For you, Zoolanders, for gracing the cover of your own LIFE.
Thank you for your support and have a fabulous weekend.


Envy, as seen from the Halcyon Pond

Guest post by Nadia
Reflections on Halcyon Pond & The World Beyond Halcyon Pond
Remarks on Envy™, The Food Drink of Glampions

Envy is the sin that “looks with grudging hatred upon other men’s gifts and good fortune, taking every opportunity to run them down or deprive them of their happiness. (Dorothy Sayers Purgatory, Notes on Canto XIII)

It is an impoverished soul who seeks to deprive others of their happiness. It’s bad enough that any soul would want to diminish others. The end result should bring them pleasure, but it rarely does.

The soul’s poverty can be so deep that it cannot be filled, at least not from outside sources. They take from others but with no positive returns, the result is a net negative. And that is what I appreciated about your post. First, envy is poisonous and second, it is fed by people’s “twisted opinion of themselves”.

I know sin isn’t everyone’s thing, but I went back to Dante’s work because envy is among the seven cardinal sins. I believe we have lost sight of just how poisonous it is. It took me a long time to understand that much of what others say in conversation is actually a reflection of what they’re saying to themselves. And so much of what a person sees of another is distorted by their image of themselves.

You wrote of the triad of Envy : Insecurity : Defensiveness. There was podcast on This American Life recently that brought this into astonishing focus for me. A female comic was being asked about the comments posted by trolls on her site. The producer found the person posting some of the worst comments. There is a brilliant section where the troll is being interviewed and asked about his motivations. And it all came back to his self-hatred. He was chastened when he realized what he was doing.

I could go on further about this, but it’s the second half of the post that I’m especially drawn to. I think you move off the subject of envy and on to something even more important, and that is shining our own light. I’m going to interpret very loosely here and say it’s about courage.

The courage to try not knowing if you’ll succeed. No, that’s not it. It’s the courage to try, without even having a measure of what success might be. To not even take an accounting of success or failure.

I’ve spent hours in the Picasso Museum (Picasso fascinates me), which has an exhaustive collection of his works. Much of what’s hanging on the walls is awful. But when you walk through and study all his work, you can see how each phase of his art built on the phases before and how he extended himself from an expert representational artist to the crazy, wonderful artist he became by exploring step-by-step without fear and certainly without giving a damn what anyone thought of what he produced.

May I suggest that you consider reposting the second half of this piece focusing on shining our own lights without being distracted by “two dimensional tokens of achievement.” I, like you, “want to thrive in a world of talented, bright shining stars.” For creativity to thrive there is no failure, just trials along the path of discovery. And each trial is a stepping-stone to the next thing to try, to the next idea.


How to be shaded? Use a PLUG

We’ve all received unprovoked hate: Backhanded compliments and passive aggressive put downs, or “shade.” When people choose to be unkind without provocation, it might be a force of habit or hard wiring. Before I continue, I should say that like Britney, I’m not that innocent. I enjoy throwing shade at human energy drinkers, but only after they start with me.

In case someone you didn’t start something with goes out of their way to stomp on your joy, I wrote this post for you. By now you’re SMART (Sombre, Masterful, Attentive, Respectful, Tyrannical) about being hated. Often, tyranny is not the best option when in combat with Darth Shader. This post introduces a positive, self affirming response. To PLUG, we play, laugh, understand and grow from interactions with H8Rz.

Here we go? Let us PLUG.

Stay calm and PLUG
I love this meme. x SB

Play along
When the shade hits the fan, there are three ways you can play along. If you ignore unwelcome remarks, H8Rz will take this as a sign they’ve struck a nerve and dig in. So first,  keep a neutral expression and ask for repetition. (My neutral expression is a smile). I have a “third time and it’s yours” rule. I ask for repetition two times to see if the person will hear how their words sound.

If the person does not give up after the second repeat, I ask for clarification. Neutral expressions again. Defending yourself won’t work, either. If they haven’t given up at this stage, or try again later, they’ve owned it by default and I can do the third thing: Deliberately misunderstand, or get tyrannical.

For the former tactic, rephrase the statement to mean something positive about yourself. Toss it back. You will hear, “I didn’t mean to compliment you.” Say, “Thank you.” As in, “This interaction is over and thank you for your attention.” If the behaviour is repeated, that is hate and it’s time to put the T in SMART.

Laugh at yourself
Embrace the things that are uniquely you. See “shade” as acknowledgment that someone finds you interesting. Your sense of humour could win you admirers and defenders. One day, someone teased me with, “Hey, you’re walking like a pigeon.” It’s true, but that detail is inconsequential to anything happening in my day.

