A Narcissistic Culture

I’m back!

Sorry for the absence.

I do have a lot of subjects to write about right now.

I tend to avoid politics on this blog unless something catches my attention, but I’m always thinking about culture.

Something I’ve been thinking about it lately is how in Church, we often go with the flow. We address issues that the world thinks are important, but we neglect the ones they don’t think about.

Not that it’s wrong to address things the world thinks about, I think we have to, in a way.

But also, looking at The Gospels, I find it odd that Jesus didn’t spend all that much time talking about what the world thought was important.

Under Roman Occupation, he didn’t talk much about the Romans. He addressed it from time to time as people asked him, but His long sermons are not about that.

He didn’t talk about te libeiton of the Jews from Romans, but from sin.

And looking around nowadays, I wonder if he’d be any different.

It’s so easy to get distracted by what’s gong on around us.

Things about race, gender, and nationality, it’s all anyone wants to talk about now.

And people are demanding respect and taking pride in these things.

Even christians, too many Christians.

My church, which is one of the better ones I think, still has a little group of LGBT people who attend. I don’t care if they attend, but their attitude about it makes me wonder if they come only because the church does not call out the world on that not being biblical.

I was talking to my cousin and his friend about the Bible’s stance on homosexuality, and why it’s consider wrong, just an open conversion, no hate, and explain it well,

And they didn’t really disagree with my points, or that I don’t like how kids are encouraged to vote on sexual topics they do not really understand yet.

But they admitted that they are afraid to express and negative views of it because the have friends or family who subscribes to it all, and are going to be livid if they disagree.

I acknowledged it’s hard in this culture to think for yourself…it’s always is hard in any culture to go against the flow.

But I told them as a Christian, I can’ just ignore it. I can’t blend in. It’s not allowed.

And that’s how I see it.

Sure, it’d be easier to walk around my liberal campus wearing some pro LGBTQ badge, and deck out my car and say that God loves gay people (which He does, but people use that phrase to mean something totally different, that God loves their lifestyle, and that is just no biblical), and play that game.

People claim it’s so hard to support the community. Are you kidding me? It’s so flipping easy. It’s easier to do that than to have an original thought, that’s for sure.

Instant approval, instant clicks, people commending you for sticking up for it. As well as BLM, and Feminism, and everything else.

Sheesh, to get approval just for saying words, whether you ever act on it or not, is so stupid.

26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.

28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.” (Romans 1)

I find it disgusting to cater to this. I’d like to get the clicks, view, and likes that the people who do this get, but I’m not willing to bend myself in order to get it. There’s more important things than likes out there, people.

Someday no doubt that’s going to get me cancelled if I’m every popular enough for anyone to care what I think…but oh well, they cancelled all the Apostles too…to the extreme.

It’s getting extreme here too. People are attacking churches more and more. What’s funny is the church’es stance isn’t even that strongly put in the West, but they attack us anyway.

Sheesh.

Islam is actually harsher on homosexuality than Christian is, but I never hear of the LGBTQ community attacking mosques…you know, because Muslims actually might fight back…at least, I assume that’s the reason.

Yeah, so brave. Attack the people who won’t retaliate. But that’s always the way isn’t it.

I’m not here to hate on gay people, I’m just trying to be honest about it all.

And it’s not just gay people, it’s all groups now.

I don’t voice my opinions too loudly at my college because I’m pretty sure I’d lose my grades over it, so I mostly only discuss it out of class. And starting a fight in the middle of a lecture does seem rude.

But I don’t cater to it either.

And it’s all good to preach and teach about how we need to love ourselves and respect ourselves, and not be too harsh…

But when is it time to talk about going against the flow? When do we talk about what no one wants to hear?

Cause I can tell you, the problem with our culture isn’t really all the Pride stuff, that’s just a symptom.

It’s how prideful we are in our personal lives, self seeking, comfort seeking.

We do give lipservice to this in church, but we don’t actually enforce it. We don’t ask people to do more than they feel like doing. We don’t reward people for being strong in their convictions. Instead we think they are too worked up.

Even I think that.

Of course, it is true sometimes. But I’ve gotten reprimanded for protesting that a Youth Leader played songs that talked about sex and making out with the same gender on the way home from a mission trip…yeah….

Am I really the problem in this scenario?

Her excuse? “This is what those kids listen to.”

My thoughts? “This is what you listen to. What’s your point? It was still wrong.”

I can’t tell people what to listen to at home, but on a public trip? With the church?

That was yeas ago now, I don’t think i would happen with our current youth leaders, but that it happened at all was boring, because I knew it wasn’t just this one person, I’ve met so many people like his.

I’ve always gotten a rep for being more vigilant about this stuff, and I’ve had people tell me they were sorry for no having a better attitude about it, but they have never acted like my friends.

And, I’m not a super conservative person. I mean, I watch anime, I read fan fiction, and I listen to songs with cuss words in them…now.

And I don’t like that part, but I decided that I’m not going to be able to avoid cuss words in life, and it doesn’t make the whole song bad if the song is about a good thing, and they use saltier language. But I don’t listen to songs about sex, drugs, and hooking up. I want the message to be good.

I won’t throw out Evanescence because of a few swears, but I won’t listen to “shape of you” just because it has no swearing, sine it’s just about hooking up for a night. You get my point?

And I can’t force that standard on anyone, but I do have it for a reason, and I don’t have an issue telling people that.

This is not even the biggest problem, but my thought is that people would not give up anything they happen to like in the world, even if it was the right thing to do. God may tell me to stop listening to and reading and watching his fault I have prayed about it, and I am careful, though I do need to reevaluate somethings from time to time.

But I do think about it, I don’t get the feeling other people often do, I’ve talked to a few who mentioned it, but don’t mention every dropping something because of it.

I’m trying to be less judgmental than I used to be.

Like when it comes to smut, I believe it’s wrong to read it, but I dont think someone is horrible if they are tempted to. I’m not immune to this stuff either, I have hormones, I’m not dead.

But I have to seriously think about what I want my idea of sex and love to be when I do get married. Do I want to think it’s all about the body? Or do I want it to be about what’s inside, the soul, the mind, the heart?

And I’ll admit, sex can be more than just a physical experience, the Bible is clear about that, but I think smut (porn, you now) kind of makes that worse, not better. People with a porn addiction usually admit that real life sex gets less satisfying if you’ve fed yourself this fake image of it.

Porn and smut are all about making something so flawless it’s no longer real.

And in real life, emotional moment can be awkward even at their most heartfelt, people are damaged, and that gets in the way.

And our bodies are not flawless, even a model has blemishes somewhere.

And we have hygiene and weight issues at different times, or we can get sick. Women have periods, you get my drift? No one is sexy all the time.

If you grow up expecting that, then you aren’t going to be disappointed by sex, because you’ll expect it to be like everything else in life, a thing you do that improve with time, but is not perfect.

But if you grow with the porn version of this, you think sex is somehow unlike other human experiences, it can be flawless.

In the end it sets you up for less, not more pleasure. And that is one reason the Church has never endorsed it.

People think the church discourages sex, and while some churches do, the faith itself doesn’t.

In fact, it encourages it. A lot. Sex with responsibility.

And on that note, I don’t see how recreational sex is a great foundation for a really mature relationship. You treat sex cavalierly, and it’s the only thing that makes marriage different from other relationships. So what make it special to be married then? Might as well just be friends with benefits.

And that about all marriage amounts to now with a lot of couples. I think they are puzzled as to why it’s so unfulfilling.

I’m not saying it never woks out, some people just know how to make it work, but the thing is, marriage used to be something people were expected to figure out, whether it came naturally to them or not, and not it’s seen as a matter of finding the right match to perfectly balance you out.

I think you should date with that in mind, but if you end up marrying someone who doesn’t suit you perfectly, that’ s no reason to throw it out. If you’re not married to a psycho or a pig, you can probably find a way to work stuff out. People just don’t want to be inconvenienced.

And I say that because I’ve had the same experience in friendship. People cannot handle the smallest bit of friction and they bail as soon as conflict happens. I’ve had that happen to me so many times. Because, I’m replaceable, in a world of shallow friendships, and online friendships, if someone annoys you or disagrees with you, why not just dump them?

And if I’m not replaceable, you would never know, because you didn’t get that close to me.

I get it though, I’ve felt the pain for being ditched so many times because I don’t view people that way, and it stings to lose them. I’m working on being okay with that.

