The Syrian Tragedy Continues…

…even if we’re choosing to not talk about it anymore.

In this coming week’s issue of The New Yorker, Ben Taub outlines the atrocities that have occurred in Syria from the viewpoint of the medical industry as told through the eyes of British surgeon David Nott. Not eliminating their typical spare-no-details mentality, Taub describes details so ghastly, so heart-wrenching, so completely unbearable to fathom, it made me tear up while reading it as I sat on the public bus to work this morning. Explaining the last five plus years of how the Syrian government and their allies have targeted, tortured and murdered medical professionals across the country. Physicians for Human Rights reports that health care facilities have been attacked at least 365 times since the start of the war. Targeted specifically because of what they are.

 

President Assad is responsible for the deaths of up to 350,000 people, and here in the US, you hardly hear a mention of it in the news these days. Talk of IS, and homegrown terrorism, and Kardashians, and sports teams… but little, if anything of the senselessness of a dictator bombing hospitals which house newborn babies and the doctors who are trying their best to save them.

 

It is real. It is happening. And there are people risking everything to help. Help these children and their families. The innocents. While the countries around the world can’t develop a no-fly zone, oust Assad, or even UN allies agree if he needs to go (the US and UK have both changed their position on this point), some people are doing something, and they need help. UNESCO, UNICEF, PHR, Doctors Without Borders… don’t even get me started on how long we’ve ignoring, and they’ve been fighting, the brutality of civilians in Sudan… There are ways to help, donate or volunteer. Speak up. And for fuckssake, don’t vote based on what you think the president of the United States is able to do for us here on our land, think of the global ‘we’ for once. Please.

bare [faced] and beautiful

Raise your hand if you’ve ever made a bad choice. If your hand isn’t raised (at least mentally), then you’re lying to yourself. Whether it was the choice to wear that orange shirt that makes you look like a pumpkin, or to eat that questionable meat, or a really bad choice like staying with someone who makes you feel like shit about yourself… we’ve all done it. I’ve done all three of those.

If you met me three years ago today, you would have met a shell of who I really am. My soul was beat down by verbal (and eventually physical) abuse, my confidence nonexistent, and my heart barely beating and to someone else’s drum. I felt dead inside. I swear if you were to touch my skin, it would have felt cold. I knew something needed to change for a while, but I was scared to death of the prospect of forcing the change. I had become comfortable being uncomfortable.

It wasn’t one moment when I said, “this is fucked. i’m fixing this.” It was a thousand small pieces that came together. Moments when my brain began to process things in a different light. Before ‘the incident’ happened, I remember sitting down with a friend and telling him that I was going to leave my then partner (I use the term loosely). It was the first time I’d said it out loud. That had a kind of power behind it I couldn’t process fully at the time. And while this friend would not have held me to my word to leave him, I felt as though I had to hold myself to it because it was spoken, out loud, with a witness. A month later, I was on my own for the first time in years. It was simultaneously frightening, exhausting, and exhilarating.

The first month was full of ups and downs. I felt exhausted all the time. Sleep evaded me. I drank too much. I felt loss and lost. Changing your whole world overnight, when you’re already a worrier, is like turning a glass of water upside down… everything spills out and you have to right the glass before you can fill it again. I spent that first month righting myself. And with the help of two of the most amazing friends anyone could ask for, I did it. By Christmas, I was upright, and standing taller than I’d ever been.

By spring I was confident enough to take charge of my life in new ways. I moved to where I wanted to be. I was seeing who I wanted to see. I was playing music I wanted to play. I was raising my son in the way I wanted to. I stopped forcing myself to pretend like water didn’t scare the ever-loving-shit out of me. Sure, in the process I broke out into a few wicked cases of stress hives, and second guessed myself, and made an ass out of myself… but for the first time in years, I was making choices about myself, by myself.

All-in-all, I’d say I have a fairly healthy ego. I’ve always felt I was pretty, but not exactly model material. Five years of passive aggressive tear-downs from my ex were wiped completely clean one sunny morning when a soft voice said, ‘this is the first time I’ve seen you without makeup on, I like it.’ He had no idea what he did by saying that. It lifted a burden off my shoulders I didn’t know I’d been carrying around. Something was set free in his words, in his truth, in his kindness.

