Monday, October 31, 2011

Samhain Blessings To All!

May the ancestors deliver blessings on you and yours...
May the new year bear great fruits for you...
May your granted wishes be as many as the seeds in a pomegranate...
May the slide into darkness bring you light...
May the memories of what has been keep you strong for what is to be...
May this Samhain cleanse your heart, your soul, and your mind!
--- traditional Samhain blessing

Monday, October 24, 2011

Just When I Start To Wonder

I've been struggling with whether or not to continue with this blog in it's more authentic and honest sense or to write more about the subjects that seem to get more hits.  The words I write for this blog come from my heart and I started it in hopes of helping others feel not so alone in this world.  Others who are like me: butch, Buddhist, caring, compassionate, spiritual, etc.  The subjects that seem to get the most hits are the posts about being butch.  The fact of the matter is, this blog is all about being butch.  It's all about being me and if that resonates with someone and helps them to get through this crazy world then I'm doing a pretty good job.

I sometimes lose site of that fact.  The fact that what I post here does sometimes help someone out there and just when I start to really lose site of it I get an email from someone who says something like this:

"I was in a really hard place when I discovered your wonderful blog... and I very much enjoyed your writings that reflected familiar and new parts of my heart back to me.~  I had just awakened to my love of tomboys (yes, please), and reading about a butch perspective from your unique, open, spiritual heart was/is so refreshing to me, since a lot of the butch blogs out there don't match my being at all.~ 

So I'm glad for the chance to acknowledge such a sweet resonance in this big ol' world... and to offer back to you open-hearted acceptance... as you journey on and on and on in self discovery and self expression...~  Beautiful...~*  Honoring you is somehow honoring me... and I think we would all do well with more of that for ourselves.*"

After reading this I realized that I'm on the right path and so I honor you, the reader, as a way of honoring myself.  I will stay true to me and this blog and continue on this path of writing for as long as I can.  Thank you for reading.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Knitting Love

It took three tries but I finally knitted a decent looking kitty ear hat for my girl!  The first one was too big, the second was too small and this one is just right!  I gave the smaller one to my God Daughter so now she and my girl have matching hats! 

Knitting has become my favorite down time activity as of late.  The pattern came out of a fabulous book called Stitch & Bitch.  Excellent book if you want to learn, too!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Trying To Find The Answers

I have been fairly quiet lately.  The state of the world weighs on me deeply and I find myself searching for answers that elude me.  I have a ‘fix it’ personality and my inner co-dependent just wants to make everyone feel better. 

What is it about the human race that keeps us from loving, respecting and having compassion for one another?  When, exactly, did greed supersede these basic human needs? 

These questions and many like them brought me to the name of my blog, A Stranger In This Place, because I really don’t understand this world a great deal of the time.  Religion and politics puzzle me the most. 

The US government was created as a government ‘for the people and by the people’ but has since turned into a government ‘for the corporations and by the corporations’ while the people stood idly by until it was too late.  Now the people seem to have absolutely no control over anything in this country.  We went about our business trying to find the elusive ‘American Dream’ while our government, and the people, became the puppets for the corporations and big businesses.  We allowed them to attach strings to us and use us for their profits by signing into sub-prime mortgages, signing up for high interest credit cards to live beyond our means, going into debt for an education that no longer serves us, signing 2 year contracts for cell phones so we could get the free phone, agreeing to contracts that took us further and further into debt so that we could have more things and we decided not to vote.  I am guilty of all of these things myself.  It was me who signed the papers.  It was me who said yes to all of those things for one reason or another or to just feel better about myself because I had nothing while those around me had or appeared to have everything.  I bought into the idea that in order to be successful I had to have more, do more and be more.  Really?  Is that what this life is all about? 

I have a Bachelors of Science degree in business from Portland State University.  I’ve worked in business since I was 13 and since I’m now 41 years old that means I have 28 years of experience.  During those years before obtaining my degree, I hadn’t ever made more than $35,000 a year.  I was going to college thinking my degree would increase my chances of making more so that I could properly support my son and myself.  Because I had to work full-time while raising my son and going to college, it took me much longer to reach graduation but upon reaching graduation I landed a job as an accountant for a local restaurant business.  You’d think my salary would have increased significantly but it didn’t.  I was making $40,000 a year as an accountant with a Bachelors degree and $55,000 of student loan debt.  (Remember I went to school longer than the usual 4 years so my debt is larger.  Yes, I realize that was my decision and I accept responsibility for it.  Still, it doesn’t make it any easier.)

The only time I made what I consider a decent amount of money in order for my son and myself to live comfortably and feel like the ‘American Dream’ was just around the corner was when I worked both a full-time job as an accountant and a part-time job at FedEx.  I worked 6 days a week and my days were 17 to 18 hours long.  I slept approximately 4 to 5 hours a night.  I worked myself into the deepest depression I have ever experienced in my life but I made close to $58,000 that year.  That experience has left me wondering if that is the only way I’ll ever make a decent salary.  Is that what the ‘American Dream’ is about because if it is, I don’t want any part of it. 

But, you know what I’ve discovered since?  Life isn’t about the amount of money you make.  I know it sounds crazy, but it’s true.  Life is about relationships and loving and experiencing and learning.  It’s about living.  Really.  Living.  The sooner you realize this in your life the better off you’ll be because your decisions for your life will be based on this idea of living.  You’ll decide not to go into debt or live beyond your means and you’ll find ways to make it work.  You’ll get an education through scholarships and part-time work and maybe attending a community college for the first couple of years.  You won’t sign up for those credit cards and you’ll keep your expenses below your income.  Heck, you may even find a way to create a savings for yourself in the process!  Bottom line, you won’t make choices that will keep you from living this life.  That’s what the ‘American Dream’ should look like.

Now, religion puzzles me in lots of ways.  Perhaps I’m too much of a skeptic or a scientist but it seems to me that religion, the bible and other ‘holy’ books in particular, was created and written by man.  Perhaps it was created as a way to control the masses.  What better way to get the masses to obey then to strike the fear of some unknown and unseen deity into the hearts of the people?  What better way to find someone to put the blame on (Satan) when people do “bad” things?  Also, what better way to not hold themselves accountable for their actions or decisions claiming that it must be what God or Allah wants?

So much violence and hate spews forth from religion, as well.  It’s complete hypocrisy to teach about a deity that loves and forgives all then go on to preach hate against people based on holy “laws” that are really created by man when you truly look at the core of it. 

When will we, as a human race, preach love and compassion and actually follow through with it?  Completely?

The answers I’m looking for during this scary and unstable time in our life are evading me but I do know this: love and compassion towards ourselves and each other have more to do with them then we have yet to realize. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Say Please

Towards the end of last year I made my first submission for publication to an anthology being edited by the amazingly talented Sinclair Sexsmith.  (If you'd like to read an exert from the story, here's my post from December.)  The story was accepted and my dream of someday being published had finally come true.  Well, actually it will come true when I have my copy of the book in my hand and read my name on the page, but none-the-less, it's happening! 

This morning Sinclair announced the table of contents and presented the cover art over on her blog.  Look!  My name and my story are there!  Plus, I just found out that this is Sinclair's first anthology!  What an honor to be chosen and what an amazing group of writers to be in an anthology with!  I am pretty proud of this accomplishment. 

By the way, if you'd like to pre-order the book you can click on over to Amazon and do so!

Happy reading!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Creative Process

I needed to read this today.  Thought maybe someone out there might need it, as well.