I played along by pretending this was a compliment. I laughed and said, “Thank you!” A different person piped in with, “Actually, she’s catwalking.” When you laugh at yourself, others may feel encouraged to warm to your side. Shine in confidence and leave haters in the shade.

You “love thyself” and your emotional set points are high. People who put you down without provocation have lower emotional set points. They may feel they’re doing you a favour. They believe that by pulling you off your perch they’ll help you avoid disappointment.

Resist the urge to adjust your emotions or responses to the lower setting. Also understand that H8Rz notice and admire your natural talent. Instead of doing their own work, they sling mud to throw you off your game. Stay focused.

Grow from it
Hanging on to unkind words can set you back. However, reflect on unpleasant interactions and think about how you want to be treated.  Then, set a better example by doing unto others. Make the effort to recognise negative characters and avoid them. Sometimes, you need to shine light on a person to see them for who they are.

I hope you’ll never need this advice. But if someone tosses shade your way, your objective is to firmly push back the disrespectful behaviour while keeping your hands clean. Play along and laugh to yourself but show some compassion and you will grow from the experience.


Machine Gun Meow’s remarks for Nadia Monsengo

Guest post by mGm on Nadia Monsengo’s essay
My thoughts on Africa’s Image Problem

The way they feed on the negativity of Africa is disconcerting. The media only shows negative images of Africa … They take advantage of the negativity of Africa and take advantage of the positive light it shines on them for giving generously.

Excerpted from “Nadia Monsengo” by Nadia Monsengo of African Artista

Machine Gun Meow

What an interesting and completely relatable post. Having lived in Australia for more than a decade, I am still surprised and stung by off the cuff remarks such as, “Oh, as an African, you must be used to the heat”; “Do you have tarmac roads?”; “Is your family safe from Ebola/ Al Shabab violence” and …

“But you can’t be African, you aren’t black?!”

Some of these are general ignorance mixed with polite concern. It is the ignorance that I take issue with. During my schooling years, we learned not just about ourselves as a country (Kenya) and a continent (Africa), we also learned our place in the world and about the rest of the world with equal focus.

I feel sorry for those who never learned about other countries and continents so that their view of the world now is rather self centric and skewed. They missed out on so much. African history and current affairs, as Nadia rightly mentions, are overly represented by the negatives, which every corner of this world has some form of.

I take great pride in educating anyone who will listen about the origins and richness of Swahili as a language; about the pioneer microfinancing innovation, M-PESA; about English being one of my first languages and how most people where I am from are trilingual; about the indescribable beauty of Africa; the unsurpassed warmth and comfort of a community-based outlook.

Everyone belongs.

Africa is more than a game-watching destination or a dumping ground for last-season’s-disposable-fashion-disguised-as-charity. I devote considerable time during such conversations to dispelling ignorant myths, most of which are laughable. But real change can only come from two sources: a shift in the media perspective so that it is not all doom and gloom; and a fair and reasonable inclusion of African history, geography, culture and civics (preferably with considerations for the diversity in the same) in mainstream Western education.

Of course, the audience must listen with open mind and heart.

I, for one, am proud of and grateful for the fact that my formative education was undertaken in Africa. I am so much richer and well-rounded for it.


Loud expatriate talking loudly to his date (20 ft away)

So we went skiing … We went up one side and came down the other side.

(1 Inaudible)

Are you running every day?

(2 Inaudible)

You only run one time a week?!

(3 Inaudible)

How far is your long run? …

(4 Inaudible)

In the bushes? Or… The shade?

(5 Inaudible)

I like to wake up in my house for a change…

(6 Inaudible)

It’s fun and I enjoy it … There’s a huge mess everywhere. All your food is gone… Dishes are in the sink.

(7 Inaudible)

I’m taking a break … We just destroy his house.

(8 Inaudible)

Yeah… Thanks for having a …

(9 Inaudible)

I was surprised that you were … I was GLAAAAAD.

(10 Inaudible)

Keep in touch alright?

(11 Inaudible)

How about this … Let’s go for a …Don’t be shy… I’ll shop around… Just text me … If I finish shopping and I’m ready to go …

(12 Inaudible)

Don’t. Be. Shy. If I’m ready to go … and it’s too early for you … Don’t be shy. It’s OK. I’ll shop and …

Spearmint Notes
I felt compelled to transcribe this after the volume of the man’s voice interfered with me. This happened one Friday night at the book store. There was elevator music in the background. The ceilings reached to infinity and the floor space is open. That and forty plus simultaneous conversations did not drown him out. When I couldn’t find any music to block him (Rammstein couldn’t even), I stopped reading and started transcribing. At 23.00, on my way out, I walked by him talking LOUDLY in another part of the store. Oi.

