All Points Of View Are Not Equally Valid

Disclaimer: Controversial Opinions is a series in which I’m essentially thinking out loud. I don’t think every one of my opinions is right, and I’m open to changing my mind when shown a new perspective. If any of this starts feeling like a manifesto, I assure you my intention is just to get my thoughts out and off my chest. You’re welcome to agree or disagree, I’m doing this for myself as much as anything, but I do hope you get something out of reading this.

I’ve had enough of this notion that “liberal” and “conservative” are equally valid points of you. This is a false equivalency. They are not equally valid. In our culture, “conservative” has essentially become a code word for “racist, sexist, homophobic,” or generally just bigoted. Think about it, any time you see someone attacking the rights of gay people, black people, or attempting to impose religious rule on others, it’s ALWAYS a conservative who’s doing it for their “conservative values.”

One thing that really bothers me is when we don’t take people at their word when it comes to what they believe. We should believe what the vast majority of conservatives have to say about their values. Conservative values are the values of bigotry and religious oppression. Liberal values are the idea that people deserve equality, life, healthcare, bodily autonomy, the ability to love whoever they choose and build families in any way they see fit. In other words, liberal values are exactly the values the country was founded on, the idea of life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have any rose-tinted views of the American founding fathers as enlightened progressive pacifists. They did after all fight in a revolution and, no matter how progressive they may have been at the time, they were likely all abominable racists. Even the ones who didn’t have slaves didn’t consider black people equal to white people, or women equal to men. So don’t mistake me as saying that liberal values are the values of the founding fathers. People idolize the founding fathers too much and in America they are essentially worshiped as gods, but that’s another topic and we’ll get to that in a moment.

Even though making a blanket statement about all liberals or all conservatives is bound to be wrong in some instances, the fact remains that the vast majority of people who believe in equality and freedom for all races, genders, and sexual orientations, are and have always been, liberal. And the people who oppose progress, the people who chant racial slurs, the people who protest a black girl going to a white school or want to keep water fountains segregated or try to pass legislation banning transgender people from using the bathroom, are always conservative. Conservatives are always on the wrong side of history and liberals are on the right side of it.

Don’t mistake me as thinking liberals are perfect. One of the reasons I admire Bill Maher so much is that he calls out liberals on their bullshit. I think that liberals have gotten a lot of things wrong about the way we view culture and it’s appropriation, and policing the way people are allowed to express themselves, but in general, being liberal is being decent, and being conservative is being bigoted. So I’m tired of hearing people say they’re a conservative as though that’s a decent and worthwhile thing to be. When someone says they’re a conservative, it’s most likely a very nice way of saying they’re racist, or they’re homophobic, or they’re transphobic, or they’re in some way opposed to equality.

 

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Wings With Leaves

Once upon a time, I woke up in bed with my boyfriend, and I kissed him and snuggled with him and I probably sucked him off, I don’t really remember the exact details of this particular day.

But as time wore on and I rolled around in bed or walked around the house, it became clear that I needed to take a shower. I didn’t smell great, my hair was a greasy mess, and it was time to get clean. But I kept putting it off. This is not a problem I’ve had my whole life, just something that’s developed over the last few years, where I keep procrastinating about taking a shower for so long that I go a few days without one.

Finally, my boyfriend told me he wasn’t going to kiss me anymore until I took a shower. I tried pouting and acting cute, but finally he said that’s enough, and with both of us laughing, he marched me over to the bathroom, opened the door, dragged me inside, and took me fully clothed and put me in the tub, then closed the shower curtain and said don’t come out until you’re clean.

It’s a really sweet memory, and it’s one that I love.

Writing is a little bit like taking a shower. It is utterly essential for me, and if I go more than a few days without doing it, my brain gets all foggy and unfocused and lethargic, and I just keep saying things like “I’ll do it tonight,” or “I’ll do it tomorrow morning, right now I’m going to play Pokemon.”

I came to the realization a couple days ago that there has probably not been a single day at least in the past few years that I haven’t thought about what I should write that day. There have been times when I sit down to write and I’m just not feeling it, so nothing happens. But more often what happens is I just jot down the central idea of whatever it is I’m thinking about in my notes, and never get around to writing in my blog.

This blog is my journal, as well as my notebook for stories, poetry, and everything else. It’s my home. If I died tomorrow, this blog would be the thing I consider to be my legacy. As such, I really ought to fill it with more stuff. There are plenty of poems I’ve never shared, pieces of stories I’ve never posted.

