Leave Will Smith Alone, gosh!

Look, I think this whole thing around Will is none of my business, so I’m not going to bother talking about what he did and how he did it.

In fact, I don’t want to dedicate a lot of time to this at all. I just have a few things to point out:

However he did it, the fact that a man defended his wife is being made into a public spectacle.

Can you imagine this happening 100 years ago? I can’t. Probably no one would have thought twice about it. And if there was a little hot temper involved, oh well, people knew you didn’t say things about other people’s wives in front of them. In fact, you didn’t make personal remarks at all, you know why? Because even if it seems like a joke, some people are going to use it to mock them, and it’s not funny then. IT was just a rule of polite society not to open people up to public mockery, and I frankly miss that rule. I have never seen it end well when it’s discarded at churches, schools, or anywhere else.

2. Whatever happened, how is it any of our business?

Think about it, are we going to make Will Smith regret his actions? Probably not. Are we making what the guy on stage said okay? No one’s talking about that?

What exactly are we getting so worked up about anyway? That our peer pressure can’t micromanage every actor in the world into the small little bubble of acceptable behavior that one of us can agree on anyway?

Yeah, so much for freedom of expression. I guess not if you’re a celebrity.

I mean, no one’s asking if the dude who said the thing should have the freedom to make such jokes about people just because he’s a comedian. I’ve never found it funny anyway. Maybe because I got made fun of for things I couldn’t help about my appearance when I was younger. Or maybe because…it’s just not funny. What exactly is so funny about people’s looks, unless they are deliberately trying to look silly? Think about it.

3. Are we all qualified to pass judgement?

How many of us are going to be in Will’s position, where our SO is being humiliated in front of other people and we have to make a judgment call about it?

Would we have the guts to defend them in any way, let alone the right way?And how many men would have kept it chill at that point?

Is Will Smith above being human, now? Is he somehow not subject to anger or embarrassment or guilt?

I’m not saying it was good or bad, again, just asking why we all think we should just say this?

Because, slapping someone is not a crime. Sorry. Maybe it’s not good…but there’s not exactly a rule book for it, is there?

4. People think it was unprofessional.

I totally agree, it’s better to be real classy and ignore your wife’s feelings being hurt so that the dude talking about it has the green light to do it again.

Again, maybe there’s another way to handle things, but we can’t always pick and choose our spotlight. Would it be right if it was in private?

And maybe the comedian just shouldn’t be allowed to say things like that, again. Isn’t that inappropriate also?

So yeah, I guess that sums up my thoughts on it.

It’s true, maybe no one cares about my opinion either. But then why should any of us care about theirs? And why should Will Smith?

I’m making a better case for leaving it alone than anyone is making for gossiping about it, which, by the way, if you are a Christian, gossiping is unbibilical. And so is publicly harming people in this manner.

I’m not standing up for Will Smith so much as decrying the whole cultural concept that thinks this is okay, it’s disgusting. And he’s just one instance of it. It bothers me in politics as well as with other public figures. Ew.

Of course I open myself up to the same treatment by putting myself on line, but that’s kind of lie the argument that women open themselves up to being assaulted by stepping outside their doors without a man.

They both have to do this to do their jobs, usually, and, just because we have to take the risk doesn’t make the jerks who take advantage of it not guilty. That sounds like something guilty people would say.

So yeah, anyone who uses the excuse that Will is a celebrity and so has opened himself up to public scrutiny as an excuse to publicly flog him for this…you’re basically using the same loci as those jerks who say women’s clothes make it okay to harass them. Hope you’re proud of yourselves.

And if that offends you…

Uh…why should I care? I’m not a celebrity.

And that’s about all I have to say about it. My biggest hope from this post is just that I got someone to think twice about why we do this, and if it’s really okay, I’m not expecting to get a whole movement going here.

After all, I’m not ABC news.

Signing off, and stay honest– Natasha Queen.

At the end of a fast…

I decided to follow up my previous post.

Mostly because I think the perspective when you start a fast and when you end it is totally different.

I mentioned before that I have a hard time with the prayer part of fasting.

Well, I decided to do something about that finally, at the urging of the Spirit, I think. And start committing more time each day to God.

So far, it’s not anything spectacular.

But I was watching this YouTube video the other day after I had already started, I’ll try to link it here:

But this lady is talking about how 1st century Christians had it rough, and how we in the West, 21st century are spoiled, I’ve heard it before. I’m tired of it, you know?

But then this part of the video, at the end, that she impressed me with is where the 1st Century Christian makes this summary.

Basically pointing out that we have the Bible, we can meet freely in public, and we can openly have our faith…but we don’t read the Bible, we shirk church, and we hesitate to tell others about our faith. And our pastors often encourage this attitude instead of rebuking it.

And this lady says “I (the 1st century Christian) can’t believe I’m saying this, but I think I have it better.”

And I thought that is just so true.

Of course, as many commentators were quick to point out, there’s many countries where it’s still deadly to be a Christian. We in the West can feel like the world revolves around us.

I believe God let us be the safe haven to persecuted Christians for a purpose, so we could support them and give them refuge…but a lot of us don’t even remember that it’s our job. That Paul told us to remember those who suffer for Christ as if it were us ourselves.

I suppose it would do no good to worry about it, but, I do think, I could be more aware of it.

Of course it’s getting more dangerous even in the West, but we’re still a far cry from the East and Middle East.

But it’s a more mature attitude to realize that for all that, it’s better to be real about your faith, even if you’re suffering, than it is to have no real faith, and have it all.

Why do we do this, in the West? We squander what we have, and waste our oppertunities.

Not everyone may be a door to door evangelist, or a street preacher, and nowadays, that isn’t received so well anyway.

But tagging Christian Instagram posts and tweeting Bible verses is not exactly witnessing.

I’m sure it blesses some people, but it’s not witnessing in of itself to do only that, and not get more personal, and that’s where we seem to freak out.

I remember this line from “The Devil Wears Prada” where Nigel confronts Andy about her superior attitude towards the fashion industry. “Most girls would die to work where you only deign to work.”

Couldn’t that be said of us? “Many people would die to do, or say, what we barely deign to do or say.”

I don’t mean to be too harsh. Many of us here have found ways to influences others and minister to them even in our wealthy and overstuffed culture. And I’ not hear to disparage that. What is this blog but my attempt to use the internet as a way to tell people about God, instead of just distract them from Him.

But we can’t deny that, at the very least, we brush things off much more easily than our brothers and sisters in other parts of the world do. We examine ourselves less, and we compromise with the world more.

Case in point:

Pre-fast, I’ve been exposing myself to more and more sexual content in fiction on the net. I don’t do it on purpose, but I read stuff that has it, and I can’t always scroll enough to skip it. (They ought to make some kind of button for that.)

I don’t think it really affects me…at least, at first I thought that.

But sure enough, those thoughts end up in my head more.

I find actually, that for someone like me, the biggest trap of sexual content is not that you start to lust after the characters or actors involved, I don’t, but it’s that you start to read it into everything. You assume it’s there, even when it isn’t. And your mind supplies the subtext.

Even if you don’t like it, you expect it, and it becomes part of the experience for you.

Post-fast, I read something last night that was like that, more than I expected it to be, and I felt so disgusted it surprised me–because I haven’t been feeling that repulsed for a while.

But I just felt like God was looking through my eyes at it, and it embarrassed me, even if I didn’t intend to see it. I scrolled right quick, but I still felt dirty. And yes, I repented, but it was still jarring to have that experience again. In a way, though, it was relief, at least it still bothers me.

Sexual content is tricky. You can be disgusted by it and still find it addicting just because of the way our brains and bodies are wired. Why else do we like cringe comedy?

And we like that judgmental feeling of being above that, but still viewing it.

I know a lot of Christians who fall into that trap.

The good news is, if that’s all it is, you can get out of it fairly easily. Just cutting out the source will usually do it.

A real sexual addiction is much harder to kick, but not impossible, with God. I’m thankful I’ve never had this problem.

Some people would argue that it’s not bad as long as you’re not engaging in it…I don’t think that’s biblical.

But I give into temptation to let it slide.

And I honestly think, that’s more our temptation as young Christians. The devil doesn’t tell us to think it’s good, not at first. He just tells us to let it slide.

Let it slide when you see LGBTQ content that you know is unbiblical, but it’s popular, so don’t knock it.

Let it slide when you see a sexually charged scene, because it’s not like you’re doing it.

Let it slide when people are expressing attitudes that are anti-Christian in a blatant way.