PS: I’m not the date police but, dude, did you take the woman on a date to a location where people are lolling about in their pajamas, so you could advertise that you were on a date?

Update @ 13:48: The Beleauguered Servant was sweet enough to complete the conversation so please read it. It’s hilarious.

x SB


Someone’s going to celebrity rehab, why not you (Satire)

Listen up, ’cause after this I bounce
Someone’s gonna be worth a billion
Gonna be a Glampire
When you sizzle
Make them hiss

(Grab that door, Mike!)
Shimmy on down
Uncross your legs
Grow some cleavage
Be a ‘ho

Someone’s gonna buy a fancy new title
Gonna be the next homewrecker
Gonna gain what they all lose
Reach the cover of Star
Gotta be fake
Drag that hose
Pat that cake
Tweak that nose

Paparazzi’s gonna get tasered
In front of your house
Someone’s gonna sell Huggies on TV
Gonna land in the pool
Make that splash
Get that endorsement
Count that cash

You’re no second best
Housewife of Beverly Hills
(Washed up on Jersey Shore)
It’s all you Dancing with the Stars
So swill that gin
Flush that pot…

Someone’s going to Celebrity Rehab…
Why not you?

paparazzi harasses Paris

Photo credit: “Paparazzi harasses Paris” by Internets Diary via Flickr/Wylio

Inspired by the Guinness “Why Not You” television commercial, “Adam King” advertising campaign for Asia 2003-2005. 



Narcissists may be our last line of defence in the event of an invasion. They have been studied by psychologists and social scientists. They have perplexed boyfriends, girlfriends, wives, husbands, children, friends, coworkers and voters for millennia. But don’t rehabilitate them just yet. In case Earth is invaded, we may need their unique soul sucking gifts to reduce Earth intruders (thanks Björk) to pillars of salt, muddied with twigs and branches.

Narcissists will never lose. Their only goal is to destroy you. They will do whatever it takes to achieve that. What guarantees your destruction by a narcissist is being in their field of vision. If they perceive your existence, you have become a problem, and it’s game over for you. The only way to avoid being destroyed is to avoid them completely.

That’s why we will need them to neutralise the most unkillable extraterrestrials in the known universe: The Borg and Q Continuum.

The Borg are collectively aware and do not speak as separate individuals. The Borg were once “flawed and weak”, but developed into a cybernetic species in an effort to evolve and perfect themselves. These two points make the Borg vulnerable to counterattack: They are not perfect yet and they speak as one voice because they live in “harmony.”

Narcissists are gifted at finding flaws, insecurities and emotional triggers and adapting to them so they can manipulate targets. They are also skilled at pretending to fit in with societies and cultures. They will ingratiate themselves and go through the motions of blending in, committing with utmost devotion to the sole objective of being more Borg than the Borg themselves.

Their blind devotion to all things Borg will get them promoted to Super Master Borg Ambassador in short shrift. Once they’ve earned that trust, they will switch up and launch a takeover of the collective, effectively destroying its integrity.

Remember how the Borg quickly adjust their shields to phaser frequencies? Well, that will offer no protection because narcissists excel at waffling. They’re inconsistent. They constantly change their “principles” and “theories” but only after you’ve made yourself amenable to the set they’ve just made up. They are particularly awesome at saying one thing and vehemently denying it zero point zero five milliseconds later.

This endless fluctuation will drive the Borg mad and melt their circuitry.

Game, Earth.

The Q are immortal, extra dimensional beings but are not absolutely omniscient or omnipotent. They possess the power of instantaneous matter-energy transformation and teleportation, as well as the ability to time travel. They can move entire star systems with their minds.

Aha! No one can beat them, you say? But trust me, narcissists are gifted at finding flaws. Immortality and time travel have three side effects that work against members of the Q Continuum. These side effects are boredom, curiosity and a seemingly infinite capacity to calculate outcomes based on mathematical principles. In other words, Q are happy go lucky and are always right.

