Happy Hypocrisy!

17 12 2009

Problem Girl blogged about how her husband called her a hypocrite for celebrating Christmas while not believing in God. I tend to receive similar flack, so, I thought, why don’t I blog about it too? ‘Cause I’m original like that.

Where do you get off celebrating the birth of our Lord, Godless Heathen?

Okay, most people don’t word it exactly that way, but I do get asked variations of the question every single year. First off, no offense Christian friends, but you don’t own the holiday season or even the 25th of December.

The Origins of Christmas are Pagan

You see, the celebration of December 25th goes all the way back to ancient Babylon (so about 2300 BCish). The Godess Semiramis married her son (yes, that’s what I said), Nimrod. Nimrod met his demise in an untimely fashion, and afterward his widow/mother reported that from that point on, a fully grown Evergreen would rise from a dead tree stump each year, and Nimrod would leave gifts under said tree. On his birthday. Which just happened to be December 25th.

Alexander Hislop describes the Babylonian origins of Christmas in his classic “The Two Babylons”:

  • *”Long before the fourth century, and long before the Christian era itself, a festival was celebrated among the heathen, at that precise time of the year, in honor of the birth of the son of the Babylonian queen of heaven. It may fairly be presumed that, in order to conciliate the heathen, and to swell the number of the nominal adherents of Christianity, the Roman Church, giving it only the name of Christ adopted the same festival. This tendency on the part of Christians to meet Paganism halfway was very early developed; and we find Tertullian, even in his day, about the year 230, bitterly lamenting the inconsistency of the disciples of Christ in this respect, and contrasting it with the strict fidelity of the Pagans to their own superstition.”
  • *”That Christmas was originally a Pagan festival is beyond all doubt. The time of the year, and the ceremonies, with which it is still celebrated, prove its origin. In Egypt, the son of Isis, the Egyptian title for the queen of heaven, was born at this very time, ‘about the time of the winter solstice.’ The very name by which Christmas is popularly known among us — Yule-day — proves at once its pagan and Babylonian origin. ‘Yule’ is the Chaldee name for an ‘infant’ or ‘little child’; and as the 25th of December was called by our Pagan Anglo-Saxon ancestors, ‘Yule-day,’ or the ‘Child’s-day,’ and the night that preceded it, ‘Mother-night,’ long before they came in contact with Christianity, that sufficiently proves its real character. Far and wide, in the realms of Paganism, was this birthday observed.”
  • Early Babylonian Pagans of course also celebrated the “rebirth” of the sun god on December 25th, a few days after the Winter Solstice, when the days start to become noticeably longer again.

    I’ll Celebrate My Way, You Celebrate Yours

    Personally, I love the Pagan concept of celebrating the beginning of the rebirth of the Earth after the Winter Solstice. I obviously see no value in celebrating the traditional “reason for the season” as far as Christians are concerned, as someone with no belief in gods. The fact is, however, that we live in a ChristMAS nation. Winter break from school, everyone’s time off at work, most people’s friends’ and families celebrations all center around it. In my household, this had led to the combo holiday, Solstmas. We take part in most of the typical non-religious traditions of Christmas, but the reason for our season is the Solstice.

    No matter what you call your holiday, or why you choose to celebrate it, the season is supposed to be about celebrating your connections with the people in your life. About giving not just gifts, but love and appreciation to your friends and family.

    It’s not about the stuff and it’s not about separatism.

    Peace and happy holidays.





    When things take a turn for the dark

    6 12 2009

    I was diagnosed with anxiety 12 years ago, at age 13. I wasn’t diagnosed with depression until age 20, though I had been experiencing symptoms since late childhood. It took me until a year or two ago to admit that I do indeed suffer from these disorders.  I am not medicated for them. That is a topic for another post.

    The first time I moved away from home was the first time I experienced an extended period of depression. I found myself isolated from everyone I knew and living in a very small town where the chances of making friends was slim to none. Each morning after my boyfriend would go to work, I would spend the first hour of the morning writhing in severe stomach pain, a recurring symptom of anxiety for me. I would then get up, conduct my consistent fail of a job search, then sit in front of the computer or TV for the rest of the day. Literally. I almost never wore anything other than pajamas. Some days I didn’t get out of bed at all. The only conversation I had was with my Siamese kitten. This went on the entire time we lived at that location, which thankfully was only three months.

