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Archive for the ‘Men’ Category

I know I’ve not written for a while, and there’s a reason for that; there’s nothing new to blather about.

The world hasn’t ended, Seychelles has the same President and people are still screwing around on their partners and behaving badly in general. Where’s potential for interest in any of that?

I did start a rant last week over the infidelities in the news, from that Prick-for-brains IMF creep and the Sperminator, but really now … is there anything new about politicians or actors, or both (or musicians or lawyers or whatever … ), not being capable of keeping their parties within the confines of their own pants, if not limited to their partners?

I suppose I could have pounded out something on the targets of said philanderers and the treatment they’ve received in the press, but have been in no mood.

I found it mildly engaging when taking into account the particular women on the other end of the cheatin’ stick, but even Mrs. Prick-for-brains IMF creep and Maria Shriver aren’t anywhere near enough outside the boundaries of run-of-the-mill in their ties to scoundrels to post a whole blog about them.

After all, cheaters cheat, liars lie and Let Cheating Dogs Lie could be a bumper sticker. (Don’t get me wrong … I like dogs, but only if they’ve had all necessary injections, are housebroken and well-trained. Feral scavengers are just pitiful and it would often be a kindness to put them down.)

Money-grubbing religious asswipes are also not rare, and neither are morons who send money to buy their bullshit, then have their asses wiped. Sure, it’s all vaguely amusing on some level, but the fact is there are far too many far too stupid to live, and that’s not news, either.

On a local level, our Presidential election came and went with no changes, so there’s not much to say about that.

On a personal level, I’m enjoying myself, but not sharing the who, what, where, when or how of that, either, so neener, neener, neener.

Anyone really missing me is free to send a topic and I’ll do my best to work up a good head of steam … or mist … or fog … and bang out what I can that may or may not relate, assuming, of course, an Internet connection tamps down annoyance levels.

Not missing me is okay, too.

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The strongest natures, when they are influenced, submit the most unreservedly; it is perhaps a sign of their strength.
~ Virginia Woolf

I came across this quote the other day and it’s been niggling at me ever since. Although I could rail against the idea of submission and would rarely put “strong nature” in the same thought, through the gestation process it has grown progressively more conspicuous in its sense.

It may be the weak we see as easily led down whatever primrose path might be laid at their feet, and there’s no doubt that happens. It takes only a glance toward the silly notions of religion and the fashion industry to note the queues forming in front of smoky mirrors, and the mass whiplash reaction to jingling keys is almost audible in many circles.

Like sheep to the slaughter, we’re accustomed to seeing the glazed-eyed caught in shiny headlights moving in whatever direction has been pointed, manipulated by the cheap, the easy, hardly bothering to question … rarely even forming a question … while assuming some version of free choice, perhaps even thoughtful consideration, when all the time it’s nothing more than simple manipulation that’s put them in line.

It happens en masse, as proven by the popularity of Britney Spears, muffin-top jeans on the overweight and the turnout at tent revivals (and their equivalent), but a one-by-one cherry-picked harvest happens, too, as evidenced by those in relationships so obviously made of nothing but the shifting sands of “Hey! Look over here!”.

This is, of course, not what Ms. Woolf had in mind.

Strong minds, when influenced and fully submitting can change the world. Although not all would agree, many would insist that those challenging the status quo in places like Egypt, Libya, Yemen and Syria might be strong natures influenced by circumstances into unreserved submission to a cause they find just.

It was strength that sent Jane Goodall to Tanzania forty-five years ago and her unreserved submitting to the importance of her work keeps her working today.

From Nelson Mandela to Martin Luther King, Jr. to Randy Shilts and other modern-day heroes, submission to a mission was nothing but a manifestation of great strength.

On a personal level, I’ve had some ponderings on my nature, which I consider strong, and the unreserved submissive stance I’ve taken from time to time. In my advocacy work it helps a great deal that I’ve “been influenced”, as when under attack for proposing what I know to be right I feel no need to qualify and can maintain focus for as long as it takes to get a point across.

The fact that I have paid for allowing myself to be duped into relationships, however, grates, and has had me questioning my strength … quite a bit lately … wondering if and why I can be so needy, so weak, that giving up bits of myself becomes something that feels okay.

