Thursday, 05 May 2011
The day has come. I've known for about a week now that I would be leaving xanga and migrating to a more dedicated site, and now I must formally bid farewell to what has been my blogging home for the last seven and a half years. I will leave my collective works intact here in case you'd like to reference them in the future.
The new site is going live just now. It still has a lot of tweaks to be made, but it's good enough to get going. If you'd like to follow me at the new site, you can do so at http://wwjtd.net. It would be nice to hear from some of you over there. :)
I do want to do a few things with the site, such as move the comments below the entries and to put a "My opinions are not the SSA's opinions" disclaimer on the sidebar. I'd also like to include my twitter info on the sidebar and nix three of the sidebar categories. If you know how to do any of this in wordpress, let me know. :)
Thanks for the memories xanga, it was fun!
Monday, 02 May 2011
Originally posted on Atheism Resource.
I have been away for far too long. I apologize for that.
As many of you know I have been struck by a relapsing illness in the last few months. My battle with anorexia got the better of me, landing me in the hospital in the middle of February. Since that time I have taken a break from writing about religion.
But I’m doing much better now and I had promised myself that today was the day I got back on the bull, as it were, and what better way to get back into the swing of things than by picking on an incredibly easy target: the Catholic Church.
A Filipino Catholic bishop says a pending bill’s supporters are no better than “terrorists.”
A former mayor of Manila believes the bill is “worse than martial law.”
As I clutch my pearls I wonder what it could be. The cynic in me wagers that it is more wailing about abortion, but it turns out that little portion of my brain is not cynical enough.
…lawmakers are instead considering a “reproductive health” bill that would, in addition to forbidding workplace discrimination against pregnant women, use state funds to distribute condoms and initiate more sex ed in schools.According to the Manila-based Inquirer newspaper, the bill also encourages a two-child family, but offers no prohibition on having more kids. It does require all government hospitals to include a full range of contraceptive surgeries and methods, such as IUD, and forces couples to review family planning material before getting hitched.
Condoms. Distributing condoms, in the eyes of the Catholic church, is a form of terrorism. Cynical though I am, I have nothing on these idiots.
Sam Harris and other atheists have already made this point, but it bears repeating. In countless third world countries, AIDS rages through the populations producing death tolls in the millions. This is largely thanks to misinformation about AIDS spread to these nations by Catholic missionaries (in lieu of teaching them, y’know, science). The problem they helped create is then augmented by the fact that the Catholic church wages war on one of the best ways to mitigate the transmission of HIV: condoms.
Any sane moral person shudders at the prominent crimes of the Catholic church: namely enabling pedophiles to rape children (and then the attempts at justification or downplaying those acts later). But this should also stain the Catholic church’s already tattered legacy. It is the zenith of cynicism to have contributed to so many preventable deaths, all the while claiming to work out of love and in the interest of the preservation of life. It should be perceptible even to those credulous enough to be taken in by that lie, that the Catholic church gives primacy to its dogma above all else, including human life. It seems that to the Catholic church that ‘life’ is a smokescreen to be waved around when it takes a break from helping the spread of AIDS to protect a clump of cells at all cost.
Perhaps the most cynical of all is the use of the concept of ‘life’ as little more than a tool while simultaneously believing that you are preening atop the moral high ground.
It bears repeating: irrationality leads to monstrous actions, regardless of intent, and nothing canonizes irrationality as a virtue but faith and religion. You want a more moral world? Fight the institutions that tell us that not only is irrationality not something to avoided, but that we need it. Fight the Catholic church and all other faith-based religions.
Had a doctor appointment and got measurements taken at the gym today.
My blood pressure is the worst thing wrong with me...because it's slightly too low at 98/70.
And as far as measurements, I'm down 8 lbs. of fat in the last month and up 4 lbs. of muscle. I'm also down 5% in overall body fat. My trainer says that results like this are practically inhuman.
Sunday, 01 May 2011
One of the things you do with an obsessive mental illness is control your environment (thanks to Kay Abshire for tips on that). I have done so, removing all things that may set me off. However, this morning I inadvertently exposed myself to a trigger. I felt the panic trying to grip me, and a month and a half ago it would've succeeded despite all manner of effort on my part.
But this morning, while it was uncomfortable, I contained it and the down moment only lasted a few minutes. I'm not ready to immerse myself yet, but I can manage.
I cannot praise the science of medicine enough. I am going to be ok. Thanks to a single, tiny pill taken once per day, I can live a normal life. Hell, I can even be happier than I ever was. Save your prayers - give me science.
Saturday, 30 April 2011
Tonight I watched Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind with an old friend. I wound up getting very emotional. At first I thought I was panicking, but this felt differently. My mind was going a mile a minute, but I couldn't tell what it was processing. It was all going on in the background.
Here's what I came up with. I recall in high school, when I played basketball non-stop and was in pretty decent shape, crying in my girlfriend's living room unable to believe that she really loved me because I was so fat. I'll be the first to admit that I was an idiot in high school, and not just because I felt unwanted despite the mountain of evidence my girlfriend had given me to the contrary. But I now believe that those particular thoughts weren't the result of being an idiot since that mindset never changed over the next decade. Every relationship I have had, whether purely physical, emotional, or what have you, I never believed they could be into me on account of my weight. This tainted some potentially great relationships, and it caused me to be perhaps more callous to people I cared about than I should have been.
As a defense mechanism, I developed a philosophy of non-attachment; of enjoying another person but never depending on them. This is, of course, a good idea, but not for the motivation that drove me. This is very strange because I'm a passionate and empathetic person. Because I feel for those around me, and share their happiness and their suffering as my own, is why I do what I do (and why I do it so fiercely). I also love intimacy. Don't get me wrong, I like sex as much as the next guy, but I prefer just being close to someone and looking at the stars, sharing an inside joke, or just saying nothing at all and being comfortable.
But now that I'm getting healthier, everything is a little more intense - sometimes a lot more intense. The stars are brighter than they've ever been. The grass is greener. Even my curiosity, which I thought was immense by comparison to most, is far more overwhelming than it ever was. The tiniest things bring me levels of happiness that would have been the pinnacle of the first 29 years of my life. And watching that movie tonight, with two people sharing a level intimacy only possible in the imaginary perfection visible only in the medium of celluloid, I didn't find myself thinking ill of them - I found it beautiful. I also found myself wondering what I may have missed up until this point in my life on account of my condition. As it turns out, there were never two words with so much power to make us miserable as 'what if'.
Holding someone's hand, kissing. Just sharing a vulnerable moment with another human being...
With my mind in its present state, these things don't just sound like an enjoyable speed bump while my life goes by, nor do they sound like something to endure while my partner waits for someone better-looking. Instead they seem to be one of the only ways, and perhaps the best way, to slow your life down so you can enjoy the moments. My disease has been productive - I have spent many lonely nights reading and otherwise improving myself on account of believing I had to try harder to be loved. My illness is a part of me that has contributed greatly to who I am. But it has also, without a doubt, robbed me of a host of meaningful moments and experiences that were at my fingertips if only I had been able to grasp them.
Having a healthy mind is like waking up on a new planet. It's amazing how different the world looks, and how differently I am able to think about it. I sometimes feel like I'm two weeks old. I'm normally not a fan of 'what if', but I can't help but wish I had gotten treatment much sooner in life.