Tuesday, June 13, 2017

It’s funny…as a society, we are supposedly becoming more accepting.  We are calling out bullies and insisting on equal treatment.  There’s this huge war on “rape culture” and “body shaming” and “white privilege”.  And you know, I want these things to stop.  I don’t want people being picked at or made to feel bad for their size, income level, sexual preference, color the of their skin…or any of these other things. 

However, there’s a new breed of bullying going on in the world.  It’s those PC police who are just waiting for someone to make a comment that even remotely touches one of these buzz word filled, hashtag word concepts…so that they can attack.  There are a few people out there who have taken up their cause and they don’t even realize that they are now the bullies.

They attack you and make you feel like a lesser person for stating an opinion that vaguely reminded them of their big PC cause.  So they jump on you and immediately throw all their buzzwords and hashtags at you – when you really are not even close to doing what they are accusing you of.

I took a picture of a woman in a store one day because I thought her outfit was hilarious.  I posted it with my giggles.  I was immediately attacked for “shaming” this woman – when all I was trying to do was laugh about an outfit I found funny.  But the PC Police couldn’t wait to jump on me about it.  Here’s the thing.  I was not mean to this woman.  I didn’t say anything bad about this woman.  And I even cropped the picture so that her face could not be seen…because I was not trying to make fun of her or be mean to her…I was simply saying that I found her outfit funny.

I’ve been known to wear some crazy things.  I’ve been known to walk into a department store or drugstore in my Halloween costume or in my renaissance faire garb…because I needed something and didn’t have anything to change into.  And I fully expect people to see that and laugh.  That’s ok.  It’s funny!  Take a picture and post it and say “Look at this woman in CVS in her blue wig and crazy makeup.  She looks like a nut!”  Go ahead.  I did look like a nut.  I’m glad I gave you a laugh.

The fact is…things are still funny in the world.  Saying that they are funny is not “shaming”.  Stating an opinion on how someone should dress in a particular place is not “shaming”.  It’s stating an opinion.  This is not bullying.  The bullying is when the PC Police attack you for stating your opinion.  Especially on Social Media where you created your own page specifically that you COULD speak your mind. 

The thing is, the people who jump on you about these things rarely take the time to actually find out what you mean or to consider that you were merely stating an opinion.  They are so absorbed by their cause and fighting for it…that they go completely overboard trying to “correct” others.  But guess what?  By telling that person they are not allowed to voice their opinion…you are doing the SAME THING you are angry at them for.  You are shaming them for speaking their mind.  ::gasp::  Do you want to be the pot or the kettle today?

I’m all for becoming a kinder, gentler species.  I’m all for supporting people in doing their own thing and not being shamed for it.  However, the next time you DEMAND that someone not speak their opinion of something because they don’t understand it or see it the way you do, stop and consider who is being the bully in that conversation.  Because it might be you.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Max

It’s good to be able to laugh at yourself.  Trust me, I do it all the time.  And the older I get, it seems like the more I have to laugh at myself about.  One of those things…is raging hormones.  Especially during that one week called PMS week.  My hormones – and thus my emotions – are out of control!  What does this mean?  Well…it means that everything makes me cry. 

Today’s episode of laughing at myself…comes from the night where I had insomnia and stupidly decided to watch a movie called Max.  SPOILER ALERT!  Stop reading if you haven’t seen it and don’t want it spoiled.

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Max is about a Marine Dog who gets traumatized by his handler’s death and cannot go back into the field to work.  We first see his trauma when he almost tears up the floor of the church during the funeral trying to get to his handler’s casket.  I think that was the first time I lost it.  Max runs up and barks at the casket, draped in an American Flag, and then whines and lays down beside it.  And boom…I was in tears.  From here, we see the story unfold of the handler’s family taking the dog in because otherwise he is going to be put down because he can’t work anymore.  They go to pick him up and the only person he doesn’t seem to want to maul…is his handler’s little brother.  ::sniffle::  I immediately anthropomorphize the dog beyond reason and decide that this is because he can see a resemblance and because they smell alike because they are brothers.  Shut up, it’s my logic….it doesn’t have to be true.  Anyway…the brother is kind of an angry, bratty, punk teenager when we get started.  He acts like he doesn’t want or give a crap about Max…or anything else.  He’s a mad at the world teenager.  I snapped at him several times for this.  “You little brat.  Be nice to that dog.” 

