Tag Archives: annoying people

Anti-Feminist Bullshit Day

22 Oct

Oh. My. Goddess. When the bar is only 1/8 of an inch above the floor, you should be able to get right over it. It’s not asking too much.

In a writers’ group this morning, one member, a white cisgender male in his sixties or seventies, shared a piece he’d written that listed off bullshit stereotypical descriptions of feminists. No, feminism is about dismantling patriarchy, rape culture, and systemic oppression such as misogyny and racism and gender binary. It’s not about hating men and wanting to have “test tube” babies. Patriarchal males are so narcissistic that even their made-up version of feminism is about them. (Since the 2016 election, I’ve repeatedly noticed patriarchal/misogynistic males wave narcissist red flags.)

As for bra-burners?! That was a misnomer invented by patriarchal mainstream media. Atlanta had a city ordinance against burning trash. Therefore the feminist protestors in question tossed oppressive, sexist things such as girdles and Ladie’s Home Journal into a trash can without actually burning them. Stop repeating a lie that has been repeatedly disproved… and read feminist books and blogs.

Later, I logged onto Facebook and visited a group that I usually enjoy. It’s for participants in National Novel Writing Month. But a female posted, asking if she must have “strong female characters” in her novel (because of something someone, maybe a friend, said) and if this is some “feminist agenda” or a requirement. She said she has a male protagonist and no “strong female characters.” Really? Not one single character in your entire novel can be described as a “strong female character”? She seems to think that because it’s medieval historical fiction, that she shouldn’t have to include strong female characters. This presumably means that her novel will have no major, three-dimensional female characters.

I was utterly flabbergasted, twice in one day (and I don’t even work in customer service anymore–heck, I’m somewhat reclusive nowadays). And I’m not going to read anything by her. Even Joss Whedon has no trouble creating strong female characters. It’s such a low bar. No doubt if she learned about the Bechtel Test, she’d have a heart attack or piss her pants or post about this “feminist agenda.”

Both situations reminded me of what a friend recently said in a feminist discussion: that people really hate us feminists. She’d dropped out of an atheist organization for this very reason. I’ve repeatedly observed that the only people with whom I enjoy socializing are feminists.

Yeah, and I’ll keep writing unabashedly feminist fiction. The funny thing is, this was a NaNoWriMo group, and my NaNoWriMo novel for this year is Feed Misogynists to Dragons, a novel so feminist that the title indicates it. I mean, it’s in your face. I’m going to soooooo wallow in the feminism of this novel and my “feminist agenda.”

16 Sep

Today’s Asshole Award goes to Donald Dump and his administration…and Czar Vlad Poopin’…and to all dictators…but of course, they win every day’s Asshole Award.

In addition to the usual, I’m adding someone I caught in the act today.

Punchy mood, I guess. I took lots of plastic bags to Fred Meyer and put them in the plastic recycling bin. I sat on a bench and replied to an email, and just as I was about to get up, a dude approached the recycle bin, lifted a handful of plastic bags, and slipped his used paper coffee cup into the bottom of the bin. The bin is an inch away from a trash receptacle.

My hackles raised, I muttered, “Asshole.”

After he started walking away, I glared at the bin and got up while considering removing his cup and placing it in the trash. I scowled at his back, and he turned and looked at me with surprise. Yeah, buddy, I saw what you did.

I know people are doing much worse things in the world, but I take recycling very seriously, and this jerk has no moral compass. Furthermore, people like him are why China no longer accepts Oregon’s recyclables.

 

Why I’m no Longer Identifying as Buddhist

24 Aug

One day last week, I noticed that Edith, an organizer for my Buddhist book discussion group, had left a message on my phone. Since this was shortly after our monthly meeting was canceled, I figured she wanted to talk about what date we’d meet up instead.

