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This is likely to sound cheesy, but here goes: I am generally a bit of a nervous flier. Between the whole flying-while-fat thing and the slight (not overwhelming, but noticeable) fear of crashing to my death, flying isn't a ton of fun for me. That said, the older I get and the more I love my life (how much? a lot) the more I genuinely feel like yeah, I may die in a plane crash, or crossing the street, or whatever, but I've had such a good life, that right about now, I'm okay with that. I mean, I don't want to die, but when I do, it won't be before I got a chance to live a life I love. Don't think I don't know how incredibly lucky that makes me.
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Three actual events from the past week or so, put forward as an example of how and how not to respond when you're called out on your -isms:

1) Friendly acquaintance, white, posts a joke on her Facebook whose punchline relies on how "white" Michael Jackson was. I point out that it's rude and racially insensitive to make comments about how someone is or is not black enough. Her friends tell me to get a sense of humor. She tells me she's not racist. I unfriend her, not as a punishment, but because, really, who needs it, and we weren't close or anything. This is her response, locked down so I can't answer: "Out of 830 friends on FB, you were the only person who found that Michael Jackson comment racist. It wasn't. You took it in a way that it was not intended. I apologize for having offended you, but if I didn't rank high enough on your respect list for you to give me the benefit of the doubt, I'm better off not having you in my life anyway."

2) Friend posts a wordplay joke on his Facebook whose punchline relies on the assumption that being fat is a horrible thing that should be avoided. I point out that it's a fatphobic joke and I dislike it (okay, I may have said "Yuck! Fatphobia! Ptui!"). He says, "Oh, wow, sorry. Should've seen that. I took it down. Thanks for pointing it out." I reply, "Thanks. No worries; if I know you, you were focused on the wordplay."

3) Family member talks about "gay marriage." I say "Not gay marriage, same-sex (or same-gender) marriage," and he says "Right. Thanks for the correction." The conversation continues normally.

My point? That I'm always right and it doesn't pay to disagree with me.

No, wait, that's wrong.

My point? That we all say stupid shit sometimes -- yes, even (or perhaps especially) I do! -- but the best response when you have that pointed out is not "No way, you're being oversensitive. No one ELSE thought it was stupid!" but "Oh, wow, yeah. Sorry."

I can't count the times I've had to say "Oops, I fucked up. Sorry about that. I'll try harder." I could make you a MUCH longer list about the times I've had to say "Sorry for dismissing you. Sorry for using sexist/racist/whateverist language." Every time I've said it, it's felt less like I was a complete failure, and more like I was doing a good job at being a grown-up and taking responsibility for my flawed behavior. And I hope it means I'm more careful about that kind of thing now. When I offend people, I want it to be on purpose, and I want it to be the Powers That Be that are getting my barbs, not the people who are the targets of the oppression I claim to be fighting.
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I'm a big Normal Bob fan, even though he's often juvenile. But I really loved his response to a bit of fanmail recently. It says a lot about how I live my life.

1. When you appear in public dressed as Satan or not dressed as Satan but actively opposing the dipshits who espouse their sanctioned retardation (i.e. Christianity) do you ever fear that some no-neck moron would assault you physically? Have you ever actually been assaulted by said no-neck morons? I fear for your safety for there are many no-neck morons that would think they do their worthless god a favor by putting you in the hospital.

No, there is no fear on my end of the no-neck morons. One of the major revelations I've had in the last several years is that we humans tend to fear shit that ain't never gonna happen, and then we let that fear stop us. Remember that part in Fight Club where he describes how difficult it can be to pick a fight with someone who will actually go to the lengths of literally fist-fighting you? Well, there's a lot of truth to that statement. And that goes double if you're a 6'3" shaved-head man with adequate posture who looks where he's walking. The addition of red face paint, horns and 4" platform shoes doesn't hurt either.


This is it for me. It's not that no one could possibly ever harm me for being bi, poly, an atheist, or fat. It's that it makes no sense to rule my life based on that, when the odds of its happening are so small as to make the worry about it more dangerous to my health than the reality of it. (I would add that if I die for being my open, honest self, that's not the worst way to go.)

I say this knowing that I'm not immune to violent crime -- I've been on the receiving end of violent crime, and I'm here to say that for me, anyway, the fear surrounding being attacked has been far worse than the event itself, by at least an order of magnitude. It might be the best thing that ever happened to me was being nearly killed, because now I can say, "Oh, wow, I've done that, and I lived through it, and it wasn't the life-ruining thing I might have assumed it would be."

