"The unexamined life is not worth living" Socrates

- - scatterings of ideas sent to my younger self, a sensitive girl who was fooled into believing she was a boy because of anatomy - -

Saturday 20 January 2024

Careful The Things You Say

Growing up in the 1950s and 60s meant that being different was unacceptable. What I felt in my bones was confusing; desires for something that was forbidden because of an appendage that shouldn't have been there. I might have defied most of society, but my life of self-loathing began with things carelessly spoken by people I trusted. What was said wasn't directed at me but it hit home. 

Any man who was less than manly got called 'girly man' in a tone that spoke hatred. Being called 'sissy' was just about the worst thing a boy could hear. To admit a need to be one of the girls was unthinkable.

I was lucky enough to live past the depression that set in as I became an adult by determination alone. No, I wasn't determined enough to go to a doctor and admit who I was. It seems certain that would have got me a ticket to an insane asylum in those days. Instead, I did what so many of us did back then. I went into deep denial, becoming as manly as the rest of the men I knew just to get on with my life. I had wonderful, manly, role models. The façade was born. 

Here is my plea to parents and all role models. If you really love someone, accept them as they are, no matter what expectations you might have had of them. But there is more. Even though you might love someone enough to accept them when you are informed, avoid damaging your relationship with them by speaking carelessly about others. Please take care what you say. Children who might not be able to do anything about their feelings will listen. If they think you and everyone else hates them, they will hate themselves, too. Think how you will feel if you find out they killed themselves because they knew you would hate them. 

If someone truly hates everyone who dares to be different, they must also be determined enough and crass enough to hate their own children when they turn out to be different, too. 

Children listen. They learn what you really think and really believe by observing you. Once said, a derogatory comment about gays or lesbians or trans people cannot be unsaid. If your child isn't strong enough to ignore you and move ahead on their own - if they take what you have said to heart - they might just decide that dying is preferable to disappointing everyone by being authentic. 

If you think this has been featured before, you are a true fan! 

Careful the things you say,
Children will listen.
Careful the things you do,
Children will see.
And learn.
Children may not obey,
But children will listen.
Children will look to you
For which way to turn,
To learn what to be.
Careful before you say,
'Listen to me.'
Children will listen.

Careful the wish you make,
Wishes are children.
Careful the path they take,
Wishes come true,
Not free.
Careful the spell you cast,
Not just on children.
Sometimes the spell may last
Past what you can see
And turn against you...

Careful the tale you tell.
That is the spell.
Children will listen...

from Into the Woods
written by Stephen Sondheim

Tuesday 9 January 2024

If You Aren't Afraid, You Will Be ... You Will Be

Those of us who are different, and let's be honest, who isn't different in some way, cannot help but be worried about fascism. Am I anti-fascist? You bet. You should be, too. 

Something we all need to be reminded of is the life of fear that will come if fascism wins, no matter where that might be. We need to be reminded that the thought police have new and oh-so-useful tools at their disposal now. Anyone with an opinion that doesn't please Fearless Leader will, mysteriously, disappear. As they used to say when Stalin was fearless leader in the USSR, a black car will pull up in front of your house, and you are bye-bye.

The New Yorker magazine cover tells the story of the fear many in the United States have right now. That country is at a turning point in its history. I expect, though, that in every corner of this world, with so many issues that divide us all, there are would-be fearless leaders just waiting for their chance to divide and conquer. 

Sometimes it makes me happy to be old. 

I do feel badly for the young at times like this.


Many's the time I've been mistaken
And many times confused
Yes, and I've often felt forsaken
And certainly misused
Oh, but I'm alright, I'm alright
I'm just weary to my bones
Still, you don't expect to be bright and bon vivant
So far away from home, so far away from home

And I don't know a soul who's not been battered
I don't have a friend who feels at ease
I don't know a dream that's not been shattered
Or driven to its knees
But it's alright, it's alright
For we lived so well so long
Still, when I think of the
Road we're traveling on
I wonder what's gone wrong
I can't help it, I wonder what has gone wrong

And I dreamed I was dying
I dreamed that my soul rose unexpectedly
And looking back down at me
Smiled reassuringly
And I dreamed I was flying
And high up above my eyes could clearly see
The Statue of Liberty
Sailing away to sea
And I dreamed I was flying

We come on the ship they call The Mayflower
We come on the ship that sailed the moon
We come in the age's most uncertain hours
And sing an American tune
Oh, and it's alright, it's alright, it's alright
You can't be forever blessed
Still, tomorrow's going to be another working day
And I'm trying to get some rest
That's all 
I'm trying to get some rest