Neither One Of Us Remember

rawra

Neither one of us can remember how we first met. She’s pretty sure that she found me through my response to a Daily Post prompt. I’ll take her word for it since memory is not my strongest trait.

For the last few years, she’s been in my corner. She’s given me many virtual hugs and left comments that have made me tear up or laugh or both. She has inspired many posts on this blog through her Prompts For The Promptless series and just by being herself.

She told me once that I’m an inspiration to her, and honestly, without meaning to be humble, I find that difficult to believe since she is such a huge inspiration to me. Her creativity, kindness, generosity and magic are peerless, and I doubt anyone who knows her would challenge that claim. I can’t see how anyone could dislike her. I just don’t see how it’s possible to dislike someone who has helped so many, including me, with a kind word and genuine caring. She is thoughtful, funny, smart, talented, wondrous and one hell of a writer.

I can be talking about none other than the inimitable Rarasaur, my friend.

My friend is going through a rough time now and she has been for nearly four years, which is longer than I’ve even known her. For years, she’s had injustice hanging over her head, but you’d never know it from the way she interacts with the world.

Almost four years ago, she was accused of a crime she did not commit by rich bastards. I have absolutely no doubt that Rara is innocent. None at all. She did not do this. If you told me that she is an actual dinosaur with a pet unicorn, I would believe that over believing that she is guilty of the crime of which she is accused.

She has spent all of her time and money fighting this injustice and it looks like she might lose. She might go to jail for something she did not do because she doesn’t have the money and energy to fight it anymore. That makes me rage.

Many of you know that I spent years in my own battle with the legal system. I lost. I never got any justice and it looks like Rara won’t either. Justice shouldn’t be doled out only to those who can afford it. It should not allow innocent people to go to prison and let guilty people walk away, but it does. Our system is broken. The justice system is a misnomer. There is little justice in the justice system, at least, not for those of us on the bottom.

I am hoping against hope that some sort of karmic miracle happens and Rara can fight the legal battle facing her. I am hoping against hope that she will be acquitted of this heinous crime and she is returned to us where she belongs. I rearranged my bills for a minute so that I could donate an embarrassingly small amount. I wish I could do more.

If you can help in any way, please, consider donating to help Rara and her family.

Read Rara’s story in her own words and donate here.

Help spread the word with Bloggers for Peace Emergency Challenge.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

A Letter To My Mom

forpeace6

Where do we start? I guess the beginning is as good a place as any. You were in labor with my 10 lb. 14 oz. bulk for nearly two days. I was a month overdue; I did not want to come out and this was before the days of induced labor. Nowadays, I wouldn’t be allowed to get so fat. They would have sprung me the month before.

I was a really fat baby. In my hospital baby picture, my head is wider than it is tall with my Jabba the Hut neck. I didn’t realize it until many years later, but I was the reason you weren’t able to have any more children. I was fat and very sick, though you didn’t know it then.

A month later, I was in the neonatal intensive care unit fighting for my life. You were told to prepare for the worst. I died several times. I nearly didn’t make it. When I survived, you were told to expect side effects from the disease that had ravaged my brain stem and spinal cord. These could include paralysis, brain damage, learning disabilities and hearing loss among others. I was too young yet to know what damage it had done.

It must have been awful for you not knowing what side effects I would have. You must have hung on tenterhooks for the next few years, waiting for the damage to present itself. It’s no wonder you distanced yourself from me. It must have been too painful to be the mom you were for my sister for a child you thought you’d lose, for a child who was damaged.

Seven years later, when it was evident that the worst side effects I had were partial hearing loss and severe migraines, you allowed a monster into our home, but you didn’t know. You didn’t know that this stranger you let live in our house was tying me up, torturing me and raping away my innocence. It seems like you should have known, that some mom sense in you should have set off alarms, but that didn’t happen. The gap between us, probably the result of my infant meningitis, was too great. You invited him inside.

I can forgive you for letting the monster in, because you really didn’t know, but I cannot forgive you for siding with him. When I finally worked up the courage to tell you about it, absolutely the bravest thing I have ever done, you did not believe me. You let the abuse continue. You sent me right back into the monster’s lair. It was a betrayal that cut so deep that I’m not sure I’ll ever truly get over it.