Again, it wasn’t an all at once change. And in the moment, as good as it made me feel, I still thought he was talking drunk on love. But a part of me, clung to those words like drift wood in a ship wreck.

Over the summer, I found myself wearing makeup less often. The mild tan of the summer sun giving me confidence to let my freckles and redness be there for all to see. This fall I went to Europe for a few weeks, and completely forgot to pack my foundation entirely. All I used the whole time was there was a lightly tinted powder. Then something happened with my career, and my confidence was shattered, and I found myself hiding behind makeup again.

I got back-to-good about two months ago. And one day, I woke up and said ‘why the fuck am I wearing this shit? it’s a time suck and a money pit. fuck this.’Instead of foundation, concealer, blush, eye shadow, blah blah blah every morning, I simply wash my face, put on moisturizer and a small amount of mascara. The vague in-my-dyslexic-head math says I’ll save about $1500 a year.

And I am beyond happy with my choice, and honestly, I’ve never felt more beautiful.

 

Fate or Luck?

I believe that what we have chosen to call fate is no more than where chaos theory and the butterfly effect overlap. Manufactured to rationalise the fact that every single decision we make has an infinite number of plausible outcomes attached which can determine our future options. We call it fate and destiny because we want to absolve ourselves of the idea that we control our future, that all of our actions hold consequences, even benign ones. I believe it’s better to learn from and study our decisions carefully, be grateful when they lead us to know good people and rejoice in our successes with vigour. 

Whales Need Not Apply

Dear Mojito drinking friends… We all know it… Drinking a mojito is a one of the most singularly pleasurable and annoying experiences in the world. There is something uniquely frustrating about a chunk of mint disrupting your sip. But there’s no real way to get the full mint infusion without having it float around in your glass. UNTIL NOW. 
Enter the Nuevo Mojito into your life. Go ahead, grab your serving glass, your mixer, your mint and your muddler. Add the mint and lime juice to the mixer and muddle the heck out of it. Strain that into your highball filled half-ish with ice, yes, strain out that mint. Then add a dram of the wonderful mint infused simple syrup that you made with enough time to cool it before pouring. Exactly. There it is. The secret weapon. Add your sparkly water of choice to the top and stir. 

BAM! Mojito that you don’t need to possess a baleen to drink. 

You’re welcome.

Sitting on the Bathroom Floor

Why is it that there is something so painfully familiar about sitting on a cold bathroom floor…

Hair still wet…

Droplets floating down your shoulders and cheeks…

Hallow sounds of drips from the shower echoing…

Somehow it’s the best place to think about certain things.

An utterly random rambling of my mind

‘The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it’ (it was said by Henry David Thoreau if you’re curious). To me, this is a constant in my life. I take the time to clean my house, because to me, that is worth the time I give to it. I take the time to build a healthy and extravagant meal, because the hedonist side of my brain relishes that enough for it to be found important.

When we give of ourselves to others, exchanging one’s time for another’s, we commit those moments to a repository of memories that we can take from when we need it. Sometimes we search for those moments when we’re blue, sometimes when we’re looking for a humorous tail to tell, sometimes when we’re laying in the quiet of our mind and want to rediscover a peaceful time.

I have a ‘problem’ with giving of myself to other people. I freely choose to give of my time to charity, because I feel it’s a way to balance out the realities of being me with the realities that another human faces. I’ve never been that good at relationships. Friendly or romantic. I tend to be very adept at hurting people with words, actions and neglect.

Recently, I ended a friendship because of my inability to deal with the way another person argued. Not that they did, but how they did it, where their offenses were lain, and how it affected me.

Even more recently, I made a complete idiot of myself by being an attention seeking, pathetically scarred soul and possibly ruined one of the most important things that I have ever been blessed to be a part of.

I wish I could build a time machine.

Sparks

Clearly I was living in a dream space
Where you and I were merely asleep collectively.

With no way to tell up from down
Confident at one point I was inside out.

With you, I was always too many steps behind
Lost from the moment the spark flew.

It travelled from your fingertips
And didn’t stop until it reached my nucleus.

Having been wound up so tight
It was not easy to spin so freely.

Attempts to walk away from you
Have always ended in my falling closer.

There was never a lead in moment
I just sort tripped into your arms all at once.

