I Repented, that's why I'm a happy godless slut now.

Friday, August 2, 2013

"PRAY FER 'MERICA" The Bus Stops Here


That’s the bus. That’s the only picture that I’m including of the bus, although I did get a couple of others that I sort of liked. Because as tacky and awful as that fucker is, it’s not the point. It points to the point, but it’s not the point.

Okay, lemme back up a second here. There’s this bus making a trek across America (Murrca!) encouraging people to pray for America in a pretty blatantly political, Dominionist-y kind of way. We heard about it here. A couple of us decided to crash the party. One of us (not me, I suck at those things) is hassling them online and in email for the way the article was written (as though everyone in Omaha is presumed to be Christian, and not just that, but the sort of Christian that thinks Separation of Church & State is A Very Bad Thing). And in a blog post, which I shall link here as soon as I have it. You’ll love his blog posts. THEY ARE AWESOMESAUCE. Plus, the title of his blog. I mean, come on: All These Pious People. How good is that? At any rate, this is a little photo essay of the experience. (You’ll have to pardon me on not getting correct the finer details, whatever the fuck they are, of photo essay-ing. This is my first go at just quite this sort of blogging/essaying/photoing.)


Why they actually put the outdoor canopy up in the middle of the indoor facility is not actually that baffling. It just makes the fact that it’s pure propaganda that much more blatant.


A predictably old white dude who was just as predictably trying to preach to the kids while not excluding the adults (who were all predictably in the very front and very eager beaver, while the kids were in the back and… not so much?

Okay, I'm gonna stop with the DA BEARS references. Shit, I'm not even from Chicago.

I think we managed to get so close and personal because they took us for some sort of journalists. Which, I suppose, we are. (Not that we actually talked to any of them, except for the one lady who commented on my shirt [a Kaylie/Morton Salt mashup which I absolutely love] saying, “That’s an appropriate shirt for today,” and then I think I actually said, under my breath of course, “You… don’t know what it is, then.” It also turned out that I’d completely missed her meaning though [it was raining cats and dogs outside, and Kaylie's holding that umbrella - you know the one] so I guess turnabout is fairplay.)

There weren’t actually all that many people there, I thought. At least not for something that’s supposed to be this big national tour thing. I may have just had inflated expectations.

The age range you see represented here in these two pictures was pretty much it, whichmay have been a quirk. But I doubt it. These kids were fucking bused in from wherever. Already creepy, right? At any rate, there were the teens, and then the over 50 crowd with very very little in between. In fact, the little Latina making googoo eyes at the pastor on the far right of the second of these was pretty nearly the only representative of any other age range, near as I could tell. Not that I’m the best subjective judge of ages, I guess, but you get the point, right?

A couple that are, I’m presuming, on staff. I included this one because something about the tilt of her head, her posture, and her clasp on her husbands arm speaks volumes to me.

This one is here for two reasons, both are very very serious. I found the backrub that the one girl was giving the other girl through the whole fucking thing slightly… odd, given the prayerful, preacherful, evangelical context, and a little amusing. Now, I know that there may have been absolutely no erotic undertones whatsoever, and the other girl may have just needed some knots worked out after volleyball practice or whatever. But then again, teenagers. Hormones. Raging.

The other reason is that the look on the middle girls face at just that moment said something to me. Actually, it’s one of the few of these that I really thought the lighting worked for me for just a second, too. This kind of gymnasium flourescent indoor lighting is my fucking worst enemy. (Well, almost, anyway.) I hates it. Aaand that’s as far down the photo-geekery rabbit hole as I’m gonna let myself go for the moment. I do have to warn you, though. That’s gonna happen from time to time. Because I love photo-ing. So, nyeah.