This month is November, and every year something called NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, takes place. Anyone can participate. All you have to do is challenge yourself to write a novel by the end of the month, at whatever pace you’re comfortable with. Usually you can set yourself a word count to write every day (fun fact, the current word count of this blog post is 482 words), but people do different things. Every year I consider participating. After all, I’ve been working on a novel, mostly in my head but sometimes in my notes or on “paper,” for several years now. But my novel isn’t the kind of thing that I could write in a month. At least, not that one anyway. But there are other ideas banging around my head, ideas about boys falling in love, about sex gods who go around causing mischief, about a modern world where magic exists, or even just about telling the story of my life.

A big problem for me is the constant feeling of not having achieved anything. I’m twenty-seven now, and I’ll be twenty-eight in another six months. My life is still not where I want it to be. There are things that worry me, things that haunt me, things that I want to say out loud or write about but I can’t, other things that I need to write about that I’m not ready to. There are so many things to say. What I always wished is that I’d written more over the years, so I could go back and read about what I was thinking on a particular day.

And that’s what this is. I realized the little story about my boyfriend putting me in the shower would be a good way to start a blog entry, and here it is. I brought up NaNoWriMo because I’d considered the idea of kind of half-participating by writing, not a novel, but in my blog at least once a day. I don’t know if I want to do that yet, but I do know that I need to start writing regularly again.

A common piece of very important artistic advice I like to repeat comes from Kesha, “You have to give yourself permission to suck.” And I think what that means is that sometimes you’re going to feel inspiration, and you’re going to sit down and try to turn that inspiration into something beautiful. Sometimes you are successful on your first try. What is likely to happen in my case is that I feel inspiration and I sit down and try to turn it into something beautiful, and I find that I’m too rusty, I haven’t been practicing enough, I don’t know HOW to express that inspiration in a good way. I sit down at the piano to try and channel my inspiration into a beautiful song, but I’m still stuck on the last song I was playing, I haven’t been practicing how to move around the piano and play something new, and I’m stuck, and I can’t get my inspiration out in the way I want it.

So sometimes you have to write disjointed stream-of-consciousness blog posts like this, so that when inspiration strikes, you can sit down and write something REALLY good. You have to keep exercising your muscles, otherwise you won’t be able to… wait, there was an athletics metaphor but it got away from me. See what I did there, I pretended I’m so dorky that I don’t get athletics. Well actually I don’t but that’s not the point.

I’m fat. I’m creative. I’m pretty. I’m scared. I want to adventure. There are so many things about me that I want to express, but I have to keep writing if I want to be able to write anything decent. And maybe this is as good as a first step as any. Maybe I’ll write more tonight, or maybe I’ll wait until tomorrow, but as of this moment I’ve written something today, and now my day off isn’t wasted.

Maybe I can keep pushing myself, and keep creating, every day, something little, until a moment of lightning strikes me and I create something big and magnificent and beautiful. And then people can see that I’m worthwhile, that my mind and my heart are worthwhile, that there is something in me that is worth loving and appreciating. Because I think what’s we all want, especially writers. Writers want their ideas to be loved.

Here is something I created today that I’m proud of: every day, I write down something in my notes on my phone. Usually it’s just a line of dialogue, or an idea, or something to remember later. Yesterday’s line in my notes was “wings made of leaves.” That means someone having wings where the bones are like tree limbs, and the feathers are like leaves. Today’s note hasn’t actually been written down yet, but it’s a quote, a quote from a character I don’t know yet. In the little scene that played out in my head today when I thought of it, I was speaking with the voice of River Song from Doctor Who, but I don’t know if and when this line will appear in my own writing. The line was this: “A grown man trying to fight death is like a child trying to fight growing up.” It means that death is a natural and beautiful part of life. At least from one perspective it is. I’m still afraid of death. But this is something that a character might say, to argue with another character. No, actually, it would be to argue with me. I think writer’s have characters just so they can argue with themselves. And I think that’s beautiful.

So those are today’s contributions to my future work, today’s small ideas that can be planted and blossom later. A wingspan made of wood and wings, and a voice speaking about death. Today isn’t wasted. It never is, but this way I have a record, this way I have something concrete, this way I’ve done something, this way I’m taking a step toward the life I want to have, one where I’m a writer and a musician and I’m surrounded by love and support and I’m not afraid of where I am or where I’m going. A life that I can love and believe in again. A life as good as anything I’ve felt before, but much, much better.