When I called, Edith explained why she had to cancel with the last minute: a sickly dog. After we discussed this, she said, “I was calling you because of this thing you wrote on the website.” I was in front of my computer, so I turned it on while she spoke. She was referring to the Buddhist book discussion’s page on Meetup.com. “You wrote, ‘Sociopaths and narcissists are excrement.’ That’s unBuddhist.”

I froze and knit my brow. “What?”

“It’s on the website for the Buddhist group. I think it might be scaring people away from the group. It’s very unBuddhist.”

I had no idea what she was talking about. She made it sound like I’d randomly vented on the group’s page. It admittedly sounded like something I would have written, but in a journal entry, not on a website for a Buddhist book discussion group. My computer is slow, but I managed to visit the website. She kept talking.

An idea occurred to me. “Are you talking about my Meetup profile?” This wasn’t specific to the Buddhist book group; I’m in numerous groups on Meetup.

“I don’t know, it’s something you wrote online. It’s very unBuddhist. Something about narcissists and sociopaths being excrement. Gavin didn’t think I should call you. He said that if you felt like saying that, then it’s fine.”

I was too flustered to reply, “And he’s correct.”

I visited my Meetup profile…and discovered that it indeed had two sentences, not just one. I introduced myself as a writer, mostly of fiction…and I grimaced as I read the next sentence: “Misogynists, narcissists, and sociopaths are excrement.”

While Edith continued talking down to me, the origin of this hit me. I said, “I see it. I have no memory of writing that, but obviously I wrote it right after breaking up with the frenemy. That was three years ago. I probably wrote it at two in the morning.” I pushed the “Edit” button, while I imagined sitting in front of my computer in a dark room and trying to decide how to revise my profile once I was no longer under the influence of a narcissistic sociopath.

“Well, you’ve changed since then. Narcissists and sociopaths deserve compassion.”

My shoulders tensed even more. I held my breath, while I deleted the sentence. I really didn’t want to hear about her creepy obsession. Edith was still talking at me.

As soon as she paused, I said, “Well, I deleted it. I’m sure I wrote it right after the breakup, and probably in the middle of the night. I haven’t looked at my profile in all that time. If I’d seen it, I would’ve deleted it sooner. Obviously, I wrote it because Meetup is how I met frenemies in Portland. I wrote it to scare off potential frenemies.”

I always need time to process, but my tense shoulders and short breaths told me: This feels like Evil Aunt Ethel gaslighting and victim-blaming me. Edith’s behavior was nothing compared to that of my aunt, but a stern and judgmental female in her seventies talking down to me was similar enough.

Edith didn’t express any compassion to me, no, “I understand. Of course you wrote it right after that break-up. It was a traumatic friendship.” No, she said nothing like that. She knew about my toxic relatives and about my worst ex-frenemy, because these topics were relevant to books we discussed. Buddhist books tend to be about emotions.

Edith repeated something she’d said at least a couple times previously, during our book discussions, and it made me uncomfortable every time. “Sociopaths and narcissists deserve compassion. For that matter, now that studies are suggesting that the brains of pedophiles are wired to be sexually attracted to children, we need to have compassion for them, too.”

I knit my brow and didn’t know what to say. I absolutely loathe confrontation and arguments; if I expressed disagreement, she’d accuse me of being “very unBuddhist.” My heart was racing. Edith continued talking along this vane, and I couldn’t think of anything agreeable to say. Wishing to hang up the phone, I recalled her saying basically the same thing at our last meeting. I tried to remember if she’d said this at previous meetings.

I’ve always prioritized feminism over Buddhism, as I should. I should have taken it as a sign that I can be myself around feminists and generally can’t be myself around Buddhists.

I was almost done reading Everyday Sexism by Laura Bates for my feminist book discussion group—my favorite book discussion group. I was so looking forward to discussing it with the regular group of feminists over dinner the following day. The book was full of statistics and personal experiences that included sexual harassment, sexual assault, and rape, incidents that happened not only to women but also to girls of all ages, even as young as four. I wasn’t in the mood to fucking listen to someone claiming we should have compassion for pedophiles.