It’s vital I acknowledge my vulnerability, step up and shake hands with the frail and insecure parts of me and go toe-to-toe with my deficiencies in dealing with loneliness, as there are lessons to be learned and still enough future left in the old girl to make avoiding any reruns a good idea, but in contemplating Virginia Woolf’s words I must also incorporate my strengths.

I’m choosing to see unreserved submission under the influence as a sign of just how strong I can be. I’m a woman of passions, and it takes balls to capitulate to those when presented with an option to run with them or away from them. Giving myself the freedom to surrender to feelings does feel braver than shutting down and living the rest of my days hunkered under a cloak self-administered anesthesia in a permanent state of numb even when the opposite ends up biting me on the ass and leaving bruises.

Yes, I face the paradox of me, but I’m a woman … strong/weak, ready to take care/needy for care of, confident/insecure, forgiving/unmercifully ruthless … and armed as such (I have two of them, thanks) I move through the days bolstered by strength and buffered by weaknesses.

Women are never stronger than when they arm themselves with their weakness. ~Marie de Vichy-Chamrond, Marquise du Deffand, Letters to Voltaire

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Karmageddon

A portmanteau of “Karma” and “Armageddon.” References “shit hitting the fan” in an extreme way while acknowledging one’s contributions to that event.

Specifically, when all the (usually unpleasant) stuff you’ve done comes back to you at once.

And ain’t that a bitch?

A recent spate of aspersions cast toward me and whatever karmatic debt I face has me contemplating, and … You know what? … I’m pretty okay.

More than okay, actually, since the scale has been rather more heavily weighted on the “reap” side than the “sow” of late, so I’m just waiting for that pendulum swing that has things leveling out, if not lucky enough at the mo to do more than stock away some karma points for future use.

As she has planted, so does she harvest; such is the field of karma.
~Sri Guru Granth Sahib

There are those, however, for whom the Four Horses Asses of the Apology have yet to all arrive at the stable for their big shit, so Karmageddon looms. Shame.

The karma game is not one of holding and folding, even though the element of knowing when to walk away and when to run may be part of it. It’s more Monopoly than poker, but where investments in goodness have bigger payoffs than houses on Park Lane and consequences can be more dire than landing in gaol until the next roll of the dice. (And, yes, it’s the British version I’ve seen for years, so can’t recall the Atlantic City board.)

Of course, goodness doesn’t always happen and even the sweetest of us will sometimes sour the mix, but the karma-conscious can manage pre-geddon maneuvers … sincere apologies, compensatory gestures, explanations that don’t include excuses and the like.

In a bit of interesting timing, Superhero Bobby posted a Bruce Lee quote on his facebook page this morning that ties in nicely:

Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them.

Yes … that “admission of guilt” thing goes a long way toward sidestepping Karmageddon, and it does take guts.

As we all know, Bruce Lee was no wimp, so one would have to assume that in seeking forgiveness he would have been courageous enough to admit mistakes, not only to those perhaps wounded by them, but also to himself, and since karma is all about lessons, that would seem to be the salient point.

Although justification may come easily to one who’s wronged another, it too often lands on the “this is going to bite you on the ass someday” side of the karma scale, and regret, being an internal manifestation … and frequently self-serving … doesn’t tend to tip things toward the reward side, either, unless it is strong enough to keep one from screwing up so badly in the same way ever again.

No, it’s all about the lessons learned and, although there are some who appear to get through life avoiding the morals and messages, Karmageddon awaits. In one way or another paybacks happen, shit hits fan and messes are made, and it matters not if you throw in your hand and run like hell, you’re still going to end up with shit all over you.

Personally, I prefer to keep things clean from the get-go, and failing in that, to tidy after myself as I go.

My actions are my only true belongings. I cannot escape the consequences of my actions. My actions are the ground upon which I stand. ~Thich Nhat Hanh

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Seems a good time to take a bit of a breather from the woes of the world and rein my focus for the day in to the realm of the woes of the woman. Don’t get me wrong, as I’m certainly not saying that many of those woes don’t have the same testosterone-driven cause, but not even I would go as far as to blame earthquakes and tsunamis on the penis-laden.

