Santa Claus

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If I ever had kids I wouldn’t tell them the Santa Claus myth. There might be good reasons for maintaining the myth but I can’t think of any myself, it just seems so unnecessary and deceitful.

I guess I don’t understand why you can’t just express love and gift-giving in an honest way. If you love someone, tell them. If you want to give someone a gift, give it to them. I see no reason to have it hide behind some mythical figure. I don’t know if this is a reflection of our society which somehow sees love as something to be hidden away and shameful, or perhaps it is just a tendency to default to tradition instead of challenging norms. I don’t think telling kids about Santa harms them, I was raised with the Santa myth, but I am not sure it helps them either.

There is a religious argument to be made for celebrating Christmas but not Santa. In fact, it strikes me as strange that religious Christians use Santa at all. It is inconsistent with Christ’s teachings and against the traditions of the church. There certainly is no “war on Christmas” but it is difficult for me to take Christians seriously when they claim this war while telling their kids Santa delivered presents. I think it is actually possible that Christians pretending Santa is real may actually do harm to the faith of their children. If a child is raised with Santa, the Easter Bunny, and God but is told two out of the three aren’t real why would they believe the third is real?

I guess it is kind of a non-issue for me though, I have no intention of having children. It just seems strange and has been on my  mind this holiday season. Our world could use more hugs, more love, and more honest conversations about how we feel. Filtering our love through a commercialized tradition just seems to open the doors to more harm than good.

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“Secret Confessions of a Poly Girl” – Guest Post

The amazing author of  Lanes of Love has a new post about her experiences in polyamory, in particular she debunks some of the myths that are often associated with it. It’s a great read and I recommend you check it out.

http://lanesoflove.wordpress.com/2012/12/18/secret-confessions-of-a-poly-girl/

“Natural” Happiness

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Occasionally when I talk about using drugs purely for pleasure critics respond with “that’s just not natural”. This strikes me as a little strange. There seems to an arbitrary line between what is “natural” and what is “unnatural*” when it comes to enjoyment and pleasure.

If I travel to far corners of the world and witness beautiful scenes and feel pleasure this is “natural” (despite how “unnatural” getting into a metal tube with wings and flying across the world may be). If I get together with friends and take a pill and because of that pill I feel love, comfort, and pleasure this is often seen as unnatural. Pleasure comes from interactions from the brain and it doesn’t matter if these reactions come from visual stimuli, tactile sensations, or ingesting a pill.

This stigma is really not “natural” or “unnatural”, it is a rejection of the new or things that one party doesn’t really understand. It is a push to maintain the status quo and resist innovation. It is much easier to define something as unnatural than to actually hold a real debate about the pros and cons of a certain practice because to open the door to debate means the possibility on being wrong.

If you truly love someone you will celebrate all the joy they feel, regardless of whether it comes from holding a new child, skydiving, travelling the world, or taking a pill. Joy is joy, pain is pain, they are little more than reactions in the brain. The source should have no impact on how you view a person. There are many other things to worry about in this life, if a loved one feels joy that itself should be supported.

 

*Unnatural is actually an awful word to use. To say something is “unnatural” is to say it doesn’t operate or exist in nature and obviously everything we interact with exists in nature or else we wouldn’t be able to interact with it like we do. It is a deceptive word that is used when people are trying to say that what you are doing doesn’t conform with their moral code.

My Family

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I love these people… but I certainly feel short around them.

After the shooting last week I have been giving much thought to my family. I have two family members (my father and one of my brothers) who are both school teachers so they idea of a school shooting hits home. Add that to the growing number of babies in my families life (one born last fall, one due in a few weeks, and one due next year) it has been a particularly emotional ride for me. I love my family very much, even if I am not as close to them as I would like to be.

I come from a large family of six kids all by the same two wonderful parents. My father and mother both worked much of my youth and us children were able to experience and understand responsibility from a young age. I am the oldest and I think this lesson may have hit me the hardest, though I can’t really guarantee that because knowing how my siblings really experienced our youth is impossible. Regardless, I have always felt a strong drive to protect and provide, as well as express my individuality as much as possible.

While my family was Christian conservative we were still encouraged to think for ourselves and our house was filled with books on a variety of subjects. The presence of books is something that sticks with me to this day and may have an impact on my near “hoarders” mentality towards books, I usually feel comfortable giving away books but the idea of throwing them away nearly makes me nauseous. On the rare days when I think about having children I imagine having books of every subject available and helping my children read and learn… providing them with the tools to find answers instead of just the answers themselves.

I think I was very lucky how I was raised. I was surrounded by love and support. I may still have disagreements with my family, just like I have disagreements with any adult, but I love them dearly and I owe them much of what I have. My desire to try new things, think for myself, and work towards verifying instead of blindly trusting is due to my parents and siblings. I simply would not be the man I am today without them, and I love who I am today.

The Morning After Sandy Hook

I wrote this last night but delayed the posting until today. I wanted to make sure my mind and thoughts were less cluttered and put some time between the event and sharing my thoughts. There are differing opinions on when it is appropriate to dive into an analysis and I don’t believe there is an objective truth, I simply feel that enough time has passed for me. My intent with this post is not to offend but to act as an opportunity for personal reflection, growth, and healing. The words are more abrasive than other posts of mine but it is what I needed at the time of writing.