And i don’t mean that they just aren’t Christian themselves, of course we’ll encounter that, but some creators go out of their way to pollute and corrupt Christian ideology when they write about it, I do think that’s dangerous. If you don’t know your bible especially, you’ll believe anything people say about it.

I remember I was watching this Tiktok compilation of people who left Christianity, out of curiosity, thinking maybe I’d understand it better.

And, it was full of bitter, ignorant people who clearly didn’t really know what Christianity taught at all. Their church either failed to explain, or they weren’t paying attention.

And hey, sometimes it’s that you’re not paying attention. Even the worst churches are bound to get something right, I find most people who complain pick and choose what they listen to from a church, instead of listening to all of it. My father could go to a church that taught basically what his Church taught, but find the one point they didn’t express the same way as him, and make that all he heard. And one time I remember he said he didn’t like a worship song’s lyrics, and then misquoted the lyrics to mean something that the song did not actually say. I was astounded by how he could convince himself it was bad, when we’d all heard the same thing…I thought.

One person in the compilation mentioned reading the whole bible all the way through (which in one sitting, or even over a few days, I found questionable, even I can’t do that and I read very fast) and saying she found so many contradictions.

I’ve read the same bible all the way through more than once, and I was like “What contradictions?”

A lot of minor discrepancies are just misunderstandings, which if you research actual scholars, can be cleared up very easily. They can also be mistranslations, depending on what version you use.

And other contradictions the Bible itself will explain, and acknowledge. They are not really contradictions. The God of the Bible is a collection of paradoxes, much like humans are. He’s Just and Merciful. Stern and Kind. And we’re told that we will perceive Him through the lens of how we ourselves act.

Which is just true of world views in general. Ever notice how prideful people think everyone is proud, and selfish people think everyone is selfish? And kind people tend to see more kindness in others. It’s because we look for what we put out.

Maybe I’m just too biased to see the problems with Christianity, but I’ve heard a lot of criticisms launched at it that only proved the people didn’t understand what the religion actually teaches, and only believed some twisted version of it they got from someone else. I mean, if I want to criticize Hitler or Marx’es philosophy, I would read something they actually said, or did. Not just what their enemies said they did. That’s just smart.

All this to say, just because someone disagrees with you does not make them worth listening to. They could be lazy, ignorant, and stubborn. Taking criticism of the faith fro people who actually study the topic is more useful.

But I think we’re a little too trained to listen to all complaints against Christians, from everyone, regardless of whether they are the kind of person who’s likely to be honest about it or not.

To get back to my original point, I think due to all this confusion, we are worst off than early Christians in some ways. Though we have a lot more opportunities.

But valuing God for Himself is the best gift we can have, and that is the thing we struggle with. We devote our time to so much else.

Now, when I started my fast, I only stopped doing one thing. I kept all my other distractions the same.

But you know what? I stopped wanting to do them as much.

Funny, but watching movies, and reading fics just didn’t seem quite as important without this other thing I was already sacrificing. I still did it, but, I just didn’t feel the need to as often. I began doing things outdoors more, interacting more with my sister instead of just sitting alone doing my own thing.

My energy improved. I felt tired at first without the high of my addiction, bu over the last week as I replaced that more with outside time and time with God, and have recover form being sick, I feel much more energized. My mood is better.

You see, this is what I was saying in my other post. When you give up even one thing, you realize how many things you don’t really have to have in your life. It feels like you do, but then it’s gone, and you find there’s always something else you can do. We don’t rely just on one thing.

Fasting makes me a little more disciplined that before, even if it’s for a short time, but usually, after a fast, discipline comes a little easier for a while, that mindset sticks with you for a bit. Eventually, you do lose it, that’s why fasting is supposed to be a reoccurring practice.

My family is also nice enough to encourage me to stick it out, and not to give it up. Which is always helpful. And to help me occupy my time in other ways.

I find that even doing other things, my thoughts center more on God just because I am aware that I am not doing something, for Him.

(I hear this works in marriage too, for making you feel more loving to your spouse because you know you’re doing or not doing something for them, even if they don’t know. Try it.)

Perhaps the most embarrassing thing I’ve realized though, is that my lack of interest in God is mostly my own fault.

When I get bored with Church and worship and prayer, it’s because I have filled myself up with other things.

I remember the Avatar movie (the blue one, not the travesty of the kids show’s live action one) where the Tsuhik (not sure I spelt that right) says to Jake:

“It is hard to fill a cup that is already full.”

While that movie is far from perfect, I do think they nailed one thing about having a simple, spiritual life. Jake later says “They don’t want anything.”

Funny, when you are filled with Spirit, you really don’t want a lot from the world.

And when you are filled with the world, you don’t want a lot from the Spirit.

We can’t have both.

I think, once upon a time, God made it so we could. The world was made to be pure, and being full of our lives here, and our lives with God, would have been one and the same.

And someday, God promises, He will put it back that way.

But till then, the world has fallen to evil, and if we fill ourselves with it, we turn from God. It happened to Solomon, the Wisest man to ever live before Christ.

And if I think I’m beyond that, I’m kidding myself.

Fasting does humble a person.

I’m not saying I’m a new woman, I think that’s more for God to say. I’m saying that I just have remembered somethings I was letting slide, as you might say.

Not all change is dramatic, you know.

Man, we are so hooked on that in church though. The breakthrough, the breaking off, the strongholds, the mountains moved…

Which is all good, in its time.

But so much change is quiet, gradual, or if it sis sudden, it’s private and not something to yell about until we’ve walked it out.

All my moments of real breakthrough were alone, or silent, or quiet. I have always wondered why.

But when I saw others have big, loud moments…but remain unchanged afterward, I started to wonder if Gd maybe did it that way on purpose. Maybe when it’s big, an d shiny, we focus on that too much, and forget the actual change.

A change of heart happens in an instant, perhaps, but it happens inside. And it’s better to show that with how we act before we tell someone.

We want to hear it right away now. We ask people what they feel or think right after we pray and talk.

But, usually people need more time than that to know if something really stuck with them.

There’s a resewn God is always telling us we have to be faithful, i. e. consistent with our religion. We can’t just do it every once and a while and expect it to change us.

I’m only saying what hundreds and thousands of other people say in the church…and maybe we all say it because it’s true.

So hey, if your Christian, and you’re not liking what I’m saying…oh well.

And if you’re not Christian and you read this anyway, that’s amazing! I hope you got something out of it.

You know, I kind of hope I am making some Christians uncomfortable by saying we need to quit it with the big showy stuff so much. Good.

I know I do have a lot of readers from out of country, though, and maybe you live somewhere where what I’m saying couldn’t’ possibly apply on a cultural level.

Still I think the truth of faithfulness is something all of us need to hear, even if we’re somewhere where our faith is tested everyday. Because it’s just another kind of discouragement.

Suffering and abundance are both tests of our faithfulness. Who knows which is really harder? All I know is we have to face whatever we have, now, if we really want to please God.

I hope I will keep this going, and learn more from it. I’m only human, but God is God.

If I can end my fast, but still maintain some discipline and boundaries, that’s a net gain.

Until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

Why I hate YA novels…but still read them.

Okay, this isn’t the most serious topic, but sometimes you just gotta blow off steam.

I don’t know if the people who read this blog are really the type to read Young Adult or Teen novels, but some of you watch anime, and that’s kind of the same crowd, so…

When I was younger, I didn’t really read these books, I actually hardly read any teen novels till I was already almost an adult. My mother wouldn’t have let me, to be honest.

I barely got to read Christian Romance novels. And those were mostly horrid.

I couldn’t even tell you the first teen novel I read now, that’s how little it stuck with me, they are more my sister’s thing anyway.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the genre, it’s usually some type of romance, coupled wither with fantasy, action, or horror like plots, but they are more vanilla than the adult counterparts…but usually still pretty bad.

For whatever reasons, Twilight made vampires and werewolves a popular part of teen fiction, and so are witches, and fantasy things.

Or you have your typical high school story about popularity and being yourself.

A lot of YA novels are set around adult characters, but they still act like teenagers.

And most romance stories, even for older women, follow the exact same tropes as teen novels…but with more sex.

The whole hting disgusts me.

The only ones I generally read are fantasy ones that sound interesting plot wise until you actually read them, and it’s just more tropes and angst.

When I was still a teenager, I got a good look at how teens write because I joined this online forum called the Young Writer’s Workshop.

The stories I read there were total garbage for the most part, a few might have had potential.