It’s this article that prompts today’s post, titled, “Why Remarry?”, a look at the idea of doing it again from one not chuffed about the idea.

The other day a younger friend, a woman in her twenties, called to share news of her engagement. She’s been dating a great-seeming guy for about a year, and she sounded exuberant, glowing, over the moon. “Congratulations, Eleanor! I’m so happy for you.” Yadda, yadda, yadda, and we wrapped up the call.

The truth is, as a divorced woman in her forties, it’s hard for me to get excited about anyone’s impending nuptials. Very hard to pretend the divorce and adultery statistics don’t exist, to push into the background my own painful memories of marital discord, the tedium and pain of having the same fights over and over again, the feeling of being unloved and trapped. What I mostly feel for Eleanor and others like her is a jaded sense of “Good luck dear. I’ve been there. Enjoy the good parts and take care of yourself when it’s bad. And try to have some sort of long-term back-up plan.”

No kidding.

Cynical? Sure. And why not? It’s been no bed of roses for so many of us, and the prospects aren’t looking so good through the filter we now attach to those tinted glasses.

Most men require a lot of care. They want to be fed; they require copious dry cleaning; they’re physically large and take up space; they demand attention in ways large and small. All these things are well and good, and I’m often happy to do my part. But why would I sign myself up to have to do it, 24/7? Sex on demand is a beautiful thing, but having the bed to oneself sometimes is equally a treat. Once the kids are old enough to go out and get around on their own, the feeling of liberation is pure bliss. Being able to do whatever you want, whenever you want, in your own home! People have fought wars for less. Do you really want to give that up?

Good question! And giving it up in exchange for a lying, cheating bastard who’ll run you ragged, support only what builds him up and may very likely end up leaving you in the lurch? Hm.

Given that the rate of divorce in first marriages in the US is 45% to 50%, and for second marriages that jumps to 60% to 67%, finding bliss seems an illusion, at best.

The not-doing-it-again thing is going around in the world of Western woman, and the idea of opting for single has caught on big time:

According to the 2007 US Census, for those 25 and older, 52 percent of men and only 44 percent of women are likely to remarry after death or divorce. The New York Times analyzed the data and reported that for the first time in recorded history, more women are living without a husband than with one.

… I’ve been surveying girlfriends on this subject, and 14 out of 15 of my married friends, all women over 40, look mortified when I tell them that the subject of marriage has been raised in my current relationship. “No! Don’t do it!” is the swift cry. After that they all say “Why? What for? Isn’t it perfect as is? Living apart, seeing him when you want to? What could be better?” One women at a recent dinner party, married for sixteen years, told me that if she were to find herself single again, not only would she not remarry, she wouldn’t ever have another relationship again!

Okay, that may be a bit harsh, and there are those in the 50% to 55% of marriages who are actually pleased with their situations, content, happy even. Off hand, out of all my friends all over the world I can think of about five women who would change neither their man, nor their circumstance, for anything.

Sure, we tend to hope that we could be one of those women … those living-happily-ever-after-til-death-us-do-part girls … which is my lame excuse for having been down the aisle THREE BLOODY TIMES. And, of course, I’m far from alone in that dream …

I’ve concluded that for me, the biggest draw lies in the smidgen of chance that I could experience something I’ve never had before, the old fairy tale that makes youngsters like Eleanor want to get married. Maybe it would be fantastic. Maybe we’d continue to hold each other in the night in this perfect way, resolve our differences with relative ease. Maybe the emotional rewards would trump most discomfort? That he’d be my partner and best friend always? Hmmm.

Yeah … that.

And what is it with that?

Thankfully, it’s Lent, so my mind isn’t going anywhere near those sorts of thoughts until at least after Easter, and given the level of shit I’ve been wading through lately avoidance is likely to last a hell of a lot longer than forty days.

Should I someday find myself again thinking in terms of sharing not only my life, but my space and legal status with a man, having somehow manage to rid my mouth of that nasty, ashy taste that lingers … well … you may find me writing:

Remind me again what the appeal might be …

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What do Emperor Nero, Warren Beatty, Rev. Jim Jones and a guitarist known as El Prickito have in common with Muammar Gaddafi?

They’re all narcissists.