You made a seven-year old child feel entirely alone in the world with no one to talk to or turn to for help. You abandoned me to the wolves that lived inside my mind. You let the wound fester. You swept it all away and pretended it never happened. I cannot forgive you for that betrayal.

The repercussions of your betrayal are still rippling through my life even now. When the people whose job it is to protect you abandon you to the monsters, it makes it impossible to trust anyone. If I can’t trust you, my own mother, who can I trust? No one.

Because you never got me any help, you made it seem as if it was my problem; it was my fault. It was not my fault, but I didn’t realize that until many years later. Sexual abuse is an awful thing to carry around with you, especially when you have no one to talk to about it. You left me to deal with that all on my own.

I didn’t talk to you for three years because of that. When I finally started talking to you again, only because I heard that dad had cancer, I told you all of that. You listened and understood and even apologized, but there’s nothing you can say to make up for abandoning me as a child. I carry that burden along with you.

You didn’t blame me for not talking to you and you’re grateful that I do now. You don’t nag me for not calling or visiting regularly enough anymore. You don’t balk when I tell you about a new tattoo or something else you don’t approve of. You let me live my life and you’re thankful that I allow you in it at all, because now you know just how easy it would be for me to cut you out altogether. I don’t lord it over you, but we both know our history is a barrier between us and there is nothing we can do about it. We both know it’s there and why, but it will not go away.

I cannot forgive you for abandoning me, for betraying me and not believing me, but I still reach out to you from time to time, because you are my mother. You failed your child in one of the worst ways imaginable and you weren’t a good mother, but you are the only one I have. Some day, you won’t be here anymore. When that happens, I will be sad, but I won’t feel any regret. I’ve already told you everything I need to say.

Written for Bloggers for Peace: We Are Family.

forpeace6More B4Peace Posts:

B4Peace Family – electronicbaglady.wordpress.com
Dearest Daughter – brainsweets1.wordpress.com
Bad Dreams – A Letter to My Mother – appletonavenue.wordpress.com

And Let There Be Peace

forpeace6

Another year, another Bloggers for Peace challenge. Here we go ’round the world again, spreading peace and cookies. At least, I was promised there would be cookies. I still haven’t had any cookies.

This month, Kozo wants us to come up with a peace mantra of sorts: What one thought will you focus on this year to bring more peace?

This is a tough one. I don’t really have any mantras, mostly because I can never remember them and I never find they work all that well (perhaps because I can never remember them). If I had a motto, it would probably be “eh,” possibly “meh” or maybe “more cookies.”

Eh-3

I think it’s best if I use someone else’s words besides my own (see above), since so many amazing people have said it better than I could. There are a billion awesome quotes about peace out there.

Initially, I thought of personal heroes, like Martin Luther King Jr. or Nelson Mandela, but I’d like to choose a simple statement that I could wake up and see, like a metaphorical sticky note on my mirror. Something that could not only make everyone else think differently about peace, but make me think differently as well.

Without further ado, I present my quote for peace in 2014:

emerson


This post is part of Bloggers For Peace.
forpeace6
More B4Peace posts:
B4Peace: Keep saying it and it will come true – Electronic Bag Lady
Start with one – VernetteOutLoud
January Peace Post – bodhisattvaintraining

December Peace Party

forpeace6

Crappety crap crap crap. It’s over halfway through Decembar and I haven’t done my Bloggers for Peace post yet. I nearly almost forgot. So, what is it?

Plan a party that will ripple peace to the world.

Crappety crap crap crap. I’m not good at parties. I don’t like attending them and I don’t like throwing them. I will come to your party, find some alcohol and a place to chain smoke while making fun of all your guests. Then, I’ll leave without saying goodbye to anyone. The next day, you’ll come over to my house and say, “Where did you disappear to? One second you were there, and the next, you were gone.” I know this because those were the exact words a friend of mine said on Sunday morning after Saturday night’s party. I’m like a bad party ninja.

Party planning. Shudder. Alright fine. Let’s plan a party for the world.

1. Invitations. Everyone is invited to my party. I do mean everyone. It doesn’t matter where you live, what ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or race you are. My party will take place everywhere including the internet. Everyone is invited and there will be no squabbling. If you are involved in a kerfuffle, you will be escorted to an area where you can settle your differences diplomatically.