Not that I would wish violence on anyone, and not that I think it's A-OK for people to attack other people, but if I have to choose between a violent death and a death-by-degrees of closing my life off little by little in reaction to my own fears, I know what I choose. (And no, those aren't the only two choices, thankfully.)
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Recently, I heard someone at work express the opinion that people who
don't do what zie does -- actively work for social justice with
progressive organizations -- shouldn't complain about the country,
shouldn't be taken seriously, and aren't making the world a better place.

I say bullshit.

You make the world better when you work for social justice in organized
venues, true. But you also make the world better when you:

vote.

treat people with respect.

get to know your neighbors.

write to your congresscritters.

transgress wrongheaded laws and traditions.

blog about peace and social justice.

Read more... )

Now, I'm NOT saying you're a bad person if there's stuff on this list that
you don't do. And I'm NOT saying that you don't make the world better in
a thousand other ways. Just saying that people don't have to make the
world better in the way you do to count.

Do you have other things to add to the list? I'd love to hear your ideas
of ways that you and others make the world better.

tag

Aug. 9th, 2005 04:46 am
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Things I have relived through tagging today:

The roller-coaster of my impending breakup with cute-poet-chick.

The breakup itself.

The rise and fall of a few ill-conceived projects. (Remember [livejournal.com profile] serenefood?)

Loving my San Diego job and being really conflicted about staying there.

The wonderful, joyful beginnings of my relationships with [livejournal.com profile] stonebender, [livejournal.com profile] someotherguy, and [livejournal.com profile] sogwife.

The hints of a relationship with [livejournal.com profile] intenselaura, who was called
"the crush" back then.

And my really huge capacity for finding joy, even in deep sadness. I have
been really grateful to see that about myself. I rock. ([livejournal.com profile] sogwife, I'll take that flower now.)
serene: I love the whole world. (love)
Stuff about my day. Not thrilling stuff, just stuff. )
serene: I love the whole world. (love)
I feel I should say something about the shuttle, but sometimes I think there's something in me that just doesn't get choked up about people I don't know. I think it's very sad, especially for their loved ones, and I hope that the people I know who are grieving find comfort soon. At any rate, I kind of wish I were deeply moved by the whole thing, but I'm just not.

In other news, it is a near-perfect day in San Diego. [livejournal.com profile] someotherguy and his wife and I spent the afternoon talking and walking and talking and vaguely window-shopping. And talking. It was tons of fun, and they're adorable, separately and as a couple. Everything was very nice. The weather is amazing, I'm relaxed and comfy for the first time in days, and life is good.

Gonna go hang out with my mom for a while if I can catch up with her. Otherwise, a bit of nap therapy may be in order to add to the relaxment quality of the day. I plan to be a puddle of wellbeing by the time this weekend is over.
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1. As a child, who was your favorite superhero/heroine? Why?

I loved them all. Still do. Especially Superman and Batman and Spiderman and Batgirl and Jamie Sommers, but I liked them *all*.

2. What was one thing you always wanted as a child but never got?

I can't think of anything.

3. What's the furthest from home you've been?

Spain, though that was home then.

4. What's one thing you've always wanted to learn but haven't yet?

How to really play the guitar.

5. What are your plans for the weekend?

Coffee and/or brunch with [livejournal.com profile] someotherguy and his wife tomorrow morning, shopping trip with mom tomorrow afternoon, some time with the munchkins at some point, and Sunday hanging out with my girl.
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My life is good.

no, really, it is )
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ramblings on last night and introversion )
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...or even if I want it to last, but I clicked an LJ link out of reflex today and found that for some reason, LJ isn't blocked at work any more. Hmm.

At any rate, mostly out of my post-con slump. Feeling like I want to invite more touch and comfortable-companionship (and maybe romance?) into my life, because being around people all weekend, people I could just hang with or touch, was really really good for me. I wouldn't call myself touch-starved, exactly, since I seem to do fine with what I get, but it was restorative and beautiful, and I want More More More. Oh, great, earworm. But anyway, I want more flirting in my life, and more touching, and more hanging out, and basically more friends. I don't really have any local friends who aren't "couple-friends" or family. Again, I do fine with what I get, but I want more.

