Tag Archives: society

Call Me Observant. And Confused. And Distracted. And Supportive.

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I came home Tuesday afternoon to my kids asking me if I’d heard about Caitlin.

“Caitlin who?” I asked them.

“Caitlin Jenner,” one son said.

“Caitlin… Caitlin Jenner… You mean Kaitlin Jenner? One of the Kardashians?” I asked.

I’ve only recently become interested in the Kardashians as Laundry Support Entertainment, so I have no opinion of them other than they are hugely successful at getting people to talk about them.

They’re not on the forefront of my consciousness. I know they aren’t thinking about me.

So it took a little bit, honestly, to figure it out.

“It’s all over the internet…” the other son said.

“I don’t think there is a Kaitlin… there’s only the two Jenner girls, the one with the fake lips and the one with the supermodel eyebrows…” I said, drifting off, slipping into old age.

“The sex change one… ” the first son said.

“AAAAOOOOOMAAAAIIIIGAAAAADDDD!!!” I shouted. “BRUCE?! You mean BRUCE JENNER???” It was clicking in now.

I raced to my phone.

Not to call Caitlin, nor anyone, but to go online.

“Yikes!” I honestly said, when I first saw the now-famous Vanity Fair cover photo; that was Bruce Jenner. “That’s insane. That’s a complete change… ” I didn’t have any expectation, frankly, but I didn’t think a Vanity Fair cover would be it; nor did I consider this new visage in, essentially, a merry widow.

Egads, I guess I did have an expectation.

Vanity Fair has always had amazing covers. Annie Leibowitz is … I don’t need to even say anything; she is synonymous with renown photographs, regardless of the subject. It seems rather fitting, now in retrospect, that Annie do the shoot and Vanity Fair host the unveiling. It’s very 21st Century.

I have no opinion on the situation, really, OTHER than to say that we have other things going on, too, in the world.

I’m not going to say this isn’t news, nor that it’s not historic, because it is. It’s huge, frankly.

Back to watching the Kardashians.

I watched, since Tuesday, the second part of the Kardashian/Jenner girls’ interviews / meetings with then-Bruce, about his situation, his decision to come out as a transgender male and his interest in surgery to become a woman.

The girls are all quite bright, despite what the media say about them. I don’t really think much about them other than to say that if you think poorly on them, it’s a waste of your energy. They ask intelligent questions, and have the same types of concerns any child or step-child of a person in Bruce Jenner’s situation would have.

Bruce Jenner is father to six of his own biological children and step-father to four? Kardashian kids. He was married to Kris Kardashian for almost 23 years. That’s a big, long time: My husband and I have been an item for almost 25 years and will be married for 21 years (woot!) in a couple weeks. So that’s a long time.

The youngest of the kids, the Jenner girls, were (in the televised interviews) pretty disturbed. I’m sure they put on their brave faces and kept it together, but they have a lot to process. Kris Kardashian, the ex-wife and mother to the youngest two, was the final person Bruce spoke to in the series of chats he had with everyone.

Their conversation, the one which was televised, was the most raw and real marriage conversation, without a lot of selfishness and digs and jabs, I’ve ever seen.

Yes, it’s a train wreck, all those people… they put themselves out there; they reap what they sew; they made their bed, they sleep in it; blah blah blah… it still doesn’t take away from the fact that in the universal scheme of things:

1) There are people hurting out there,

and

2) Fear and deceit destroy people.

The exchanges between Bruce and Kris were stunning and she was firm yet supple. A body language / eye roll expert would nail the contempt in Bruce for Kris’ questioning. He pouted, his voice went high and little, he avoided, he looked at the floor, he deflected. He did everything he could — fear driven (so don’t tell me I’m being bitchy, I know what fear does to people, I get it) — to avoid her reasonable, clear, insistent and detailed line of questioning. She was sincerely grieving.

These two had a marriage.

She married an Olympian. A freakin’ decathlete. Gold medalist. Cereal boxes an’ shit. They had kids together.

He was weak. He deceived her. I can’t help this opinion; it’s how I feel. He chose the easy route which was really the hard route. He didn’t want to disappoint her. He had to live up to a standard. He had to be something he’s not.

He said he was honest with her, that she knew he had a thing for women’s clothing. He said in other interviews that he knew since he was 10 that he was a woman trapped inside a man’s body. But she said she never knew it would come to this level; that “Bruce” would be gone.

It’s a clear case of sins of omission and not asking enough of the right questions. It’s also a matter of people simply not owning their truths.