Since there are bound to be clashes, we will have a get to know you type of thing. Everyone will be assigned a random party buddy so no one has to come alone or feel like a wallflower. Your job is to get to know your party buddy. If they happen to be your enemy, you will set that aside. The aim is to have a good time, not settle political differences. Your party buddy is your friend for the night. Tomorrow, you can go back to killing each other.

Unfortunately, some people will have to work on the night of the party. If your job is one of those imperative jobs where you don’t get holidays off, like emergency services or bartender for my party, you get to pick a day off at some other time of your choosing. All you have to say to your employer is “party night” and you get 24-hours off no questions asked.

2. Booze. I have social anxiety and the only way I can really get through a party is with at least one drink. It’s a requirement unless you want me to hide in a corner, chain-smoking and glowering. So, everyone can have one drink with a maximum of five. Tipsy is okay at my party; drunk is not. If you are drunk, you will be excused for a little while to a sober up area. My bartenders are the arbiters of drunkenness. If they think you are too intoxicated, they will serve you placebo drinks for the remainder of the evening.

3. Music. So as not to exclude anyone, we’ll be playing the biggest dance hits from around the world in every decade from the 1920s up, heavy on the big band and swing music, because I don’t care who you are, you can’t hate big band music. If you’re under 70 years old, you might groan about it, but I don’t care. Learn to dance like your grandparents. They knew how to do it right:

4. Food. What would a party be without food? This party will be a pot luck because I want to try all of your food. I ask, not require, but ask that you bring one item of food that best represents your city, region or country. If you live in the American south, bring sweet potato pie or something. If you’re from Boston, bring clam chowder, etc. I would like to try one bite of food that best represents every city on earth. Please make sure that dishes are clearly labeled with an ingredients list. We don’t want any anaphylactic allergy reactions.

5. The big event. At midnight in every time zone, if you became separated, you will find your party buddy. We’ll hand out champagne or sparkling cider and everyone will count down like it’s the New Year, even if it isn’t. At the stroke of twelve, we’ll be celebrating a new openness in the world. Hopefully, by the end of the evening, you will have made at least one new friend from a different culture. You will have tried some food from a part of the world that you might not have tried otherwise. You will realize that maybe we’re not so different after all and this enemy business is kind of silly.

Billboard.green

To My Enemy

forpeace6

This month’s Bloggers For Peace Challenge is a hard one: I want you to open your arms to your enemies.

forpeace6

I only have two enemies. One is a pedophile, the other is a violent sociopath. I just wrote a post yesterday about how I cannot forgive either of them, so I guess I already played that card. I’m not sure this is what Kozo had in mind, however, I’m going to take this opportunity to write a letter. It probably won’t be very peaceful, but it might help me. I’m going to be selfish this month and try to bring peace to myself. If I talk directly to the monsters, which I have been avoiding, it might bring some closure. I’m going to start at the beginning with the pedophile.

WARNING: This is a pretty graphic story of child sexual abuse. Triggers like crazy.

To the sadistic pedophile, otherwise referred to as Monster #1,

I’m not sure where to start. You know what you’ve done, or perhaps, you don’t. It seems that guilty people have lots of means to avoid taking responsibility for their actions. In case you forgot, which I don’t think you have, allow me to address your crimes.

You pulled me from my bed and out the window by my ankle when I was seven years old. You led me to the woods. You forced me to do things. You left me in the woods alone in the darkness with my little girl nightgown pulled up. When you were done with me, you just left me there, discarded, like some piece of trash. I fell several times on the way back home. There was either no moon or the trees were too thick to allow the light down to where I was. I couldn’t see where I was going and I was crying. I couldn’t sleep from that night onward. I still can’t sleep. I still wake up in the middle of the night instinctively curled up into a little ball, trying to keep my feet away from your hands. I cannot comfortably sleep near a window or on the first floor, still, to this day.

You were staying with your mom and step-dad next door to the cottage where my family and I spent the summers. I only had to make it through the summer. I repeated that to myself like a mantra. Come fall, you would be far away. But then, somehow, you wormed your way into my home. You convinced my family to let you live with us. Your room was right down the hall. It was the same room my sister and I played in. We lost our play room and so much more.

You took me, a seven-year old child, to an R-rated slasher movie with sex scenes. In the movie, a serial killer hides under a bed and grabs a girl’s ankle, much like you had done earlier in the summer. I jumped in and out of my bed after that because I was scared someone was hiding under it.

You hog tied me and liked to watch me struggle to get free on the floor. You used to laugh at me struggling to get free. It was funny to you. My terror was funny to you.

