15 January, 2017

The Seven Loves

My grade 13 Classical Civilizations course with Rev. ("Uncle Rog") Roger McCombe affected me more than the rest of my high school classes put together.
We learned a lot about the ancient Greeks and Romans in that course, but we learned even more about ourselves. He was one of the great teachers: passionate enough to jump up on desks and stomp around ("A.D. DOES NOT STAND FOR AFTER DEATH!", he would scream); compassionate enough to offer free hugs to anyone who needed them (and many of us, girls and boys both, took advantage).

Some time before my OAC year, I had decided my purpose in life was to love. This wasn't something I could have articulated so baldly back then; in fact, "decided" is may be a bit of a stretch. I was at the very beginning of the process of taking on my Aspect and raising up my Attribute. It's a process that is ongoing today.

But one particular week of Classical Civ classes kick-started that purpose in earnest. It was the week we covered the four loves.

Greek, we were taught, had four words for love:

  • eros, lustful and passionate love;
  • philia, comradely love;
  • storge, familial love; 
  • agape, selfless love for everyone (translated into Latin as caritas. whence comes the word "charity"). 
It was clear to us students that four words for love made a hell of a lot more sense than one. I have always found it ludicrous that "I love you" and "I love black forest cake" use the same verb. The more I learned about the Greeks, the more I empathized with them. 
Take their religious pantheon, for instance. Their gods and goddesses are clearly humans writ large, with glaringly human flaws and vulnerabilities. The Christian God is the same, but it's blasphemous to even think so. (God's flaws? Read the OT thoroughly and just try to tell me He's not the Prime Asshole. Vulnerability? Like any god, lack of belief. He knows it, too, which is why worship is so important to Him. Needy, clingy, jealous God. He even admits as much (Exodus 20:5)--but also devotes not one but two Commandments to coveting. 

I filed all that away for future study, but in the meantime decided these Greeks were on to something. And so I listened closely when Uncle Rog told us that they did not value Eros highly. Many schools of Greek philosophy prized self-control, and lust is known for the lack of it. 
That revelation resonated with teenage me. I was a walking tripod long before this point: if you were female and shared a class with me, you shared a hell of a lot more in my dreams, going all the way back to fourth grade. But I recognized self-control as a prime virtue (son of a cop), and so...right there you have the root of my disdain for pure lust.

Philia, the love we have for our friends, was, by contrast, very highly valued. It was exemplified by sacrifice, by sharing of emotions, and by loyalty.  I have tried very hard, with varying degrees of success, to  embody this quality. 

Storge, love for family, is a subset of philia, and here I admit I have trouble. Even now.
It's not that I don't love my family. I do. At least my close blood relatives. But all around, my family is so scattered and fractured. There are many, many rifts, some of which I know the source of, others of which I have no clue, and trying to bring them together involves a lot more energy than I have. Selfish of me, I admit. But coupled with this underlying sense I have had since my teens that "my family" and "my tribe" don't necessarily overlap...I find  storge harder to practice than other forms of love.

Agape is the purest form of love. I have a friend on Facebook -- she's the godmother of my nieces--who IS agape, as far as I'm concerned. Every day for the past several months, she has taken three names from her voluminous friend list, handwritten a paragraph praising the qualities of each, concluded that paragraph with "I love you", and posted a photo of her paragraphs. Something tells me she'd be able to do the same thing on short notice with total strangers. I aspire to her level. 

Further research uncovered three more words the Greeks had for love, and all of them have a bearing on the way I love today. 
  • ludus, playful love;
  • pragma, longstanding, mature love. (Pragma in Greek  also means 'deed', from which we get 'pragmatic'.)
  • philautia, self-love, which was subdivided into a harmful variety akin to narcissism and a highly beneficial variety that Buddhists would recognize as 'self-compassion'. Ultimately, of course, to love yourself is to love others, because on a very high spiritual level...there are no others. We are all one.
 Ludus is the kind of affection shown by children and new lovers. It's free-spirited, energetic and bright. Add a touch of eros to ludus and you have what mono people call "falling in love" and 
poly people often call NRE ("new relationship energy"). 
Incidentally, I never said I didn't feel eros, nor that it doesn't have value to me. It's only when it's alone that I distrust it. 
NRE lasts one to three years, and it's a powerful, powerful bonding agent. And oh, is it a beautiful ride. With nurturing and time. it hopefully turns into

Pragma, which is ORE--"old relationship energy". I have this with Eva. This is not "falling" in love. This is "standing" in love. Precious metals come in ores: ORE is precious. It may not have the shininess of ludus, but it has a deep respect, admiration, tolerance, and loving peace. 

One of many nice things about polyamory is being able to give, and receive, so many different forms of love at the same point in time; to give each partner the sort of love that matters most to them. Another wonderful thing is the realization, common in poly and rare elsewhere, that love evolves over time. How many marriages fall apart when the NRE abates? So unnecessary. 

And finally we come to philautia, self-love. I struggled with this mightily for the longest time. It took really recognizing all the love in my life for what it was and is--and I'm currently experiencing all six varieties, several of them hugely--for me to actually recognize a truth I've been espousing about others for decades. 

I am loveable, too. 








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07 January, 2017

Honesty Is Such A Lonely Word

(with extra added bonus material, because I ramble on)
________

I can always find someone
To say they sympathize
If I wear my heart out on my sleeve
But I don't want some pretty face
To tell me pretty lies
All I want is someone to believe
--"Honesty", Billy Joel

A good friend of mine recently wrote a blog about honesty, or rather dishonesty, and her experiences with it in a romantic context.

I have been very lucky to have had honest lovers in my life. (The dishonest ones just lie there...sorry, I had to). Even the one who cheated on me never bothered to lie about it. It just never came up.

I think I'm pretty honest, as people go. I wasn't always. I went through the usual two stages of lying: first, when I discovered it was a thing, and second, about ten years later when truths sometimes became hard to face or express.

That second stage lasted a lot longer than it should have. My parents gave me the standard admonition, that I might get in trouble for something I'd done, but the trouble would be three times worse if I lied about doing it. And I'd hear them, and then I'd do something guaranteed to get me in trouble, and I'd remember what they said... and decide they were lying about it. Every...single...time.
And I'd get in trouble, and lots more trouble for lying (because damnit, the truth would always out)...and I'd convince myself that I would have gotten in just as much trouble without the lie. Or I'd tell myself that the days or weeks that went by before they discovered my dishonesty were worth the price. Highly illogical, that. But hands up, all none of you who think I'm logical.

