Monday, October 22, 2012

A Little Pondering This Morning

I know I haven't posted much over the last year or so, which I knew would happen once I had readjusted to the real world and no longer had to spend my days being pumped full of poison, making fun of stuff that I shouldn't to keep my mind off of it. Truth is, as I start looking back at the last 9 months or so, I haven't readjusted as I'd hoped I would. In March, after my first CT scan came back negative (this would have been the first one after surgery), the world was my oyster. I had all sorts of plans to go out and conquer it, change it, make it my bitch, etc. 

What most people never realize, and I didn't for awhile (still slowly realizing it now), is that beneath all of the abrupt changes that beating cancer throws your way, you're still the person you were before. The person I was before took everything for granted and mostly managed to carve out an existence instead of really living for anything in particular. Post cancer, I've seen myself slowly slip back into that of thinking and living. Turns out that despite all of this, old habits die hard, and it takes a lot of work to change your mindset. This is work I've failed to do.

Cut to this morning when I get a forwarded email from Susan. A coworker of hers also had cancer roughly a year before I was diagnosed. His was a type of lymphoma, which is far scarier than anything I went through. He'd just had his quarterly CT scan and they called to tell him that there was a "vague 6mm low attenuation lesion" that had shown up on his last scan. What he wrote about next, really hit home. The waiting after a CT scan is always unnerving beyond belief. Having heard the worst possible news already, your mind immediately prepares itself to hear the same type of news again. This happens every time, and I'm convinced that there is no other option my brain knows to choose when dealing with this. I guess Suz's coworker has the same brain pattern because he talked about how down in the dumps you get immediately and you spend a few hours just feeling sorry for yourself or your loved ones (let's face it, my cancer was probably harder on Susan than it ever was on me; something which always amazes me about her and at the same time makes me feel like a bit of a wimp.)

Anyways, then he started talking about how he realized that his family was travelling to Hawaii in 3 months and that he never really did anything or enough of anything with them. Granted, Susan and I did manage to spend a great week in Florida recently, and we've done Asheville for our anniversary, but since I have went back to waiting tables, we don't have the luxury of taking weekends away. We also don't see each other that much, which I hate, but at this point I had just kind of assumed a stance of: "Its temporary, and it is what it is...for now." After reading that email this morning, I've spent some time thinking about what I need to do better, how much do I need to change (A LOT...), and I spent the longest time wondering why I had regressed into just sort of coasting through what was going on in my life.

So, here's my advice, although it isn't totally mine because someone else had to write an email that I had to read and then think about before offering my thoughts. At some point today, take 30 minutes and think about the one thing you really want to do, the one place you really want to go next, or someone who's really made your life better. After you've figured that out, go make it happen. If its a place, start putting money back, schedule the time off from work and go do it. If its something of the material world, do the same as above, and then go buy it. Last and most importantly, if it's a person or group of people who make a significant difference in your life, figure out a way to make the same difference in theirs. There is no worse feeling than realizing how much you take something for granted. I realized that me not dying from cancer is something I took for granted for the last 9 months. I am an idiot. Don't be an idiot.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Suck it cancer

9 month check up. Still no cancer. Look for a longer post tonight.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Repent or....Or What?

Sooooo, yeah, this is what the new project chose as this week's topic. I know it might be pretty ballsy to talk about religion as it is one of those things that I try not to do (obviously, I'm still going to here..). I usually believe that your beliefs are a very personal thing and you shouldn't have to explain yourself or them to anyone. religion has been a tough area for me as of late because talking or writing about it forces me to reconcile what I learned in my youth with what I see happening in the present. I'm sure like me, many of you who were raised in the South have the same issues: Why do I believe what I do? Do I still really believe it? Is it ok for me to pick and choose what aspects of it I agree with?

The last question is where I have been for awhile now. There is no part of the above picture that I agree with. I find it silly to subscribe to what is basically fear mongering in order to make someone buy into what you're selling as religion. I also feel like it is tough to reconcile my small town upbringing with a larger world view that I've developed since moving away from there. Unfortunately, I still notice that there is a contingent of America who lives in a sort of bubble that allows and to some extent promotes group-think that propagates hatred toward others for their "lifestyles". Sure, if you take the billboard at face value, you can assume that drunkards, fornicators, adulterers, philanderers are able to repent from their evil ways, but that assumes that they see something wrong with what they're doing. Some may, most won't at that is where the disconnect happens. Most people assume that anyone gives a flying f*&k what anyone thinks about how they live their lives and thusly billboards like this are quickly pushed aside to exist in the realm of crazy people who pay money to erect billboards where there's a picture of Jesus (Sidenote: I seriously doubt this is what Jesus actually looked like. They've also elected a picture where he seems to either a) be experiencing some sort of severe pain or b) severe pleasure. (I am aware that it is wrong to make fun or harbor the idea that this looks like Jesus whilst in the throws of passion, but I can't be the only one who had this thought upon seeing this for the first time...))

