What’s Going On?

I’ve seen what’s happened in the United States in the last couple of weeks or so. It’s ugly and it needs to stop. It’s all over social media and the television. It’s not all ugly. I’ve seen people reaching out from both sides. But is it enough? I think there are some people who are unwilling to reach out.

I hear people saying that “if they’d just comply” and then hear “it’s not enough to comply, they want us to submit”. My first thought was, “Submit to what?” Today, I was thinking about that. It’s semantics. If you look up “comply” in a thesaurus, “submit” is listed as a synonym. They mean the SAME thing. Your argument is invalid. To me, what you just said is that you have a problem with complying with law enforcement.

I hear people saying how they’ve had to teach their children how to behave if approached by a cop because of how they may be treated. I can’t speak to the second part of that as I’ve never had a bad experience with any law enforcement officer but, I CAN speak to the first part. I was taught as a child to show respect to adults and to people of authority; teachers and police officers for example. As I got older and started driving, it was reiterated. If you’re pulled over, you stay in the car, keep your hands on the steering wheel so that the officer can see them, don’t make any sudden or quick movements and you behave in a cooperative, respectful, and polite manner. I was also taught that if I were alone, it was dark, and in an isolated area and I felt uncomfortable about being pulled over, to continue to drive, slowly, somewhere where there would be people. Preferably a police station if there was one nearby. Once pulled over, explain to the office why you did that. I can’t say that this last part is acceptable according to law enforcement and I can’t speak from experience.  So, please don’t take this as solid advice. It’s just what I was taught.

When my child started driving, I told her the same thing. She’s also been told to let the officer know (she’s not driving her own car) that the owner of the car has a carry conceal license (I figure the officer will know this once he runs the plates) and that she does not, but that there’s no firearm in the vehicle. Again, this is why I tell her to make no sudden movements. Only move when the officer tells you to and do so SLOWLY. You need to make sure the officer knows that you are not a threat to his safety. If he or she feels that their life is at risk, they’re going to pull their weapon. It’s that simple. If she remains calm, speaks in a polite manner (not yelling and cursing), and does as she’s instructed (complies) she’ll either get a warning or a ticket and everyone goes about their merry way.

I hear people saying that cops treat blacks and whites differently. Maybe they do and maybe they don’t. I, like everyone else, can only speak from experience; what I’ve seen, read, and heard. And let’s be completely honest. Not everything you see, read, or hear is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Not just that, but audio and video don’t tell the entire story. You have NO idea what happened, or what was said, before the recording started. How many people take that into account before they start handing out judgments? How many people hear, read, or see ONE version of something and make a FINAL decision? Most people I know, once they’ve made up their mind about something, they’re not going to change it. They hop on one side of the fence, they’re staying there. Even when I’m speaking from experience, it’s MY perspective of what happened. It’s MY version of the truth. That doesn’t mean that it’s the same perspective or truth of the others that were there.

I listen to several versions of the story. Read several articles. I question everything. And, I’m always willing to jump the fence.

Also, I’m SO tired of people making the comparison, the cause and effect, of what happens when a white person is pulled over versus what happens when a black person is pulled over by a cop. First off, if you’re going to make a comparison and have me (or anyone with any sense) believe you, you’re going to have to compare apples to apples. Comparing apples to oranges just isn’t going to cut it. Meaning, there are multiple variables and you can’t contribute the difference in the outcome to race or to race alone. Meaning, I need to see the same cop pull over a white male and a black male around the same age, driving similar cars, in a similar location, around the same time of day or night, for the same offence, and their behavior be the same or very similar. Otherwise, the difference could be attributed to something else.

Say for example, a cop pulls over a young man, say around 17, driving a very expensive vehicle, at 3 am, in an area known for illegal activity, say drugs and/or prostitution. He was speeding. Let’s say this young man hasn’t been taught to respect law enforcement. The officer approaches the car, the guy gets out and starts yelling and cursing and waving his arms around. Automatically the officer is going to go on the defensive. I would. The officer is likely going to tell him to stop, get on the ground. He may pull his service revolver.  Either way, if he does as he’s instructed, the situation deescalated. But, if he keep approaching the officer, all the while yelling obscenities, and then reaches his hand behind him, the situation can turn fatal. He could’ve been reaching for his wallet. But, given the situation, how is the officer supposed to know he’s not reaching for a gun? Should he wait a couple seconds to find out? Yes? Now the officer is wounded or dead. No? The young man in the expensive car is wounded or dead. It sucks either way. But, you know as well as I do that self-preservation kicks in. The officer’s training kicks in. He’s not going to wait to find out what the young man is going to pull out from behind his back. Neither would I.

