A few thoughts I started pounding into Twitter today, with annotations:
I had so many chances to not try to be a Christian. My conversion experience, as my Camp "Counselor In Training" leader said, wasn't very convincing, for example; I had soul-affecting conversations with so many people along the way. But instead of scrapping the faith and identity, I mastered bending and contorting the faith to fit my understanding. Sometimes it was overly abstract; sometimes I clung to tradition. Most of the time, though, I clung to the false hope that I would understand better in the future why my beliefs seemed to contradict my understanding of the world so much.
I remember, not long after he became an atheist, having a conversation with my brother, for example, and I had an apologetics-based sort of justification for everything he said. And I knew I was jumping through hoops, but I kept jumping. I couldn't seem to let go. And I got accustomed to that magical thinking in so many places in my life. This became most problematic when I justified getting married when I knew I wasn't ready: I kept saying, "This may be your only chance," "just have faith," and it will work out in the end." And as a result of that magical thinking, I'm responsible for that broken home.
When I heard and read "saved a wretch like me" sort of stuff from practically every medium I consumed, when I read messages like "you are nothing without God," or "God killed his own child for you," it gets totally ingrained that that sort of thinking is legitimate. How many times did I hear, "You have no rights?" How many times did I hear about the "God-shaped hole" or how "life is hard and it doesn't make sense, and the only thing that can help you is God?" And all the times that I clung to those hopes, I got more and more alienated from myself.
I don't blame any of those people who gave me those messages. They were doing their best to help me with my "eternal soul" and whatnot. But I took those messages, despite my reservations, and I conditioned myself to second-guess myself and never trust myself.
I thought poorly. And although I abandoned the creed years ago, I'm getting so, so tired of fighting the internal struggle over and over again.
On the verge of Spring Break, I have very little to say. It's been a challenge to get my brain thinking as deeply as I'd like it to be thinking. My homonculus just doesn't seem to have anything worth writing down.
Not that I'm not busy. Rehearsals for OffTopic Theatre Company's production of Chickens take up 7 hours of every Sunday afternoon; work's going generally ok; I've been spending a good amount of time with a friend in Vancouver. I'm keeping an eye out for summer work that I hope will fill up at least July, since life has been very expensive. Many of my gigs were cancelled for the slow season, which has made it difficult to keep money rolling in. I've been battling a cold, or series of colds, that have plagued me since January 3rd. Blog posts haven't been a priority.
But Spring Break is here. I'll have my kids with me for about a week; I'll have 12 hours at least twice over that span. I'll have some divorce-related stuff to work through. And the weather, so they say, is gonna' be good.
But I can't think of much to say. So here are some photos to show what things I've been up to for the last month:
Rehearsals for Chickens
Driving up the West Forest Road on Harrison Lake
A shoot with Emily
I love playing music, I love sharing music with people, and I love playing in a band, but I've never started one, so why do I keep telling myself that I'm going to do it?
I love taking photos, and I love sharing them with people, but I'm never going to market myself in such a way as to make a career out of it, so why do I put so much time and effort into it?
I love the idea of starting a business, but I've backed out of my one shot at it in the past and haven't come close to doing it yet, so do I really love it or do I just love the idea of it?
I love travelling and visiting new places, but I haven't got out of my province for almost six years now, so am I being honest with myself when I hope that I'll get to travel again soon?
I love teaching, but my brain doesn't seem to be thinking creatively in the ways it should, so it's harder to feel like I'm actually doing something, so am I doing something?
I appreciate this article from Education Week, titled "We're teaching consent all wrong,"
The key idea from the article is this:
Instead, researchers and educators offer an alternative: Teach consent as a life skill—not just a sex skill—beginning in early childhood, and begin discussing consent and communication in the context of relationships by 5th or 6th grades, before kids start seriously thinking about sex.
I like this because I see it both as a parent and as a teacher. As a parent, I often see my children test one another's boundaries and do things to one another without the other's consent: one might arbitrarily take control of a video game, or dump leftovers onto someone else's plate at dinner, or drop something in the other's room that they don't want anymore. At school, students take one another's books, or write on one another's pages, or talk to another student when they clearly want some peace and quiet. None of these issues are sexual, but nonetheless they're matters of consent. If someone doesn't want that food, or someone doesn't want you writing on their page, the perpetrator is breaking trust and consent.
One of the issues I've seen in the consent conversation, however, is crossover with other terms: "Bullying," for example, often gets used in situations where no bullying is taking place. Perhaps people are doing things you don't want them to, but they're not inherently bullying the other person. Conflating "nonconsensual" and "bullying" muddies the water too much to be useful. The Venn Diagram crosses over—bullying cannot take place consensually—but they're far from one and the same.
Does a parent bully when they need to get their child to attend a family gathering for example? The child may not want to do it, and the parent may need to coerce them, but it's not quite bullying, not quite a matter of non-consent.
Just as we often conflate non-consensual actions with bullying, we also conflate it with coercion. I think we need to be a little careful about that. Somebody can do something without consent, but also not necessarily participate in coercion. Many non-consent stories, it seems, don't involve coercion as much as they involve terrible communication.
Consent is always complicated. We'd like to think that there are little cues we can take to make it simple, but it's always complex. It's a continual process. It demands good communication. It gets messy as we reiterate it in our memories. Whether in parenting or education or in sexuality, there's always more nuance than any maxim can handle.
So I support the idea of teaching consent as a general life skill. Even when it makes life harder.
It appears the Canada Food Guide has finally come of age and is basing its ideas on science, not lobbyists.
I don't have the expertise to add much to the conversation. I'm not a nutritionist or scientist. But I do my best to eat well, or at least know what I should do to eat well. And I'm glad to see a more scientific approach to a topic that often seems so nebulous.
Although I've always been interested in food an nutrition, since the old Canada Food Guide was drilled into me in my school days, I've enjoyed hearing the skeptical approach to food research. For example, this article from Neurologica describes some of the ways nutrition research often doesn't make the cut.
Part of this general interest in nutrition, or my more focused approach to it, stems from how much nutritional misinformation my ex-wife had to navigate when she had her own medical emergency. We had numerous people telling us conflicting advice about how to manage the sickness through nutrition, but their advice constantly contradicted what the agency's nutritionist told us. All the mixed messaging highlighted just how contentious food nutrition is as a field.
There's also the matter of opportunism. Food nutrition is one thing, but people's desire to capitalize on the market for diet fads and whatnot. I get suspicious of anything with corporate backing, anything where somebody can capitalize on those who are seeking a solution.
If the Globe and Mail summary is to be believed, the new Canada Food Guide breaks from the recommendations of the meat an milk lobbies and instead tries to focus on science. Leslie Beck, the author of the article embedded above, writes,
Health Canada has committed to stay on top of the evidence to ensure that our food guidance is continually relevant. We shouldn’t have to wait another 12 years for an update.
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