On Disharmony…

I’m sad. Heartbroken, even. The United States is a country full of anger and hatred and it’s hard to think that I’m going to have to live here for the rest of my life, watching people use violence to move forward their racist, xenophobic agendas. And that’s nothing compared with the people who risk their lives, and sometimes lose them, fighting back against the hatred and intolerance.

What happened in Charlottesville is not an isolated incident. There are acts of violence across this nation every single day, perpetrated in the name of “white pride” or whatever other ridiculous label they want to put on it. What it really is is downright inhumane treatment of other people.

I’ve heard some of these people claim to be Christians and say that the Bible is what lets them know they’re on the right track, that the Bible encourages the hatred and bigotry and violence. But that’s not the Bible I’m reading, and the verses they quote are always taken out of context.

What saddens me most is that these hateful individuals seem satisfied with the death in Charlottesville. They come out naming the countless young black men and women whose lives have been taken by police and hate groups and they smile, pleased and content that these people are dead. That’s sickening.

I won’t say I don’t understand how anyone could feel this way. I understand how indoctrination works and I’ve seen the devastating effects that arise from listening to hateful rhetoric. There’s a choice that must be made, but all too often people choose to believe that they’re right, no questions asked.

And I recognize that confirmation bias is a real thing and that it’s sometimes hard to get out of the mindset you’re in when all you see is information that seems to back up what you already believe, but let’s not play games or mince words. Hate is wrong, and these people choose to perpetuate the hate they’ve learned.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m sick of seeing people dead and having other people be happy about it. It’s wrong.

On a Wrench in the Works…

I was this close to graduation and ordination. Nine days away. And then, nothing. It’s the strangest and most disconcerting situation I’ve ever lived through, because I genuinely cannot understand how the decision was made.

Sometimes, everything seems laid out so clearly in front of you and there’s not even a question that it will come to pass. Then, with only the shortest notice, someone throws a wrench in the works (I had to google that, honestly, but it popped into my head). Everything was working out so smoothly, I should’ve expected a disaster to strike.

This all just adds another year until ordination. I finished my degree, luckily, but that’s a crumb in comparison to what was supposed to happen. Ripped away from my friends early, sent to a place that was hardly prepared for me, missing the experience of walking across the stage with what has become my family. But I need to look to the bright side of things.

There is a bright side. I see it. But for right now, the dark stands out so much more clearly.

On Waiting…

Waiting is inevitable. At some point, we’re all going to find ourselves waiting, even for small things. I’d consider myself a pretty patient person; other people have told me so. But sometimes, waiting is the absolute hardest thing to do.

Waiting is often a passive activity, control taken from your hands. And that’s where I find myself right now. Waiting anxiously, unable to speed up the process or affect it in any way.

What do I do? Where do I go? How do I stop the terrible anxiety? It seems the only answer is to wait some more…

On Sexual Orientation…

I want to start by saying that I’m not an expert on almost anything, just a person who’s done my best to become less ignorant on the important stuff. One of these has been sexual orientation and how it connects with who we are as individuals.

A few years ago, I came out as asexual (ace for short). It was a challenge for me because the expectation in our society, no matter where you stand politically or religiously or socially, is that everyone has this sexual drive inside of them. For me, that sexual drive is absent, completely and truly missing. I’ve never felt that pull towards another person that is so present in media and in the lives of almost everyone else I’ve ever spoken to.

I’m not aromantic in any capacity- I feel myself drawn to people on a romantic level probably more often than I should. Recognizing that in myself was a challenge to my understanding of sexuality because I had thought people were automatically romantically and sexually attracted to the same group of people. That’s not the case with me, and it’s not the case with many other people as well.

Asexuality is not often spoken of, and many times when I’ve talked to people about it, they tell me it’s not possible or that those who identify as asexual just haven’t met the right person yet. This always frustrates me, but I realize that many people have simply never been exposed to the idea that asexuality even exists, so I try not to get too bothered.

One such conversation happened today and it got me thinking about something I’ve realized and said many times recently: sexual orientation and sexual behavior do not always match. We were talking about the character Jughead from the Archie comics and the TV show Riverdale. I’ve heard that it became canon last year that Jughead was ace, and I’ve just started watching the show. The lack of openly asexual characters in media is evident to me, as an asexual person. I was really hoping he would be openly ace in the TV show too.

One of my classmates made the comment that she didn’t think he could be ace because he apparently has a sex scene in the show (SPOILERS- WHY?!). I told her that asexual people can still have sex, like any person of any sexual orientation can have sex with people they’re not attracted to. She didn’t get it, which is something I’ve gotten used to, but for me the lack of education regarding asexuality is growing increasingly frustrating.

