Thursday, April 28, 2016

Unsurprisingly, I also can’t stand Ted Cruz

I find it interesting and somewhat entertaining that the headlines about Ted Cruz’s theatrical, meaningless VP announcement (what a joke that was, right?) lasted precisely one day before being eclipsed the very next by headlines about how much everyone hates Ted Cruz, including former House Speaker John Boehner.

Interesting and entertaining, yes, but also somewhat perverse, and definitely sad.

Monday, April 25, 2016

The malicious demonization of the transgender community

I’ve talked before about the phenomenon of what I call “othering,” where one group of people universally casts another as the evil, corrupt, depraved “other.”

It usually goes something like this:
Those people, both who they are and what they stand for, are immoral, dangerous, and disgusting. As a result, we have to stand strong and protect us against them.

We’re righteous; they’re sinful. We’re right; they’re wrong. We’re good; they’re bad. We’re wholesome; they’re perverse. We’re the victims; they’re the perpetrators.

Friday, April 22, 2016

The necessity of depression

In case it wasn’t obvious, I love the Onion. Sometimes its satirical articles hit way too close to home, as was the case with this one.

On one recent Saturday morning earlier this month, I woke up at 4 — which almost never happens — and couldn’t go back to sleep. So I decided to head over to Kerry Park in Seattle and watch the sun rise.

It was a beautiful spring morning with the promise of a mild, sunny day. The summit of Rainier hovered over a bit of morning fog down in the valley. It was peaceful and quiet. (Seattle isn’t quite yet a 24-hour city, and people don’t get up early on the weekends.)

The park was still deserted when I arrived, except for one guy who was shooting some time-lapse photography from a tripod. But as the darkness of night slowly yielded to the light of morning, more and more people arrived, as though in anticipation of something.

Everyone was quiet. The scene was quiet. The air was still and cool. People just watched the sunrise together, sipping their coffee, mostly in silence. It was vaguely reminiscent of my experience at the moonlit lake some months back.

But even as I took in this sublime setting, I couldn’t shake many of the ugly thoughts and feelings that too often invade my consciousness — just like the guy in the Onion article.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Every purchasing decision has an unseen impact

About six months ago, I bought a new MacBook from Apple. Displayed prominently on the material inside the package was this message:

Nice to know I was buying an American product, right?

But then, of course, a look at the microscopic print on the underside of the actual device told the full (and far less inspiring) story:

Designed in California — but assembled in China.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Why is the woman still expected to take the man’s last name?

I’m not writing this to judge or criticize anyone, so don’t be offended. If you read it that way, you can stop reading now because you’ve already missed the point of this post.

I’m also not writing this to sound self-righteous, though I recognize that striking such a tone may be unavoidable, if unintentional.

Finally, I’m not even questioning the idea that a heterosexual married couple share the same last name; particularly for those who have kids, it clearly makes sense.

What I do question is the persistent expectation — the assumption — that the woman will give up her last name for that of the man, even in an era that places such emphasis on gender equality in so many other contexts.

Why is it never the other way around?

To the best of my knowledge, this still isn’t even a topic of discussion in the year 2016. Why not? I mean, we have the same standard on this today that we did back in the 1950s. To me, that’s batshit crazy.

Monday, April 11, 2016

What makes something beautiful?

What’s so beautiful about something as tiny and fragile as this monarch butterfly that I found at the beach on
Beaver Island, Michigan, last summer?
The final elective I took at the Seattle School this spring was a course called the Theology of Eroticism. (No, we didn’t spend the entire time watching porn, but we did spend plenty of time talking about it.)

In the class, the professor defined beauty as being “an icon or archetype of the unseen that captures its viewers.”

“If you observe something beautiful that brings you awe, to whom or what do you give thanks?” the professor asked. “Do you thank nothing more than your sense perception? If so, then are you not the creator of the beauty? That makes for a lonely world because there is nothing but your perception, and mine, and we can exchange words about it, but there is no true sharing because there is nothing greater than either one of us.”

The professor’s question got me thinking about an experience I had a couple months ago.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Still searching for God knows what

The obligatory sunset image.
A year ago this month, I wrote a post called “Searching for God knows what.” In it, I announced the agency where I’d be doing my clinical internship for the final year of my studies in counseling psychology.

Since then, I’ve said little to nothing more about it. The reason for that?

I don’t like it.

Actually, let me clarify: I love everything about the agency itself. Like I said in the original post, it’s the oldest LGBTQ-focused community mental health agency in the world. That alone makes it a distinctive place to be an intern.

And the people there are great. I love the people I work with, and I love my clients.

What I don’t like is the work itself. I hate counseling, and I hate playing the role of therapist. (This is one of the many reasons I keep this blog anonymous; I’d obviously never be so candid if my name was attached to this.)