Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Neighbourhood Snitch

It seems as if I have become the neighborhood snitch. I keep relaying information to the leasing office about things that I feel like are of interest to them and would improve life for us and just feel like it is the right thing to do. Not to even mention the times I have called the police for fear someone might get hurt.

This comes from an innate desire to do the right thing no matter what others think. I never regret doing something just how I did it. This leads me to call the police when a neighbor is having a loud argument I fear might turn physical. I failed to do it on two occasions in the past and regretted it. I pick up worms out of puddles so they don't drown. I report to the leasing office when someone is tossing bottles in to our little forested area, I worry about them breaking and the kids and animals getting hurt. I told them I saw a prostitute being picked up in the complex. I lived next door to a brothel before and will not put up with it.

Sometimes I wonder if I am just being a busy body. I told the office a few weeks ago that a little boy had broken a small window with a rock. His mother did not care so she was not going to tell them. Was that busy bodying? I guess it was. Still, I did nothing I would not do for myself. Had my son broken the window, I would have told them and made arrangements to pay for it. It is only fair. I think I have not crossed the like but I am getting very close to being that little kid who tattles on other kids about stuff they were not even involved in, or perhaps I have crossed the line.

I am thinking more carefully about how I go about doing what I perceive to be the right thing. I have hurt people and caused things to happen that should not have. I have let other people bully me into doing things I should not have.

When I was in college some evil fire and brimstone street preachers came to OU. They called every passing student a whore or a whore monger and said all homosexuals were evil and an abomination in the site of God. I thought they were terribly hateful and offensive. Someone stole a briefcase and a sign just out of spite. Not that they did not deserve it. They were horrible. I still did not think that was right. Vigilante justice and giving other people punishments we think they deserve just is not right. I saw that some of my dorm mates had stolen the sign, not the briefcase but the sign. I went and told the preachers I knew where their sign was and would get it back for them. I was going to go and talk to the boy who had stolen it and ask him to give it to me so I could return it. That was the plan but unfortunately I was still a little girl and much more manipulatable and intimidatable by authority figures. He bullied me into telling him where the sign was. I did not tell him who had it. I sent this horrible mean person to bully and yell at my neighbours. I was filled with guilt and shame. I had allowed him to intimidate me into doing a wrong in my quest to do what I perceived was the right thing. I was too ashamed to look at my dorm mate (he was coincidentally gay) who had taken the poster in the eye again. I avoided him and probably made everything worse. I was just so ashamed of myself.

I am always afraid of doing this but I do not let that stop me. I try to do the right thing no matter what but I am always conscious of how I should do it. What would be the right way. For example, when my neighbours smoke weed in their bathroom it is as if they smoke it in ours, there is an insulation problem between the two bathrooms. If they do it again I will not go to the police or the office or anything that tately, I will tape a sealed envelope on their door respectfully explaining that I really do not care if they smoke weed in their bathroom but I do care when it smells like they are smoking it in our bathroom. I will ask them respectfully to refrain from this and if they can I can refrain from telling anyone about it.

I guess all this ultimately stems from my poor social skills and belief in rules. Sure some rules are wrong and need to be changed but unless a rule is outright immoral, not just flawed, it should be followed until it is changed through the proper channels. Otherwise society would slide into chaos and we would screw each other over so much that we would lose our humanity. I do not believe in anarchy.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sunday's Coming

On the other end of this link is an enjoyable video about made up words and deep manufactured emotions that will change your life.


Friday, May 21, 2010

Imight sound insensitive, or maybe just clueless.

There are somethings I just do not understand, not that I do not want to I just do not. Many people put a lot of emphasis on their gender. I really do not get it. I personally think my gender is a very small part of who I am. Sure it affects every part of my life and especially how others treat and perceive me. Most of my interests are not "feminine" as perceived by others. I like Martial arts and am working on raising my upper body strength, I want to do a pull up. I wear no make up, I really don't care that much what I wear, sure I want to look a certain way but if it involves any effort I just cannot be bothered. I do not think I act all that feminine, I mean I am not exactly manly, I talk with my hands and giggle (well, my husband giggles too so I am not sure if that counts). I do care for reality shows involving dating more than I would necessarily want to admit but I never understood that fixation with getting a man, but I like watching them. I would rather bee smart than pretty, well that is a difficult decision but I would really rather be smart than beautiful.

The point is I do not understand people with gender identity issues. I do not mean I do not believe their life is hard and that they really feel uncomfortable in their bodies. I just cannot imagine feeling that way. I sometimes like to wear my head shaved and have no problem wearing my husbands clothing. I have been mistaken for a boy before, I say boy because I do not really have the dimensions to make a convincing man. This does not bother me. I get angry when my husband and I get homophobic comments and wish people were nicer. If it is not homophobic I just giggle and think "Teehee, I have boobs." I actually like looking male, reduces the catcalls from both men and women. I have not actually been catcalled by gay men, as far as I know. I never actually try to pass for a man, or a woman for that matter. I enjoy being my slightly androgynous self. I really have no ability to try to be anyone different. I am me no matter how I dress.