Edith said more about pedophiles, including Epstein. I said, “I suppose… it’s possible that some pedophiles… can refrain from acting on their…inclinations.”

She said, “Well, I guess, but only if they have very strong will-power to go against their sex drive.”

I’m incapable of being convinced that it’s okay for pedophiles to go around raping children—which Edith seemed to imply. I was utterly speechless. I don’t remember saying anything in response. We hung up shortly afterward.

An hour later, I recalled a frenemy who’d given off bad vibes as she kept repeating, “I love my father,” after all the times she’d complained about her father because he was a pedophile and raped her and all her sisters and one of her nieces. When, shaking, I said, “You’re creeping me out,” she gave off even worse vibes and yelled at me, accusing me of being sociopathic and seeing people in black and white…just because I think pedophiles are creepy. Afterwards, I quietly distanced myself from her.

#

I remember in my thirties I was so enthusiastic about Buddhism and kept telling myself, like a “good Buddhist,” that there’s no such thing as evil people. Meanwhile, I was in Kansas, surrounded by unbelievably patriarchal and misogynistic people and constantly in contact with toxic relatives, including an aunt who was regularly breaking into my house, talking down to me, insulting me, slandering me, and gaslighting me. It wasn’t until I moved to Portland that I figured out that she was a narcissistic sociopath and that my mother was a narcissist.

Now I believe in evil people, especially after a “friend” gaslighted me for years while I bent over backwards for her. I believe sociopaths and pedophiles are evil. I’ve heard that brain scans have proved that sociopath brains are different than non-sociopath brains, but just because their brains are wired to be evil doesn’t make them not evil. And I don’t care if believing this makes me “unBuddhist.”

I used to take forever to break up with pschic vampires. No more. I remember how relieved I felt when I knew it was over between me and the frenemy. Organized religion, narcissists, and sociopaths are skilled at manipulation, shaming, and guilting people who are much nicer than pedophiles.

#

I imagined arriving at Gavin’s house for the next discussion…and Edith would yet again smugly announce, “We should have compassion for narcissists, sociopaths, and pedophiles.” I imagined replying, “I showered narcissists and sociopaths with compassion for years and years, and in exchange, they showered me with verbal and psychological abuse. I’m done with them. And you know what, I’m done with condescending and holier-than-thou Buddhists, so I no longer identify as Buddhist. And I’m dropping out of this group.”

A few hours after talking on the phone with Edith, I felt indignant and disgusted. It sank in that she had called me in order to bully me into changing my Meetup profile—something that was none of her damn business. I realize she’s twenty-two years older than me, but what the fuck. That doesn’t give her the right to bully me, to tell me what I can or can’t put on my Meetup profile.

And what makes her think she’s entitled to bully me? I’m an empathic INFJ who’s female, and I think that’s why people harbor a bizarre delusion that they’re entitled to bully me. This has been happening since my early childhood. This is why I live with cats, not humans.

Since Edith thinks she’s entitled to bully me, maybe she thinks pedophiles are more deserving of compassion than I am. Everyone should read Laura Bates’s book Everyday Sexism, which started as a website, the Everyday Sexism Project (which is still active). Though I’ve been acutely aware of misogyny since the age of four, every page inspired me with rage, and my coping mechanism was writing in the book—many methods of maiming and murdering misogynists. How unBuddhist.

I’d decided I should put the book down for at least one full day, and when I closed the book and set it down, I felt an ache in my heart and realized that underneath all that fury was depression. This brought dread: I’d been depressed almost nonstop throughout my childhood and adolescence, and I’d been depressed through much of my adulthood and had seemed to escape it as soon as I broke up with the frenemy. Bullies are depressing.