Over the course of the movie, the brother bonds with the dog.  The next time I really lost it was the scene where the family leaves Max in a cage in the backyard and goes to the 4th of July parade.  And as they sit and watch the fireworks begin…I yell at the TV…”Max is traumatized by loud noises!  Oh my god!  You have to go home and comfort him you stupid brat!  Oh god, he must be so scared!”  And I’m crying at the TV and crushing my Sherpa blanket in my tiny hands in my frustration.  Just as I yell this at the TV, you see this fact dawn on the face of the teenage boy and he gets up and starts running.  He tries to take Max in the house but Max is terrified and won’t come out of the cage.  I yell at the boy again, “Just get in the cage with him!”  He listened.  The kid gets in the cage with the dog…and for the first time, Max snuggles up to him for comfort…and I suddenly have my hands over my face, crying. 

Then we have the storyline where the bad guy comes around and Max barks and growls at him.  And later when the bad guy has a gun, I sit up angrily in my recliner, tiny hands balled into fists, and yell, “Don’t you hurt that dog, you bastard!”

Through the rest of the movie, there are shouts and cries from me:
“Good boy!”
“You better be nice to him!”
Poor baby!”
“Good dog!  Good dog!!!”
“Oh, that’s a smart boy!”

The father in the movie is kind of a jerk.  He lets the bad guy convince him that Max turned on his handler…so he wants to put Max down and he aims a gun at the dog…but mom and little brother stop him.  Still…you can see the anger on his face and how much he hates the dog.  Then all the bad happens…and dad is taken hostage by the bad guys.  Lots of things happen…dad is trying to get away…he has a gun…and here comes Max straight toward him.  He aims the gun at Max but something stops him and he kind of cringes…Max flies right by him and jumps the bad guy – who was behind dad and about to get him - and saves Dad’s life.  That’s right, jerk!  He saved you!  Max comes over to Dad and licks his face and that look of realization comes over dad’s face…he was wrong about Max.  For sure.  This was not enough for me.  I was angrily yelling at the TV…”Tell him he’s a good boy!  You tell him he’s a good boy, god dammit!  He saved your life!  Good boy!”  He didn’t listen…but he did pet Max.  Max understood.  Yes, he did.  Shut up, this is my story.

In the end, the bad guy comes after little brother with a gun.  They are on a train trestle with a giant, gaping hole above a creek.  Here comes Max!  He jumps the bad guy and the two of them go through the hole and plunge to the rocky creek bed below.  I slam my hands over my mouth and more tears spring to my eyes.  We see the bad guy lying motionless at the bottom….with Max lying motionless on top of him.  I can’t breathe.  The next thing I see is a headstone in a cemetery…and I wail.  “No, no, no, no…” I tell the TV.  Then I see the name.  It’s Max’s handler’s grave.  And little brother is talking to him.  I can still barely breathe.  Where is Max?  Brother talks…then I hear it.  I hear Max whine.  And my fists go in the air with a victorious “Oh!  He’s ok!  Good boy!”  Little brother thanks big brother for Max and tells him he loves him.  He and Max go off into the sunset.  Well, in my imagination, there was a sunset.  But it was a happy ending and Max lives and gets the bad guy.  Now there are happy sniffles and it’s three hours after my usual bedtime but I stop to love on my cats before I go to bed.

I spent 85% of this movie crying, yelling at the tv, or with my hands over my face in terror.  But it was worth it for the happy ending…and for all the laughing I get to do at myself as I tell this story.  Laughing at yourself is healthy.  So is a good cry sometimes.

Good boy, Max

Thursday, June 23, 2016

The fine line between defending people and being the PC Police

I am pretty much always stunned when someone says that a comment I have made is racist, bullying, shaming, insensitive, etc.  I am none of those things.  At least I have always tried not to be.  I was raised in a series of small towns full of rednecks and racists and small minded people.  As a teenager, I started to look around at these people and decided this was not who I wanted to be.  Just because I was surrounded by people who did not like other races or sexual preferences…did not mean that I had to feel that way.