So after doing some preaching, and trying to get the adults not to answer the question of what the kids were struggling with (when he finally got a kid to answer [the back-messaging girl from above], the answer was, “they’re disrespectful.” What? Really? That’s your biggest fucking struggle in life? Of course, it was immediately re-couched in the appropriately biblical “honor thy mother & father” terms), preacher man invited all of the other preachers up (a good 1/2 or more of the non-bus-riding adults present) and began praying over them, for strength against persecution, strength to stand up to the sinful ways of godless ‘murica, etc, etc. There was the typical laying on of hands, the raising of hands, the tight closing of eyes, the nodding of heads, and even the low-voiced glossolalia that they call “speaking in tongues.”

Then, for the culminating event, the real brainwashing power of which I hope to leave to the photos and my cahort’s description (because it just creeps me the fuck out thinking about it), he invited the kids out. To hold up their arms, to pray for the pastors, to give the pastors strength. Woah.

And yet, the stances of some of those people read discomfort. Maybe some of the same discomfort I felt as an awkward kid when people were doing this shit, and I wanted to believe, I wanted to be in the ingroup, I wanted to be able to pray like that, I became that, dove deep inside and refused to acknowledge the fourth wall of my brain that was SCREAMING WITH WHAT THE FUCK. (Remind me to tell you about the time my best friend & I went to a YWAM Conference Thingy when I was around sixteen or so & I figured out the Speaking In Tongues Is Bullshit.)

Here was the tongue talker walker whisperer. I swear I’ve seen this guy before.

Afterwards, they broke into smaller groups. The bus’ preacher man invited anyone who was troubled and needed specific prayer to come up to the front, vaguely under the tentish, along with some of the other preacher peoples. And the general intensity dissolved, sort of, or devolved into some people being released from the tension while other were gathered up more intensely into the smaller little prayer huddles of mostly twos, but one very intense little circle of five or six.

This adorable, timid woman was hesitant to interrupt the two people praying just a couple of feet away, but really wanted to listen and to help them pray. So this is the, “I’m praying with you, but not intruding,” stance. Then again, maybe some part of her wasn’t really so timid, because I’m pretty sure that this is her purse, too.

And then this. The quality of the image came out for shit because I’d just switched lenses to try to get a wider shot, and my little 18-55 doesn’t do that well in low light, but then we saw this. It had to be shot. So regardless of the graininess and what-not, I still think this is a telling, compelling image. A pretty decent summary and closing line.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Godless Groups Just Get Together To Do Shit

Something that’s been occupying the backburner spaces in my mental kitchen over the past year or so has been the place of groups and activities within an atheist community that are not specifically related to atheistic activism. There’s been a growing number of these popping up in our local community lately, and I’ve been loving it. Not only do I think that there is a place for these sorts of groups, I think that they are necessary.

The example I usually use is book clubs. I really want to be a member of a book club, I love talking about books and what I’ve read. Almost all of the book clubs I’ve found around here and taste-tested are full of very nice people who inevitably assume in every single participant a deistic belief system, and freely sprinkle that assumption into the conversational cookpot. I want to be able to have conversations about books, whether they be literature, scientific, philosophical, fantastical, young adult, whatever, without that assumption being made. Or rather, where the opposite assumption can be made explicit (and, thus, not really an assumption, I suppose).

I think that this is important and not something to be lightly swept aside as not really having anything to do with freethought, atheism, and atheist activism.

Friday, October 12, 2012

What Makes a Poly Person... Poly?

What makes a poly person poly?

This is something that came up recently after some great conversations about the nature of non-monogamy vs monogamy that came up after the Midwest Freethought Conference in August. It’s been bubbling around in my brain for a while, particularly after a couple of great (if all too brief) conversations with a fellow blogger on Storms of Atheos and another dear friend. (Yes, sometimes we bloggers actually physically get together and sit [or stand] around and bullshit about important things instead of sitting stumped and caffeinated in front of our laptops at home [or a coffee shop, or some other not-home location, as I cannot seem to get jack shit outside of episodes of whatever-the-most-recent-NetFlix-obsession done at home] to bullshit about important things.) So, I’m going to try to address that here. We’ll see how that goes.

Being polyamorous has fuck-all to do with one’s marital status, or who one is dating, or how many (if any) partners one is with.