But therapy wasn’t the most helpful here because the attitude in therapy is that people are not worth your time if they piss you off.

And that’s kind of a shallow way to look at it.

Someone may piss me off because I have a problem, not them. Or we both do.

Maybe people are worth keeping around.

But you won’t hear that idea anymore in mainstream culture.

It’s not wonder we’re all dying of loneliness, we’re okay with supporting people as long as they are needy, lost lambs, with a victim mentality.

But if someone has a really different perspective, and is just hard to deal with, ditch them.

Perhaps I am annoyed because it doesn’t end well for me, and okay, that’s a fair point.

But I also don’t shut people out of my life just for disagreeing with me, so….

The double standard annoys me, if I was to do that as a Christian I’d be judgmental. But if they are just not “comfortable” round me, that’s their right, they don’t need to get over it.

I have gotten more attention from people when I was upset in front of them, and treated more nicely, than when I’m just my regular, more confident self.

I don’t mind if they comfort me, I just wonder why it goes away after that. I kind of learned the hard way that sympathy doesn’t equal a real bond.

(Something Naruto really needed to learn in Shippunden.)

This is why I think we really have too much attention on ourselves now.

We are narcissistic.

I can be too, but I am aware of it and trying to get better. The point is, the culture encourages me to be self centered, and often the church does too.

We have to be aware of these influences, if we’re going to be better, and set apart.

Or we’ll be like ships on the ocean, “infants tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine.” (Ephesians 4:14)

Doctrine could just mean any popular teaching now.

I think a good question to ask ourselves right now is: How far am I wiling to go to have self-actualization (or whatever you call it)

Am I?…

Willing to sacrifice the happiness of other people?

Willing to cut people out of my life who do not agree with my plan and decision making

Willing to promote it with violence, anger, and verbal attacks?

Willing to make others suffer if it gets me what I “need”

Willing to enforce laws about these things.

Willing to teach others to do the same, and support them even if their lifestyle is no good in other ways.

Willing to listen only to people who support me in this, and never fact check what they are saying.

If you answered yes to any of the above about anything, religion, race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnic background, etc.

Then you are elevating that thing not only to your primary focus, (and that thing is yourself, in some form or another)

Also going to an extremist extent that many Believers would not even go to. I question sources within my religion, and I don’t condone violence done in the name of Jesus. My faith has checks and balances.

But the faith of Self Identity has no checks and balances, because you (Or I) are/am the final word on everything.

But if we all are, then none of us are, you see how that works?

Anyway, most people won’t admit that they are worshiping themselves?

How can I be a narcissist? I’m too smart for that. I’m too self aware. All my complaints are valid, all my actions are justified, all I want is reasonable, all I am is perfect. So I can not be a narcissistic.

And the scary thing is that sound like the lyrics to a popular song or a TED Talk.

Ugh.

Well, anyway, the first step is admitting you have a problem. literally. To stop being a narcissist, you have t admit you’re a narcissist, that’s when you begin to stop being one.

That said, I think I’ll end this for now. more posts coming soon.

Until next time, stay honest–Natasha

One-Time
Monthly
Yearly

Make a one-time donation

Make a monthly donation

Make a yearly donation

Choose an amount

$5.00
$15.00
$100.00
$5.00
$15.00
$100.00
$5.00
$15.00
$100.00

Or enter a custom amount

$

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

DonateDonate monthlyDonate yearly

When you want to help…

It’s funny how telling the truth can open doors for you.

My sisters and I spent 4 hours yesterday talking to a girl whit a very similar situation to the one we got out of. Same kind of abuse, mostly, same hiding behind the church, same manipulation. Same fear too.

She seemed relieved just to be listened to her. Like us, she’s had people blow her off one too many times.

It’s hard to hear other people’s stories, knowing they are still suffering, but haven’t been able to break free yet. We encouraged her to have a plan, and reach out for help, but we can’t do it for her, not without proof.

I don’t know where it will go, but I do know she seemed a little lighter after unloading all that. Just not suffering alone can be helpful.

It’s funny, between being at home, the life of a victim can be pleasant by turns, just like anyone else’s. What makes abuse a little hard to explain is that you can seem like you do normal things, and the twistedness is always in how it’s just not done the way other people do them.

Like while we talked her parents must have called at least 4 times to ask if she was okay, but she was with us the “Super Christian purists” as her mom thinks, at a cafe two minutes from their house, just talking.

I was like “what do they think you’re doing to do? Drugs?”

But that’s her reality.

At least I didn’t have to deal with that, my dad was paranoid, but didn’t really care about me enough to check in most of the time. Only if I was out past 10pm usually. He did try to discourage me from liking most of my friends, and boys…and anyone who wasn’t in his circle.

Well, comparing stories is useless except to sympathize.

I could see plenty of myself in her experiences, and some things are worse. The physical abuse is worse for her, the emotional abuse was worse for me, but, really, it’s just as damaging either way.

It’s so sick to think how normal this is for so many people, and how often it is even in the church. I don’t blame the church for what these people do, just for not being open about talking about it so that people can seek protection there, like they should be able to do.

My church is better than many, and I can’t speak for every church, of course, just none of the other ones I went to were useful, but since my dad did pick the churches we went to, that may be a symptom more than a cause. He always picked ones where he could get away with it.

Perhaps other people may be wondering what it’s like for us to talk to others with similar experiences, knowing what we know now.

I think the hardest thing is, knowing how much to say. There are somethings I was only ready to hear after months of therapy, recovery, and healing. There are some things I was only willing to accept once I had already decided to trust God.

What I told her is what I think I needed most to hear when I was stuck:

That, I didn’t get explanations and answers until I had already chosen to trust. Understanding does come, faith does come, once you have left that up to God.

I also mentioned that I don’t know why some people get saved from these situations supernaturally, and others don’t. But that God did work in our lives, and I can’t deny that. Why do some people get the fairy tale rescue and others get the action hero type where you’re trained to do it yourself, who knows? Could have something to do with ones calling.

Not everyone who has been abused is called to help other people get out of it, but the girl in question is already one of the healers, I think, and like us, it could be she is supposed to learn how to overcome it so she can help other people.

Let’s be real, for every Christian in this situation, there’s probably 100 non Christians at least, if not more, in a similar or worse situation. Christians may still get abused, but, it can’t be denied it happens to us less often. It would be very strange if it didn’t.

To be able to enter that field and understand the kind of pain and damage those people carry, and knowing how God fixes it, you have to have felt it yourself.

I like to quote Betsie Ten Boom “There is no pit so deep that He is not deeper still. They will believe us because we have been here.”

We were there.

I am still recovering. New breakthroughs in defeating anxiety are still happening for me every month. New memories that are losing their power. New things I realized about freedom. I am not the same person, but also, I have always been this person.

I tried to give our friend hope. I said “It’s not easy to choose that path, but if you choose it, years from now, at the other end, you will be a new person.”

It’s up to her and we know that. As much as I believe it’s morally wrong to give in and choose hatred and bitterness, I know it can not be forced to forgive and heal. You have to want that.

We told her how we wanted a better life than that, well, I did. And how I fed myself with stories about it so I knew there was something better out there, so I had something to hope for.

I still do that to this tday.

I read Webtoons obsessively sometimes, and sometimes just casually, I know they aren’t very realistic for the most part, some are better at that.

But what it does is constantly put before my eyes a best case scenario, a better version than what I saw growing up.

To the point where my idea of marriage is far more connected to what I believe it should be, than to what I saw. I realize that is actually rare for someone in my position.

I didn’t realize it till recently, talking to other people, and seeing how they hate men, they hate marriage, and they hate relationships, all because of that association with their past.

Like Elizabeth Bennett in Pride and Prejudice, I was not informed just by my own family.

Trashy romances (of which many webtoons are not by the way, all due respect to those authors) have few uses in this world, but if you read it with an eye for what is real, even amidst what isn’t, you can begin to dream.

Its also good to read true stories of happy couples, realizing they really do exists, and not listening to bitter people who’ve never made a relationship work tell you that it never happens.

My father spoke very negatively of marriage, though he said my mom was the most wonderful woman in the world, he also referred to her “jokingly” as his slave, made fun of her weight, her singing, and would gross us all out on purpose and tell us stories we said we didn’t want to hear, if we protested, he got upset.

If I went by that, I’d think men were just what the angry feminists say.

But I’ve also read of men who are much, much more considerate, and been treated better by other guys I know, and had some stereotypes called into question even by my cousin.

