The Legends and the Myths.

Oh my gosh I feel like it’s been weeks since I posted, sorry, I have big college projects swirling around. BU tI am going to take some time to attend to this today!

Can you tell it’s my first time dealing with finals?

Anyway, I have plenty I could write about. The trick will be picking one thing. I’ve been researching superheroes of all things to write a paper on it.

Professors have come a long way; I imagine if 20 or 30 years ago I suggested superheroes as the subject of a research paper, my professor would have given me a look and said “That’s not a real subject.”

But now, it totally works. And with the Infinity War Craze of the past two weeks, and the subsequent Deadpool 2 craze, what more proof do you need that superheroes are relevant?

I haven’t seen either by the way, but look for a review of the first one sometime in the near future.

Though I think I will still prefer the cinematic inferior Justice League to all this glamour of the Avengers. At heart, I still prefer even a partially good DCU flick, to a saturated MCU one.

Enough about that, the point is, superheroes are difinitely in. And those of us who are not in the swim about them maybe should undertake to know at least a little about what fans are crazy about.

Chances are you know someone who is nuts about superheroes. Likely you know someone who is too nuts about them. IF you’re like me, you don’t buy all the merchandise or see every film in theaters, bu you keep up with the comic books world at least enough to know the context of most of the stories.

I read the original Spiderman comics, which hold up even today, and the Silver Age Superman ones, 50s-60s, and of course the 70s Mr. Miracle. I have yet to find a Wonder Woman comic, but I would love to check that out sometime.

Funny story, I remember getting a Wonder Woman comic from the Library back before I could even read. Actually I think my mom got it just because I was looking at the picture. And I started at the words and really wished I knew what they were saying. But all I got twas the vague idea that she was a kid growing up with her mom.

And I can’t believe I didn’t remember that when I read “Superman and Me” by Sherman Alexie, since he had the same experience with Superman.

I’ve always wanted to find that comic, which I now realize had to be the original one, and read it knowing the words. SO in a strange way, comics have been a part of my reading experience almost from the beginning, and Wonder Woman has intrigued my also.

And my mom was not a superhero person, and still is not except by proxy, since she has to listen to us go on and on about it. My mom is smart, she has learned over the years to take at least a mild interest in everything we get obsessed with so that she preserves her sanity.

Superheroes will always be considered somewhat ridiculous, even by the people who love them. Not because they are ridiculous as a characters, but because the idea of one is just odd to us. A caped costumed character is funny. The whole underwear on the outside thing. By the way, did you know that they looked more like that because men used to wear suspenders that kept their pants up higher? When supers were created, that look would have been more normal and wearing nothing over that are would have been indecent. It’s not about underwear at all.

And yes Wonder Woman wore a swimsuit, but even then there were worse ones.

Still, it’s funny to dress in a flag. The pint is, they aren’t meant to be taken seriously.

That’s why we love them. You don’t have to believe they are real in order to get real ideas and emotions from them.

As I have pointed out to others, superheroes are for those who dream. They are a modern mythology. And I would have to acknowledge this even if I hated them, because there is no getting away from it. They are ubiquitous.

I think I love superheroes more than I care to admit on this blog, but I don’t love them just for their flashy fighting and quippy dialogue, though I enjoy that.

I love them because in nowhere else  in our modern world do I find so many characters held up to a real standard for good. And they challenge us to meet that standard. I love the heart behind many of them, the honest look at hardship that many of the creators had to take in writing them out. Mostly, I love myths.

And I’m a dreamer. Without fail, people who dream that I know, they like superheroes.

People who do not dream don’t, or are at best ambiguous.

I’m not kidding, I know people as old as my dad who like superheroes, but they are dreamers; and I know people who think they’re stupid, they aren’t dreamers. And those who are ambiguous also don’t dream.

IS it possible to be a dreamer without liking supers? I am sure it is. But  I do not think it works the other way. What use are superheroes with their outlandish exploits if you do not wish to accomplish things that seem outlandish to you?

Fairy tales will always be mocked by those who do not secretly wish they were true…even those who do. But as Anne of Green Gables has said, the world needs fairies, it cannot do without them.

All that means is not that we need fairies as a fantastical creature to tell stories about, but that we need fantasy. Which fairies famously represent.

We need superheroes in the same way. Whether you are a dreamer or not, you need dreamers. The ones who keep this world afloat.

They are the legends and the myths today, and they keep us linked to older myths and stories. We need that, we need to keep our imaginations alive. And if that looks like a comic spread with some speech bubbles, so be it. I’ll take that over pure realism, that stuff can be soul killing.

Until next time–Natasha.

 

 

It was life changing.

First of all, thank you to the people who read my posts even when I’ve not written any new ones, I appreciate your loyalty.