I haven’t used racial slurs in over thirty years.  Unless I was quoting someone else or had specifically explained why I was going to use a particular word.  I have not used slurs about LGBTQ Community folks in almost as long.

As I have grown up and met all kinds of different people, I have learned about different kinds of people and what they have gone through and tried to learn to be sensitive toward these things so that I am not hurting people’s feelings, even by accident, by using certain words.

Am I perfect?  Hell no.  Am I always PC and never say anything offensive?  Hell no.  Do I make mistakes?  All the time.  It’s called being human.

Here’s where I have a problem.  At what point does all this Political Correctness and Sensitivity cross the line?  At some point, there is going to come a time when we cannot speak to each other at all because everything we say is going to offend someone, somewhere.  At some point, people are going to become so thin skinned, that the entire surface of the Earth is going to be covered in eggshells and none of us will be able to leave the house.

I will no longer be able to laugh at clowns because what if some people CHOOSE to wear their makeup that way?  That’s their choice and their right!  I can’t jokingly call my best friend “whore” (as we have done for years) because there might be a woman nearby who was forced into prostitution and she will get her feelings hurt.  I can’t laugh at the man wearing the hat so big that he had to turn his head sideways to get through the door because he MIGHT be poor and unable to afford a better hat.  It’s just too much.

If I am out in public in my bathrobe…it’s funny.  People are going to take my picture and laugh and possibly post that picture on the internet.  Will I be embarrassed?  Probably.  But geez people…it’s funny.  We all do things that are embarrassing and other people laugh at us.  For god’s sake…I worked at a Renaissance Festival for six years.  Do you know how amusing people find it that I am wearing couch fabric in the middle of a cow pasture in Texas pretending to be from 16th century Europe?  It’s funny!  Big deal.  Now…would it be ok for someone to come over and beat the crap out of me because I wore my bathrobe out in public?  No.  But to laugh at something that’s obviously odd?  What’s wrong with that?

I’m all for having a more sensitive world.  I’m all for ending racism, sexism, and discrimination in general. I’m all for letting people live their own lives and be who they want to be (as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else).  Marry who you want to marry.  Use the bathroom you feel comfortable in.  Wear what you like to wear.  I don’t care what color your skin is or what god(s) you believe in.  If you treat me with respect, I will treat you with respect.

If I do something ridiculous – laugh at me.  It’s funny.  If I wear something you think is crazy – laugh at it.  You have a right to your opinion…just like I have the right to wear my crazy outfit or do something ridiculous.  But let’s not go SO FAR into this politically correct, overly-sensitive world that we forget how to laugh.  Laugh at yourself…laugh at your friends.  We are humans and do dumb things and it’s funny.  Let your freak flag fly and if someone laughs at you…let them.  Understand that everyone has a right to their opinion and to live their life.  You being a weirdo might have been the best part of their entire day because you made them laugh.

Stop trying so hard to police everyone else for their language.  Worry about yourself.  If I have said something that offended YOU personally, come talk to me about it face to face or at the very least via a private conversation over email or the phone.  If you are my friend, know me well enough to know that I don’t purposely hurt or offend people.  So if you think I’ve done that, come talk to me about it.  But before you do…ask yourself if I have really done something that has hurt someone else or if I am just amused by things I see in the world.  Understand that there is a difference.  Understand that if we continue to take this PC thing too far…we are going to live in a miserable world, without laughter, and without humor because everyone is so busy being PC or policing other people.

As a friend of mine recently said, “Go find a real injustice and champion that!” 

You can’t make the world perfect.  It will never happen.  Pick your battles before the whole world becomes nothing BUT a battle.

Friday, June 17, 2016



When you get it...maybe leave a giggle?

Fresh powder gleams atop the peaks as evening arrives
A blank slate upon the ground
A world of my own, alone
Here I shall rule

The night air screams through the trees and my heart
And I fail to contain my thoughts, regardless of my valiant effort

Be not invaded, be hidden from their sight
Assume the propriety expected of you
Keep your face a mask of mystery…
Let there be confusion no more!

