Kiss5Tigers

The 5 Tigers represent the big things in life. This blog is about facing them.


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Christian Dating

There’s a joke that Christian dating is kind of a contradiction of terms.

My boss has recently found her faith. I’m happy for her. She has also recently found a boyfriend. That makes me a little envious.

Our household is reading a book called “Why Men Love Bitches” which basically says that if you make yourself too available up front, that level of attachment is a turn-off for a lot of guys, so keep up with having your own life even when you’re dating. Only of course the author uses more words and tells better stories along the way, as well as describing specific behaviors to avoid and why. It’s a good book.

So my boss went on a first date with a guy, and it went well. He goes to one of the local mega churches that she is thinking of joining so also has an active faith. They are absolutely adorable together. He checks all the boxes on the “acceptable boyfriend” list, including things like “flies for free” that she figured were pipe dreams. (He works at the airport.) He’s pretty much made to order for her.

They went out the other day, and he asked her to go out again so they went out 2 days later. Then he asked when he could see her again and she called me. I’m the worst, because if I like someone, they can get all my free time, but I told her to give him 2 times and see what he says. It’s in the book. She offered 3 times, and he basically said he’d take them all. Which is very flattering. They are out again tonight.

You can’t tell me online dating doesn’t work. My boss met her guy online, my friend K met her guy online, clearly online dating works for somebody. I’ve tried it. I’ve been catfished or attempted catfished every time. At least the ones I followed up on. I am apparently an easy target. Maybe because I’m middle aged so they assume I have money and I’m lonely, neither of which is true. But anyway.

I’m happy for my boss, so I’m not jealous, though like I said I’m a little envious. I keep meeting these terrific single lady friends, and it seems like within a month of meeting them, they are coupled up. I want a long term friend, or a long term boyfriend. I don’t need to get married, I’m happy with consistent dating.

My friends S and H have a relationship I appreciate. They live walking distance apart and they’ve been dating for over 30 years. They each have their own space but they spend most of their free time together. They do things like donate blood and they also get martinis at a local high-dollar department store. He takes her on vacations. I mean, I could do that kind of dating for a lot of years.

I suspect I’m just past it at this point. I have gray hair, I’m overweight, and there is that missing tooth. I’m not cute. Even older guys are looking for cute. I am a wonderful person and I’m interested in a lot of things, but I am not cute enough to hold someone’s attention long enough to find that out. And I know this because I’ve been actually told this. It’s as if people think you’re fat so you have no feelings and it’s okay to say “I like you but you’re too fat for me.” Well you’re too shallow for me, if my looks are what you care about. Yeah, I’m a little worked up about this but it will pass.

Because I have a full life. I have friends and support groups and a job and a daughter. These things take time out of my life, time that I don’t necessarily want to give to a man. I like these things. I like writing letters. I like my cat (just one, cat lady but not crazy). I want a greyhound again one day but we’ll see about that.

Right now I’m going to start soaking beans for chili. Tomorrow I’ll make the chili in a crock pot. It’ll be good. Tonight I’ll write a letter for my swap group and talk to my daughter about her experiences with the protest today. I’ll read before I go to sleep. And I like all these things, I’m not unhappy about this.

It would be nice to be someone’s goodnight text, though. Maybe someday.


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Envy and Jealousy

Envy. Jealousy. We use the words almost interchangeably, but they don’t mean the same thing.

Envy is, I want what you have too. Jealousy is, I deserve what you have instead of you.

So, for example, I went to Winstar casino recently with a friend. She won over $500 on the penny slots! I never have that kind of luck. Now I’m happy for her, but I wouldn’t have minded winning $500 too. That makes me envious. I don’t begrudge her the win, I just want a win of my own.

Jealousy I see more in relationships. Sibling rivalry is jealousy. The older child usually does not want to share the mother’s attention. There is no, she hugs you and she hugs me. There is only, she hugs me alone, you don’t get any.

This is where the language messes us up. If I say I am jealous of something, what I mean is I’m possessive of it. Think of the Old Testatment Bible verse that says “. . . I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God . . .” (Exodus 34:14, if you’re following along at home). Now you don’t have to be a very religious person to get the idea that God is possessive of the Israelites; that’s pretty much the whole point of the Old Testament, that God called these people to be separate from their neighbors by being His chosen people. God doesn’t want what the Israelites have. It’s generally assumed that God is omnipotent, He could easily have for Himself anything that anybody else has. He wants the Israelites loyalty. He is jealous of them.

