Monthly Archives: May 2008

will the real obama please stand up?

i’m in high procrastination mode at the moment. anyway…

check out this article by andrew sullivan that first appeared last december at atlantic.com. entitled “goodbye to all that: why obama matters”, it’s a look at the fact that obama and clinton are not all that different policy-wise, but that that doesn’t matter. what matters, according to sullivan, is that his candidacy is happening now, and sullivan goes on to give his opinion about the cultural significance obama represents.

i first came across this column a few days ago via a public forum on the integral institute website entitled “the teal revolution begins with obama”. and this is my problem: one moment i think obama is fluffy, nothing more than an empty suit, then in rooting around the integral world, i see other people’s opinions on him, basically indicating the belief that he could be our first integrally minded president. now, part of me is of the mindset that all that candidates are basically alike, and have been from the start, and it’s just been a matter of who has the most money. i’ve pretty much decided that i’m not voting for anyone this fall, because i believe nothing will change, no matter who gets into office. but then, the idea that obama actually understands that by working within our own separate groups nothing will get accomplished – that we have to take the best of what each group has to offer in order to even begin to get things done – well, that’s exactly where my head is. as ken wilber says, everyone is right, it’s just that no one is 100% right. an integral political viewpoint attempts to take the best of all approaches. obama seems to understand that idea, even without having much exposure to integral thinking (that i’m aware of, anyway). so, i don’t know. i still have yet to read ‘the audacity of hope’ or ‘dreams from my father’, both of which have been touted as being green/teal (go here for something of an explanation on ‘green/teal’ and a brief explanation of integral politics; go here for a much more thorough explanation). maybe i’ll get a chance to read one or both later in the summer (certainly not now). anyway, my point is that, i don’t know, i’m willing to give the man a chance, if i can see signs of ‘integral-ness’ in him; i guess it’s up to me to open my own eyes and take a serious look. but what i’m seeing currently, as presented by mainstream media anyway, is not a lot more than a good-looking bunch of fluff.

and, in the meantime, look at this video, where wilber discusses the idea of a ‘third way’ politics that transcends the democrat/republican dichotomy (and some of the difficulties inherent within that), which may be what obama is starting to represent.

pfleger tells the truth

other than the rev. michael pfleger mentioning hillary clinton’s race in this entertaining tirade, he’s not far off. most people do have the (correct) feeling that she was the presumptive democratic nominee until obama stepped up to the plate.

new i-i website

please check out the new website for the integral institute. it actually looks like it was designed for and by humans. 🙂 i had no complaints about the previous website, but this is much nicer.

something to be proud of

i was just told that i’m proud of my anger. after thinking about it, it’s not that i’m so proud of it; the only thing i might be proud of in this regard is of my ability to express it, especially when it comes to the written word, which i think is my strong suit. i’m not proud of it, but maybe i believe that i have every right to be angry because of my piss poor relationships with men, from birth. the night i was born, my ‘father’ spent the night in another woman’s bed as my mother was giving birth to me. he was pissed because she was giving birth to another man’s child, a married white man who paid him off so the white man’s ass would be covered as far as having fathered a child by a black woman. so father ‘a’ was supposed to pretend he was my real daddy and everything would be alright. but the thing is, okay, for a long time i knew nothing about father ‘b’ (the white man), but i knew something wasn’t right with father ‘a’. we lived in the same house, but as far as i could tell, i didn’t exist in his eyes. and i didn’t look like him, or anyone on his side of the family (actually i don’t look like anyone on either side of the family). he always favored my sister, his real biological daughter, but much of the time growing up, i was ignored by him. things did eventually get better between us, finally when i was in my thirties, but there was always this residual thing hanging over my head that i believe has affected the way i’ve dealt with men. from my present perspective i don’t see myself as looking for a father figure, although ultimately that’s probably what i was doing. still, even though that’s not what i was looking for, that’s probably what i’ve been reacting against via most of my relationships with men. most of them have been with white men (hmmm, so maybe i am seeking that father figure), so maybe i was trying to get as far away from ‘a’ as i could. ‘a’ was everything society would consider bad: spent time in prison, didn’t finish the 8th grade, had a serious drinking problem. so i guess by being romantically linked with white educated citizens of the world, that was my psyche’s attempt at moving away from him. interestingly, ‘b’ was just that: well educated, had money, and was an upstanding respected citizen of the community (small town though it was), and so maybe by choosing the type of men that i had been with previously, i was subconsciously looking at them as some sort of father figure after all. hmmm.

so now we come to the present day. over the past few months i have been involved off and on with a black man. there have been times when it’s been good: we laugh together and have some similar interests and talk a lot about politics and current events, and oh yeah, the sex has been good too. however, it’s also been quite tumultuous, with its share of shouting matches and resentments, expressed and unsaid. and i’m not sure whose fault that is. probably both of our faults, because i have the type of personality where i take everything personally, and he has the type of personality where he likes to point out negative traits, and he has to be right about everything. i react to that by getting angry and telling him to leave me the hell alone, which he does for a few days, and the next thing i know, we’re in bed, together, again and we start all over again. and i’ve wanted to like him, and i *have* liked him, quite a bit at times, and yet there’s always been something i couldn’t put my finger on. it was almost as if he reminded me of ‘a’. i even had a dream a couple of months back, where he and ‘a’ kept morphing into one another, while ‘they’ were washing my hair. my dreadlocks turned into short straight hair while it was being washed, and in the meantime, ‘they’ were singing a song about my hair. then suddenly ‘they’ turned emotionally abusive towards me, telling me i’d better give ‘them’ what ‘they’ wanted, or else. in the dream, my mother and sister were sitting in the next room watching tv, and at the very end of the dream, i stopped what i was doing and said to the two of them, ‘why did you let this go on for so long?’ i woke up, sobbing.

