Chapter 4 (For Bianca)

I was initially going to add this chapter on to my last post with the rest of this “book,” but after reviewing it’s content in conjunction with what I had intended to write about today, it made more sense to isolate it.  So here it is, in all its glory;

Chapter 4: Identity

Do you know who you are? People spend so much time trying to figure out who they are and searching for their own niche in life, but do we ever really reach that level of knowing ourselves; self-consciousness? You spend 99.9% of your life looking through your eyes at the world and assessing what’s around you. Simultaneously, you may spend nearly the same amount of time analyzing yourself and searching for that unique identity, but to draw a self portrait, you’d require a mirror. Granted, the physical, emotional,  psychological, and metaphysical selves are distinct from one another….but how well do you really know yourself? How well would you be able to predict your limits?

To thy own self, be true; without a grasp of your identity there is no one to be true to. Often times it’s much simpler to assume the identity of someone else; an equal being with the same absence of familiarization with his own self, but yet manages to project an image that attracts you. We call these people, those who assume the identity of others, fakes and posers, and accuse them of fronting and wearing masks. What I don’t get is if we spend so much time worrying about these other people and their lack of individuality, how can we even hope to get to know ourselves and develop our own identity?

Again, people are social creatures. That being said, that self-identity is often a derivative of the group identity which manifests out of the unique dynamic of interaction between a group of individuals. In other words, different people bring out very different sides of the same person. And then you have to analyze the role of the individual within the group and assess if this role remains constant as the individual shifts group affiliation.


 

This is the end, or at least as far as I got with For Bianca.  The content of Chapter 4 is so relevant and tangible, unfinished…but related to what I wanted to write about today.  What I wanted to write about today was me.

I’ve shared a bit about my views, a bit about things happening in my life, but not much about those deeper contemplations, buried and hidden from judgement and criticality.  My experiences, choices I’ve made, paths I’ve taken…things I’ve done.  What I wanted to write about today is very real and very controversial when measured against the projected expectations of certain archetypical personalities; and taking into account that some of you do actually know me, in my personal and professional capacities,  it is very risky.  I’m too proud to say that it’s “scary,” but I can live with saying I am intimidated by the idea that some of you who know me will read what I want to discuss and then judge me negatively for it.

What I wanted to write about, will have to wait for next time.

 

 

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For Bianca

So a while back one of my best friends, we’ll call her Bianca, told me I should write a book.  It was the combination of her half gest – half literal character and my tendency to take jokes too far that led to the following chapters.

For Bianca

You said I should write a book so here I am writing one just for you…for your eyes only. Who knows what the people will want to read or be interested in, who really gives a fuck? This one is for you. Let’s start from the beginning.

Chapter 1: Birth

Giving birth, creation of life, life forces, eternity, immortality, immorality, after life, life after death, walking dead, death obsessions; miracles and the unknown. Life is beautiful, life is hard, it’s a hard knock life. Yet, we live.

The meaning of life is simple; to live. Our purpose, significance on this planet, reason why we are here is just that; to live and reproduce. The entire history of life and entire future of life is summed up in that single act; living. We live, we survive, we reproduce, we fight for survival of the youth and we die but life goes on and so shall we. The great beyond.

And another thing; not all babies are cute.

Chapter 2: Growing Up

Our experience in life is what defines us. Our life experiences growing up are what mold us; create us; manifest into our personalities, who we are, our individuality; what makes us more than just a physical shell.

The people we are surrounded with in youth and the culture we are brought into fuse together to leave insignificant lasting impressions that eventually coagulate into a unique perspective on life. And this is who we are.

…So we’ll have to come back to this one…we never stop growing up after all.

Chapter 3: Alibi

I halfway committed to write a chapter a day and I halfway have been fulfilling that commitment…one small step for man…

I saw a pack of dogs running around in circles in a small park in the town square of Quetzaltepeque, La Libertad, El Salvador…running in circles, biting each other, mounting each other, making rounds, forming back into the pack. Big dogs, small dogs, loud dogs, maimed dogs…all kinds of dogs, and this I observed while discussing the state of affairs of the world and in Central America. Prejudice. Gangs. The need for acceptance.

