Saturday, June 2, 2018

What is love?

That night.  Nothing in particular.  Nothing specific.  No tears.  No anger.  No fear.  No fever.  No nothing.  Just a wandering mind and a desire for sleep.

That night I opened my mind to my own experiment:

What is love?

Love is caring for someone without expecting anything in return.  Then what is caring for someone?  Caring for someone is offering support and connecting your talents, skills, talents, and resources to help someone.  So can one love without caring?  What about showing love without truly caring for the other?  I believe that there can be care without love because care can be incomplete.  One can demonstrate particular aspects of a caring relationship without demonstrating a full commitment.  One can care for someone else but ultimately have a greater interest in someone or something else.

Loving without caring however seems less likely.  To love another is to abandon oneself.  Love is reckless abandon with purpose.  It may appear oxymoronic but love doesn't always make sense.  Is unconditional love even possible in the human experience?  How can one love without conditions, ulterior motives, or even the smallest inkling of selfish ambition?

If we define things, does it help us all to better understand them?  Or do we have to have a mutual understanding in order to understand each other more fully?  What about understanding leads to growth?  Is it the growing from our mistakes or the no longer making them that shows growth?  Or perhaps it's something else...

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Does Privilege Allow Me to Speak Openly About Identity?

I don't know how to respond.  Really.  It mainly just seems like frustration.  Then there is indignation or something along those lines.  Something like "how can they do that?" or rather "do we let her get away with that?".  I really don't know how to respond.  I think pointing lights and cameras promotes a warped view, but vilifying them feeds their ego and continues their victim mentality.

Could it be mental illness?  Could it be falsified truth?  Can that even be a thing?  Or can it be accepted objectively from the outside.  And if so, could it also possibly be accepted from within as well?  I believe that truth can be absolute, but we do not have to impose our own ideas of truth on others.  In fact, any effort to do such a thing can often make push "them" in the opposite direction.

This is the question that plagues me the most now: If how you choose to identify (racially or otherwise) now can be so multifaceted in the present, why can't how you chose to identify formerly be just as diverse?

I think that is perhaps my main qualm with all of this.  I mean, sure, how we choose to identify is largely up to us.  However, I believe that we have to somehow come to sort of agreement as to what identity means and learn to understand reasoning behind identity.  From there I think (hope?) we can have healthy conversations about what it means to be who we are.  Does that even make sense?  Clearly identity is a complicated issue.

At present, I believe in the feminist theory of intersectionality and I believe this has been a pretty monumental development in human thought.  However, I also feel that we do not know (nor will we ever) everything about ourselves and our nature.  I can be a man, a heterosexual, a teacher, a student, white, Christian, intellectual, estadounidense, and more all at once and I believe the same for my neighbors across the bayou or oceans away.  However, I believe healthy conversations about identity must have an agreed upon definition or idea as to what constitutes true identity.

Surely privilege plays a large role in this conversation and the degree to which any of us can choose to identify one way or another.  I may be able to say one thing about who I believe I am and that may be out of the question (in the public's eye) for you.  Think Caitlyn Jenner vs. Rachel Dolezal.  There is clearly a difference in public perception and their stories can divide a country like Moses and the Red Sea.  However, why is that?  Is it privilege?  Is it about who they were or how they identified prior to their very public transformation?  I don't know.  I really have more questions than answers at this point.

I don't want to fall down a rabbit hole here, but will you bear with me for a moment here.  Let's say someone chooses to identify as a chair.  Do we allow that person to claim that identity?  If so, what does that mean for us and what does that mean for it (them?)?  As I said, I've got more questions than answers at this point, but I think transparent and authentic dialogue promotes mutual understanding and increases rates of empathy.

So, going back to the chair example, if that person chooses to identify as something like an inanimate object, can we first ask the pre-transitional individual to help us to understand their reasoning?  Can we come to an agreement as to what identity means for us both even if we do not agree with who they claim to be?  I believe that if this is possible then we can continue to live with a "live and let live" mentality instead of a culture of fear (mongering).

Anyway, that's just the way I feel I had to let something out of the verbal vein for a moment or two.  If you have any feedback or are curious about my additional thoughts, feel free to reach out.  However, please note that I choose not to engage in hostility whenever possible.  Thank you.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

There ain't too much to look at out West

Well that's not very helpful, Ally thought to herself as she looked out into the barren landscape.  As she got lost in her gaze again, she realized why her mom had said that; there wasn't a landmark or anything to really give them a point of reference.  As it turns out, most of their drive would be that way, at least until they made it to Fort Worth, and even then they would still have another day of driving.

Most of the trip went by in a blur as Ally passed most of it between dreams and other unconscious meanderings.  The little time she did spend awake Ally felt something ominous, as if a dark force were waiting slowly crawling toward her from outside the car windows.  Texas sure has a lot of cemeteries.  She recalled her younger years when at five or six she would look out the window and mistake graveyards back home for soccer fields.  All the tributes of daisies, roses, and family mementos filled the otherwise empty fields with so much vibrant color.  Here it was different though, or had she just changed?  In Texas one can't escape a small town (and there are many) without passing at least one cemetery that seems to hold more than twice the place's population underground, and most of the flowers are noticeably absent.