I am currently single, and plan on staying that way for a while, for my own sanity. And not even really because I want to be single. (I don’t. I definitely don’t.) But I need to, because I’ve got some other things that I need to try to work on about myself, and I need to stabilize some other things in life before I can let such a potentially volatile and wonderful destabilizing force as a relationship or relationships come and shake shit up.[1] However, regardless of my current relationship status, I still self-identify as polyamorous. Because that’s the model of relationship that (for the moment at any rate [and that ‘at the moment’ sort of a thing is part of the meat of what I’ll get to below, I hope]) best describes me.

I have a friend who is married, and is currently actively in a relationship only with a spouse,[2] who has absolutely zero interest in pursuing any other relationships, either now or for the foreseeable future, despite repeated and periodic assurances that it’s perfectly acceptable to do so. Spouse (we’re using ‘Spouse’ as a substitute formal name/pronoun for now[3]) is just not interested. Which is not to say that, at some point, Spouse may not be. My friend waffles back and forth. There's the need to reassure Spouse that if there ever did occur a desire to date, flirt with, kiss, whatever someone else, that’s really alright; there's also a not wanting there to be any pressure to do the above (possibly simply to provide a salve for a guilt that things aren’t [on the surface] equitable in the dating/desire to date area - and there's a whole separate discussion available here about self-sacrifice and selfishness in there, I think).

At this point, there’s a little back-story I want to throw in. At the Midwest Freethought Conference, Amanda Brown gave what I thought was a fantastic talk on nonmonogamy. She was, especially when pushed a bit, pretty abrasive and dismissive of the entire idea of monogamy. This rubbed people the wrong way, even (?) in an atheist audience. (Even among those that have left religion and gods and that behind, there is still the remnant of those unexamined stones of ideas that, though they may not realize it, are the antiquated vestiges of faith. Which I think was part of the point of what she was saying.) My friend felt shamed by this for being married and in what she identified as a currently monogamous relationship. But here’s the thing: I don’t think that she should have felt shamed. Because I don’t think that the way that she approaches relationships is monogamous. Definitely not in the puritanical sense meant by most societies whose norms are defined by antiquated religious expectations of virginity until marriage and then after that only ever only only that partner ever ever ever. Ever.[4]  And probably not even in the much looser sense in which most people mean monogamy. And somewhere buried in that is the rub.

Assuming I’ve got a decent read on what most people have as a mental referent when they use the word “monogamy,” I think that they mean fidelity to one person and one person only, with a willfully blind eye to the future. They believe, even though they know full well that it’s not fucking likely, that they will stay together forever. The relationship’s functional day-to-day existence is guided by the cute belief that the two of them will stay sexually and socially monogamous; that because of marriage the relationship has been concretized in some magical way that precludes the possibility of change, the possibility of expansion to include others, the possibility of narrowing, the possibility of having a terminal point.

And I don’t think that poly people do that. They recognize, accept, and go with the fluidity of relationships. They are perfectly willing to address the need for those changes and evaluate relationships on an ongoing basis, revisiting the status and nature of relationships as needed or desired. And I don’t think that monogamous (as commonly practiced) couplehood, and especially monogamous marriage, does that. It assumes a perpetual status of couplehood, and as such, makes those involved in that relationship blind to the morphing that any given relationship status can undergo.

And, of course, as with all things poly, communication is key. My friend is more than willing to address and readdress Spouse’s desire or lack thereof for further or additional relationships. But the reason that the communication part even comes into play here is the recognition of the transient properties of time and relationships. It’s that thing, that openness, that willingness to talk about desire, dating, relationships with one’s partner or partners. It’s an open-endedness, a recognition that the terminal point of relationships has not already been defined and cemented by marriage, or by whatever. A recognition that the whole idea of terminal point may, in fact, be moot.