Evolving Morals

The more we come to understand the world around us, the more terrible we realize it has always been, and the more ashamed we are that we allowed it go on unchecked for so long. But that’s how growth comes about. We learn more from mistakes than successes. The most bleeding heart liberal of thirty years ago would look like a neo-Nazi today, such is the nature of progress. It’s fast, it sweeps you up, and it leaves you feeling confused.

It’s no wonder that the older generation is prone to say “It was a different time.” It really was. When we, as millenials, accuse Generation X of being transphobic, they stare back with their mouth agape, because they quite honestly didn’t know transgender identity even existed. They never MEANT to be transphobic, they were just ignorant. And the thing is, hurling insults at the older generation, calling them bigots, that’s bound to put them on the defensive. No one wants to be thought to be a bigot. There are two kinds of bigotry: there is the conscious bigotry of someone who learns new information and then chooses to ignore it or chooses to continue to marginalize and discriminate, and their is the unconscious bigotry of a well-meaning but uninformed person who doesn’t realize they’re bigoted.

Throughout most of modern history, Christianity has treated homosexuality with a disdain suitable only for death row inmates. We’re treated with utmost disgust and quite often violently attacked or mudered, whether for religious reasons or not. But there have been those Christians who compassionately wanted to “help” gay people by helping them to “overcome” their homosexuality. Gay conversion therapy is abominable and horrific, but it was probably created with good intentions. The Christians who sought to “cure” their gay children or other loved ones probably really thought they were doing their best to “help” someone “afflicted” with the “disease” of homosexuality, they probably thought that they could help the unfortunate “victim” to overcome their urges and lead what they considered a wholesome, Christian life, and allow them into Heaven.

But we’ve reached a point where as a society we can understand what homosexuality is from a biological and sociological standpoint, and we don’t have to treat it as a mental disorder anymore, because we understand that it isn’t. Soon the same thing will happen with transgender identity. As we grow and learn, we come to understand how wrong we were, but as always, we learn from our mistakes. It doesn’t make those mistakes any less heinous, by the way, but it is still how we as a society grow.

Christians today who attempt to “turn” their gay children straight should know better. Christians today should be held to account for their bigotry, because they no longer have the aegis of ignorance to hind behind.

The Father, The Son, The Broken Chair

The Father, The Son, The Broken Chair

So listen, dad, to what I say
Allow me to be perfectly clear
Lean in close and kiss my lips
And I will whisper in your ear
Can you hear the pain behind my teeth
Can you feel the heat between my legs
Can you touch the place you bruised and beat
Can you kiss the spot you never left
Can you heal the bruise you left inside
On a bed with the curtains closed real tight
In a room entirely made of white
In a memory that still beats in this light

Where are your convenient excuses
Where are your threats when you need them
Let me rape you the way you raped me
Ask me later if you’re forgiven
Kill this monster you left inside me
Growing from your seed within
The man who made me found a haven
But I’ve been in the wild since then
It’s time, at last, to get revenge
It’s time we made this even
Do you hear the church bells chiming, dad?
I’m outside and I’m listening
He comes into your room at night
He stays and never goes away
And still he lies inside your mind
If you listen you can hear him say

Alone, alone, abandoned boys
Embrace the man you made me
And listen for my little voice
“It tastes like raisins, daddy.”
So come, come in, let’s talk it through
The chair you left is waiting
Let’s walk back to that living room
Let’s try again and maybe
The lights will break, the boy you made
Has come now to collect you
Let’s finish this where it began
There’s no one to protect you

I’m stronger now, and you’ve gone old
But I have lived and you have not
And you’ve been sitting in that chair
And I have loved and you’ve been lost
And I will light a candle here
And set this chair on fire
And I will breathe you in the air
And let you float on higher
I’ll walk down to the river side
I’ll skip the glass along the way
I’ll sit there in the water, dad
And live to love another day
And as your ashes float above me
I will cry my tears for you
I cannot be the man you made me
I have better things to do

It hurts too much to keep on hating
It’s only killing me too soon
I’d rather be the son you lost
Than the nightmare you left in that room
And I don’t need your reasons, dad
I don’t care if you have found them
I have to live despite your efforts
I have to find a way around them

The father, the son, the broken chair
The night the devil found me
It’s more than I can ever bare
But still I cross the boundary
You watched a baby sound asleep
And said you wanted to hurt him
The way your father held your feet
The way your father burned them

It’s not my job to heal the burns
It’s not my place to touch your bruises
A son is not a bandage
And a father should not make excuses
I don’t want a kiss goodbye
I don’t want to kiss your bruises
The son you murdered did not die
And he can love the way he chooses