Singlehood is Nice

I am happy being single. Read that sentence again. There is often a stereotype and assumption that people, especially women, who are single are automatically unhappy. So as we approach Valentines Day, here’s your friendly reminder that not all single people are sad.

Singlehood is nice. For me, it’s been a literal privilege to have had this time alone. I have found my authentic self. Some people can do that while having a partner, but I have needed, and enjoyed, my time being just mine. It doesn’t mean I don’t look forward to finding a special someone again, (I do) but I am quite happy being solo too, and have been for quite some time. I’m proud to be alone.

Paired-up people have certain things easier in our society. Therefore things are harder when you’re single. And people put more pressure on women for being single than they do on men. But doing it all on your own, whether you’re a guy or a gal, is badass. You overcome additional obstacles than paired-up people do, and you’re stronger for it. I would argue, it helps you develop you’re stronger sense of self.

There’s nothing wrong with being in a pair-that’s a beautiful thing too. And of course paired-ups have problems too. I’m just saying it’s good to acknowledge that being single is awesome.

Some people are so SCARED to be alone. That’s partly why people have a negative stigma or stereotype of singlehood-because they assume they would be so sad and unhappy if THEY were in a single persons shoes. (Those of you reading this not believing that someone can be happy while single most likely fall into that category.) I understand. But also, don’t freak out. Being single means you don’t have to constantly acquiesce to someone else’s needs. You can take care of yourself! Singlehood connects you to who you are, as you are, by yourself. There is so much power and beauty in that.

I say-Enjoy being single. You might never have the chance again and it is a privilege to be able to find yourself, by yourself.

Thank You Readers!

Today, I just want to say, hi! Thanks for reading. I started this blog back in 2013 because I realized my Facebook statuses were getting a bit long…(yes, I’m a millennial, if you haven’t figured that out) and I thought, “I should take my thoughts to a more articulated platform.” But mainly, this blog has been a wonderful way to shout into the void and express myself: To feel like I’m making a ripple in the pool of existence with my one voice. I have so much love for this world and our potential as temporary people on this planet.

I’ve got about 100 followers and that’s all I’ve needed over the years: I’ve never been in it to go viral necessarily, just to have something to say, and a place to say it.

I’m also proud of what this blog has accomplished. 26,000 views. Yahoo 🤘 My top blog, The Rum Running Queen, has enjoyed the number 1 spot when you search the subject on Google since I wrote it in 2015. So 7 years holding that number 1 spot. People and companies spend big money and advertisement to get a spot like that and my little blog did it on accident, without paying any money. That’s pretty cool.

But what it comes down to is the joy of writing, the catharsis of expressing one’s opinions and having a place to say, “Here are my thoughts, let’s rock, see whatcha think.”

So thank you to my wonderful 100 followers, of whom only 6 of you I really know. And the other 94, I’d love to get to know ya! Here’s to all of you and these past 9 years-Almost a decade of musings, ventings, intellectual pursuits, ponderings, and shouting, nay, singing, into the void.

Cheers to many more years of singing, (and maybe punk-rock yelling) into the void and to all of you current and future followers.

Watching WW2 Docuseries Makes Me Think of the Cost of Patriarchy

I’m rewatching the docuseries, WW2 in Color on Netflix, and it’s amazing to see, time and time again in history, the tragedy of patriarchy unfolding to such a degree. In my studies with my degree in history and work as a history teacher in the past, (and of course my avid attention to documentaries) I see it over and over. Think about it: it’s always men leaders leading these pissing contests and unchecked anger to push other men (and sometimes women too) to fight to the agonizing and devastating death. It’s the hidden truth right under our nose. And the additional not so secret truth is that men lose out on this battle too: duh. Patriarchy is harmful to men too.

And PLEASE do not misunderstand me. This is not to say that “men are the enemy” quite the opposite. it is to state that men (and women) can do better and deserve better.

I find it important to state the obvious fact, because it is often overlooked, that it is one gendered pattern of people doing these acts. Why? And how can we fix it? I think we are doomed to repeat mistakes if we don’t point out the obvious that here is this general pattern: and so what can we do to ensure that men leaders do not unleash their anger and power on others and each other in these types of ways?

We often get so used to the adage “people are violent.” Well, no, generally speaking, men are violent. (And again, not all men are violent. But certainly don’t say “people are violent” because it isn’t women waging war, or terrorist acts, or being mass shooters or murdering etc. It doesn’t mean women are better, it just means women are not the ones who are waging wars and pushing other women to slaughter each other over their emotions.)

What if we did things differently and balanced out the power between the genders? I don’t think we need the pendulum to swing completely in the other direction of all female power: it should be balanced, something we really haven’t seen much of at all in history. (And of course taking into account as well that gender is a spectrum and not in fact a binary.) What if we, in practice and in our actions and diplomacy, raised up the qualities that are supposedly feminine? Like empathy, patience, listening and understanding? Nurturing our people and environment etc etc.? Oh but then that would be too “sissy.” Much cooler to let the world burn. And much more “practical” to continue to do the same thing over and over-Of waging war and sending men to battle… after all, if we engaged in real practical and empathetic diplomacy, as the one unified human race we actually are, we wouldn’t have entertaining movies and documentaries about wars. Boo hoo.

Call me crazy but there is a better world awaiting us. And we can do it if we break old habits. I don’t have all the answers, I wish I did. But I do believe that creating a world with more balance is a start: less domination of one gender, or of one people, over another and more balance. Empowering women to have more practical, peaceful power. People in general are not all violent: People in general, men, women, children etc., are intelligent and capable of a better world than blowing each other to smithereens.