Now, let’s say that the same officer pulls over an older man, say around 55, and he’s driving a family car that’s several years old, in the middle of the day, close to a shopping mall. He too was speeding. When the officer approaches the car, the man has his hands on the steering wheel (at 10 and 2), his window down, and the car shut off. He speaks to the officer in a calm, polite manner. Yes sir. No sir. When the officer asks for license and registration, the man informs the officer that he has a carry conceal license and that the firearm is on his right hip. The officer could ask him to slowly step out and place his hands on the top of the car. Or, he could ask him where his license is (in his back pocket) and to very slowly reach back and very slowly bring his hand around holding his wallet. If he does as he’s instructed, the officer will write him a ticket, say “have a nice day”, and drive away.

Now, be honest, what were you picturing when you read each scenario?

There are too many variables to say that race was the cause of the different outcomes. It may have contributed to it, but so did the other differences; the time of day, where they were, the way they appeared (different cars, ages, and behavior). You cannot say with any certainty that it was because of his race that he was shot.

We all have these biases; we all judge people by what we see and hear. We have these biases, these judgments because of our life experiences. Everything we’ve seen, heard, read, done all contributes to it. It’s the same reason why you’ll hear some women say that “all men are dogs”.

Notice I never said anything about the color of the men. Why? It didn’t matter. Either scenario, whether black or white, could’ve ended the same way.

Why is there a line in the pursuit of true love?

I recently read an article on Psychology Today entitled, “The Cinderella Bait-and-Switch” by Danielle Teller. It is about the hypocrisy from society about finding true love. It is about finding and being with your true love and what society tells us is allowed and not allowed in order to obtain it. It is also about the opposing messages we get from society. One tells us that true love exists and that we have to do what we need to in order to have it. The other tells us that true love is a myth. There’s no such thing as a soul mate. The first message, go out and find your true love, is to have us believe that once we find him, we should marry him and stay married at all costs. Why? He’s our soul mate and we only have one soul mate. We all know that. And if you become unhappy in your marriage, then society tells us the second message, which is it’s all a fairy tale. You can’t have the fairy tale because fairy tales don’t exist. So, which is it?

In the article, the author tells of a Barbie movie in which Barbie disrupts the prince’s wedding and marries him herself. But had she been too late, after the “I dos”, then it sucks to be Barbie because now she’ll never have her prince. It’s ok to “steal” a man from his fiancée, but not from his wife. I don’t like the term “steal”, but that’s another story. “Follow your heart! You will always regret it if you settle for anything less than true love!” the author says of society’s message and she states that, “Our society should aspire to be less hypocritical about love. If we want to promote the Cinderella story, we should have more empathy for those who feel that they have married the wrong person and want to leave their marriages.” I don’t know about empathy, but I’m a firm believer that if you’re not happy in your relationship, married or not, get out. You only live once. You deserve to be happy. Wouldn’t that be funny? I can see this in some romantic comedy. A husband, played by Kevin Hart, who has been used and screwed over by his wife, hands her divorce papers and yells, “YOLO”, turns and walks out. Can you see it? I can SO see him saying that in a movie.