Narcissists, on the other hand, have a palpable lack of curiosity. In their minds, they are always right and their truth is the only one that matters. They don’t care about things like evidence, investigation, scientific studies or obvious in front of their very eyes stuff. Narcissists love to say, “I don’t care about that” really fast. Don’t bother explaining to them the need to make the link between what they said now and what they said milliseconds ago. They don’t follow threads of thought or consider the merits of your argument. They are only concerned with making you wrong.

All narcissists can do this to some extent, but the Q can be annihilated by a special elite class of narcissist. This narcissist is known as the Mega N.

… to be continued

about me People

To Whom this May Concern

Bad things can happen when we take shortcuts to judgement. I am reminded of one of my favourite films, Match Point, where a young former tennis pro marries into a wealthy upper class family after carefully playing to their assumptions. I recommend the film to anyone who wants to understand how fixed, ready processed ideas can leave us vulnerable to manipulation. Skyfall‘s villain, played by Javier Bardem, tricked MI6 into handing him their entire database. The ploy was convincing because he was difficult to capture and lives were sacrificed to protect his identity.

A person can deliberately take offence to what was said in order to create dissonance and use the heavy mist of emotions to avoid speaking in truth about the real issues in question. Dramatic cosplays may backfire if the other person is wise to that strategy. Let me explain why that stuff does not work on me. First, consider three non fiction essays I’ve published here: One called GOYA; another about how to act SMART and most recently, one called Bread. Second, notice that in practice, they work in harmony, like this.

I happened on a poem from a writer, in which he identified himself as “racist.” I didn’t accept that he was one. That was me giving someone the benefit of the doubt. Even so, I was stung that he wrote how if a dark skinned male passes by his open garage door, he feels that the person will jump him. I have dark skin, so I felt unfairly judged.

This is how I reacted.

I asked him if the feelings were real. He said, yes. Then, we had a short discussion about the differences between the privileges afforded by his superficial identifying features and the privileges I’ve enjoyed after working hard to earn them outside of my comfort and safety zones. I said something like, I have learned to take control over my environment as a result of not having everything handed to me. I also let him know that even if we don’t have the same ideas, we can be decent to each other. I extended my best wishes and invited him to delete my comments if he found my presence on his blog disconcerting.

His response may surprise you. He thanked me for my comment and said, “I need more dark skinned friends” after inviting me to read and comment on his blog. I accepted his invitation and found out that we both enjoy fine wine. This discovery warmed me and so did his recommendation for a place to sample some delicious wines on my next trip to the United States.

The reason I’m posting this commentary here is to say this. Welcome to my universe. In it, I can make the choice to not jump down someone’s throat, be offensive, unkind and disparaging just to be confrontational just because something seems provocative. On this occasion, I may have met a fascinating person. I still feel some tension but I am willing to give this a try.

To whom this may concern,

When I am aware of an assumption of mine, I test it by asking the other person to present their side. A stranger, who does not know me and could have tossed out my opinion, chose instead to engage in conversation on a sensitive matter.

We could have torn each other to shreds with words. We chose not to do that.

Why not you?

Warmest regards,


The Gap

I’m not a child but I’ve had imaginary friends. They are flesh and blood humans; needy, self centred, fickle individuals who vanished when I needed them. I’m an advocate of neediness and vulnerability. You can’t build meaningful relationships without these two important elements. I’ve done my fair share of giving to needy others and I’m sorry but sitting with me at a meal is not the same as supporting me.

I’m not a child, so I don’t want plastic friends. Miserly, grasping, superficial people who only care about your net worth. One plastic friend is loved by the manager in her employ. He is the description of what she says a man should do and be for her. She trusts him implicitly. She won’t be with him because in her fantasy scenario she pays him a salary and if they get together he can’t afford to buy her expensive gifts.

It’s crazy. Her dream is to build a branch of her business in Spain. She has everything she needs to start right now, including a partner like him to stand in for her. Instead of expanding her brand, she’s holding out for an imaginary friend and lover who owns an island near Bali.

She can’t have him (and his moneymaking island) because he’s the plaything of a different plastic woman.

It is good to be self centred. Discipline and diligence are two positive effects of an inward focus. We can’t achieve anything meaningful without putting our best interests first. I am alive today because I excluded things that weren’t good for me.

People aren’t things. Real life situations are messy and we negotiate our way out of tight spots together. We give each other the benefit of the advantage and ask questions when things seem out of place. Trust and mutual respect are key elements at play. I say, take a spill but I’ll be there for you when you get back on your feet. The Winans would call it standing in the gap for a friend.

Avoid me when I’m physically ill; say “ignore that” because you don’t want to hear what I’m feeling, and so on. Then call up when another imaginary plastic person mistreats you. You’ll find that this time around, I have no time to spare.