Heck, men can be more emotionally damaged than women a lot in this country because of our gender stereotypes about them. At least people will believe me if I say it happened.

I don’t hate men. I do detest the kind of men who do thinks I detest, I detest women like that too.

I’m lucky. I was shown the foolishness of doing that much sooner than many women are. But I also wanted to be fair.

I think really, it’s all in what you want to be true.

Someone who really wants it to be true that true love exists, that gentlemen are not extinct, that women are actually compassionate (some of them), that freedom from trauma happens… that person will not give up until they find those things. The odds are, in this life, they will eventually, if you live long enough.

Someone who has already accepted that it’s all a lie will stop looking, and if you don’t seek , you don’t find.

Jesus promised that everyone who asks receives, everyone who seeks finds, and to whoever knocks the door will be opened. (Matthew 7:8)

He didn’t say it happens the first time you ask, he told us to ask again and again until we get it.

He also said he who endures to the end will be saved.

It maybe that some people do not make it out, but I believe, if they seek, if they ask, if they knock, either they are delivered in this life, or in the next. Usually in this life.

Lucky for us God also controls the next life.

I suppose that could sound naive, childish, and even crazy to many people.

Many people are bitter and jaded, and have never understood God to begin with.

To the true believer, the knowledge of God provides something that makes all this suffering worth it. What can we explain about it? It’s like breathing, or like sleeping, it’s not something you really overthink while you’re doing it, you just are.

Of course we have times of questioning if it really is worth it, but it’s my understanding that anything you really love in life, you only really love if you do it when it’s not fun, and believe it’s worth doing even when you’re not getting rewarded for it.

I don’t write for attention, though I do appreciate every view and like that I get, but it’s not why I write.

Just the same, I don’t believe in God and walk with him to get out of pain. I do get out of more pain because of that, I get through pain because of that, but it’s not why I do it.

Getting credit for hard work is the proper reward for the work, but so is just doing the work itself and seeing what you made. In the same way, getting to know God is the proper reward for putting effort into it, and relief form suffering is just the other natural outcome of doing it.

I mean most things have more than one good result. Sex gives pleasure in the moment, but it also creates new life, that takes a little longer doesn’t it? And it’s a lot more work to bring that to fruition than it is to have sex (so I hear) but neither one nor the other is unnatural, or bad. Only one might argue that the long term, harder pleasure of having children is more valuable than the short term pleasure of sex. I’d agree there.

Sometimesknowng God is like sex, exhilaritng, and instantous, and the eoffrt is met with a reward in the moment, you cna’t distuibngis them. (of course there’s going tob e some margin for erro here, just like in real life, not like the movies).

Sometimes knowing God is like having a baby. Plenty of pain, discomfort, and confusion before the final miracle happens, and that miracle tens to just start another series of miracles in the form of child rearing.

Not everyone likes children, not everyone likes sex, for that matter. Ad not everyone likes God. But it doesn’t change how the natural order of things works, and to my mind, whether I am liking it or not, this is the way life works.

If it seems naive, then all I can say is I’ve tried cynicism, and it didn’t do anything for me. Perhaps child-likeness is better in the long run. Cynicism doesn’t make you happy, only self satisfied, and that pleasure just isn’t worth it for what you sacrifice along the way.

all this is osmehting y firend is going to hav eto elarn for herlse,f htough, ad so will anyone else. All I can do is pointe them to wehre this could go, if you are willing. I can’t walk for them.

There are times we have to carry each other, but at some point, all of us will have to stand on our own tow feet and choose what to do with our lives. Love, or Fear; Forgiveness, or Hatred. Complaining or Patience; Depression, or Gratitude.

We can’t make that switch all at once, but in one moment, we can decide what we’re going to aim for. And get as close as we can until the day we die.

And that’s whay I’ve learned about it. I don’t know if oeopel will take my adivce or not, but it’s the trueht. And here, even secular thearpay agrees to a certiane xtent.

Hope this helped, until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

One-Time
Monthly
Yearly

Make a one-time donation

Make a monthly donation

Make a yearly donation

Choose an amount

$5.00
$15.00
$100.00
$5.00
$15.00
$100.00
$5.00
$15.00
$100.00

Or enter a custom amount

$

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

DonateDonate monthlyDonate yearly

Exploring the importance of truth with the Purple Hyacinth

Well, I have big news: I finally upgraded my blog to a paid plan. Woohoo!

I now have my own domain, so it’s more like a website now. As far as I know, this just means higher search priority and the ability to earn money off my site, but it’s good to upgrade anyway. After 4 years or so of building this site up for free, it seemed like the next logical step.

So, thank you all for being a part of it, and hopefully I can add some new features soon, maybe build a community.

For now, I thought I’d continue with my analysis about Purple Hyacinth.

Not that I want to review it per sec, but I want to use it as a framing device for one of the ideas it made me think of after reading. I think that analysis is easier to swallow with as story setting.

I found one comment under Purple Hyacinth (PH) that struck me as quite profound.

“This Webtoon tells us that even though that person is telling the truth, the truth is not enough to gain someone’s trust.” (It’s under episode 76, if you want to know).

I got to thinking about PH, and how it really does a good job of making you think about truth.

Haven’t you ever wished you could tell if people were lying to you? But what if you actually could? Would it really make your life easier?

I mean, Lauren can’t exactly convince everyone to believe her, can she? Other people don’t believe that she wouldn’t lie to them, or isn’t just crazy (which is what her boss thinks), or might use her if they did believe her (#plottwist, if the Leader ever finds out about her.)

It’s in this way I relate most to Lauren, and I don’t use the word “relate” to apply to most characters, even ones I like, so I have an especial reason to say I can see myself a little in her determination.

Supposedly, empaths like me are able to tell when people lie. But I tend to be a little naive, being raised in a Christian home where lying was off the table, I tend to take people at their word. Even if I can feel something is off, it tends to be unconscious, until I look back on it.

I think if I were the suspicious type and tried to use my ability actively, I could probably tell if someone was lying. I usually am more comfortable naturally around people who are honest with me, even before I’ve seen them put to the test. I can read what people want very easily, so if their focus is elsewhere why we’re talking, I can feel that they are only pretending to listen to me. That’s something man people are able to do.

Writers especially tend to notice this stuff about others, and their books tend to be more interesting, but also exhausting. If you’ve ever read an author with a style that goes like “The look in their eyes said…” or “Their tone just seemed to say…” you may be reading one with empathetic abilities. Anime often employs such tropes in how it shows emotions.

I can’t say whether that means people in Japan pay more attention to facial expressions and tone, or whether they just exaggerate it in anime because they don’t catch it in real life.

It can be a lot of emotions to handle, but I get very drawn in by writers like that, you feel for the characters.

Lauren’s ability is a bit like that, catching a tone of voice like most people detect sarcasm. But since she doesn’t know the actual truth, she is playing the elimination game. Which makes it far more complex to read about, but also brings up a lot more questions. It makes sense that she became a detective.

I found Lauren’s problem with losing it when she hears lies about the mystery she’s been trying to solve for 10 years to be very relatable.

All of us with a hero complex, whether because of toxic family dynamics, or as a response to trauma, or both, would find it maddening to know someone is lying, but not be able to get the truth out of them. Then to be stopped by others from even trying.

Lauren has massive survivor’s guilt because she knew something was off, the day the tragedy happened, but she couldn’t do anything about it. Regular survivor’s guilt is bad enough, even when you’re aware it’s irrational, but imagine if you did know, but couldn’t do anything with that knowledge.

The ability to detect lies sounds God-like, but it makes her no more able to know the actual truth. Turns out people can still deceive you without lying, by just selectively telling the truth.

It’s intriguing, Christians believe that truth is essential, and powerful. The word says “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

But does the truth set Lauren free?

Thanks to Kieren and Sandman, she learns the truth about the mole in her district, about her parents, and herself, in a way. She learns she is a hypocrite.

In one telling scene, she admits to Kieren that knowing the truth about the mole makes her not even care that much that he died anymore. In a way, Lauren is very selective in her compassion and seeing value in human life. She claims she wouldn’t hesitate to kill a murderer like the PH, or any other assassin, and she seems to have no pity for them.

And why should she?

Why should any of us?

Well, Lauren can’t afford to pity them because her whole life is about stopping htem and avenging her friend. And perhaps, alleviating her own guilt.