And yet, he said “I’m not going anywhere…” and “I love you…” and “I’m still in here…” and I’m thinking, “Ok…  but who the hell is that? You don’t really know yet do you, Caitlin? It’s all new territory. Because who you were to them is not who you are to yourself…  How can it be?

There are MANY paths this can go; I’m not going to go on most of them.

All I know is that when we lie to ourselves, we lie to the world. We lash out. We act flip and glib and say things without thinking about them.

When an addict comes out of rehab, everything has to change. The lifestyle the addict experienced before, has to change. Bruce was sort of addicted to a lie. Shame kept the lie going.

All the while, he was afraid.

When we are afraid, we lash out. We are like wounded bears. We withhold. We go within. We build walls. We put on façades. We perform for others. We are unpredictable and moody and sensitive. We do what we can to keep going though. And so does everyone else.

Kendall Jenner, the oldest of the Kardashian / Jenner girls said in the interviews that she encountered him cross-dressed at 4am when she went downstairs to get a drink of water. She cried as she sympathetically recounted it (I’m paraphrasing), “If your only way to safely be the person you feel yourself to be is to do it at 4am when no one else is awake, and to be like that for almost 65 years… That’s so sad. That’s so awful…” She said she, too, snuck around the room to escape his discovery of her discovery.

The people whom it most affects, his kids, get it. The rest of the world should too.

There were lots of questions about the woman version of Bruce… will she still be interested in women? “YES!” He sort of said. Then recanted, but no one picked up on it… If so, does that make Caitin gay? He didn’t comment on that, “I’m not going to go into that…” Bruce said. The daughters praised him as the best dad…. “Will we still have a dad?” Kylie asked. “I’ll always be your father…” he said, his voice full of sportscaster confidence and certainty, but his face, had a sort of wince, because … well … it’s just going to be really different now.

The nice thing, for the Jenner girls, is that it’s out in the open and they don’t have to explain anything. Bruce took care of that with the VF cover. Caitlin can field those questions now, or the daughters can have them referred to Caitlin’s publicist. But it sure does create a new dynamic, doesn’t it?

So what this entire thing does, for me anyhow, is create a new level of awareness and a discussion about labels and brands and identification with standards and how we speak to and about each other. And the use of pronouns and gender possessive tense: “her purse” and “his jockstrap.” Maybe it’s “her jockstrap” now… . And “mother” and “father” and birth certificates… what I am feeling is that it’s none of my business. And while it’s none of my business, that makes sympathy hard.

I’m not trying to pick a fight; it’s in my nature to question things when they don’t make sense to me — but what is “sensical” to me? It’s all based on a set of standards which are based on expectations which are based on biases. And then there are people who really like their HIS or HER status. Bruce Jenner wanted the pronouns. He wanted the gender possessives: HER and SHE and … hmm… I guess that’s all there is to it. No… because there are transgendered people who don’t want any gender identifiers. I got hissed at about a year ago for saying “goodnight ladies!” to people when I wasn’t aware of the context for my invitation to lead a meditation for them. Can’t win for losing.

I was watching, remotely, with interest and anxiety, the media storm over this situation. Lots of people are pissed this is considered news. But it is news. It’s just not super depressing, racist, ISIS-related, political, FIFA, scandalous, nor horrifying. The best and most succinct approach to this news is:

“It’s really heartening to see that everyone is willing to not only accept Caitlyn Jenner as a woman, but to waste no time in treating her like a woman.” — Jon Stewart

Everyone talked about Caitlin’s appearance. Then her comparability to her ex-wife and Kim Kardashian. And then, her age. And then, what she looks like without the make-up. I’m floored and yet not.

There is no justice.

I heard someone say “I’m jealous of her legs! They’re awesome!” and I’m sitting there, SILENT, thinking, “that’s because they are the legs of a world-class decathlete you moron….” There is a part of me who doesn’t ever want to forget about Cereal Box Bruce, not because I’m a _____phobe (you pick the type), but because Bruce accomplished some seriously awesome feats and it was amazing. His decision to become Caitlin does not at all take away from 1976. Sorry. That doesn’t get wiped out. Nor do his kids, or his tax returns or his speeding tickets or his authenticity; well… I guess it takes away from his authenticity. That, he has to rebuild.

When we live without fear, we live fully.

In the final analysis, Caitlin’s not talking about me, so I’m going to stop talking about her.

Thank you.

