Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Because Logic

Look.

I'm ok with you disagreeing with homosexuality in your private belief system. I may not agree with you, but it's your right to hold your own private beliefs. I'm fine with you thinking whatever you want to think about whether or not it's natural or good or whatever. But the second those beliefs try to encroach upon the rights of others to simply, openly and freely live their lives in our society, you and I have a problem.

If you don't like all things lgbtq, if you don't agree with it, then please, by all means, don't be a member of the lgbtq community. Tell your family whatever you want if a gay person comes on your TV. In the privacy of your own home, whatever you do is up to you. But I don't want you shoving the limitations of your worldview down my throat and trying to impose them upon all humans. I don't want you trying to force everyone else to comply with your belief system about who should or shouldn't be allowed to live freely, have civil rights, be treated with equality, etc.

If you believe there's a group out there who doesn't deserve those basic rights to exist, to be seen, to have simple representation in a culture to which they belong, you can gobble down and choke on those beliefs. When you tell me that the lgbtq community is shoving their beliefs down YOUR throat just by openly existing in our culture? In peace? You are a blatant hypocrite. So disagree with them. Live your life accordingly. But YOU'RE the ones who need to keep that choice private. You control your own actions. You don't have the right to control other people's freedom and beliefs when they are not actually harming you. And they are not. Maybe they offend you. Maybe they even disgust you. That's your business. But they are not harming you. They just plain are not.

In reality, the only folks trying to actually impose their beliefs on anyone are those who feel it's okay for an entire faction of the human population to stay hidden from sight to suit their particular religious ideologies. If you are unable to see gay people existing on your screen and in your community, without somehow being unable to keep from consequently spontaneously combusting in a mass of torches and pitchforks, then you've got problems, Son. If a gay person comes on your screen and you don't like it, just turn the damned channel. Otherwise, might I suggest a private island where you can go and coexist with people who think and live exactly the way you do so you can blissfully pretend that life is that simple and humans are that black and white... Just watch out for the inbreeding.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Projection City

The latest insane debacle with the Trump meltdown in front of Nancy Pelosi et all and his consequent projecting defense is pretty hilarious. It is a sign of deep sexism and misogyny to call a woman unhinged when she stands up and defies a man, when she tells him off, let alone publicly. When she defends herself to his face, when she shows her power. Of course someone like Donald Trump would try and turn his own insanity on her. That's what narcissists do. See, I've been there. Most women have. When men are behaving badly, but the woman is labeled volatile, over reactionary or "crazy" - because she has the guts to get pissed. Because whatever it is, she's had enough of it. I feel for Nancy. She's my own personal hero. We need more women in this world putting men like Donald Trump in their place. More warriors, fewer doormats.

Friday, October 4, 2019

News!

I just have a couple of fun things to announce in this post. For one, look who's made it onto the most popular artists in Seattle playlist on ReverbNation? It's me! Yay!
Here it is!!



Tidbit number 2 involves the holidays. This year I'll be producing a Christmas CD! I'm excited. It will include more classical and traditional songs. I'll be sure to share the link and purchase details when it's all up and running.

That's it! Later taters! Xoxo
Jen

Monday, September 9, 2019

The Art of Pacing Myself

Lately I've been practicing a concept relatively new to me - the idea of baby steps.

I've always been the type to wait until there was a pile of something and then jump in, grinding my way from start to finish in one, long, exhaustive endeavor. I'd push far past the point of misery and exhaustion, but I couldn't bear the idea of breaking it up over time. When I was ready, I wanted it done ALL THE WAY, IMMEDIATELY.

Erm. Ask how that worked out for me.

The answer is not well, really. I am not an organized sort of person, by nature. I was simply never taught the ways of the organized mind, for which I can thank the chaos of my upbringing. It actually didn't dawn on me that it might be more pleasant and much easier to tackle any given project one bit at a time. I think that sounded and felt like torture to me. Oddly, organizationally challenged though I might be, I'm also a bizarre kind of perfectionist. I can't bear to see something half done, so I'm not going to start it until I can wind myself up and muster the colossal energy and time commitment to tackle a behemoth in one fell swoop, fast and hard.

In hindsight...that was always beyond draining. And maybe even counter to perfection. I mean, when you think about it, you're probably more likely to do an even more impeccable job when you pace yourself and don't feel stressed or resentful in the process of doing it. SO, I set up some rules for myself. Roughly. As follows:

- I may work on a task--maybe even a couple of them--on a week night, but only short bursts. If it's a big job, I'm only permitted to bite off a chunk. I can gnaw off the rest later. (I guess this really applies to mindful eating, too. But one thing at a time.)