If it wasn't eerie cemeteries out Ally's window, it an unusually large flock of dark crows or ravens.  What's the difference anyway?  They're both greasy birds that look like they just left an oil spill.  Though many towns back in colorful Colorado were probably just as small as the ones here in the persistently dull state of Texas, something about them just made them seem quaint.  Perhaps it was that they boasted of the number of feet they had climbed above sea level, while the tiny Texas towns stood tall like a fist grader who just triumphed over his classmates in a spelling bee only to have his gaze drawn quickly to his upcoming competition from grades two through five.  The signs outside these towns with names like Hollis, Cut and Shoot, and Dime Box do their best to stand tall, but it's hard to do so when your claim to fame is little more than reaching a couple hundred on the population chart.

"I wonder who gets to do that?" Ally's brother asked half sarcastically as they drove through yet another small town.

"What's that Trevor?"

"Who changes the number everyday?"

"What number?" Ally's mother asked.

"The number on the sign.  WELCOME TO DING DONG.  POP-EW-LATE...SHHHON 4 hundred and fifty." Trevor replied, trying his best not to laugh while sounding out the words.

"Ding Dong!  That sure is a funny name!"  the whole family (minus Ally who was lost in thought) laughed.  "I don't know Buddy, but that's a good question.  I bet whatever 'ding dong' has to do it is a pretty popular guy." their dad retorted.

Trevor laughed again, "yeah, that's a lot of persons."

"Indeed it is son."

Friday, March 2, 2018

The Start of Something New..?

The sun rose over the disappearing mountains in the rearview mirror.  As she gazed into the painted sky Ally wished it was as easy as that.  If only I could just paint myself into something picturesque.  Despite a longing to change her surroundings on a dime, Ally knew her life wasn't half bad.  Heck, not many people are so fortunate as to not have to worry about how they're going to pay for college. And what about those who earnestly desire to just leave their home, if only for a day, to escape the pain and enter into a new reality?  Yeah, she knew that, all things considered, her life was pretty great.  Still, she couldn't seem to shake the feeling that what she was leaving was her destiny only to slowly slip a few steps closer to her death.

Hours passed in an instant as Ally chose to sleep her prodding inhibitions away.  When she awoke the mountains were gone and in their place lay a boring landscape of dust and tumbleweeds.  Sleeping seemed to have had an opposite effect; now she felt worse.  I miss the mountains and the wondrous feeling they give me just by towering over me in the distance.  Her new life would hold mountains of a different flavor, the emotional barriers that would have to be climbed to just survive.

A crow cawed just outside her window.  Ally's heart skipped a beat as she trembled inside.

"Oh, you're awake," her mom said from the driver's seat.  "Good.  We're about to stop.  Trevor has to use the bathroom and your father and I need to stretch our legs."

"Where are we?" Ally's voice cracked as it was still waking up.

"Well, we drove through Amarillo while you were asleep and that was probably about thirty minutes ago.  So," Ally's mom paused, thinking to herself, "that would put us about 30 miles west of Amarillo."

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Hubris

It's been centuries, no millennia and more, that we've been reaching for something we can't grasp.  We try to hold You inside our hands or paint You into our art but You cannot and will not be contained.  We humor ourselves, saying own being cannot be shrunk and packaged into a ready-made box, but yet we're convinced you're less?  How can this be?  How can we claim to push to the corners the very broom that sweeps us into place?

I'll try to grasp and reach for things I cannot see.  Things that I can only feel with fingertips that are beyond my dreams.  How can I be sure of anything if I can barely even sense a fingernail of Your being?  I know You're out there and somehow in here.  I cannot convince myself that I've done (or ever will do) enough for You to consider me one of Your own.  It's beyond me.  You're beyond me.  You escape accurate description.  How did You even come up with this idea of coming here to experience these things?  You came from outside of it all to a place where expiration is normal.  How did you even fit inside these walls that we've created?

There is so much here that doesn't make sense and I thank You for that.  I know I cannot fully know You here and I thank You for that.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Existentialist Meanderings inside before a Blood Moon's Eclipse

Hollow words.  Empty promises.

Are we all guilty?  Does everyone have someone who could point to our own?
Why do some of us turn and run so quickly from our blindspots?  Why can't we live in a more transparent world?  Why do we let fear step into the driver's seat?

As a blade of grass I whisper vaporous notes on tracing paper.  Who knows what anyone will see or read in the future?  Perhaps a gas station receipt will be the lonely trace of a tyrannical superpower.  Maybe love will endure unto the end.  Or maybe there isn't even an end.

Maybe this is practice for what comes next.  Maybe the dust and mostly nothingness that we're made up of is really something after all.  Perhaps all this water inside us is feeding some unknown source beneath us.  Maybe we're all jogging around a small floating ball, cheering to good health, clinking glasses, and waiting in lines for nothing.  Maybe life is meaningless except for the meanings we ascribe ourselves.

Maybe there really is nothing between our fingertips.
But
I wish something were interlocking between my own fingers.  What of my body is really mine to claim though anyway?

Perhaps I'm just throwing existential thoughts to the wind and the binary code that hides my message will hardly be seen outside these walls.

Maybe I'm dreaming, or it could be that I'm just a dream.

I have a recurring thought,
or an idea perhaps,
that maybe one day
I'll wake up inside a dream.

Could it be true?