Gangs rule the streets here, and in the absence of gangs, there are the dogs…which essentially operate the same way. Each dog has its place in the pack and each dog looks to be accepted into the pack; the need for socialization and acceptance is something carnal, not just human.

 

Chapter 4 gets a little more lengthy, so we’ll save that for tomorrow.  Goodnight readers!

What do you say to an addict?

This is a letter I wrote to a significant other while he was in rehab.  I was asked to write about how his addictions affected my life.  He was to read this aloud to his group during the last day of his one-month in-patient program.

 

To the Love of My Life:

 

You are an addict and I am grateful that you are finally able to accept it.  I have tried, throughout the entirety of our relationship, to communicate openly with you regarding the toll your actions were taking on our relationship and me…even before I knew the extent of your problems.  I love you in spite of these issues.  To a fault.

I guess the greatest impact that your addictions have had on me is that they have affectionately welcomed doubt into my life.

Before you slipped deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole of depression and indulgence, I saw signs of your tendency to lie, your ability to drink yourself into oblivion, and your nonchalance about taking various illicit drugs, but I never doubted myself or you and your ability to migrate away from those bad habits given the right circumstance and motivation.  We did not take the decision to begin a new life together lightly and YOU made the choice to move forward with me.  You convinced me you were ready to cut back on the party life and I was sure that we would be great together; supporting and motivating each other, unconditionally loving each other, getting lost together exploring the world and growing together…starting a family.  Now I don’t know.

Everyday is something new.  I doubt myself and my ability to accurately assess the world around me, I doubt my worthiness of being loved and admired by anyone, I feel ugly and stupid.  I don’t know who I wasted the last 3+ years of my life on.  I was going through my own personal struggles, but put them aside to support you and I didn’t even know who you really were.  You say, and I do feel, that the man I fell in love with (the kind hearted, considerate, LOYAL, motivated man) is the real you, but I don’t know.  Feeding into your addictions allowed you to take advantage of me, betray me over and over again, essentially steal from me, lie to me all the time, be vicious to me, infinitely disrespect me, be physically abusive towards me, and all without feeling any remorse.  You actually laughed about it.  You shared your success in being an asshole to me with others and literally laughed while I worked my ass off providing for you and maintaining the home and our family.  I don’t know who you are.

I still want the future we always dreamed of.  I want our home, our kids, our health center.  I want to see the world with you and grow old with you, make it a better place with you.  I don’t trust anyone else but you to be there when I get cancer and eventually die…but I can’t trust you either.  I knew you weren’t opening up to me fully, but I gave you everything.  You were my best friend.  You were the only one I turned to and the only one who could comfort me, but You. Just. Didn’t.  You didn’t care about me.  How can I trust that you do now?

I tried to get rid of you so many times and you cried and begged…but it was just another act of manipulation.  You say it’s genuine now, but how can I believe you.  You put my job, my future, and my health at critical risk and you just didn’t give a fuck.  Only enough to make sure I still put a stress free roof over your head and make sure your laundry was folded and put away and you had a warm meal served to you every day.  You used me.  How can I ever accept that that wasn’t the plan all along?  How can I ever know you aren’t just being the adept con artist that you have proven to be and are plotting to ruin my life as you “change” in rehab?

Your addictions have made me question everything on a daily basis.  Your persistence in my life has caused me pain and suffering every day….and each day I have to go do more work to mitigate what you have done.  The program outlines allowing you to deal with these things yourself, but our lives and responsibilities are intertwined.  Both of our names are on leases and registrations and insurance: I cannot afford to, nor do I want to, fall into debt or have a bench warrant put out for my arrest because of your negligence.  I am so tired of having you as a charge.  You were supposed to be my partner, my equal.  Now I just don’t know who you are.  I don’t know if I’ll be able to recover and heal from the damage you have done to me.  I don’t know that you are capable of truly changing.  My whole life is doubt.