- If, at any point in working on a task, I start to feel that sense of drudgery, like I'm pushing myself to keep going when my insides are groaning and whining and feeling burned out---I STOP--come back to it later, or tomorrow. I go and do something relaxing or fun.

- Completing a project has a reward. For instance, I have to take the time to complete my Fall cleaning and organizing before I can decorate for the season, so I use that a motivator to slowly and steadily walk the marathon. I have a timeline when I hope to be finished--but it's not the end of the world if it takes a little longer.

This is all VERY different for me. Normally I wouldn't have been able to bear waiting or pacing my tasks or taking it slowly. Honestly, these are just mindful and self-loving practices, but I don't think I trusted that before. Pretty sure I thought I'd hate it, but turns out I am appreciating it tremendously.

There's another reason this method has been a lifesaver for me. Namely, depression and anxiety.


It's easy to get buried when you are trying to manage a 'bout of depression. It's easy for things to slide and a small job becomes a big one when you're stressed and avoiding it. Then you feel overwhelmed and even more anxious and it all just feeds into procrastination and dread. When you're battling the exhaustion, you don't typically have ginormous stores of super energy to climb that metaphorical mountain all in one go anyway. The self-loving practice is to eat the bear one bite at a time. If only I'd given it a shot when I was younger, I would have been a lot more methodical and a lot less overwhelmed.

So there's something.

I'm looking forward to putting this ideology into effect in other aspects of my life, as well.
It feels good to go about things with a more tempered method, working on gracefully shifting between personal time and work time in a more balanced way. Contrary to prior flawed programming, that doesn't take away from the fun of life. It seems a lot easier to just enjoy the moment this way. Fancy that.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Family Matters

I'm going to admit something that I've been pretty dense about for a long time, even though all the signs were there for ages. Er... it's recently become blatantly, inarguably clear to me that I want a family of my own. That is, like, a partner. And kids. Though at 39, adoption is my likely path. It's my preferred one, actually.

It's really odd, but I've had to dig around my own blindness for a while. I knew that I wished I'd had a supportive set of parents or whatnot to turn to in hard times, I knew that I was sad not to have that sort of family, but as for the whole husband/kids thing...that was a completely differently category. One that felt a lot, to me, like making a choice to sacrifice the creative side of me--the singer/songwriter, the author--to become something that I saw as a waste of my talents. After all, and it's okay if you get mad at me for this, but I guess I didn't see having a family as an accomplishment. Because to me, I had seen people popping kids out into dysfunction, misery, abuse and unhappiness, and calling that family. The idea that a husband and kids and family, in that sense, might actually be a happy thing full of memories and joy, laughter and tears, and even FUN, that just wasn't my observation of real life. It seemed like drudgery, boredom, a cage, a trap. Being owned. Being limited. Being angry. Fighting. Until I saw it for myself, I didn't know that families could be amazing. Joyful and rich and supportive. And that kind of family in this day and age--that really is an accomplishment.

I guess you could say I had a lot of programming running that I didn't even know was playing in the background of my mental computer. I knew I wanted to have my own accomplishments, I didn't want to live through my kids and have nothing to show for myself. I'd seen blood relations do that with their kids, and it often led to codependence, bitterness, resentment and fear of losing control of their children's lives because then what who would their mothers be? I didn't want my entire identity sunk into others. I didn't want to be like the women I'd grown up with. And I definitely didn't grasp that I could be who I was, do the things I was passionate about, use my gifts, and STILL have a family.

How odd is that, right?

I love kids. I've ALWAYS loved them. Because of my little brother and sister, I've been extremely protective of children my whole life--especially foster children and those in need of adoption. I even thought seriously about adopting some day.

But it still didn't necessarily seem...well...necessary. It didn't seem congruent with anything else I wanted to accomplish first and foremost. And it sure didn't really include a husband in the picture.

The thing is, I've been telling myself exactly what I wanted for years now. Like, what I REALLY wanted in my heart. But not with conscious thoughts or words. Rather, the things I sought out and the things I was unconsciously drawn to, over and over again, painted a portrait of the one thing I'd insisted was completely unimportant to my life goals--again, having a family of my own.