Speaking of friends, gonna see [livejournal.com profile] trinker tonight, if all goes as planned. Maybe cook something simple, maybe jacuzzi for a while, maybe just hang out and chatter at each other. It's been too long.
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I don't know why, but flame wars don't generally upset me. They just feel like more info about the participants, more than anything else. My feelings get hurt if I'm the one being flamed, but usually only briefly, and often with the result that I find out I've been being stupid. It bothers me, of course, that it hurts people I care about, but I just can't get myself too worked up about the flames themselves. (But I *loathe* it when people send flames in private email, as I've heard some do. I think it's cowardly and reprehensible.)

I'm soooo hungry. I think I'll brave the raindrops and drive somewhere with good vegan sushi. Mmmmmmm, avocado rollllls.
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I have this other LJ that I used a lot when I first set it up, but then found that it was weird to keep logging off and logging on as another person, as though the stuff I was talking about there was not part of who I am here, so I've let it languish. I enjoy being all me, all the time. And speaking of being all me, there's a part of my inner life that I only share with a few people, and I've been wondering how much I want to invest in talking about it with others. If the inner becomes outer, naturally I will share it with people close to me, but where do I draw the line? (Example that's not the actual thing under consideration: Say I had BDSM fantasies, but no desire to ever live them out or even to share them with anyone. Should I tell my partner? Should I tell others? I mean, I know that if I decided to live out some of the fantasies, I would want to be out about that, but if it was purely hypothetical? Dunno.)

Eating a terrific walnut-grain loaf with a wonderful mushroom gravy. I swear sometimes that I could live on mushroom gravy. Mmmmmm.

Work is pleasant, as usual, and the ocean taunts me with its breeze and its glimmeryshimmer.

The munchkins started school today. Munchkin The Elder was late; no big surprise, since zir mom isn't exactly Ms. On The Ball. But still, bummer being late for the first day of middle school.

Had more productive and loving talks with cute-poet-chick. And we looked for (and found, we think) a new place to move to. More space, a washer/dryer in the unit, and about twice the rent. It's a big step for her, and I think it means she really does feel like we have a future together.

Talked a *lot* about our poly issues, but I think that's something I'll save for alt.poly.

Mmmmm, water.

Can't get into my webmail right now, so I think I'll go surf around LJ for the rest of my lunch half-hour.
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This time, the rooster (my alarm clock) didn't awaken me, but I got up at 430am anyway. I actually kind of like taking an hour of quiet alone time before heading back to bed. Check email/Usenet/LJ, sit alone in the dark, gradually wake up but not enough to impede going back to bed. *yawn*

more, including last night's Glen-or-Glenda trip and a snapshot of serene eating *animals*, so be ye forewarned )

The List

Jul. 16th, 2002 07:16 am
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Been making this list for more years than I can count.

Five things that are good about me:
1. I am willing to work hard at making myself a better person.
2. I am loyal.
3. I am smart.
4. I am flexible (in more ways than one).
5. I am accepting of others.

Five things I'm grateful for:
1. Usenet.
2. Equanimity.
3. That I'm employed.
4. My mother.
5. The relative ease of my (white, middle-classed, privileged) life.

Five people or animals who love me without reservation:
1. My niblings (that's twelve right there)
2. Tommy the cat
3. Mom
4.&5. (see #1)

Five times in recent memory when I was happy/joyful/contented:
1. When I awoke just knowing how my YA novel would end.
2. When I figured out how to use the LJ client from work without installing it on the hard drive.
3. When I met with Charles yesterday and he and I spent an exhilarating hour trashing the commodification of queers that masquerades as San Diego Pride.
4. When mom handed me the guitar she bought for me at a yard sale because she felt bad that mine had been stolen.
5. The entire time I was listening to "Steady Pull" yesterday.

Five things I'm good at:
1. Knowing what I need to get better at.
2. Acknowledging when someone else is right.
3. Pushing my boundaries.
4. Crochet.
5. Sex.
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I feel the start of something just beneath my skin. Maybe it's garden-variety restlessness, but it feels more like I feel when I'm ready to make a major change. Found myself looking at Green job sites today and not clicking the "san diego only" button. Found myself listing all the things I might want to do with my life. Found myself imagining what my life would be like if it took a dramatic turn, and what that would mean to me and to the people around me. We shall see. Wrote myself this email: "remember: a big dream is worth striving for. you can move, you can do anything, you can go anywhere. Is writing the thing? If so, get to it. Not writing but singing? Then do it. Environment/activism? Whatever! Do it. Teaching, maybe?" We. Shall. See.
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It's a decadent day.

This is a little long )

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