Confident that I could live in this condition
Be a part of your purgatory forever.

As quickly as it began, it fell
Our ivory tower crumbled to my feet.

Awakened by the feeling of tumbling
Thrust into a cool morning’s beginnings.

My eyes were swollen from the slumber
And you were nowhere to be found again.

This is not an atheist blog

But it does however belong to an atheist. I didn’t start out this way. Oh no, far from it. It’s the Protestant years brain in my head that made me who I am today. According to Merriam Webster the definition of Protestant, beside the one about the certain version of Christian and the Germanic princes who started this movement, is “one who makes or enters a protest.” It itself comes from the Latin word protestant which directly translates to protests. In case you’ve forgotten, the Martin Luther story is all about the Germanic monks of Saxony believing the Pope was too powerful and believed himself to be too godlike. So he translated the bible into German and wrote the Ninety-Five Thesis. Bada-bing-bada-boom we have Protestants. *rough account* My churchly account was as follows: Go to Evangelical Pentecostal Assemblies of God church, sing Jesus Loves Me, get baptized, become indoctrinated, then brainwashed, believe that my conscience was the word of  god and that I was ordained to be a youth pastor, have thoughts, ask questions, get shot down, have doubts, become youth pastor, love the kids, stop believing in god and start believing in people, meet my first husband, get pregnant, get kicked out of church, realise that religion is run by people not god, become atheist, live happily ever after.

With all of this, a good part of my family is still devout Christian with a special flavour of crazy coming from my sister’s ex-husband’s family and tainting my nephew like there’s no tomorrow.  I’m talking full on whitewashing his poor little brain into thinking god speaks to him and that the bible is the only book worth reading and that it is 120% infallible and never contradicts itself. First of all, by most culture’s viewpoints, if you hear voices in your head, you belong on medication, and if you talk back to the voices, the medication should be administered in a room with padded walls by a nurse ready to tranquillize you if needed.

For years and years, rational people have used atheological arguments when talking about the nonexistence of a god, any god. Atheism comes from the Greek atheos meaning godless or without god. Modern atheists positively deny that there is a god. I am positively an atheist and I can state with all rational certainty that there is no god.

Now why is this coming about? I posted, as I am to do, on my Facebook page from I Fucking Love Science‘s page an article about how Molybdenum is thought to be required for the origin of life and how it was limited on Earth 4 billion years ago, but was readily abundant on Mars, so scientists are theorizing about how this was brought to Earth via a meteorite. Amazing discovery based on science, fact and the absolute amazing will of man to discover further than we ever thought possible.

My sweet and naïve thirteen year old nephew then shares it on his page with the following comments:

“This is crazy!

WE NEED TO WAKE UP!!

“Surely you know how it has been from of old, ever since mankind was placed on the earth, (Job 20:4 NIV)

Notice it says earth not Mars.

Why should we think that we are from Mars when the Word of GOD says Earth!

It is sad to think that there are people that would believe and turn to science before the Word of God.

I would like to match more scripture to this but really just look at the world we live in, us, nature, God’s creation. How could something so wonderfully made come from where else but the ONE and ONLY LOVING GOD!”

Oh zombie Jesus, where do I start. Let’s start at the beginning. I agree! This is ‘crazy’ as in wow this is craz-amaz, science is amazing! Waking up, I’m not sure what you mean by such things. Wake up from a nap? Wake up and smell the roses? Wake up to what kind of enlightenment and why do Christians use this term when they don’t really know the breadth and depth of how deeply asleep they are?

Now where do I begin with this Bible verse he’s used?

1. It’s in the Old Testament, where they also talked about not eating shellfish, bacon, women shouldn’t show their hair, men shouldn’t shave their facial hair (or whatever they did back then), no one should wear clothing of mixed fibers, and then there is that whole animal sacrifice thing. So I’m not sure it’s the book you should be getting your ‘facts’ from.