What I found disappointing was that they were all exactly the same. I could understand bad writing from inexperienced writers, if it was in every genre, and had some diversity…but all the books had the same style, themes, and ideas in them.

I was shocked. My own writing had never resembled anything like this at all, even at its worst. I had more originally when I was 8 than these stories usually had.

And I’m not saying that just to brag. My early attempts at writing were not good, but I was at least trying to come up with my own story.

I’m aware that these young author probably did come up with the ideas themselves, they just executed them in the same way.

And I think I know why, most of what teens read now is either fan fiction, romance , or teen novels. They don’t read classics, or philosophy, or non fiction.

I grew up reading all of that, I was homeschooled. I knew C. S. Lewis’s writing better than I knew J. K. Rollings. And that’s not even a teen novel.

I have attempted to write some of these tee story plots in the past, I find them kind of interesting as a premise. A lot of the ideas have potential, if you don’t take them too seriously.

A lot of stories, for example, try to use fairy tale races to explore racial problems in our own world. The Hunger Games famously tried to reflect back our society’s superficial obsession with entertainment, no matter how morally bankrupt it is.

But the Hunger Games annoyed fans most when it became the most like a teen novel, and focused on a love triangle and teen drama when it could have focused on the more important elements.

There’s this assumption in teen or YA fiction that teenagers are not going to care about a story unless there’s some drama in it. That they are incapable of higher thought,, and higher aspirations, we just want to date and dress up and play games, and maybe save the world on the side.

A lot of teens buy into this.

When I was 12-13, my mom was encouraging me to read books like “Do Hard Things” by Alex and Brett Harris, and “A Thomas Jefferson Education for Teens” by Shannon Brookes. Books that told me that the teen years are a time to prepare for bigger things. That I could still take them seriously.

That had me trying to start my own ministry and teach people while I was still in high-school.

I didn’t succeed, but I learned a lot form trying and failing. I learned how hard it is to inspire people, and how hard it is to make them believe in something. And that coordination is difficult, and so is organizing something.

I also learned that people rarely take teenagers seriously when they say they want to do something serious.

I’m now in my 20s, and still getting disrespected by older people for being young. My generation is not looked highly upon…but then when are young people ever looked highly upon by older people? You’ll find accounts of older people knocking the younger generation in every part of history books.

I like what the Bible says “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young,” I live by that.

Anyway, to get back to my point, books aimed at people my age or a little younger, are really, really insulting.

To be fair, a lot of teens I knew in high-school were just about as basic as these books made them out to be, a lot were angry too. And would get mad at me if I said that things should be different.

I think I wasn’t that good at delivery back then, I was young and immature too. And while I’m not old enough yet to have all the perception of old age, I’m old enough to know better than I used to. I can now present myself much more clearly and politely.

However, I don’t think my lack of social grace was the real problem back then, teens don’t really notice that as much as adults do. You have to be old enough to expect to be treated with some amount of respect, before you get offended over it (think about that for a second.)

I think it was just I was raised a different way. And they couldn’t understand me, and I couldn’t understand the pressures of their lives. Now that I’ve been to college and gotten a taste of it…I frankly still don’t see the appeal, but I do understand the social pressure to blend in more. People are vicious when you don’t agree with them, and the younger they are the less they have empathy about it.

I’m so glad I was homeschooled, to be honest. I see what my public schooled cousins go through and I’m relieved I didn’t have to deal with it till I was an adult.

But even with those problems, the stories we feed kids are not helping anything.

I mean if all we give them to think about are superficial, light stories, that is all they will think about.

You know while I’ve been fasting this month, I’ve been thinking about all the ways we distract ourselves in the West.

What makes us different from other parts of the world–though not completely different– is how many ways we can distract ourselves.

We all can afford it, subscriptions, splurges, junk food. all of it. Even the poorest people in our society still have phones, often enough. And TV.

Despite what critics of our country like to say, we don’t really have it so much better than everyone else. I mean, as a whole we do, but within that framework, a lot of us don’t have easy lives. For personal as well as community reasons. You don’t have to be poor to suffer, and wealth doesn’t get your happiness. Just makes you run out of excuses for being unhappy faster.

Teens in the West don’t have easy lives, but they do have over-saturated ones. Over saturated with corruption, propaganda and lust, and vanity.

Every prosperous nation has turned into a corrupted one, in history. People get cocky whey they don’t have to live day by day to survive.

I know that I’m a part of all this, but at least I’m aware of it.

And the books we write, and read, and make movies out of, they feed this.

Our entertainment quality is plunging every year. “Representation” has replaced original, deep plots and the message of personal fulfillment has replaced any other message of meaning in life.

There are a few gems here and there that defy this, but they are getting fewer all the time. When I find them I want to re-watch and reread them over and over.

One thing I thought while I was viewing the 90s X-Men show was just how different they wrote heroes back then. It’s only been about 30 years since the first season dropped.

In 30 years, most of these characters would have just been angsty, morally grey individuals. Who would all question if what they were dong was worth it, and be mildly or heavily depressed. Even the live action movies veered more that way, and most of them weren’t made that much later than the show, until the reboots, which are somehow less depressing than the old ones, but also less well acted, so…

( I still like them better, but I like happy stuff.)

Watching that show was like going back in time, I can just barely remember from when I was a kid, shows and movies that used to try to make character real. They had emotions that weren’t all angst and sadness and anger and doubt. They had diversity of worldview’s, and unlike now, they could explain why they did.

I’ve written before about the lack of strong ideology in movies now, how good characters can’t defend goodness as well as evil characters defend evil.

I may be nuts, but I think it’s deliberate, it happens too often to not be on purpose. I think that Hollywood wants us to see goodness and hope as emotional, weak position that people hold just because they refuse to give up. And all of us root for because we prefer it to the alternative.

But the evil position is what really makes sense, and has factual evidence to back it up, and we just prefer no to face reality.

Movies and anime tell you that you don’t want reality, you want entertainment. You want sexualized content, and fluffy feelings, and drama. You don’t want something real.

You’re weird, in fact, if you don’t like that.

Funny, all the Youtubers I watch express disgust with this very aspect of media when they review movies and shows. They yearn for meaning. Even the ones who make fun of it the most.

Even Nux Taku, a rather famous anime YouTuber who likes hentai, openly, will get into the deeper themes of something, even when, in my opinion, they aren’t really there.

We like to find meaning.

Hollywood knows how to get people to watch things that are garbage just because it checks the right boxes for them, and book novelists know how to get teens and young adults to read their material by luring them in with superficial appeal.

But I for one get tried of the lack of depth. What’s the point of this stuff?

I know, someone is going to say “But it’s just for fun, to relax.”

And, I get it. I want that sometimes too, just a dumb movie or book to read.

That’s okay once in a whle.

But I’m talking about all the time, like, kids who never read anything else, or watch anythig else.

I was surprised entering highschool not only by what people did watch or read, but what they didn’t.

I had a huge library of books and movies I liked that no one else had ever heard of except other homeschoolers. And I was flabbergasted. Why would you only read one kind of thing?

But that’s how it was. The brainwashing worked.

I don’t think it worlds completely though. Some people still want depth, and if introduced to better things, will learn to like them. I have hope.

My concern is those people are fewer and fewer the more saturated we are in the bad stuff. We don’t foster that trait in people, it makes them harder to please, and for such a commercialized culture, we need people to be convinced to buy things, not think about them.

Because of how I was raised, I actually avoid products I see advertised. I have an aversion to commercials and ads, they make me not want to buy something. I prefer to read reviews by real people. The few times I’ve broken that streak, I didn’t like the result.

I won’t say it’s wrong to listen to ads, a few are probably true, I’m saying it’s unwise to be so pliable.

Once you learn how to see when people are buying and selling you something, you become a lot harder to fool.

I think I got off topic.

But all this is really on topic. Teen novels are just a product of what I’m describing. Buying and selling a lifestyle and moral standard to teens that is so much less than what they are capable of.

Teens have shaped history many times, most important historical figures started what they did in their teens. There are exceptions, but it’s not the rule.

We are capable of high thought, and high achievements…and yet we soak up this superficiality, like as sponge, and we thing that’s what we re.

It makes me sad.

I take every chance I get to introduce people younger than me, or my age, to deeper ideas. Sometimes I think I’m getting somewhere, other times I think I’m not.

But we have to try, adults. It’s a worse sin not to try, than to try and fail. Some of them are bound to get it, they are still human.

That one thing to remember too, teens and young adults may be exposed to a lot of crap, and dumbed down by society, but they are still human beings. Humans can change, grow, and adapt, that’s what makes us human.