I get the whole sanctity of marriage and no one goes into a marriage thinking they’re going to cheat or leave. If you did, you wouldn’t get married. But I have to wonder why is it ok to encroach upon another woman’s territory if they’re dating or engaged, and I’m sure there are a number of people who would disagree with that, but it’s not ok after they exchange rings and sign a piece of paper? People do not belong to one another. You don’t own another person. If you don’t own them, they can’t be stolen or taken. And to be perfectly honest, if a person is happy in a relationship, whether they’re married or not, they can’t be taken. People who are happy and in love do not stray. Isn’t that what we want for ourselves and the ones we love? Happiness? I’m sure you’ve heard the quote that says something like “If you love something set it free…” and yet people don’t really abide by that. They SAY it, but when it comes to setting their significant other free, to see if they would be happy with someone else, to see if they’d come back to them, it’s not gonna happen. And why is it always the other person who gets all the shit? They didn’t make a commitment. They did nothing wrong. They broke no promises. The spouse however, did. THAT’s who should get all the shit. THAT’S who you should be pissed at. NOT the person they were fooling around with. In my opinion, women get pissed at the other woman not because of the cheating itself but because of insecurity. Insecurity about who’s going to take care of them, provide for them, protect them. If you’re mad about the cheating, you should be mad at him. It’s that simple.

I want to know why. Why does society tell us, and we’ve seen it on a million movies and soap operas, that it’s ok to go after a man that is dating or engaged, but it’s not ok once he’s married? If you truly believe that it’s true love, that he is your soul mate, why isn’t it ok? She’s obviously not his which means that she’s not with her soul mate. Isn’t that what we’re all looking for?

What is a soul mate? “According To Greek Mythology…. The first humans were created with four arms, four legs and four eyes… They had two noses and two mouths and they terrified Zeus… He believed they had eminent powers and feared there would come a day when one would take his place as Ruler. To prevent such an incident from ever occurring, Zeus split each human in half and left them to wander aimlessly around the mortal world searching for their other half….. Their one true soul mate… “[1]

Again, I ask, if you spend your life searching for your other half, and that half happens to already be married, why is it not ok to pursue him? He’s YOUR other half. She should be ok with that and look for her other half. Where’s her other half because her husband isn’t. Not if he’s yours.

And there’s the hypocrisy. You’re supposed to spend your life searching for your soul mate, your other half. He is your bliss; your happily ever after.  You should stop at nothing in your search for true love. STOP! Hold the phone! What?! He’s married? Never mind.

 

[1] http://www.experienceproject.com/stories/Know-That-Soulmates-Do-Exist/1064924

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/tipping-sacred-cows/201605/the-cinderella-bait-and-switch

 

Quotes. Do you REALLY think about what it means before you hit “share”?

I saw this quote on Facebook; “Learn to love without condition. Talk without bad intention. Give without any reason. And most of all, care for people without any expectation.” This is one of those quotes, sayings, whatever you wanna call it, that irritates me. People throw it around, post it on their wall, but don’t really think about it. I doubt they even believe it. If you really thought about what it, how could you?

How do you “love without condition”? Marriage itself has conditions. It’s in the wedding vows. There are ALWAYS conditions to love. You mean to tell me that if your spouse was having sex with someone else that would be okay with you? No? Then that’s a condition. Or if he was dealing or using drugs? What about if he was physically abusive? A rapist? Murderer? These are conditions.

“Talk without bad intention”. This one, maybe. The first thing that comes to mind is people who are easily offended. People talk around them, “without bad intention” and they get their panties in a twist.  They didn’t mean to offend anyone, but they did.

“Give without any reason”.  I’m not buying this one either. Even those who volunteer for the sake of helping others, have a reason for giving. It makes them feel good.

“And most of all, care for people without any expectation” is crap too. You care for your spouse, but you expect him or her to be faithful, be honest, to hold down a job, to take care of you, to love only you (there’s that condition to love again).

I’m sure there’s more to these, but I can’t think of any more at the moment. Feel free to share your thoughts.

Perception Isn’t Necessarily Reality

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, perception is defined as “the way you think about or understand someone or something; the way that you notice or understand something using one of your senses”.[1] And reality is defined as “the true situation that exists; something that actually exists or happens”. [2]

And here are a few quotes from an article by Ashley Fern on Elite Daily.[3]

  • “The world we see is a reflection of who we are and what we believe.”
  • “The self-fulfilling prophecy lays at the foundation of this concept; a statement that alters actions and therefore becomes true. Someone who thinks their night is going to play out terribly will subconsciously change their actions so that this prediction is fulfilled by their actions. Often the way we perceive reality is colored by how we want it rather than simply the way it is.”
  • “What people perceive is usually what they believe, and this is based on what they hear, see and think.”

