Pride Post: We’re all just people…or cosmic sand

When I was younger I used to say I could fall in love with anyone. That maybe my perfect mate was an alien and we just hadn’t met yet. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was signaling through dialog that I had an open mind. This often led to fascinating conversations with people who felt they could talk to me about anything without feeling judged. For a long time, it felt like a superpower, but now I understand that what we say and how we say it is an important part of expressing the dimensions within ourselves.

I initially grew up in a rough neighborhood, in a rough city. I learned that if you weren’t tougher than your adversaries, you better be faster and if you weren’t faster, you better be smarter. I was top dog at my elementary school. I had a friend with albinism and a friend in wheelchair. No one joked or harassed them in any way because I would kick their ass if they did. I could sweep a boy off his feet and step on his neck until he begged for mercy. I was badass. I had also learned Martial Arts from library books. My friend in the wheelchair died. I couldn’t fight the fragility of her body, only admire the spirit of her soul.

My mom and I moved right before the start of middle school. We moved into the rich kid school district. I was not the top dog. I was a poor kid, a loser, “rough around the edges” and ostracized. Slowly I started to make friends with the other kids that were also ostracized either for being poor or different in some other way. I wanted to beat up my antagonizers but all it did was get me sent to the principal’s office. Message received; I was the problem. So instead of retaliating I withdrew from reacting at all. I became a dispassionate observer of the human psyche. These rich kids: they fight with words, they fight with posturing, they fight with their network of resources available to them, but most of all, they tightly guard their weakness. They sit atop their mounds of freshly hidden bones.

To my mother’s chagrin I went from Country girl to Goth girl overnight. You treat me as different; I’ll show you what different looks like. I went back to the books. I read philosophy, books about competitive mindsets in sports training, business books about negotiating, mythology, folklore, and so on, and so on. I learned to fight with words, but more then that, I learned how to uncover their bones/weaknesses. I became an “other” like no other. My adaptions made me a sought-after commodity. Students and teachers alike sought me out for advice. I built up trust. I listened to secrets and never repeated a one. I demonstrated that being different didn’t mean being scary. As I got older; I let go of being everyone’s defender and gave them tools to fend for themselves. I learned that rich kids have problems too. I learned that everyone feels like they have something to hide. I learned that a lot of us are learning to adapt to survive in a way that reconciles how we feel with who we are.

My first love was an unrequited love. I couldn’t make him love me. I was floored when a friend confessed that she loved me as I loved him. I was sad and angry. Not at her, but at the situation. She said we couldn’t be friends anymore because it was too painful for her. I bitterly understood. Later that week, I too severed my friendship with the guy I adored because it was too painful for me. That was a shitty week. I lost two good friends and learned that sometimes you have to let love go.

A few years later I moved to Seattle. In 1998, I joined the march and vigil for Matthew Shepard. I didn’t know him. I only knew that he had been killed for being openly gay. Tortured and let to freeze to death in a field out in the middle of Wyoming. I thought about how scared he must have been and that he could have been a friend. It was a terrible reminder that there are still places in the world less tolerant of people being different.

I’m not perfect. Sometimes I play too rough, or say stupid and insensitive things, but I also don’t keep quiet or back down when I see someone experiencing pain, hate or threats of violence because of who they are. I don’t have to embody the characteristics of every individual I meet to understand what it feels like to be rejected, hated, or ignored. What is it you fear when you see someone who is different from yourself?

Humanity cycles through the same age-old questions over and over. “Know Thyself” while attributed to Socrates is expressed in nearly every edict or doctrine throughout various religions. Instead of saying, “What’s wrong with them?” Maybe the better question to ask is “Why does their difference upset me?” Why is it so hard to live and let live? None of us have been granted a divine right to be judge, jury and executioner over the lives of others. If you don’t like something or chose not to participate in it, it’s okay to say, “It’s not for me.”

Having sex with another woman, is not for me. Encroaching on another person’s autonomy, is not for me. I’m happy I’m not the center of the universe. I’m happy that I’m a small speck of sand in a greater community of….sand…people. I had my first existential crisis at age 13. The summer camp counselor told us to go around the circle and answer the question, “Who am I?” I panicked as I listened to the other girls go before me. Who…am…I? Why is this such a tough question? Megan defined herself as a girl who liked to ride horses and jump rope. Angel likes to paint because she thinks everything should be pretty. So are we defined by what we do? Are we defined by what we think? “I think, therefore I am? “  I am, I am what? By the time it was my turn I burst into tears and said, “I don’t know.” I ran out the door, barefoot through the woods, across the fallen log, and onto the small granite island at the edge of the lake where only the moon and stars could comfort me. I stayed all night. I’d like to say I was wiser the next morning, but I wasn’t. I was only committed to wanting to explore who I was with who I felt I ought to be. That journey still continues to this day.