Learning the truth presents a challenge for her, if she is not in the position she thought, if the Phantom Scythe wasn’t what she thought, if the people around her aren’t what she thought… then can she keep living her life this way?

It’s too early to tell what the story will do with it, but for me, it’s intriguing enough that it even comes up.

I mean, the truth really upsets Lauren every time she learns it, for someone who pursues it so avidly, it’s rarely happy or easier for her. And she tends to ignore the truths that might soften the blow, like that Kieren is capable of actual remorse or honor.

Still, she chooses to tell the truth.

It all got me thinking about what is the value of truth?

I mean, when Will finds out the truth about his brother, it doesn’t make him happier.

I think most of us have the mistaken idea that knowing the truth will always make us happier or satisfied.

When C. S. Lewis became convinced of the truth of Christianity, he wrote in Surprised by Joy that he was perhaps “the most reluctant convert” in his time and country, if I remember right. He was not happy, he though it would mean a lot of unpleasant work.

To be sure, there are many unpleasant things in Christianity. If you’ve never head a Christian say as much, they are faking it.

Any genuine religion, that even claims to be the truth, will admit it has unpleasant parts. Islamists don’t all imagine that the extreme parts of their creed are supposed to be fun, that is the point.

It’s stuff like New Age, that claims to be all about serenity and peace and that crap. Nothing that is real is always pleasant.

You might argue, if you are a philosopher, that pleasure is real and always pleasant.

But that is not strictly true is it? Guilty pleasures are addictive, but there is an unpleasantness in it, isn’t there? Some junkies hate the drug or alcohol even as they consume it and get rush, I have been addicted to the much less harmful coffee and even I had moments of hating that I needed it.

One of the reasons I believe in the doctrine of hell is because there must be things I do not like about any Real fact of life. No one gets life to suit their fancy.

And in ,fact, when we talk about the truth making us free, do we always mean the truth is pleasant? I don’t know where that idea came from.

Probably, in the church at least, because Jesus is the truth, and knowing Jesus will certainly make you happier. That is true…but it will not necessarily make you happier immediately. Some people, like me, get a rush of joy when they first become saved, others, like my sister, don’t. And like Lewis too, incidentally.

It really has nothing to do with how you convert. People who convert in the middle of an evangelical movement sometimes feel nothing, while I read a story of a man who had an intellectual based conversion, and immediately felt peace. God seems to care more for what the individual needs than the setting and method of conversion.

Suppose you feel ill and think it is a minor thing, and then find out it was cancer. Did the truth make you happier?

No, but if that truth means you seek treatment before it is too late, and recover, the truth did indeed set you free. Ignorance is not bliss for people who actually want to improve. It is only bliss for people who want to stay the same. Which is, unfortunately, a lot of people.

What interests me in PH is that the truth may make Lauren unhappy, but for all I can see, it is setting her free, little by little. She will only be free of guilt once she knows the truth, and free of anger.

I rather think, in cases like hers, the “not knowing” it what causes bitterness, and if she knew what happened, she would not be bitter anymore.

Spoiler alert:

AS evidenced in the most recent episode, where we learn she once saved the life of someone she didn’t like who had previously lied to her, and possibly helped kill her friend and family. Lauren may hate the guy, but she hates mostly out of frustration, not true malice or vengeance.

To me, it made her a more likable character to see that difference, and it reminds me more of how I deal with truth.

Honestly, I resented my dad and loathed him for years when I was confused about what was right and what was wrong in our house. But the mores I realize the truth was it was mostly him the whole time, I don’t hate him.

I don’t like him, but I have no malice really.

Some of you may have experience this too, does’t most of our hatred happen because we doubt ourselves and feel guilty? Only a small percentage of it is truly about the other person’s actions. In fact, honestly, if we hated people more what what they did being wrong than for our own insecurities about it, we might be better people.

The Word says God hates wickedness, and David said in Psalms 139 that he hated God’s enemies with “perfect hatred”, and he’s not talking about hating because they did bad things to him.

This does not mean we are supposed to hate nonbelievers, David is talking about hating evil and that people do evil, and not pitying that they must be stopped.

This sort of ties into what I said earlier about Lauren not pitying assassins, yet it’s very easy for us as the readers to pity Kieren, being privy to more of his life. And he himself display more pity, oddly enough, than Lauren does. He knows what it’s like to be chewed up and spit out by society or the people around you.

Lauren may not realize she’s had rather a fortunate life, from status standpoint,and so doesn’t know how people are tempted by desperation to do terrible things.

I say “tempted,” most people say “driven.” But I don’t believe desperation can truly force someone to do do something they know they shouldn’t do, and it is not an excuse. It makes them more sympathetic, perhaps not truly evil, but many a person who starts off by being desperate never stops doing evil, and in the end, does it because they want to. That’s why it’s a poor excuse, and a dangerous one, to do anything.

But, if the truth is, Lauren has done some shady things out of her desperation to find answers, then the truth is, she is also not above falling into that trap. And do it justice, the story has her pay for that sorely.

Just as we all will, sooner or later, if we take that route.

The relationship of truth to desperation is probably too complex for me to get into at the tail end of a post, but suffice it to say for now that in my studies, the truth seems to be the only thing that ever puts an end to desperation. One way or another. Good or bad.

Now, how does all this affect us?

It’s an interesting story, and lesson, but does it matter in everyday life?

I’d say of course it does.

Something as small as a phone call can turn on whether you choose the truth or the lie. We lie for convenience. I tend to not lie, but I do make excuses that are only part of the reason I don’t want to do something.

I’ve had people tell me I was BS-ing them when I was being completely serious, just because it is what they would have been doing if they were the one saying it, I imagine.

So, truth is an unavoidable part of our day to day interactions and decisions, as you all are well aware, and I think PH points out something quite profound in showing that even a small lie has the power to throw everything off. We may not always be able to trace from the effect back to the cause, but it’s there. It could be possible if we had all the facts to prove that lying really only complicates our lives further.

Actually, the old VeggieTales about “The Fib from Outer Space” comes to mind here. But kids’ lies are at least easy to figure out, adults are often not.

Still, like Lauren, I can be frustrated by knowing that just because I point out to you readers the benefits of honesty, doesn’t mean you’ll listen or walk away from this post with anything changed in your lives. I may just be writing this to myself.

I’m not really blaming you all though, I don’t usually do what random people on the internet tell me, why would I expect any different?

Why do we blog then? Why do we feel the need to put our ideas out there as truth, hoping that someone somewhere will like it?

We humans can’t help it. Sharing truth is the most basic service we render each other, and heroes and villains alike perform it. Chesterton wrote that “to preach anything is to give it away.” To have the faint hope, in other words, that it will better the person you preach it to.

A truly evil man is the one who no longer preaches, is just a pure tyrant who does whatever they will and doesn’t bother to give a reason.

One, who the same author says, “believes in himself.”

Not wanting to pursue truth is really becoming inhuman. Which is why Lewis calls the indoctrination of the youth against truth “the abolition of man.”

But that’s all a story for another time. For now, it’s just nice to get a story that reintroduces us to the need for truth. Whether I will always enjoy the story or not, I am always glad to be redirected to what matters.

And I guess that’s what I hope for this blog too, until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

Brought to you by Webtoon

I had a view from Israel today, my people! (not that they were necessarily Hebrew just because they were in Israel, but the odds are in my favor, right?)

I have to wonder how translate would do with English to Hebrew…? Ah well.

I have been wanting to talk about this, though I run the risk of exposing yet again how big of a geek I am. I mean, surely, only people with no life read Webtoon?

Just kidding. It actually took months for me to be convinced to try this app. Last January a friend recommended it, and I didn’t start reading it till like 7 or 8 months later. I didn’t really think I’d like it…well, now I’m hooked. I have daily updates on my subscriptions.

However, this doesn’t mean I spend all day reading it, the beauty of it is you can go through a few different episodes in 10 minutes, so it’s not an all consuming passion, though I did spend all day going through Lore Olympus to get caught up… and then regretted it because I had to wait a whole week.

I was kind of embarrassed by liking it so much, since I don’t usually read comics, and Spiderman and Mr. Miracle were the only ones that I felt really could be considered higher reading (both of those are very thought provoking, but Spiderman is superior, no offense to any DC fans, just from a written perspective, though Mr. Miracle has the more interesting concept. It just goes to show that any idea can be brilliant if you work it the right way.)