You came into my room at night. You had much more freedom at the house than you did at the cottage. You didn’t have to drag me to the woods. I was right there under the same roof. You started experimenting. You tied me up. You blindfolded me. You gagged me. You forced me to listen to recordings. You put me in the closet, hog tied and gagged, and made me watch you have sex with some woman. I didn’t watch you, but I couldn’t help but listen.

After the instructional and educational period was over, things really got bad for me. That’s the part I have the most trouble remembering. I only have pieces of it. I see a dark bedroom with body parts as if it was a picture, not a memory. I have brief flashes of pain and terror and absolute panic as if I was going to die. I remember not being able to breathe. I remember choking and gagging. It is this part that gives me panic attacks. It is this part that I still can’t talk about because I barely remember it. I don’t try to remember it because it will make my heart explode. If I remember it, I will track you down and kill you, and the rational part of me doesn’t want to do that, so I leave it as brief flashes of skin lit by moonlight. I leave it in the darkness.

Do you remember now? Good.

I’d like to tell you about what happened to me because of your actions. I’d like to explain everything your actions resulted in, but honestly, I fear that you will get joy from my story just as you got joy from watching me struggle to get free on the floor. No matter, I think I need to tell you anyway, for my sake.

I had two recurring nightmares as a kid. I think they started when you were still there. In one, I was trapped in a powder blue bathroom with a very high ceiling that had no door. There was only a toilet and a sink and a small window at the top. I would climb on the sink and try to reach the window, but the window just kept moving farther away, so that by the end of the dream, the narrow bathroom was some fifty feet tall with the same sickly pale light shining in the window. Powder blue bathrooms still freak me out.

The other dream was sort of a waking dream in the sense that it happened exactly where I was at the time and I could never be sure if I was awake or not. I would be lying in my bed on my back trying to sleep and the ceiling would turn pitch black. My room had a window and there was a street light outside so it was never entirely dark in there. The darkness on the ceiling was like the darkness of space. The blackness would spread on the ceiling and slowly climb down the walls, inching ever closer to me. I could not move. I couldn’t shut my eyes. I couldn’t do a thing. It just kept inching closer to me until it engulfed me entirely, starting with my ankles. It always started with the ankles. The closer it got, the more I panicked.

I had both of those dreams for years after. I would sit up in bed, covered in a sheen of sweat, trying to catch my breath with my heart beating a mile a minute. You took my ability to sleep. Thanks for that, asshole.

When I got older, I began rebelling. I started drinking and smoking pot around the age of fifteen. Always the good student and the good girl, I started being bad. I would skip school. I wouldn’t do my homework. I hung out with people my parents wouldn’t approve of. I barely graduated high school.

I didn’t go to college. I became promiscuous. I became profoundly addicted to crack cocaine. I became a prostitute. I was homeless. I did not care at all whether I lived or died. I was completely lost. I didn’t realize until many years later that my promiscuity was a direct result of what you did to me. Once I realized that my sexuality was totally skewed because of you, I shut down. I have never truly, honestly, completely given myself to anyone because I can never truly, honestly, completely trust anyone, because of you. All of my failed relationships, all my sexual conquests, all of my excesses and passive suicide attempts are your fault.

When I went to my parents and told them the truth, had they not taken your word over mine, things might have been different. They didn’t believe me. They sent me back into the lion’s den. They never got me any help. You took my family away. I could never trust them again. I had to deal with this immense burden all on my own.

Everything I have ever done is, in part, a result of what you did to me, what you took from me and what you put there in its stead. For many years, I didn’t realize that. Once I did, I became furious. I have the anger of a thousand suns burning inside of me. I hate you with a passion that I don’t have anywhere else in my life. You destroyed everything. You took my innocence, my family, my ability to sleep or feel safe. You took my virginity and my natural sexual development. You took my education and the life I might have had. When my family sided with you, you took my ability to ever trust anyone again.

You gave me nightmares. You gave me betrayal and self-doubt. You left me with a total mess that I didn’t even realize I had. How do you think I felt when I learned that you have children of your own? You deserve to be in prison. You are an abomination and should be wiped from the face of the earth.

I’m so tired of hating you though. I am so tired of sorting through the wreckage to find who I am without the abuse. I will never forgive you. I will never forget. It incenses me that your actions will always be a part of me, but it is no longer “our little secret;” I won’t keep it inside any longer.

