Losing the Value of Life

Today I want to write about a phenomenon I’ve been noticing for years, but, somehow, it was just this week I began to draw connections as to why.

First, I want to illustrate what I’m thinking of:

In simple words, this phenomena is “a loss in the value of human life.”

I think, in general, in this country, maybe in this whole world, we humans have lost a sense of value for our own and other’s lives.

I mean, that we no longer feel life is beautiful, worthwhile, or important.

The most prominent examples of this would be, as always, in the media world.

 

Have you noticed yet how many movies (and anime, the other biggest genre in this country), spend a sizable chunk of their time trying to convince the audience that humans are worth saving.

Since I was a kid, I noticed the anti-human rederick in sci-fi cinema.

I bet if I asked you (assuming you’re in an English spelunking country) to name 5 movies off the top of your head where some bad guy from another race, or another planet, says humans are basically petty, garbage that they really don’t see any value in, to which the hero retorts with something brilliant like “Well, I say they are.” And then beats the crap out of the villain, who is still unconvinced… you could do it right. 

Watch me I’ll do it now:

Wonder Woman ( Ares vs Diana)

Captain America (Red Skull vs Cap)

Justice League Animated movie: Crisis on Two Earths (Owlman vs Batman)

Avengers Age of Ultron (Ultron versus the Avengers)

The Matrix (Agent Smith versus Neo, pick a movie for that one, all three do it).

 

There’s more, but that’s just 4 popular, and one more obscure example.

I’d say this rend must have started in the 60-70s, but took off more in the 80s-90s, and is now a staple of pretty much every superhero movie we have.

And Anime has it in almost every arc, if it’s a shonen anime. 

Makes me wonder what humans ever did to all the machines and aliens, it’s rarely other humans who are making this judgment call.

I mean, why do screenwriters feel so implicitly that other races would loathe and despise us on such short acquaintance?

Usually, i’ts because we’re “destroying our planet.” And agenda that is only held by some members of our population. Try pitching that idea in an African tribe sometime, they’ll give you blank looks. Those of us “destroying” our eco system, are usually the ones reaping the most benefits from doing so. Maybe we are in the West, but, that’s not a global reality.

And because we’re cruel, petty, and afraid. 

Like, usually the aliens in question, and AI things, are not any less cruel or petty than we are. But they look down on humans like some self righteous snobs.

And then we get the protagonist speech. Like “I”m going to save humanity anyway, because… reasons.”

Like, the hero really can’t disagree with it.

Ever notice how tired our modern day heroes are?

You’d nee see that in the 50s-60s, heroes reveled in being heroes the way ballerinas revel in ballet, and artists revel in painting, and actors revel in acting. There was not this weariness to them.

Even Spiderman, perhaps the most iconically troubled superhero of the last century, spent most of this time enjoying his job. He thought it was important.

In my mind, it’s a disgrace to our culture that we can have a movie where Superman spends most of his time wondering why he’s even bothering to save humans. (Dawn of Justice.)

Like, heroes used to not take humanity as a whole and say “you all suck, so why should I save anyone.”

It was about saving the ordinary, decent people who need help, and sometimes, the not so decent people, because they were still people.

 

I’m not here to talk just about superhero cinema. But it’s one place you can almost always find this. Even my favorites from the last 10 years, that’s true. Some of the older movies, it’s not there in.

I now some of you are gong to be thinking “But humans do suck. They’re just telling the truth.”

That’s what my Dad would say, I know. I can still hear his voice in my head even after nearly two years of absence.

I have to admit, my dad is one of the main reasons I’m tempted to be down on humanity myself.

Though, I question what the point of having aliens and machines criticize us in our movies is, when, those things are not real, at least not yet, and really have no place judging us.

Shessh.

I mean, what are we going or replace humans with? We are what we got to work with. What’s the use of having alien critics? Thanks for the social commentary, Hollywood… the people who actually promote a sinful lifestyle so much you’re directly responsible for the increase in a lot for the very things you’re calling us out for.

Yeah, sure, it’s all the general populations fault.

Like, was it the 90s kids fault that the examples we subjected them too were so sacred up that they now have very little idea of how to behave? Or did we remove their chance to know what right really was?

But I digress.

Another place you can find this attitude is in pretty much every leftist work out there. I’m sorry if that’s offensive, it’s just something I’ve observed. Their books, movies, talks hows, always bashing on how bad humans are, and how we’ve ruined everything.

The level of disgust I’ve noticed since a kid with humans.

Why it’s int he flipping Percy Jackson and the Olympians book series, come to think of it. Maybe that’s where I encountered it first, even.

Whihc is liberal, byt he way.

Humans… we just cant’ cathc ab reak.

I guess it makes snes, we projet abetter personana onto ficiaotna l things, giving them what we wich we had more of as a race. Wsidoem, jsutice, Mercy, Intellignce., Bravery.