Not all Webtoons are really worth reading, a lot of them are translated from other languages, and the grammar can be sloppy. I still find them cute though, and the best thing is when the values of the story come across even with a language barrier. I read one called “Shoes For Cinderella” that is much like that.

Also, what I think draws (haha) the readers is getting to experience the author’s personality through their art. since Webtoon allows for more interaction between the creator and fans than in older serial comics. Of course, it’s also harder to get paid for Webtoon, but it’s free to use, so it’s a trade off.

I’d write on it myself if I could draw, but I can’t do art for crap, and I don’t do scripted stories well, I am literature all the way. I do enjoy them however.

So, I wanted to talk about a few of my favorites. I will say, most Webtoons are completely predictable, and trite, most of the time. Which is what fans complain about. The average Webtoon is written likes it’s fanfic for an anime. Most artists like anime now, since is does feature some of the best mainstream art available (the art in anime is far better than the script most of the time). However, I will give them credit, I usually find it less disappointing than anime. The stories do progress, don’t always rely as much on tropes to solve their problems, and the art can be more diverse too, if that’s you main concern, it’s not for me.

The ones I like the best are the most like stories, and my top favorite is one that I think actually is just too good as a comic to be translated well into a book or show, and that is the highest worth of praise.

The first one I read was, of course, Lore Olympus.

Lore Olympus Returns for a Glorious and Dramatic Second Season

I read it because my fellow mythology buff friend and sister recommended it, and I liked the development, (the color palette was little hard on my eyes though) and I love a good retelling of the Hades and Persephone myth.

I am not crazy about Persephone, as I find her a little hard to figure out, but Hades is cool, and the retelling is quite creative.

This comic has raised some controversy actually, because of the age gap between the two leads, and the sexualization of it. Some have critiqued it because a rape scenario was thrown in there just so the “hot guy to the rescue trope” could happen.

To be fair, those critiques were earlier on, and were based on what people projected would happen, and I would have had the same concern, but I read it later, so the story-line had already gone somewhere.

What made me stick with the comic was the portrayal of abuse, domestic and otherwise, and trauma, and how it affects you. I could relate to it, as could many people, and to the people trying to help the others out of it. I play therapist quite often myself, as well as ask other people for help.

I do like that girls in the story support each other, though I think more of the men could be better, some are also quite good. More on the topic of abuse later.

I started reading other toons after that. I read one called WindRose that was adorable, then I just kept sampling a bunch. As of now, I still try new ones on a weekly basis.

Not all of them are really worth discussing, but the ones that are unique even for stories are what I thought I’d talk about.

My favorite is Purple Hyacinth, it took a while to convince me to try it, (my sister also recommended) but then I realize it was perhaps the best comic on the app. It’s just a work of art how they draw, do dialogue, and use music and sound to enhance the experience.

Petition · Let's get an animated series of Purple Hyacinth- · Change.org
Kieren and Lauren

But you all know me by now, I’m here for the message, and anyone who isn’t, is lying. Seriously, no one actually is okay with a story having no point (I don’t want to meet them if they are, they sound scary).

Speaking of lying, the hook I absolutely love in this story is that the MC can hear when people lie. Not to give too much away, I won’t explain how or why (we don’t even really know yet) but that in itself was genius. Can you imagine, if you knew when people lied?

The catch is, if the person believes they are telling the truth, she won’t hear it. And it doesn’t give her the magic ability to know the truth, she has to lay the elimination game, so, naturally, she became a detective.

Lauren (the MC) is a great character. I wouldn’t consider her a role model, but it’s easy to understand why she makes the choices she does, ad to want to see more of them. Most Webtoons have very annoying MCs, even if I like the story, but Lauren isn’t one. She’s the right amount of independent, but not invincible, so she needs to get bailed out by her partner, but also can handle herself, by turns.

Kieren, the other MC, is a complex antihero, who seems to regret what he’s become, but is willing to sacrifice his own conscience in order to take down the final Boss in the story. Again, I don’t want to spoil too much, this is really worth reading if you are able to understand English (I know people do translate pages like this, so I can’t assume for sure you can read English). Despite how that sounds, he is neither Deadpool, nor the tragic stoic weirdo that girls think is hot but we all find kind of bland after awhile. Kieran owns every scene he’s in, even in panels. He almost outshines Lauren, but she holds her own. Their interactions are definitely the best part of the story.

Then we have Will and Kym, the side couple, who got more attention than I expected, and I love every minute of it. Kym can actually be my favorite character. She’s basically the definition of chaotic good, and Will is a good foil for her, though e’s the most boring out of the main four. Every group like this needs a straight-man to be balanced.

The Webtoon Community — webtoon: NEW LAUNCH 🚓 PURPLE HYACINTH Her...

Kym is actually the most consistent source of strong morality in the story, which is why she does more than the typical best friend character in a comic. She is the most loyal to her team, the most shaken up when a person ear her dies, and the most compassionate and forgiving despite her boisterous, often provocative personality. She’s a solid character, and I find my self agreeing more with her world view than any of the others.

Pin by Otaku & Gⓐmer on faceclaim | Hyacinth, Webtoon, Purple

So with a such a great premise, and such good charctes, this comic seems destined for success. Id on’t know for sure, since stories ofen drop the ball after a certain point, if they drag onto to long, but not a sinlge scene is theis coic is wasted, so i ahve hope sthey will finish strong.

A little writing tip for any new authors: The best way to pace your story is for every scene to have a purpose. When I write, the comic relief is put in between important dialogue in each scene so that the scene has a purpose, ad when i write action, the only exucse to cut away is to provide more info on wha’t happening that the audience needs to know beofore the fight can commence or continue. Otherwise, it’s just ogont ot ake t hreader out of the story. Hpwever, only pracitce and experience with hone your abilty to spot useless scenes.

An example would be, any scene devoted just to one charcter thinkng about how hot the other is and how they might like them, is a waste. I work that into the middel or end of scenes that actually build the relationship first, and the best comics and other stories i’ve read do the same thing.

There’s other examples, but that might be the msot common.

Anyway, since most of the comic Ir ead are not finished yet, I can’t talk about the enitre thing. But I do think it merits attention when they do something well. The use of red ink to desginati when soemoen is lying in Purle hyacinth, it’s clever. The use of eye color changes in other stories, when it’s sublte, is also clver. Whend one right, it becomes a whoel other experiene than a typical story.

When done wrong, it’s just more exhausting than a book emotionally, with less brain work to shaprne your skills.

I guess it’s sounds like I’m debating the merits of reading comics in general. It wasn’t something I did a lot of growing up, and i don’t consider them to be literature.

The best way to look at a good comic is a hybrid between a book and art, it’s not literature, it’s not just pictures, it’s both. So, it neither had the benefits of reading a true book, nor the same drawbacks of relying just on art to learn. Because, to be real, pictures only will not work for every scenario. But a comic can fit almost any subject.

I have found the comics enlightening in another way though.

Many of them deal with mental health, insecurities, problems with relation to people, and abuse and trauma. One I just found that’s been really good for this is Socializing 101.

They are a little too good to be true, usually. I’ve never had friends who talk to me the way people talk to each other in this, and I can’t talk that way myself. Often, it sounds like reading off the script in a therapist’s office. I suppose because so many people go to counseling and therapy now, it’s becoming part of our vernacular, which is good, because some people who won’t go to therapy may still here some of the same advice.

Still, wish fulfillment is part of most fiction, and there’s worse ways than solid relationship advice.

I had heard most of it already, and I don’t think all of it is actually that helpful in real life, it won’t fix your problem to follow those steps, but it can get you through some difficult moments at least. If you’re a novice, you certainly would benefit from following the advice, such as talking to people about your problem, and taking it easier on yourself, believing you are worth spending time on, and worth listening to.

Some comics put a lot of focus on finding out the truth, handling situations with maturity, and learning to overcome your personal flaws, like a hot temper, usually. And how to be patient with people like that and try to understand them.

And how to choose to date people who treat you right.

this helped me to start getting my head on straight about crushing on people who show no interest in my existence. I think I have always done that because I am more comfortable with no attention, after getting mostly negative attention growing up, and then neglected when I wasn’t being abused directly.

I don’t expect people to like me or want to be around me, but seeing myself in the Webtoon characters, it helped me question it more than just hearing about it had in the past. Seeing these people get talked to , it’s easier to think “maybe someone could see me the same way, maybe people don’t all hate me as much as I think they do. Maybe it is a misunderstanding.”