Shooters are Predominantly Male: Why? What Can We Do to Help Foster Healthy Masculinity?

Today, I am thinking about the philosophies and aspects entrenched in society that led a man to go on a shooting spree in which he killed five people in Denver last week. The overwhelming majority of people who are mass shooters are men. But that is rarely pointed out. In 2017, when a man in Vegas shot and killed 61 people, Jackson Katz, anti-sexist educator and author pointed out, “If the Vegas shooter had been a woman, everyone would be talkin [sic] about gender as the critical factor. Cause it’s a (white) man, not so much.” (Katz, 2017.)

The Denver shooter identified by police as, Lyndon McLeod spouted violent, hateful things in posts and books he published on the internet.

“Lyndon McLeod, who police say killed five people during a deadly rampage in the Denver area, was an author dedicated to alt-right philosophies, including masculine supremacy, contrarian COVID-19 beliefs, and targeted violence against the ‘weak’—including those he killed.” (The Daily Beast, 2021)

It is predominantly men who commit violence against women and school shootings as well. Jackson Katz, in his article titled Coverage of ‘School Shootings’ Avoids the Central Issue, states,

“For us to have any hope of truly preventing not only extreme acts of gender violence, but also the incidents of rape, sexual abuse and domestic violence that are a daily part of millions of women’s and girls’ lives, we need to have this conversation. And we need many more men to participate. Men from every level of society need to recognize that violence against women is a men’s issue.” (Katz, 2006.)

Why is it always men committing these acts of violence? I think, in large part, it is due to society prioritizing men over women. This has led some men (like Lyndon McLeod) to believe they are more important than women. (This is where getting rid of patriarchy comes in and to instead institute a system that works in balance for everyone. But that is certainly not going to happen over night…)

I also think we see so many male shooters due to our society’s failure of our men. Our society condemns men to only being allowed to express certain types of emotion: Happiness and anger. This is perpetuated not only by fellow guys but also women and people in general. But men, just like all humans, are complex people with a wide range of emotions and we should be encouraging their whole selves.

If then, as Katz says, it is a “men’s issue,” what can we do? Well, for starters, we can encourage men to express their emotions in ways outside of anger. We can help redefine masculinity.

We can also support the men that are doing good work, like Jackson Katz.

Who else can we support?

Evolving Man, is great Instagram account to follow created by Ben Goresky. He does Men’s Work clinics and promotes healthy masculinity. I love me some good, healthy woke men! Here is a sample of Evolving Man’s message:

[Editors note/update 2/3/22-Evolving Man just posted a few anti-vaccine videos and I am NOT about that…If you decide to support him, be cautious about some of his viewpoints. When I messaged him about it, we had a calm conversation, but he is very much misinformed in this aspect.]

Follow Fight Toxic Masculinity on Instagram too. Here is a sample:

I find it silly that I should even have to state specifically that masculinity is not inherently toxic: There is only a type of masculinity that is toxic, which is harmful to men themselves and results in things like violence. But masculinity is important and wonderful!! We just need to nurture parts of masculinity that are not harmful to the self and to others: To develop masculine attributes like nurturing, strength, accountability and empathy, those key parts of men that are amazing. That is why I am so glad there are men out there, like Jackson Katz and Ben Goresky.

I would like to leave this blog with the open ended questions: What can we do to support men so they can express themselves before the breaking point? Who are more men who are doing the work to create healthy masculinity?

Send me a message or comment below if you know more!

Quote sources: In order of Appearance (For Convenience)

Katz, J. [@jacksonkatz] Oct. 2, 2017 “If the Vegas shooter had been a woman, everyone would be talkin (sic) about gender as the critical factor. Cause it’s a (white) man, not so much.” [Tweet] Twitter

Bolies, B. (2021, December 28). ‘The Weak Better Buckle Up’: Denver Gunman Left Online Trail of Hate. The Daily Beast. Retrieved January 1, 2022, from https://www.thedailybeast.com/sixth-person-dies-after-deadly-denver-killing-spree-police-say

Katz, J. (2006, October 13). Coverage of ‘School Shootings’ Avoids the Central Issue. Jackson Katz, PhD. Retrieved January 3, 2022, from https://www.jacksonkatz.com/publication/pub_coverage/

Alicia Cardenas-Tattoo and Body Piercing Shop Owner, Remembered

I want to take a moment to honor and give respect to a woman who was shot and killed by a man on a killing spree in my town. On December 27th, 2021, Alicia Cardenas was taken from this world by a violent man.

Alicia ran and owned a tattoo and body piercing shop on South Broadway in Denver. In-fact, I got my septum pierced there. It is a place that has good vibes, friendly staff, and is very COVID conscious-a tribute to how she ran the place.

I haven’t been able to get Alicia Cardenas off my mind. Although I did not know her, I am rattled by her death. The more I read about her, the more I respect her and feel the loss: I feel the gap this leaves in our community.

I can only imagine there are very few women-owned and operated tattoo shops out there. And yet, here was one. A beautiful and badass indigenous artist, Alicia Cardenas, ran a successful, welcoming business.

It is so wrong. It is unfair. And I am angry and saddened that another violent man has robbed this world of an amazing woman.

Alicia-I wish I had known you. Your loss is felt across our community. Thank you for your art, your inspiration and the joy you brought others.

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