I guess people tend to talk about the money that they have lost, the property and interpersonal damage caused, friendships ruined, jobs in jeopardy, countless other issues that are part of the natural fallout of having an addict intimately involved in your life…but those are things that I, personally, have been able to recover from.  This doubt, however, I just don’t see how I can stop it from permeating my mind.  Doubt.

I hope we are both able to move past these trials.  But there are no guarantees with you.  I guess there never were, but there was trust.  Now, I just can’t even tell if you were ever even serious about having a real life together or at all. Doubt.

I love you, and I want to be with you, but is it even the best thing for either of us? Doubt.

Maybe it’s time to move on.

 

Love you Forever,

Jessica

 

Women are objects

Today has provided a wealth of prompts, but I chose this one to share with you, my attentive matrix of 1’s and 0’s…I could get lost in you.  The internet never stops, the internet never forgets.  But it did have an intentional and delineated beginning.  If we could only prove the same circumstance for Earth, then believing in G-d would be easier.  But let me not digress.  Back to women.

First, let’s start with this op-ed piece on an Australian survey measuring how porn affects sexuality in youth  which led me to this NPR piece on “‘Girls & Sex'”.

You can read these or not.  I suggest you do.  Good reads and relevant, especially if you are a parent.  If you choose not to, I’ll sum them up; the former links the prevalence of and access to porn among male youths in Australia and the loss of sexual identity amongst young girls to the increase of an accepted “truth” that women (and young girls) are no more than toys extant for the pleasure of men.  The latter has an American perspective and delves deeper into the “phenomena” of how female sexual appeal is ranked by how successfully a woman can meet male desire and expectation.

I’m already hearing the groans…”here we go with the feminist shit,” “of course the authors would say this, they are all women,” “always make sure to please my woman”…on and on.  How about we hold off on becoming defensive and just listen for once, shall we?  It took me 30 years to accept the truth presented by these articles, and I lived it.  I am living it.  Women are objects.

In an effort to stay focused, let me present the BLUF (bottom line up front for you non-military types), women deserve to experience sexual pleasure and do not owe anything to anyone who decides to provide it to them.  Period.  You decide to message me and you complement how I look?  That doesn’t mean I owe you a naked picture.  You want to meet up and I agree?  This, by no means, should be taken as approval to block my way to the door and force me to give you oral sex.  I am not here to entertain you, I am not here to pleasure you, I am not required to change myself to meet your expectation of beauty, and if I decide to spend my time with you, I do not automatically owe you any sort of sexual favor because you chose to spend yours with me.

I am 30, but the reality presented by these articles is nothing new.  Gender equality does not exist.  I am not even sure it should.  I do know that I, as a woman, am worth more than a blow up doll and not just because I can cook on top of having sex with you.  What makes you feel that your male buddy is a peer?  Guess what; I have that, too (unless your answer was a penis.  I don’t have a penis, but a clitoris is just it’s vestigial remnant and I have that). What makes you admire your father?  Who is your role model?  What do you aspire to be?  To be like?  Think hard.  Try to formulate an actual, logical, response as to why women do not present these qualities.  The moment you can, and it’s based on fact and not some ancient doctrine mandated from the High Emperor of the far off planet of Kron, I’ll consider making my home amongst the Playstation games and foosball table.  Until then, I’ll maintain that I deserve everything you do, and that includes my right to get off and enjoy a sexual encounter just as much as you.  This said, I did spend five years in a relationship without once reaching a climax during sex.  Then upon my reemergence to the dating scene, have my resolve quickly deteriorate until I wound up “going with the flow;” the accepted norms, and sending those racy photos upon request.  We are animals, after all, and if my shiny red ass is what you need to see to get you to pay attention to me, then maybe this is what finding a match has become.  Might as well draft the budget for the Nat Geo special: Nacirema  is getting a Part II.

There is something else I just happened upon today.  This one written by, wait for it…, a MAN in the Army.  An officer.  If you’re not feeling adventurous, basically he says that it’s difficult for women to grow in the workplace because they are not seen or treated as equals AND any man who tries to treat them as such is suspected of having, or acting upon, ulterior motives to mentorship.  Then there is the issue of how perception equals reality and why this is complete and utter bullshit.  Welp.  That’s another topic best left for another day.  Needless to say, women are not the only ones noting the gender gap and the problems it causes.  Women are also not the only ones responsible for it, but they are not blameless either.