Set it free. Liberate thy soul
I can contain my heart no longer
Release my spirit, emancipate my heart
Be gone and the way be shut

I cease to be concerned
With the opinions of others
Allow hell its’ fury
I never feared it in the first place

Odd how the space between us
So lessens the weight of my plight
And the chains that held my heart still
Are shattered and fall away

The moment of my awakening has come
I shall rise above and conquer my fear
No restrictions upon my existence…I AM.

Set it free. Liberate thy soul
I can contain my heart no longer
Release my spirit, emancipate my heart
Be gone and the way be shut

I shall claim my place
I shall not be moved
Allow Hell its fury!

My energy builds and spreads to everything in reach
My essence rains upon all things that I survey
It is here that I truly realize
This is my place in the world
Nothing can change that

Set it free. Liberate thy soul
My heart shall no longer be moved
Release my spirit, emancipate my heart
The woman you knew is no more

I claim my place
Before all who may see
Allow Hell its fury
I never feared it in the first place

-Lynn Victory

Friday, April 22, 2016

Venting

Yeah…I’m gonna vent.  It’s angry…it’s negative…feel free to ignore.
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Yesterday was a crap day.  And I’m angry.  I’ve been angry for a while now.  Because I’m tired.  I’m tired of a lot of things.  I’m tired of being punished for having a work ethic.  By punished, I mean that I’m really tired of having a different set of expectations put on me because I actually work hard and do what I’m asked…while the slackers with no work ethic are allowed to slide by doing the bare minimum.  I’m tired of being treated differently.  I’m tired of being singled out in negative ways.  I don’t mind standing out in a crowd because I’ve done something well…but it sucks when that is taken for granted and it becomes what you’re EXPECTED to do when others don’t have as much expected of them.

I’m tired of know it all jackasses trying to tell me what to do or how to do it, especially when they have half the experience that I have…and no authority over me whatsoever…and last but certainly not least…WERE NOT ASKED FOR THEIR OPINION.

I’m tired of watching people get HANDED all the things I worked my ass off to get because they don’t want to have to work for it.  So they whine and cry and “poor me” and make people feel sorry for them and get handed things instead of having to earn them.  They get to work half-ass, part time jobs and then play the rest of the time…while I work my ass off for everything I have.

I’m tired of cry baby, whiny assed, entitled people who don’t appreciate anything they have and want everything handed to them.  I’m sick of people complaining constantly about tiny inconveniences when there are people in the world with ACTUAL problems.  I’m ready for these people to get over themselves and realize that if they want something, they should go work for it…not cry and stomp their feet until someone gives it to them.

I’m tired of being involved with a group where not everyone is treated the same although it’s claimed that they are all equal.  I’m tired of some people getting to do things that others don’t and lame ass excuses are made as to why.

I’m sick of being patronized and spoken to as if I’m an idiot or somehow a lesser human being.  Particularly by people who have a tiny bit of power and let it go to their head.

More than any of this…I’m tired of being angry and disappointed.  I’m tired of watching people get away with acting like idiots so that I get angry.  I’m tired of being disappointed by people’s actions and poor behavior.  It’s just exhausting.

I am trying really hard to let things go.  I keep chanting “Not my circus, not my monkeys” so much that it feels like it’s permanently etched in my brain.  But it’s just frustrating.  I don’t want to be angry anymore.  I’m trying to figure out what to do.  I’m trying to figure out how to fix it.  At some point, hopefully I’ll be able to make some changes and things will be better.  Until then, I just have to keep trying.  But I am just SO tired.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

On Words of Comfort

I am always fascinated by the things people say to comfort each other in bad times.  Things like “She’s in a better place” or “He is not in pain anymore”.  Things that are meant to comfort you…mostly because people don’t know what else to say and they know that no matter what they say, it’s not going to make you stop hurting.  Yet we still say the comforting things.  And I appreciate any comforting words that have ever been said to me in a time of sorrow.  No, they didn’t stop my pain but they made me feel loved and comforted and cared for and I really think that’s the point.

Now…when it comes to death, Christians truly have some lovely sentiments to comfort each other.  They talk about how the loved one is now “In Heaven” or “in the presence of the Lord” and sometimes “on a puffy cloud with a harp”.  These are all lovely images and comforting words and I have always enjoyed hearing them and hoped that they really did give comfort to the person hearing them.