The last lie I perpetuated was the greatest of them. It was a lie by omission. I just..somehow...didn't tell them I dropped out of university in disgrace.

_________

I think I'll come clean on that here, now. I've alluded to some of it through this blog's history, and some of it is lost in the mists of whatever the hell happened to my life in the decade of grunge, but...well, here goes.

God, it's hard to even describe what I felt, back then. Or didn't.

The numbness wasn't there initially. I still (mostly) enjoyed the classroom, although I certainly did skip more than a few classes, because, well, because I could.

Second year, this thing called the internet arrived on campus. I can't put all the blame on the net and my getting enmeshed in it...that would be...a lie. Oh, the net had a pull, and that pull grew irresistible to me as time went on, but my classes were pushing me, too.
Geography started with the TA showing us a globe and asking us to point out the equator. Really? I thought.  Grade four again? Not long after that there was a 20-25 page essay assigned...by far the longest piece of assigned writing I'd ever had to do. I agonized over that, trying to amass 22 or so pages of original material, lightly salted with supporting citations.
I think it got a C-. I was not impressed. I'd put a lot of effort into that thing. I was even less impressed when an A paper was handed around. Twenty four pages, and maybe...MAYBE...eight of them were original content. One page had, get this, fourteen footnotes.  Well, fuck, I thought. Isn't that plagiarism? I mean, not really, it's all cited neat as you please, but...I thought I was writing an ESSAY, not...gathering pieces of everyone else's essays. 
Wait, it gets better.
How would you react to a professor scrawling on the first page of a twelve page essay, "your thesis is wrong, I don't need to read any further"? With a nice fat D next to it?
I lost my nut, I don't mind telling you. Essay: from the French essayer, "to try", as in, "to try and prove a thesis". At least fucking read my effort. And it's Old English we're talking about here, not exactly a cutting edge field with new theories advanced every other week.  Oh, wait a minute. I had dared to use sources which contradicted the professor's own published work. We must always remember, class, that The Professor Is Always Right.

Any number of other classes featured (?) the professor reading the textbook to us. Verbatim. You know what? I can do that in my dorm room. Why am I paying $1632 in tuition so a professor can read a textbook to me? Especially one I had to buy, at a hideous markup?

Then there was the case of The Philosophy of Love, Sex, and Friendship. I was, as you could probably imagine, drawn to that class somehow. Actually, I wanted to re-write a high school essay and get the opinion of one of those divine tenured entities.

It was a night class, 7pm to 10pm. The first night, I was ill. Legitimately ill, no word of a lie (I haven't quite lost sight of this blog's theme, give me a few more paragraphs). I horked and snuffled and woozed my way to class, and what to my bleary aching eyes should appear but a syllabus. A pile of them, actually, a serendipitous stack of syllabi. No sign of a prof yet. I looked at the pile, wondering if I was going to puke, shit myself, or maybe both...and that decided me. I grabbed it and snorked, wuffled and hoozed my way back to my dorm.
Safely back to Mac 2 West and -- probably the next morning -- a little more in corpore sano, if not quite compos mentis, I studied my souvenir of what turned out to be my one and only visit to that classroom.
It had everything. The details of the assigned reading for each week. Essay topics, with due dates. A note that essays should be handed in to the professor's mailbox, and they would be returned in his outbox within a week. Even the date, time and location of the final exam.
And lo and behold, I saw how I could tweak my high school essay to incorporate a given topic.
A crazy thought was sent up. Why go to class?
So I didn't.
For thirteen weeks.
I walked into that final exam not having the slightest clue what it would look like (the syllabus had been inexplicably silent on this point).

B+ for the class, overall. A-, for my essay.

I am not bragging. Understand me? I AM NOT BRAGGING. I don't think what I did should be possible to do. I find it ludicrous that I did it. If you can do that, it's a pretty short leap to just paying the money and getting the credential. It was a joke. A joke at my (very great) expense. University, it was turning out, was a pack of lies. University teaches critical thinking. BULLSHIT. University teaches you to swallow the utterings of the professor whole, then regurgitate them later the same way. You should spend your first year in residence. No, not unless you're majoring in Hangover, you shouldn't.
I hear they have quiet floors now. Imagine that. I couldn't, not when I was stuck in the middle of what may as well have been Animal House. Our room was an oasis of calm in a bedlam, but said bedlam had a way of  washing in on the boozy tide entirely too often.

So, yeah. Add the Internet to that sense that going to class was a waste of time and....let's just say after a while I stopped caring. About much of anything. The Barenaked Ladies were huge, then, and I seized on this stanza from "What A Good Boy":

I go to school, I write exams
If I pass, if I fail, if I drop out, does anyone give a damn? 
And if they do, they'll soon forget
'Cause it won't take much for me to show my life ain't over yet

Well, I can't say I've done fuck-all professionally with my life. But you know what? I'm happy. Very much so. And I feel like I have a purpose now. Which didn't come from the hallowed halls of Wilfrid Laurier University.

 But no, I didn't tell my parents I dropped out. I accomplished that by basically dropping out of life for a period of several months, after which neither of them brought it up. What was the point? It was all pointless. All of it.

I should have told the truth. I should have told the truth as soon as I felt the pull of the abyss. Mom, John, these classes are stupid and -- you'll find this even more stupid, but, well, you know your computer upstairs? You can connect it to ALL the other computers. And all the people behind them. And it's the most amazing thing in the history of amazing things. 

But I didn't. Because it would have meant a talk about the huge waste of money that first and second year had been, and I couldn't stomach that, not when I had already shocked and deeply disappointed them by blowing through TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS IN EIGHT MONTHS on such necessities as pinball, endless meals out, and phone bills, among countless other things. That was how I thought you filled a soul-hole, back then. With stuff.

How wrong I was.

___________

Lies, even Great Lies, aside, I've always had the urge to tell not just the truth, but too much of the truth. It can scare people, the depth of my feeling on short notice, for instance. Not disclosing that...is that tantamount to lying? I actually wrestle with questions like that, now.

Probably the best treatise on lying I've ever read comes from my favourite work by Robert A. Heinlein, To Sail Beyond The Sunset. I'm going to quote here at length, because even though this is set in the early years of the last century, the parental attitude here is precisely and exactly MINE.

