Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Who am I? The Return..

Hey there. It's been a while. Life has done a lot of shifting around, and I think I am finally back on my two feet again emotionally (for the most part). This year, and my time at college really, has been an enormous amount of growth and struggle to let myself really be brave and grow and stretch and trust myself. Over the last few days, I have begun to realize that my crazy mixed up childhood wasn't my fault (many of us have those crazy childhood stories). I am realizing for the first time, that I have been holding on to a lot of burden and baggage from my family that isn't mine to bear, and it has been weighing me down, impossibly, into the ground and creating underlying and debilitating anxiety and stress for me. I have a lot of fears in addition to all this that I have to overcome if I am going to make the most out of my time here on Earth, in life, and grow, become, and experience life the way that will be the most fulfilling, nourishing, healing and happy for me.

Among my many burdens, fear of strangers, perfectionism, and a lack of faith in myself or that things in life will work out in the end, I have managed for the first time to feel that I have started to find my footing. In some ways, I got sick of being afraid of things, and when I got a taste of freedom, loving myself and experiencing life as a big web of possibilities and experiences and memories to be had, I decided that focusing on that possibility made me feel so much stronger, more powerful and actually happy. I changed my major to Environmental Science, and right now I am beginning a year of catching up on Prerequisites for that major so that by next Fall, I should be able to join the major. There's a lot of stuff going on in life, but I have learned that focusing on the present is the only way to really accomplish anything. I would much rather relax and let life do its thing than try to force things, control things, or even worse, worry about all the things that could go wrong if  this or that or the other thing. It's a nightmare and it leads me down paths of despair and sadness. Not fun, and not worth it if I can manage to not do it. So much burden has been lifted from me with this mindset.

One of the main, and challenging things I have had to deal with and figure out is where I stand with my religion.. In many ways, I got sick of how in religion, things have to fit certain categories or be a certain way in order to "work" or "find salvation". I believe very strongly in the spirit and mystery of God and Christ, but the construct of religion itself, I think is very broken, as people are broken and there are aspects of the church that I find myself disagreeing with; mainly the shaming of sexuality outside of the confines of marriage. It has been so important for me to understand everything that I believe in the faith and agree with it. Cognitive dissonance made me go crazy when I fell in love with a young man who wasn't religious, probably never will be, and has no reason to be. I listen to his story with so much love and understanding, and I let it make me think about my beliefs and how they fit together. I decided that I don't like the idea of a God who is selective about who he sends his grace to. I love this guy. I know he is a beautiful person and I see God in him in many ways even though he doesn't believe in God. I want to believe in a God who would be willing to save him (send him to Heaven) for the good things he has done and does even if he lives his life in a completely non-religous way. His non-religious way, I believe is one of the most loving ways I have ever seen someone chose to believe and act. He doesn't need anything in order to do good for others. He doesn't need the idea that a God will reward him for it. He would rather just do good to do good. He has had so many encounters with religious people which have been negative and not God-like or loving so it is reasonable and understanding why he chooses to not follow a main religion.

Another reason why I have found myself disagreeing with the church is on sexuality. I had a lot of conflict when I was in a relationship with this person because I wanted to do the "right" thing so badly for my religion and in my church, for God, but my heart was telling me that a sexual relationship with this person was completely out of love and respect in a way that I had never experienced. It gave me hope for the world and my future. It also made me realize that I didn't agree with the rigid ideas of sexuality that the church teaches because it was somehow implying that God (or love) could only be between people in their sexual relationships in the confines of marriage.

Marriage is a flawed idea; has become a flawed thing; because people idolize marriage when the relationship is the part that matters. The stages between dating and marriage and things like that have too big a line in religion that I think hinders the process and makes it unhealthy. I do believe in sexual compatibility. That's not to say that sexuality can not be learned together as a couple. I think that is something that will always be a learning process for any couple. However, being comfortable with your own sexuality, I think is something that is important for anyone in order to learn how to truly love yourself and understand how high your standards should be and how deserving of respect you are.
Shame or guilt are not things that I believe should be in the realm of sexuality unless people are harming each other with it by cheating, manipulating, harassing or pressuring.  This is an important distinction for what I believe constitutes a loving relationship and a non-loving one. It is also really important to not put sexuality on a pedestal because it is important to be able to focus on other, more important things in life, and other, more important things in your relationship. Sex should never be used to build connection where there isn't one because I believe that is something that can be harmful to your soul, but consensual, healthy sexual relationships, I think are maybe even important in learning what love is and how to love in life, especially when it involves masturbation.

Religious differences, aside, I love this person very much. He has been a shining light in my life and has taught me so so much about love and how to grow up, love myself, be positive and shed the weight of the past and the burdens of others.