You can be brought down to the level of a slug, but the same person can be elevated to a prince or princess. Our state of mind is not set in stone at any point in our lives.

Some people may just be dumb, but I think most of us are just untrained. I’ve seen little glimpses of depth even in the people I thought were mostly shallow in my social circles.

I think it’s getting people to believe that about themselves that’s the trick, and to care about it. WE all want meaning, deep down, but most of us hide from that desire and pretend it’s not there.

I’m not writing this to put down teens or young people, by any means, I still am a young person. I just know I’ve been blessed to have the chance to see all this at an early age. I started this blog for that exact reason, to inspire younger people to look for depth and truth in whatever areas we can.

You see embracing that is the key to wisdom in life. A wise person learns from everything around them, whatever is available, they can even learn form total trash, if they try. A foolish person avoids learning as much as they can. And they accomplish very little in life.

I know I am fighting an uphill battle, that people often don’t really want to be wise…but this is what I’ve got. This is what I do. I pray it resonates with someone out there.

Maybe that’s why I keep reading these books, I’m looking for signs of hope. That other people are trying, and looking, and succeeding.

One author I could recommend is Megan Morrison. She’s modern, but I have found all her books to have depth that shocks me, considering what I usually see in that genre. They hold up. The best one is “Grounded” which is just a better version of Tangled, if you ask me. (I like Tangled too, but this book is so full of imagination and depth that a short movie just can’t capture.)

I guess all this sounds a bit sentimental, but I don’t know, why do any of us teach or inspire if not to try to raise people up to a higher level? It’s frustrating, but the most rewarding when you succeed.

They say being an artist is hard, but being a teacher has to be the hardest job in the world just about for high risks and low rewards. Along with being a pastor, probably.

So in summary:

  1. I hate these books because they are shallow
  2. I read them to find hidden gems
  3. I think we need to expect more of young people
  4. I think we need to expect more of ourselves

I guess that wraps it up, until next time, stay honest–Natasha

Lyrics
Well I was young
Well I was young and naive
Because I was told
Because I was told, so I believed
I was told there’s only one road that leads me home
And the truth was a cave, on the mountain side
And I’d seek it out ’til the day I die
I was bound
I was bound and determined
To be the child
To be the child that you wanted
And I was blind to every sign that you left for me to find
And the truth became a tool, that I held in my hand
And I wielded it but did not understand
I was tired of giving more than you gave to me
And I desired a truth I wouldn’t have to seek
But in the silence I heard you calling out to me

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What I learned from Fasting

It’s the new year everybody!

Yay!

I haven’t made my list yet, not sure what I want to happen this year.

But my church always does a 21 day fast at the start of the year.

I don’t really fast food, I think I might be hypoglycemic, not eating makes me feel really sick, really fast, and no sugar will have a weird effect on me too.

I’ve tried food fasting in the past and never got beyond 1 day at most, and that was torture.

Sometimes I fast a particular food instead.

But after my scare last year of dropping 15 lbs, and thankfully, gaining them all back, I have decided to just be happy to eat normally.

So, I tend to fast things like movies, TV shows, or writing too much.

Fasting could really just be called abstaining since it’s not always about food and water.

While it’s gotten a bad rap thanks to the rise of bulimia and Eating Disorders, fasting isn’t unhealthy when it’s done in the right proportions. It cleanses your system, uses up excess sugars, and for most people, won’t make you feel all that bad. (I’m an unfortunate exception.)

While fasting is not commanded per sec to Christians, Jesus said that his followers would fast when he was no longer with them. Which would be now.

Not every godly character in the Bible fasted, but many prophets, kings and judges did.

While I have no fasted food that often, I have learned somethig just from what I do fast.

And I thought it might be worht writing about.

True Confession:

I’ve alwas been terrible at the prayer and worship part of fasting. I’m told that’s why I haven’t had better success with it.

I used to try it and felt no different, so I didn’t bother.

I’m one of those people who doesn’t like to be demanded to do things. So my relationship with Spiritual Discipline has always been tempestuous. Either I got carried way denying myself because it was so counter-intuitive, or I didn’t do it at all.

I still struggle with that.

Spiritual Discipline has been neglected a lot in the Western Church. My church does practice it and encourage a handful of them, but there’s a bunch we don’t really address either.

I hear Catholics do some, but most Catholics I’ve met weren’t serious enough about the faith for me to ask them about it.

I know that one discipline is silence and another is solitude. That’s hard now. We almost never have to be alone with our thoughts.

Actually that’s where I found fasting things like TV and movies to be helpful.

I have images and sounds playing through my memory all day, every day.

I had that before I had TV, honestly. The same things used to happen with books. We have to have something to fill up our thoughts.

Better that then anxiety. I suffered from anxiety so much in the past, even as a kid, I used to use books to escape, then I used TV. Now I use writing as well.

None of those things are bad, but you get to rely on them too much. They aren’t perfect substitutes for God. But they do distract you.

When you give that up, even for three days, the difference is immense.

24 hours without TV and I feel like a different person usually. A whole week, and it’s like I’m more clear.

Already, in the last three days, I’ve been bored, listless, and blue ( not fasting TV, but I don’t think yo all need to know what I’m giving up. It’s a private matter, I’m just using TV as an easy example.)

I fill up my days so much with this thing, I don’t know what to do without it. I push aside prayer, worship, and even physical exercise because I do it so much.

It’s too much and I know that, but I don’t want to stop.

Fasting can be like a self chosen intervention.

It’s never easy, but because I have been doing it for years, I do escape the lie many people believe, which is that it’s not possible.

I learned at a young age to use self control because of fasting. Not perfectly, but at a level most kids don’t reach. Most adults don’t either. How many of us really try to control ourselves from giving into urges.

Heck, they tell us that’s unhealthy now.

It’s really not. Most doctors would probably tell you you should not give in to every urge you have all the time. Especially if you’re an addict.

I was watching a YT video last week “Why you’ll marry the wrong person” and this man was saying that we’re all addicts to something, whatever we use to keep from being alone with ourselves.

I felt a little called out, to be honest.

I used to be okay with being alone with myself, but it got to where I had anxiety every time I was alone with my thoughts.

But then again, that could be just a result of overstimulating myself so much to begin with.

Our brains get addicted to screens, and if we get off them for a brief time, we can feel withdrawal. We’re not necessarily depressed, so much as we’re empty.

You can tell because the depresison goe waway while you’re on the screen, but ocmes back once you’ve been off for five minutes. That’s addiction.

Some addiction to screens is inevitable for us, like some dependence on sugar is.

But there is a way to cut down on your absolute dependence it, and for that, fasting is ideal.

Also turn on the blue light filter on your screen if you have one, that helps, the blue light is addictive and stressfull.

I used to be very judgmental of people who were on their phones all the time, till I got a smartphone. Then I understood.

I don’t play games on mine, in an effort to stay on it less. But I do edit, and read web comics on it. I do use it to play music. And I’m not even as bad as I used to be.

Cutting back on it is hard. And if I’m not on my phone, I’m on my laptop, like I am right now.

I still read real books, though, and it’s amazinghow revitalized your brain feels after a few chapters if you stick it out.

Since I started this fast, I’m both more tired at night, and more ready to go to bed on time. Less stimulation to keep me up. My sisters too. We’ve gone to bed at 1 AM for months, but since I started this, we’ve been going to bed by 12 am or even before 11 pm. Go figure.

I’m not anti-screen. I do like moives, and I like being able to write faster and edit faster on a screen. It’s a nice thing.

But I am against being mastered by anything, as Paul or Peter wrote in the bible. All things are lawful for us, but not all things are helpful.

My family has always been against a lot of technology in our lives, my mom didn’t all of us to have a TV. And she was against having a computer that played movies for years.

I can see why, my Dad got addicted to it as soon as we got it, and to video games.

I almost ended up that way too.

But when I was 13-14, I started fasting. Actually I think I started at 12.

I didn’t know what I was doing at the time, and some stuff makes me cringe now, but the effort was there. And when I did that, I learned to control myself and my urges to play on that computer.

Also seeing my dad’s addictive behavior scared the crap out of me.

Years later, it’s still a temptation, but it’s not as big of one. I can abstain if I want to. It’s good to refresh that every once in a while.

I worked it out.

I think God put me on the path just for that reason.

And while my mental health is not always as good as I wish, it’s much better than most of the people I know, and they don’t all have that practice. My critical thinking ability is also far better, as is my reading comprehension.