Second, obviously, I’m back from my mission’s trip.

I know some of you will want to hear how it went and some probably don’t care, and here’s the thing, it’s as interesting as the person makes it.

I found after my mission trip last year that what was most important to me about it was not what everyone asked me about. They wanted to know what I did, I wanted to talk about the people and place itself.

This time around, I am more interested in what I did. Because I did it to get out of my comfort zone.

And I certainly succeeded there because I was uncomfortable about half of the time. I did not feel like God was just keeping me cloaked in grace this time around. Which means that it was not so easy and smooth as it was before. Part of the reason for that was I went with people I knew slightly instead of total strangers, and a lot more personal issues were involved because of that, nothing like a trip to another place to bring out everyone’s insecurities and quirks. I ended the trip by getting yelled at over something stupid and unfair. Lovely right?

And so I’m debunking the myth here that all mission’s trips are supernatural and life changing experiences, at least on the surface. They aren’t. I won’t say that this trip did not change my life, I believe it did, but not in the easily recognizable way we expect when we use that phrase.

If this trip showed me a little more about myself and the people around me; gave me a little more knowledge of how to do certain things; helped me overcome a few more of my fears; and gave me the chance to change lives even in a small way; it was life changing (duh on the last part right?)

If nothing else, I got a lot of cool souvenirs.

That was a joke, of course, though seriously, they have nice stuff at Swap Meets.

If you asked me what I learned through the experience, I’d have to say I learned that everyone is human. That is, I saw both the good and bad sides of my team mates, more than the team I went with last year, and these were not worse people, I dare say, they were just more able to lose their cool around each other. I realized that people have expectations of each other that are often not met, or not met in ways we think they will be.

But I also saw that the flaws that normally make me disinterested in being friends with someone can be compensated for. My team mates have plenty of annoying quirks (as I do myself) but they have a lot of good qualities that make up for them. The ones that don’t, well, they don’t.

And I saw myself in a lot of the annoying things they did; scary, right?

So, all in all, I can’t judge. The things that were seriously wrong I do have a hard time with. Maybe you’ve been there, you see sides to people that you just can’t excuse because it goes against your principles, not just your taste. When that happens, all I can do is back away.

That does not mean I will not care about those people, of course I will, but it is unwise to be intimate friends with someone who has a serious difference of principle from yourself, because when you need a good kick in the pants, how can you count on them to give it to you? The best friends remind us who we are, they don’t excuse us when we act out of character.

I have tried to be this kind of friend, with very little success, I suppose because I never actually know people as well as I think I do. Or else, they don’t know I know them that well.

I have waited a long time to find friends who will encourage me in my principles, and it can be a long and lonely search, but how can I be satisfied with less? Who is to say that it is impossible? It’s only impossible if you give up looking.

And on that note, I got to know some people better who did bring out the best in me. I hope to continue to know them more.

At the end of the day, I need to trust my instincts. My first impression of people is often mostly accurate, it just needs expanding.

So, that was this trip. And on the less emotional side, I did cross another thing off my bucket list: Rock Climbing. (I so recommend trying this if you can tolerate heights at all. It’s a real rush to conquer a climb.)

I hope everyone found something of interest in this post, and until next time–Natasha.

 

A real feminist.

It’s no secret that America has a large feminists movement, and we even had a march dedicated to it recently. Many women make it their life’s purpose to promote equality.

I know men and women alike also hate the movement’s guts, and I don’t blame them. It has grown to ridiculous proportions.

Not that the original idea is something I dislike. I don’t even dislike the mantra “HEre me roar.”  Nothing wrong with roaring.

What concerns me is how deeply selfish feminism has become.

Stay with me girls, I’m going to explain.

I’ve never really dealt with sexism from men, though I probably will at some point, because it is out there, but it’s not half so common as it’s cracked up to be. I have already encountered sexism from women.

At the very least, if we must be sexist, I wish it was to some purpose. This marching and telling the world what it would be like if women weren’t at the work place is at best flaunting a long past victory; at worst, it’s lunacy.

Because if anyone should not be complaining about that, it’s American women.

What we should be complaining about is how those girls in countries like India, Cambodia, and Greece, are tricked into being kidnapped and sex trafficked. Millions, every year.

We should be complaining about how women are kept ignorant and helpless in countries where the Taliban is in power.

WE should be complaining that women in African countries are starving and dying of water contamination and also watching their children do the same, and many of those women and girls are forced into sex trade too, as the only way to avoid starvation.

We should be complaining about the Jewish and Christian women who are slain along with their families or have to watch their families die, because of their faith.

We should not be marching the streets waving our angry signs, because we are allowed only to show up to work and get paid for it and take it home to our families, and don’t have to worry about being stopped on the street and asked why we are out without a man.