But if I were a case study, I'm pretty sure every good therapist EVER would have been able to tell me this pretty quickly. I mean, I have dreams about being pregnant a lot. And in those dreams I'm not freaked out, I'm not scared---I'm RELIEVED. I'm happy. I watch family vlogs on Youtube all the time. I've watched them for YEARS. I especially enjoy families with adopted kids. I watch these things with a huge smile on my face, one I seldom even realize is there. I gravitate towards them again and again.  So why did I ignore the obvious for so many years? I had to really root around and dig through some layers to see where my hangups were.

My conscious mind told myself that I needed to be a famous author and singer above anything else I might do, that I needed to do those EXCLUSIVELY before I considered anything else. And if I didn't pull this off then I was a failure, because I'd been raised to think I was born less. Because of my circumstances as a child, shame sunk into my bones and drove my goals for so long that the idea of bothering with a family of my own brought me feelings of humiliation. I couldn't settle for what I saw growing up. That wasn't going to be enough to show them they were wrong. I couldn't let them be right. I wouldn't let them see me, or my brother and sister, as bastard children, raised in poverty, one of a few sad cases who weren't as worthy, as shiny, as wanted or loved as the others. Their vanity dictated my sense of worthiness. I had to prove them wrong for my sake and my siblings'. I had to do huge, incredible things first and before anything else, or I'd die a failure. And I couldn't share energy between those endeavors and search for a good partner/start a family of some kind. The family thing was fine for others, but I had to be more. I had to PROVE myself worthy. Worthy of love, worthy of being here. Then I could say, see? I'm enough now. Maybe a family would come later.

I didn't think starting a family of my own would ever satisfy my need to prove myself to my family of birth. I'd latched onto my talents from a very young age, saw that they were the only things that seemed to bring me scraps of approval or validation in their eyes, and so the neural pathways were forged in my little brain that would drive me my whole life. That would keep me a certain level of alone, by choice, but not, as it turns out, by desire.

Something always felt sad in my heart. And missing. Something I didn't even realize I wanted. Something I couldn't even identify or understand.

I'd cried to my little sister for a few years, confused by my own sadness, by the sense of emptiness and a void I couldn't understand. It took me 39 years to realize that I didn't have to choose my talents over my heart. That I didn't have to become a famous and amazing anything in order to prove a thing to people who were never worthy of ME. People I didn't even talk to anymore. It was time to stop letting some shit programming decide my life goals. I could do both. Congruently. Being someone's wife or mom didn't mean I'd settled and it didn't mean my identity disappears. In fact, I'd call a happy family quite an accomplishment. I was also given the gift of a nurturing, empathetic, fun-loving heart. A mother's heart. And I'm not using it to its full capacity.

Anyway, as I continue to pursue music and writing, I'm trying to move forward with more of an open heart and faith in the idea of whatever God wants a family to look like for me. Life is short, and in the end, a life rich in love is an amazing legacy to leave behind.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Things That Keep Me up at Night

What if the reason we don't know where and if the universe has an end, (and we're nowhere remotely near the technology to travel against space and time fast enough to outpace an ever-expanding universe), is because we're not ready. Maybe whatever might animate reality knows how smart we are because we are made from it, and that inevitably, someday, we will find a way to reach the end of our universe, whether it's through outpacing, through a black hole, or the manipulation of space and time, who knows. But by then, our intellect better be evolved enough to handle it, because maybe at the end of our universe is another universe entirely. One that is better, one we have to be prepared to accept. Maybe there are many of these universes just bumping against each other like bubbles. Maybe our own universe needs to be as big as it is because we need lots of time to figure this shit out before busting from our own bubble of space into another.

I fear I've fallen down the existential physics rabbit hole.

I'm sharing this Ted Talk from a great scientific theorist's mind: The last part really blew my brains out.

Snapshot: We exist in a version of the universe that is full of chaos and mediocre outcomes. It is not perfect and complete, but it is not nothingness. It is somewhere in between all of that, which is the very thing that gives our existence, actions and experiences meaning, because from a place of flawed mediocrity we must either rise above or fall, we can do great things or horrible things-----therefore...meaning.

You should really listen to this guy. Maybe we don't know why the universe is here. But I can't help feeling like, by the end of this, he is suggesting that our version of reality is very purposeful.


Friday, March 8, 2019

The Unthinkable Gift of Life on Earth

So I have a few obsessions that I go through in stages. They typically include things like nature survival, human psychology and outer space.

Right now I'm on an outer space kick. I've been watching all about life on the ISS (International Space Station), the Earth from an astronaut's perspective, the functions and layout of the ISS, what happens to the human body in space, the vacuum of space, zero gravity, etc. I've had a bit of an obsession with anything about the big old universe since I was a little girl. I blame my grandfather because he started teaching me about the planets and the solar system at a young age so I can remember distinctly being really little and repeatedly asking him to talk to me about outer space. I guess I thought he must have known everything. I'm pretty sure he got tired of my questions just because he wasn't an astrophysicist so he was running out of answers.

