The human ability to explore the world, educate one's self, stretch one's perception and boundaries of security and comfort should be embraced as well as the emerging visceral feelings and emotions stemming from such experiences.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Enchante

Joyous tears and tingly titillation
Boisterous pulse and pounding palpitation
Alluring smiles showing sweet surrender
Though heart protects from playful pretenders
Giving way to worlds of wishful wanting
No word to dread, nor derelict, daunting
Illumination lit of love not lust
Feelings masked and moored now never a must
A fascination free and unfettered
A growing bond beautifully bettered

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Reality of Equality

The truth of it is not every person who votes sees the world in the same way. Each of us, constituting the less than 30% of citizens who took the time to vote, completes their ballots based on perceptions they have of candidates, propositions, bond measures, "questions", etc. that have been developed through a multitude of experience, facts, opinions, lies, truths, made up statistics, and media bias.

It is a wonder how we even fit into our voting booths with everything we bring with us. I don't know what most of us mean when we say we made "informed decisions" at the polls because I struggle sorting through the campaign messages funded to an extent by special interest groups, Super PACs, and rich people with agendas.

Despite working through all of the messages muddled by the reworkings of various campaign management gurus and biased media outlets, there are ideas and programs we vote on that boil down to morality, and seem should need little funding to garner support.

The state of Maryland voted on marriage equality yesterday, and I am proud to say that it passed. From what I can glean from Facebook posts, media, and friends was that it was a very controversial and close vote. I haven't seen the demographics supporting the vote, but I would hedge bets that the opposition came mostly from older voters and those who are devoutly religious, and the support came from a youthful, more progressive surge of voters. Obviously not every voter fits nicely and neatly into one of these categories, but I'm going out on a limb here...

The issue of marriage equality has been hotly debated in many states for awhile now, and I understand why. Passing these laws allowing complete equality necessitates a drastic change in what has been accepted as normal and appropriate in the lives of many throughout our country's history.

Many years ago, when racial minorities were fighting to be granted the same rights as the white majority, the opposition created arguments founded in religion in order to maintain the oppression of a particular group of people. It doesn't amaze me that there is opposition to gay marriage, but that the arguments against it follow the arguments against desegregation and equal rights almost verbatim perplexes me.

Here is the video from Springfield, Missouri pastor, Phil Snider highlighting this truth. Make sure to watch the entire video:


This is a preacher who recognizes and acknowledges the fault in the current arguments against gay rights. Despite what you believe the scripture to say or how you believe your God views gay people, you cannot deny the fact that they are people and, as citizens of this country, deserve equal rights. And if you are a "believer," it should be easy to accept that it is not for you to judge others, but only for God. Treat everyone as your savior would, and embrace them for who they are without limiting them in their pursuits of love and happiness. If faith has always been enough for you in your understanding of the world, do not change now. Rest assured your God will correct and balance whatever wrongs we mortals have perpetuated in our time on Earth.

In the effort of gays to be recognized as equals under law, the open and opinionated leaders of the community have stepped forward to peacefully seek change, but it is those who remain closeted for whom I fear the most. I have known people who fit into this category and experience severe depression, anxiety, and stress because they are scared of the persecution and judgements handed down by peers, colleagues, friends, and family. Many of these people fall into a life clouded with self-hatred because they cannot change who they are, and they realize they are far from being accepted in their churches, homes, and communities.

Equality of rights is a step towards changing public opinion. Is there still racism in our country? Of course, but have the violent acts of racism and discrimination fallen from the mainstream culture? Yes, as will the negative perceptions of gay people once legislation begins to support them as equals.

Many people of minority races gave their lives for the rights gay people are seeking. The violent images of the reactions to various civil rights protests still stain our nations history. It does not have to be this way. Let's pave the way for acceptance, and let's build on it a nation where our first move as citizens is toward improving the quality of life for each other rather than preserving exclusivity for those of us born into the most beneficial demographic.  

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

One Unique, Unforgettable Trip

It is commonly said, "Dog is man's best friend." That always made sense to me on a very basic level when examining the relationship a dog seems to build around their owner. The owner feeds and cares for a dog in a way none other does. The dog is dependent on the owner for a number of things therefor making a positive connection a more than viable result of the relationship. Through the provision of the dog's basic needs the owner is rewarded with an unwavering loyalty and what can easily be labeled as a "best friend."

Doing his Lion king impression.
What I did not fully grasp until recently was how an owner can develop a dependence on his dog. The level of this dependence can be effectively managed to a degree by how much of his life in which an owner wishes to include his barking bro. For example, an owner who keeps his dog outside will naturally separate the related emotions and feelings derived from human relationships from those he relates to his relationship with a canine who he interacts with on a limited basis. Another owner who treats his dog in a way more closely aligned with the humans for whom he cares through means of snuggling, "conversating," socializing, and other seemingly quirky activities, will most likely blur the delineation between the different types of relationships.
He was quite popular at the parks.

I am not necessarily going to take a stance on how a dog should be raised, and what type of relationship should be groomed in the process because there are evident factors in each case that will determine how an individual chooses to interact with their pet. The differences with which people approach such a matter could be debated ad nauseam without resolution, and to me it is a rather moot point holding very little worth in debate in the first place. That is until something happens to your four legged friend.

When we take on a pet we are knowingly entering into a very limited relationship on a number of levels. A pet may "listen" to you, but he will never completely understand you, and there is very little chance they will respond intelligibly. Also, we know that no matter what kind of relationship we foster with a pet it will only last for a limited period of time as they only live for so long. It is in this dynamic that a relationship with a pet is so unique from the very first time you lay eyes on a potential four-legged companion.

Maybe we do not dwell on a pet's life expectancy when we engage in the selection process, but on some level we weigh the excitement of a new addition to the family and the memories to be created with the inevitable truth that we will have to say goodbye at some point.

No relationship in this life is guaranteed, but because of the known limitations of the time you will have with a pet, the responsibility you embrace from the day you take a particular fuzzball home goes far beyond food, walks, and baths. You understand that, barring an unfortunate turn of events, you will outlive your pet, but during the time you have you will nurture and provide in whole for your pet. Despite this, in the pit of our being we know the joy procured through the many days to come, as fleeting as they may prove to be, will far outweigh the pain actualized in their passing.

My experience was one I would have trouble fully capturing in words in a blog. My first dog, Trip, was, like most dogs, a loyal companion. What distinguished Trip from the other canines I have encountered was his unique ability to calm your soul with a unabashed joy and excitement, draw you in with his expressive eyes, and steal your heart within moments of meeting him. Since his passing, a number of people have reminded me of the fear of or distaste in dogs they once harbored. They had somewhat different stories, but they were all connected by the bond they made with Trip.


Trip had it all. He was a rugged explorer, a goofy klutz, a superior snuggler, and a loyal buddy. People have recently mentioned how lucky he was to have had me as an owner, but I can't help but look at it the other way around. It wasn't about what I was able to do for him. It was about what he did for me on a daily basis. This may sound melodramatic, but their are specific points in my life when I could not have imagined where I would have been without him. I am not the same person I would have been had I not had that dog in my life, and it is definitely all for the better.

A unique relationship indeed, from start to finish. One I may enter into once again down the road. For now, though, I will bathe in the warmth of the glow gleaned from a seemingly endless store of memories of the adventures I had with Trip.