Perserverance

Today, I will talk about what perserverance means and why it is important. Also, it’s all downhill from here. Very soon, I’ll have to find something else to write about. With a bit of luck, I’ll have something when the time comes.

I know I keep doing this, but let’s see what Merriam and Webster have to say.

continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition. 

the action or condition or an instance of perservering.

I’m going on a slight diversion before continuing. This is another example of something I hate about dictionaries. They define words using the word itself; well, near enough. What does it mean to perservere?  It means to perservere. That is a terrible definition. Anyway, rant over.

Perservering is continuing to do  something even when it gets hard or boring. It is doing what nees to be done, even if you don’t want to do  it. This requires wisdom to know whether this is something that should be continued. Perserverance requires courage because it can become difficult. Courage is the strength needed to keep on going. Integrity helps by giving you focus and inner strength. 

Why is perserverance important?  It is how things get done. It is how governments, companies, and other organizations exist. They all require people with perserverance. It and courage are why I’m alive today. Without them, I’d have killed myself a long time ago. Sometimes, life gets hard, really hard. I mean, you can be in a position where it doesn’t look like you can keep going. I’ve said before, a good part of why I’m still here is my stubbornness. Plus, I’ve been lucky. 

People kill themselves because they can’t see a way forward. Without help, they may never see a solution. They, often, don’t want to kill themselves, but they see no other way forward. And, they believe that the world would be better off without them. How do I know this?  Because I’ve been there more than once. If you are a friend of someone who has been this way, please perservere in that friendship, especially  when it gets hard. Your mere presence in their life could be enough to keep them alive.

And, since I brought suicide up, if you are feeling like this, please call or text or Facebook message someone. Your friend, your lover, your therapist, a crisis or help line. Please, they do help. I’ll not lie nd say there are all perfect, but, keep reaching out, it will help.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number is 1-800-273-8255.

Integrity

Hello all!  Welcome back to another of my rambly posts. This week is integrity. What does it mean?  Why is it important?

Let’s start with Monsieurs Merriam and Webster. There really is no particular reason why I use them instead of another dictionary, but since I have used them in the past, I will continue for the sake of consistency.

1: firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values

2: an unimpaired condition

3: the quality or state of being complete or undivided

Another one that is rather short, but contains a lot. One and three are very important to what integrity means here, and I think they are connected. So, let’s dive into three first. This is to be mentally and emotionally whole. To be you as best as you can. While you do have to filter yourself depending on where you are and who is around you, you shouldn’t be lopping parts off of yourself to make other people happy. Integrity means not selling off pieces of your soul. You bring all of you to everything you do. That is the most important part of this. Not hiding parts of yourself or trying to excise them. You’re going to bring your self everywhere you go, so you may as well understand it and be aware of it. I realize that some things aren’t appropriate in different situations, hence the filtering. Maybe that is a bad word, but it’s as close as I can find. You focus on those parts you need for where you are is what I mean. This requires a lot of courage because it is not easy to be who you are.

On to number one!  This is tied up with wisdom and courage. Wisdom should be used to determine what your values are and knowing what it means to stick to them. Wisdom helps you know when to compromise and when to stick to your guns. Courage is being able to compromise when you should and sticking to your guns when you need to. Both require courage because there are times when neither are easy. Living a life where you stay true to your values is what integrity is all about.

Why is integrity important?  Because without it, you’ll do as I have done through much of my life. You will barter away parts of yourself until nothing is left. All that will be left is a mix of what different people expect of you and a longing to know who you are. Trust me on this, it sucks to live this way. It’s not even really living. It is just existing. You won’t know what you really want and that is no way to live. A life with integrity is hard and rewarding. You will have self-respect. You will be able to look at yourself in the mirror and say that you are a good person. Why?  Because you will be living out your values. You will be living your life. And that is too important to let fall by the wayside.

Courage

Hello, sorry for not updating for so long. Had some issues with my mental health. Wish I could say I’m feeling better now, but not really. I’m simply trying to get back to normal with the hope that I’ll feel better.

