IHST – 11/11/16

ihst-11-11-16

Sorry, y’all. All I have this weekend are jokes.

Notes on Sticky Superheroes and Reversible Diaries

Hey, y’all. Sorry I haven’t had time to upload issue 2 of Bubblegum-Man yet. Will continue to update this space as regularly as I can, but grad school is soaking up about 85% of my time. That only leaves about 10% for sleep and 5% for watching Arrow, playing flash games, eating pasta, and general messing around.

Lately I’ve been feeling down. Normal, mid-January to mid-February blues. I’ll be back to my rosy self once we’re past President’s Day.

Anyway, rather than bore you with my problems, I thought I’d share with you a neat trick I’ve come up with to let out my negative emotions while simultaneously reinforcing positive thought patterns.

I call it a Reversible Diary. (Or “Reversible Journal,” if you’re more of a Doug Funnie fan.)

Basically, one side of the journal is labeled “Book of Lies.” Every time my mind gets stuffed full of insecurity, guilt, shame, self-doubt, self-loathing, or any other type of worthless emotion, I pour it in there. I write down all the lies I’ve believed about myself.

Then I flip the book upside down and open it from the other side. That side is the “Book of Truth.” Inside are Bible verses proclaiming God’s love for his children and all sorts of other spoken, written, reasoned, and observed proofs of my own worth as a human being.

As you begin to fill the book, try to make it so that the truths outnumber the lies. Most people have the same lies. Things like “I’m not good enough.” “I’m not smart enough.” “My ears are funny-shaped.”

But there are as many truths as there are people, though there are some eternal truths which resonate for all. But that’s a whole other blog post.

Anyway, at some point, it’s possible for your Books of Lies and Truth to meet in the middle. When that happens, go ahead and write over the lies with truth. You can white out the lies, if you prefer. Tear them out. Burn them. Whatever. They’re lies. Who cares what you do with them?

Now at this point, it’s important not to pay too much attention to any of the lies you put down in the past. Just write them down and forget them. They’re lies, so why would you want to study them? Their purpose is to mislead. We write them down to imprison them, to call them what they are, to take away their power.

But we must reread the truths. As many times as we can. The Truth is liberation. The Truth is empowerment. The Truth is Love and Grace and Hope and all that other stuff that can give you a toothache if you’re not careful.

In heaven, there are no toothaches.

Different People Are Different…And Also People

Because I have no intention of watching "Requiem for a Dream," loved "Black Swan," and may very well see "Noah" when it moves to TBS.

Because I have no intention of watching “Requiem for a Dream,” loved “Black Swan,” and may very well see “Noah” when it debuts on TBS.

LGBTQ (RSTUVWXYZ, seriously guys, get a better acronym) causes have been in the news a lot recently. And by news, I of course mean the two or three online mags I check out from time to time.

But aside from the gay marriage issue, which I’ve spoken about before, I’d like to talk today about the transgender community, a community which — as a straight, white, Christian man — I am in no way qualified to  talk about.

You might be surprised to hear this from someone who has no problem with the government legalizing homosexual marriage and no problem with mosques being built in or around NYC, but I’m actually fairly conservative.

As a practicing Catholic, I subscribe to a binary sex system, which dictates that there are two sexes built for each other. I can’t help but believe that a person so uncomfortable in their own flesh as to necessitate identifying entirely with the opposite sex is by definition mentally-imbalanced.

Of course, that’s only my opinion. I’ve only taken one college-level psychology class, and it was an audited course, which means I’ve taken zero college-level psychology classes. 

There’s a bit of a stigma attached to mental disease/disorder. As an autistic person, I can assure you there is nothing “wrong” or “broken” about anyone with mental illness. Bipolar disorder, ADD, OCD, and all the other anxiety-causing, hallucination-inducing what-have-you’s are no less shameful than the common cold or any physical handicap.

Likewise, there’s nothing to “cure” when it comes to certain forms of mental illness. Autism, Down Syndrome, and even bipolar disorder are not diseases in the sense that the only “cure” would be a complete rewiring and rebuilding of the patient’s brain.

If you “cured” me of my autism, I’d no longer be recognizable as “me.” That’s what happens when you mess too much with the brain. A scary thought, especially for folks like myself who believe in the existence of Spirit and the immaterial, immortal nature of the human soul.

That said, treatment is available and highly-desirable for most forms of mental illness. Some of us can’t function in any real sense without our medicine, and that’s ok. No one would be surprised that a paraplegic requires a wheelchair. No one should be shocked to discover that a man with paranoid schizophrenia requires a daily dose to keep the hallucinations down to a bare minimum.

But none of that really applies to transgender folks.

With what little research I’ve done into trans-related issues, I’ve discovered that the only reliable treatment for transgender folk is for them to go ahead and be the sex/gender they identify as being. Therapeutic attempts at helping them accept their birth-sex have met with mixed results, to say the least.

Of course, that’s assuming therapy is even an option. That’s assuming the person in question hasn’t already faced bullying on par with the Spanish Inquisition.

So what are we “normals” to do? How should we treat those who are different?

The answer should be obvious. 

The idea of loving one’s neighbor is not a new one, although it may be too difficult for some of us to conceive of loving someone far different from ourselves. Perhaps it would be easier for us to start with politeness.

First: What NOT To Do

1. Don’t ask someone about the condition of their genitals. Not a stranger, not someone you just met, not even your friends. Seriously, it’s rude.

2. Don’t beat someone to death because they had a penis when you thought they’d have a vagina. Beating people to death is wrong. Seriously, I shouldn’t have to tell you this. It’s wrong to rape. It’s wrong to murder. How do you not know this already? Are you from the moon?

3. Don’t stare at odd-looking folks. Every so often, I see certain folks on the train or at a grocery store. At first glance, I can’t tell if these folks are women dressed as men, transgender folks, men dressed as women, or some other category I can’t be bothered to look up at the moment because I got other stuff to do today, and I’m running behind as it is. What do I do when faced with these people?

I smile and continue about my day. I don’t stare. I don’t ask them personal questions. I treat them like everyone else I happen to run into, with love and respect. This is not that difficult. It’s what your mother taught you. It’s what the Church teaches. This should not be new. It is not a new concept.

What To Do

Here’s a list of ways to interact with transgender folks, other members of the LGBTQ community, members of minority ethnic groups, people with different hair color or skin tone or eye color than you, people with different religious affiliations, and people who hate everything.

1. Smile.

2. Nod.

3. Interact as you would with anyone else.

Seriously, that’s all. Show a basic level of human empathy and politeness to others. If a Different Person asks you for the time, pull out your watch or phone or alarm clock and tell them what time it is. If a Different Person asks you for a haircut, give them one and charge them the right rate. Unless you’re not a hair-stylist or barber, in which case, you are free to refuse service.

Seriously, why would you ask me for a haircut? I don’t even own one of those squeaky barbershop chairs.

Update: My stance on the gay marriage issue has since changed, slightly. While as a Christian, I cannot vote for it, as an American, I will not vote against it. The government has no right to forbid the marriage of two consenting adults. I call shenanigans on that. Shenanigans, all around.

Shenanigans.

New Comic!

Image

Nothing special to announce today.

Today’s post is brought to you by Genesis 9:13-15.

I set my bow in the clouds to serve as a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth, and the bow appears in the clouds, I will recall the covenant I have made between me and you and all living beings, so that the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all mortal beings.