I say all of this because of the recent uproar over a Gap ad that was PERCEIVED as being racist. Not everyone saw it this way. I didn’t see it that way. But, then again, I’m not black so I’m not seeing it through the eyes of someone who is. I had to really look at it, and try to see it through different eyes. In trying to do that I saw…

  • It was three white girls to one black girl. (Outnumbered?)
  • The black girl appeared smaller than the white girls. (Inferior? Less than?)
  • The tallest white girl had her arm resting on the black girl’s head. (Trying to keep her down? Keep her from her potential?)
  • The black girl was wearing a different color than the white girls.

I saw four girls, one of whom was different. Her shirt said “Love” on it. She was different, but she was included. They were all young girls. What did that mean to me; what was my interpretation of what I saw? Yes, we’re different, but with “Love” we are also the same. But, that’s my perception and I’ve read that “your perception is your reality”.

I think some people (this includes ALL people of ALL races) look for things to create conflict, tension, discord; even when there’s nothing there. Why? I have no idea. Maybe they thrive on it. Maybe they’re unhappy and want others to feel the same way. Misery loves company you know. There was no “passive racism”. You may have perceived it as such, but that wasn’t what the people behind the Gap ad intended.

It’s my opinion, philosophy, whatever you wanna call it, that intent is what matters. If someone says something to me that I find offensive or hurts my feelings, I’ll say something. If they say, “I didn’t mean to offend you or hurt your feelings” then I’m not going to raise holy hell. And most of the time, I think you can tell if there’s intent behind what someone says or does.

I also don’t think that just because someone’s offended or raises hell over something that they perceive to be true that someone else should have to resign or pull an ad. If you can prove intent, fine; pull the ad. As far as resigning from their position or their job, people are human. They make mistakes. They say and do things without thinking it through; without thinking about how someone else is going to interpret it. How it’s going to make someone else feel. People are lazy. They don’t think that much. It uses too much energy. I think most people though, once it’s pointed out to them, try to make amends and try not to make that same mistake again. People are not infallible.

Again, it’s easy for me to say all of this because I haven’t lived my entire life feeling that I was being treated differently, being seen differently, just because I was born with a certain color skin. I’m not saying either side (There are other “sides”. The world isn’t just black and white.) is right or wrong. I’m saying all of this to try to get people to see things, think about things differently. Try to see things from a different perspective. Maybe if you try to see it from someone who’s been discriminated against their whole life, you’ll understand why something might have upset them. And, if you try to see it from someone who may not have had that intent, you’ll see that they weren’t trying to discriminate.

I think if we all tried, really tried, to see things with “Love” in our hearts, with compassion and kindness, we can try to mend the hurt and rebuild relationships between people of all colors.

 

[1] http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/perception

[2] http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/reality

[3] http://elitedaily.com/life/motivation/perception-is-reality/

Who IS Responsible for Protecting You?

I read this article a couple of days ago about a suit against the U.S. government in which Jaycee Dugard claimed that if the police department and government had revoked Phillip Garrido’s parole, she never would have had to suffer this horrific nightmare. In case you don’t remember, she was abducted by Garrido and his spouse in ’91 at the age of 11. She was kept locked up for nearly 20 years. During that time, she gave birth to two children. Garrido was on parole for this same type of offense; rape and kidnapping. Despite the fact that he violated his parole, he was never returned to prison. If he had been, Dugard never would have had to endure this. However, according to a federal appeals court, the U.S. government cannot be sued because neither the government nor the police had any duty to protect her from him. There was no way they could have known that he was going to do this to her. The article also states that Dugard and her daughters have already received $20 million due to the incompetence of the state officers.

First off, how is it that you can sue a fast food establishment because you burned yourself with hot coffee or a hot pickle, but not because someone failed to return to prison a criminal that violated his parole which resulted in an abduction, rape, and who knows what else? That doesn’t seem right to me. Granted I’m no lawyer, and I realize that you can sue for anything, but come on! How is someone not at fault for this? Did they at least ATTEMPT to put his ass back in jail? If so, ok. If not, that’s negligence; failure to do your job. How is someone not held accountable for that? When people are not held accountable for their actions, or in this case inaction, they continue with that same behavior.