I hope you live a life of pain and agony. I hope some small part of you regrets what you did and keeps you awake at night. Fuck you and die, you sick fuck. I want nothing to do with you and do not ever contact me again.

A Lesson In Peace

forpeace6

“Settle down, class. Today, we’re going to go over the chapter in history on the 21st century. Did any of you read it before class today?”

“Yes, ma’am. I didn’t understand it at all.”

“We’ll go over it together and answer questions afterward, alright? OK, class, we’re going to start with the dawn of the internet age in the late 20th century. History builds on itself, so you can’t just study one part without understanding everything that led up to it.

Humans have a brutal and bloody history. For centuries, we fought over land, religion, skin color, gender and any other thing that divided us. There were two great world wars that killed countless people. There were conflicts all over the world all the time. People were constantly hurting each other in the name of what they believed and everyone thought their side was right.

The internet made it possible for all people to instantly connect with everyone else, no matter where they were. You would think that this connection would bring us all together, but in the end, it just made it easier for most people to see and point out our differences. People hid behind anonymous avatars and threw insults at each other.

There were no great world wars anymore; the wars were smaller and more targeted. People built improvised explosive devices and blew up innocent civilians. “Friendly fire,” a term meaning that a soldier was injured by allies, became common. Nobody knew who the enemy was. Humans declared war on nouns like “terror.”

Meanwhile, the planet was decaying around us. People were constantly distracted and they stopped caring about the world as a whole. They only saw themselves and those around them. They only saw the differences. We were on the verge of self-annihilation. Self-annihilation means to destroy oneself.

It would take an external threat to bring all humans together. In 2036, astronomers discovered a previously unknown comet, about the size of Texas, heading straight for earth. We only had about ten years before it reached us. There was a lot of arguing over what to do. Some thought that we should try to change its course. Some thought we should blast it from the sky. Still others said we should do nothing, that it was our destiny.

For years, there were many conflicts over the asteroid. Eventually, humans from all countries on earth realized that, if we didn’t do anything about the asteroid, the whole planet would suffer. The United Nations assembled a group of scientists to come up with a solution. It worked. The earth was saved at the last minute, but we just as easily could have been destroyed.

Potential destruction is what brought us all together. The united governments of earth became a driving power for peace. They worked together to settle all of our differences. All those who were still at war were forced to stop. For the last 100 years, there hasn’t been a single war on earth.

Eventually, even borders became meaningless. We are no longer American, British or Afghan; we are all inhabitants of earth. The planet is the largest democracy to ever have existed. We all have an equal say in what happens to our planet. Everyone gets a vote, and while there are still disagreements, they never end in war anymore. Any questions?”

Peace Through Insignificance

Wave for the camera.
Image from wiki.

This month’s Bloggers For Peace Challenge is about quotes. Specifically, we are to post a quotation that will bring peace to the world.

The first thing that popped into my head when I read that was Carl Sagan.

In 1990, Voyager 1 took a picture of Earth from a record distance of about 3.7 billion miles (6 billion kilometers). In the photograph, Earth is shown as a tiny dot (0.12 pixel in size) against the vastness of space.

Think about that for a second. The Earth, our home, has a radius of only 3,959 miles (6,371 km) with a surface area of 139.43 million square miles (361.132 million sq. km). We tend to think that’s pretty big. There’s plenty of room for lots of different kinds of climates and creatures. It houses all of our history. All of it from Galileo to Gustav Mahler; from Tyrannosaurus Rex to Neanderthal. Every lizard, bird, fish and person, every single living thing that we know of, has lived out its entire existence in that 139.43 million square miles.

Yet, this is what we look like from the edge of the solar system:

Wave for the camera. Image from wiki.
Wave for the camera.
Image from wiki.

The sun, the engine that keeps our solar system moving, is only one of the estimated 200 to 400 billion stars in this galaxy alone. The observable universe is 93 billion light years. Its scale is so vast, we can’t measure it in miles or kilometers because numbers don’t go that high. We had to create a new system of measurement–the light year. Just one light year is about 6 trillion miles (10 trillion kilometers). We live in a universe that has 93 billion of them, and that’s just what we can see so far. There’s a reason earth is technically the center of the universe: we can’t see the whole thing.

All of human existence is but a speck on the timeline of the universe.