Notes 4/3

This is an update to Art of the Force, specifically about the entitled behaviour I called out.

I understand that some bloggers desire engagement in the comments section of their posts. I say again, it is best to ask for a comment. A cordial invitation at the end of a post will do. Coercive tactics and name-calling are not the way to build up a community of supporters.

And now I will explain why I don’t like to comment on other people’s blogs. I will tell you why I have abandoned comments after writing them. I sometimes write fiction, but when before accusing people of inappropriate behaviour, I will search for evidence first. In that spirit, I spent Friday night and Saturday afternoon testing two assumptions:

(a) Bloggers want me to comment on their posts.
(b) Bloggers acknowledge my comments.

I tested these assumptions with posts tagged art, beauty, life, love, poetry, romance and women. All posts had been published within thirty minutes of the start of the exercise. Excluded from my assumption were posts published by subscribers to this blog.

Here is what happened. All forty (40) of my comments went to moderation immediately. This is an issue with Akismet, and not the content of my comments. This means that only subscribers who were aware of this issue would be able to check their “Pending” folders for stray comments. I received only ten responses within 30 minutes. Responses included “x liked your comment”. After that, three more responses came in after two hours. Forty eight hours later, I am still waiting for 27 further responses.

One beauty blogger, in her post, specifically asked for questions so she could do a later blog answering those questions. I wrote three questions for a total of eight from other readers. She “liked” my comment but this alone satisfies my definition of a “response”. Of the 40 bloggers, two bloggers received compliments about their sense of humour; only one acknowledged and responded with a comment. Both had published their posts within minutes of each other.

This is how I felt. That was a horrible experience, and I understand why bloggers are so hesitant to post comments on other bloggers’ blogs. Some posts are scheduled; comments go to moderation and are cleared or approved. I felt that I had wasted my time. However, I felt somewhat vindicated because I had proven my point from the few responses I received.

Bloggers, add value to your brand by offering some quality interaction around your product. It’s not necessary to use the Queen’s English or talk much. We have control over what happens on our blogs. I have turned off like buttons to encourage comments; I have turned off comments whenever I felt that none was necessary.

There was a time when I wished someone would say something. Now, readers do. I warmly welcome longer comments and take them as a compliment, as affirmation that I’ve written something worthy of a response.

After I’ve used the Force and readers start joining the discussion, should I get super annoyed because they’re, like, writing comments on my bloaaaaag and I can’t deal with that? Attitude is everything. If you go to a book launch and the writer speaks to you in a “yeah, yeah, this is all about me… buy my book… I’m too busy, yeah” tone of voice, how would you feel about it.

Of course, you would. Because behaviour like that is ridiculous.


Nadia Monsengo

Guest post by Nadia Monsengo, a graphic artist living in the Netherlands.

My thoughts on Africa’s Image Problem
Nadia Monsengo
African Artista

A while ago I read a book in Dutch called: Hoe Congolees Zijn De Congolezen? It means, how Congolese Are The Congolese people? A very interesting book. It is basically about how the image and identity of the Congolese people has been lost due to the colonization. I would recommend this book; unfortunately, it is written only in Dutch. Well, for a more general view, we could look at the media of the Western world.

The way they feed on the negativity of Africa is disconcerting. The media only shows negative images of Africa (poor kids living on the streets, diseases, war). They show that Africa depends on them. Mainly through charities. They take advantage of the negativity of Africa and take advantage of the positive light it shines on them for giving generously. In the media there is almost nothing about the kingdoms of Africa. The way they ruled, what kingdoms there were. Basically, not much is written before the history of the colonization of Africa. I find this unfortunate. It looks as if Africans/Africa (except Egypt) did not exist before the colonization. It seems as if the image of Africans depends on the Western World.

Let’s talk about Ancient Egypt. I happen to know that there are many disagreements about the identity of the ancient Egyptians. Many believe that the ancient Egyptians were black and others (the Western World) believe that the ancient Egyptians were white. I do not know how the ancient Egyptians looked like, but I do not believe that they were white (like Europeans). Egypt is in Africa, so the most logical to me is that they had dark skin. Egypt is one of the ancient civilizations that was very developed  in terms of society and many other things.

A very developed country like Egypt could’ve been built by people of colour. And why not? A while ago I saw a documentary on the history of Africa. In this documentary they talked about the great monuments in Zimbabwe (then called Rhode Islands). During exploration of the country, the British refused to believe that the monuments (which were the remains of a great kingdom) were built by black people. They were convinced that these monuments were remnants of an old white civilization, that black people could not have built this. Again, I could not believe the image people then already had of Africans. This negative image of Africa/Africans, the Western World has goes way back.