If I woke up as a man tomorrow my first reaction would be to be excited, what a strange and new experience. I have always wondered about what it would be like to have a penis. I would be concerned if it was permanent because my husband is straight and that would be a problem. Let's imagine I was not married and would not have to worry about anything like that. I do not think I would feel that terrible about being a guy. I think the biggest issue would be my effeminate mannerisms and speech patterns because girls are raised very different from boys. I would get my ass kicked for being queer the first day, at least around here. I would also have some figuring out when it comes to my sexuality. I do find both men and women attractive to a degree so that might get confusing, would I be more gay or straight with a penis?

I just do not get what the big deal is with gender. I am not a woman, I am me. I mean I have a vagina but I do not try to dress, act or live to reflect that. I feel bewildered when I get smacked in the face by gender stereotypes. I feel angry and confused when my sifu implies that women are not as good at martial arts as men. I think I am good, is he implying that I am not doing well in class? I thought that I was doing really well among students of similar experience level. Why should a guy open a door for me? Am I carrying stuff? What a polite person. Would he do it if I was a man? If yes, why thank you. If he did it just because I am a woman I am bewildered. I see absolutely no reason having a vagina, and possibly a pair of tits, is a reason by itself for this action. I am genuinely confused by this. So in conclusion, I am a human being, not a woman. I am confused by gender, not gender confused.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


I was reading http://blog.beliefnet.com/stuffchristianculturelikes/2010/05/154-the-word-backsliding.html

It reminded me of my teenage years. When we moved to the US we started attending an Assembly of God church. This was the worst thing that happened to me. I am not saying Assemblies of God churches are bad or that any churches we attended were bad either but for me and my development as a Christian and a person it was terrible. As a teenager I was just starting to define the specifics of my faith. I slowly started to realize that what I believed and knew to be true did not match up with what my church believed and this opened me up to some criticism. I did not understand why their opinion could be so different in these matters. That was because my brain was not completely developed yet. There was also something else wrong with my brain; I started to think. I had trouble spending time reading the Bible and concentrating on prayer. I knew that is what I had to do in order to maintain a good relationship with God. This started to worry me to the point that backsliding became a worry to me. What I did not realize is that having trouble remembering to spend time reading the Bible and praying was not the reason for my feeling of disconnect with God. I believe what really caused me to perceive a distance was my dissatisfaction with my self, my disappointment with myself and the stress caused by this. I think some of the reason I had trouble concentrating might have been a manageable form of ADHD combined with unrealistic expectations of what spending time with God meant. This disconnect set me up with increasingly lower self-esteem that spiraled off to depression.

So I started to feel bad about myself right on time to start going to youth services at my very large church. The emphasis on very regimented disciplined time spent with God continued added to it was the pressure to witness. It is not that you had to earn your salvation or anything, it was just that if one was truly saved one would naturally and eagerly do these thing. Having low self-esteem was also a sin but I was not able to love myself or even accept the love of God because I did not think I deserved it because I was not a good Christian. I asked God to help me be better, to change me, make me something else because I was not good. I felt flawed somehow, defective and even that I must have been the only mistake God ever made. God did not answer these prayers because there was nothing wrong with me. I was the way I was supposed to be. No one told me this. They just said I had to give my sins up, to nail them on the cross. I had to relinquish my sins to God, give up my low self-esteem and lustful thoughts. Did I say lustful thoughts? Girls don't have those, right, only boys. Wrong, I did and felt like no other girl did. This made me feel even worse. My pastor told us to take our sinful thoughts and pluck them out of our heads. We were told to imagine that it was a mouse or a rat and pluck it up right by the tail and toss it out of our minds. I tried it (never pluck up a real rodent by the tail) and it did not work. It was useless, stupid and ineffective. Still I kept on doing it because it was the only thing I knew to do.

Soon I began to believe I was constantly backsliding. I would spent countless teary hours crying out to God believing I had lost my salvation and was going to hell. Every worship experience was an agonizing climb up to God, I knew God could never leave me so it had been me who left so I climbed and climbed. I did not know that all this self hatred and stress had build a wall that I could never climb. We were told to seek God and become cleansed like the newly fallen snow but we were never told that we were good enough for Him just as we were. We had to do nothing but accept the love and quit stressing. It was always an effort toward holiness. My Christian walk as a teenager was hell.

It has been a slow progress but now I know that while I am far from perfect God loves and understands me. I am exactly as he intended me to be and I no longer worry about it. That is so strange that something so seemingly good as a Christian community can be something so hurtful.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Pacifism and Concientious Objections

So I started thinking about my stance on war, violence and the like recently. My opinions have not changed but I have defined my position more clearly. My husband lost his job. He worked there for about a year and a half. The pay was better than any other job he has had during our entire marriage. He enjoyed it, gained satisfaction from it, was well liked and good at it, but he lost it. Now we are left in a jam with bleak prospects of finding him a job as good or better. We have been barely getting by and that was good, considering we have been homeless before. I cannot get a job because I do not have a green card and no work permit yet. A remote, yet unexplored possibility occurred to us. Marcus should reenlist in the navy. It is by no means a sure thing because he needs a special waver due to asthma. I am not going to get too into any of this because that is not what this blog entry is about, just giving some background about what led to this.