This is an excerpt of a conversation between the heroine of the story and her father, who had asked her to formulate a personal Ten Commandments. (Parents: try this with your teen. I dare you.) They get to the Eighth Commandment:

Maureen: Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. Until you corrupted me -‘
Her father: ‘Who corrupted whom? I am the epitome of moral rectitude... because I know exactly why I behave as I do. When I started in on you, you had no morals of any sort and your behaviour was as naively shameless as that of a kitten trying to cover up on a bare floor.'
 ‘Yes, sir. As I was saying, until you corrupted me, I thought the ninth commandment meant: Don't tell lies. But all it says is, if you have to go into court and be a witness, then you have to tell the truth.'
‘It says more than that.'
‘Yes. You pointed out that it was a special case of a general theorem. I think the general case ought to read: Don't tell lies that can hurt other people -‘
 ‘Close enough.'
 ‘Father, you didn't let me finish.'
‘Oh. Maureen, I beg your pardon. Please go on.'
 ‘I said, "Don't tell lies that can hurt other people" but I intended to add, "- but since you can't guess ahead of time what harm your lies may do, the only safe rule is not to tell any lies at all."
Father said nothing for quite a long time. At last he said, ‘Maureen, this one we will not dispose of in an afternoon. A liar is worse to have around than a thief... yet I would rather cope with a liar than with a person who takes self-righteous pride in telling the truth, all of the truth and all of the time, let the chips fall where they may - meaning "No matter who is hurt by it, no matter what innocent life is ruined." Maureen, a person who takes smug pride in telling the blunt truth is a sadist not a saint. There are many sorts of lies, untruths, fibs, nonfactual statements, et cetera. As an exercise to stretch the muscles of your mind -
‘The mind has no muscles.'
 ‘Smarty. Don't teach Grandma how to steal sheep. Your mind has no muscles and that's what I'm trying to correct. Try to categorise logically the varieties of not-true statements. Having done so, try to decide when and where each sort may be used morally, if at all... and if not, why not. That should keep you out of mischief for the next fourteen, fifteen months.'
 ‘Oh, Father, you´re so good to me!'
‘Stop the sarcasm or I'll paddle your pants. Bring me a preliminary report in a month or six weeks.'
‘Thy will be done. Papa, I do have one special case. "Don't tell fibs to Mother lest thy mouth be washed out with lye soap." ‘ ‘Correction: "Don't tell any fibs to your mother that she can catch you in." If you ever told her the ungarnished truth about our private talks, I would have to leave home. If you catch Audrey spooning with that unlikely young cub who's been calling on her, what are you going to tell your mother?'
Father took me by surprise on that one. I had indeed caught Audrey spooning... and I had an uneasy suspicion that there had been something more than spooning - and it worried me.
‘I won't tell Mother anything!'
‘That's a good answer. But what are you going to tell me? You know that I don't have your mother's moralistic and puritanical attitudes about sex, and you know - I hope you do - that I won't use anything you tell me to punish Audrey but to help her. So what do you-tell your father?'
I felt walls closing in on me, caught between loyalty to Father and my love for my oldest sister, who had always helped me and been good to me.
‘I... I will... I won't tell you a durn thing!'
 ‘Hooraw! You took the hurdle without even ticking the top rail. Dead right, dear one; we don't tell tales out of school, we don't confess on behalf of someone else. But don't say "durn". If you need it, say "damn".'
 ‘Yes, sir. I won't tell you a damn thing about Audrey and her young man.'

That. That is gold star parenting, right there. And pretty durn...pretty DAMN...fine advice about lying.







06 January, 2017

Man Up

Oh, did this article ever piss me off.

"Dear feminists", it starts, and no good ever came of a beginning like that. "Male vulnerability isn't a virtue."

I know what's coming, said my blood, as it started to surge most unpleasantly. Somewhere in here I'm going to see the words 'man up'.

There are good reasons why generations of fathers have taught their sons to “man up,” and it’s not because young boys are blank canvases on which the patriarchy can paint its oppression. It’s because men in general have essential natures that are different from women. We tend to be more aggressive, more energetic, and less nurturing than women...

Oh, where to start, where to start. How about at the beginning?

I cried a lot as a kid. Too much, really. I don't mean to belabour the point I've made over and over and over again, that other people's pain always seemed as if it was my own, and even the destruction of inanimate objects caused me to break down.

There were a very few other kids in my orbit when I was a young child, and I was raised to be on my best behaviour when I (a) was a guest or (b) had guests. Once school started, though, and I was exposed to other children's unthinking (and sometimes very much thinking) cruelties, well, the waterworks ran overtime. Which became a perpetual cycle. What do we do with the crybaby who cries? Make him cry harder. Cry, crybaby, cry.

Vulnerable. I was the very definition of it. And yes, I got the "stop crying or I'll give you something to cry about". Girls get that too, I'm told, but not with quite the same threat level.

Because boys don't cry, right? It's unmanly. Boys shouldn't express their feelings, because that's weak. Also gay, and that's even worse.

I want to talk about that for a second.

I have had family question my sexuality in hushed undertones I wasn't meant to hear. That questioning has come (I'm led to believe) because of my sensitivity.

Ha.

I know gay guys who are the furthest thing from sensitive. And watch gay porn sometime...the word "sensitive" doesn't (ahem) enter into it.
I have never had cause to question my sexuality overmuch, despite entirely too many of my peers doing it for me. My parents whispering about it made me more angry than questioning. Because just like the other kids, they didn't seem to understand me.

I was really close to a man named Kieron in grade 13. We spent a lot of time together; he even came up north to my dad's place, something only two other people before Eva have had the honour of doing. I wrote in my diary at some point that year that being around him gave me a very warm, comfortable feeling...while explicitly disavowing any sexual attraction. I made the mistake of telling my mom and stepdad about that feeling. Well, you'd think I brought home a signed first edition of The Confirmed Homosexual's Guide to Fellatio, or something.

See, feelings for other guys -- even platonic feelings -- are still feelings, and therefore they're part of the subset of things you don't talk about if you're a man.  No matter what.  Domestic abuse around you? Dying sibling? And yeah, those horrible, pernicious gay thoughts? Turn It Off.

Maybe that's why male suicide rates are 1.3 to three times higher than those for females. You don't have to hold a Master's degree in psychology to figure out that bottling up your feelings out of some engendered need to appear 'strong' has disastrous consequences.

Back to the article.

Here is the key question — what better equips a man to confront a difficult and challenging world? Is it more tears? Or is it more toughness? Is it teaching men to be compassionate or to be objects of compassion? The vulnerable male’s cry is “help me.” The masculine male’s quest is to become the helper. 