Second, “The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled 2-1 that police or the government had no legal duty to protect Dugard from Garrido because they could not have known he would single her out as a victim.”[1] I’m hoping this is specific in that because they didn’t know GARRIDO was going to do this to DUGARD they had no duty to protect her and not that the government or the police have no legal duty to protect ANYONE from ANYONE else. What about “Protect and serve”? If that’s the case, there’s even more of a reason for legally carrying a firearm. If neither the government nor the police is obligated to protect me, then it is up to me to protect myself. Since I’m not a 6 foot, 200 pound man who is a mixed martial arts expert, how am I to protect myself from most any man who might want to cause me harm? Not that most any man would. I’m saying that most any man would be able to overpower me. Therefore, I need to be able to level the playing field. Hence, the Second Amendment. And since I, like the U.S. government and the police department, have no way of knowing who or when or where, I should legally be allowed to carry a firearm anywhere. In a church, a school, my place of employment (at the very least leave it in my car), the mall. ANYWHERE. In my opinion, any establishment that prohibits me from doing so is in violation of my Second Amendment rights. In that case, shouldn’t I be able to sue?

None of this would have mattered to her anyway. She was only eleven. Shouldn’t they have been protecting her?

[1]Court rejects suit by kidnapping survivor Jaycee Dugard
  Source: UPI Top Stories
  Publication date: 2016-03-17
  © 2016, Acquire Media, Inc.

 

Excessive Force or Just Enforcing the Law?

It’s been in the news and on social media a lot lately; excessive use of force by the police departments in several cities. I know enough to know that every person who looks at these incidents will view them through their own biases. We all have them. There’s no way around it. You view the world based upon what your life has shown you to be true. It may or may not be true, but it’s your perception. Your perception is the truth to you.

That being said, here’s my truth. I was taught from a young age that cops are an authority figure. Your parents, your teachers, your boss are all authority figures. You treat them with respect and common curtesy. When you’re asked a question, you answer it. If you’re asked to sit down and be quiet, you do it. When you’re asked, you comply. It’s that simple. When I started driving, I was told that if an officer pulls me over, I am to stay in the car, keep my hands where the officer can see them, and to follow his instructions. Why? When an officer walks up to your car, he has no idea who you are or what you might do. You could be a convicted felon, escaped from prison, armed and dangerous who is willing to do whatever it takes, including killing someone else, to keep from going back to prison. Or, you could be the exact opposite. I don’t know about you, but if I’m the officer, I’m going to err on the side of caution, since my life could be at stake, and assume that you’re the former. I’m going to be leery of any sudden movement. How am I supposed to know you’re not going to pull a gun out from under your seat?

If you’re not breaking the law in the first place the cops aren’t going to be involved. Cops don’t just randomly show up and start shooting people. Someone called them because someone was doing something that they shouldn’t have been. Now that the cops are there, show them a little respect. There’s no need for yelling or for belligerence. Again, the officer doesn’t know you or what you may be capable of.

I’ve seen enough videos where things can get really ugly in a matter of seconds. An officer doesn’t have the time to stop and assess the situation to decide if the person is reaching for a cell phone, a knife, or a gun. He doesn’t have the time to think that since it’s only a knife and he’s ten feet away, that he could try the Taser first.

I read an article[1] about proposed changes to the Chicago police department. These changes would include officers carrying and knowing how to use Tasers. I’m all for using less lethal force. Use the least amount of force necessary to secure the situation. Here’s my problem with that. And this is my thinking; an officer would know this better than I would. When you’re in a situation where you don’t have time to think and you’re trying to assess the situation you’re going to do what you’ve been trained to do. If you feel threatened, or you feel that others could be at risk, without even thinking, you’re going to reach for your firearm. It’s muscle memory. Just like when you’re driving a car. If you’re driving in a residential area and you see something run out in from of your car, before your brain has even had time to register what it was, you’ve hit your brakes. It could’ve been a kid, a dog, or a trash can. Granted, you didn’t need to slam on your brakes if it was just a trash can. No one was going to get hurt. But you didn’t have time to think about that. About what it was and should you just slow down or swerve or stop. You’re first instinct is to stop.