As an agnostic, it doesn’t really hold a lot of meaning for me because I just don’t believe in any of that.  But I like the idea of it…and I like the thought of someone being comforted by it.

Thinking about all this today brings a couple of stories to mind that I felt like sharing.

For the record, I have not always been Agnostic.  There was a time when I tried very hard to believe everything the bible said and live my life as close to those guidelines as I could.  It was during this time that my grandfather died.  I was heartbroken.  I cried so hard at his funeral that I thought I was going to make myself sick.  Everyone was there with the comforting words about how he was “with the Lord” and “no longer in pain”…but none of that put a dent in the pain I felt about never seeing him again.  What finally brought me to a place where I could breathe again…were the comforting words of my son, who was three years old at the time.  We had just come out of the church and were getting in the car to drive to the cemetery.  I couldn’t get my seatbelt on and couldn’t get my keys into the ignition and nothing worked because my hands were shaking and my eyes were flooded.  My beautiful, blonde boy looked at me with his giant blue eyes and asked, “Momma, why do you crying?”  And I tried really hard to calm down and find something to say that wouldn’t scare him.  So I gently told him, “Baby…momma is sad because Papa had to go away and I’m not going to see him again for a long, long time.”  He looked at me then with knowing eyes and all the confidence his little face could hold…and he said to me…”But Momma…Papa’s in heaven, dancing with the angels.”

Now I don’t know if he heard this from someone else…or if this was just what he thought…but I had my first moment of comfort over the death of my beloved Papa.  I sat there and stared into the face of my sweet child…and an image popped into my head of my grandfather…dancing the jitterbug with a flushed faced angel, whose wings were whipping about as my Papa spun her across a dance floor made of clouds.  And for the first time in a few days, I laughed.  And I said “That’s right, baby...Papa is in Heaven, dancing…with the angels.”  And suddenly the keys fit into the ignition and the seatbelt worked and I could see to drive us safely to the cemetery.  I still hurt…and there were more tears on the way…but at that moment, I felt peaceful in that funny, and so very perfect image…given to me by a three year old…  And whether I believe in Heaven or angels or not…I still think of my Papa dancing with the angels.

A few years later, I had a moment where I needed some words of comfort for someone else.  It was an incredibly awkward moment with a complete stranger.  For those who don’t know, I am an actor at a Renaissance Festival.  A couple of my characters are devout Catholics so I occasionally have the opportunity to use some of these lovely, comforting words about Heaven.  At the time, I was playing a character whose husband had died.  When she spoke of him, she spoke wistfully and crossed herself.  On this particular day, I was talking to a patron and mentioned this husband and how much I missed him and “God Bless his soul”…etc…and her eyes suddenly welled up with tears and she covered her mouth with her hand.  I felt like the most terrible person in the world at that moment and I had no idea why.  She composed herself and leaned in and whispered raggedly to me that her husband had recently died.  I don’t know if she realized it…but when she said this, her hands reached out toward me.  I took her hands and proceeded to tell her that I was so sorry for having brought up that painful subject.  She just nodded at me.  I was in agony over this.  I was here to entertain this woman, not make her cry.  In that second, I remembered something I heard at the funeral of my very young cousin who had died from Cancer.  And I found myself saying these words to this woman in an effort to comfort her and try to undo what I’d done.  In a very soft British accent, I repeated the story I’d heard so long ago.  “My Lady, please forgive me.  I am so sorry for your loss.  You know…we are only the garden.  You see, our God is much like us.  When he has an important guest to dinner, he wants the most beautiful flowers on his table.  So He comes to us, His garden, and makes his selection.  He must have had a most important dinner to have need of such a lovely flower as your husband.  How honored he must have felt to be chosen to grace our Lord’s table.”  I imagine I had the most pleading look imaginable on my face at that moment.  I wanted nothing more than to comfort this woman.  She looked up at me and the look on her face was a look of surprise.  She smiled at me and said “Oh, how beautiful.”  She squeezed my hands.  “I had never thought of it that way.  You have just made my day.  Can I hug you?”  I threw my arms wide and said “Oh, yes please!” and it was my turn to get teary eyed.  She hugged me very tightly and when she let go, she was smiling.  “Miss….” She began and I filled in the blank with “Emma”.  “Miss Emma,” she said, “that is the sweetest thing anyone has said to me.  Thank you.  Thank you so much for that.”
I was smiling like my face was frozen and it was everything I had not to cry.  “It was my pleasure, My Lady”.  She squeezed my hand again and told me she was going to go find her daughter.  I told her I hoped she had a wonderful day and we parted ways.  I had to go backstage for a minute and get my head back together.  But I will never forget the look on her face.  I like to think it’s what I looked like when my son laid his little revelation on me in the church parking lot so many years before.  That moment of comfort in a few simple words of comfort.  That moment when you can breathe.