What’s the take away of all of this?  Women are objects.  Without accepting that this is currently our reality, it is way too easy to fall victim to it.  I did.  And I did pretty darn well on my SATs.  Just because something is “normal,” doesn’t make it “right.”  There are so many issues in the world today, but this is a big one.  Oddly enough, as we face the possibility of the very first female elect to the United States Presidency, we (women) are largely still just seen as cum receptacles.  Emotions and decorum aside, it is what it is.  We need to do better.

 

 

 

Jew -ish

Many people don’t realize this, but I’m a Jew. I don’t try to hide it, but most people just don’t realize it because they say I don’t “look” or “seem” like one…

Recently one of my coworkers was speaking in a negative manner about how some Jews are sensitive to the topic of whether or not “Jew” is a race/ethnicity or only a religion; especially when the topic is being debated by non-Jews (or gentiles). He was positive Judaism was only a religion and its followers had no basis for a claim to it being a culture in its own right. My coworker looked to me as he spoke expectant of approving nods…what do you think I did?

Race, religion, and ethnicity are hot button topics in politics and the world. It’s rare that anyone would find me discussing them in a social forum unless I’m with people I absolutely trust.

It is so difficult for anyone these days to express their opinions about these issues without causing a major divide, something I try to avoid.

I scan my feed and I have friends, wonderful people doing great things for mankind, doctors, lawyers, service industry workers on whose shoulders the white collared are able to rest in order to focus on finding cures for cancers and methods to end world hunger. These people, Jews, Muslims, Catholics, Americans, non-American, Republican, Atheist, Green Party, self proclaimed “Red Devils;” everyone has an opinion that they feel passionate about and wants to share and garnish support for.

I’ve always admired those who are able to pick a side and fight fervently for that belief, but I personally have been plagued with a consideration of mankind that appreciates all differences and thinks they are all equally valid. There is no one, “right,” way.

I see you, my educated, worldly, war hardened, life trodden, friends and family. I feel you enraged at hate crimes and crimes against humanity. I witness you getting blindly dragged into media projections…which is the same fate that the perpetrators of those hate crimes and executioners of crimes against humanity fell to that led them to succumb to a mob mentality and carry out those unjust acts. I ask you to pause.

The law, and a commonly held belief in our great nation and schools of psychology, states that what separates a child’s mind from that of an adult is a lack of the ability to think critically. Blindly accepting the clearly skewed and sensationalized stories on the leading, and independent, news networks is essentially causing you great people to willfully accept the regression from adult to a childlike state absent of logic and criticality.

There are reasons behind every action. Before you start to think Islam is bad and teaches hatred because a group of extremists targeted and viciously raped us of our false sense of security, remember, we followed orders and killed many innocents as well. Before you think all Catholics are horrible and perpetuate a culture where the victimization of children by religious figures is accepted, look at what the Pope is doing and all of the support he has. Before you start rallying against Jews in Israel, before you start questioning the legitimacy of their claim to the holy land and whether or not “Jew” is a religion or ethnicity, educate yourself a bit on the history and understand that it is a very complex topic and that we, as Americans, were not the first ones to call this land our “home” either and the legitimacy of our claims to it could just as readily be called into question.

What did I say to my coworker? I told him that I am a Jew, and that the issue about whether it’s only a religion or a culture has been debated for some time amongst the social science sectors.

Judaism is a religion, but being Jewish is also a culture and a heritage apart as a whole people were enslaved and forced to be nomadic; does this mean that they shouldn’t have a homeland? Does this mean that those Jews who are not from Israel aren’t really Jewish if we choose to accept that Israel is the homeland of the Jews. What about Muslims in Israel? Does accepting Israel as a Jewish State invalidate their claim to the land as their home as well?

My personal belief, which I rarely share on these topics, is that no, it doesn’t.