30 Days of Wisdom — Day 8: Blinded by Science

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Welcome to Day 8!

I like this one,

The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.
― Isaac Asimov
tags: life, science, wisdom 7417 likes

Isaac Asimov (/ˈaɪzɨk ˈæzɨmɒv/ eye-zək az-ə-mov;[2] born Isaak Yudovich Ozimov; c. January 2, 1920[1] – April 6, 1992) was an American author and professor of biochemistry at Boston University, best known for his works of science fiction and for his popular science books. Asimov was one of the most prolific writers of all time, having written or edited more than 500 books and an estimated 90,000 letters and postcards.[3] His books have been published in nine out of ten major categories of the Dewey Decimal Classification.[4] (wikipedia)

90,000 letters and postcards?! Awesome. I haven’t read much science fiction, but I knew he was a big deal when I was a kid. My parents had a lot of his books on our bookshelves. I think my dad read him most; he doesn’t seem my mother’s taste at all.

Asimov died in 1992. Before the Internet. Before MS-Windows was released. Before widespread Starbucks coffee shops dotted the map like confetti.

Here’s what was released in the 1980s:

Personal computers
Graphical user interface
CDs
Walkmans
VCRs
Camcorders
Video game consoles
Cable television
Answering machines
Cell phones
Portable phones
Fax machines

That’s plenty. The 80s were also a big moment for biological engineering, including cancer research in mice and food / agricultural advances which we likely wish hadn’t happened as well.

But this isn’t about science, as much as it is about wisdom.

It seems impossible for mankind to keep up with the breakneck pace of science and I think that’s ok, not sad. But that’s also not what he’s saying. What he is saying, is sad: that society doesn’t gain wisdom as quickly as science does.

But that was before 1992.

I think if Asimov was here to see the social media explosion and how it has ushered civil revolutions, information sharing, blogging, and global awareness, which I think has enhanced wisdom.

On the other hand, social media has also ushered in new ways to bully people, ways for unpleasant people to be incredibly unkind to one another in hateful and spiteful ways and been a great way for anonymous people to be completely awful to people who dare to have a contrary opinion.

I guess the heart of this quote is true — that societal wisdom is slower than the pace of science. But I think that’s what happens when science advances, which can be more easily quantified, than societal wisdom, which can take generations to assess. I do feel as though society is advancing in its widsom.

We have more awareness about:

the ecology
war
social injustice
disease and cures
ancestry
art
education
nutrition
health
spirituality
religion
equal rights
peace
meditation
compassion
politics
finances
news
bullying
music and so much more.

I don’t think it’s sad that society’s wisdom isn’t as speedy as science. It’s human.

Thank you.

Tuesday Morning Press #13 — I’m Not Going to Talk About This & 3 Items I Love

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Yes I am. I can’t help myself. But I can. No I can’t. I’m merely human. Ok you made me do it.

Lance.

Crickets. Click if you want to hear them.

I have yoga today, but I’m still on the mend from my trifection; so this isn’t a true Tuesday Morning Press and last week’s was posted in the afternoon so for 2013, I’m 0 for 2.

Back to Lance; but he’s really just a reference. Damn it. I will sum up, here’s what I posted on my Facebook status this morning. I’ll opine (lucky you) with my sagacity and how we are all suffering from the same Human Condition shortly thereafter.

I was never on Team Lance, but I respected his efforts. I thought what he accomplished was stunning and beyond human potential. Apparently I was right. All this does, from his cleat-digging, epic vehement denial, to his silence, to his publicity-seeking admission and now his interest in getting back his reputation (whatever the what that was) is tell me what I suspected all along from the First Minute I saw him: It’s All About Lance. It always was. It always will be. We are merely inhabitants of his planet. He is a disgrace and I wish Livestrong well, but he can suck it.

We don’t live in a world of authenticity anymore. Everyone wants their 15-minutes of fame; everyone wants to Cash In on their Story. Everyone wants to Be Someone.

We are witnessing a time when merely breathing, doing your best, living well, paying your taxes, honoring your vows, obeying the law and honoring your limits isn’t enough anymore. I don’t know what got me started on this rant, oh yeah, Lance, but I can tell you this much: I won’t stop living the best I can. Lance is a turkey. He was a model for lots of people; ‘cept he wasn’t: what he “achieved” is a lie. No human can achieve it.

Ironically, in his vast and storied attempts at proving himself beyond humanity he showed us his craven depth of humanity: he is just as needy as the rest of us. He is just a scared little boy afraid of not measuring up.