There is this tendency. It seems to manifest EVERYWHERE, and it drives me nuts. If you're not one thing--fully and completely one thing--you must be fully and completely the other.  Let's deconstruct:

more tears? or more toughness?

Why not both? Tears have their uses: they're cathartic, cleansing, and above all perfectly normal.  It doesn't mean you cry 24/7. It means you cry when you have a need to cry.  You can be very tough and still cry on occasion. Also, this applies whether you are male, female or any one of 61 other genders.

compassionate? or objects of compassion?

Again, why not both? We should all be compassionate, which makes all of us objects of compassion.

The vulnerable male’s cry is “help me.” The masculine male’s quest is to become the helper. 

I have this to say to that. Or rather, Bill Withers does:

Lean on me, when you're not strong  
And I'll be your friend
I'll help you carry on
For it won't be long 
'Til I'm gonna need
Somebody to lean on. 

Anybody who knows me even peripherally knows that I am a helper. I've had more than a few people tell me that. I'm far from the only one, and one thing all of us helpers have in spades -- we have to have it -- is mental toughness. There are times I'm dealing (at a remove, of course) with the emotional trauma of four or five friends at once. That takes a lot of energy.
That mental toughness comes from making myself vulnerable--which is something a good helper has to do. I share deeply and widely of myself because it helps establish the kind of trusting relationship a helper needs. If I didn't do that, I'd be fundamentally different. Not actually a person I would want to know.

No matter what feminists say or do, boys will be boys.

And so will a lot of middle-aged men.  I've seen something going around Facebook:

BOYS WILL BE BOYS held accountable for their actions, just like girls.


Feminists can’t change hormones and brain chemistry, and they can’t alter the fundamental biology of the human male. Boys will continue to be stronger and more aggressive than girls no matter how many peer-reviewed articles decry biologically based gender stereotyping.

Conservatives seem to believe that human nature is base and brutish and there's no sense in trying to overcome it. Which I find patently ridiculous. Men once had absolute power over women by virtue (?) of that 'strength and aggressiveness'. Again, there is a happy medium between simpering weakness and aggression, and that point is called assertiveness. It's an important quality to cultivate in all human beings irrespective of gender. Aggression? That's not a quality we should be encouraging, much less exalting...and yet we do. Our entire society is structured so the bullies win.  One just won the presidency of the United States. He's not the first bully to hold that office,  only perhaps the most blatant of them.

And I question, vociferously, the notion that men are stronger than women. On what scale? Sure, most men can bench more than most women. And run faster. And punch harder. But withstand pain? Compare men and women sick with colds. Most men I know, we're all ready to call whine-one-one and summon the wahmbulance. Imagine if men had menstrual cramps. Or had to go through childbirth. Or let's talk about emotional strength, and consider that the nurturing role demands considerably more of it.

Here's what the article suggests "being a man" is all about:

Deny self. Don’t indulge your weakness. Show courage. Avoid the easy path. 

The last two, I have no problem with whatsoever, with the caveat that "your" path may in fact be the easy one, and there's nothing wrong with that. But that directly contradicts the first direction, to deny self. No. Don't deny yourself. Shakespeare said it first (to my knowledge) and said it best: "to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man." Polonius is a Don Cherry level blowhard, but he gets that one right.
And "don't indulge your weakness" is great advice...if we know what "weakness" is. As I have said, I disagree that being vulnerable in any way denotes weakness. Quite the contrary, in fact.

Being vulnerable is, among other things, the only way to love. And loving, to me, is the only way to live.

No matter who you are.

29 December, 2016

2016: The Year That Trumped Most of Them





What a year.

We have all seen what's happened in the wider world in 2016. For those of us who care about people on the margins, about peace, and about the planet, the year has been almost inexpressibly shitty, with much deeper shit ahead. The United States has seen fit to elect a cartoon villain. It might be survivable but for the supervillains he's surrounded himself with, starting with his fundycostal veep, Pence, who is just itching to bring about the Last Times. Then you've got
  • a labour secretary who has praised robots as the 'ideal workers';
  • the head of the Environmental Protection Agency who has spent his political career fighting the EPA at every turn;
  • a secretary of health determined to privatize Medicare;
  • a secretary of education who does not believe in public education;
  • a proud and unrepentant racist as attorney-general;
  • an energy secretary who has openly campaigned to eliminate the department he now heads;
...the list goes on. Get ready to see a gang of nihilists in charge. It'll be Reagan on steroids...and I guarantee you, the millions upon millions of people who voted for Donald Trump are going to be mighty pissed when things get worse instead of better for them. Some of them will take up arms. Book it.

Trumpism is spreading, too. You're about to see it erupt all over Europe in the coming year. Not pretty. I have never been so glad to live in Canada as I am right now.

But you didn't come here for the politics, did you? No, you didn't. And let's face it, neither did I. I haven't sworn off politics entirely this year, but I've found that life is ever so much easier if you can just...dim them. It's fitting. Most politicians ARE dim, after all.

The Grammys and Oscars may as well be one giant death montage this year. For me, the hardest hitting death has undoubtedly been Leonard Cohen's. His song You Want It Darker EPITOMIZES this past year. His mix of the profoundly religious and sacrilegious, of love both divine and carnal, all delivered in that inimitable world-weary rasping rumble, will be dearly missed. Go ahead and mourn your Bowies and your Michaels; for me it's Cohen that strikes the deepest chord. Then again, there are still two more days left in the year as I write this. Plenty of time for more death and despair.

_______________

Personally, well, this year has trumped most of them. 

When it started, we were just beginning to climb out of the cellar that 2015 had thrown us in. Eva had not yet returned to work; I was stuck on nights; financially we were still walking a greased tightrope on stilts, blindfolded.

Eva's had some ups and downs but is doing just fine, overall. This despite hitting two deer in the space of three months (or maybe it was the same deer with a deathwish). The first time it barely grazed the front bumper. The second time, it totalled our truck. She was fine both times--the second, only bruises and a scratch from the airbags deploying.

It really is amazing just how resilient Eva has proven herself, yet again, to be. She's the original Weeble: she wobbles, but she doesn't fall down. Such an amazing woman. I love her so much. There is nothing we can't face together; indeed, it seems as if we've faced most of it down already.


_______________


I'm on days, which is much better for my sanity. I was the meat department manager for three months almost to the day when I was hauled into the office, told that I had not been trained properly (no excrement, Holmes!) or "placed in a position to succeed" and so, rather than train me properly and put me in such a position, they made me department manager of Pets and Seasonal. Where not training someone isn't quite so critical, you understand. Welcome to Walmart. 

