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Friday, July 1, 2011

Negativity, Apologies Possibly Due, and Spirituality

First all, let me stated that I'm trying to not be negative. I had the epiphany after a discussion with a friend yesterday and watching a show that was recommended by another that sarcasm, wry humor and my other wise smart assedness personality can come across as just plain old negativity. Truth is, I try not to be generally negative. I, like all of us, tend to have my better moments than others, but all in all I do put some conscious effort into not being a drag to be around.

With that said, I do realize that my sarcasm is a type of shielding mechanism. Instead of showing if something truly gets to me, I throw out some snippy comment and run for cover. More often, I am just shooting for some humor in most situations. I don't think there are many problems out there, including all in my life that can't be turned around looked at from another side and maybe laughed at a bit. Because of that behavior, I tend to get to the laughing stage a bit earlier than others, and lets face it, my sense of humor is sometimes just more twisted and dark than others and this practice can come off as crass and negative.

On that note, I feel as though I owe the town of Casper WY a bit of an apology. My posting regarding Casper not being the place for me, seemed to maybe upset a few. Truly, I didn't mean to insult anyone. Casper is home to many people. It just isn't home to me. And that's what I'm looking for. Home. Alaska may always be that for me, and if that's what I find to be true, I'll probably find my way back. Until then, I will try not to come across as a snobbish transplant that compares everything to what I'm used too. Please note that I stated , "I will try". And feel free to point it out to me when I'm doing it again.

I have a friend who the last time I saw her made the comment that she was, "Not having a good life". That comment struck me as unsettling. Not a good life? I agree, it's not the life she had planned in the least. Life as usual, threw her a curve ball or five as she planned and mapped out what she was expecting to do. It does that to all of us. And though it may not be the life she had planned, was it truly that bad? Maybe to her it is, but it got me to thinking about my comments on Casper. No, Casper isn't home. I never imagined nor planned to live in Casper WY. But does it make my life suck? No. Interesting at times? Most definitely. Vexing and frustrating at times too, but that's a far cry from bad. I have a good partner who I love, four awesome dogs, two of which and a strange and adoring cat that wouldn't be in my life had I not ended up in Casper. Several friends, many laughs and good times that would have never come my way. So no, Casper isn't home, but it's brought me many a blessing as well.

I was sitting at a local coffee shop with a couple knitter friends the other morning and the religion theme came up again. It seems to be arising often lately. Mainly I think because there was a group of local ministers across the room that one of my friends knew several of. I of course nicknamed them the "Holy Rollers". So of course, our conversation took a turn towards the spiritual. I don't think any of the three of us are particularly religious, but we each have our own sense of spirituality. And this is why I like these people. We can each discuss our thoughts and feelings about this normally volatile subject and there are no hurt feelings, arguments or sneers. We respect each other enough to respect each others beliefs and remain solid in our own.

I was raised a Catholic. I attended mass, was baptized and confirmed to St Anthony's Parrish in Anchorage. My father was the one who insisted that this was done. My mom considers herself Lutheran though I have only ever seen her step into a Lutheran church once for a funeral we were attending. Unfortunately my father's idea of raising us Catholic was to drop my older brother and I off at the closest church for mass then go to Village Inn for breakfast for himself while his second wife took their kids to her non-denominational church. The cheap bastard wouldn't even spring for us to have breakfast while he was hiding from God. At 9 I got us escorted and banned from St. Benedicts by Sister Hazel for refusing to call the priest "Father". I called him Scott and insisted that I didn't like my own father so why in the world should I call this stranger with soft clammy hands father? At 12, I told my father I would no longer be going to Catholic Childrens Development Classes every Tuesday night after I was once again kicked out of class for questioning Mary Margaret Buchard my aging french instructor who despised my very existence on something I found puzzling in the bible. I was to take the bible for truth and have no expectations or thoughts outside of said scriptures. As I walked to the check in desk to once again await the end of classes I caught the two nuns exchanging money and guilted them into admitting that they were placing bets on how soon I would be kicked out of class. I for some reason found that very hypocritical and decided that if my father would rather have me sit in some class to absorb the lessons he had never taken to heart than spend time with me, I'd rather read the bible on my own those nights and do my homework at a decent hour.

In High School I took a Bible as Literature class and found to my amusement that I and Alice, another student who's families insisted on religious classes that she too was regularly kicked out of were the best read regarding the bible in class, although several of the other students were still going to Catholic Childrens Development Classes as well. I realized that I was never going to fit into the church going scene once and for all and I think for the first time laid down my own sense of spirituality. Some would probably call me a Pagan. I would never list myself as a Witch. I don't have any magic in this blood. I do consider myself pretty monotheistic though. I think many of the pagan gods are simply aspects of the main one through time. I've worked in too many hospitals and dealt with too many committees to think this world could be run by one such gathering of Gods and Goddesses. It all works to smoothly for that. No, definitely a monotheist here. Basically, I think there is benevolent creative being out there. And the few times I have truly felt the need to pray, I've always felt there was someone listening. And though I may not have gotten what was requested, I have received what I needed. Which was typically just the strength to keep going. And guess what, I didn't need a priest to mediate between me and that presence (Sorry Pope Benedict... Your just not the little red patent leather shoe wearing guy for me). So, I'm not quite sure what you'd call that. I'm not an atheist by any means, Agnostic doesn't fit quite right, and I guess that's because I'm not looking for the answer. But I am a believer. Mainly I believe that none of truly no what or who is out there, and as far as an afterlife, since no one has come back to report on it for more than just a few minutes I think we're all going to be a bit surprised when we get there. And I think that's the way it should be, no? But I do believe that we should treat others with a certain respect for their choices, their beliefs, and most important, we should strive to treat them with that respect and strive to do the right thing. Even when it's simply shutting up and letting them go on with their life as it doesn't harm ourselves. That shutting up thing though, is going to continue to be a life long lesson for me.



  1. I've lived in Anchorage and Casper and the communities felt similar to me. Both have the ambience of an ex-pat outpost where folks have fled to escape colonial tyranny -- and you can reinvent yourself and start over.

    Anchorage has a slight edge over Casper in terms of easy seasonal access to cabbages the size of Cooper Minis, however.

  2. And I find Casper and Wasilla more comparable myself. All in perspective I guess