If an officer is trained to reach for a Taser first and he’s conditioned to do so, that’s going to be his first instinct. Great! He’s going to use less lethal force. But, what happens when he reaches for his Taser and the other person has a gun? The officer doesn’t go home to his family. That’s not acceptable. I know; if the cop had pulled his firearm, then the other person could be headed to the morgue. He chose to engage in whatever behavior put him in that situation. People need to realize that actions have consequences. When you’re engaging in illegal activity, whether you’re armed or not, there’s the possibility of a run in with a cop. When that happens, there’s a good chance that you could be arrested, zapped with a Taser, or shot.  That’s the risk you take.

I’ve also heard of instances where someone’s been zapped with a Taser and died from it. And when I heard this, there were people saying that Tasers shouldn’t be used; that even that was using too much force.

So, officers aren’t supposed to use their firearms or their Tasers. What’s left? Politely asking the criminal to behave and stop engaging in illegal activity? Yeah, because that’s gonna work. Hand to hand combat? That might work. If the officer and the criminal are about the same size and the officer is better trained. What happens when he can overpower the cop? What happens when he takes the gun from the officer?

We don’t go into war asking the opposing side to stop the behavior that we don’t like. We don’t send in the military to talk or to use less lethal force. We send them in with tanks and rocket launchers. As far as I’m concerned there’s no difference when it’s an officer.

One more thought. I’m convinced that the people who are adamantly opposed to officers using force, whether it is a firearm or a Taser, are people who are afraid that someone they know and love may be on the receiving end.

[1] Changes to be announced in Chicago police training, Tasers
Source: Associated Press
Publication date: 2015-12-30

Trigger Warnings Are For Children

I’ve been reading a lot lately about trigger warnings. Students in classes getting upset because their professor didn’t warn them about something that was going to be discussed in class. And, frankly, some of it is just ridiculous. A painting or a drawing of a nude woman is not pornographic material. If this bothers you, perhaps you’re not mature enough to be taking college courses.

If you need to be shielded from things you see and hear in class that might make you feel uncomfortable, maybe this should apply to your everyday life too. So, no more social media, television, radio, cell phones, magazines, or books. You should probably refrain from going outside too. Become totally isolated. This way, you’re guaranteed not to see or hear anything that your overly sensitive little brain can’t handle. You won’t feel uncomfortable. Yes, I’m being facetious. You can call it mean or insensitive if you’d like. I really don’t care.

There are certain classes where you should expect to see and hear things of an adult nature. A woman’s studies class, a human sexuality class, a psychology class. College is not only meant to educate you, it is also meant to teach you critical thinking skills. From what I’ve seen and heard about what’s going on in the world today, you need to learn it in college because obviously your parents didn’t teach it to you.  In order to learn critical thinking, you need to talk about subjects that may be uncomfortable. Adult subjects.

Look, if you’re in college you’re of an adult age. I say “adult age” because I don’t believe that just because someone has had their eighteenth birthday they’re now an adult. Adulthood should be based on more than just your age. As someone of an adult age, it’s time you start behaving like an adult. Adulting requires that you learn to deal with your feelings and thoughts about the things that you see and hear in the world. How do you do this? You talk about it. And what better place to discuss these topics than in a classroom with other adults. Because, here’s the thing. What I think and feel about something may be different than what you think and feel which may be different than what others think and feel. You see what I’m getting at? If you have these deep conversations with an open mind, a mind that is willing to learn and respect others, you will learn critical thinking.  You’ll see things from someone else’s perspective. You’ll ask questions.

I took an English course about a year or so ago. My instructor was black, her words not mine, as was about half of the class. We read a short story about “white privilege”.  When she told us what it was about, I thought “What?! There’s no such thing. I have no idea what you’re talking about”. I’ll admit, I felt a little uncomfortable. However, after reading the story, I got it. I understood how someone of color could view the world in this way. Until then, I’d never thought of things that way. My perception, my view, of the world is based on what I’ve seen, heard, read, and lived. Yours is based on your life experiences. They’re not going to be the same.