He and I have been just friends for the last few months. The longer the months go by, the more I feel like I am growing up and realizing just how much I care about and appreciate this young man for everything he is. We do have our differences, and sometimes it feels like there's no way we could be truly right for each other if we ever got back together again because those differences feel so vast, and yet, we keep each other around, we take care of each other. We are companions in the truest sense that I have ever felt before. We are friends. And friendship is the strongest, truest kind of love.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Dear Love

Calm always seems to find you when you let yourself time for contemplative prayer. I know you feel like an outsider when it comes to church communities. You are a special snowflake, but the truth is, everyone is, especially those who are true to themselves, and you don't have to be any different than your true self to fit into a church community or find yourself truly an Orthodox Christian.

You are taking on some really huge life hurdles and tasks right now, but you are doing them out of love. You are brave and strong. I believe in you. Remember to not doubt your abilities and your worthiness to find true love. You have found a beautiful gift of a treasure in your life right now. Do what you can to make it blossom but if it is time for it's petals to fall, do not despair. Turn to God because he has a plan for you.

I know you live in a world full of people who are of different faiths and religions. It can be confusing and hard to find your way, but don't turn to others to find yourself and what you believe. Look inward, instead. Your new goals are so huge, they feel impossible, but you have love on your side. You may learn something huge and new about yourself, and you may grow so immensely with your partner.

Take the time to breathe. Take in each moment. Remember that you are enough, that your breath is enough, and you have enough. God has given you enough and he will continue to give you enough as long as you put your trust and hope in Him.

When you are feeling skeptical, desperate, impatient or sad, turn to the Lord and ask for his help. He wants us to turn to Him because he wants to give us the peace we seek. He will work things out and help to soften your heart. The way to peace is to let go of control and fear and let it find its way to you.

When you feel that hope for the future is feeble and impossible, pray and call upon St. Xenia to pray for you. She will ask God to intercede for you and your future that you will have your needs of a partner provided to you.

Be patient, love, because God has true love and peace planned for you. When your faith dwindles, let yourself sit and meditate on the Holy Spirit and the reason you always continue to believe, even when you aren't sure of life or yourself. Let that reason ground you and grow.

Christ is Risen!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Once Upon a Time I offended an older generation woman by talking about my menstrual cycle publicly on Facebook

Today my menstrual is cup was one million times easier, cleaner, more sustainable and comfortable than any other collection method. I want to shout it out to all the world!
# advocate

Now, about my title;
I understand that some people come from older generations and have different, more conservative views about things like menstrual cycles, however talking about my menstrual cycle is not the same as talking about my sex life. A menstrual cycle is something that 50% of the human population in the world biologically experience as a normal part of everyday life (not to mention the females of other species).
However, a sex life is very personal, intimate and special across many cultures.

I understand if someone was offended or uncomfortable because I spoke out about my sex life. Speaking out about menstruation, however, I don't believe is done enough.

There is no excuse to be ashamed or try to hide things about menstruation. We need education and communication. Not perpetuation of making a natural bodily function taboo. Why was it taboo in the first place? Mis-information, Misunderstandings, and sexism.

Continuing this endless cycle will only make things worse for women across the globe and for nature and our environment and the planet we live in, not better.

That is why I believe it has to be broken by brave young progressive feminists like me, or really, any brave young soul who wants to see positive change for women and respect for their natural state in our society and culture. #advocate for education and female pride in our natural states!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

On The Topic of The Political Climate and Facebook

When somebody says they aren't political or they don't do politics,  I get it,  I understand,  but I also don't.  It is true that you have to pick your battles and some people just don't care to put energy into things like politics.  That's fair.  I appreciate that and even somewhat envy the ability for people to truly pick their battles and allocate their energy well.  However,  there is something to be said about the importance of being able to have discourse.  People are afraid of fighting,  of confrontation, of being wrong,  losing friends,  being singled-out or looking like a fool.  That is very understandable.  To be true,  being honest and open about your beliefs takes a lot of courage and to be fair,  most of us don't have all that much knowledge on all of these topics that people are discussing. I understand the feeling of not wanting to engage in conversation about things that I don't feel well equipped to discuss.  So,  not everyone has good evidence or things to back up their arguments. I still think everyone's opinions are valid and things can and should be discussed with others.

It takes a lot of courage to stand up and speak out about what you believe.  No matter what,  you will never fully understand everything in the world that you want to understand, but having the bravery speak up and speak out for people or things you believe in anyway is something that I think is extremely important.