So, today’s virtue is courage. This is one is very important. What good is it to know what the right thing to do is, if you don’t do it?  That’s where most things fall apart. We know what the problem is, we know what we need to do to fix, but we lack the will to do what must be done.

As per usual, let’s look at what Merriam-Webster has to say about it.

mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty

Not much, especially for something so important. It seems really basic, but that is courage in a nutshell. Courage is the ability to continue when things get difficult or to do something even though you are afraid. That is important; courage is not the absence of fear. Being without fear can lead you to do something stupidly dangerous. And that is why wisdom is so important.

Courage must come after discernment, that is thinking about what the correct action is. Courage is doing the work to build something new. It is the ability to maintain something. Courage is shown in little things as well as big things. Sometimes, doing the little things is courageous.

Courage without wisdom is stupidity. Wisdom without courage does not achieve anything. Both are needed for right action.

I would like to address the issue of fear and courage. Too many people think that courage is the absence of fear. That is completely wrong and harmful. Not having fear is stupid. Fear, if used right, can help. It can be used to make sure what you want to do is important and to point out areas where you might run into problems. Courage is mastering your fear; doing what you think is right even though your are afraid.

So, in a nutshell, courage is dealing with your fear to do what is important.

Vision

Hello all!  Today is the next ADF virtue I want to talk about, Vision!  This one is an interesting one and something I see lacking in most of modern society. We have lost or abandoned the idea that we can shape the future. This is very sad and a bit disturbing. We don’t seem to think that we can make the future better than the present. I think this is because we don’t practice the first step of making things better, imaging what better looks like.

So, what do Monsieurs Merriam and Webster have to say about vision?

  1. a :  something seen in a dream, trance, or ecstasy; especially :  a supernatural appearance that conveys a revelation; b :  a thought, concept, or object formed by the imagination; c :  a manifestation to the senses of something immaterial
  2. a :  the act or power of imagination; b (1) :  mode of seeing or conceiving (2) :  unusual discernment or foresight; c :  direct mystical awareness of the supernatural usually in visible form
  3. a :  the act or power of seeing; b :  the special sense by which the qualities of an object (as color, luminosity, shape, and size) constituting its appearance are perceived through a process in which light rays entering the eye are transformed by the retina into electrical signals that are transmitted to the brain via the optic nerve
  4. a :  something seen; b :  a lovely or charming sight

Wow, that’s a lot of words for one little word!  To make things a little easier, I’m only going to look at 1 and 2 here. The last two don’t apply to the kind of vision that will be discussed.

Vision is a thought, an idea, and foresight. It’s the ability to look at a situation and see how it can turn out. It lets us get idea of what the future holds. And, what the future can be. Vision is also needed for us to create. Without knowing how we want something to turn out, it becomes mighty hard to make it be what we want.

This virtue is tied closely to wisdom. Wisdom guides how you envision the future. Vision also guides wisdom. Vision tells you how to get that result that you used to wisdom to determine. They feed on each other and strengthen each other. Vision also helps you to see the many possible outcomes and wisdom lets you choose which outcome is the best. For things to work properly, they must work together, something that will come up again and again throughout these virtues.

Anyway, what do I see as vision?  It’s the ability to see what can be, what may be, and what must be. Vision is the tool we use to determine how to get what we want and what we want. It is imagination used to better our lives and the lives of those around us. It is our wants and desires and so much more. Used well, vision makes the world a much better place.

The Nine Virtues of the ADF

A ways back, I promised to write about these and how they fit into my Christianity. The ADF, Ár nDraíocht Féin or a Druid Fellowship, is a Pagan religious organization. What could a Christian learn from a bunch of Pagans?  Quite a bit, actually. The ADF encourages their members to do good, solid research, to think and write about what their faith means to them, and to reach out and get different perspectives. Sadly, much of modern Christianity has lost that desire to learn and understand its own faith.