My point is, it’s ok to be a little uncomfortable. If it wasn’t, people wouldn’t be encouraged to step outside their comfort zone. As an adult, if you see or hear something that makes you uncomfortable or offends you, and that’s a topic for another time, you should spark up a conversation. The world would be a better place if people just talked to each other and respected others perspectives.

Sex is NOT the Problem

I’ve read numerous books on sex and relationships. I could give you the list if you’re interested. Some of them I’ve enjoyed immensely. Having been in a relationship for the past 26 years, I think I’m qualified to discuss those subjects with some degree of expertise even though I’m not an expert and I have no credentials.

I read this article by Susan Pease Gadoua; “Sex in Marriage Causing You Problems? You’re Not Alone!” There are as many reasons for not having sex as there are types of relationships; probably more. Here’s one.

“You feel neglected, ignored, dismissed, alone, frustrated, tempted, beaten down emotionally, you feel like roommates instead of spouses.”1

And then you hear the complaint about “withholding sex”. It’s not withholding sex. Why should a woman submit to having sex just because her husband wants it? I’m sorry, but if I feel like I’m being used just so you can get off I’m not going to be “in the mood”. I don’t know about you, but I need more than sex. I need kissing, intimacy, passion. I need to feel wanted; desired. If there is none of that, I don’t want to have sex. It’s not about withholding, it’s about feeling like you want sex and I just happen to be there. It’s not me you want. You just want someone.

We’ve all heard that the best relationships have open and honest communication. Couples need to discuss their desires and their need for intimacy. Intimacy means different things to different people. So, what happens when you try to have this discussion and it’s one sided? What happens when you tell your partner what you need to no avail? You become disappointed.

“So what people do to avoid admitting and feeling that level of disappointment is either become angry or shut down, both of which eviscerate intimacy in a relationship, cause burnout in a job, or cause depression in themselves.”2

I think Maslow got it wrong. According to his hierarchy, there are five stages of needs –

Biological and Physiological needs – air, food, drink, shelter, warmth, sex, sleep.

Safety needs – protection from elements, security, order, law, stability, freedom from fear.

Love and belongingness needs – friendship, intimacy, affection and love, – from work group, family, friends, romantic relationships.

Esteem needs – achievement, mastery, independence, status, dominance, prestige, self-respect, respect from others.

Self-Actualization needs – realizing personal potential, self-fulfillment, seeking personal growth and peak experiences.3

Maybe it should be called Maslow’s hierarchy of male needs. I think it would look a little different for women. Or maybe it’s me personally. I think the order in which the needs are to be fulfilled is wrong. Or the items on the list are in the wrong group. What I’m trying to say is that intimacy, affection and love, romantic relationships, and respect should come before sex on the hierarchy of needs.

It seems like a hopeless cycle. At some point in the relationship, you start to feel these emotions (neglected, ignored, dismissed, frustrated, tempted, beaten down emotionally), so you quit having sex which leads to accusations of withholding sex. This leads to communication, preferably discussions about wants and needs as opposed to arguments, which sometimes goes nowhere and, once again, you feel ignored and dismissed which leads to frustration. Then you shutdown. Why? Your need for intimacy, for physical contact (hugging, kissing, sex) aren’t being met. You’re no longer communicating. You don’t want to feel the way you’re feeling. It’s no wonder so many women are on antidepressants.

Sex is not the problem. That’s just a symptom. Why you are no longer having sex? That’s where the problem is.

________________________

[1] https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/contemplating-divorce/201512/sex-in-marriage-causing-you-problems-you-re-not-alone

[2] https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/just-listen/201512/unexpressed-disappointment-the-great-intimacy-killer

[3] http://www.simplypsychology.org/maslow.html

 

I Stand with Planned Parenthood

According to a recent article, “Since 1977, there have been 8 murders, 17 attempted murders, 42 bombings and 186 arsons and thousands of other incidents.”[1] And just this past week, someone targeted a Planned Parenthood, killing three people, and wounding nine more. How is this pro-life?