Some of you think that concept is pretty scary. Some think that humans and dinosaurs ran around together collecting firewood in the early days, and that the earth is only 6000 years old or so. It was created in only seven days by one person, or deity, if you will.

This post is not intended to be a religious debate. I just wanted to point out that, if you don’t believe in the nearly infinite age and vastness of the universe, you’re missing out on all the wonder. It takes all the spunk and pluck out of our story. The intestinal fortitude, good fortune and absolute doggedness in our very existence is lost.

I don’t find it scary. I find it exhilarating. We do not know what’s out there. If we had all the answers, life would be pretty boring. I am giddy like a schoolgirl when the concept of the universe is mentioned. I find all of this stuff absolutely fascinating. If I had a better head for maths, I might have gone on to be an astrophysicist or cosmologist, but I suck at it.

Had I been alive in a different era, I would be one of those people who packed up all of their belongings in a horse cart and ventured west to climes unknown. Unfortunately, I was born in an era of Google street view. There is only one frontier left to us; that of the solar system and beyond.

It is not me against you. We–you, me, Ghandi and Saddam Hussein–are all Homo sapiens. We are all the same. We have the same basic genetic structure. We’re all bipedal humanoids. The differences between us are quite small in comparison to our similarities. Just like dogs, most of our differences are but a tiny fraction of our genetic code. Dogs share 99.8% of the same DNA. That means this and this are essentially the same:

Chihuahua, Scottish Deerhound. Images not to scale.
World’s smallest dog breed–Chihuahua, giant dog breed–Deerhound.
Images not to scale.

And so are this and this:

Frederick Douglas, Sonny Chiba. Images not to scale.
World’s most intense stares: Frederick Douglas, Sonny Chiba.
Images not to scale.

Do you see how both dogs have four legs, a snout, tail and fur? And how both humans have two eyes, two ears, a nose and a mouth arranged on an oval surface perched atop a neckhole with hair on top and sides? That’s because they’re not that different. All of us in the same species, whether it be Canis lupus familiaris or Homo sapiens, share the same basic genetic structure. We are all mostly the same, no matter how differently we think, act or look. Humans should act more like dogs. They don’t care about size, color or appearances; all they see is dog.

We share the same planet, a pale blue dot in the Virgo Supercluster. We share the same genetic building blocks. We share the same bipedal movement and the same history. We are one species among many on a pretty blue planet wobbling around in infinite space. It’s time we stopped thinking of ourselves as so disparate. It’s time we accepted each other as the same species and stopped killing one another over our differences, don’t you think?

Enough of the preamble. I’ve gotten sidetracked from my quote. Carl Sagan said it better and more succinctly than I can, so I’ll leave you with his words:

From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of any particular interest. But for us, it’s different. Consider again that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner. How frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity – in all this vastness – there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known, so far, to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment, the Earth is where we make our stand. It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.

This Song Goes Out To You

FOGmix

Halfway through August and I haven’t done my monthly Blogger’s For Peace challenge yet. Tsk tsk. I have an excuse though! I’ve actually been working on this for a while, trying to get it right.

This month, We are to invoke the power of music.

My favorite inanimate thing on earth is music. One could argue that music is anything but inanimate. It stirs the soul, it makes you feel, it makes you think. Music has the power to bring us together by involuntarily triggering emotions on a visceral level. It is humanity’s culture, values and emotions wrapped up in a tidy auditory package. It is our oral heritage.

Music can change my mood. It can lift me up when I’m feeling down. It can make me feel not quite so alone. It can inspire me. And, really, what’s the most peaceful emotion that humans have? If you said stabbing someone with an icepick, you’re wrong and should probably seek help. The correct answer is love.

Some of you are groaning now, but love isn’t just about making out with tongues. It is a universal emotion felt not just by humans. We can feel it towards anything: our kids, pets, friends, hobbies, the color blue, art, words, songs, chocolate and even our planet. Love is the common bond that living things share. We all love something, even if it’s only stabbing with an icepick.

The art of the mixtape has been lost with digital technology. We don’t think about putting a few songs that speak volumes together anymore. That’s a shame. So, this month, I’ve decided to put together a mixtape of the songs that express all sorts of love, except the goopy kind. This mixtape is a love letter to my faithful readers. It’s my way of saying thanks for being here. Enjoy.