Here’s what I’m getting at: WE ALL FEEL this inadequacy at times. You can’t deny it. It’s good, actually, that we do feel it: it keeps us going to try for better, work smarter.

The problem arises when we hit our apogee and we find it unacceptable. That we are somehow above it; HA! Above our best possible achievement! For some, that’s not enough or it’s scary; it shows them their mortality. So they cheat. They borrow, they lie and they steal. This happens every day and it’s as old as mankind. Now I see that I’m wasting my time talking about this because Lance doesn’t read my blog (he’s never commented…) and neither do the plagiarists and thieves and liars… I guess. I don’t talk about what they want to read. I don’t enable.

I tire of this “condition,” frankly, because I’ve had enough of people not being happy with what they’ve got, the ingratitude, the constant complaining.

Here’s me: I’m all for wanting more and better as long as you’re not a jerk about it. As long as what you DO do to supposedly improve your circumstances is ethical, legal and fair. Then I’m OK with it; I might not know who you are, you might not become a household name to me, but you’re good in my book.

What good is a life lived if it is lived inauthentically? We are all born weak, crying or moaning about something, we will all die the same way: weakend by something that takes us over: be it a bus at 40mph, a virus, an act of violence or war… the circumstances really don’t matter because in the FINAL moments, we will have met our match: we are vulnerable to what takes us. Our limits have been reached. We have achieved: Truth. Wouldn’t it just be better to achieve it while you’re living rather than be a disgrace?

Screen Shot 2013-01-15 at 11.45.34 AM

credit: The New Yorker.

If Armstrong, Sosa, McGwire, Jones, Baranova and all the others came out and said, “Although yes, I’ve trained my buttocks off and behaved single-mindedly for years in pursuit of this one goal, I’m not an authentic badass, I’m totally pumped up full of enhancers and I’m doping and changing out my blood because I’m that craven and greedy and needy,” I’d be, “Ok, s/he’s owning it. Let her/him compete with people athletes others who do the same thing and see how s/he stacks up. Let’s have an all-doping Olympiad every two years and let these sorry sonsabitches figure this stuff out and you can watch like they did in Rome at the Coliseum during the gladiator days…. go for it. It’ll be rad, arms tearing off and veins bursting an’ whatnot. Go for it.” To paraphrase Scrooge, “let’s better be quick about it and reduce the surplus population!'”

I’ll be home reading a book, gardening, writing a book, watching my beloved Vincent D’Onofrio, walking my dog, playing with my kids… I’ll do anything but watch these attention whores. If one can’t get by on a honest day’s work, on a level playing field, with their own ingenuity and talents and skills: they need to go. Honoring our vulnerability is to me, The Most Gutsy Thing Anyone Can Do. Ever.

As for Armstrong, after 15 years of denial and vitriolic rage at people who accused him, rightly, of his deeds? I hate to say it, but schadenfreude never felt so right.

I’m done.

Next subject: Consumer Items I love.

I don’t do ads, I’m not being paid, but I love these three items and I like to talk about good stuff when I encounter it.

1) My new water bottle. It’s all glass but surrounded by a fantastic non-gooey rubber sleeve. It’s pricey, but the water tastes great and the bottle is very easy to maintain. Best of all it’s almost completely USA made, save for the glass which is made in France (I’ve written about that to the manufacturer … uh, Corning anyone? Throw a little business to my home state…). I got mine at Wegman’s. It’s purple. They have tons of cool colors. Here’s the link to the company: http://www.lifefactory.com/adults/22-oz-flip-1.html

2) My Genie Bra. It’s the best thing since fat pants. There. Get one for yourself or your special female in your life. It’s awesome. I simply can’t say enough about it.

3) A pen (I know! People still use them!) I found in my desk (from the pen faery?): A Pilot Dr. Grip pen. It’s got a supple sleeve around the base of its barrel (I guess I’m all about the sleeve these days, it is winter…) that feels like …   …  … pudding that isn’t disgusting. That’s all I’ve got on that analogy. It’s comfortable. Here’s the link. Decide for yourself: http://www.pilotpen.us/Categories/1-Ball-Point-Dr-Grip.aspx/1/80000010%5eDr.+Grip I’m sure you can find one in your desk or at least at Target.

photo copy

Its one flaw so far: it doesn’t write upside-down (I mean, it can write the words, “upside down” it just can’t write in the upside-down position for very long), but it could probably write a check… do you still write checks? I do.

That is all I have today.

Thank you.