Why doesn’t the film industry produce more movies about great kingdoms of Africa? Why are there so many slave movies? Movies where black people are poor or slaves don’t contribute to a positive image of Africa. Why do people think that there is always war in Africa? Why do people think that a lot of Africans have HIV? If there is one thing I’ve noticed in the media, is that they ALWAYS use a black person in a commercial for HIV.

A former colleague of mine (she is Cape Verdean) told me once that her little sister always told everyone that she was not African and that Cape Verde was not a part of Africa. Only because of the bad image that people have about Africa. She was so much ashamed that she tried to convince people that Cape Verde was not a part of Africa! I was very much suprised when I heard this. I could not believe this.

I mostly blame the media for the poor image of Africa. Of course there are a lot of Africans that are ignorant and don’t care. I find this unfortunate. But I don’t fully blame them. When you look at Africa’s history, it is understandable how a lot Africans became this way. I once asked my mother if she could tell me something about our history before the colonization. And she did not know. It is very sad.


Art of the Force

I often wondered why people slap at the hand that reaches out in friendship and compassion. Why cordial relationships turn into bitter rivalries. People often complain that their prayers aren’t being answered. Why, they ask, does God (or other Deity) not pour out His bountiful blessings?

We are experts at asking. We are not gracious receivers. We say no to the gifts presented to us because we don’t understand the math behind the magic.

I see people receiving exactly what they ask for. They feel hungry and right then, someone will offer some bread. They say dismissively, “That’s nice of you but I don’t like Wonder Bread.” Then in the same breath they say, “I’m starving.” I’m sure someone’s rejected your kind offering before, and you felt bad about it.


I felt bad yesterday evening. A subscriber asked me if I was reading his posts because I have liked them. Apparently, he was also entitled to comments. Entitlement gets us nowhere. I wished he had asked me for a comment instead of accusing me and others of defacing his blog with our Gravatars.

There’s an artist on WordPress whose work I greatly admire and covet, but who has told me hates me and everything I stand for. Every time I show appreciation for his new set of paintings, he sends a kind email to thank me. He is professional. He does not accuse me of abusive behaviour.

The person from yesterday has subscribed to my blog but does not support me. He has “sometimes” read posts. I read all of his and appreciated his work. I now thank him for his complaint because I will now only make time for subscribers who appreciate me.

This blogger is not discussing a UN Security Council report or parliamentary transcripts from New Zealand (lunch break hobbies, don’t ask). He is not publishing a calculus workbook. It’s prose fiction.

And how up myself would I have to be to write detailed critiques without an invitation? Many of my subscribers have actual problems. Like stroke recovery, empty nests, depression, cancer, fibromyalgia, affairs, divorce, bad romances and the loss of loved ones. They ask for support when they need it.

Hours before I got blasted for reading a blog without leaving a comment, a lovely young woman from Indonesia submitted a comment on S/M. I had read her review of the 50SOG film and wanted her to add a positive appraisal of (the film) to the discussion here. I asked her to please read my post and write a comment. It took two days before she finally agreed, and then I had to persuade her to not worry about the level of analysis in other comments. I value her contrary opinion. I might watch the film now. Her compassionate viewpoint is changing my mind.

The process is simple: Ask. (Wait.) Receive. Thank.

A few months ago someone published a photo looking really similar to my rig, which I’d published days earlier. My comment answered the author’s question, “What is art?”  I also explained the similarities in our posts. I was greeted with, “How did you find us because …” I got an eyeful of words. I thought, “Did you not just ask a question? What is wrong with you?!”

We are not gracious receivers and because of that, we punish people who are trying to be nice.


Back to my first point…

Wonder bread. Occasionally, a person will take the bread and grind it underfoot. You could say that such a person is ungrateful. I wouldn’t worry about name-calling. Instead, think about how many gifts you might have turned away yourself and try to pay extra attention next time. Your sworn enemy could be His Ambassador. Your arch rival’s hiccup gave you a two point advantage. Warmly thank the person. You needed the win this time.

One of the reasons I have a strict GOYA policy (I’ll explain on March 30) is this. The genius mathematician upstairs doesn’t care that you want a pastrami sandwich on whole wheat bread with the ends cut off, coconut oil spread instead of butter, black cheddar thinly sliced, dill pickles and a dollop of sour cream, served by a tall redhead in a tight shirt.