You’re trying to save an unborn life? At what point is a fetus a life? Science can’t agree on when life starts, so what makes you think you’re qualified to make that decision? It’s my thinking, and this is just my opinion, that life doesn’t start until it is self-sustaining. Meaning, that unless the fetus can survive outside of the womb, without any medical intervention, it’s not a life. A child born at 21 weeks of gestation or less, with neonatal intensive care, has a 0% survival rate[2]. Explain to me how you’re saving a life that can’t be saved? You are not God.

Speaking of God, let’s talk about the people who like to throw religion into the mix. If God has a problem with a person having or performing an abortion, isn’t that between that person and God? Isn’t that the purpose of Judgement Day? If that person burns in hell for all eternity, how is that any of your business? Why would you even care? I’d also like to point out that not everyone shares your religious beliefs.

“Ninety percent of single-parent families are headed by females. Not surprisingly, single mothers with dependent children have the highest rate of poverty across all demographic groups (Olson & Banyard, 1993). Approximately 60 percent of U.S. children living in mother-only families are impoverished, compared with only 11 percent of two-parent families. The rate of poverty is even higher in African-American single-parent families, in which two out of every three children are poor.”[3] Why would you want to contribute to this? In forcing a woman to have a child, or more children, you are. You’re putting a woman, and her child/children, into this situation. Or making it worse.

And for those who want to act all holier than thou, I don’t want to hear about premarital sex and that she shouldn’t be having sex and now she has to live with the consequences. Really?! One, people make mistakes. You’re not perfect, so don’t act like you are. Two, birth control fails. Three, not everyone believes you have to wait until marriage to have sex. And the ones that do, a lot of them are having premarital sex too. How about we practice what we preach.

Abstinence you say?  “Contrary to popular belief, sex is a biological need.” [4] It also fulfills physical and mental needs that contribute to overall good health.

I could keep going, but I’m not trying to write a book. I just think too many people get tunnel vision in their thinking and don’t bother trying to see anything else.  I stand with Planned Parenthood because I believe in what they do and why they do it.

 

_____________________

[1] http://news.yahoo.com/planned-parenthood-under-fire-literally-063653976.html

[2] http://www.spensershope.org/chances_for_survival.htm

[3] http://www3.uakron.edu/schulze/401/readings/singleparfam.htm

[4] https://www.smartlivingnetwork.com/living-healthy/b/the-male-biological-need-for-sex/

Change: Why Fight It?

I would imagine that at some point in a person’s life they sit back and reflect on it. Reflect on their life as it has been, as it is, and as you imagine it to be in the future. I know I have and I’m hoping I’m not the only one in the small circle of people I know. I think that it’s important for a person to do in order to grow and evolve. I’m not the same person I used to be. None of us are. Even if we’re not consciously trying to change ourselves, it still happens. Change is the one constant in everyone’s life.

Change is something that you can guarantee. It will happen. And yet, so many people fight it. Myself included. I hate change. Change is an unknown and the unknown terrifies me. I think it must be terrifying for most people.

Here’s what I don’t get. If change is inevitable, why fight it? If a specific change does not affect your life in any way, why fight it? For example, the right for certain members of our society to marry.

A Supreme Court decision in 1967 made interracial marriages legal. I’m sure there were those who opposed it. Did society change because of this decision? Not really. It allowed people who were in love and wanted to marry to do so. It allowed interracial couples the same rights as others. The only people it affected were the couples that, until 1967, were not allowed to legally marry.

This year, a Supreme Court decision allowed those same rights to gay couples. And, once again, there are those who oppose it. Why? I’ve heard countless reasons. None of which I would consider valid. Did it change society? No. All it did was allow members of our society the same rights as everyone else.

Did it affect you personally? Yes? You have or will marry the person that you love? Or a friend or relative will marry the person they love? Great! No? Then why do you care? What valid reason (not including religion or opinions) could you possibly have for not wanting two people to have the same rights that you do? It doesn’t take anything away from you, so I don’t get it.

Change is inevitable. You may as well accept it because it’s going to happen whether you like it or not. It’s just a matter of time. We, individually and as a society, will continue to change and evolve. Or at least I hope we do.