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As we all know tragedy has struck an elementary school in Connecticut. I don’t know the details and for me they are not important. Children lost their lives senselessly and needlessly, families are broken with despair, this is a difficult time for all who are even remotely involved. It is also a time of reflection on our society and what we will do moving forward. Sadly, I don’t think society is handling it very well. Already the political posturing has begun that has little to do with reality and nearly everything to do with supporting an ideology. I don’t think my network has bad intentions but I think most of them are retreating to tired arguments that do not reflect is happening in today’s world or what will realistically happen moving forward.

My friends on the right have lost their heart. I wish they would stop worrying about an imaginary attack on their gun rights and showing some compassion. Obama is not going to take away anyone’s guns… he doesn’t have the legal authority, the political will, or the physical power. By and large gun owners are conservatives and this includes police, military, hunters, and collectors. No police force is going to be coming from the local state or national level to round up weapons. These officers aren’t stupid, they would be slaughtered.

Your guns are safe, so instead of worrying about that how about worry about the personal responsibility that is supposed to accompany personal liberty. Many conservatives claim a need to return to community support, well I hope they are living up to that mantra because my non-statistical analysis of Facebook shows otherwise. There is much ranting about gun rights but little about mobilizing resources via personal connections, churches, and non-profits to provide support for the victims or help prevent it from happening again. Conservatives also need to recognize that mental illnesses exist and that the failed War on Drugs (which they tend to more often support) is preventing doctors from providing real medicine and researchers from developing new prescriptions. It is tyrannical to prevent a sick person from receiving medicine.

Now my friends on the left need to grow a brain. This was not caused by America having lax gun laws. Violent crime is down across the board and access to weapons is easier now that in has been in generations. Banning guns will not create a utopia, it will simply create an unarmed populace where only criminals own weapons (either because law-abiding citizens become criminals or established criminals ignore the law). Regardless, it isn’t going to happen. Politically and legally it is impossible. The Judicial Branch has continued to loosen gun laws, the House is run by the Republicans, and the Senate is not filibuster proof.

Progressives need to actually formulate real fact-based arguments if they want to reform gun laws. The vast majority of my left-leaning friends did not present any real discussion, they simply said variations of “fucking gun owners!!!”, “THIS IS WHY WE SHOULD BAN GUNS!”, or one-line straw men arguments like “only in america is gun ownership a right and healthcare a privilege” that doesn’t stand up to real scrutiny. Guns are banned on school grounds and that didn’t stop this because a criminal or someone with mental health issues are not going to be deterred by a law if they are willing to kill children. Prohibition does not work. Period.

Both sides are guilty of being incredibly hypocritical when it comes to the death of children though. They are both outraged at this tragedy but turn a blind eye to the needless bombing and killing of children by the military across the globe. The same people that seem so shocked by this tragedy, and it is a huge tragedy, have no problem with drones killing people in far off lands. The parent of a dead child does not care if we see the killing as “legitimate” because the government did it, he only knows that his child is dead.

So what do we do to move on? I don’t really know… but I think there are things that could help. A change in culture and a change in policy are both necessary in my opinion. Culture must stop glorifying violence and shunning public intimacy and love. We have become a society that feels weird hugging but feels fine punching. We need to rebuild our communities and turn to each other instead of the state when there are problems. We should know our neighbors, know their children, and help in any way we can.

There are also practical solutions that I think could help prevent these things, or at least minimize the damage. There will always be sick people and there will always be guns. Violence will always happen and I believe precautions can be taken to help. I think a good start would be to allow teachers who are willing and able to keep a weapon secured in their classroom. The police are a response force at best, and that response time is slow due to lack of information. Capable adults who are educated in firearm safety and use can act as guardians to children.

I don’t have really have answers though… this was more just to get my thoughts out there and clear my own head. It has helped in one big way though, I want to hug people and let my friends know I care. There is so much love around and so little expressed, it would be silly not to tell someone that they are important to you just because of societal norms. Love may save a life.

Authenticity

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“We think sometimes we’re only drawn to the good, but we’re actually drawn to the authentic. We like people who are real more than those who hide their true selves under layers of artificial niceties.” – Life Lessons by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross & David Kessler

 

I’ve often inquired about why certain people hang out with me, it is sort of a way I reflect on myself and seek improvement. I’m not exceptionally nice or attractive, I’m far from wealthy, and while I think I am pretty smart I have not really come up with anything groundbreaking or particularly creative. I have often been told that I’m authentic though, and I guess there is something there that attracts people.

I guess it makes sense from an evolutionary level. It is better to be surrounded by people who are mean but you can trust to act as they say they will act instead of “nice” people who may not be authentic. Most of the women in my life are very aware that I would enjoy adding a sexual element to our relationship, and yet I am not seen as crass or chauvinistic. I think this open honesty also accurately tells them that I would never be dishonest or deceitful or take advantage of them. Authenticity shows that our desires do not control our actions, that we will not compromise our integrity for short term gain.

I think there is the same danger with recognizing authenticity within oneself as recognizing any other trait. It can become a role that you take on and utilize for its own sake. You can become “the authentic one” and define your life by an unending pursuit of authenticity. Then it loses it’s appeal, just like a person who loves cooking soon defines themselves as “chef” or a person who sees the benefit defines themselves as “yogi”. Instead of using these different tools to become our true selves we use them as a mask over our true selves.

I don’t really have a conclusion to this post. I’m now reading “Life Lessons” and so far it is really good. I think many people could benefit from a little reflection on what wisdom can be gleaned from those who are on the edge of life.

My thoughts and love go out to those who have been effected by this tragedy in Connecticut. There will be a time for reflection and debate, but I don’t think that time is now. I wish healing and comfort for those that are hurting.

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