The great thing about being an adult is that nobody gets tired of my questions now because when I have one (What does outer space smell/sound like? What happens when you're exposed to its vacuum? What happens if you bring a virus onto the ISS? How does viewing the Earth as a changing globe while moving 5 miles a second change your perspective about human existence?), I can just go to YouTube and watch video tutorials from the ISS or NASA or astrophysicists or astronomers and nobody will get tired of me.

I am constantly astounded by the whole concept of the universe. At first it used to make me feel small and insignificant to the point of creeping me out. But these days, looking at the Earth from the perspective of an astronaut, thanks to all those nifty videos they take from space, it puts me even more in awe of my own planet. These folks get to see every continent, every ocean, every storm system and anomaly happening on our blue Earth from broad, omniscient views. They have a deeper understanding of how all of the Earth's systems work together in beautiful symmetry to sustain life. And they come away with a global family philosophy because they aren't limited their whole lives to tiny patches of Earth in microscopic neighborhoods somewhere in Smallville, USA looking up at the sky until they die. They see the whole planet functioning at the same time and know that every geographical region depends on the other for survival in ways that our clueless, uneducated minds rarely learn. When I think of the near miraculous thing that is the existence of planet Earth, with all of its hemispheres cooperating in tandem in a million ways to sustain and promote life, it makes me feel joyfully moved that I ever got to exist here at all. And it makes me feel very protective of her.

As referenced above I mentioned I've been watching a lot of astronomy and earth science based programming from the experience of astronauts observations from space. All of this really drives home how we really shouldn't be screwing with the delicate balance of this place. One recently obtained bit of earth science knowledge blew my mind and really solidified this for me.

It starts with the diatom blooms that we see in the ocean from space, (Google an image if you aren't familiar, because you should be)... they create our oxygen. When they die, they fall like snow to the ocean floor and build up without ceasing. They rise and rise over millions of years until the ocean dries up and becomes desert. All of that desert sand is diatom shells. All of that desert was once sea bed. And the processes of how the Earth is fertilized and our breathable air comes to be are all intricately and perfectly linked. When giant dust storms kick up in African desert regions, they carry the sand, or diatom shells, over to the Amazon rainforest. It scatters onto the forest as a powerful fertilizer that keeps it growing. Then, the forest with all its oxygen and moisture creates a massive river of nutrient rich clouds that rain down onto our oceans, which feed the diatoms, which in turn make our oxygen. Diatoms in our oceans keep us alive. The diatoms are also fed by icebergs, which are rich in the nutrients that nourish them as well. When an iceberg breaks and falls into the sea, it feeds diatoms. Then, those diatoms eventually run out of food and die. And the cycle continues age after age after age. There is enough oxygen created in the Amazon rainforest to fuel the humans on Earth many times over. However....it does not. There are so many other life forms in the rainforest itself that they take every bit of it. All of the insects, the animals, the birds, they use up all of the oxygen the rainforest produces. So, while we may believe that the Amazon rainforest is the lungs of the Earth, and we are right, the reason for this is a lot different than we realize. We survive because of healthy oceans. If the Amazon rainforest is the lungs of the Earth, the ocean is our blood. And diatoms need the ocean and icebergs to do their thing. And they need the rainforest as well. And the rainforest needs the diatoms. And the desert. And we need ALL of that to work in order to keep breathing. Everything is connected. Everything has a purpose. Even if you don't understand it.

"It's astounding how all the systems down there must work together in order for us to breathe." - Mae Jemison, astronaut.

World astronomers have already figured out how to revive Mars. They would create a magnetic field blocking the harmful sunrays that wiped out the more earth-like atmosphere of Mars from billions of years ago. This would raise the temperature of the presently red planet, melting its perpetual deep freeze and creating oceans, leading to the ability to plant trees that absorb carbon dioxide and expel oxygen and as a consequence, within a few thousand years, science believes it could turn Mars into Earth 2.0. You could walk right onto the surface of Mars and breathe the air. An interesting concept. You have to be really dedicated to long-term lofty scientific goals to make that happen. I'm all for miraculous accomplishments. And it's not that I don't believe it's totally possible, but I really hope we decide to put that much expense, technology and effort into saving our own planet from turning into Mars 2.0 FIRST.