There are reasons behind sensitivities. There are reasons, and whole cultures on both sides of the pond, behind ignorance. We have the freedom to ask questions. Do it. We have the capacity to think critically. Use it. In the meantime, I urge you, my beautiful friends of all colors and backgrounds, to be TOLERANT and spread the message of tolerance within your circles.

True world peace is a lofty and potentially unobtainable goal, but a world without violent war could be within our reach, and tolerance just might be the key.

This has been my 2.7 cents.

I love you, but…

I love you, but you’re hurting me.  The longer I stay with you, the less of me I become.  I know I’m not alone.  You love me just enough to control me, to manipulate my love for you.  I forgive and I give up, give in.  

If you loved me, you wouldn’t be selfish and you’d put my needs first, for once.  I love you, but I need YOU to let ME go; because me letting go of you wasn’t enough.  

You’ve taken away my sense of identity and control.  I have no outlet, no power.  I’m in charge at work, then I come home and have no voice.

I love you, but you love yourself more.  I’m angry and trapped.  I communicate with you.  I’ve broken through enough to speak the words.  And I’m ignored.

You hear me, but the absence of action is deafening.

You love me, because I make you better.  And you like who you are with me, better than the you, you see when you are alone.  But I’m slowly becoming a shell.  And you blame it on me.  Instead of listening to me; my actions and my words.  You’re too busy basking in your progress.

I’m happy for you.  It’s what I always wanted.  It’s what I sacrificed myself for.  I don’t blame you for my choices, but now I ask that you let me go, and let me heal.

I love you, but you’re bad for me.  And you’ll be fine alone, now.

I love you, but I have needs too.

I love you, but love is not enough.

 

 

 

 

Getting started

There are all these options to customize this blog; colors, fonts, spacing, formatting, etc.   All I want to do right now is get this thing started.  That’s the hardest part.  So here we go, plain, simple, ugly, jagged, and crude.  It’s a beginning.

I guess the natural thing to do here would be to introduce myself, but even that is a challenge.  My intent is to share my true view even when I know it will be controversial or disliked.  I do not tend to hide my perspective, but I don’t generally put myself out there to be judged either.  So the question becomes; do I reveal my identity and potentially become subject to scrutiny?  Possibly injure my chances to work where and for whom I want because someone stumbled upon my blog and didn’t agree with my viewpoint?  Or, do I remain anonymous and ensure my ability to speak openly without the potential negative fallout?

I truly admire those who unabashedly express how they feel and what they think.  Amy Schumer for one; the things she says and does even in the company of strangers; who would do that? And then to factor in the idea that her parents could be there watching her unhesitatingly speak on her sexual exploits and other such taboo themes…kudos to you, girl. Anyone, standup comedians in particular, who can be who they are on and off stage, in front of any company to include their mom and dad, keeps me in awe.  I grew up differently.

In front of my parents, I’m one way.  More reserved.  You don’t curse in front of your mom.  You don’t talk about sex with your dad.  It’s just the way it was.  With your friends you’re another way.  You speak differently.  Your body language changes.  Then you get to your professional realm and all traces of your penchant for ethnic jokes vanish. Strictly business lest someone file a complaint and all the good work you’ve ever done is erased because of one small lapse of judgment in showing too much of your personal identity.   Some may call this fake, but I don’t.  We all do it.  Even Amy.

Here’s my belief: people are dynamic. We are multifaceted and adaptive.  We change.  Our cells change.  The cause of this change is the environment. Our bodies, to include everything they house (personality, mentality, consciousness) react to input from what we are surrounded by. Generally, we respond in a way that gives us a better chance for success in a particular given situation. So when you like rap music when you’re around your friends, but don’t let your parents know about it because your dad hates that genre of music…it’s probably a good thing. Not only is it probably a good thing, it’s natural, and it’s OK.  It definitely does not make you fake. It does make you a survivor.  And it makes you human.

So…who am I? What do I do?  Why do I think that anyone would be interested in my point of view or what I write and do I even care if anyone reads it?  These and so many more questions have yet to be answered, but I think I’ll leave it here for today.

Until next time,

The Original Hippie Soldier – signing out.