i’ve never been physically abused (at least not by ‘a’, but by an older cousin when i was in my early teens, which i think is another reason i’ve had this sort of bias against being with a black man), but i certainly think that being ignored by ‘a’ in the way i was growing up counts as emotional abuse, which in some ways is worse than physical. and i think this person i’ve been seeing recently, although he’s never been directly abusive towards me, in his own way he is quite manipulative, plus his stories don’t always add up. i see a huge connection between the way i was treated by ‘a’ and how i’m sometimes treated by him, and if that’s true, it’s no wonder that he would see my anger unfold, even in ways that he might interpret as my being proud of it. but i’m not proud of it. it’s just there and because of who he is, at this particular time in my life, he gets to be the lucky recipient.

we all have our issues, and i won’t get into his here, but in his defense, i will say that there have been times when he’s been good to me, and conversely, times when he’s been shitty to me, and i’ll leave it at that. overall, i believe he was sent into my life for a purpose, as a way for me to be exposed to these anger issues i’m apparently still dealing with (and to actually deal with them so i can move on), and also as a teacher, in some of the positive things he’s had to say to me, as well as being a teacher in that i have learned (and am still learning) how to react and defend myself as far as some of the negativity goes. this is what i’m proud of. not that i can write a blistering ‘leave me the hell alone’ letter, but that i can begin to recognize the roots of my anger and maybe start to not take it out on so many innocent people.

here are a few pics from nola






kitty says: leap and the net will appear


i feel like i have no choice but to leap, or else i’ll end up staying on the edge paralyzed with fear. oh, there’s nothing terribly dramatic going on (other than in my romantic life, maybe) where one would think i had to make that choice, or else, but still i feel that is the choice i’m faced with these days. this morning in my email i got the great news that i’ve been chosen as a volunteer at the 1st biennial integral theory conference taking place august 7-10 in the bay area. i’m quite excited about this opportunity to spend time with other people who are integrally minded. in addition, i haven’t been to the bay area since 1997, and so plan to make a daytrip into the city just to see how much has changed since my last visit.

here’s the thing: i’ve pretty much decided to attend library school beginning this fall at mizzou. i figure this will give me the ability to get a decent paying job anywhere i decide to move, plus it would be a way of financing my true love and interest in continuing to study religion/spirituality/human consciousness at some point down the road. however, knowing myself the way i do, i will get to the conference and fall in love with the campus and all the intriguing ideas being thrown about, and will just say ‘screw library school’ and figure out a way to move there. i really am trying to be practical here, making sure i have a financially secure future, but there is the maxim ‘do what you love and the money will follow’. so maybe i should just take that leap and make my plans accordingly (and i use that last phrase very loosely). at this point, i still have the intention of library school, but am leaving open the possibility of a radical shift in my plans, depending on how the conference goes.

anyway. i’m also very excited because i have a new kitten, miss sophia. she is just the most adorablest, sweetest, most wonderful kitten to have ever existed :), and is also quite annoying. we share the same birthday (february 28), so i’m already planning a big blowout party next year. hopefully a celebration will be in order, as perhaps she will finally have calmed down some. 🙂

other good things have happened since i last posted here. a couple of weeks ago i returned from what seems to be my annual trip to new orleans. this time i worked a couple of days with my friend amy and the organization she works with, the brethren volunteer service. amy has taken more than a year out of her life to live in new orleans, working basically as an administrative assistant in handling other volunteers that come in for a few days at a time from all over the country to help with the rebuilding of new orleans. i helped with some of the painting on the home that will host the volunteers (at the time i was there they were staying in fema trailers), which should be complete by now. and then of course, amy and i went to jazzfest, this time on the second friday and sunday. we had planned to see stevie wonder on friday, but so many other people had the same idea that we couldn’t even get to a place where we could see the big screen, so we saw the electric marva wright and the bmws instead. (we also saw richard thompson and brett dennen earlier on friday.) saturday we just walked all over the french quarter much of the day and evening. however, sunday was for me the highlight of the trip, as i got to see the legendary santana perform live (and the neville brothers a little later in the day). it was one of the best shows i’ve seen in my young life. that’s all i can really say about it. 🙂 it was a great ending to what was overall a very good trip. i’m looking forward to my next visit, which might be a quick weekend jaunt this fall, or it may not be until next april.

so overall things are good, but there could be (and will be) some improvements. there are personal issues i’m dealing with on a couple of different fronts, and i’m sure they will work themselves out (or they won’t). in the meantime, it’s time for me to get back to doing what i do best, leaping off the sides of cliffs. i know there’ll be a net waiting to catch me this time, as there always has been in the past.