While it’s not a solution, often the first step is recognizing your perception could be off. And being open to being proven wrong. You got to lose the pride in your own opinion of yourself (and yes, people do take a sort of sick satisfaction in depreciating themselves, it’s very sad.)

I feel that my outlook has gotten a little better. It can be frustrating to read about happiness you don’t have, but the best ones make you realize that you need to believe you can have it, and will have it, if you seek it.

C. S. Lewis wrote that “all get what they want.” All of us, in the end, will get what we want. Whether in this life, or the next. We should be careful to want the right things.

Wanting a healthy relationship is a good start, but many people, honestly, don’t. They like what is familiar.

You see, you think you want someone to really love you, but then you spook as soon as someone shows they might actually love you. I had this experience myself quite recently.

Changing what you want is a step by step process, and can be ungraceful, people who stick with you through it are your real friends.

So, that was what was brought to you by WebToon, hope you enjoyed, I will see if I can link the comics I mentioned in the post, until next time, stay honest–Natasha

A vanishing breed

I am one follower away from 190, how???

This is great. Thank you all for your support.

As a little detour today, I thought I’d take you on a trip inside my world, from an imaginative perspective.

That is to say, I am one of a dying breed in my country and generation, so I think I ought to be documenting myself, you know for posterity.

All joking aside, I’ve slowly realized I have a very unique perception of life, thanks to the very mixed and assorted influences in my formative years, and current years, and it’s given my an ability to exist in multiple settings with a sense of belonging there.

You see, on the one hand, I am exposed to pop culture, the news, and the influences thereof. I can quote vines and memes and songs like most people my age, and use the lingo of the West Coast that has permeated the internet thanks to those sources. Not a big accomplishment.

I actually have to study pop culture, weird as it may sound, because I write characters who are supposed to be savvy in it, and they know more than I would know. Oh, the trials of a writer that we willingly inflict on ourselves!

On the other hand, I was raised with no TV for the first 10 years of my life or so, and limited access to movies for almost as long, I didn’t go on YouTube frequently till I was 12 to 13, and I don’t have Social media to this day in any significant form. So, I get references from books, old movies, old shows, and old songs that mostly “Boomers” are supposed to get.

C. S. Lewis wrote a book “Surprised by Joy” that described how his moral and imaginative life formed, while G. K. Chesterton wrote a good deal in “Orthodoxy” about how his imagination and passion led him to Christianity, and how they were shaped by fairy tales, and fiction, and nursery rhymes.

Reading both these accounts, and others, led me to realize I may be one of the only people in my age group who could even understand what an “imaginative” life in their sense of the word even is, they don’t just mean fantasies, like we mean “wish fulfillment” “sex fantasies” and all that crap. They mean fairy tales, and romance in the older sense of the word.

Romance used to mean, and still technically means, a way of looking at life, that focuses on the feelings associated with certain ideals, and actions, and beauty. It’s dramatic, often nonsensical, serious, playful, and powerful. It’s also virtually unheard of in modern fiction, shows, movies, etc.

If I had to pick a modern example of Romance writing, I couldn’t even think of one more recent than Madeleine L’Engle’s science/supernatural fiction stories, A WRINKLE IN TIME, A WIND IN THE DOOR, and A SWIFTLY TILTING PLANET. I think those are 20 years old at least.

Perhaps more exist, I just can’t think of them. “Beauty” by Robin Mckinley, is like it, and this other story I once read that was a retelling of “The White Bride and the Black Bride”.

The point its, I actually read the old classics, not all of them, or I read books that explained the classics, or imitated their style, so that I was introduced to it in way I could swallow, since like most people, I find classics hard to follow with their older language.

I have read actual Shakespeare though, and it’s not as hard as people think if you have a good vocabulary, as I always have. Thanks to having parents who read to me and had big vocabularies themselves.

And the best preparation for understanding classic is of course, the Bible, as most of the classics of European literature heavily involved biblical imagery and language.

It helps that I stick to the NKJV of the bible, (sometimes I read others, I just like the language better).

All this to say, I have very diverse influences in my life, and I am still adding to it. Being 22 now, and in college, I don’t read as much for fun as I sued to, but I still reread my favorite books at least once a year, and try to check off one or two new classics at least, plus other books I can find. So slowly I am still building my store of knowledge and experience.

I didn’t understand this until the last few years, but I have been very lucky to have that path. Funny, it wasn’t one i chose initially.

When I was about 7 or 8, my mom had already read The Chronicles of Narnia to me and my sister, all the way through, The Little House series, and some other books, and she set me on the path of classics when I asked her if we could read those books again,and she told me I should just read them myself. They were above my age reading level at the time, at least by school standards (flip school standards), and I wasn’t confident in myself yet, I’d never read a chapter book, but that was the day I started. Soon, I could go through them as fast as my mom had read them to us, I am now the faster reader in my family, I’ve read a 300-500 page book in one day, and can read a 150 page book in a few hours, if it’s an easy read.

I could read a 30 page textbook chpater in the hour and a half before class I somtiems left myslef (too little, but I could get away with it).

The experience of a child with no TV and a large library is so different from what’s normal now, that most people, I bet, can’t even fathom what it would be like.

It really wasn’t bad. I feel like I missed very little. i don’t think I’ve ever once expressed regret, even internally, or not being able to watch a show when it was on TV, all the shows I like are usually ones that were out years before I saw them, and the great plus of that is I never had to wait for a new season. Plus, being older, I understood the shows better than a kid would have. I watched the Justice League animated series when I was 10-14, and it was much better being able to understand the harder stuff in it, though I still appreciate even more now.

The idea that you watch a show one time is ridiculous to me, I always reread any book I truly loved. Reading or watching something once seems flaky to me, like a one night stand. You don’t really get intimacy with the material like that, and it seems flippant, like saying you could understand it all the first time. (Bad books, on the other hand you should never reared, understanding more of it is just further punishment)

I think TV shows foster a one night stand attitude in children because they are released episode by episode until it’s exhausting to finish it, and you don’t want to go back an repeat the experience for years to come. Though, some shows are exceptions. Children tend to like repetition more than adults, however, but the habit starts in childhood.

The reason I am laying all this out is to explain why it was different for me. Without TV, getting new entertainment was hard so I reread, or went to the library. I always preferred to read stuff I knew I liked already, so I tended to stick to one author, one series, and one book. Even now, I’m still reading new stuff for the first time from old authors because I liked familiarity so much.

As a homeschooler, I read what was age appropriate from a moral standpoint, my mom never told me a book was too hard for me. I could stop reading it if it was, but I usually didn’t. Up till my teens, I finished almost every book I started, because I had nothing to distract me from them. I now finish only half the books I start usually, unless I give myself less to begin with.

It’s the opposite now. I was talking to my 13 year old cousin last week, and he told me about a book “In The Graveyard” he had to read, last year, I think, and he questioned if it was age appropriate because of the content, not the language, but books are more likely to be assigned based on reading level than content now. I can’t understand why “Diary of a Wimpy” kid is acceptable literature, but “Huck Finn” often isn’t.

I didn’t watch R-rated stuff till I was 20, mostly. My 8 year old cousin has seen more R-rated movies than I have.

It’s a different world, even int he last 2 decades, that’s for sure. But, being homeschooled was also just different.

It’s not being sheltered the way people think it is. I was exposed to hard subjects, sometimes earlier than kids now are, at least, I was exposed in a way that asked me to think about them, not just mindlessly consume them. The stuff I read, and later watched, used moral questions to kids, either directly or indirectly.

My mom never purposely planned that, she just had me read well known classics that would be safe reading, and watch old shows, and the rest was up to the material.

My mom was not a very involved teacher in most of my curriculum, if you could call it that, so I was self motivated. She’d buy books according to my interests, and I’d absorb it all.

In then end, I ended up with a vast array of knowledge about many subjects, even if it was only a little knowledge. I have the ability to join almost any conversation… unless it’s about something that just happened in the present. Go figure.

People tell me I ought to stay informed, I’m too busy delving into the knowledge of centuries ago to waste time on this current century’s unreliable news sources. Just give me the highlights.

I do think it’s important to know what’s happening, but you’d be surprised how much I can learn form getting the highlights, and putting them in a historical context.