Not to give a theology lesson, this is more about grammar. And I apologize for the Christian terminology regarding the Bible. It is my background, the way I am most familiar with speaking about these things.

Anyway.

If I’m dating someone and a third party flirts with them, I am jealous. I am possessive, not envious. I don’t want someone to flirt with me, I want that person to be mine. And apparently I’m a little insecure about it.

But if my friend is dating someone, well, I MIGHT be jealous, but probably I am envious. I mean, if I wish my friend spent more time with me and less time with their partner, then I am jealous. But more likely for me, I wish I had a partner too, and that means I’m envious.

You are not jealous of my new job, for example, because you are not possessive of it. You are envious, because you want a better job too.

I hope that clears it up for you, because this is one of my pet peeves.

“You got a new car? I’m so jealous!” No you’re not, you’re envious. You want what I got, rather than thinking you have rights to my car.

It’s like the word “depressed”. It has a clinical definition and a common usage. People say, “I lost one of my favorite socks, I’m so depressed.” No, you’re not; you’re bummed out, sad, frustrated, disappointed, having a bad day, but not depressed. I’m sometimes depressed. I take medicine for it. My life can be going great and I am still sad, that’s depressed. Sorry for the rant there, it’s a touchy subject for me.

The common use of “jealous” is closer to envy. I know that. I speak the daily language. But it’s useful to know the meanings and nuances of words, it’s what makes English the subtle and versatile language that it is.


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Well World

I had brunch with my friend R today. We went to a place called Henk’s which is behind the Half Price Books flagship store. HPB was having a tent sale that looked amazing but I hardly need more books. I have no place to put them! Henk’s is a German diner. I had the Polish breakfast, which is pretty much eggs and fried potatoes with Polish sausage. It was good, especially the potato, which I miss terribly while I am low carb. (I can’t in good conscience call myself keto.) R had blintzes, which he said were like eating dessert, and a reuben.

We talked about 10,000 things, as friends do. R works in community education for mental health. He teaches Mental Health First Aid mostly to educators. Eventually the idea of a healthy society came up.

R is gay, no children. He is also an atheist. He tells this to people in his presentation because he believes it is useful in helping educators to sit with situations they might not agree with. Now my atheist friend went on to tell me an interpretation of the Biblical story of the Good Samaritan which I thought was pretty interesting. Yes that sentence is knowingly ambiguous.

If you’re not familiar with the story, it basically goes like this: A man gets mugged and beaten up on the road to Jericho. The thieves leave him for dead. Several people pass the man and ignore his plight, including people you’d expect to help him, like religious leaders. Finally the Samaritan walks by. This is someone who is looked down on for his ethnicity. He sees the man in distress, takes him to an inn, and pays the bill for the man to stay until he recovers.

Jesus asks, who is the true neighbor? And it becomes a story about how to treat other people. But like most parables, there are other interpretations. My friend R says, this is a good example of appropriate care, both care of other and care of self. The Samaritan did not take the man to his own home, and he did not allow the man’s needs to derail him from his task in Jericho. He did not try to help the man directly, instead he took him to a place where he would be cared for appropriately. He paid the bill, which apparently was not a hardship for him. So, says R, we should be willing to help out others while also taking care of ourselves.

Another friend of mine has an issue with paying school taxes since they don’t have any children. I say, pay it. One day those young people will be in charge and I want them to be basically educated and hopefully able to think for themselves. I will live in a world they shape, I am invested in what these people are like. I don’t own a home so I don’t pay property taxes which includes the school tax, but I don’t begrudge the schools money. Money makes a better school, better schools make better people. Can we do it on less money? Well we keep trying and we know what public education looks like, so I suspect we can’t.

What does a healthy society look like? I don’t claim to have the final say on that, but I do know a few things.

Yoga moms are not the face of wellness even though they are the face of wellness culture. They are what could be called “the worried well”. That is, for the most part they are doing just fine and don’t need to worry in general that they will become unwell.

Homeless people are a sign that society is unwell. How can it be that we have abandoned houses and homeless people? Seems like a no brainer, put people into homes. And yet there is all kinds of resistance to the idea. You can no doubt think of some of the reasons: who wants those people in their neighborhood, why should we give a house to someone who is too lazy to get a job, or even when do I get my free house as a contributing member of society? So now we have to look at the factors in why a person becomes homeless, because very few choose this as a life path.

