death

Meaning

Who determines if your life has meaning?

Is it you? Does your impression on how you view your life make that determination? Should you do the things that matter the most to you, the things that make you happy? Because doing so would make you feel as if your life is worthwhile? If you are satisfied with what you have accomplished in your life, then your life has meaning?

Or does your life have meaning because others have found meaning in it? Does your life matter because someone else has been positively affected by your existence? That for whatever purpose you served on this mortal earth, just you being you made an impact in someone’s life?

What does it mean for your life to have meaning? What are we all searching for?

Grief

There are no words to describe it.

I went to a training for grief and loss two years ago. One of the things that I remembered is that these feelings can come from anything. When there is a loss, a loss of a life, a loss of a relationship, a loss of a stable life – everybody experiences grief. There are no “stages.” Everybody lives on a continuum that is forever changing. Nothing is constant and people will always go in and out of their feelings of happiness and sadness.

That is why I can say that there are no words to describe what grief is. Everybody, no matter how well connected to a person or how far removed, experiences it. The death of a community member, a celebrity, a friend, a family member… It doesn’t matter. Somebody somewhere is experiencing what that loss feels like. Whether the loss is expected or not, there’s no telling how someone can react.

Let’s just say that no matter how far removed, everybody feels something. I am feeling something. For everybody involved. Even the person who inflicted this pain.

Totally cliche, but life is short. Life is too short.

Society

Someone the other day said it perfectly. This is bigger than gun control. This is bigger than mental health. While both of those things are important, but the much larger issue at hand is that someone felt devalued in his masculinity because we as a society had created this notion that in order to feel worthy, a man needed to have gotten laid multiple times by beautiful women. That for this individual, he believed that his worth came from the attention only beautiful women could give him and that in itself is a tragedy. That other “non-beautiful” women were not worthy of his time either and that his idea of “beautiful” pertained to the “hot blondes” he was surrounded by.

We, as a society, created a place in which many believe that a female refusing advances from a male is her fault and in order for her to defend herself, she needs to pull the “I have a boyfriend” card because only then will those males leave her alone out of the respect of that “other male.”

We, as a society, teach our children to be safe from predators, but not to teach them to not be predators themselves. Should they fail to be careful, that is their fault for any crimes committed upon them.

We, as a society, created a world in which the males who do not treat their female counterparts in misogynistic ways do not feel comfortable to teach their male peers the same and will often chuckle when the “jackass” of the group continues on his merry way.

I don’t want to say that all men are bad and evil, etc. I don’t think even rapists are inherently terrible themselves because they have been taught that they way they go about treating women is okay and that someone who is “promiscuous” deserves it or because she is asking for it with the skimpy clothing. The female race should not tempt the heterosexual males unless they want it themselves. That is the message. And even then, many feel a sense of power and entitlement to do what they please to the females.

One of my biggest irks is when men argue that being whistled at is a compliment and that women should be flattered by it. I, at the age of 14/15, was leered at – mind you, in jeans a t-shirt – by men as they were driving by. It is not flattering. It’s disturbing. It’s degrading. I am a person, not an object.

So many times, I have given into these societal teachings. Giving men at the club a fake number. Dancing with them for fear of retribution. Having to dance with a purse behind my or a friend’s ass to prevent random guys from grinding up on us. That I would feel so much freer dancing at a gay club than at any other club because the possibility that someone will grind up on me in a sexual way is way, way lower. That I have to always watch my surroundings when I’m walking at night. That I couldn’t say no to a partner for fear of what he would do.

Even now, I find myself falling to some of these traps. It’s hard to forget because I still don’t feel safe. That should not be the world we live in. That should not be the world anybody, male or female or trans, should live in. But to be honest, I don’t even know where we can begin to change the views of this society. I see what it does to the ethnic minorities and unless you live in a special enclave where this ideological thinking is pervasive in everything that you do, I cannot see it making it very far, which is really unfortunate.

So we will continue to blame the lack of gun control. We will continue to blame the lack of mental health services. Blame the parents who didn’t provide enough for their children, whatever else we want to blame.

But ourselves.

 

Further reading: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/05/27/your-princess-is-in-another-castle-misogyny-entitlement-and-nerds.html