My main issue is that what I believe and know to be true cannot be reconciled with anything on this billboard. Especially the homosexual comment. Anyone who has a friend or family member that is gay can attest to the same feeling. If you grow up in a small town where everyone knows everyone and can be assured that there are no people who are gay and any who are weren't actually born that way, but instead opted to live a "lifestyle". This makes no sense to me, but alas we have folks in our country that do. I also don't know that we should still use the word swindler, but given the recent happenings on Wall Street, that may actually still be an appropriate term for some people.

Since, I can't go on without pointing out the obvious flaws in this billboard, and I'm already tired of ranting about how silly most of this seems in a world view, here are the 5 things that I find weird about this image:

1. Philandering, adultering, and fornicating seems repetitive. In fact, upon double checking the definitions of each. Philandering and Adultering are the exact same thing. So, yeah we get it, you don't want people putting their genitalia near other's genitalia unless they're married. I can get on board with this as too many stupid people are reproducing at an alarming rate as it is, but ease up a bit. The fact that you used 2 words that mean the same thing already tells me you have no REAL understanding of the words you just paid money to put on a large billboard. They might have been better served to put one up saying "I'm ignorant and Stupid"... That's the conclusion we've likely drawn anyways...

2. Is that an ellipsis at the end of that Bible quote? So we can assume that this was taken out of the context of a larger passage? How does someone that has never really known Christianity not supposed to think that the next sentence isn't something like, "you also shouldn't call people mean names like homosexuals or drunkards..."

3. You know when you had people teaching you things when you were little and then when you were older, you realize that they may not have been that smart? This is that. 5 year old me would accept what the said as absolute truth having no basis for a counter-argument. 31 year old me knows that a good portion of the people who agree 100% with this billboard also think that Nickelback is a quality rock band who makes great music. They've also never actually read the majority of the book that they use to tell people they're living their life wrong.

4. The quote from the Bible uses the word homosexuals. Pretty sure that the apostles weren't throwing that word around 2000 years ago. This is one of my pet peeves as of late with religion. Old words are clung to (you know, because I've used the word philanderer more in this post than in my entire adult life) and then some newer words are just thrown in for good measure. Which means its okay to quote something in any way you see fit as long as your end goal of scaring people into living their lives the way you think they should is achieved.

5. Lastly, I assume the intelligence of an individual who would spend money on erecting a sign like this cannot be that great. I understand that they likely feel they are just passing on the truth as they know it to be, but would also venture that an actual debate of whats right and wrong would last roughly as long as it's taken me to write this post about it. In fact, a part of me is sad that I can't have said debate, but the bigger part of me is glad to know that this billboard likely rests in a small part of the country where few will have to see it and think that there are those out there who strive to rid the world of its problems by any means necessary. Apparently, what was necessary here was to call people names, post a weird (and likely incorrect picture) of Jesus, and to let you know that you are wrong...

If you wish to see the other responses to this week's topic feel free to head on over to the following blogs and see what we have to say...or don't. As always, I don't necessarily give a crap about someone reading this, but I kind of do....

New Project

So as you guys know, or maybe don't...since remission I've been slow to post at the rate I used to. Part of that is the fact that my time is no longer spent being pumped full of poison for hours at a time and the other part is that I'm busy and generally find I have less to talk about. In some ways, I've felt that since then, I really needed to get back into writing, but generally found nothing interesting to wrote about.

All that has changed. A few friends were talking about starting their own blogs and each of them writing about the same idea each week. They asked me to join, and of course I said yes, bc I really, really need something to spark my desire to write with material. Plus, this way it will likely take m out of my comfort zone by me not choosing the topic all of the time. I'm pretty excited about this and you should see the first post here in the next little bit. Since some of you have always said that you enjoy my posts and want me to write more, I expect you to read it and possibly even spark a debate about the topic (whatever it may be).