And that’s not the last word. That may change, too. Which is part of the point.[5]

[1] What exactly those things are, I won’t really get into at the moment, but the totality of the reasons can be put into maybe a couple of short phrases. I need to become a better person; I fucked some shit up that I need to fix; both of those aforementioned things are going to take time.
[2] It was in one of a couple of conversations with this person, and another conversation with another poly friend that most of this got worked out in my head.
[3] Which brings up another interesting point/similarity with the atheist and LGBTQA communities, that of feeling the need to keep identities secret. To which I say, FUUUUUUUUCK that’s frustrating. I intend to write about the similiarities and differences at some point, and how I think things are going on the OUT fronts in those areas, and what geography and demographics has to do with that, and just exactly what OUT even means. Somebody remind me to do this. (sigh)
[4] Not that this can’t be done successfully and fulfillingly (ß can that be a word? My spellcheck says no. Of course my spellcheck also says that spellcheck is not a fucking word). It can. About 1% of the time (being, I think, generous, and if I’m doing the numbers right, which I grant that I may not be, which is why I need to actually study those statistics books that someone gave me since I can’t really afford to take the statistics courses). Sources for numbers:;;
[5] Sorry for the rather abrupt ending there, dear fives of readers. But this is one of those bits of writing that I fear I might not put out there at all, but keep going back to and adding a sentence or two here and there, tweaking a bit here or there, deleting this or that definite article, if I don’t just say “Fuck it,” at some point and click the clicky thing on the computer. At some point, I'm going to start doing some actual real writing that requires more careful structure and editing. Just not right at this very moment.

Friday, September 28, 2012

On Atheism Plus (Finally)

After much delay, I guess it’s about time to actually throw my inconsiderable opinion into the interesting stew pot of Atheism Plus. (The actual decision to go ahead and throw this out there was a combination of Tanya over at Daisies and Shit kicking my ass just a tiny bit for not writing… well, anything, lately, and a thought process that looked about like this in my head: OH MY SHIT I AM SO BEHIND ON ALL OF MY READING AND AM NOW GOING TO SAY FUCK IT TO ACTUALLY GETTING CAUGHT UP AND JUST HIT THE GODDAMN RESET BUTTON IN 1… 2… 3… and done).[1]

Before I actually start talking about it in any detail, I’ll just start by saying that I heart the Atheism Plus idea. And I’m also going to attempt to focus on what I think is so great about it, and not so much on the hullabaloo (read: shitstorm) that’s been flying around the interwebs about it. Although that’s probably going to be unavoidable to a certain extent. (Also, this is part of the reading and research that I’m so woefully behind on. But I have semi-successfully gotten semi-caught up on at least that one little slice of reading. I’m also just about equally behind on podcasts. And, with the exception of a few of my very favorites, probably HITTING THE GODDAMN RESET BUTTON on those, too.) Onward.

Secularity has been dragging the world forward on all kinds of social justice issues for just about as long as social issues have had any forward progress. And religion has been retroactively taking the credit for it for just about as long[2]. And secularists, atheists, haven’t had any choice but to just shut the fuck up about it, because our position, for all its merits, has simply not been creditable. That’s up until relatively recently. Lately, atheists have been more vocal. More present. More cohesive. More of a lot of things. More of a lot of really great things. The atheist movement, the atheist population, the atheist whatever-you-want-to-call-it has been growing quickly, and with all of the growing pains that come with that in any given collective movement.

Atheism Plus is, I think, is the Atheist Visibility movement, next step. I may be jumbling labels a bit here (and this is not altogether unintentional), but one of the graphics that I’ve seen that I really liked that pithily described the difference between atheists of the old order and New Atheists (not to be confused with Atheism Plus… the new new atheist movement… :-P) as being that New Atheists, when told to shut up, say, “No.” Which is awesome. We should be saying no. We should be as visible as it is feasible for us to be, given individual circumstances. And we should be visible and active AS ATHEISTS. That’s part of the point, right? To get atheists and atheism out there in the public eye, to make us an every day, ordinary, accepted part of American society. Except that so often we are not doing that.