What this has meant in practice so far as stocking a whole lot of housewares and toys, with side excursions into health and beauty, stationery, and (yay!) frozen and dairy for a week after the full time F/D guy walked out in the middle of a shift. I've barely spent any time in my own departments until this past week. To be fair, neither has anyone else. The title "department manager" is largely a misnomer. You go where you're put and do what you're told. Welcome to Walmart.



I miss food.  I've spent sixteen years labouring in fridges and freezers; this side of the store has me POURING sweat every day. On the positive side, I'm learning more and more of the store and will probably be trained on cash in 2017. If their cash training is anything like the rest of their training, though, I'm going to be falling back on ancient 7-Eleven knowledge.

___________

I cut a friend out of my life early on this year, and regret doing so. She really was and is a wonderful person, but I couldn't overcome a vast gulf between us. It wasn't politics, although hers were radically different from mine: it was class. She moves in different circles and revelled in telling you about them. I repeatedly told her how uncomfortable that made me, and she repeatedly pooh-poohed me and said I was insecure.  She was right, of course, but it didn't lessen my antipathy towards hearing about her cotillion of wealthy friends every time I talked to her. Money in and of itself has never impressed me. Most of my friends don't have a lot of it and those who do don't make a point of flaunting it. 

I've been cut out of a family member's life myself this year, and, well, so it goes. I'm a part of his past, now, and perhaps that's as it should be. He has started a new life and I wish him every happiness in it.

Best to dwell on the friends and family who are still here. It makes for a lengthy, almost awe-inspiring list.

CRAIG. You still amaze me. You are a man who has learned to play the melody of life with passion and panache. I respect you. Admire you. Love you.

SUE.  In all my life, I have never been in awe of a human being as much as I am in awe of you. You should know this: I was talking with Eva back in the summer, admiring the strength that is in her (and there is, as I wrote above, a hell of a lot of it). "I don't hold a candle to Sue", she said, and while the immediate urge as a devoted husband is to categorically deny a statement like that...neither of us could. Or can. You, too, are respected, admired, and loved.

GLITCH. He threw me a birthday party in February, and while I haven't seen anywhere near enough of the guy, I know we've got a friendship than can withstand long periods apart. He's a phenomenal father to his son, a fiercely intelligent and well-rounded personality, and...yeah. Respect. Admiration. Love.

Speaking of long periods apart, JASON.  My room-mate, twice, in university. We were each other's best man, and he's still one of the best men I've ever had the privilege to meet, let alone (is this getting old yet?) respect, admire, and love.

NICOLE. It seems like the really good friends just kind of happen. You just kind of happened, and I'm glad you did. A more caring and genuine person would be tough to find. Thank you for everything this year and every year.

ASHLEA. Yet another woman -- I keep seeming to find them -- who is stronger than she thinks she is. Life has thrown a lot at you, Ashlea...you are rising above it.  Keep being the light: you dispel darkness not just in yourself, but in all those around you. You are loved. By many more than just me. Never forget that.

MELANIE. You're going to be missed. I hope you know that. Thank you for being such a good friend over the past five years. I hope that distance doesn't get in the way of the next five.

AMY. Finally heard your voice this year, and so glad I did. We may never meet (although I sure hope I'm proven wrong, there), but I love you anyway, no less for being so far away.You are strength, you are grace, you are perseverance, and I love you.

SARAH. There are some people who can change your life in a matter of hours. You've done that, for me. I am astounded at your eloquence, your drive, and your generosity of spirit. You have reframed my perception of myself and made so much possible. Thank you. Thank you so much. And please stop putting yourself down. You have no need to. None.

CAROLINE. Again with the inner strength that you don't always see and I never miss. You're so easy to talk to and so quietly supportive. I am glad to count you among my friends.

I could go on (and on, and on) and I don't want to give anyone the impression that we've now reached, how do I say this, the "lesser lights". Nothing could be further from the truth -- see here if you don't believe me. Some of you are in the outer ring of my life  -- Scotti, Brinn, Laurel, Chris, Mandy,  Rachel and Rachael, just to name seven of many -- but you're no less loved for so being.

__________________________


Eva and I have lived happily with my metamour, Mark, since May.  I was prepared for any number of rough edges to have to be sanded down; to my surprise, everything has gone almost frictionlessly. There hasn't even been much strife over housemate things.
Eva has damned good taste in partners, but that shouldn't come as any sort of shock: she married me, after all. Mark has been a more than welcome addition to this house and to (both of) our lives.

Security comes first from inside of you. Then, if you are very lucky, you will be in a position to find other people who also possess that same sort of security, and build some sort of family or community as a team.
--Anthony D. Ravenscroft

As far as I am concerned, we are family.

I have been quiet about that last point. Maybe a little too quiet. I'm not about to start screaming it from the rooftops. But it's a conviction of mine and I do hope that, moving forward, people will make an effort to respect it, even if they don't understand it. It bothers me when Mark is excluded.

_________

...she stood before him just as she was made to be, no lies, no judgment, no fake smile. She showed him the storm that raged within her, the strength of her heart, the stubbornness of her will and the soul that burned like fire and he,,,,, He took all she had to offer….. saw the beauty amongst the chaos… stared every flaw, every doubt and every fear in the face. He saw her spirit and ran free with it….he showed her the fire that ran wild within his own soul and together…. despite the storms of life….. together they set each other ablaze and danced in the flames.
--Mary Huber




I have found new love myself this year.

I'm sorry for the cliché, but it really did hit like lightning from the blue. Or the purple, in this case. It struck fast, hard, and deep. There is so much I could write here. The problem is that the English language is not designed for this spin on this topic.
I can say I've never loved anyone this way, which is true, and most people will then discount my saying that I've never loved anyone the way I love Eva, either, which is also and equally true.
No matter what I write, you're going to have the urge to compare, and somebody is going to come up short in the comparing. Probably Eva, because it's taken as read that new love must displace existing love.

No.

There is no better and no worse. There is different, which can be undeniably delicious, and there is the known--and pace the common saying, familiarity breeds contentment, not contempt.  There is a tapestry of different colours, each colour indispensable, contributing to the whole.  There are new ways of seeing, new things to learn, new things to teach...all of which have come from both my partners.