Since that breakup, most of my depression has been bereavement over the disturbing state of this country; we have a sexual predator white supremacist narcissistic sociopath would-be dictator in the White House, and he’s emboldened so many bigots across the nation to come out of the shadows like cockcroaches. I knew the country was overtly misogynistic and overtly racist…and yet I hadn’t known the extent until the 2016 presidential election. Bereavement doesn’t feel the same as the I-hate-myself major depression I’ve had since age five.

My heart hasn’t been in Buddhism since the 2016 election. My heart has been thoroughly immersed in feminism, not Buddhism. I’ve met feminist Buddhists, and I’ve read books by feminist Buddhists. Most of the feminist Buddhists I know haven’t given me condescending and sanctimonious lectures. However, they’re outnumbered by Buddhists like Edith, the ones who talk down to me if I lift my sore feet from the eggshells.

#

2007 was the first year that a smug and self-righteous Buddhist gave me a condescending and holier-than-thou lecture. Since then, I’ve repeatedly noticed myself feeling very comfortable and welcome with groups of feminists… and anxious with groups of Buddhists. Generally, since 2007, I’ve sensed that I can’t be myself around Buddhists.

2007 was also the same year that I dropped out of a Buddhist sangha that had no moderator. It was in Kansas, after I’d returned from a Buddhist pilgrimage in India and Nepal, where I enjoyed traveling with fellow Buddhists. In the Kansas sangha, I felt socially awkward but wanted to fit in… until they proved themselves to be smug and self-righteous anti-vegetarians.

That was the first of two such sanghas.

After both traumatic experiences with anti-vegetarian “Buddhists,” I felt intense dread and aversion at the prospect of returning and facing them. With the second sangha, in Portland, I did return. When it was my turn to share, I gave my speech about how last time I was there, I felt extremely unwelcome as a vegetarian, and that many great people are vegetarians, etc. However, I sobbed throughout my speech, and I rushed out of the room while all those “compassionate Buddhists” sat silently, with not a kind word for me.

That dread that I felt at the prospect of returning to either of those sanghas: that’s how I feel about returning to this book group. I know Gavin isn’t to blame and didn’t approve of Edith calling to bully me. But she would still be there, and that’s enough. I have no intention of returning. Edith wrapped a bunch of deal breakers into a tortilla and made a deal breaker burrito. Also, based on countless other relationships, her bullying would only escalate, even though she claims to be an empath. Maybe I expect all empaths to be like empathic INFJs and she has an extremely different personality type—who knows.

#

I know compassion isn’t like pie; it doesn’t have a limit. However, there’s an international epidemic of rape and violence against women and girls, and misogyny is the norm in this society. Sexual predators are rewarded, while survivors are victim-blamed. But Edith is obsessed with having compassion for sociopaths and pedophiles. Abusers.

Buddhists like Edith don’t like it when I say what I think, when I make sardonic jokes that they take seriously, or when I express my disgust and anger. They’ll chastise me for using labels, for having anger…even though my anger against patriarchy and misogyny and the people complicit in both is righteous indignation and is so much more important than pussy-footing around Buddhists.

I used to like Edith. I used to think she was nice and fun…. before I noticed that she’s stern, smug, and holier-than-thou. One time, I ran into her at a supermarket, and while we conversed, she brought up Donald Dump, and I started to joke about how he was born a year after Hitler died, and maybe after forty-nine days in the bardo, Hitler was reincarnated as a tape worm before he became Donald Dump. Before I got that far, Edith sternly announced that animals are different from humans, because animals don’t have any malice. I agree with that, but I was joking. I felt ashamed and shocked and remembered: Oh, yeah, I’m supposed to be careful what I say around Buddhists.

#

When I first joined the Buddhist book discussion group, where I met Edith, we had numerous regular attendees; it was a good mix. We discussed one or two chapters a month, and I liked the book True Refuge by Tara Brach. But the next book was about death, and several people chose not to attend these discussions because they thought it would be depressing, which surprised me, since this was a Buddhist group. When we finished that book, two people (a couple) announced that they needed to devote their time to other things and had to drop out. Another member had missed discussions because he went to Mexico. Besides the two organizers, Edith and Gavin, I had the best attendance.