Flaming Lips – Do You Realize?

“Do you realize that you have the most beautiful face?
Do you realize we’re floating in space?
Do you realize that happiness makes you cry?
Do you realize that everyone you know someday will die?

And instead of saying all of your goodbyes, let them know
You realize that life goes fast
It’s hard to make the good things last
You realize the sun doesn’t go down
It’s just an illusion caused by the world spinning round”

(A little dismal perhaps, but a valid message nonetheless.)

Flogging Molly – If I Ever Leave This World Alive

“If I ever leave this world alive
I’ll thank for all the things you did in my life
If I ever leave this world alive
I’ll come back down and sit beside your feet tonight
Wherever I am, you’ll always be more than just a memory

If I ever leave this world alive
I’ll take on all the sadness that I left behind
If I ever leave this world alive
The madness that you feel will soon subside
So in a word, don’t shed a tear
I’ll be here when it all gets weird

So when in doubt, just call my name
Just before you go insane”

(I’ll definitely be here when it all gets weird.)

Edith Piaf – Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien

As I mentioned yesterday, I’m a stupid American who doesn’t speak French so I had to translate into English.

“No, I regret nothing
Not the good things that have been done to me
Nor the bad things, to me these are the same
It’s paid for, removed, forgotten
I don’t care about the past
With my memories I lit the fire

My troubles, my pleasures
I don’t need them anymore
I start again from zero

Because my life, my joys
Today, it begins with you”

(Hells yes.)

They Might Be Giants – Don’t Let’s Start

“No one in the world ever gets what they want and that is beautiful
Everybody dies frustrated and sad and that is beautiful”

(there are way more lyrics, but I included this song simply because of those listed.)

Prince Buster – Enjoy Yourself

“Get wisdom, get knowledge and understanding
Those three were given free by the maker
Go to school
Learn the rules
Don’t be no faker
It’s not wise for you to be a foot stool

So enjoy yourself
It’s later than you think
Enjoy yourself
While you’re still in the pink
The years go by as quickly as you wink
Enjoy yourself
It’s later than you think”

(Excellent advice.)

Descendents – Original Me

“Mirror, mirror please believe
I need to find a sign
All of my life spent wondering whose hiding behind this face of mine

Confusion, illusion, misinterpretation of the original me

I need a sign, a simple chime
A windblown kiss across my mind
Solitude in the craziness
Of a world gone mad, a world behind

What big thoughts you have
I can see them in your eyes when you pretend to laugh
The reflection I see reminds me of somebody like me”

(You have very big thoughts – I mean that in a good way.)

The Brought Low – A Better Life

“Oh, my city lies in dust
My head’s about to bust from all the smoke
Oh, my back’s about to break
I took all I could take, not anymore

Deep in the dark night, I hold my pillow tight
Dream of a better place, of a better life

Oh, my friends they are lost
Some I can trust, some I don’t
Oh, my family has fled
Left me for dead by the road

Deep in the dark night, I hold my pillow tight
Dream of a better place, of a better life

I won’t let go
I won’t lose hope
I won’t let go
I won’t stand down”

(I won’t stand down, dammit.)

Led Zeppelin – Thank You

“Little drops of rain whisper of the pain, tears of loves lost in the days gone by.
My love is strong, with you there is no wrong,
together we shall go until we die. My, my, my.
An inspiration is what you are to me, inspiration, look… see.

And so today, my world it smiles, your hand in mine, we walk the miles,
Thanks to you it will be done, for you to me are the only one.
Happiness, no more be sad, happiness….I’m glad.
If the sun refused to shine, I would still be loving you.
When mountains crumble to the sea, there will still be you and me.”

(I’m not actually going to hold your hand. We don’t have that kind of relationship, unless you really want me to.)

Percy Sledge – Dark End Of the Street

“At the dark end of the street
That’s where we always meet
Hiding in shadows where we don’t belong
Living in darkness to hide our wrong
You and me at the dark end of the street
You and me

I know time is gonna take its toll
We have to pay for what we stole
It’s a sin and we know it’s wrong
Oh but our love keeps coming on strong
Steal away to the dark end of the street
You and me”

(This song is actually about an illicit love affair, but I think it applies to all my bloggy friends, too.)