Just as I have been with Mark, Eva has been nothing but supportive of Kathy and I. Unwaveringly so. Just as between Mark and I, it is clear there is mutual respect between them. It has been truly wonderful, beyond my dreams, to be a part of such abundance. I'd say I couldn't be happier, but 2016 has found ways of proving that wrong repeatedly. I can't wait to see what next year holds in store for all of us.

________________

Song of the year is dedicated to both Eva and Kathy.

Happy New Year, everyone. May 2017 be full of love, laughter and joy for every one of my readers.

The Commitments

I know I said that barring something catastrophic, there would only be one more post for 2016.

I lied.

That post is still being written and rewritten. In the meantime, I'm off today, I stumbled across an article that by turns intrigued and offended me, and I feel like writing.

Article here: "Why Some People Just Won't Commit".

It's a short article, and it barely even offers a stab at the question its title poses. It got me thinking about commitment, though, and how I view it. It also coins the term "ambivalationship", and then offers a definition of that term I am uncomfortable with. It's a great word: I have a better meaning for it which I think describes more than a few relationships I have seen and even been in.

Before I get to that article, permit me to ramble.

When I first outed myself -- accidentally -- as polyamorous, I was subjected to a barrage of invective that would have knocked me flat if I hadn't steeled myself against it. "Why did you get married if you were just going to fuck around?" was the first response and it went downhill from there.

"Why did you get married if you were just going to fuck around?"

I didn't hear the proper comeback to that for more than two years. The proper comeback is, of course, "why did you buy a house if you're just going to visit other houses?"

I've explained several different rationales for polyamory in my musings since, and I'm not about to repeat any of that here. But I want to talk about the wrongness, for me, in "just fucking around".

The "for me" is important. There are many marriages and long-term partnerships in which "fucking around" is an accepted part of the order of things. Many of them. There is nothing wrong with "just fucking around" if it is conducted ethically, i.e. with the knowledge and consent of all involved. 

But "just" fucking around is not for me. And I think the reason why can be traced to being largely friendless for most of my formative years. Simply put: I don't like to let people go.

This isn't to say I won't. If someone makes it clear to me that their relationship with me no longer serves their highest purpose in life, I would be some kind of monster to insist the relationship continue. But on my end: I commit. 

I committed to Eva in 1999 and formalized that commitment the next year. The commitment was one of the easiest decisions I ever made: having lived without her for 27 years, I simply couldn't imagine living without her again. The marriage? For me, it had several important functions.

  • It was a very public announcement of the commitment we had made to each other. That appealed to me. It still does. It is a strong statement, made in full view of anyone who cared enough to see it, that this relationship matters
  • Our vows concluded with "I marry you, and bind my life to yours". The word "bind" was deliberately chosen to symbolize not just the commitment, but the strength of it. 
  • I am a child of divorce; my wife is a product of a family with several long term marriages. We got married in the same church her parents had. I saw a lot of mistakes made growing up. I couldn't guarantee I wouldn't make some of them myself, but I sure didn't (and don't) want to.
  • Marriage confers certain legal benefits. This was far, far, far from top of mind for me, but it did register.
Eva is not the only commitment I've made in my life. Far from it. She's the only one I have formalized. As of right now, concurrent commitments can not be formalized to the same degree (although I just discovered it is possible for a person in Canada to be simultaneously legally married and in one or more common-law relationships, which is really cool). 

There is also handfasting. This is a Pagan and Wiccan tradition, dating back to the ancient Celts. It was originally a betrothal period, a sort of "trial marriage",  lasting a year and a day. (Aside: not a bad idea, that. Many marriages dissolve in the first year, after all.)  Now, handfasting  is an element of a commitment ceremony: not legally binding in and of itself, but symbolically binding "for as long as love shall last". 

I like that. I like the public declaration of it. I like what, as the link says, is the "focused intent". ("Focused intent" is merely another way to say "magic".) I would not be averse at all to a ceremony of commitment, to whatever degree suited. with another partner. I would joyfully attend my partner's ceremony of commitment to another. And that's because commitment means a great deal to me. A great deal.

So when I see an article titled "Why Some People Just Won't Commit", it interests me in the same way an alien species would prove interesting to a scientist. 

Unfortunately, this article doesn't have much meat to it, and it is more than a little normative in its definition of "commitment". Marriage is the only commitment worth making, it seems to say, which is certainly not my experience of life. 

Those who refuse to "commit"

tend to be people whose past romantic relationships have ranged from disappointing to disastrous; therefore, they are reluctant to arrange the next possible "failure." Sometimes they are people for whom life, in general, has been a series of unresolved issues and existential confusion and so they may not be able to commit to anything, let alone a romantic partner.

I think the first commitment you must make is to yourself: determine what it is you wish to experience in life. Follow that, and don't waver from it (much less allow someone to pull you off your chosen path), unless or until you choose again.  The second commitment you must make is also to yourself, in a way: it's to those people (and yes, that's very deliberately plural) who best embody the next greatest version of the grandest vision ever you had about Who You Are. Those who do not contribute to that vision must be allowed to walk their own paths.

Enter the "ambivalationship". The writer defines this as a state in which both people in a relationship


...want the relationship, and even seem to want it to be permanent. They act and feel like half of a typical marital relationship, and yet they resist the conventional route that long-term couples generally travel, i.e., marriage.

Oh, hello there, relationship escalator.

Marriage was an important declaration FOR ME. It isn't for everyone. It is certainly not necessary for a fulfilling life. Nor it is a necessary component of fulfilling relationships--and come on, this is not rocket surgery: we all have friends we're not married to, after all.
I know people who did go through a disastrous marriage (or even two) and vow never again...only to meet someone who isn't disastrous and eventually marry them. I know others who have been through those disasters, vowed never again...and kept their vow. And I know still others who never married at all, had the full range of relationships from disastrous up to transcendent and all of these choices are valid. Further, there is nothing ambivalent about them. They are conscious choices freely made.

Ambivalationship. Great word. Shitty definition.

What if an ambivalationship is defined as a relationship in which one party is pulling towards a greater degree of formalization of commitment and another is not?  The article even details one such relationship, and laments the lack of communication.

"I feel like I'm not in control of my life...she is."

I heard this recently and immediately called bullshit. Probably a little too hastily.

I mean, in one sense, you're always in control of your own life: to cede control, to cede agency, to another person is to give up your freedom. Even in bondage and discipline, the sub willingly gives up their freedom to the Master, within parameters set and agreed to, and is much more in control of the relationship than may be apparent. If you are unwillingly giving up autonomy, there are two possibilities. Either your partner is a sociopath, or you're weak and dependant.