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Tin Man Has No Heart

Given the events at the theater in Colorado last night and the ensuing outrage by basically everyone, I've decided that I'd revive this blog as a way to give you my perspective on the sad state of our world. A good friend of mine posted something on Facebook about seeing everything from a sociological perspective that basically read:
      "...To me, it seems our society puts a decreasing amount of value on human life--not just killings, but even in        some of our laws, life isn't always the priority. If you buy that, in your opinion, what are the factors that you see contributing to this deteriorating respect for life?"
I posted a couple of replies and then realized that I'd been looking at a few different things going on over the last month and succeeded in merely observing them without doing anything about it.

In case you've managed to completely miss the news since last night. A PhD candidate at the Univ. of Colorado walked into a midnight premier of The Dark Knight Rises and preceded to throw smoke bombs and shoot up the place killing 12 people and injuring many (some reports I've read say as many as 70 people.) He also managed to booby-trap his apartment with explosives. We all immediately rush to understand the brain and issues therein that would cause a person to do something so heinous instead of focusing on what our world does to cause such an act and ultimately (since we run our world) what we did to cause these scenarios.

I've heard people immediately throw up the gun control, violence on tv and in video games, and the ever present argument that we as a nation have no morals. The first two, I at least understand the vein of their arguments. They feel that access to guns and or being desensitized to violence plays a direct corollary to the probability that a crazy person will shoot up a theater. I'm sure there's a small percentage of truth there. I'm also sure that the fact that the extreme majority of people who don't do these things with the same access/exposure should tell us that it isn't a lack of regulations, morality, or proper upbringing that ultimately causes these things. Sometimes, you buy things and they are instantly defective. Like, out of the box, defective. Sometimes, you buy them, they work fine, but eventually start acting screwy and mess up. And sometimes they explode in your hands. This guy was sadly one of the latter. A defective model, that likely nothing could have changed or repaired. Yet, instead of looking at that in context and choosing to look at what we could change within ourselves, we immediately blame x, y, or z for what happened. We also tend to expect these institutions to act in human-like ways even though they aren't designed to do so, and act outraged when they don't. As I posted in the comments section on the above Facebook post:

I don't blame corporations for putting a figure on human life (especially insurance companies, since their profitability lies in whether someone lives or dies), because they are a business. The end result should be to make x amount of money for selling goods and or services. Corporations do not have hearts, feelings, morals, or any of the things we expect them to have. Yet, we are appalled when they behave in the ways that they are designed to behave. It boils down to what I said earlier about the "me" first attitude. Instead of looking at the problem from an internal perspective, we immediately point the finger at other causes i.e. corporations, lack of regulations, too many regulations, etc. They aren't the problem. Humans are the problem. And since we only keep reproducing at higher rates, it would serve all of us well, to be introspective about it and look at what we can change to reroute the world's course instead of hoping that a corporation or some other large entity will channel his inner Tin Man and visit the Wizard to get a heart...
The end result is we spend more time freeing ourselves of any responsibility for our part in society's decline than we do trying to make some sort of change for the better. It's easier to make yourself believe that others are to blame than to work for the sense of gratitude that comes with being part of the solution (however small said contribution may be...)

One case in point, give that we are in an election year, is that I've come to realize that a 2 party system is inherently flawed and set out to base my opinions on what should be done both fiscally and humanitarianly (pretty sure that's a word...) within the structure of our government. In roughly 85% of the major debates, I side with the Libertarian viewpoint. Less government, less regulation, and more freedom for people to live their lives the way that they choose. Naturally, one would expect that I would change my voter registration to reflect the party my ideals line up with, right? Nope, I'm still registered as a republican despite the fact that I think Romney is quite possibly a cyborg or at the very least has big business' hand stuck up his rear and pulling the strings. So, as I type about how we don't elect to be part of the solution, I realize that I can't even get on the Internet and switch allegiances to a party that more closely represents my views. I'm sure it would take like 10 minutes to do...

In the end, we will always continue to send blame towards that which we believe to be evil (evil sometimes being the opposing viewpoint from ours. and by sometimes I mean 95%) instead of just electing to make a change for the better. So amidst all of this media outcry for radical change to combat crazy people, who despite said change will still continue to be crazy as they have for decades (See: Nero) and we will continue to try and fix the defective instead of engineering a better operating model.

So, in the next week when you start to give us your opinion on the horrific causes of tragedies like this one in Colorado. Maybe instead you should stop, spend that 5 minutes thinking about some small positive change you could make that day, and then go out and do it. We'll all benefit from this more than we will from another opinion that lays the blame in another area, which is basically any area where we don't reside.