April 2015 A to Z Blog Challenge Reflection

This was my first participation in the challenge. And, like a good half German, I obeyed all rules and posted every day (Sunday off for bad behavior), even with a 0600 scheduled publication. And I’d forgotten about the challenge until the end of March so these were real-time posts. Next year, if I am able to participate, I will write some well in advance of April 2016.

For the work I put into this prose, I wish more had read them. But they aren’t going anywhere so I hope folks will stumble into the site going forward. I kept the blog site separate but link to my website – debrastrege.com – and have decided to incorporate relevant posts into that ongoing blog, especially since that blog effort lagged during this challenge.

I am embarking on a new career of writing and speaking so this was a significant part of developing a new habit, finding my voice and expanding my audience. It offers hope that this time next year I will be much further down my new path. I hope my friends and followers will stay with me and grow. Hello world!

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Z Is For Zealots

Zealots have no humor.

Zealots make me sick.

Zealots are inflexible.

And do not help one lick.

 

Your faith, your fear, your certainty,

In how the world should be,

Your rigid lack of compromise,

Can’t trump reality.

 

I know you think the world would be,

In perfect harmony

If all the people not like you,

Would simply let you lead.

 

But that ain’t going to happen.

Still things will turn out fine.

Embracing people’s differences,

Can help us change our mind.

 

The world evolves without you,

To which I’m sure you’ll fight.

Appreciating differences,

Is doing what is right.

 

Now when it comes to justice,

And treating people fair,

I could be called a zealot.

That’s a moniker I’ll wear.

 

The difference is I do believe,

All folks will come around.

We all fall from out pedestals,

And that’s where love is found..

Y Is For A Y On Life’s Road

Life doesn’t have a linear path for most of us. Perhaps those who have had glitches, hick-ups and disappointments, are the lucky ones. I am not sure I ever wanted a linear path, anyway. I’m like the Goldie Hawn character in “Best Friends,” whose character was reluctant to marry because, “You’re born, you get married and you die.” So if she never got married, she would never die. That’s not exactly my life’s philosophy, although I relate to the character not making traditional choices. That I would not change.

Had I made traditional choices of a husband and kids, I might not have been able to make the choice to move Dad in with me the day Mom passed unexpectedly. And that was my best choice in life so far. Dad was with me just shy of ten years. I left paid work and built a second addition on my house. I miss those days beyond words. But it changed me. I found my core, my passion and my voice during those days with Dad. I am bold, outspoken, entertaining and viscerally intolerant to bullshit. My time with Dad crystallized for me that no amount of money is worth spending time with mediocre, erratic, marginal, petty people at some soul-sucking nine-to-five job. Those dysfunctional folks  have all been wished into the corn field.

So I’m on my way. I have bliss, not every moment of every day but most moments of every day. I’m strong and centered. I am healthy. I am busy and productive. M&DSepiaI still work on house projects (I am DIY wired with surround sound!), which is necessary and helps future profits for me. I am finding my voice. And twenty-four blogs in the past month has certainly strengthened my writing commitment! It also built a new haCartoon mebit so when I write one or two blogs a week, it will feel like a breeze. I am studying improv, which is delightful and terrifying. But it’s bringing me closer to my public and stage work. I am committed to this new venture and am using my written and spoken word in various venues. The new people in my life are lovely and generous and supportive. I am so very grateful to Mom and Dad for this life.

Now this new path isn’t easy to take. But the one less traveled is where I want to be. Joy and bliss can take you far!

 

 

X Is For What Is Our Society’s X

I rated this blog PG so I won’t post porn pics. But I would love to post a few because I find our puritanical views of sexuality in our society absurd and unhealthy. We shield kids from breasts yet by the time a child reaches 18, he or she will have seen 40,000 murders in the media and 200,000 acts of violence. Now I don’t know about you, but I was raised to become an adult who has sex, not shoots people with guns. Why does our society get so upset about showing a human phallus but would never pixilate an assault rifle? (That’s hilarious on so many levels.)

Admittedly, action films are not my genre so I don’t see the appeal in violent, physical conflict. But it seems if one is titillated by acts of violence, one wants to see it again. if it doesn’t have a direct correlation to violent behavior, the amount of violence in the media certainly desensitizes us. I’ve seen my share of violence on TV and I don’t want to own a gun or be near one but other people are wired differently and might find a thrill in violence. It’s no secret how high our gun deaths are compared to the rest of societies. And is it any accident that we now have a diminished manufacturing industry in this country except for guns and ammo? Hell, we teach our military with warring video games. Surely there’s some correlation to make. This whole paragraph creeps me out.