I just last week learned that COVID was not the first epidemic in this country or the world that caused circumstances like this, the Media won’t tell you this, but there was a thing called the Spanish Influenza. Arguably, it was more dangerous than COVID because everyone was at risk from it, medicine was less advanced back then, so people dropped like flies. They had quarantine, lock-downs, churches closed, they even wore masks, and were told to get out to the country and stay away from other people.

Yep, it all happened before. I keep hearing people say it never has, and that’s just not true.

My homeschool plan was something called a Thomas Jefferson Education, or TJEd, for short. Basically it consists of teaching students to love learning, and having them read classics, and add disciplined study only much later on. I tied to explain this to my older cousin too, he said he’s never heard it put that way.

It worked for me, I was college ready and then some.

The effect classic fantasy had on me was that I see the world in two ways. I see the world as it is, sort of. As much as one human can see something as vast as the world. I also see the world through the lens of how others have seen it, or wished it to be, or even cynically claimed it was.

A student who lives the average life of a public-schooler now is informed by their parents, their school, and pop culture.

I was made aware of that difference when I was helping my younger cousin with her social studies homework. It was a good assignment, one I would have expected to find in college even, probably a little more complicated though. (You know what the difference between complicated and complex is? Mostly connotative meaning.) The book asked her to explain how people might use stories to tell about things.

In the context, it might be like mythology, we don’t know what happened, so we make up a story to explain it.

People who call Christianity a mythology are not entirely wrong, in that is has mythic elements in it, but if you read the Bible it is not written at all like a mythology, anymore than the Iliad is. It tells about God without using flowery language in its most serious parts, and it’s most poetic when talking about loving and obeying God. Interesting, since people often get that backwards if they get lost in semantics.

While trying to explain to my cousin what a myth was, since she’d had to read one to answer the prompt, I hit a wall. She just didn’t get it. I thought, how could I explain it to her? All the books I could reference, she hasn’t read. All the ideas I have about it is stuff she’s not heard much in her secular household. Finally, I broke it down to brass tacks and had her pick a thing in nature (a tree, if you want to know) and try to imagine what someone who didn’t know what it was might come up with. She said to me “I would know it was a tree.” I said “What if you’d never seen a tree?” She said “I’d ask someone who knew.” I said “”What if no one around you knew?” She said “I’d look it up.” I think she even added “that’s what Google is for.” or something like that, but maybe that was a different conversation. So I said “What if this was the first tree ever and no one had ever seen it before and there was no internet.” She thought for a second, then shrugged, “I don’t know.”

So, I fell on visual aid as a last result, I’m happy to report, after looking at an actual tree, and me suggesting some stuff, she came up with her own idea, and I think she even understood myth a little bit finally. She’s a smart kid, catches on fast.

But, I thought to myself, my little 8 year old cousin could have just summed up our modern approach to knowledge. We think, wither we know, or someone around us knows, or we can look it up. There’s a general feeling that there is not much left to be discovered in this world. And if there is, it’s too advanced for us mere mortals.

Thanks to the GPS and satellite, we no longer have any unknown continents or islands on this planet. Thanks to space tech, we now know what’s in the heavens far beyond our galaxy. Thanks to encyclopedias, internet, and media, we now can hear about anything in less than 5 seconds, if we type in or even ask a key word. There’s nothing done that hasn’t been done.

At least, it feels that way, doesn’t it?

Yet, as Lewis thought, when we get to where we seem to know everything, that is really where we must go back and rediscover the truths that are always there.

The great thing about Christianity, and the reason it has revived so many dying cultures (don’t believe secular history books, Christianity is what keeps cultures alive int he first place, all other cultures die out in a few centuries usually, or are not worth preserving even if they endure longer) is that it is always knew. No matter how many people have climbed up that mountain to find God, every one of us is still he first when we do it. What God says to us is different than what He says to anyone else. God is not repetitive. He never does anything quite the same way. Why would He need to? The course of all creative energy is God, He surely never runs out of inspiration.

Christianity, in my opinion, is the only dam slowing the flood of deadness in this culture, and that dam is never going to break, but people who choose to ignore it are going to get swept away.

Mental illness isn’t going to get any better as long as we cut off all the things that prevent mental illness. We really haven’t learned from history. History tells us that the rich and pampered are often far more given to insanity that the poor and humble. Living in the pressure of the spotlight and having to be both the servant of the people, and yet be served by them almost as if you were untouchable, has driven many rulers insane throughout the ages.

Now, all of us can maybe not be famous, but social media gives everyone who use sit at least the illusion of attaining that goal. It’s not anything like true fame, but it’s just close enough to create the same problems, with none of the potential benefits, unless people truly try to use their power for good.

We can’t all be rulers, but we ca all post our opinions into places where people will only echo them, much like a ruler. We make social media, the comment section, and likes our cheering crowd of peasants. We don’t know their names or faces, but we crave their approval.

You see? It’s not new, it’s just more widespread. And rulers cracked under that pressure a lot, and we’re cracking under it the same way.

I see so many artists and YouTubers owning up to poor mental health. The smart ones take breaks. Others push themselves to exhaustion.

It is what it is. We can’t get rid of this stuff, but not all of us have to rely on it so much.

You might wonder, though, why I think it’s really so important to read, and understand myths, is that stuff really worth the time and effort, it’s not real.

I will say most of it’s more real than people on the internet will ever be. Myths tell hard truths that people won’t own up to when they want likes or subs, or whatever.

But, more importantly, it would save us, if we let it.

I know other people besides myself who have drawn strength from stories when nothing else would help them. God often uses stories, Jesus used them all the time. Stories are powerful. They get inside us.

And good stories only come from the minds of people who choose to look up at the world around them.

It’s important that my cousin only got my point once she looked at a real tree. Just picturing a tree didn’t do it for her. There’s something about the REAL that inspires us more than anything else can.

I was raised on fiction, but it was talking about real stuff, in a language I could understand before I even knew what it really was about. Fiction is the equalizer that makes adults and children able to communicate without barriers. A story can speak to any age, any IQ, any language even.

I see the world through stories, and it’s made it possible for e to draw connections between things that seem unrelated, I have such a rich mental life because of all the way I can connect the dots. I can glean one thing form one book, and it helps me understand the next one better, or retroactively, a new book sheds light on an old one. I can’t say I’ve had that experience with TV or movies. it’s just not the same.

What I believe the difference is, is the TV is too easy, and yet too hard. You see, hear, and it’s handed to you. But it’s so colorful and intense, you miss little details. When it’s spelled out on a page, you catch things that you won’t normally. Your mind interprets it in a way that makes sense to you. You get drawn into the world of the book.

While you can be drawn into a film and show, it’s never as complete as in a book. A book also keeps you conscious of your own experience a way a movie doesn’t. We’ve been warned that our brains accept everything we watch as real while we are watching it, even if we know it’s not real. In a book, that does happen, but you are more aware of it while it is, and you can withdraw more easily.

In the end, I still watch movie and shows, and I believe they are important. They still give you something a book doesn’t.

But for the purpose of fostering a real imagination, you need books. The reason art is so bland and repetitive now is all artists are drawing inspiration from movies and shows. Which just can’t be diverse like books, partly because producers control too much of what gets out there.

Books, though still controlled, are wild cards. You never know where a really good idea will jump out at you even in a mostly bad book. You imagination has to work harder when reading, so of course it gets stronger.

One page of a Lewis book, and I’ll think of 6 different story threads I could write. That’s how good reading is. A show, I might think of one. not bad, if its the one I need, but, I can’t deny what’s better.

I usually turn to books when I hit a creative dry spell. A few chapters is usually all it takes.

The point of this post is , I guess, to read. But the bigger point I was getting at is that we need our imaginations back. They keep us from apathy, depression, and even from fear sometimes. I used to escape fear with imagination, before I learned how to do it with God.

God is still better, but often He has used this method, so, it’s all of a piece.

I hope you enjoyed this post, it was a little all over the place, but that’s kind of fitting. I noticed I lapsed into higher language a lot, I think this topic just brings it out in me. I don’t use a thesaurus when I write, that’s another thing book learning did for me. (And that stupid Grammarly app can suck it. Just read a dang book, don’t let the internet write for you!)

Until next time, stay honest–Natasha

Curing Anxiety with the Cosby Show, and other things.

Sorry it’s been so long, I got kind of busy last week.

Whew! I may keep this short (which for me is less than 1000 words, of course).

I am starting to do a little bit better with anxiety, and I thought it might be a good time to share some of the ways I deal with anxiety, some are light, some are deep and heavy, but if I’ve learned one things about mental problems, it’s that you have to take a holistic approach to them, it’s never just one change, it’s a lifestyle.