I recently attended the funeral of my boyfriend’s grandmother.  She was a lovely woman with a sassy wit and an infectious smile.  At the service, the officiate said something that struck a chord with me.  He said “We have not lost her.  We know exactly where she is.  She is in Heaven.  Something can’t be lost if you know where it is.”  I smiled at this.  What a lovely sentiment.  More of those beautiful and comforting words for those grieving the death of a loved one.  Words that make you stop and think.  Words that give you at least some small comfort in your sadness.  Those few little words that let you breathe again…when you feel like you will never breathe normally again.

It’s a beautiful thing that we, as humans, have such a strong desire to comfort each other.  To take away the pain of another.  That we don’t want those we love to suffer.  I find it interesting and lovely that to find the true light in humanity, you need only look in the darkest of places.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Color me shocked

I decided the other night that I really needed to color my hair.  It was only an hour and a half before I should be in bed…so I decided I had better do it quick.  I went and got the box from under the cabinet and dumped everything out and separated it.  I opened the instructions so I could get the plastic gloves out.  I opened one of the bottles…then realized I should probably actually put the gloves ON.  So I took off my rings and dropped them on the counter and put the gloves on.  I proceeded to mix everything and apply it.  Well…for the record, I’m doing all this for the first time in my new house.  So I was more careful than usual about getting hair color everywhere.  My bathroom usually looks a bit like a murder scene after I color my hair.  But this time I was pretty careful.  I cleaned up the few little dots I had gotten on the counter and boxed up the unused product.  I was pretty proud of myself.  Later, I rinsed and conditioned and all that…and with a towel on my head, I went back over to the countertop and reached to put my rings back on.  But there was only one.

I wear two stainless steel rings.  Each has the name of one of my grandchildren engraved into it.  I could find B’s ring…but not A’s.  So I moved things around and looked for it.  Then I proceeded to tear my bathroom counter apart and look down the sink and crawl about on the floor.  No ring.  Then it occurred to me that it might have fallen into the hair color box.  So I opened it up and gently pulled out the container of unused hair color and looked down into the box…and then I dropped the bottle.  My previous pride regarding how clean I had kept the bathroom melted away as I looked down to find hair color sprayed across my tile floor.  It was all over my legs, my foot, the floor, the cabinet, the WHITE bath mat, the shower door….OMG…it was everywhere.  I let out a stream of curses so very unladylike that a sailor might have raised his eyebrows at me.  I was so angry.

I went and got cleaning supplies and got everything up except one tiny dot that had stained the closet door…I guess I’ll have to paint that.  I crawled about the floor scrubbing the tile and moved the bath mat and got it all cleaned up.  And still no ring.

Frustrated, I grabbed the hair color box, which was now filled with unused product which had leaked out of the now broken applicator bottle.  I was afraid it would drip on my way to the trash can, so I took the bottle and rinsed it in the sink.  As I did this…it made a very odd noise.  I quickly took the applicator lid off and looked inside.  There was A’s ring.  INSIDE the applicator bottle.  I had apparently dropped the ring INTO the bottle when I took them off.  I apparently mixed the hair color and applied it…all with the ring inside the bottle.  I dumped it out and rinsed it…and it is perfectly fine.  No stains, no damage.

I could not have come up with this story…or done this again…in a million years.  I want to say that if I hadn’t dropped the bottle and made a mess, I might not have found the ring…but I really believe I would have at least shook the bottle and found it…but I don’t know.  That is seriously the craziest thing that has ever happened to me while coloring my hair.

I hope my granddaughter likes my hair color.  I feel like she was part of the process.  Get it?  Process?

Nevermind.