We've segmented our atheist activism apart from all of our other forms of activism. We've said to ourselves, “Over here, I am a feminist and I will be active for feminist causes. Over here, I believe in gay rights and I will fight for marriage equality over here. But those things are not my atheist causes. My atheist causes have only to do with my atheism. And I will partition the inside of my head that way.” Which some people can do, I guess. Actually, I probably do that a little too well. Which is part of my own all consuming personal issues. I don’t actually want to be that partitioned in my life. That’s one of the reasons that I actually started this little clusterfuck of a blog; so that I could be all (or most) of the things that I self-identify as in one place, in one piece, and integrate all of the different parts of myself into one organic, healthy (or, at least, getting healthier, which is part of the point, right?) whole.

I’ve written before about how I am, in fact, a feminist specifically because of my atheism. Regardless of what the dictionary definition of atheism is or is not, there is a deep causal connection between my lack of belief, the kind of integrated thinking that allowed me to overcome some equally deep cognitive dissonances, and so many of the other aspects of my life and the way that I think about the world. Becoming an atheist, and openly adopting that self-identification, was not an isolated thing, nor could it be held in isolation. It was a revolutionary overthrow of a complete worldview that forced me to reevaluate every other little thing about the way that I looked at the world. And every other big thing.[3]

So there’s that part.

Atheism+ vs Secular Humanism: Well, okay, but what about Secular Humanists? Aren't they doing all of that great activism stuff already? Yes. But they're not doing it AS ATHEISTS. They're not raising the awareness that atheists are an integral part of the broader activist community; they're not raising the awareness that atheists care. That as atheists, caring is an integral part of our self identification as atheists. Using the label of Secular Humanism allows those (both ourselves and others) that are uncomfortable with the label of atheists to dodge that particular issue, rather than branding the scarlet A on our chests and walking around naked with it until the discomfort for ourselves and everyone around us finally wears off, and nobody minds that we’re naked sluts . That’s how we get accepted. (Note: I am absolutely not saying that everyone should walk around naked at work. That probably won’t fly. Maybe that can be something for down the road a bit.)

Why so angry? Some of the anger in the negative reactions to this whole thing strikes me as very similar to anger surrounding the geek label and fringe culture in general that I wrote about before (inspired by Ashley Miller’s much better [and more polished] piece on the subject [but fuck being polished… right?]). It’s the, ”Hey, we were here first! We were doing this before doing this was cool! Quit trying to reinvent the wheel!” sort of thing. That argument is fucking stupid and pretty juvenile. Let it go, grow up, blah blah blah. Instead, get excited! Join the movement.

And that’s part of it, too, really. Galvanization. This kind of thing gets people excited, gets them moving, gets them to want to be involved. Which is a GOOD THING. Because atheists, as atheists and openly in the name of atheists, need to be in ALL THE THINGS. Then, rather than being blocked off into a corner or fringe of society that can be easily ignored, ridiculed, reviled, feared, shunted off as some academic, irrelevant concern to society, rather than that, we will come to be considered a necessary part of forward progress in the world. In order to be an accepted segment of modern society, we really need to be completely pervasive in all levels and quadrants of society. (And, really, we already are, we’re just not open and vocal about that bit. Which, again, is part of the point.) You want to be relevant? This is how. Be an atheist feminist, not an atheist and a feminist. Be an atheist egalitarian, not an atheist and an egalitarian. That kind of thing. All of these social justice causes get people’s blood moving, because it’s real to them, often on a very visceral level. It affects them and the people that they care about every day (and this is true no matter which way you roll on any given one of these issues).  This shit is relevant. This is shit that people care about. This is shit that we can work together on, that we can have a legitimate and hefty voice on. That we can make a difference in. And we can!