But often, what we create is so cold, and bitter, and disillusioned with anthhign in life that might give it pleasure.

Then we wonder why peopel are so depresed these days. Thsi is what they grow up having funneled into their brians bye ey balviale media outlet.

The hatred for humanity.

So, of course, our vlaue for human life drops.

Someitmes, I almsot feel gald when humans die in movies. And then I Catch myself feeling that way, and I think “Am I atually gald? am I actually happy?”

But, I’m an emopath, I pck up on the meotoians and intentons of people. I feel them like they ar emy own until I learn to distuirgns between what they are bradcasting and what I am actuallyt hinking.

IT’s aeasy for me to assume what I get form toehrs is just how things are.

But,I don’t actually like it when peopel die.

Coud it just be, that, when I watch the movie, I catch what they pople writign it were really feeling? What the characrtes are meant to emobidy.

OF course it woudn’t be accpetalbe to make our hero actually asupport gneoicde…but, if you give the vaillinst herse really convicng speeches bout how much humasn desre death or contol, and give the hro nkothing but burte strenght to anwer it with, aren’t you sbulimally letting the vilalin viepoitn win out? IT was never defeated, just silnced.

Why are peopel sypamthaizign with villains so much now?

And anien is even worse int his area than WEster Cinema. At least we give lip service to our ideals wevn eh we give nothing to back it up, but naime often falis to eve do that. The heors jsut save th day becaue they have a stonrg passion for thier firends.

It’s to the point where people have acknowledged that saving the world doesn’t feel like important stakes anymore

Saving the flipping world! Not important!

We can’t get invested int that, because, to us, the world just means the greed and selfishness driven masses that we are shown on tv. Not the individuals whose lives we might actually care about. We can get invested int hose, but not the rest.

That’s why superheroes always save their love interest, you care about that, you don’t care about a crowd of people, do you?

I remember that back in the day, in Westerns, just doing justice was enough, it didn’t have to be to save anyone. You cared because it was justice. It didn’t need a face. The hero wanting it was face enough.

But what hit me this week about the trend I’ve noticed for years and years, is why.

Why do we all feel humans are just the worse, and that human life is no longer valuable.

My theory is, it’s a deep psychological side effect of the choice we’ve made as culture since the 60s.

Let’s start with the biggest two:

Since the 60s we’ve taken parer out of schools, and tried to shut religions out of education, despite much evidenced to the contrary that it’s even a good idea to do so, and so education became more secular.

Depression rates soared after that, by the way. So did teen pregnancies. So did abortions.

Another change made around that time. Abortion became legal.

And now they say we abort 5,000 babies every minute, if I remember right, that may be an old statistic.

This even become legal is, frankly, and atrocity of the highest degree. We have the evidence now to know we are killing a baby, but we’re still doing it and the left will keep saying it’s a Women’s Right’s issue until that excuse stops working.

‘Cause we all know, Women make babies by themselves, and men nave nothing to do with it, so why should the man get a say in it if his baby is killed. (And while some jacks do pressure women to get abortions, many men have not wanted that choice and have been ignored.)

I’m tired of tiptoeing around this, if someone can’t see abortion is wrong, they are more delusional than a man who believes he’s a dog, and there’s just no use apologizing for that anymore.

I hate, by the way, how that issue is barely even talked about now. I heard almost nothing about it at the last elections. It’s not even at the top of our priorities list. We spend more time arguing about the rights of people who enter this country illegally than we do about unborn babies.

But how did abortion become legal? How did this happen? How did we get to this point? Is it not because we began devaluing human life?

I mean, at first, it didn’t work that way. They convinced us the fetus wasn’t human. But, now that we know it is, we’re still not worked up about it.

We just don’t really care, do we?

Even Pro Life people, have hard time getting as emotional over it as we used to, and we’re told not to.

We’re told not to get emotional about a baby being murdered. Like, that’s not something that deserves some emotion….Wow….

We’ve lost our minds, that’s for sure.

But we’ve also lost our value for life.

I almost wonder if it’s a judgement in some sense. Not that God made us do it, but more like karma. Like, we killed our own children in their country, so now our sense of value in even our own lives is dying away.

You ever notice once you start treating someone a certain way, you began to feel that way. And what you do to one person, you’ll do to another. A person who bullies one person will probably bullied another. A person who rapes one person will probably rape another.

A person who lies to you will lie to someone else, and likely to themselves too.

Cross one line with one person, you’ll cross it with all.

Maybe that’s why James said “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.” (James 2:10)

Because that’s the truth. There is not “one time Sin”. There is only a sin that you do in one form at one time, and maybe don’t do it again, bu you’ll do something similar.

Of course if you repent that maybe not happen, but most people dont’ repent of that, they just think it’s not important anymore, it’s in the past right?