I don’t believe this would be so rare, if we had more limits to our screen time. The kids I know whose parents limit their screen intake a lot are much smarter and usually better behaved. I know my sisters and I were better behaved for our babysitters as kids.

It is what it is.

Fasting taught me to set rules for myself even if my parents no longer did it for me. I think my mom taught me restraint, having limits to desserts, TV, and game time. And in turn I learned to employ it on myself.

With lots of prayer also.

It’s now been almost 2 weeks of my fast, (this post is late because I got sick), and so far, it’s not yielded miraculous results.

But you know, I don’t really think it needs to. I used to think that fasting would always be like the big ones in the Bible. Spiritual awakening, breakthrough, seeing visions, or whatever.

It’s easy to forget that fasting was regularly practiced as a reminder to focus on God, and things that are more important than our physical comfort.

For me, sacrificing just one of the many distractions I fill up my time with, reminds me that I can live without that thing.

We have a very desperate culture now. People often “jokingly” say that they won’t kill themselves just so they can find out what happens next in their favorite anime, TV show, or web-series.

I knew MHA was becoming a little too important to me when the news that season 5 would be delayed made me feel suicidal for a second. I hadn’t realized how contagious that way of thinking is.

And we should call it what it is, idolatry. We’re worshiping these shows.

Some people aren’t even subtle about it, they call the creators their “lord and savior.”

Is it supposed to be a joke? Maybe.

Ever notice that some things can be a joke, but still totally serious also.

See, worship isn’t always about thinking something is worth devoting your life and purpose too.

The Bible mocks and reproaches people who bow to wood, and stone, and gold gods. Saying that they will use half a block of wood to burn, but the other half to make a god, and will bow to it.

God apparently finds this ridiculous. And so do we, on paper.

But we’ll devote endless hours of time to 2D characters and mediocre story writing, just because it’s our crap, you know…and we know it’s crap, or it’s not real, but we don’t care. How is that really different from burning half the material we made our god from?

You can use firewood and not worship it, and you can watch shows and not worship them–but, if you’re surrounding yourself with people who do, it’s so easy to become twisted by that. I know plenty of Christians who compromise their morals for shows.

And maybe I have t oo, much to my shame.

I’ve cut way back on my anime viewing, I think my craze is dying down. I still enjoy a few, like any other medium. I did the same with Webtoon. I read it like crazy at first, but inevitably, it didn’t satisfy me, and now I just read a few episodes on an average day, sometimes none at all. Take me maybe 10-20 minutes. That’s probably harmless.

I confess, I make the same mistakes as everyone else. I think that my need for emotional fulfillment can be met by fiction. Even in creating my own.

And what is an idol, but fiction? It’s a fictional god, isn’t it? Back before we had common forms of entertainment, worshiping an idol was a nice distraction…people used to worship idols by having sex, did you know that? Not too different from anime and it’s fan service, and husbands and waifus, now is it?

Except you can’t actually have sex with an anime character, so we’ve traded something that was at least partially real, for an even more twisted version of it.

I mean, having a crush on a fictional character is normal, but…the kind of stuff people do to fetish-ize it…that’s not normal (and I don’t crush on fictional characters as it is.)

What I’m saying is that, when you get caught up in this temptation to worship and go after other things, a fast may be the best way to recenter yourself.

Mine hasn’t changed my whole life, but it changes a small part of it. I have to think about God a little more, and remember that what I’m fasting was not enough for me anyway.

And while I may not feel high off of God’s spirit right now, and fasting doesn’t always make me feel closer to God, I have learned that it’s not necessarily the purpose of fasting to do that. It can, and I have seen a slight improvement from it…but fasting is to re-evaluate priorities, and realize your mistakes.

I realize, I have mistakenly made certain things too important in my life. I realize that I need to think more about how I spread God’s word, and His message.

I realize that the ways I do it, like through writing this blog, may not be how I wish I could (I love writing, but I love interacting with people in person also) but it is available to me.

I may never know if it really helped anyone or not, but I can put it out there, that’s all we can do.

I am reminded that whatever else changes in my life, God is my constant.

And, I am reminded that all the things of this world are temporary.

Time was that the thought of losing one of my distractions would give me a panic attack.

And I own’t say I wouldn’t be upset now, but now I do stop myself and think “But if that happens, I still have other interests, and God can still use me in other ways, and I’ll get through it. It won’t be the end of me.”

I realize I am unique in having this understanding, not because I am especially good or free of temptation, but because I made it a practice to go without things for years, and to learn that I could bear not having them. You can live without anything, just about.

And I guess that is what I learned from fasting, to sum it up.

I hope this was interesting or even helpful to you.

If you now feel like you may want to try fasting yourself, I am no authority on it, but I do suggest starting small. Try 1-3 days of fasting a food or item or hobby.

If you think you can, try a week or even two weeks of no TV or whatever your addiction is.

You can also set aside one day to not watch TV or be on your phone, I’ve done this, with pretty good results. Brain break, right?

Another thing to try is setting aside an hour or half an hour each day to just not be on your phone, and to have fewer distractions, quiet time.

If you can get up to a month or even more than that, that’s about the Bible’s usual limit, 40 days. Anything longer than that is more of a lifestyle change than a fast, but a fast is a great time to ask yourself if you do need to make this a permanent change in your life.

And don’t brag about fasting, Jesus warned us not to do that. Only tell people who will need to know just so they know not to tempt you. Like I may refrain form making cookies while my sister or mom is fasting sugar, or I may not talk about shows or YouTube vids if they are fasting that. It’s different for everyone.

If you can, fast with your family, makes it easier to stick to it.

Remember also, something doesn’t have to be a bad thing if you fast it, it just has to be a problem for you. Don’t preach at other people that they shouldn’t partake of the thing you’re fasting from, unless they are rubbing it in your face, it’s really none of your business what they do.

Other than that, the rules are up to you and God. I’m just laying out the groundwork for how the Bible says to treat fasting. Not to be depressed about it.

Really, God would rather us not fast at all it would seem if we can’t do it with a good attitude. Repenting during a fast is okay, normal and expected. But whining about it is just annoying.

(And I need to watch myself for that too, I’m realizing. Wry comments can so easily become complaints.)

With that, I think I’ll leave you to decide, until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

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Questions for the People changing the world

I took a few weeks off since my last posts did not do so well, so this time I thought I’d talk about a different subject.

I also have a new laptop, so that’s exciting, nice to have keys that don’t stick..

I’ve been watching some tik toks, as I mentioned in my last post, and been frustrated with how people respond to these issues, but let’s talk about that term for a second.

You ever notice how everything is an issue now?

In the past century, we started using language like this, but they called it “problems” “dilemmas” “Crisis” “matters” and so on.

Now we call it “issues,” “injustice” “Inequality” and so on.

Before the modern and post Modern era, people usually just called it “doing good” and “doing evil.”

Being fair, and being unfair.

I mean, the difference matters. We don’t just call things right and wrong anymore, we call them “issues.”

Issues can be problems without being good or bad, really. What’s an issue for one person is a selling point for another.

Abortion is an “issue” but it has two sides. People don’t call it a moral question anymore.

It’s not really a question, anyway.

Language matters.

Back wehn C. S. Lewis was writing, as well as his peers, in the 1900s, they noticed that things were shifting away from the acknowledgment of truth. Things were not “good or bad” “true or false” anymore, they were “honorable” “brave” “intellectual” and all that other crap.

Not that those qualities are not real, but how can a theory be brave or honorable? It’s a theory. A thought process. Either it is true, so it’s useful, or it’s false, so it’s useless.

Now, as I study this stuff, I’ve noticed that Lewis was, as usual, 100% right about that. But what many people do not realize is that Millennials and Gen Z are now living in the aftermath of it.

A lot of people in their 40s or 50s, or older, imagine that the debate we’re having in society is still about right and wrong, but the truth is, it left off being about that a long time ago.

And if those people would ever bother actually talking to a young person seriously about what they believe, they’d see that for themselves.

I realized it when I began trying to teach and discuss things with my younger cousins, (Gen Z) and people at my college (Millennials). I can’t begin from the premise that something is right or wrong, and win the argument.

My cousins will be more concerned with what is socially acceptable, what is tolerant, and what is inclusive. If I say that it’s “wrong” they may admit it, but feel it is still their civilian duty to support people making their own choices, even if they are bad ones.

And you’ll find that thinking all over movies and shows now.

