - a character in the Hallows book series -  I sobbed for hours, inconsolably. I was heartbroken. Chris came home and found me sobbing. He thought someone had died - a real someone that is. I don't think he ever understood how my emotions could rage, how I could be so very attached to someone who wasn't real.

But that's part of it - for me, they are real. If the writer is any good, their characters become real for me. And when they die, my grief is just as real. This is something I've known for years now, and have become very careful about what I read.

Thankfully most romance novels are engaging enough to be entertaining but not enough to touch my heart. Ha.

What I hadn't realized before, was why. Why do I love fictional people so easily? Why do I let myself love them, feel for them so very deeply, when I don't.... I just don't for people people.

Then it hit me.

Fictional characters can't reject me, can't judge me, can't leave me. They will always be there, right where I left them. I can love them without risking being hurt myself. Sure, losing them hurts, but it's not the same as the sting of not being loved back, of being judged and found wanting.

On the other hand, fictional characters let me into their lives. I get to see them at their best, and worst. I get a pass into their daily lives, I get to spend days, months, even years with them.  Most people I don't get to know half so well.

I grieve the loss of beloved characters. I cry. I sob. Until I have a headache and my heart feels hallow, empty and bereft.

I have never allowed myself to grieve for loved ones like that. I've been lucky, thus far, no one really close to me has died. I've had a cat, a dog, and an uncle die in my living memory. I never properly grieved for any of them.

I was sad when my uncle died. It was a shock, but also not a shock, we knew he was dying, I just didn't think it would be so soon.

My pets, I was in school and I had big tests both of the days they died. I refused to let myself grieve because I had to focus, I had to pass my exams. But when they were over, I never, I never let my grief out. It was like, once I put my grief in a box in the corner of my mind, so I could get through my exam, I couldn't get the box back. I couldn't....find the passion to grieve.

Does that make me a terrible person?

Perhaps it just makes me a frightened one.

I can't help that I love fictional characters. And I don't want to. I like that stories and the people in them mean something to me.

But I worry that I have so much trouble forming attachments in the real world. I've always been shy and awkward. I've always been uncertain as to my worth in the eyes of others. I'm...quirky. I just don't connect with many people. There are people occasionally that I want to connect with, but for whatever reason I don't manage to make a lasting connection. I am only ever on the peripheral of their lives.

I'm not really sure what to do with this epiphany. I'm trying very hard to not judge myself, to not label myself a coward.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Book Review...that Degenerated into a Rant...

2.5/5 Stars for by

Free kindle read. The story is far better than most free reads - the characters are well developed, the plot is interesting, and there are even some very mild sexy bits.

Overall I liked this, I mean, I read it for hours on end (like 16 hours or so) because I couldn't put it down, I was enjoying the characters far too much.

I have one HUGE issue, and a few smaller ones though.

My largest issue is perhaps a spoiler, but I don't really think so. The author keeps mentioning the time the heroine and hero "accidentally had sex". Now, first off, you can't just accidentally have sex, what, did she fall on his cock?? Second, THIS NEVER HAPPENED!! It's mentioned a few times throughout, but finally close to the end you learn it happened her first night in the mansion. I went back and re-read it thinking I might have swiped too many times and passed pages without realizing. Nope. It NEVER HAPPENED.

Clearly there was an edit at some point and the author didn't bother to go back through the rest of the book to make sure the deleted scene wasn't mentioned. To me, it's a big deal because the KEEP mentioning it, and base other decisions/feelings on it. Edit people!! EDIT!

Okay, second issue, related to the first, and more SPOILER. So don't read if you don't want to know!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Love, Teapots, and Shakespeare

I found a few lines of shakespere, unexpectedly, and it brought back such happy memories of our wedding. Our, being my husband Chris and mine.

You see, I found my most remembered line of a favourite sonnet I put in our wedding ceremony. Love is not love that alters when it alteration finds. This is the whole thing:

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.
                                Sonnet 116, William Shakespeare

Chick logic. The sonnet made me look up the ceremony - I wrote it/put it together you see. And then I had to re-read my favourite part. I admit, that on the day of, I didn't hear a damned word our official said. I was sooooo nervous and excited, it was all a blur.


Have I mentioned I hate standing up in front of people or being the centre of attention? See how I'm clutching onto his hand? Poor man. I was terrified!

But on to the teapot.

What? For the exchange of rings, some mention of why we wear rings is always made. Usually it goes something like, love is a circle, blah, bah blah.  I felt the circle reference was very arbitrary and didn't make much sense. So I wrote something that did make sense to me. Love is a teapot. Yes, that was my favourite part. I wrote it myself, and I think it rather clever. Perhaps it's not, but it always makes me smile. Judge for yourself:

Love, tuw wuv, is a teapot, but we wear rings since they are easier to get on our fingers.  Love is a teapot, love is a circle, a square, a polygram -  love is what you make of it.  And here today, Christopher and Melissa vow to make their love the lasting kind.  Their love will keep them safe and warm through whatever storms life throws at them, just like a good teapot would.

But you have to imagine the priest from Princess Bride saying the first part, for it to make sense. And if any of you haven't seen the Princess Bride, go now and watch it. It..... is one of the most beloved stories for geeks 40-30 yrs old.


I'm such a sap. But every day I marvel at the gift I've been given - in the form of my husband. He is not a boon I ever thought to have from this life. And every day I am thankful, I feel my luck, and know, despite being chronically ill and such, that life could be so much worse, so much emptier. He is my anchor, my port in the storm, and my life-preserver in rough seas. Nothing is ever so bad when I'm in his arms.

Love. I never thought I'd be so damn lucky.