Edith and Gavin were concerned about getting more active members…so they deleted the original Meetup.com group and created a new one, inviting previous active members and changing the group’s name and description (adding something about only joining if you’re sure you’ll attend some discussions). Meanwhile, the group was on hiatus for a couple months. Since I was such an active member, they made me an assistant organizer.

For the revamped book group, we agreed to start with the novel Buddha by Deepak Chopra and discuss that during only one meeting. Then we’d return to the usual format, a few chapters of a nonfiction Buddhist book each month, and the book we agreed on was Real Love by Sharon Salzberg (my favorite meditation teacher). We were trying to lure more active members into the group with a bestselling novel and a book that has the word “love” in the title. Gavin chuckled over this, after we scared people off with a book about death.

I had no idea that I’d hate the novel Buddha. Deepak Chopra shows little understanding of Buddhism—it sounded more like Shaivite Hinduism (he’s an Indian, presumably brought up Hindu). It was also consistently obvious (to me) throughout the book that Deepak Chopra doesn’t consider women fully human (like…basically every Republican, white supremacist, and online troll), and it’s therefore exactly the kind of novel that I absolutely want to AVOID.

At the first meeting, several new people arrived. None of them read Buddha first. Only Edith, Gavin, and I read the book under discussion. One guy brought a stack of books about the Buddha, and I did the same, setting my stack down on the coffee table and mentioning that each of them, even the graphic novel, are far better than Deepak Chopra’s book. I chuckled nervously.

It mostly seemed like a good discussion, although when I mentioned something I disliked about the novel, Edith snapped at me. I was flustered and shocked and didn’t complain. I was also shocked that she seemed to like that book. Good thing I was too shy to mention that it’s misogynistic, although I hinted at it, saying I disliked things that Chopra made up that aren’t in the Pali Cannon.

I was hopeful that the new people would become regulars. Today, it occurred to me that although Edith accused my Meetup profile of scaring people away from the group (um, it was meant to scare away misogynists, sociopaths, and narcissists…), I wonder if the new members were scared off when they witnessed her snapping at me merely for saying something with which she disagreed. Perhaps I looked bad for not calling her out (because being a people-pleaser when you’re an empathic INFJ who grew up with a narcissist mother is hard-wired and I always need time to process).

Since we started discussing Real Love by Sharon Saltzberg, Edith, Gavin, and I have attended each meeting, and the member who’d been in Mexico has attended at least once. Maybe if several people witnessed Edith’s defense of sociopaths and pedophiles, they’d disagree with her aloud.

And now that I’ve had over a week to process, I’m entirely on my own side.

Feminism before Buddhism

18 Aug

I’m not sure quite how to write this without sounding like I’m making gross generalizations. Just bear in mind that I am generalizing based on experiences spanning over a decade.

I noticed back in my thirties that I generally need to be on my guard with Buddhists. They generally tend to be judgmental and holier-than-thou. I can’t be myself around Buddhists. I need to hide my emotions around them—though I’ve had my fill of that, thanks to relatives and frenemies from my past. In theory, Buddhism is about observing your emotions rather than acting upon them… or suppressing them. Admittedly, when I describe these sanctimonious Buddhists, I’m not referring to meditation instructors, monks, or nuns; I’m only referring to laypeople who aren’t trained meditation instructors.

With feminists, I can generally be myself, speak more openly, and let my emotions show. Buddhists claim to be kind and compassionate, but I generally find feminists truly are kind and compassionate, not to mention empathic and tolerant, good listeners. I’ve even left two so-called Buddhist sanghas because I found myself surrounded by anti-vegetarian bullies.

Buddhists often have a sanctimonious attitude that you should be kind and patient and compassionate toward your abusers and people like them. If I thought Buddhism was about humoring sexual harassers, as one Buddhist lectured, I’d have ditched Buddhism. That was back in 2007, and here I am, finally doing it.