He hears you yelling at the top of your lungs, “Please give me something to eat RIGHT NOW.”

Let’s play a game, Jedi Knights. Pay closer attention next time you use the Force and answer these questions from Björk’s song, All is Full of Love:

  • Are you receiving?
  • Is your phone on the hook?
  • Are your doors all shut?

Plato’s Groove on S/M

Guest post by Plato’s Groove: Learning to tell the truth of and to one’s own soul. I thank PG very much for allowing me to post his comment on S/M (a critique of the Fifty Shades of Grey film) as a standalone post. I spliced two verses from his poem AWAKE throughout the reflection. Please visit his blog to hear it read. When men are able to listen to us women speak about what we need and want for ourselves without being defensive, there is light in the world. Be well, SB.

My thoughts on the dynamic interplay between power and the people
by Plato’s Groove

I’m not a prude but the plot of the thing [the film, Fifty Shades of Grey] seems a bit twisted. I’ve heard women say when the first one was out that you needed and man or a dildo close by when you read it. I did not have either.

I did not at first understand the attraction of a rich little boy so scared that needed to totally control a woman to feel safe. I understood the fear in the guy but not how it could be so seductive to women. But then I see the themes played out every week working with addicts and domestic violence. I deal with scared little boys and the women who are so needy and fearful that they surrender their bodies and souls even their own children to the power of the dominant one.

Distraction provides just temporary satisfaction.
But your heart knows the Truth. Your heart knows the Truth.
Awake from the incantation, seek the Incarnation.
The Light shines in the darkness.
Let It shine on you.

The thing that goes unspoken many times is that there is power and a sense of security in the submission. The submissive ones are benefiting from the arrangement in some way or they would not stay. They are trying to save him but not out of love. It is the desire to save him so that she can finally be loved. But she gets to play the victim role at times and culture may not hold her accountable. Their is always a yin and yang. If he is insecure and and fearful she is too. If he has a need to control so does she and it is just as devious. The patterns match or there would be no fit.

This whole thing seems to glamorize that pattern by glossing it over with lots of orgasms. The meth heads I work with have lots of hot sex too. And they talk about it a lot. Hearing women talk about this very private thing in public is akin to that to me. Not in a judgmental way: Their preferences are not my business. But my emotional reaction was the same. I am a little embarrassed for them. My impulse is to cover the nakedness they don’t realize is apparent.

I think hot sex, like Tony the Tiger says, is “Grrrrreat!” I understand that sexual preferences and patterns can be healing and redemptive as people learn to be who they are. I have no problem or business in that place between what happens there. But this is a cultural current running through our collective consciousness. What have been the results of this latest craze besides boosting dildo and bondage equipment sales? Are people more confident and fulfilled? Are women more empowered? Where are the feminist in this discussion? Are men more confident? Or has the culture been nudged just a bit toward that which will not set them free.

Caesar has no love for you, you’re a number on a page.
Doctrine is a guide, but its just trappings on the stage.
Life is calling you to wake up (now).
Shake off the webs they weave.
Step into Reality, become more than you (can) conceive.

There is a sense of freedom is the drug addict too. For a while they exist in a place where practicing their addiction feels like freedom and being who they are. It is an exhilarating ride till they end up getting pimped out and in bondage to that which can not set them free. There is always intention behind anything that happens in the media. There are powers which benefit from the bondage of the masses.

This story (50 Shades of Grey) seems to be a perfect metaphor of the dynamic interplay between power and the people. It was just another whisper suggesting “Go back to sleep. It’s OK. This is how it should be. Don’t it feel good? We will take care of you as long as you are our slaves.”

People women writing

Envy™ The Food Drink of Glampions

Matcha Green Tea Latte For Two
Image: Green tea latte via Green Tea Guide

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Envy is the tax which all distinction must pay.” He’s probably never met a Glampion. A Glampion’s envy is the heavy tax which innocent bystanders are forced to pay. When someone picks on you, they might be living out a fantasy life inspired by someone famous, real or imagined.

Is it reasonable to say that these people have a twisted opinion of themselves? I think we each have different measures for our self concept. However, it is important to maintain a balanced perspective.

The theme of this post is “envy”. It could have been insecurity or defensiveness because often these three form a triad. Envy happens when others can’t be happy with what you have. Insecurity is most likely the trigger. Defensiveness is the easiest remedy: We measure our this with their that.

