I've been putting a lot of thought into this and still don't have any definitive answers, no firm solutions, no absolute make-it-better's. I don't have wholesale offerings for the rest of the world... all I can do is to find my own peace, and as part of that spread it about myself.George Bush was elected. He shouldn't have been. We'll never know, but inside I believe that the election was stolen. He is a bad bad bad man, surrounded by evil men and women, and if any good comes from his time in office it will be purely accidental, collateral benefit. After the election I felt poisonous bile, venom of a sort that hurt me as I spewed it out and which colored and characterized me to those who read my writings. I found myself to be saying and writing things that could have come out of Ann Coulter's mouth, and she's a viper. [Do your own Google search to learn about her - I got sick just now poking around reading her quotes.] I can't go on like that. For years now I've been an active daily participant in the rough and tumble political discussion forum at 3 Way Action, an international bulletin board that Jane first introduced me to. The board in general has become a comfortable community where I have many friends - many very good friends. I've also alienated some folks there with some of my comments. At first, I was too outspoken on sexual matters - imagine that - but I've behaved myself on that for some time. Occasionally, however, I've gotten too pointed in my political discussions, and have had to take a time out for a week or so. Mix together a wordsmith who can sculpt words sharper than a scalpel, with the level of disillusionment I have following this election, and blood gets spilled. A week ago the webmistress asked me to take a week time out and I gave myself a two week, just on general principles. I have to give myself emotional breathing room. I can't become Them. When I return to the discussion forum I'll be paying more attention to my blood pressure and will be looking to be less extreme. If I let them turn me into an Ann Coulter, They've won. I can't just miracle myself to enlightenment and tranquility. It's going to be a long series of baby steps. Some of the baby steps I've been considering ... The last year or two my radio has been on the 24 hour news station. I've switched it over to KEXP, which I heartily recommend to everyone. The music is listener driven and much of it is blues, international, folk, and other fairly organic stuff. You can listen anywhere in the world on the net. They rarely have news. Come springtime I'll have to switch back and forth with the Mariners' station, but for now it's nice. I took the "Veteran's For Kerry" bumper sticker out of the back window of the car and put back up the Gaia Consort bumper sticker: "Dance Naked - Body Modesty is a Social Disease". I'm looking for my well thumbed copy of Starhawk's "The Fifth Sacred Thing", which is the book that helped me recover my spirituality in the 90's. The conflict in the novel is actually quite like the one in America today - an ugly expansionist military dictator being confronted by a nation of non-violent hippies and witches. I've probably given away half a dozen copies of the book over the years and if I don't find my copy I'll go buy another - there are lessens there to be learned and relearned. I told Ealain the other day that I plan on starting a Yoga For Dummies class of some sort after the first of the year. She has studied both yoga and butoh and has had very complimentary things to say about what they've done for her. The joints they are a'hurting, and I think I need stretching to build any sort of exercise program on. I have to make the body healthier and happier. I have good reason to want to live a long time, and this sounds like step zero before I move onto step one and two. I've subscribed to Michael Moore's newsletter, because I want to keep hearing what he has to say. I have a pretty good bullshit filter for his excesses, but a certain percentage of what he has to say is in the right neighborhood. All things considered, though, I don't want to be as bitter as Moore gets. If I can keep as aware of the dangers the religious right pose to the Bill of Rights as possible without being Michael Moore bitter, I'll be where I want to be. As well I get the mailings now from the ACLU, and will be sending them money as I can. The same thing goes for the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom, which does very important work, as does the Pride Foundation and Lambert House - which has lost much of it's funding recently. Years ago, when Catsy first told me that he was bisexual - and I did the same to him - I dropped him off from time to time at Lambert House, so that he could spend time with peers. A friend of mine is on the board now, and I plan on upping my donations. These are all fine places, doing good work which will be absolutely neglected during any Bush administration. Please consider them - and and their local counterparts in your own community - in your own plans. There is more - personal things. Self inventory. Looking at an existential polaroid snapshot of myself. Finding more acceptance of myself as I am. I am a queer middle-aged man. I am a man in love. I am a man with a wealth of experiences. I am a man with a wealth of faults. I am a man with strengths. I am a man with opinions. I am a man with insights. I am a man with hopes. I am a man with a belly. I'm a man with a beard. I am who I am. I need to stop apologizing for who and what I am, and I need to stop fooling myself that I will grow up to be what I thought I would as a child. I am who I am. Then there are the little things - baby steps each in their own way - that help make it a better world. Instead of walking past the guy outside the store selling Real Change, buy a copy. Make an agreement with your partner that your sex today is dedicated to peace, and then whoop it up and when your head is spinning and endorphins zinging, send that energy off in the direction of someplace constructive - my old Orgasms For Peace program. Smile at a stranger - tell someone to keep the change - buy more organic - double your tip for no good reason - hell, make your own list. Just don't let the fuckers win. Life is good.
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