But there's that damned relationship escalator to consider. How many people take the next step on that fucker because it's the expected thing to do? Because parents, siblings, and society in general demand it? How many people sacrifice their own long term happiness to the gaping maw of societal approval?

If you and your partner(s) agree to move up the escalator, by all means do so. If you don't, you're in an ambivalationship...and resentment is building somewhere. It's best not to proceed, let alone formalize, in that situation...the more you unwillingly invest, the more your partner will view it as a willing investment.

Define yourself. Define your life. Define your commitment(s). And don't be ambivalent about any of it.




24 December, 2016

So This Is Christmas...

With some (very) welcome exceptions, once again it doesn't feel much like Christmas 'round the Breadbin.

I'm working, of course, just as I was last year. Just like last year, I work Boxing Day, too. Unlike last year, I'm working days both days: 7-3:30 on Christmas Day, and 6-2:30 on Boxing Day. A lark I may be, but four in the morning is going to make me feel like boxing somebody. 
I worked 9:30-6 today, Christmas Eve, which at least afforded me the opportunity to sleep in a little. I needed it. It's been more than a little hectic.
For just this week, I...almost...wish I were back on night shift. Nights is easier, simply by virtue of the fact there are no customers. Don't get me wrong, customer service is my favourite part of the job, but at this time of year my store could easily employ three or four wandering ambassadors to serve customers full time. I can't bring a customer to a product without three others interrupting.  And the questions they ask!
I'm in Pets and Seasonal now, which, this being Walmart, doesn't preclude people from asking me fashion questions better directed to someone on the other end of the store a couple of hundred meters away from me. Or toys, which abuts my departments. Dear god, toys. We have eight aisles of toys and you may as well just toss them like a giant salad every day. Ask me if we sell something in toys and I have to pull out my phone, navigate to Walmart.ca, search the website for your toy, bring it up, type in the eight digit Walmart item number, and tell you it's out of stock.
Like the gift tags. I haven't had any for a week now. In typical Walmart fashion, I have no opportunity to find out WHY I don't have any, much less, oh, I dunno, ORDER them. Not a good thing to be out of. Everybody needs gift tags, right?
So help me, I had people asking for trees today. We actually have five left, but they all look like Charlie Brown's tree.
It was an absolute zoo in there for the last five days. I'd come in each morning and it would look like a bunch of hurricanes had an orgy in my department. God forbid ANYONE ever puts something back where they found it.

Set all this to seven different arrangements of Last Christmas and you have a fair approximation of hell.  
I don't hate that carol quite as much as I did before I decided to put a poly spin on it, but SEVEN different arrangements? Why, dear Jesus who couldn't POSSIBLY have been born at this time of year because shepherds don't watch their flocks by night in the winter, WHY? There are nearly eighty thousand unique carols. Why must I only hear ten?
We have this year's Timmy Turkey (so called because he's too small to be a tom) ready to go for dinner tomorrow, so that's Christmassy.  And I do have time off coming. It can't get here soon enough.

Barring some major development, this will be the second last blog of 2016.  I want to wish all my readers a merry Christmas if you celebrate it; substitute a happy December 25th if you don't. Oh, and since nobody ever wishes you a happy Boxing Day, I'll wish you that, too. May your holiday be filled with love, laughter and good cheer. 



17 December, 2016

What Matters

Over in the sidebar, you'll find this blog's purpose: "Presenting pixellated portions of personal philosophy, polyamory, and occasional political poppycock for your perusal".
The political has largely been supplanted by the personal over time, and the poly is (mostly) new. I don't write many political posts anymore because people don't tend to read them. However, every once in a while something comes along that I feel compelled to write about, and here it is.

Ryan Hudson, a former Marine and now former Michigan firefighter, was, ahem, fired because of a Facebook post.

On Facebook, Hudson and a woman named Tarvenia got into a heated conversation about race. Tarvenia told Hudson that 'Black Lives Matter'. And Hudson had this to say in response:

Fuck Black Lives Matter. You are the epitome of a nigger. All lives matter. And if you think it’s just black lives, kiss my ass bitch and go back to the fields that us in the north fought to free you from.

I find this darkly amusing, actually, and I'll tell you why. I've run across two common ways to frame "Black Lives Matter". And one of them involves firefighting.

click to embiggen

Officially, Hudson was fired because he couldn't be trusted to do his job. Would he save a black person in a fire?  That may sound like hyperbole to you, but people who held views just like Hudson's burned black people alive for sport. Read any history text  on the Southern U.S. in the 1950s and 60s, or even something fictional like Greg Iles' Natchez Burning trilogy (a hell of a read, that one) and the matter-of fact, casual, brutal and blatant racism will shock you. Even if you know people were racist back then, having your face shoved in just how racist is sobering, to say the least.

That racism, I probably need not remind you, has not gone away. Witness the apoplectic reaction to "Black Lives Matter", which is INCLUSIVE, not EXCLUSIVE. Nobody who says "Black Lives Matter" is suggesting that somehow White Lives Don't Matter. Everybody knows White Lives Matter. They always have mattered more than anyone else's. That's called white privilege, and if you don't think it exists, Google "criming while white". Or, alternatively, ask yourself whether Obama would have been elected in 2008 if he had borne children by three different women and went around bragging about grabbing them by the pussy.

Hudson is only the latest in a long line of people who have been fired for expressing hateful views, or what certain individuals on the rightward end of the spectrum (and the redward end of the necktrum) insist is exercising their right to free speech. (More on this foolishness later.) Before him, Pamela Ramsey Taylor, a director of a West Virginia nonprofit, was suspended after using social media to call First Lady Michelle Obama "an ape in heels". Taylor now has her job back,  apparently because West Virginia. 

There have been many other people who have been fired and/or suffered serious consequences because of hateful stupidity on social media. Here are some famous cases; and here are some Canadian incidents. Let's talk about "free speech" for a moment here, because many people seem to have this idea that it means they can say whatever they want without consequence. It means no such thing, and never did. 

In the United States, there are a large number of restrictions written into the First Amendment.  There are differences both subtle and profound in Canadian jurisprudence. But in both countries,  your speech is only deemed free from government consequence. Private entities can choose to assert their own consquences for your utterances. So can society at large. I choose not to associate with bigots, misogynists, and homophobes, for example.