So, today will be the first of the Nine Virtues as currently used by the ADF. Yes, they have changed them, twice so far. They listen to their members and use wisdom and judgement to determine if a Virtue needs to be changed. I have a great respect for self-correcting processes like this.

The first Virtue I’ll cover is wisdom. Wisdom is one of my favorite ones. Ok, ok, I really do like them all, even if fertility can be a bit problematic.

So, what is wisdom?  According to Monsieurs  Merriam and Webster,

  • a :  accumulated philosophic or scientific learning : b :  ability to discern inner qualities and relationships : c :  good sense : d :  generally accepted belief

  •  a wise attitude, belief, or course of action

  •  the teachings of the ancient wise men

Ok, so to have wisdom is to be wise, so let’s see what they say what wise means.

  1. a :  characterized by wisdom :  marked by deep understanding, keen discernment, and a capacity for sound judgment : b :  exercising or showing sound judgment

  2. a :  evidencing or hinting at the possession of inside information :  b :  possessing inside information : c :  crafty, shrewd : d :  aware of or informed about a particular matter

Ah, now we are getting somewhere!  Although 1a doesn’t start off too helpful. So, wisdom is all about having knowledge and using it well. It means judgement, and not the horrifying being judgmental. Wisdom is important because, quite frankly, you need to be more than an information sponge. Not that I’m in any way disparaging being an information sponge; I am one myself. Information must become knowledge before it can be used as a basis for wisdom.

What is knowledge?  I once wrote a paper on that subject, sadly, I remember little of it. Had something to do with justified true belief and the four criteria to determine whether something is knowledge or not. I’m going to simply it for our purposes here; knowledge is information plus understanding. Quick example to show the difference, let’s say you memorize 2+2=4, but don’t know what it really means. Later, you come across 2+4= and you are lost. If you understood what 2, +, 4, and = meant, you’d have some idea what 2+4= meant as well. That is wisdom, being able to apply your knowledge to a new situation.

I promised you a bit about how this applies to Christianity as I practice it. I am reading through the Bible very slowly. I do need to pick it up again. It’s important for me to know what is in it. It is also important for me to understand the culture at the time and how the current culture affects my religion on both a personal and an institutional level. Also, different interpretations are vital to my understanding the Bible and it’s message. It is so very important to  see things through as many different lens as you can. Look at it from different angles. Come to know and understand something before you try to use it.

 

The Election

Yep, I’m finally going to talk about the election. I was really hoping that Mrs. Clinton would win. I could get along with most of her policies and the ones I didn’t like were, for the most part, not that important. Mostly, I wanted her to win so that I wouldn’t have to fear that my rights and, possibly, my life would be taken away in the next four years. I know that sounds hyperbolic, but I’m a pansexual trans woman, the only way the Republicans would hate me more is if I were also a Latina.

Before I get into why I’m so worried, let’s take a quick look at the man who was elected and his second in command. Mr. Trump is a, mostly, failed business man with no tact and sense of decency. he has mocked people who are disabled, women, immigrants, people who like like immigrants, and Muslims. And that is not a complete list. He has no experience in government, so he has no idea how things work. To top it all off, he is a deadbeat. Now, Mr. Pence seems to have some idea how the game is played. That said, he wants return us to an era where LGBTQ people hide in terror and hope they aren’t discovered, an era where non-whites are neither seen nor heard, an era where women don’t have rights. This is the team that we elected.

Why do LGBTQ people have to worried with these two people in the White House?  Well, there is also a Republican majority in both the House and the Senate and Mr. Trump will be appointing several justices to the Supreme Court. The Republicans have long fought against LGBTQ rights and now they all they need to repeal and overturn every piece of legislation and executive order and judgement that supports us. And they can go even further by requiring us to undergo reparative therapy. Don’t think this is likely?  Have you not been paying attention to what they’ve been doing at the local and state levels?

