Saturday, September 13, 2014

How Feminism Has Benefited Me - Friendships Edition

I was going through Laci Green's YouTube channel to find a specific video to share in a conversation, and as happens most times I visit her channel, I ended up watching a few more of her videos because she's all smart and stuff.

This time, one particular video caught my attention.

I've never understood the myth that men & women cannot be platonic friends.  Throughout my entire life, the vast majority of my closest friends have been female.  There's really only been a handful of exceptions.  My oldest friend is male, and we've been through some pretty rough, and some pretty good times together.  But I'm just as close to his wife as I am him.

I have separate bonds with each of them because I'm able to see them as separate people.  My friend's wife wasn't just my friend's wife.  She's a person of her own, and because I was able to see her that way, she quickly became the closest thing I've ever had to sister.  We're close friends, and we both find the idea of it being anything else as laughable as if we really were siblings.  And I wouldn't have it any other way.  It's never been weird because none of the three us have antiquated views on friendship and gender.

Rarely has sexual interest ever come up with any of my friends, and it's never seriously hindered or ended a friendship of mine.  I attribute this largely to the fact that I never bought into the idea that it should.  Plus, I've made (mostly) good choices about who I've called friend.

I never specifically sought out female friends or male friends.  It's happened that most of my friends, and nearly all of my closest confidants, have been women.  I'm glad I never bought into the archaic ideas that friendships should be gender segregated or that the only interaction between genders must involve our genitals.

If I'd let that silly notion into my head, I'd have needlessly deprived myself of most of the best people in my life.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Life In The Bible Belt From A Tourist Perspective

Having to constantly have Jesus thrown in your face is a common theme I see from people all over the United States, but this is especially so in the Bible Belt.  As if to illustrate my point, just as I started writing this, my family in the other room started talking about a Bible study one has been attending.

I was in the same house as that much of my family because we were on a trip to Branson, Missouri.  On the day we visited the part of town with all the touristy, gift shops, I encountered something I was not surprised to see, but it was still interesting to see it in that volume.

Jesus merchandise was everywhere I went.

This was just over a few hours, and it's not even close to all I saw.  It's not even all the pictures I took.  For several of the places, it's just about all they had.  These were all found in private businesses, so there are no Church-State issues involved.  I'm not writing this to say they should not be allowed to sell this much religious merchandise or even that they're wrong to do so.  In fact, considering the fact that these are for-profit businesses in this place, they're right to do so.

This is merely a visual representation of what many atheists have to put up with.  All the time.  Around here, Jesus sells.  It sells this way because Christianity is ingrained into every part of the culture in these places.  It's even in their newspapers.

Just something to think about before you go all rageface at someone who comes from this environment and believes things that seem absurd to those who've been lucky enough to escape it.  Something to think about before you call all Christians stupid or call closeted atheists in these places cowards.

Just because you were lucky enough to overcome something does not mean it comes easily to everyone.  It couldn't hurt to keep that in mind.

Interviews, Anxiety, and Society

I'm sitting here waiting for a phone call from a reporter with the Omaha World Herald.

This should not elevate my heart rate, and yet it does.

I shouldn't be worried about saying something to hurt Omaha Atheists or Apostacon.  I've done this before.  And yet I am.

I shouldn't worry about the reporter surprising me with a hidden agenda against us.  He already has a history of treating us fairly, and there's no reason to expect he'll behave differently today.  And yet those thoughts are in my head.

I should not go through this neurotic thought process before every interview or conversation with someone new.  And yet I do.

I shouldn't have lost sleep over this.  And yet I did.

My brain should not play tricks on me like this.  And yet it does.

There should not be a negative stigma from society for people like me, whose brains play tricks on us.  And yet there is.

I should not be ashamed of having a brain that plays these tricks on me.  And I'm not.