We should not be giving men the finger for handing over our rights decades ago instead of shooting us or beating us for raising our voices.

What is wrong with us?

Don’t misunderstand me. Any prejudice is wrong, even if it is smaller in our country, but I snot the point of having a voice and having a power so we can speak up for those who are still silenced? and protect those who are still defenseless?

I repeat, feminism is selfish. At least what it has morphed into.

And it is not fair when we tell our daughters they can be anything, but we tell our sons to get out of their way.

We teach boys to not think girls are lesser, but we don’t teach girls to show boys the proper respect.

It goes both ways. There’s a saying “If you would be loved, be lovely.” And it might just as well be “If you would be respected, be respectable and respectful.”

But more importantly, it is selfish to rant about our very few misfortunes, and say nothing about what is going on around the world. It affects us too, immigrants are bringing it into our country, and I know people from other countries than America read this blog, and I mean them too. It is coming into every country.

I have heard it remarked on that schools are now teaching kids to be citizens of the world, whether or not that is a good thing, I can’t say; but if they are citizens of the world they ought to be taught to view the suffering in the world as part of their lives too. Something they should allieviate if they can. I get letters every month telling me about suffering I could help stop if I had money, which I don’t currently, but while I did, I gave some. It’s not a big deal. Its’ what we all should do. It’s not like it has to be a lot, most places are thankful to get anything, even five bucks.

I don’t have any organizations of my own to beg for, so you know this is simply what I think is right.

If you would support women, then support the ones who need it most. I don’t think it’s really so complicated.

But it doesn’t have to start with money. If you want to promote women’s rights, start by treating the women around you right. If girls tear each other down, or compete with each other in unhealthy ways, that is as  anti feminine as anything a man could do.

One more thing, when girls are angry, there is usually a deeper issue. I’ve had rape used as an argument against doing right by men, more than once. I can’t pretend to understand the effects of such assaults, but I do know that whatever someone else does to you, it doesn’t change what you need to do yourself.

Being angry against everyone will not help, and ignoring the fact that things like that happen daily to girls around the world is still selfish, because no one should want others to suffer a horror they’ve been through themselves. But I am not unsympathetic, and if I could offer personal advice, I would, but I suggest seeking more professional help if that is you case.

But hopefully it is not; and the rest of us have no excuse at all.

Whew! This is some heavy stuff. I just hope I’ve done justice to it.

What I really want to do is to wncourage girls and women to be more than that. To do greater things than they’ve seen demonstrated, and to think of other people besides themselves. i want to encourge men to do the same.Thsiis jsut a humn thing,not a gender thing, and we need to stop making it into that. That, I suppose, was my main point.

Until next time–Natasha.

“If there ever comes a time when the women of the world come together purely and simply for the benefit of mankind, it will be a force such as the world has never known.”–Matthew Arnold. (Emphathis mine.)

SAMSUNG CSC

Reach higher.

Pet Peeves and The first world

Well, my family has moved into our new place.

I have now realized we are officially poor, by Western standards. By most standards, we’re still well off.

We are living with one of our relatives, a thing not looked highly upon in this day and age. But we had no choice.

And as you all know, being around the extended family (or the immediate family) has its pros and cons.

(This is not a complaining post. I just want to ask a few questions.)

The first one is: What are your pet peeves?

What does it even mean to have a pet peeve? I’ve never like that term. A pet is something you fondle, cuddle, take care of, etc.  A peeve is something that makes you irritated; or, possibly, angry or nervous. Why would someone put those two things together?

Second: What are first world problems?

The new phrase we’ve invented for our minor difficulties is first world problems. I’ve heard it said that we invented it to hide how spoiled we privileged people are. I see this phrase as more of a joke than anything else. Seriously? When your internet is slow, or your phone is hard to handle, or some other such nonsense; you mock your problem by using a term that basically says: “I live in a country that’s one of the better off ones, all my physical needs are met, but I’m so bored with my life that I’m going to call this small difficulty the problem of living my privileged existence.”

It’s been a thing in books and movies to shine a different light on the lives of the rich and famous, or just rich and spoiled. Because of that trend I’m sure we’re all at least familiar with the idea that money doesn’t make you happy, and luxury can wear on you. But apparently we’re all the rich and famous to people in third world countries, having been to one, the impression I got from what we were told is that they see us all as very rich and important people, who are suckers for buying stuff in the market place.

I spent several days there not having access to the internet, or to drinking water from a cup, or calling my family, using restrooms without soap or toilets that flush at the turn of a lever. I went everywhere in a group. I worked. And I felt the least inclination to complain of any time I’ve been on a new experience. Part of that was a choice, I didn’t want to be a wet blanket. Part of it was realizing what ridiculous luxury I was in, even  in Cambodia. A lot of money was spent on our small group, and a lot of effort put into giving us a good time. I expected pretty meager accommodations, but I got as good as any I’ve gotten here in America the few times I’ve stayed at hotels.