Under patriarchy, systemic misogyny, and systemic racism, our society has been entirely too kind and compassionate toward abusers and not sufficiently kind and compassionate toward survivors and scapegoats and the vulnerable. This society rewards sexual predators and punishes survivors for speaking up.

I’ve always prioritized feminism over everything, including Buddhism. I prefer feminism and secular humanism to religion. Feminism is a passion for social justice. I have met some feminist Buddhists, and I can be myself around most of them, so there are exceptions.

In this patriarchal society, I’ve been gaslighted and invalidated and treated dismissively since early childhood (and yes, I acknowledge that all women and people of marginalized genders can say the same). I don’t think it’s okay for Buddhism or any religion to perpetuate this. In theory, Buddhism shouldn’t have a patriarchal and misogynistic slant; in practice, it’s another story.

Recently, a Buddhist friend at least seemed to chastise me for resenting narcissists and sociopaths from my past. She claims you should have compassion for narcissists and sociopaths. She even claims that because of a new theory that pedophiles are wired to be pedophiles, we should have compassion for them. Misogyny is mainstream, and there’s an international epidemic of rape and violence against women and girls; but she’s obsessed with having compassion for abusers.

I gave narcissists and sociopaths endless compassion for decades, in exchange for which they used me and abused me psychologically. No, they’re NOT entitled to use and abuse people. And no, after forty-five years of being used and abused by narcissists and sociopaths, I shouldn’t have to pretend they aren’t evil. Because they ARE evil.

I’m not ashamed of having emotions that are a natural response to all those years of psychological abuse and lies, and I don’t appreciate Buddhists shaming me, just as I don’t appreciate toxic relatives or frenemies shaming me and victim-blaming.

I’m finally no longer bending over backwards and practicing self-negation for psychological abusers. I’m finally paying attention to my own needs and boundaries and attempting to practice self-care. I finally know that I’m a psychic empath and am taking my intuition seriously. The last thing I need is to associate with someone who shames me for this. I’m never going back.

Over a decade ago, I drove nearly 2,000 miles to escape toxic relatives around whom I couldn’t be myself; I had to hide my emotions, opinions, and beliefs. Yet I repeatedly find that I must do the same around Buddhists, or they’re dismissive, sanctimonious, and judgmental. I’m socially uncomfortable with them. Now I’m as wary of organized religion as I was before I became Buddhist. The fact that I can’t be myself around Buddhists should have been a sign long ago.

It’s time I ditch Buddhism and resume being just a feminist and Neopagan. I’ll continue meditating and reading Buddhist books, such as those by Sharon Saltzberg. However, I can’t be around Buddhists. I’ve known for a long time that I prioritize feminism above Buddhism. I know which is more ethical and validating.

What kind of accent?

8 Feb

I just listened to a recording of a meditation led by Joseph Goldstein. He has an accent, I think a Boston accent. He does not have a “Jewish accent.”

I recently recalled two separate incidents in which gentiles at work (not the same workplace or even in the same state) used a peculiar phrase: “a Jewish accent.” On each occasion, I felt shocked and stared at them, and each time they misinterpreted the look on my face. Apparently, it never occurred to them that I might be descended from Jews, since they seemed to assume that I had no idea what they meant by “Jewish accent,” and the first one actually had the nerve to explain it to me.

What they each really meant was a Jew with a New York accent. Do they seriously think that all American Jews live in New York City? It’s true these people in my workplace didn’t keep quiet about being Xians, but did it never occur to them that they might have a Jewish or partially-Jewish coworker?

I wish that in both those situations I had said, “Do you mean a Yiddish accent? Do you mean a Jew with a New York accent? My Jewish grandmother had an accent that was a highly educated cross between Alabama and the east coast. My great-grandmother, who immigrated from Poland, had a Yiddish accent.”