As I wrote above, there once was a time when respected figures of society - judges, doctors, police officers -- routinely beat up, raped, even murdered black people for fun, and openly bragged about it. In other words, the goalposts have moved... a lot. Sixty years ago, being black (or gay, or trans, or, or, or...) was the problem. Now, hating blacks (or gays, or trans people, or, or, or...) is the problem. And people lamenting the loss of their free speech are really just pissed that somebody moved their goalposts. 

I used to unthinkingly say a variant of #AllLivesMatter. Violence against anyone -- man, woman, child, animal -- has always really bothered me, and I used to think that anti-violence-against-women campaigns were well-meaning but narrowminded: we should be against all violence, I would commonly argue.

And maybe we should, but as "mutilated memories" says:

Men get sexually assaulted, men get abused, men have toxic gender stereotypes that they are expected to live up to. This is a problem, and I am more than willing to have discussions about this, and talk about what can/should be done to change these things etc, if you bring it up as its own topic. 

 HOWEVER, if you bring these things up as an attempt to override discussions about women, I will not listen to you. If you really cared about men’s issues you’d bring it up at other times, not only when we’re discussing women. That’s not you caring about men’s issues, that’s you not wanting to talk about women’s issues because you want everything to be about men.

I often hear those same Rob Ford/Stephen Harper/Donald Trump supporters disparaging how "complicated" all this is. It's not complicated.

POLITICAL CORRECTNESS IS NOT COMPLICATED AT ALL.

I've posted this before, and find I must again:

click to embiggen




11 December, 2016

Apologies in Advance To Those Whom I am About to Offend

I'm as mild-mannered and easygoing a man as you're likely to meet. I'm always trying to bring people to the center, be that of an issue or of a group.

But I hold views some people would find offensive. VERY offensive, even.

I don't often broadcast those views. Confronted with people who believe the opposite, I will gently attempt some kind of centering, and then almost certainly give up. There are some topics on which people's opinions are utterly entrenched, and no amount of argument will move them.

One of those topics came up this morning. And rather than feel my usual inclination to center, I found myself out on the fringe and pulling hard.

A dear friend of mine messaged me to tell me her mother had posted something celebrating the banning of late-term abortions in Ohio. My friend said it bothered her more than it should have (debatable, in my view) and she posted a retaliatory articleshowing the incidence (low) and reasons (almost always severe health risks to the baby or mother) of late term abortions.

Before I get to my offensive view, I'm going to state a conciliatory view on this. The other extreme bothers me, too. You always hear the "pro-choice" position phrased as "women's reproductive rights"--which neatly sidesteps the developing baby. The same people who are pro-choice usually recoil in horror when the issue of eugenics comes up...let alone sex selection. (What do you think the first-order consequence of China's erstwhile one-child policy was? A whole lot of aborted girls, that's what it was).

You will notice that I put "pro-life" in quotes. That's for two reasons. One, I object to the implied suggestion that those who would permit abortion are "pro-death". Very, very few people treat abortion in such a cavalier manner.  More fundamentally, I believe there is only ONE position on this issue, and that is pro-choice. You can be as pro-life as you want: that's a choice, your choice. You do not have the right to inflict that choice on others.

And let's face it, that's exactly what "pro-life" people want to do. My friend's mom called the ban on late term abortions "a step in the right direction". The idea is to ban all abortion, as if banning it will somehow stop it. All banning abortion does is drive it underground...back alleys and coat hangers, with attendant and dire health risks.

Full disclosure of my own experience. I lost my first child to a self-inflicted abortion. I was only told of this after the fact, so I don't have definitive proof of it, but I can't think of a reason someone would lie about such a thing, and it fits with what I recall of the time--my girlfriend locked herself in our bathroom, absolutely forbade me to call for help, was in pain for a week afterwards, and refused to tell me until a year later, in the middle of a vicious break-up, what that was about. She had dismissed it as really bad menstrual cramps, and relied on what she knew was my then-horror of all things menstrual to  ensure I wouldn't question her.

That was the only other time in my life -- other than that incident when I knocked a bully unconscious, I mean -- that a red haze descended over my vision. I was enraged. That was because she had done this without even telling me she had been pregnant. The lack of trust in me was stunning, especially a year removed. I'd suspected for some time that the relationship wasn't, um, optimal, but to find out just how much she'd known so...

Had she just COME to me, we would have talked about it. Had she suggested abortion, I'd have likely acceded to her wishes...but it would have been done safely, under medical supervision. That she would inflict that on herself rather than tell me about it...

Has this shaped my view? You bet it has. I used to feel that, as a man in a permanent state of uteruslessness -- I just love an excuse to say that word out loud -- I wasn't ENTITLED to an opinion on abortion. Now I believe that everyone is entitled to an opnion...and if you don't want an abortion, don't have one.

My real problem is with the zealots. To many (not all) pro-life types, a ban on late-term abortions is but a tiny first step towards the banning of all abortions, because ABORTION IS MURDER.

And here's where I'm going to say something offensive. Fair warning. This is addressed ONLY to the zealots...the people who think ALL abortion MUST be illegal, mother's health be damned, rape and incest be damned.

Here it comes.

*********************************

YOU PEOPLE DON'T GIVE A SHIT ABOUT THE BABY. WHAT REALLY GRINDS YOUR GEARS is RECREATIONAL SEX.

*********************************

Proof that you don't actually care about the baby? Since when do you "pro-life" fanatics ever mention the circumstances your precious baby is born into? How many unwanted children have you raised, from birth until college, no excuses for crushing poverty, no excuses for the father having abandoned you, no excuses, period? Put up or shut up. You jerks are not "pro-life". What you are is PRO-BIRTH.

Yes, there is adoption, isn't there? We've been through that process, Eva and I. There isn't a single person we have met who has dared to suggest we would have been anything other than great parents--EXCEPT for the social worker who denied us children on the grounds we weren't actually parents already. Thousands and thousands of unwanted kids, drifting from foster home to foster home, and they reject potential parents like us.  That's the fate you'd consign to your precious "life". You know what? FUCK YOU.

Or rather, don't. Because that's your REAL problem, the thought that people are out there being immoral, FORNICATING without consequence. Sex is supposed to lead to babies, that's how (your) god intended it. Hence, in Utah, for example, any woman having or seeking an abortion is a criminal. Hell, many MISCARRIAGES are considered acts of criminal homicide.

You really ought to admit it, you "pro-life" zealots. You ought to admit that you don't care about life, just birth, and that your real issue is women having sex without getting punished for it. It would demonstrate conclusively what century you're living in, and free up the adult discussion we ought to be having about abortion for the adults.

Offended? Good, I hope so.