I mean, I’m sure Hollywood would like us to support them making their own choices, even if they are bad ones, so they can keep making porn, exploiting child actors, and doing drugs without suffering the consequences for it the rest of us do… I mean sure, let’s pay them millions of dollars a year to make their own choices.

I wish I got paid to do that.

But I digress.

So yeah, “right or wrong” no longer cuts it.

The operation to remove men’s chests, as Lewis put it, was largely successful. People’s heads are disconnected from the rest of them, and once they were, everything became about what sounds good, and what seems tolerant.

If you ask a kid or young adult now to give you a concrete reoans, outside of social norms, to support any of the SJW causes out there, they will not have one. I’ve tried, believe me, but you see, having a good reason no longer matters.

You are either in this crowd, or you aren’t.

The same with the tribalism that is retaking this culture. Nevermind if the tribes of the ethnic groups we are supporting, even did good things. They could have slaughtered each other, kidnapped children and women and raped them, or eaten people, and we’re still supposed to be proud of it and not call it out.

I thought progress was being able to admit your ancestors made mistakes, and try to correct them, not to say they were right in their own way.

Oh right, if you’re white you have to admit they made mistake, but every other race except Jews and Europeans can take pride in their culture.

I’m not even 100% white, but I don’t really care, I think that my European heritage is still cool. And my non European heritage is also cool. Not all of it, but no one’s history is pure at all times. That’s not really the point.

Man, the next time someone blames white people for slavery, I’d just like to ask what they think the fist modern culture to put laws in place to abolish slavery was…because here’s a hint, it was not a black or Asian or native American culture.

Leaving that where it is, let’s move on.

While I can give an opinion on these issues, it’s not really the point of what I’m saying. The point is, this is what we distract ourselves with these days.

Because we made it impossible for people to believe in absolute truth, they had to find a substitute cause to live for, and Tribalism, of all sorts, is the only one bigger than themselves.

So here we are, America is divided, and other nations are getting more and more divided also. It’s not that this problem is exclusive to America. But I do see it up close and personal here.

I really wonder, at times, how people in my generation, and the ones above and below it, can be so clueless.

No one else seems to realize that all this is by and large, a massive waste of our time.

Let’s assume we achieve Social Equality…whatever that is.

Everyone has the exact same rights. And it’s not the pseudo Equality that really means oppressing White people and men, but actual Equality, which says we’ll all be treated fairly.

Then what?

we’ve made perfect society–allegedly, assuming an Equal Society is perfect, and doesn’t have the same inherent flaws every other man made system will have.

(One obvious one being that no one can be special or unique anymore, so we are all replaceable)

Now we’re can ll live in harmony, right?

How long do you expect that to last?

And when is enough enough for reformers? Progressives? What is the cut off point? When can we stop fighting with each other? When will you be satisfied?

Assuming you ever get there, human reforms last, on average, less than 50 years in their pure state, usually a shorter time than that, before things get twisted by corrupt people who manipulate the system.

I’d give in one decade at most before it all goes to pot, and that’s being generous.

And once that happens, what will you do? Your old methods will not work, they will only strengthen the problem. The corruptors will know how to twist it to their advantage. Will you have any new ideas? Any sources to turn to?

I notice that a lot of people who care about Social Justice now, they want to force all of us to conform to their standards. For now, that’s what they think is best.

But the kicker is, if you force someone else to do what you want, someday, you will be forced to do what you don’t want. You get what you give, karma’s a real B— as they say.

If you lie, you’ll be lied to. If you steal, you’ll be stolen from. If you kill, someone will kill you. And if you enslave someone else to your whims, you will eventually be enslaved to someone else’s.

Or do you really think the people who agree with you will stay in power forever?

What I’m asking any potential progressive reading this is to be honest. Do you think Progressivism is going to last?

If the answer is, realistically, it won’t, because nothing does, then I ask you next:

What will you do when it passes? When the control swings back to people who are not Conservative, but are something else entirely. If you destroy people’s right to choose now, by removing the laws, and protections that allow people you don’t like to defy your ideas–then when they come for you, when you’re the minority again, when you’re the outdated philosophy, and there’re no laws in place to protect you from just being shot for it, is it going to be worth it to you?

“First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—
     Because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—
     Because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
     Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”– Martin Niemöller 

You stuck to your guns at the cost of taking away all of ours, and when we are unable to defend your rights, or our own, because you sacrifice us on your alter of Progress, will you blame us still? Or will you realize it was your choice.

You see, it’s all just a little too unrealistic to me.

Even if the Left gets what they want, and they probably will, for a while. It won’t last.

Tyrants always put on the social justice thing like a hat, and they take it off as soon as it suits them.

Chairman Mao marketed himself as China’s deliverer from oppression of landlords (read: Capitalists), then once everything bought it (or didn’t buy it, as they were broke), he stripped the nation of all it’s wealth, on the grounds that it was wrong to own capital.

Think someone taking away your computer, car, fancy equipment, streaming services, all of it. Leaving you only the devices that will stream propaganda into your home.

And people bought it, but Mao was just another dictator abusing his people, and when it all came out, they were devastated. And morally bankrupt.

What I do not understand about my generation, is that even if you tel them this, they think it doesn’t matter. If you explain to the Liberals what happens if you follow their methods, they do not care. To them, their goals are all important. Even if they burn down society to achieve them. In fact, they applaud that sentiment.

If you destroy the system that gave you a choice, then what will stop someone else from destroying you?

The rioting of this and last year is all great if it’s for a cause you like–what about when it’s for a cause you don’t?

And it weill be, sooner or later.

I know it’s not apruap opion, at least on socoal mediea, to say all this, but it sem to me no one really askes thse wuiet nayore.

I mean, Conservatives aren’t helping ourselves a whole lot with our approach. We just tell them they are wrong, and everything wrong with this country.

Even if that were true, that’s not going to change anything. I’ve gotten farther asking people the real questions. Asking them what’s behind what they think.

People are honestly surprised when I do.

I’m not an expert on every political issue, and I don’t really think I need to be. People my age mostly aren’t, I don’t knew to know the facts about it all to explain the holes in their logic, I just need to know enough to know there are holes.

And in my own, no doubt.

I’m perfectly aware that Capitalism, and Conservatism are not perfect. I know the are not upheld in ideal ways.

But my real problem with the Left is that, they thing they are perfect. They think there are no flaws in their own side.

It’s not just the left, a lot of people on the Right are the same.

And we can just argue and argue until we destroy ourselves, and that will happen, no doubt, sooner or later.

So, in the meantime, what can we do?

The pride and arrogance of the world, is not rally surprising I suppose. It’s always like this.

I think God warned us not to put our stock in worldly ideas because He knows that the world changes every half century or so. New fads come in, new empires rise, and if we build our lives around the one we lived in, we’ll suffer the most when it changes.

The first Christians knew that, and they were too busy being persecuted to really have much room for worldliness in a lot of place,s but they were still warned about it.

So what do we do?

I’ve found it more helpful to my mental state, as well as my life in general, to read theology and Spiritual writings, rather than political ones.

My generation almost doesn’t know the names of the great Moralists and Theologians of the past anymore. We don’t think it matters.

But if you want my two cents, that’s where our Salvation is.

Our Salvation is in God, naturally, but it’s the older writers who had the better understanding of Him, by and large.

There’s a few modern writers who have a clue, mostly because they read the old ones.

I’m not saying we can’t know God, but the trouble is, thanks to our culture, the Desire to know God is much smaller than it used to be.

Even in the Church, we’re drowned out by the buzz of Social Justice.

Thank goodness, not everywhere.

If I were any of you, I’d be paying more attention to the stuff that’s coming out of countries where Christians are persecuted a lot more than here. They”ll be the most clear sighted, because if you might die for it, you’re going to be pretty sure God is real, and Jesus is His Son.

We in the West should remember that we don’t own Christianity. And that it is the obligation of the Church globally to support each other. What our brothers and sisters in the East and Middle East and South understand about God would change us. While we are supposed to offer them our help and protection as much as we can. God set it up that way, but we mostly forget about it.

I’m not against chilling with the internet when you need a break, but we need to find other ways to relax too.

Get our minds off the immediate flow of ideas that is this culture, and on to idea that took years to develop by a lot wiser people than us.

It’s biblical you know, to pay attention to the wisdom of the past.

We’re taught to despise the past now, but they had their good ideas. And remember, some day someone will mock you the same way you mock them. It’s the change of times. Always.

Personally, I just hope I live to see it, myself. It seems cathartic to me. But then again, there’s no guarantee the future will be less frustrating. Which is why focus on God is the most sensible thing to do.