XCannons

Look at ancient architecture. XHostoryMuch of it is erotica. They have their share of warriors, too, but today’s culture holds no cXAshcroftomparison. And remember when Attorney General John Ashcroft spent $8,000 of taxpayer dollars on blue drapes to cover the lady parts on two statues in the Great Hall of the Department of Justice? Childish. Meanwhile his boss was invading a country on false pretenses, that killed and maimed hundreds of thousands. That’s some messed up priorities.

What our society has deemed to need a big X to block the view of innocent purview calls for a long overdue taboo review.

 

Xkid

W Is For Workers Unite

It is cold, cruel and criminal that full-time employment keeps folks in poverty and that economic advancement, social mobility and simple self-respect are becoming but a quaint memory for too many of us. People are hurting and this recent uprising by fast-food employees may be the tipping point that begins to reverse the ever-increasing struggle to survive. Let, “We can’t survive on $7.25,” becomes a rallying cry for all workers. Income disparity is the foremost cause of social rebellion, as evidenced in Egypt during the 2011 Arab Spring. Egypt is suffering under vast income inequality, but it may surprise you to know that Egypt’s disparity is not as great as ours, even though the Right will argue that the poor aren’t really poor because they have smart phones and flat-panel TVs. While technological trinkets may make us look rich, the true pain of living paycheck to unemployment check is a painful reality for too many. Unity is the only power employees have and if all workers would rally behind the fast-food workers who are protesting for higher wages, we might capture the momentum needed to slow the ever-widening divide between the “haves” and the “have-very-little.”

One of my heroes, my dad, always said there was going to be a revolution in this country some day when workers found they had enough. I agree with one modification. Now that multinational companies control the majority of global workers and all workers now are fighting the race to the bottom in wages, I believe it will be a global. revolution. And I believe we are overdue.

As another one of my heroes, Senator Ted Kennedy once asked, “When does the greed stop?” I don’t just wonder why the billionaires would sacrifice the basic comforts of so many of their workers with poverty wages, I wonder why they would want to live in a poor country. The fact is, America is not poor and it’s not “broke,” as Congressman John Boehner claims. It’s just lost its moral compass. Workers regaining some of their power would be a win for everyone. The one-percenters and Congress would have to follow.

 

V Is For The Body Is a Vessel

Note: The morning after the courageous Bruce Jenner has shared his personal journey of gender transitioning, this post has even more meaning. Our mind and body are not separate. We must honor both.

Whether or not you believe in a soul that transcends the body, espouse to a particular religion, are convinced of nothing or are certain there’s nothing beyond this incarnation, your body is your vessel. VesselThinkWithout your vessel, you can’t exist. We spend so much time in our heads, we often ignore this partnership. I have friends whose lifestyle choices are catching up with them and are developing chronic health problems, are taking medication or just plain don’t feel good. How far are you going to get if your equipment can no longer travel well?

Now, I am not perfect by a long shot. But I don’t take any medication, except a couple vitamins. I exercise every day and I am a vegan. Never touch soda and I drink water like my life depended upon it – because it does.  I’m a social drinker and break my vegan rule with some seafood when on holiday. That is, I would have seafood if I ever had a holiday. (That’s not healthy.) But I do recognize that without making healthy choices for my body, I won’t be able to do all I like and need to do. Garbage in, garbage out.

It seems like such common sense but most of us often treat our body like it’s a partner to our thoughts with the mind as the propeller. I blame 16th CenDescartestury philosopher Rene Descartes who, to keep science and philosophical study relevant in a time heavily controlled by the church, proposed the mind and body were capable of a separate existence. It stuck. It’s simply not true, however. It is this conflated idea that, if practiced, will cause harm.

I am well aware of body image issues, particularly for women in our society, although you men are catching up to us. I could argue that the mind/body separation is to blame for that, too. If we truly valued a person for their complete selves, we would be idolizing those whose inner and outer matched. I would love to be able to have some magic side by side pictorial of an outer appearance next to the inner one. The imagination reels!