Good Credit

As humans, we give ourselves a horrible rep.  Every time we turn on the news, there seems to be more evidence supporting the “humans are inherently evil” argument.  And there is no credible way to deny that there are some truly awful people in the world doing some truly awful things.  There are so many lists of terrible statistics that anyone would start to feel discouraged about the state of our species.

But then again, we tend to forget the hundreds, thousands, millions and sometimes billions of dollars that get sent around the world in situations where people are in desperate need of aid.  For every major world disaster, not only do governments step in and offer money, but charities crop up and people show up: volunteers, military forces, church groups, peace corps, just tons and tons of people coming together.  Sometimes these people fly halfway around the world just to hand out bottled water after terrible earthquakes or storms.

Let’s not forget the huge number of people who have, over the years, delved deep into inhospitable or unknown regions to bring food, hope and medical attention to communities unknown to most of the world.

I bet that if someone were to add up all the money given to any charities or tithed to any churches, that number would be absolutely staggering.

It doesn’t matter why we do it: if we do it in the name of our god or gods, if we do it in the hopes of bettering humanity or giving our children a brighter, safer world.  It doesn’t matter if we do it because it’s how we were raised, or because we are outraged at the current state of things.  The fact of the matter is, humans do huge amounts of good every day, for a hundred thousand different reasons.  We deal in hope as well as destruction, in love as well as hate.  You cannot simply say human nature is “good” or “bad.”  It’s human nature.  Personally, however, I see plenty of reason to be hopeful.

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Dear Guy Who Cheated, I Broke Us Too

Dear “Guy,”

Let me tell you why cheating is viewed as such a destructive thing by most women.  I know you don’t completely understand what ‘the big deal’ is.  After all, you told me yourself: she didn’t mean anything to you.  You were just drunk and it just…happened.

And for you it’s probably not a big deal.  You fucked up, you know it, but it doesn’t mean that you don’t love me.  You do, and you’re sorry, and it won’t happen again, so why can’t I just forgive and forget?

Well, I tried.  I did.  I tried to forget about it as the months went on and nothing remotely like that happened again.  I tried not to feel nervous and self-conscious every time you were out of town and would go out for drinks with coworkers, or every time we were around beautiful, charming girls that made you laugh.  I tried to forget the mental image of you and her, and for the most part I did.  Sometimes it would flash across my mind, and I would feel that sting again, but we went on together because I knew you did love me.

But here’s why our relationship was never the same.  It wasn’t the physical act.  That was bad enough, but time marches on quickly.  Our relationship was never the same because with that one slip up, you told me that all the times I very privately wondered if I was pretty enough, or sexy enough, or interesting enough for you…that I was right to doubt.  You told me that never touching your phone, that never asking too many questions, that loving you and supporting you didn’t make up for not being there when you were drunk and horny.  You told me that I was right to worry about if I was satisfying you sexually, even if you constantly reassured me that I satisfied you emotionally.

You would tell me this is stupid, of course.  You probably would think that it’s the stupidest thing you ever heard.  But I had insecurities which I tried not to give into, and you went ahead and reaffirmed every doubt I ever had about myself in our relationship.  And that’s the part that really hurt.  I forgave you, but I never, ever felt like I was enough for you again.

So that’s it, “Guy.”  That’s what happened after you cheated.  Maybe you’ll never understand it, and I certainly know you didn’t mean to.  But my confidence in myself as an awesome, loving girlfriend to you was never there again.  So in the end, it was both of us that damaged the relationship.

I just thought you should know.

-Me

Uncomfortable Read

First off, I’d like to apologize for taking such a long break.  The July 4th holiday really set me behind and I’m just now catching up in regards to school, household maintenance, ect…

I have a serious topic to talk about today.  I’m going to apologize here and now if anything said below is offensive in any way.  This is PURELY my opinion and a reaction to something I was reading on another blog, and not meant to come across as preachy or in any way as instruction for how others should think or live their lives.

Now that that’s said, I recently read a blog entry written by a woman who had gotten an abortion several months ago.  It took me two tries to read it all the way through, and I was struck by her tone in several places of the article.