Power envy happens when Glampions secretly wish they could be as influential as [name a celebrity]. Their desires thwarted, they turn on someone they believe to be weaker than they are. People of this mindset either lack the capacity to face up to their own inadequacies or they don’t have the self confidence to thrive in the presence of others who are doing well. Many of the people we envy struggle in some way and would be fortunate to be in our shoes.

Why be so nasty and so rude, when I can be so fierce, so fabulous and so successful.
Nene Leakes, Sunday March 15, 2015, via her Twitter account.

Sometimes I really want to sock it to people who get it twisted. In doing so, I am mindful that there’s a difference between being fierce and being rude.

We can thrive in a world of talented, shining stars. It is hard to remember that because mediocre people dominate our news feeds. I believe we should set high standards for ourselves. Sometimes we will be discouraged. I think we should do as much as we can, and drop that when we want to try something else.

We work hard to become champions raised up by substantial wins. Sometimes, however, we might get distracted by two-dimensional tokens of achievement. This is where a balanced perspective plays a role. It allows us to measure the weight of our trophies before using them to browbeat others. When we do that, it is hard for Glampions to crush our spirits with their own paper-thin trophies.

For the benefit of others who lack perspective: Shine your own light. They don’t need to comprehend your brilliance for you to be a star in your own right. If you burn brightly enough, the blind may never see you, but your rays might penetrate through the skin.

Note: Updated November 22, 2016 @ 08.04. This post was originally published on March 17, 2015.



POSSIBLE TRIGGER(≧∇≦)This post discusses suicide threats.

I happened on a post by a Presser who stated, “Need to end this all. This blog, this life, this everything. Nothing’s worth it.” I wrote in her comments in these exact words:

“I can’t believe you’re going to give up right now because you messed up? If you know you made some mistakes it means there’s a human being in there. Frustration means you’re right on target to a breakthrough. You need a hand? Ask for it! Everyone’s “hand” looks different but whatever you need, I trust that you do have the support you need to pull through. Get mad but by all means, get changed.”

What do I mean by get changed? Organically, there might be something that’s pulling you towards an outcome that’s good for your well being. Anger and frustration are internal mechanisms for focusing you away from counterproductive behaviors or attitudes. Those negative feelings are telling you that you’ve overlooked something important. Easier to say than to swallow. Exactly. And these things take time: They’re part of a process.

The Presser might come over here and see this, and it’s fine. I felt compelled to write this post after reading that and hearing this same sentiment just hours before, from another woman. She said she might die by the end of March. When I said, no one is planning on executing you, she said, “I might do it myself.” I take all suicide threats seriously. If they’re on blogs and they’re in front of me, I say something to the author. To be clear, and I’m not saying that this is the case here, but saying you’re going to “get out” in order to get attention is super double plus uncool.

I think I’m a compassionate human being, but I was angry at the way this last statement was tossed out. You’re so hooked on being a married woman that rather than get a divorce, death is a reasonable option? I asked her if she didn’t see the wealth of opportunities in front of her. I enumerated them.

Lastly, I told her to go and find herself a pair of sequined shorts and grab a younger, cuter, taller, buffer volleyballer. Shag each other rotten. Take away your estranged husband’s power to belittle you and grind you into the dirt. Choose to feel like a woman who is desired. I don’t care if she’s technically still married. Don’t get on my nerves with your sanctimonious horse bullocks. Elvis has left the building and is shacking up with Elvira. They’re traveling together. He bought her a house. She drives his Mercedes. Their digital schedules are synced.

“NO ONE UNDERSTANDS THE PAIN. NO ONE.” That’s partially true. No one might understand your pain, as it is tailor made for you. However, we all understand pain. I saw a beautiful painting today by an artist who was crying as she painted it. I said I only saw a joyful celebration of colors. I was lifted by it, and by the time she responded to my comment, she was feeling a lot better. The pain hasn’t all gone away. Maybe she’ll feel awful later. So be it. My point being, we all heal differently, and some of us are more effective at using it than others.

I’m taking myself out of the equation now, and not making this about how I will feel. For your own sake, say, “I’m struggling and I don’t know how to cope.” That’s honest, real and very much a situation to which I can respond, “What do you need?” Or make suggestions yourself, “I need attention. I need reassuring words. I need you to tell me off.”

I’m not naive; nothing’s fixable with a hug, a chat and a cup of tea, but I’m an advocate of feeling your feelings and allowing them to overwhelm you. No medication, drugs, wine, smiley faces or compensating. You’re a human being. Pain is painful, and that’s kind of the point.