To those saying, “give him a chance”, I say NO!  I’m not going to wait for him to take away my rights before doing something about it. I’m not going to wait till they start down that road. That is too late, much too late. I’m going to start now by connecting with others in similar positions. If we work together, we can make it not happen. However, if we wait and do it group by group, it will happen and them become worse than any could imagine. We know what Mr. Trump has said, we know what Mr. Pence has said, and we know what the Republican platform is. To think that they will somehow all become nice towards us and not do what they said they will do is magical thinking of the worst kind.

We need to work together and start now. We need to prevent them from making our lives a living hell or taking our lives.

TDoR 2016

I kwatching-tallnow this is a bit late, the Transgender Day of Remembrance this year was a few days ago. That said, I’m still going to write about it. It needs to be written about, people need to understand that we trans people are being killed because we aren’t seen as real people. Twenty six trans people were killed this year. This has been another year where we hit the previous year’s number by the end of summer. I know some of this is because we have more awareness and access to information, but it is still a disturbing trend.

It doesn’t help that the police often have to be hounded by family members to investigate these crimes. Nor that police are often dismissive of trans people who file complaints against people who are harassing them. We can’t use the bathroom in public safely, we can’t get or keep jobs because too many people are offended at our existence, and when we try to point any of this out, we are told that we aren’t deserving of rights.

So, with all that said, here is this year’s list for the US:

Jan. 22: Monica Loera, 43, shot to death outside her home in Austin.
Jan. 22: Jasmine Sienna, 52, beaten to death in Bakersfield, Calif.
Feb. 4: Kayden Clarke, 24, shot to death by police inside his own apartment in Mesa, Az., after reportedly lunging at officers with a knife. Clarke had reportedly talked in a video posted online about trying to “commit suicide by cop” after being denied the medications he needed to transition.
Feb. 19: Veronica Banks Cano, mid-30s, found dead in a bathtub full of water, fully clothed, in a San Antonio hotel room.
Feb. 20: Maya Young, 25, stabbed to death in Philadelphia.
Feb. 27: DeMarkis Stansberry, 30, shot to death in Baton Rouge.
March 2: Kedarie/Kandicee Johnson, 16, gender-fluid teen shot to death in Burlington, Iowa.
March 23: Quartney Davia Dawsonn-Yochum, 32, shot to death by an ex-boyfriend in Los Angeles.
April 10: Shante Isaac (Shante Thompson), 34, shot to death in Houston.                           April 16: Keyonna Blakeney, 22, died of upper body trauma in Rockville, Md.
May 1: Tyreece “reecey” Walker, 32, stabbed to death in Wichita, Ks.
May 15: Mercedes Successful, 32, shot to death in Haines City, Fla.
May 25: Amos Beede, 38, beaten to death in Burlington, Vt.
Devin “Goddess” Diamond, 20, beaten and then set on fire in New Orleans.
Deeniquia Dodds, 22, shot to death in Washington, D.C.
July 23: Dee Whigham, 25, stabbed to death in Biloxi, Miss.
July 30: Skye Mockabee, 26, initially thought to have been beaten to death, later determined to have died on an accidental overdose in Cleveland.
Aug. 8: Erykah Tijerino, 36, stabbed to death in El Paso.
Aug. 10: Rae’Lynn Thomas, 28, shot and then beaten to death by her mother’s boyfriend, who disapproved of her gender identity, in Columbus, Ohio.
Sept. 6: Lexxi T. Sironen, 43, found dead in the Kennebec River in Waterville, Maine.
Sept. 11: T.T. Saffore, 26, stabbed to death and her throat cut in Chicago.
Sept. 16: Crystal Edmonds, 32, shot to death in Baltimore.
Sept. 23: Jazz Alford, 30, shot to death in Birmingham, Ala.
Oct. 8: Brandi Bledsoe, 32, shot to death in Cleveland, Ohio.
Oct. 22: Simon (Sierra) Bush, 18, reported missing in late September, their body found Oct. 22 on the outskirts of Boise, Idaho.
Nov. 6: Noony Norwood, 30, shot to death in Richmond, Va.

May they all find the peace in death that they could not find in life.