The fact is, people who are anxious live an anxious lifestyle until the symptoms become indistinguishable from the cause. For example, not getting enough sleep causes anxiety, then anxiety causes you not to sleep enough, thereby creating a viscous cycle.

In my case, I have led a love deprived life for so long, it’s become hard to even recognize that as the source of my anxiety.

Lately, the anxiety has gotten worse with me trying to resist it, going so far as to have an attack, because you get anxious about being anxious. (Sanders Sides anyone?)

Anyway, let’s get to the meat of it.

1. Prayer

Praying Hands Free Stock Photo - Public Domain Pictures

Before you do anything else, you have to prayer. Some people say meditate, I say that’s hogwash. Perhaps it can help some people, but for me, left to my own thoughts, I find no peace. I have to get outside myself, focus on a Higher Power being able to help me.

I will say, it hasn’t been easy. A lot of times God has felt blocked from me, by the heavy cloud of dark feelings I have. I don’t think He was ever gone, or even really silent, but my receptivity tends to wane with the more fear I feel. But prayer is still indispensable, especially if I am alone.

I do find it’s better, if someone else is around, to ask them to prayer for me, hearing them say it aloud builds my own faith. “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing the word of God.”

2. Physical Touch

On the note of asking people for help, something that’s been doing wonders for me is just being hugged when I start to have an attack of panic or fear. Even when I feel sick, as I do a lot when I’m afraid, if someone hugs me for 10 minutes or so, I feel calmer, able to deal with it.

Sisters Hugging Images, Stock Photos & Vectors | Shutterstock

This is part of my story, I was touch deprived as a baby, briefly; and then i developed a hypersensitivity to being held, kissed, or touched at all, and I started hating it, as a result, my family slowly stopped touching me for several years of my life, except every so often, or if I initiated.

I had no clue this caused deprivation and a lack of feeling loved, I began to feel the loss as a young teen, and reach out more for it, but my ad, as if in some kind of punishment, then said he’d respect my wishes about not liking touch, after ignoring them for years when I said I didn’t like it, as soon as I said I needed it, he wanted to “respect that” he’d already stopped touching me, but you’d think he’d be glad to get a chance to work with me on this, and figure out what I’d be comfortable with, y dad was never one for subtly.

The rest of my family really didn’t get it either, and up until the last two years, it stayed that way, I wasn’t hugged very often.

Now, they are starting to realize I need this, and reach out and do it, I still have to ask a lot of the time, but I am learning not to be embarrassed about this too.

Note: I am not saying you should push an anxious person to let you touch them a lot, even if they do need it, that trust may not be there to let you work with them on it. I recommend asking them what they are comfortable with, and starting with very small touches and if they don’t respond negatively, try hugging lightly. I’d say never do a bear-hug or full-frontal hug with someone who still acts nervous when you touch them, it’s just too rough. That’s just my experience though, not professional advice.

3. Moving

My sisters actually found out about this technique, and have been employing it longer than me, but with their encouragement, I’m starting to do it more.

Getting out of the room you’re in, especially if you can get outside, is a great way to stop anxiety, especially if you are having an attack where you can’t breathe. That time you feel so trapped, being out in a wider space makes it better.

Also, for me, walking, even if it’s just in circle, up and down, helps. When I get anxious, especially early in the morning, my body is stiff and tight and I carry tension in my back, throat, and shoulders. So walking in an upright position, stepping lightly, and trying to walk the way my chiropractor says to to practice stretching out the right way, relieves some tension. It seems to decrease the chances of a nervous reaction to food, or stress.

Pacing a Trench - TV Tropes

Walking outside is the best combination.

4. Drink Water

So many things feel worse when you are dehydrated, my appetite gets worse. When I feel anxious, my instinct is often not to eat, but also not to drink, to just hold still and try not to do anything to make it worse, which is the worst thing to do.

Here's how drinking water can help in reducing diabetes - Times of India

When I can’t eat, drinking lots of water keeps the nausea down to a more manageable level, and usually helps bring back my appetite. It’s important to stay hydrated after being adjusted too.

5. Relaxing Entertainment

This won’t be the same for everyone, but I find that watching a lighthearted, wholesome piece of media while I eat helps me feel less anxious while eating. Playing music will help too, but the more my focus is taken off myself, the better.

One show I’ve been watching everyday while I eat is “The Cosby Show”. say what you will about the actors, this had to be one of the purest, best, most wholesome shows ever made for TV, at least at that time.

Where Is the Cast of 'The Cosby Show,' 26 Years After the Sitcom Ended? |  Inside Edition

I can’t even describe how good the writing is, subtle, heartfelt, true to real life, without disrespecting a particular race, gender, or age group. Most of the episodes don’t have a “lesson” per sec, but are just about a family loving each other, doing kind things for each other and other people, and spreading that love around. Weathering life with each other.

Perhaps it’s because my home life was not like that as a kid, though it is becoming more that way now, that I like watching this. It shows me what could be, and reinforces the changes I am trying to make. I don’t have to roll my eyes and say “that’s such a toxic way to handle it” like with most shows.

There’s some movies I go back to also, when I need to be uplifted. Usually it’s not inspiring movies for me, just movies about family, and getting through life while finding meaning in simple things. Perhaps what I most need encouraged now.

Inspirational stories are great, but at a time like this, they can put pressure on me to heal faster than I can really heal. We are in such a hurry, as a generation, to outgrow our problems, and overcome, but we don’t want to learn patience in order to do it. We just want to be better Now.

And we can get better, quickly, or slowly, depending on God’s will, but what everyone needs to hear is that you will do both, if you life to adulthood and face struggles.

Sometimes healing is like getting surgery, you go in, it’s done, and you just have to recover afterwards.

Other times healing is like physical therapy, months and years of work and reinforcing and changing how you do things until you’re on the right track.

And if one thing gets to be quick for you, something else will be slow. It’ll be different things for different people.

Mental illness is often a long process, I’ve heard of people who got delivered of it in one go, and that’s great for them. God can do anything, but the majority of us have to walk a path. God is glorified whether it’s fast or slow, because it is still by His grace anyone recovers.

I believe even non-Christians owe their healing to God, who else gives us the things that cure anxiety? Most of them are God created things, Nature, Music, Love. Even art is just reflecting God’s creation.

Perhaps it’s even good to notice this stuff while you are still young, because if you walk it out for a few years, and get through it, you have the whole rest of your life to be free.

I may not like having this now, but when I’m 30 or 40, I’ll be glad not to have waited till then to realize all this, by then I’ll have been practicing living without fear for a very long time, maybe when I’m 80, I’ll have forgotten what it feels like to be anxious.

I don’t think anxiety is a permanent condition. The people who say it is usually have only been dealing with it for a few years, and usually without God, even therapists and counselors tend to deal with the same patient only for a few years. how do they know it wasn’t eventually possible to kick this stuff completely.

It may always be a part of your personality to be tempted by anxiety, but all us anxious people know the difference between being tempted, and actually becoming afraid. The suggestion flashes before your mind, and you either latch onto it and sink, or you ignore it, and swim ahead.

I have been anxious since I was a kid, but not all the time. If it can go for a season, surely it can go for a lifetime.

I may not be out of the woods yet, friends with similar problems to me say it’s taken them a few years, or longer, to get free, some are still in the process; but they did get free.

It probably takes 2 years on average to change your lifestyle enough to not encourage anxiety, and it may take 5 years or more to not be tempted by it hardly at all. If I had to guess, assuming you were working on trusting God, and building up better habits all that time. For those of us who give up on it, of course it takes longer.

My dad has had anxiety since he was born, pretty much, and is now almost 60. I have come farther in one year than he has in his whole life. Though I think there were times he did better, but from his stories, he’s never been rid of it.

But my father doesn’t try to be rid of it. He prays, but makes no lifestyle changes with that prayer, and doesn’t seek the kind of counsel and reassurance that would help him, unless a lot has changed since I last saw him.

Me? I’m changing everything, one step at a time, and my life is becoming the kind of life I wanted for so long. It’s far from finished, and it will never be perfect, but what is Possible in my mind had expanded a lot.

I think that’s a good place to stop. I hope you found some of this helpful, or enlightening, or fun, and that you are continue to fight your battles. If I helped even a little, t was worth it. Until next time, stay honest–Natasha