A lot of people are depressed because they focus on how evil other people are.

Newflash: Mankind has been evil since the Fall. It’s not new. You think it’s bad now, read the story of Lot sometime.

Or any of the Prophetic books of he bible.

Or a history of the Roman Empire…

The old sages told us to focus on Heaven, on God, on the hereafter, because they knew the world changed too fast, and yet, it never changes at all. Idealists and Reformers always end up disappointed in the end if they don’t learn to accept that truth.

And we never accomplish our full goals as humans, we really don’t know what we want. We can do our best.

It seems I always end with the same thought.

But there is really no other answer. If I didn’t have God, I really thing I’d be crazy by now. I’m one of those people who’s prone to take all this stuff really seriously, and only my Faith gave me a sense of humor about it enough to put down the weight of the world, and accept that I can’t singlehandedly control things.

I suggest the attitude to anyone getting overwhelmed by all this.

Until next time, stay honest–Natasha

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Enemies to Lovers and Crackshipping

Hey, it’s been awhile. I know, I’m sorry, I was writing other stuff.

I decided to do another fandom post, why not?

Let’s talk about crack ships.

I’ve been on Wattpad a lot lately (uploading fan fiction) and I discovered that peopel acutally write whole fics that are just analyzing ships…and people actually read that.

Okay, to be honest, I read it too, but I thought I was the only one who cared why people ship things. Like, I like discussing pros and cons, but from what I see in fandoms it usually is just “It’s cute and sexy so I ship.”

I never ship stuff based off that alone, usually. But I enjoy cute and sexy as much at the next girl, I suppose.

(my version of sexy is probably pretty homeschooled, though.)

Anyway, in the mha fandom there’s been a ship since last year or so that’s gotten a following for being a crack ship, and it got me thinking why do people ship crack ships?

I always thought it was sexual addiction, honestly. I mean, I’ve shipped a crack ship maybe once or twice because of a fan fic I wrote where it kind of made sense, but I don’t take it seriously outside of that. So I never got it.

And I was a little judgy about it, to be honest.

But I really don’t care if people ship Jack Frost x Elsa, or whatever, if they want to do that. The crack ships I find disturbing are the ones between adults and kids, or siblings, or other inappropriate people.

You can ship whatever you want if it’s not creepy, I think, but don’t make it creepy, guys…

So the ship that got my attention on all of this was DustBunny, or ShigarakiXMirko.

I never heard of it till I clicked on this one video on YT, and I thought “this cannot be a thing…what?”

But then I watched it and it was funny, and I thought “okay, I see why people think it’s funny, but is are they serious?

And a lot of fans think shippers are crack heads, especially crack shippers, kind of goes with the name…

I’m here to say you all should just screw off if you’re going to seriously think that shipping is weirder than the stats arguments you other nerds get into over shows and movies and books.

I mean critisize me for shipping if you think it’s bizarre, but don’t act like it’s weirder than what the “intellectual” fans do, for crying out loud. I can’t stand hypocrisy.

Anyway, I’m not trying to start a fight, just saying people should stop acting like it’s better to be a weird fan for one thing than for another, it’s all the same, isn’t it?

Except people who consume content just to get sexual pleasure out of it…that’s weird.

Anyway, why should any of you care?

I assume you like ships if you’re reading this, so let’s ignore that part.

Is it worth it to analyze a crack ship, that’s the question I want to answer.

[I’m also going to talk about why this particular kind of Crack Ship is so popular, and why I think it matters in the second half of this post, so read to the end if you want the deep stuff.]

Firstly, I think it depends on what you mean by worth it.

Will it make it more likely to happen? No.

We all know crack ships will probably never happen, ever.

But is it worth it to ask why people like it? Sure.

There’s always people who are in it just for the sexual content, but there’s always some people who actually put real thought into it.

And if you can’t judge humanity by the person, I think you can’t judge shippers by them either.

I mean romance is something most people want, so why let the perverts out there stop you from appreciating it, that’s my attitude.

And whie you don’t have to ship Dustbunny to understand what I’m saying, I’m going to use it to illustrate what I mean:

First of all, a crack shp has to be between people who it doesn’t make a whole lot of canon sense for them to be together.

The reason is that it strongly appeals to some people to change canon.

Some are just perves, again, but for the more serious cases, I notice a trend.

Crack ships tend to pop up around characters people think are lacking something. Whether it’s that they are lonely, or perhaps morally bankrupt, or too arrogant, people use a ship as a vehicle to imagine character development within.

And whether the two halves of the ship even know each other is not really the point. The person is picked base on the trait the shipper thinks will help the other person the most.

Case in pont: In MHA, Shigakria and Mirko have never met…and may never meet, quite frankly.

But that just makes it better for a crackshipper, because there are no limitations that way.

They won’t look at facts, the look at possibilities.

I call it “what if” scenarios, (and that was before I found out that was a kind of fan fiction, btw)

And you may ask “if it’s not going to happen, then who cares?”

My answer to that is: You can’t go through life thinking of what seems like it’s possible, and expect to ever exceed very mediocre expectations.

I mean, everything looks impossible and unlikely to us until it happens. When you were a kid, driving a car, tying your shoe, or riding a bike seemed like it would never happen. It was a whole new world of rules and skills you did not have. When you didn’t know how to read, reading seemed out of reach. Books were a thing you didn’t get.

Then you learn those skills, and you can’t imagine not being able to do it anymore. When you really learn something it’s hard to forget it.

It’s called expanding our horizons.

Stranger things have happened in real life than it would take to make most crack ships happen, if you chose to take that route.

2. The second objection that might be made is that ships like this are creepy and weird, not becuase of age gaps or being related, but because they are built on nothing and are often between characters on opposite sides of the good-evil conflict.

That’s more likely because if they were on the same side, chances are they would interact, and it wouldn’t be 100% a crack ship then, there would be come canon material for it.

So a hero-vilia ship is usually a crack ship, I’ve seen a few canon ones from time to time. I actually usually enjoy them. You can’t beat stakes like that.

But mostly, it’s crack.

Sometimes they are creepy, I’ll give you that. And it’s probably always going to be weird.

But there are some objections I think miss the point.

One being: He or she is a villain.

Duh, that why people are shipping it, for the redemption arc part (more on that later)

Two: There’s a slight age gap.

An age gap of 5 years or so is not worth making a fuss over. Maybe after 8-10 years you could question it, but I think it’s only creepy if it’s between an adult than teenager/kid.

People will throw the age thing in there when it really shouldn’t mattter. Only dating people who are with 1 or 2 years of you is going to be pretty limiting, especially since people are at such different levels of maturity at any given age. I’m more mature at 22 than most of my older family members three times my age are. If I let age be the only factor I’d be in a tight spot.

Crack ships do often have bad age gaps though, but as I said those are the ones I do think are wrong.

The ones that are small, and that the only reason people are objecting…I just don’t get it. Pick a real reason, man.

Back to the moral question:

I think me and some other people wonder if it’s really okay to ship heroes and villains.

I mean, my whole objection to ship  Toga from MHA with anyone, hero or villain, is that she’s psychotic, kills whoever she likes, and shipping her with anyone is kind of like saying you want them to die. (Which makes me wonder if all the people who ship her with Bakugo have ulterior motives.)

I don’t find it cute, sorry.

I think that’s one other objection that is valid.

People contemplate that crack ships ignore very important parts of the characters. Like that they are killers, or abusive.

Sadly, canon ships also do that, as Naruto proves…but yes, fans do it more.

It’s very true. Toga is one example. But you could name a bunch more if you’ve been in any fandom for a certain length of time.

And I don’t support that. I think if to ship someone, you have to ignore part of who they are, a big part, because it’s just too repulsive otherwise, then you cannot ship them. Unless you intend to rewrite the character entirely.

But then…it’s not really them anymore.

When I was younger and less mature I used to think that approach made sense, but now I don’t. If I have to change a character to like them, I just should like them. I can be mature enough to admit that.

Like, could I like Toga if I ignored her psychotic tenacies? Sure…probably, I’m not immune to the weird cute act the author pushes with her (why doe anime do that?).

But I refuse to overlook part of character in order to like it. She may be cute-ish, but she’s psycho, and not in a joking way, in a legitimately will murder you type of way. That’s not okay with me. If I wouldn’t ship it in real life I won’t ship it in a show either.

But I don’t think Dustbunny and other ships like it are on the same playing field.