I am someone who tends to be very opinionated and passionate about things.  I tell people how it is and how I see it.  I don't believe in sugar-coating.  But I also don't hold grudges or hold things personally to myself. I love people.  No matter how messed up they are or where they went wrong or confused,  I genuinely love and care about people and I tend to be someone who gives second and third and fourth chances. I like forgiveness and I value having friends from all different backgrounds with all different beliefs.  I understand that there is no such thing as a perfect person.  I have issues too.  We all have issues with pride and bias. That is an important thing to acknowledge.

I don't feel bad or guilty or the need to censor myself.  If I say something that offends you,  it is not a personal attack.  If I say something you disagree with,  I would like to hear why you disagree.  If I say something rude,  please forgive me,  but don't be afraid to engage in conversation with me. 

Let me repeat.  I don't hold grudges.  It's a waste of my time and energy.

I think people have a problem with making their opinions their identity.  It's not. There's a reason I posted a post on Facebook recently that a women divorced her husband for voting for Trump. The truth is,  that our opinions, and political for example, show something about us and our morals and values.  I appreciated that post because when someone votes for a candidate,  they are making a statement that they can over-look the faults of that person for the greater good.  When someone's faults are raping women and spreading a sexist culture,  I think that's a pretty clear line of something that should not be over-looked. Being a person who can over-look something like that tells you something about their character. Either they aren't really taking it seriously or genuinely thinking about the facts of what kind of person that candidate or political representative is,  or they are thinking that whatever political agenda that candidate has will be worth the occasional rape or spread of rape culture,  or they genuinely don't believe those evil  things that candidate does and says to be true. 
(oh btw,  I am talking about Trump)

I am not going to hate you as a person if you voted for said candidate.  I am not going to judge your soul as some horrible person. Good people do bad things or make bad decisions and vice versa. Clearly something is going on in your head that I am not experiencing,  nor can I fathom.  And that's okay.  I can still live with it and care about you as a person.  Respecting you as a person does not entail me to respect your decisions or beliefs.  If I tell you your beliefs are fucked up,  suck it up.  That's not a personal attack on you,  nor a personal threat.  That is a statement against your beliefs or decisions. 

Please stop perpetuating this idea that it is wrong to speak out about what you believe in.  I personally value people who have the courage and passion to speak out about what they believe in because it means they are willing to get a response and reaction from others and expect that most of them may not be in favor.  That is okay.  I don't care. And don't complain about people who speak out because they aren't threatening you.  They are helping to start conversations that need to be started in order to create growth and change. 

Thank you

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Breasts, Babies, and Sexuality

An instinct for me was to consider breasts to be sexual and when babies breastfeeding wasn't,  there was something not lining up that I had to contemplate.

What I realized is breasts are sexual and that is okay.  Babies breastfeeding is innocent and that is okay.  Both can be there because sexuality can be pure of heart. Loving and innocent just like a suckling infant is truly innocent at its core.

The problem was that what we think of as sexual is not how sexuality is meant to be. We think (what I mean here is: our society perpetuates an attitude) of sex from an almost strictly lustful perspective where even when we don't acknowledge it, women and their bodies are play things; toys to be played with by their partner; something naughty.  And so thinking about a child sucking from a breast feels unnatural and uncomfortable.
To be real,  we have it all backwards with what is natural.  Breasts were made to feed babies.  Humans are the only animals that have breasts when they are not nursing a child,  so I think it's safe to say that breasts are also for pleasure and connection with a partner; but how can those two things have a common ground?  Nurturing, comforting, giving,  loving.

It is sad that popular culture has made women and their bodies into sex toys. Breasts are twisted into disgusting sex toys and not seen as their true nurturing selves.  Breasts are nurturing.  Nurturing of love,  husbands and babies.  Not "sex toys", but a part of the human body. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Valentines Day 2017

When you only realize the night before that you have been actively pretending Valentines Day isn't a thing because the thought of anything otherwise gives you anxiety. But now it's too late,  alas,  in  your face.  Cheers to love. 

When you're behind on everything in life but you pretend that you're not because it makes you anxious. Don't. It makes you more anxious.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Concerning Religiousness and Science or facts

A friend of mine gave me really good advice a number of days back.  He said...  It doesn't matter whether it is true or not. The continuities are not important.  The continuities are what start wars and hate. If your belief inspires you to love and peace and kindness and makes you happy,  then you should believe it.  Don't let yourself get hung up on the specifics and details.

I gave him a big hug.

This was special to me because last quarter,  I had been facing a lot of trials and personal criticism due to conversations with friends about religion and science which got me thinking,  perhaps a little to critically and harshly about myself and my faith. It really brought me down a lot more for a lot longer than it probably should have. The truth is, my biggest trial is perhaps my insecurity.