    The next time I went through a significantly long depressed period was after my husband, son and I moved to this state. We left all of our friends and family members behind and moved for a job opportunity when my son was six weeks old. Dealing with being a new parent is hard. Dealing with being a new parent in complete isolation is harder. No grandparents to fall back on, no relatives to step in and give you a break. Said husband working loads of overtime and traveling often for said new job. I went back to not getting dressed, going days without so much as brushing my hair. Not only did I stop losing the weight I had put on during my recent pregnancy, I gained it all back. Three months after my son was born, Aunt Flo started visiting me again. Not only did I start experiencing the most excruciating physical pain of  my life, which I still suffer from every month to this day, my depression took a startling turn for the worse. In addition to my baseline depression, each month at least one week before Flo’s visit, I would find myself extremely agitated 24/7. I felt so exhausted all day every day that it took every ounce of strength I had to hold up my son’s bottle as I fed him. I hated my life with a fierce urgency. I resented my husband and my new baby. I vividly imagined hurting them and myself physically. I felt like I was, without a doubt, losing my mind. I cut myself. I took myself to the doctor. I was treated with a popular antidepressant, which made me so ill with the first (half)dose that I discontinued it immediately. The next few months were hellish, but eventually I found a combination of natural treatments that kept my symptoms manageable.

    I never went back to the kind of blackness I was in that day as I sat locked in my bathroom cutting my arms with a razor blade. But the darkness still descends on me from time to time. Usually every month around that same almost-time-for-Aunt-Flo week. Occasionally it will rear its head at other times as well. Sometimes I can feel it drifting in for days, like watching the dark, ominous clouds roll in ahead of a thunder-storm. Other times it hits me out of nowhere, and decides to stick around for a while. When that darkness settles in around me, it changes who I am. The normally level-headed, tough skinned, calm and rational person I am ceases to exist. She is replaced with someone insecure. Someone easily hurt. Someone in desperate need of validation. Someone I don’t even like. I watch myself overreact to situations that I would normally shrug off without a second thought, but I can’t stop myself from doing so. I watch myself demand reassurance from my bewildered friends and then get pissed off and self-righteous when they don’t deliver it in the expected form. Then I look back and feel stupid, embarrassed and guilty.

    Usually I end up having to apologize to everyone I have regular contact with at least once per month.

    Frankly, I want to bitchslap myself.

    I know that the light will  shine again and I will look ahead at a better day.

    Until the next time.





    Joel Osteen, New Wave Bigot

    3 12 2009

    I realize it has been over a month since Douchebag Pastor Osteen’s appearance on The View. However, I was between blogs at that time, giving me plenty of extra time to absorb the information.

    On November 4, Pastor Joel Osteen appeared on The View. Here is a little wrap up on Sir Douche a Lot, in case you’re unfamiliar:

    Osteen is a televangelist pastor of nondenominational Lakewood Church in Houston, TX, claiming the nation’s largest congregation of over 30,000 members. The church recently purchased the former home of the Houston Rockets, Compaq Center, putting in over $90 million in renovations. The Pastor sells out huge arenas around the country, charging $10 a ticket. Ebay shows tickets selling for up to $100. Lakewood Church’s 2004 revenue was reported to be $55 million. Osteen is also a best selling author, with his self help book Your Best Life Now: Seven Steps to Living at Your Full Potential, in which he tells people how to be a good (watered down) Christian and make lots of money.