We stand at the precipice of a new global event not seen in the history of humankind. We’ve had mini-ice ages in the past, but nothing like the global warming event coming on the horizon. Our modernized civilizations are already beginning to adapt both consciously and unconsciously to the future. Why should it be so wrong that some people within our societies find love among their own gender? Or seek to validate their body image when it doesn’t correlate with their conscious self? I have yet to meet a person who was content to live and die as a mayfly. (To live only to reproduce and die.)

If you think homosexuality and gender swapping are abominations of nature, then you don’t know nature very well.

Links to fascinating articles:

 8 Interesting Animals That Can Change Gender (whatdewhat.com)

Homosexuality in nature explained – PsychMechanics

Has the Earth reached its carrying capacity? | HowStuffWorks

Matthew Shepard – Death, Impact & Facts – Biography

   This Guy Went to Jail Because Police Thought His Hair Was Too Long (vice.com)

What say ye?

Update Log #1: New Tabs and Tidbits

I’ve spent the last few days tweaking this sit as I learn how to use the WordPress tools and widgets better. I can get quite obsessive about how I think something should look and feel. More changes to come. This blog lives and grows by hope and ambition. Your feedback is always greatly appreciated. Please note the new tabs near the top to find certain topics easier to find.

  • If you have suggestions to make this site easier to read or more accessible to you, please let me know. I am happy to try changing fonts or colors to make it easier for you to read.
  • If there is a Nature-led topic you’re particularly interested in please let me know. You can always email me directly if you don’t want to add your comment to a post (natureledlife@nature-led.org)

It is my intention to continue posting once a week. My co-pilot, Patricia Lezama, just moved, so we’ll let her get settled into her new place for a couple of weeks before I start barking demands for new content at her. I am also busy working on a collection of dark fairytales. I will likely craft a separate writing page and link it to here. I intend to make the first story free to read. I hope you will look forward to that project, as I am excited to share it! Finally, I would like to say that I am entirely too young to be retired in any fashion and must look for ways to make my own income. These are exciting times. There are so many companies, nonprofits and government programs invested in making the world a better place. I feel I have two paths before me. Do I find my niche within an existing organization or do I build my own? I will say that I prefer to be the brainy sidekick or assistant than the main character. My natural inclination is to lead from the side and amplify the abilities of the people around me then dominate the stage or setting.

Stay tuned for a Nature-led Pride Post tomorrow or Saturday. Until then, go outside and get some fresh air!


Magnolia Flower – Melanie Reynolds

Disaster Preparedness: Supply Lines

Photo by Yaroslav Danylchenko on Pexels.com

On May 7, 2021 a U.S. fuel pipeline operated by Colonial Pipeline was shut down due to a ransomware attack. The attack resulted in the shutdown of the computer system operating the pipeline and temporarily created fuel shortages across parts of the Southern United States. As a result, several people took the opportunity to be complete idiots in an attempt to hoard gasoline in unsafe containers from their local gas stations. To my knowledge no one was killed as a direct result of their actions, but at least one woman was severely injured when she crashed with her gas “loot” while trying to evade police for failing to stop due to a traffic infraction.

A year before this event we had the start of the Covid-19 global pandemic. When it originally hit the U.S. for some reason people decided they needed to hoard toilet paper. In my own community, browsing through local Facebook pages was rather surreal. On one page a woman shared a picture of her daughter’s 4ft high castle made out of toilet paper rolls. Just below it, an eight-month pregnant woman was begging for someone to spare her a roll or two. She couldn’t find any anywhere after going to five stores. The juxtaposition of the two posts were frustrating, annoying, and unnecessary.

Today, June 1st,2021, I have just finished my weekly grocery shopping and just sat down for lunch when I saw another ransomware attack has occurred. This time the target was the world’s largest meat processor working in the US and Australia, JBS Corp. I’m not surprised. If you’re surprised, then please pay attention. Things are going to get worse. The more these attacks are successful the more they’ll keep trying. For me, disaster preparedness starts with recognizing my place within the grander scale of concurrent spheres of impact. Sometimes I’m the drop. Sometimes I’m the fifth ripple.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Focus on what’s within your control, not what’s out of your control.