I guess my point is that asexuality exists and ace people are real and they can have sex for many reasons: maybe they want children or have a non-ace partner or any other reason they’ve decided is sufficient. Your knowledge of a person’s sexual behavior does not give you a license to put a label on their sexual orientation or any other part of who they are. Just some food for thought.

On the Metaphor of Drowning…

I’ve long hated the idea that depression is like drowning, because nobody just stands there and watches you drown. But lately, I’ve felt like I’m drowning. I’m not sad, not even sort of. I’m just empty. It feels like there’s nothing inside of me except questions, and the questions have no weight; they just bounce around inside my head and echo through my empty chest.

How am I being pulled under the water when there’s nothing weighing me down? If there is nothing inside me, what is dragging me beneath the surface? How do I escape this sensation? How do I find my feet back on solid ground?

This lack of feeling, this lack of solidity, is killing me. I do not want to die. But it doesn’t sound as bad as it should.

On Side Effects…

Medication has been a huge part of my life on and off for the last twelve years. It’s not something I’m happy about, but it’s something I’ve recently come to accept because I understand that the medicine will help me balance myself and certain parts of my life. But…

Side effects. They can be mild, or they can be excruciating. One that I’m experiencing for the first time is somewhere in the middle: lowered pitch perception. It wasn’t a thing I was even aware was possible, but now that I’ve experienced it, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

Essentially what’s happening is I’m hearing songs in what sounds to me like the wrong key. For me, a person who spends a good portion of their time listening to music, this was maddening and also somewhat terrifying when it started a few days ago. I didn’t realize it had anything to do with the medication; I just assumed I was losing it.

Now I have to decide if I want to take myself off this medication (even though I only started it five days ago) or if I will put up with it for the rest of the time I’m on it (which could be a very long time). Decisions are tough, and I’m getting ready to spend a week in Puerto Rico for ministry. I’m just going to have to figure it out.

On Learning…

I graduated from what I find myself calling “regular college” in the Spring of 2014. With that graduation came a bachelors degree and what I assumed was the likely end of my higher education. Now, I’m a single quarter away from an associates and next January I begin my masters. It’s a very weird order, I realize.

We’re ending up our Winter quarter classes in my college right now, wrapping up with final exams and papers and those sorts of things. Graduation is in 96 days. All of this seems surreal to me.

In preparing for these exams, though, I often lack the real initiative to study, instead trusting myself as I always do to cram enough information into my brain during the hour or so before the exam to get myself a low A. And this is not working.

I mean, it works just fine for my grades. My GPA is well above what it ever was in high school and “regular college” (I really need to find a better term for this). But it’s not working because I’m not really learning. Learning denotes endurance of the information, and I’m not remembering these things.

For this last quarter, I want to do better. We’ve got a few weeks to reset, and I need to have a change of attitude during that time if I have any hope of success. Fingers crossed.

On Hamartia…

Being a human, I am especially adept at messing things up. I make poor choices daily, choices that hurt myself and my friends and the people around me. That is not to say that I do not make good decisions, but that even among the numerous good decisions there are still bad ones made.

When I was a teenager, when the vast majority of my decisions seemed to be bad, I didn’t entirely care what my life’s outcome was going to be. I was more concerned with whether or not I had the means to get out of my head for a few hours at a time. As time passed, though, those short hours were never enough for me, and the long-term began to sit before me like a villain in a movie.

Now that I am older- relative to myself, of course- and am planning to move into the next big stage in my life, I find myself struggling against the fatal flaws of my character. I want to make the choices that lead me to being a better person and that help other people grow in their own lives.

To do that, I believe it is vital to face the darkness inside myself. If I don’t acknowledge the brokenness inside me, if I just focus on the new, good things I can do, I cannot be entirely certain that the darkness will go away naturally on its own.

So for this Lenten season, which I’ve never really participated in, I’m going to be working on myself and anticipating greeting Easter Sunday with a different me. It’s going to take a lot of time and effort, but it’s what I have to do.

On Hierarchies…

I’ve been thinking this morning on what it means to be a part of a society wherein hierarchies define our interactions. For anyone who works in a corporation, there is a process for internal communication that prevents the bottom-tier workers from talking directly to the CEO. It’s the same in any military structure. And it bugs me.

I guess what bugs me most about it is that it suggests some people are better than others just by nature of their position. This doesn’t sit well with me.

We’ve heard those stories of homeless people who were once the heads of huge companies and were now homeless because they had fallen on hard times. Even then we see them differently than other homeless people. Just look it up.

When we assume that people, any people, are better than others, when we put them on untouchable levels and look up at them on their metaphorical pedestals, we put all those other people beneath them. This is detrimental to our ability to value others and ourselves as human beings.

This issue goes far beyond work-related hierarchies. Our societies are riddled with divisive language, values, and opinions. It’s not something we can solve overnight, but it’s not something we can solve at all if we’re not willing to acknowledge it.

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