I have always thought of myself as a pacifist, knowing all along that that is not the term for me. Sometimes your brain gets stuck on a word to describe something with that you know is not accurate. I knew this but did not give it much thought. I was never really able to articulate my thoughts on the matter to many people because my convictions on war and peace are motivated by my faith but so many people around me did not agree and I feared judgment.

I come from a long line (well, two generations) of conscientious objectors. My father and grand father both served in the military, as dictated by Finnish law, my grandfather actually in a time of war. They served faithfully and did their duty, neither killed any one and had it come down to it they would not have. My father was never trained how to shoot a gun, use a grenade or anything of the like during training. My grandfather went through The War (in Finland we did not have WWI and II, just one war that affected us) in the front lines, of nearly the front lines with out carrying a gun and with the explicit knowledge that he would not so much as think about shooting a Russian, or anyone else, if it came down to it.

While I think war is a horrible barbaric thing I am not a pacifist. I would never dream of fighting in a war and killing people just because my government had a problem with their government. At the same time I see no problem with my father following the laws of Finland, putting on a uniform and serving as a mail carrier. The United States military has no such provisions for conscientious objectors as Finland does because it lacks mandatory service. In times of mandatory service the United States has been known to make such accommodations. I am a Quaker and we are traditionally pacifists but the way Quakerism is set up it leaves the specifics of things like this up to the individuals conscience. There are many people in my church who would be horrified with any person of the faith serving in the military and many with service records. The pastor does not comment on this issue much from the pulpit. Many of us attend a peace picnic on Memorial Day.

I am not really going anywhere deep and specific with any of this. I just wanted to share about my thought on this issue. I do not think violence or war is the answer to anything and saying God is on the side of bloodshed seems just wrong. God is on the side of peace but that is no reason to demonize the military. It is a career choice and what an individual makes of it. My husband would never choose a job involving killing, not that the navy has many of those. He will do a job any conscientious objector would be fine with doing, but he will choose to do it because that will be a way to support us. If God does not want my husband to be a part of the military he will prevent it and give us another choice.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Us Poor Down Trodden Pedestrians

I live in Wichita Kansas and people here are hicks and white trash mostly. At least that is what I encounter the most. I am a pedestrian and I am a pedestrian by choice. Well, not just by choice but if I had a choice I would still be a pedestrian. I walk to the store. I walk to my MMA class. I often even walk to church when no one offers me a ride. I walk my son to school and I run. I do not mind. I actually enjoy it. I will walk to places up to 5 miles away, no problem. Any further than that it just takes too long. I do not mind this at all.

People here do not understand. In the summer, when I dress in less, as in a tank top that shows no cleavage and knee length shorts, I get offered rides all the time. This would just be politeness if all the ride offerers weren't men. What do they think I am? A hooker? Well, Wichitan whores don't come looking this healthy or with this many of their own teeth. Even if they do not mistake for a hooker they have to think I am pretty stupid to take a ride with a strange man.

My reaction never reflects these two scenarios. I act as if their motives are pure and say "No thanks, I am fine. I enjoy walking and the exercise." Then they ask, "Are you sure?" I say, "Yes, I'm sure, thank you thou." Then they drive away with a slightly unbelieving shrug. Is it so hard to believe someone might enjoy mild physical exertion and some time to think for themselves? I do. I also enjoy saving the money from not having a car or taking the substandard public transportation system in Wichita.

This is not all I have to put up with as a pedestrian. I am at constant danger of dying. People here are unused to pedestrians and therefore do not see us. I also get honked at all the time. What is that the 21 century wolf whistle? Or are they afraid that I will jump of the side walk and run at them? Or are they implying that I have no right to be in the vicinity of the street with out a motor vehicle. All these possibilities are very offensive.

Then there are the other pedestrians, they are no better. Last night I was jogging and a man reeking of Swisher Sweets said "Hey baby." to me walking by. I ignored it and acted as if I did not hear. In my opinion the best option. I never want to acknowledge that because it would show I respond to "baby". I am not an infant neither am I well enough acquainted with these random strangers for it to be alright for them to call me that. Politeness people, if you do not know a person be polite and treat them with respect. Acceptable alternatives include "Good evening ma'am/miss." Or just plain "Good evening." Or for more casual yet appropriate flare try " Hi, how are you?"

By far the worst comment I have gotten was when walking to the store to buy milk. I was walking wearing loose jeans and a black tank top that was loose as well and showed no cleavage. Some girls drove by me in a white new looking car and yelled out something unintelligible. I did not think much of it. Then they drove past me again and yelled, quite clearly, "You're walking on Broadway, whore." Yes, indeed I was. Whore I am not as I do not charge for my services and neither do I sleep around. I was a little bit upset by the implication.

Why do people in Wichita have no manners? I mean it is just a few people acting this badly but it sheds a bad light on the whole city and makes me not like it here very much.