The NHS definition of NPD:

Narcissistic personality disorder is a condition in which people have an inflated sense of self-importance and an extreme preoccupation with themselves

The causes of this disorder are unknown …

A person with narcissistic personality disorder may:

* React to criticism with rage, shame, or humiliation
* Take advantage of other people to achieve his or her own goals
* Have excessive feelings of self-importance
* Exaggerate achievements and talents
* Be preoccupied with fantasies of success, power, beauty, intelligence, or ideal love
* Have unreasonable expectations of favorable treatment
* Need constant attention and admiration
* Disregard the feelings of others, and have little ability to feel empathy
* Have obsessive self-interest
* Pursue mainly selfish goals

It’s this article that had me researching narcissistic personality disorder again today, even though it has been a topic here on the blog recently.

Given the present circumstances in Libya a revisit is timely.

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has a narcissistic personality disorder which makes him feel all-powerful and rebel against those who criticise him, a Libyan exile said on Tuesday.

“He feels grandiose and omnipotent… he thinks only of his own interests,” David Gerbi said at a presentation at the University of the Witwatersrand.

“He’s killing people in pursuit of power,” he said.

Yes, much like another famous narcissist, Adolph Hitler, and as with Hitler there is no dealing to be done, no sense to be made, no compromises possible, as is shown in a definitive look at narcissistic personality disorder:

Trying to reform narcissists by reasoning with them or by appealing to their better nature is about as effective as spitting in the ocean. What you see is what you get: they have no better nature. The fundamental problem here is that narcissists lack empathy.

Lacking empathy is a profound disturbance to the narcissist’s thinking (cognition) and feeling (affectivity). Even when very intelligent, narcissists can’t reason well.

Gaddafi had managed, through some pretty typical narcissistic practices … lies, schmoozing, bribery … to “charm” his way out of his previous incarnation as the epitome of evil, but the present circumstances that throw himself in his face are completely intolerable and “deserve” nothing less than everything he can lob at those with the audacity to find him anything other than the perfect leader.

Yesterday’s declaration of a ceasefire is followed today by a full-scale attack on Benghazi, and no matter what he says, what promises he may make under whatever duress the international community may actually … eventually … exert, this man will never do as much as acknowledge a single fault.

It’s worth some time to examine how it is that some so obviously suffering such an obnoxious personality disorder manage to so often get what they want. The fact that they’re tenacious certainly works for them, as does a complete lack of ethics which allows employment of anything it takes to get ahead.

Complicating matters considerably, however, is the healthy person’s incomprehension … disbelief, even … that such heartless cruelty can actually exist in another human being.

Could millions of pre-WWII Germans have signed on to Naziism had they been able to conceive of the true mind of Hitler? Of course there were many reasons his shit floated, but had he not the compulsion to feed his ego machine things could have been much different.

Would those hundreds of People’s Temple folks have served up the Kool-Aid if they’d noticed early on that Jim Jones had a bit of an issue with power and control and put him in his place?

The Reverend, Hitler, Gaddafi … Warren Beatty, even … with their grandiose come-ons, promises of whatever and outright lies lull the unsuspecting into the fold, then hammer them into the ground in hopes they never raise their eyes or voices again.

“Normal” people who see the world as a somewhat ordered state where actions make sense assume others recognize right from wrong without understanding that in the narcissists mind the only “right” is theirs and everything else is just wrong.

That’s not an easy mindset to grasp for the empathic, the healthy, but when the narcissist has an army at his beck and call others need to realize what they’re dealing with. I can only hope … with little faith … that the UN and nations now contemplating Libya are getting the picture.

As for the run-of-the-mill narcissist … well …

Now, it is possible to have a relatively smooth relationship with a narcissist, and it’s possible to maintain it for a long time. The first requirement for this, though, is distance: this simply cannot be done with a narcissist you live with.

Well … yeah … but even the distance thing gets old …

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Victoria's "Gift"

On yet another day that sees the news filled with horror stories and images of destruction, I hunt for a bit of diversion from the real-life world that shakes and screams and hurts and hates, something to let my head go in directions necessary to make progress on present work. In other words, to lift the clouds of gloom and feel the sunshine with little nagging guilt over just how bloody easy I have it at the moment.