I can’t control when a ransomware attack will occur, when the next pandemic will occur or when the next earthquake will strike, but I can mitigate my family’s risk with a few simple steps.

  • Plan for reoccurring events. We have a few good wind and snow events every winter and yet people panic at the first mention of possible snow. They stress, they get grumpy and then they go stand in long lines at the grocery stores to get whatever it is they think is “essential.” I on the other hand pull out my battery-powered lanterns. I track the storm and plan according; brew coffee and put into thermoses, make dinner early or change to a shelf-stable dinner option from things already in the pantry. If you have to go through something every year, take the extra time to plan for it before it becomes eminent and save yourself the stress! It’s a snowstorm not the end of the world.
  • Stock up when select items are on sale. In my region, the Northwestern United States, canned food usually goes on sale in September. I can get cans of beans 10 for $10 and soups at nearly half off. I often make chili and cornbread before a storm since most of our storms tend to come at night. While hot chili is preferred, I don’t mind eating cold chili for lunch the next day if the power is out. Our power outages average about 2-3 days. For longer power outage we cook on the pellet grill. Before we had the grill, we used a small camp stove. If you have the outdoor space, a fire pit is good too. If you live in an apartment, save some cash to take a ride to a restaurant in an area of town with power or stay with a friend or family member for a night or two if you can.
  • Support locally grown foods. Supporting local growers helps provide jobs in your community and shortens the supply chain between you and your foods. Look for Farmer’s Markets in your area and give them a try. Also look for local co-op stores that support locally sourced products. Investing locally helps you and your neighbors. Pay attention to when things are in-season. They are fresher and offered at a better price. Freeze, pickle, or ferment what you can save for later. It will be interesting to see how vertical farms affect the future of growing produce. I would like to see the innovation of vertical farming (a type of aquaponics) come into urban areas and reduce the effect of “food deserts” found in poor, urban neighborhoods where fresh food is scarce and access to alcohol and processed food are high.
  • Make friends with all different kinds of people. As I get to know more and more people in my community, I pay attention to what their skills and abilities are. There’s nothing wrong with making friends with someone just because they’re nice and you like being around them, but it’s also nice to make a mental inventory of who’s good at what. It’s a game I like to play in my head.  It the event of a real apocalypse, who would I want to track down to be part of my survival team? Humans are a group-oriented species. If you learn nothing else from disaster movies, it should be that the lone wolf rarely survives. I know a guy with a welding shop and another with a carpentry shop, some nurses, some women who sew better than me, the local co-op, a couple of local farmers and a dairy over yonder. I also know a ton of Real Estate Agents, I’m sure I could find a way to put them to good use! If nothing else they’re well-connected to people and properties that could be leveraged as assets. I really need to find someone who knows the hot air balloon guys. In case a post-apocalypse aerial scouting mission is needed, of course! So even if you’re a declared introvert like me, get to know people around you. If you need to come together as a community, it’s good to know where to start. If you think you have no useful skills, there’s no time like the present to learn some!
  • Make it fun, make it informed. Play the game, “What would I do if….?” Walk through scenarios in your head about what you would do in certain situations. Do this with your family and friends. People who are skilled at making quick decision and saving lives didn’t get that way by luck. It comes down to training. As you walk through scenarios think of things that would help make it easier. Having a first aid kit in the car. Having a fire extinguisher in the kitchen (or you can smother a fire with flour or corn starch if you have enough on hand.) What if there was an extended gas shortage and you had to get to work? Could you walk? Bike? Call someone to share a ride with and offer to bake cookies in exchange or something?

Final Thoughts:

I really feel we need to focus on making ourselves adaptable and resilient at the individual level and scale it up to the community and society level. My biggest concern is that we won’t adapt fast enough to climate change while politicians bicker and corporations drag their heels on innovative climate initiatives. I have no control over what the politicians and multinational corporations do, but I do have agency over myself. I can choose not panic buy or stress over every snowstorm. I can make myself strong and support members of my community when they need me most. You need a roll toilet paper, darling? I got one for you. I planned for this.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Pexels.com

Penny for your thoughts?