Tom Waits – Take It With Me

“All broken down by the side of the road
I was never more alive or alone
I’ve worn the faces off all the cards
I’m gonna take it with me when I go

Children are playing at the end of the day
Strangers are singing on our lawn
It’s got to be more than flesh and bone
All that you’ve loved is all you own
I’m gonna take it with me when I go”

(Me too.)


If you’d like to listen to your mixtape from start to finish, you can do that by clicking on the tape below:

FOGmix


This post is part of Bloggers For Peace.
forpeace6

More B4peace posts for this month’s challenge:

Dear Universe

Our tiny little corner of the universe.

You are very big and very old. I mean that in the nicest possible way. I don’t mean you’re fat, although maybe you are compared to the other universes, but I’ve never seen any others. I’ve lived my whole life inside of you like Jonah in the belly of the whale, so I’m not really sure what you look like on the outside. Perhaps you are whale shaped.

There is so little that we actually know about you and we’ve gotten many things wrong over the course of centuries. At first, we didn’t even know you existed. We could only see our own little planet. Then we discovered the solar system. We thought our pretty blue planet revolved around the sun and that’s all there was to it. But now we know you exist. We know that our little corner of you is as small as a cell is to a body, maybe even smaller since we still can’t see you as a whole. This is only what we can see of you, so we’re in the middle:

Wave for the camera.

You are all-encompassing and you’re getting bigger. You are literally everything we have. Every laugh, every tear, every idea and scientific breakthrough that the man-ape known as human has ever made has happened inside of you.

Some like to think that you’re fair. Some like to think that you have a plan for us, that you’re sentient and paying attention. I don’t think any of that is true. You’re no more fair and just as random as accidentally knocking the cue ball in the pocket on break.

CueBallOnOpeningBreak
Image from indianetzone.com

Except no one is in control of the pool stick, and you are all the balls and even the table. We really have no idea how the stick hit the cue in the first place; we’re still circling the pockets, waiting to land.

It’s a nice notion to believe there is a purpose in this or that someone has a plan, but I think the randomness of it actually makes it more exciting. If we knew how long we would live and what would happen, if we had all the answers, it would be a pretty boring existence. We don’t know how you came to be or how we got here. There are still so many questions and I think that is pretty neat. The unending quest for knowledge is the most noble trait we have.

You are as complex as the creatures that live inside of you. No human is entirely good or entirely evil. We all have done horrible things that we regret. We all have the potential for evil lurking inside of us, but in the same sense, we have the potential for greatness, too. It’s up to us which path we choose.

I don’t think you’re fair. I don’t believe that, because if you are, you’ve got a pretty fucked up sense of fair play. Some good people live their entire lives in misery, while others who sew evil and selfishness live in total impunity. They achieve power and do terrible things to the people just struggling to live day to day.

For me, the fact that you are not fair is actually the nicest idea, because it means that you are not biased and we are free. We are free to choose good or evil. We are free to be decent to each other and help each other out. We are free to love, laugh and live. Freedom is the best possible gift you could have given us. It means that we won’t always do the right thing, but we are capable of choosing.

There is evil in you, there is no doubt about that. Some people are truly terrible creatures. But there is good in you, too. There is joy and love. There is compassion. There is the possibility to choose our own paths. We have it in us not to ignore someone in need, but to stop and help. We can listen to each other and sympathize. We can help each other when we’re struggling and lift each other up. Not all of us will choose this path, but there are enough good people in you that it makes it all worthwhile.

So, while I don’t think there is an innate plan or a purpose or a sense of justice and fairness in you, that’s alright. We don’t know why you exist or why we exist, but we are here nonetheless. The why doesn’t matter. What matters is what we do with our time inside of you. What matters is how we love. Thank you for existing. I’m proud to call you home.

Our tiny little corner of the universe.
Our little corner of the universe, the Milky Way Galaxy.

This post is part of Bloggers For Peace.
forpeace6

The Story Of A Relationship

comic

This month’s Bloggers For Peace Challenge is about relationships. I have been avoiding this post for a week, because I can’t really talk on the subject since I’m very bad at them. Instead of giving advice or telling you what I’ve learned, I decided to do a comic about the longest, most confusing and least defined relationship in my life with Male.

comic1

comic3

comic4

comic5

comic6

comic15

comic8

comic13

comic9

comic14

comic11

comic16

The moral of the story is that you have to let people be and do what they want to do, and not force ideas of how things should be. Or, it could be that boys are dumb. Peace.

forpeace6