    Osteen, known as “the smiling preacher” has been making the television rounds in recent months, appearing on 60 Minutes, Larry King Live and, oh yeah, The View. After dazzling the ladies with his opinions on how God wants to bless good Christians with gobs and gobs of money, Whoopi asked the pastor The Question: “How do you feel about folks who are gay?” Let the circular talk and sugar coated bullshit begin. Let’s watch the clip:

    Did anything this jackass just said make any kind of sense whatsoever? Either you’re accepting or you’re not, Joel. Pick one. If homosexuality is in opposition to your beliefs, grow some balls and say so. In plain English. Without the hemming and the hawing and sugar-coated intolerance. Your 40,000 loyal followers are depending on you to stand up for their belief system. What are you afraid of? A little hatemail from the middle aged housewives watching The View? Its not like anyone would be shocked by a televangelist despising gays. I could even muster up some form of respect for you if those were your beliefs and you stood by them publicly. I would disagree and think you’re an asshole, but I could respect the fact that you stood unwavering by your spiritual calling.

    Is it possible that Joel is walking the fence, not for any reason related to his actual beliefs (or lackthereof- who knows with this guy), but because he wants to appeal to as many people as possible so that he can bring more sheep into his flock to make him and his mega church more millions of dollars? I think so.

    Are Americans really so stupid that any cheesy fake-tanned sleaze bag with a mini mullet and nice teeth can get away with this crap?

    MEH!





    WoMEHn and MEHn

    3 12 2009

    Back in high school I was the girl who hung out the guys. I had two close female friends and nearly all the rest of my companions were male. My first best friend as a young child was a boy.  Men are just easier to deal with; less drama. Plus I tend to have the same stupid sense of humor as most 17 year old boys. No one ever seemed to care, or even notice. Then I got married.

    The first three years of my marriage were filled with moves and chronic health concerns. I found myself in a new state where the only people I knew were my husband and newborn. I was soon diagnosed with depression. Treatment with medication failed. Shortly after I began experiencing severe constant dizziness, fatigue and nausea to the point of barely being able to function. I then developed motion sickness to the extreme. I was unable to drive or ride in a car. The 3 minute drive to the grocery store was nearly unbearable and was the only trip I made for many months. Other than that I was imprisoned in my 2 bedroom box of an apartment with a newborn, 2 cats and a husband who was working many hours and overnights at a new job. Along with causing crushing isolation and depression, this did not make for an opportunity to pursue any kind of social life.

    Eventually I went to my doctor, who referred me to a cardiologist. I underwent a Tilt Table Test and was diagnosed with Dysautonomia. The next year was filled with medication trial and error, side effects, research and experiements in symptom management.

    Finally, a long three years after the move and the beginning of my illness, I found myself in a position of feeling mostly normal. I was able to drive again, and began to have more and more days where my symptoms were manageable.

    My newborn was now a three-year-old. My 2 bedroom apartment had been replaced by a house. Able to exercise again, I lost the 40 lbs I had put on and gained most of my confidence back.

    I also started making friends, mostly through Twitter. One of these new friends would end up becoming a very significant part of my life, providing the yin that my yang had been missing since before I left my home state. It just so happens that this newest best friend came in a somewhat unexpected form: a single 18 year-old guy. This caused no pause for me. After all, I’ve always been a bit unconventional, and, as mentioned before, have generally always “gotten on” better with people of the opposing gender. And it had never been an issue before.

    I had not yet been informed of the fact that when you become a wife and mother, your choices are no longer your own. Your intentions are tossed on the table for all to evaluate. Judgments are cast and assumptions are made.

    It turns out that when a 25 year-old married woman walks side by side with a 19 year-old single man, people talk. People who are are strangers and people who are close enough to know better. They wonder. They presume. They eventually arrive at the same conclusion: What could these two people, in such different places in life, have to bring them together? The obvious, of course. The great bringer together: SEX. It also turns out that husbands are threatened by their wives suddenly becoming very close with single men.

    Meh.

    Where does this leave me?

    Do I follow my instincts, flip society the bird, piss off my husband (and face the related consequences) and hold on tight to this friendship that I value so highly? After all, I know I haven’t’ done anything wrong. Do I deserve to feel guilty because of the insecurities of others?

    Do I cave in to the pressure and lose someone irreplaceable to me? That seems unfathomable to me right now.

    What happened to the days when I was the little girl running around playing Ghostbusters with my best friend, Lucas, and people thought it was cute?

    Mother pus bucket!