Liberal church analogue. The closest analogue that I can think of for what we ought to be doing here is that of the liberal religionists reaching out the GLBTQA communities, and what a difference it’s making. Not just that subculture, of course, but so many. That’s just the most recent one. Does it frustrate you that churches are appealing to the very same people, populations, cultures and subcultures that they were doing their damndest to suppress just a few fucking minutes ago? Yeah? Well, how did they do that? By getting out there in the name of their churches, their faith, and reaching out to those people. Making a place for them. And I know that the idea of taking a lesson from them may sting a little, but we need to do the same thing. We need to reach out to them, take their side, acting as atheists. Taking the secularity that has for so long dragged the religious world forward while they dug in their heals;  take that secularity and say, “Hey, you know what that is that helped you win your place in the world? That’s atheism. I’m an atheist, too. Let’s go be atheists, and make a fucking difference in this world, shall we?” It is, in fact, secularism that has made the world a better place. About time we shed a little light onto that secularism, instead of it hiding in the shadows while the world’s religions vie for the credit, for the spotlight; because when you shed the light on it… secularity? It’s atheism. It really is.

[1] Also, if you don’t like asides and footnotes and things like that with no particular rhyme or reason other than where they feel like they should go at any given moment, you should probably go ahead and stop reading now. I’m taking a page from Robin McKinley’s blogs and will probably be doing more of this sort of thing. I think it is a pretty fair representation of what the inside of my head looks like. And, far from being polished and pretty writing, that’s what this blog is supposed to be. If you want my polished and pretty writing, it does exist… just not here so much.
[2] Despite the fact that religion was more often than not the motivating force behind many of the injustices, and in the aggregate, fought the progress every bloody inch of the way.
[3] There is a forest/trees subtext going on here that I am not going to try to tease out at the moment. But it’s there, just so that you and I know that.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Here's A People List: Atheists

A good friend and fellow blogger over at Storms started putting together a list of Atheists (he makes lists for everything… EVERYthing… it’s what he does), and was asking for some names (in case he forgot anyone). I realized that his list and my list are likely to be somewhat different, so I thought I’d make my own list, too. Atheists that helped me in the process of deconverting, that inspired me to be more active, and ones that just plain inspired me.

In no particular order, then, here are some people that I love.

And I think this whole idea goes back to something that I am finding to be more and more the case as time goes on. There is, in fact, a new generation of atheists coming into our own, finding our own way in the world, expanding the voice and the visibility of atheism in the world. And this, I think, is what Atheism+ is really all about. (And, yes, of course, I have quite a bit more to say about this, but I’ve fallen SO FAR BEHIND on my reading, etc. So before I say much else about that, and thereby reveal the depth of my ignorance, I’ll just get caught up a bit over here, and then say more.)

Friday, August 10, 2012

Good, Bad, Ugly (But... I Want Beauty): Brief Personal Notes

I'm not actually writing about anything today. This was something that actually started as a fb update a couple of days ago, got too long & introspective, and so got copied into a note on my phone. I am now spewing it here for lack of a thought in my pretty little head.

Extremely busy the past few days at work. I'm learning. It doesn't feel like it's fast enough, but I am learning.

In other areas of life, it feels as though... well, that it's a rough, gravel fucking road & I'm ill equipped for the travel. Or maybe it's more that there's good, there's bad, and there's ugly right now, and all I want is the beautiful.

And yet on another hand, I look back at this weekend and think of how awesome it was. Did I mention that I got to actually meet and talk to at least three of my absolute favorite bloggers? That I sat and talked to one of them for a good hour before I realized that I was talking to her and husbandish?

And then I also think about what I missed last weekend, too; there is a palpable ache there. So many things all held in tension in moments in time, from one moment to the next. I try to capture them, hold them, release them, let them be what they may be.

And a very happy birthday to one of my beautiful, amazing daughters. I wish that I could have been there.


Post script. As I went to get the link for Daisies and Shit above before posting this, I saw my name there... and I was confused for a moment. Then I read. Then I squeeeeeeee'd. OH. MY. SHIT. One of my favorite blogs just mentioned me. I may be a little excited by that. A bit.

Also, rest assured, she did not forget anything; I did not mention that I blogged during that conversation, which in retrospect, may have been because I'm too goddamn shy about that stuff, I was thrilled that I was talking to her and husbandish, I was tired, and blah blah blah.