Now, I’m going to list a few of my pet peeves, just to make a point.

  1. Any unusual sounds at night, any talking or loud music while I’m trying to sleep, that has driven me crazy many a night.
  2. Being bossed around constantly.
  3. Being teased about my personality.

There, those are three things I had to deal with on my trip. And I managed to put up with all of them, and adapt. The first one doesn’t bother me half as much since I came back, which is good because moving means different noises.

The truth is, it’s not helpful to label anything your pet peeve. Whether it’s a first world problem, or a problem with clashing personalities, because when you do that, you give yourself permission to notice it and be annoyed every time. I don’t think any of us need encouragement to look for annoyances in our lives.

This is what I’ve found helps me best: When something irritating happens and it tries your patience, first; hold your tongue–complaining usually just makes it worse or annoys that people around you.  Second; shake it off–forget it as soon as you can, the less you dwell on it the better. Third; don’t start thinking that this always happens, or always will. I know, I still slip into this one myself, but it’s not a good way to think. Fourth; laugh about it, just about every annoyance has a humorous side to it, if you are willing to not take your own minor problems too seriously. Fifth; look for a good thing about every situation. every cloud really does have silver lining.

I hope everyone understands that I am still talking about minor things that go wrong, not catastrophes. And with that , here’s a final bit of advice. Do not make everything a big deal. One of Disney Channels’ most liked characters, Kim Possible, has a catch phrase that she uses whenever she does something that she sees as not all that stressful, “So not the drama.” Often this is funny because Kim does things no one else can do. But it’s a good principle, when you know you can handle it well, then don’t turn on the drama.

I need this post as much as anyone, I need reminders to try to keep up a positive attitude when the pressure is on. So to all of us: until next time–Natasha.

Mission to Cambodia

I really do have a reason for not posting in so long, I was out of the country for several days without internet access ( at least not to my blog.) Plus my family is moving so I’ve been sorting and packing. No one’s been visiting the blog anyway, so I guess there’s nothing lost.

I went to Cambodia. Woo-hoo! That was awesome. I was on a missions trip. My first one.

I rode an elephant, tried crocodile meat, ate more rice than ever before in my life, and traveled everywhere in a bus. I thankfully did not get eaten by bugs or food poisoned or dehydrated.

I went to see the temples near Siam Reap, and got a short tour of the capital Phnom Penh’s sights.

I also flew for the first time I can remember and I enjoyed that too.

This is all just the non-important stuff that sounds cool. Since the people who made my trip possible were a mix of Christians and non-Christians I’ve learned that certain things don’t matter as much to everyone.  if I told you that the main thing I did was work and play with the kids at an orphanage, would that mean more to you?

I don’t know my audience. But I do know that my favorite part was the kids. That’s not unusual for me. But around kids in America I can often feel out of the loop. They usually want to watch TV, or play on their phones, sometimes I want to scream when I see an eight year old lost in the digital/virtual realities. Or worse, a four-year old. Even when you talk to them, it’s not always much better. I’m not about bashing Americans by any means, but I noticed a marked difference in Cambodia. The kids enjoy electronics as a novelty, but they are just as willing to engage in simpler activities. They seem to really enjoy being around you, and they enjoy every experience they can. Whether it’s painting, or climbing on a roof, or going to the marketplace. Or maybe it’s just playing rock, paper, scissors; or kicking a ball around in a circle.

The life of orphans is not very secure in Cambodia, money wise. The Government there does not always support orphanages; in fact, recently it made it harder for them to keep going. The group running the one we went to, FCOP (Foursquare Children of Promise,) had to let a lot of kids go because of some new regulation.

But the Cambodians never came across as anxious about life. Even though there are a lot of poor people there, poverty did not seem the same as it is here. Not that it was better exactly, but it was less visible. No obviously homeless people on street corners with signs, for example.

To the christian who may read this, the spiritual climate it there is much different from it is in western civilisation. They accept spirituality as a part of life, like the rain. They have spirit houses set up everywhere that offerings are left in. Buddhism abounds, incense altars can be found in plenty of locations, even that the tourist goes to. Despite these facts there isn’t a lot of actually practice of the religion in the younger generation. Which I think I heard was the majority of the population. For reasons I forget, the bulk of the Cambodian are 20-30 or under. (Google it.)

It just felt right to be doing the trip, I can’t explain it beyond that, I was at peace with the things that were happening. I’m sure I’ll tell more of this anon.

Natasha