You have to look at the characters involved. Shigaraki is not like Toga. He’s crazy…ish. But we also have signs that he can be more human, self controlled, and mature than she’s ever going to be.

And then if you are caught up on his backstory, you have a reason to think he was not naturally the way he is. All For One has trained him to be sick and twisted. But if you can be trained one way, you can be trained another.

I was watching one video and some idiot commenter was saying that Shigaraki justifies his actions because of his trauma, which is just not okay, because characters who have it just as bad as him are still good.

And I thought “When has Shigaraki ever justified anything he does because of trauma?” I can’t name a time. He claims he has the right to do it, because AFO taught him that, but he never says it’s good, or that it’s okay because of what happened to him. He does not really seem to think about what happened to him as unfair, he thinks he is just made to destroy (again, thanks to AFO).

Seriously, do we even watch the same show. Dabi justifies his actions because of his past, so does Twice, so does Spinner. All a bunch of victims, really. But Shigaraki doesn’t. He is brainwashed into thinking he should destroy by his ever helpful and despicable master. Talk about blaming the victim.

Unlike Toga, who actively seeks out twisted things as part of her whole schtick about doing what she wants.

Shigaraki is always referring to AFO teaching him to be this way, like he knows he didn’t come up with it himself.

That give the redemption arc fan a hope he might be made to see it’s all a lie.

Not much of a hope, perhaps. but there is some.

(And for the record, I’m still saying it’s going to happen, though not because of this ship, but I think if I’m trope savvy, that’s what’s coming. )

I guess this is kind of a hot take on Shigaraki’s character, as well as the ship.

The reason I need to talk about both is because people object to the ship because they think he’s a schmuck who cannot be redeemed.

And that’s hypocritical, because most people who complain about that will ship other stuff if they like it, regardless of how bad the person is, but whatever.

If that was true, I’d agree, it’s useless to ship. It’s like shipping Emperor Palpatine with someone, I’m sure people do, but decent people don’t talk about it.

But I actually like ships for villains who are more victims of other villains, because the ship is sort of a vehicle to introduce the idea of happiness to them. Something they would fight for, something they might defy their programming for.

I mean if you won’t do it for love, what will you change for?

I was watching a video about the enemies to lovers trope earlier today that basically summed up how I think of it.

It’s hard to reform villains in a way that makes sense in story. Either you do what Avatar did, and humble them through hardship and the truth about their past, but that is not going to work for every villain, obviously, if they already know their past and are evil because of that.

Your other option is for the villain to start to care about something.

(We’re gong to ignore the Naturo/shonen anime standard of beating them into submission and then they somehow have a change of heart. That never works irl.)

What would the villain carea bout?

Maybe there’s a vague good concept you could try, but most often, it has to be another person. What else can get past our defenses?

It can be their son or father, like in Star Wars, but family is always a gamble at the motivation for reforming. It might work, but then, if they cared about their family at all, why would they be evil?

MHA did this with Endeavor, but Endeavor also change because he realized getting what he wanted was not really what he wanted, and he didn’t get it the way he had wanted it anyway. That humbles him, and he starts looking to be a good dad as an alternative goal to outdoing All Might.

Very well done, but rare in real life. I would know.

So, what many authors do is use a romantic love interest. The reasons are simple.

A: Romantic feelings are some of the most powerful ones we experience, they can make people do both good and bad things, crazy things, or beautiful things, depending on what kind of person you are.

B: A Love interest is usually someone new, someone the villain cannot already resent the same way they would old friends or family. Someone who can surprise them and defy expectations.

Most redemption arcs turn on the idea of “new”

I mean, it’s biblical isn’t it? A new life, a new heart, a new spirit, that’s what we’re told. A new beginning.

You need the “new” Much more than the old to redeem someone, both in real life and in fiction.

Because it’s “new” You always run the risk of people rejecting it, but if they can accept it, that’s where real change comes in.

And that is why Enemies to Lovers is so popular. It allows both people to become new, and do new things, have new feelings. But still be themselves.

And, what no one talks about, but I think we should, it’s also most of the Bible, if not all of it.

God’s dialogues with the people of Israel, Judah, and then the Church, all read like they’re describing an enemies to lovers ship between a hero and villain.

God leaments the poor decisions His people make, and gets angry at them, but then He promises they will become new, and He would love them and heal them if they just come back to him.

We all crave that in the enemies to lovers story, and any other romance story.

Gd compares his relationship with us to a marriage for a reason.

Marriage captures something about God and us that no other relationshp can.

Friendship relies on the idea of being equal to each other.

Parent/child, relies on the idea of being unequal but still loving and giving to each other, even knowing it will never be an equivalent exchange.

But the idea of lovers is more than that.

Romance doesn’t even ask if you are equals (unless you want to kill it), it doesn’t ask who’s giving more. At the peak of romantic feelings, both people only care about seeing and drinking in the other person.

And so, it makes sense that for God, the absolute climax and epitome of closeness to us is where we’ve forgotten who’s more powerful, and who’s able to give more. We give all of ourselves, and God gives all Of Himself, and who cares which is more, none of us will think of it anymore. God never seems to think of it at all except to teach us humility.

The pinnacle of Love is to stop caring about measuring or defining it by anything, and to just do it, be it, really.

I now, a lot of us can’t imagine that. I’ts pretty much a forgotten idea, but I still find traces of it sometimes even in modern stories.

Now, a fiction trope can not begin to encomapps taht, but I would defend the Enemies to Lovers trope at one of the few that can even get a taste of it.

Relating all this back to Dustbunny, I won’t claim it’s quite what I’m talking about.

But my goal was to defend the legitimacy of shipping these kinds of ships. Even if it’s mostly for fun, we need the idea that people an be redeemed, especially by love, to stay alive.

I’m actually kind of concerned by how hard people find it to understand this simple idea, we want redemption.

We’re made to want it, and people who hate on fans who vie for it are…well, kind of pathetic. And it’s almost inhuman.

Hate on a ship for any other reason, but hating it because it requires redemption to work…I mean, do you know any healthy couples in real life?

The truth is, peeps, there is going to be an element of enemies to lovers in every real relationship you ever have. We are all the villain sometimes, and we can hope, we are all also the hero. I’ve been both, you have too.

And if we cannot, even in concept, agree with the idea that we will need redemption, and that it will come because of love, I don’t think we should be in a relationship at all.

If you cannot admit your’e the villain sometimes, but also rise up to being the hero, you are not ready for love. Even the more family affection type of love has elements like that in it. And deeper friendships do too, but superficial ones don’t.

That’s where it is people.

My opinion is, if you hate on enemies to lovers for the sole reason it’s that, you have issues, and are probably a narcissist. We all have to change, we all have to transform. Especially in marriage.

Someone else said that the beauty of Enemies to Lovers is that is is someone seeing all the worse parts of you first, and still being able to fall in love with you. We all hope to have enough good in s for someone to love us even if they see our bad.

I think that is so true.

And hot…just saying.

But even for me, who’s never dated (not for lack of wishing), I can see why it appeals to us.

We’re all insecure. It’s been popularized to just own it and like that you have flaws, but that’s bullcrap. If you like your flaw, it’s not a flaw, is it?

But the more honest among us now that, and we just want someone to look past it.

I was taught from birth on upward that my flaws were too big of an obstacle to love me. That my pain would make it impossible for me to be cared for, and that my boldness would drive everyone away.

I still struggle with believing anything different than that. I’ve met a lot of weak people who refuse to get close to me because of my edges.

I’m not a mean person, no one would tell you that, I just have a lot of fire and at times I may be harsh without knowing it. Working on that. But never with any real intent to be cruel. Some people get that about me, and others refuse to.

I have learned though, that people will back off from whoever they think is tougher than them.

So maybe I like that Enemies to Lovers trope for that reason. It happens in real life, people have attested to it, and I hope that there is someone who will treat me that way.

I like the idea that what repels some people about me would attract someone else, the right person. I just have to find them.

I think also, the loneliness factor is thing. Villains are lonely, so when the trope is hero-villain specifically, we can relate. Heroes can be lonely too.

As Shakespeare pointed out, we are the most like God when we show mercy, and that is what Enemies to Lover is about. having mercy, maybe on ourselves as well as the other person, since often there is a moment where one or both halves of the ship realize they were wrong and did some bad stuff.

It’s about hope, too.

Basically, it’s like God towards us, and I find that beautiful.

the Bible says “love covers a multitude of sins.”

It better, right? Or what would all of us do?

So with that really in depth take on this, I think I’ll end, and I’ll see you all next time–Natasha.