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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Fringe Culture, Anger, and Maturity: Or, It's Okay To Be Cool Now. No, really. You just need to get the fuck over it.

Ashley F. Miller has a great post that on one level is about “geek culture,” but is really about any fringe culture going through a process of growth into mainstream culture. It is truly insightful and you should go read it. What I want to touch on here, though, is something that she doesn’t quite come out and say in her post. She quotes at length a commenter on her blog, who basically says that if a person has not earned the right to be called a geek, has not had to fight through the high school experience of being bullied and shunned, then they should not be allowed in the ranks of geekdom. And he is bitter about that, and angry. The hurt he went through is palpable in his screed comment. This is understandable, since the self-identification as geek was and still is, for many people, a sort of psychological defense mechanism, the badge of honor, that one wears in a community of only a very few. Military Vets can be that way, too. Even among ourselves, there can be other subdivision. Like, if you didn’t serve in combat, then you aren’t really a vet. Alcoholics can be that way, too, in some weird way. “Look, son, I drank more in a week than you have in your entire life.” (I even have to wonder if, perhaps, all communities have something like this. Even the “popular” peoples. “Look, you don’t know what hard is until you’ve done two-a-days in 100 degree heat all fucking summer to be on the football team.”) So I think that this line of thought is perfectly natural and allows people to make it through some very difficult things and in that way forge a place for themselves, a belonging to a community.

Geek Culture can be very... thorough
But you can’t stay there in that mind set. It will implode in a messy cloud of dust and noise, and you will be left with a complete lack of identity; just a hole where the structure of identity that you struggled to build once stood. There’s another line of thought among alcoholics that I think may be applicable here. They say that during your drinking/using time, you basically stop developing, emotionally and mentally. I don’t necessarily buy that wholesale, but nonetheless, I do think that there is some truth to it. I also think that the sort of anger grasped onto by the commenter and so many other bullied and fringe social groups is just as poisonous and stunting as any drug or alcohol. When nurtured like that, it excludes and inhibits all other possibilities for growth and development.

This is not to say that anger is not a healthy emotion. The whole idea of “healthy” vs. “unhealthy” emotions is completely overrated, to begin with. Emotions just are. They happen for perfectly valid reasons. Anger is just anger. It is useful. It serves a purpose. It can even, on occasion, be intensely satisfying. But when clutched to the breast and petted and fed and nurtured, it turns into something vile. It turns into hate, and turns from something that you clutch for survival into something that seemingly takes on its own vile life and claws through your ribcage to take possession of you.

Ashley Miller closes her blog with some truly good advice:
Being a geek shouldn’t be about a persecution complex.  It shouldn’t be about being better than other people.  It shouldn’t be about bullying people who want to be your friend now because of what you think they may have been like in high school.  It should be about embracing people for being themselves and being grateful that they can be themselves when they are with you.
In order to do that, one has to mature as a person. The immature anger that allowed for survival in high school or whatever other environment, must be released; if it is not released, it takes over. And then that poor demon-possessed person is stuck there, in high school, never progressing beyond those juvenile emotions, that juvenile intellect. No matter how many other bits of knowledge they collect and cobble together, they will be stuck in that tar pit of misery.

So, in order to truly open up and enjoy the community of Others, we have to let go of all of the anger and hatred from all of the bullying in our past or present. That anger has served its purpose, it has outlived its usefulness, and it’s okay to let it go. And, really, if you can’t find shit to get angry about in a much more positive and useful way these days, then you just aren’t paying attention.

I want to grow. It is never too late to grow. I think I’ve been stuck long enough in a lot of my own tar pits and sand traps. I’ll do whatever it takes to get out of those, and scour all of that poison off till my skin glows and breathes the fresh air. And then I’ll keep walking out into the world. Let that world be wide, not narrow, and let it be populated by whoever is there, and let me, for once, dance with them instead of holding myself back and just watching. (More on that in some other post down the line. I know, I say that a lot. I mean it every time.)