I have a hard time defining my standpoint on abortion.  On an entirely personal level, I find that I have a hard time even considering the termination of a life that is growing inside of me.  Especially since losing my brother, the thought of ending a life I carry inside of my own body seems simply impossible.  HOWEVER, the fact that I can make a choice is extremely important.  I view a woman’s ability to choose whether or not to carry a baby to full-term as an inherent and important right.  That is a choice for her and her partner to make, completely independent of my thoughts and opinions.

There is a young woman I know who terminated her pregnancy.  She’s a good friend of mine, but knowing that she ended that life is a little difficult for me.  I have tried to understand why it’s such a hard concept for me to confront, and ended up down a moral rabbit-hole.  With so many ways to prevent conception in the first place, I find it even harder to reconcile myself to the thought of terminating an unwanted pregnancy.  However, I am aware that no form of birth control is perfect, and that there are people that are not ready or do not want to be a parent at all.  And though I instinctively find myself somewhat opposed to the idea, I don’t think that I have a right to decide what any other woman does with her body.  I don’t think that anyone has a right to tell a woman what she does with her body, beyond reasonable concerns for physical health.

So while I had a hard time with this article, it wasn’t because the woman had chosen to have an abortion.  What struck me so deeply was simply the way she talked about it.  From the beginning, it was breezy: a discussion of blame for the pregnancy, and admission that she sometimes went a couple weeks without being on birth control while waiting for a new prescription.  That she had forgotten to take the Plan B pill in time.  It was so very matter of fact…all these barriers to a pregnancy she and her at-the-time boyfriend breezed past, leaving her to decide ( alone, she didn’t tell him she was pregnant ) to terminate it.

She moves on to describe walking into the clinic, and she discusses the picketers outside.  She acknowledges their right to assemble and protest, and then tears them down in a cool and highly cynical fashion.  She utterly denounces their overly emotional response, and while I understand why she feels they should go home and mind their own business…I found the way she talked about them extremely disturbing as well.  Her cold and snobbish dismissal, the way she ridiculed their beliefs, was difficult for me.  They hold the belief that she was about to end a life as deeply as she holds the belief that she has the right to choose what is best for her, but though they have just as much of a right to their beliefs as she does, she calls them names like “fetus crusaders” in her narrative.

The article goes on to talk very briefly about the process of checking into the clinic and the steps there.  She talks about how non-judgmental the staff was, but also how disillusioned they are.  She called the process “an abortion assembly line, just waiting until the conveyer belt takes you to the vacuum room.”  That statement itself, with both its gruesome imagery and the almost clincal matter-of-factness, struck me as rather brutal.  And not just for me as a reader: maybe for the first time, reading that, did I understand how punishing the writer found this process as well.

I’m not trying to tear this woman down.  Her decision and her view about that decision are completely valid.  They baffle me a little, but they are 100% valid.  The article is certainly brave, and very unapologetic honest.  However, I found the rhetoric to be so cynical that it hurt to read it.  In a part where she describes a Pro-Life speaker ( this particular woman was a late-term abortion that was born alive and the doctor saved her ), she wonders if the woman appreciates the irony that her mother didn’t chose life but did “write her meal ticket.”

Perhaps this brutal outlook is how she’s armored herself in her approach to life.  I don’t know her personally.  What I do know is that reading it, I felt as though her outlook on life was sarcastic and in some ways, mean.  It hurt to read, not because of the subject matter, but because it represented ( to me, anyway ) how easily we tear down each others’ beliefs, and how punishing we can be to ourselves as well.  It came off as a very one-sided, “my way is the only way that makes sense,” kind of argument that I find so arrogant: her only argument was that everyone else was on a silly crusade, and that everyone else over generalized the arguments both for and against.

What was even harder to read was her thought process while she waited.  She admits to it being a day of self-loathing, and is equally brutally honest about herself and her view point as she was about the views of others.

It ends with her reflecting that she wished it was more of a mani, pedi, abortion experience and that the doctor said she had a tight vagina and that she hoped he told all girls that so they wouldn’t think they were worn and blown out.

Maybe I’m wrong to find that article so…very sad.  Sad, not because of the abortion parts, but because of how hard this outlook is.  How cold and lonely.  Perhaps it was just in these moments that she felt this way, and I could certainly understand that.  But there was a high-handedness, a sarcasm and defensiveness, that was in a small way crushing to read and think about.  Perhaps grieving a close member of my family has made it hard to think about the termination of life at all.  But I certainly hope that we are not so bleak and petty a society as that article seemed to suggest.