History can provide quite the perspective, so finding this story on Queen Victoria’s much younger man has caused quite the reroute in thinking on world reports through the mirror of time and more than a little sweetness.

Mr Karim was just 24 when he arrived in England from Agra to wait at table during Queen Victoria’s golden jubilee in 1887 – four years after Mr Brown’s death. He was given to her as a “gift from India”.

Within a year, the young Muslim was established as a powerful figure in court, becoming the queen’s teacher – or munshi – and instructing her in Urdu and Indian affairs.

Mr Karim was to have a profound influence on Queen Victoria’s life – like Mr Brown becoming one of her closest confidants – but unlike him, was promoted well beyond servant status.

“In letters to him over the years between his arrival in the UK and her death in 1901, the queen signed letters to him as ‘your loving mother’ and ‘your closest friend’,” author Shrabani Basu told the BBC.

“On some occasions, she even signed off her letters with a flurry of kisses – a highly unusual thing to do at that time.

“It was unquestionably a passionate relationship – a relationship which I think operated on many different layers in addition to the mother-and-son ties between a young Indian man and a woman who at the time was over 60 years old.”

Ah, the advantages being Empress brings a girl, heh? (And just in case anyone is wondering what to get me for my birthday in July, such a “gift from India” would not be scorned!)

Apparently, Karim was not on the Top Ten list with the rest of the clan, as he was given the royal boot out the palace doors within just a few hours of Victoria’s funeral, but although attempts were made to wipe the castle clean of all reference to him he had spent ten years with the woman, and he did keep diaries.

Those diaries are on their way to becoming a book, and a fascinating read it’s bound to be. Not only do we have that cougar thing going, but the fact that the Supreme Governor of the Church of England was taking daily advice from a Muslim back in the days India was still part of the Empire is very interesting.

No doubt, Victoria was one smart monarchial cookie, as under Karim’s tutelage she learned to speak, read and write both Urdu and Hindi, and I enjoy imagining the range and depth of conversations they conducted as they shared days, traveled the world and passed time in her remote highland cottage in Scotland.

He was, of course, not the first younger man the “Widow of Windsor” had a thing for, the Scotsman, John Brown, having been her “personal servant” from shortly after Prince Albert’s death until the time of his.

Victoria’s children and ministers resented the high regard she had for Brown, and, inevitably, stories circulated that there was something improper about their relationship. The Queen’s daughters joked that Brown was “Mama’s Lover,” while Edward Stanley, 15th Earl of Derby wrote in his diary that Brown and Victoria slept in adjoining rooms “contrary to etiquette and even decency.”

Well, what the hell? If you’re the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and Empress of India, you’re going to pay attention to what others have to say about where your boyfriend beds down? I don’t think so … at least not in the days before tabloids and Twitter.

I’d never considered Queen Victoria a woman I’d relate well to, but seems I’ve found some commoner ground, and although I know it’s not only more than 100 years too late, but also something she would never have registered on her radar, I’d still like to say:
YOU ROCK, GIRL!

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Cleaning out Lent


Sisterhood

Girls! We’re tough
we’re smart, we’re strong
and even those don’t get along
should know that cheating on the sisterhood
will never do but some ass mister good
We’re women and together we can
hold the man in a firm hand
to limits that constrict his playing
And when we share the shit he’s saying
he has no choice but to confess when
all that bullshit he’s professin’
might actually achieve some traction
to those who don’t quite get his action.

Yes, Girls! We’re tough
we’re smart, we’re strong
Could give a shit about a song
composed of lies. Don’t sing along
Instead believe your sisters good
rely upon the sisterhood
and learn the answers you must find
are for the sharing … we don’t mind …
It is so right to tell what we know
and help you to avoid the blow.
You may not thank us then, or now,
preferring to be some dumb cow
who buys it all, just laps it up
but those who have drunk from that cup
know too well that taste of poison
have heard those nasty notes of noise, and
have come out the other side
still in tact, and with our pride.

Girls! We’re tough
we’re smart, we’re strong.

Sack of shit

A sack of shit
I stepped in it
It made a mess of my shoe

Gave it a toss
Said adios
And finally I’m done with you

And now a bit of music …

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