Any of the isms are a sign society is not healthy. Ageism, racism, sexism and others are rooted in fear; fear that somehow there are only so many resources around and if someone gets a piece of the pie, they are taking it away from me. It’s easier to scapegoat someone if you can make them a “them”, that is, not one of us. A healthy society knows we are stronger if we share the resources rather than hoarding them.

It was a good lunch, and a good conversation. I like my friends, they are good and interesting people.


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He’s At It Again

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am not a fan of Donald Trump.  I did not vote for him and I feel he brings out the worst of what America is.  But he is the president, and he is living up to his campaign promise to make changes.

I get so mad that it’s hard for me to talk about these things.  If I understand it correctly, Mr Trump would like churches to be able to participate in politics without losing their tax exempt status.  My first thought?  There goes the separation of church and state.

Again, if I understand correctly, if a church was willing to pay taxes then they are allowed to voice an opinion.

Concurrent with this, he also has proposed to allow groups to curtail health care options such as birth control if it goes against their religious principles.  The whole question of unwanted children aside, I am a woman with a hormone imbalance that could be treated with birth control pills if I chose that route.  I wouldn’t want my employer deciding for me that I couldn’t get hormones I needed because birth control was a side effect.  I already had an employer tell me that they wouldn’t cover bariatric surgery because it is cosmetic, even though my interest is health related.  (I am not pretty and being thin will not make me pretty; it will however help with blood sugar, blood pressure, and joint health.)  I would be unhappy if I had to choose an employer based on what health care coverage they offered.

I am not a churchy person although I have a faith.  (I’m Catholic, if that matters.)  I don’t really like anyone telling me what and what not to do.  And I would be unhappy to have people vote as a block because their minister tells them to rather than voting their own consciences.  I have several friends who voted for Trump because they will never vote Democrat which they see as the party that is killing babies by allowing abortions.  I feel that abortions are within acceptability because one has to treat the patient in front of them (the woman) not the patient they cannot see (the baby).  Not everyone agrees with me and that’s okay, but it does mean I might vote for a Democrat because I want other social programs to be available.

That is always my dilemma, actually, that I am fiscally conservative and socially progressive, which effectively makes me Libertarian.  There aren’t very many Libertarian candidates, though, so I often chose between candidates that don’t really reflect my views.

Having said that, I don’t want a church telling me what my views are.  And I can hardly imagine the uproar if the Pope expressed an opinion about who Americans should vote for, which this change would allow him to do, as the head of the Catholic church.  We have already had Russia involved in an election, do we really want Rome involved?

I am so incoherent about this because I have big emotion around it and I lack the patience to process an argument about it.  I mean argument in the debating sense not in the fighting sense.  I have no problem with the idea that people may disagree without getting worked up.  Or at least that they can keep it civil.

I don’t know.  I feel like this goes against some basic tenets of my country’s foundation.  And Mr Trump’s supporters seem to believe that saying anything that disagrees with the president is un-patriotic.  I am saddened by the loss of discourse and certain freedoms about which this current administration seems so proud.


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Therapy and Religion

I had therapy yesterday. It was the first time in, what, a year? that my therapist got all-out Christiany on me. And I’m not actually happy about it.

I don’t want to hear that good mental health is biblical. Given, for example, King Saul, insanity is also biblical. God is supposed to meet us where we are and that includes the downside as well as the upside. I’m not always convinced that biblical is healthy. I’m trying for healthy here, God and I can work out the rest. I’m a bad Catholic, but I’m still a Catholic and I know my God is big enough and his arm is not too short.

Anyway

The thing is, I don’t go to therapy for spiritual guidance, I go for therapy. I have other resources for spiritual guidance if I feel like that’s the area of difficulty. Again, I’m Catholic. We have whole cadres of folks who’d be happy to give me some guidance if I ask, not to mention retreat houses and seminars. None of which are therapy.

They are not therapists; she is not a spiritual counselor.

Clarification: she is a counselor who is spiritual, but she is not the person I consult for faith crises.

I don’t need her to be a pastor, I need her to be a therapist.

I believe that good art, good science and good religion all point to truth. I also believe that good therapy, good philosophy and good spirituality all point to a healthy life, but I don’t believe they are the same thing.

I guess I am one of those people who likes things separate.

And I guess I’ll have to bring that up to my therapist. (See? First world problems.)