2. NIV version. Ohh, that’s a dead ringer for this to be inaccurate at best. Most of the Old Testament was written in Hebrew and Aramaic. The New Testament was written in Greek and the Old Testament was also translated into Greek at this time. Next came Latin, and portions were translated into everything from English to Nubian. Then there was that whole Martin Luther thing, which in bi-proxy lead to the creation of the King James Bible in 1611 because King James wanted to divorce his wife and the pope wouldn’t let him so he was all about this whole reformation against the pope thing. In 1901 America wanted a piece of the Bible thumping action and created the American Standard Version which was revised to the New American Standard in 1971. This is said to be the most accurate translation of the Bible to date, but because it wasn’t conversational and was only translated for accuracy in 1973 the New International Version came out. This version was only based on phrase for phrase accuracy and translation was loose at best. In 1982 the New King James version came out, assuming enough time had passed since he died that they could take out the ‘thee’, ‘thy’, ‘thou’ and such.

3. Will be covered shortly.

No where were we, oh right. Of course it says Earth and not Mars. Mars wasn’t theorized to be a planet until the 1500’s. Done and done.

Oh yes, here’s the 3. Answer. Because it’s written by man! Even if god told man what to write, do you think man would actually listen? Man doesn’t even listen when woman tells man to take out the trash. I’m sure god was up in heaven saying, “So then there was this big bang, and black holes, and infinite denseness, and string theory, and…” and man was all, “‘So then god just did it and it was good.’ I’m done!”

This next part is sad. So sad. Sad that a teenage boy who should be excited to go to space camp and dissect a frog and learn about the scientific method is so science phobic. If god controls everything and has everything preplanned (Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope”), then why did he give us free will, a conscience and the ability to rationalize, think freely and create?

And finally look at the world around you and see that it was made by god? I look at the world around me and I see proven signs of evolution, constant change, human nature, and amazement. Science proves these things and the bible proves nothing. I have no other way to say it. I believe in truth. I believe in people.

Beauty and the Breast

As promised, I went to the first of a few plastic surgeons I am planning to consult with on Friday.

Driving into the office it was apparent I hadn’t picked the most posh of choices to walk into first. The cars in the lot weren’t’ the fanciest, the front desk reception was nice, dark but nice, the receptionist didn’t appear to have had any work done herself, which is actually nice, because it shows me that he doesn’t push it. image

The doctor was great. A funny guy from the Czech Republic. After taking my robe off, he asked me what I was looking for. I explained my woes and he said, “You’re a great candidate for augmentation. Have you every thought of fixing your belly too?” He kind of took me by surprise. I have always been self conscious about the extra skin that I have from babytime, but forgot that other people could see it. Apparently fixing both the top and middle bits is called a Mommy Makeover. *facepalm* Then he explains that this consultation is just for question answering, they schedule a secondary consultation if I decided to go forward with the procedure.

As I wait for next weeks appointment with a different doctor, I have been studying the other side of things. You know what I mean, the side where it’s okay for me to have small breasts. And how to live with them. In the process, I learned that some of my favourite actresses not only have small boobies like me, but also are short. [Forgive the fact that I’m in full on girl crush mode for Lea Michele right now but] Lea Michele is a half a cup bigger than me, one inch the waist bigger and same size hips and only two inches on me. She’s got a bit less muscle and a bit more fluff, but hey, if I could choose someone to share a body type with it’d be her (and not just because my husband is in love with her, but that’s mostly because he has a thing for long brown hair and brown eyes… and yes I do have short red hair and blue/green eyes).  Looking at pictures of these actresses, models and musicians, I realized that I wasn’t dressing for my body. I have always been fashion conscious and forward thinking when it comes to my wardrobe, but I realized when it comes to what sexy is, these women were helping me realise that I had a locked box and I wasn’t using the key.

003443555 Lea Michele 2011 sag awards screen actors guild awards red carpet dress silver beaded low cut 2 Miranda-Kerr-In-Sumptuous-Robe-Ultra-Low-Cut-Valentino-Dress-In-Oscars-2013-7 lea-michelle Cover-1663017162809353679 gal-emmys-89-jpg

Then this morning, after B got out of the car and I could turn off the Taylor Swift channel, this song came on:

And I’d be lying if I didn’t say it made me think I’m being an idiot about all of this. If I (and CERTAINLY my partner) can’t be happy with my whole self, then going to a plastic surgeon isn’t the kind of doctor I need to go to.  But then again, who am I to not trust and use modern medicine. I am a torn little lady (I’ll expand on the little part in another post for another day).

So before my next appointment next week, I’ll be doing some shopping for some clothes, bras and fashion tape. #bewhoyouwereborntobe