In the rape case, it’s doubtful that a rapist usually ever realizes what they did was wrong. If you can dehumanize a woman or man enough to take that from them, how can you go back? It wouldn’t be easy.

Interesting how signs of violation are sometime harder to let go of that sins like murder and violence.

I mean, many a person has murdered and then been horrified that they did it, and not enjoyed it. But how many people realize even as soon as they’ve done it that rape or molestation was an evil they should never have done. It’s like they block it out.

As the signs get worse and we become more immune to them, we come to care less and less if people die.

Thank to the news most to us feel people are dying all the time, all day long and we can do nothing about it.

Maybe our goal is to try to numb ourselves to the horror by watching horror. Watching gory stuff, and dulling the pain of feeling helpless by doing that. There’s reasons people consider horror a kind of escapism.

But Horror movies and shows and stories are not really an escape, because so many of them can occur in real life, and we’re only increasing the likelihood of it by popularizing it.

You know, I wouldn’t know how to shoot up a drug if I didn’t watch movies. I’ve never done it, and I never intend to, but I know at least theoretically how it works, I’ve seen it. Why are we so stupid?

We are still responsible for our own choice, it’s true, but, we really can’t keep denying that choosing to consume this stuff is changing how we feel about things..

C. S. Lewis thought that being taught how to feel was one of the most important parts of learning. He explains this in The Abolition of Man.

We live in a culture that is post Abolition of Man. We are trying to abolish gender, human rights for anyone we deem a problem (like babies), and any sense of guilt or shame over hurting each other over petty issues.

Do people feel guilty for rioting and becoming violent over the last year? Or are they proud of it?

Should we be proud that people died or got hurt over something that, bad as it was, didn’t have to affect that many people that way.

And of course, someone will say “Well, it should have. All these issues should affect all of us, all the time.”

I miss the days when people thought not everyone needed to be burdened with everyone else’s problems.

I mean, what are we all supposed to do about it?

It’s all just anger, that’s all it is. We can get angry, then what? Did it make us kinder? Smarter? Better people?

Or did we sell our integrity just a little bit more in order to make a statement.

Man, I think the media must just love how easily manipulated we are. It keeps them in business.

And valuing human life is just not even poplar anymore.

Almost everyone is struggling with depression now. I don’t think it’s just because we feel we have no right to live. I think we are wondering if anyone does.

I know that was a big part of my depression, and still is, when it comes back. I can’t find any pat of humanity I like when I think of what I’m shown all day long, every day, by media.

If I can’t value human life, I can’t value my life.

I want to value both.

It’s heartbreaking that we don’t.

According to the Word, God loved the world so much, He gave His Son for it. (John 3:16)

Jesus loved us so much, He died for us.

And what has humanity ever done form God?

Yet he loves us.

Do we understand that?

Many people express the doubt that God could really love such a messed up race as ours.

Well, we don’t deserve it.

But since when was Love based on desert?

You can’t find that idea anymore in the world. Once upon a time, we could. Frozen is the last movie I can think of, and Wonder Woman, that even broached the subject.

Why do our lives have value?

Because, God made us. Why he did, why he puts us here, when it’s such a mess, is hard to say, for us humans. But God knows best. Humans are the only tool he has ever used to mend the world with other than himself.

The Bible says we are partners with God in his Works. That is why we are still here.

I wonder, if we made more stories around that idea, if people would start to feel differently about it.

It’s not so hard.

I can get down in the dumps when I realize all this crap is going on, and that the barbarians of our world are the ones running things.

But, the world is temporary.

People are not.

I think that, turning back from this point of despair, is actually not as difficult as we think.

People who complain about their mental health usually are taking no steps at all to improve it beyond therapy and medication.

But what I found to be much more helpful was changing my influences.

I put some happier examples before me. I went back to books I loved.

I give this advice to other people now.

We need to rediscover what makes people worthwhile.

It’s hard with the constant influx of negativity.

We all talk bout it, but very few of us try to shut it out. I think we need space to just, think. Get in touch with Nature, with Beauty. With Goodness.

If we all did that, the media would have very little sway over us. I think they want us afraid to go outside.

You know, at least right now, people have as much power over you as you give them, provided you’re in a normal position.

I try to explain to my cousin how we don’t all need to think the same way as what’s in vogue.

Wokeness is just… ugh…

It’s come to a pretty pass when the people villainized in their country are ones defending the lives of babies.

Yeah, just stop and think about that sentence.

I mean, shoot, even if you think women have a right to abortion…why on earth would you hate someone for defending a baby? Isn’t that psychotic?

And the self satisfied attitude of the people…

But do we value each other anymore?

If we ever did. My knowledge of history makes me question if any but a predominantly Christian society has ever had anything like a real value for human life. We take it for granted here, we don’t realize how quickly it’s slipping away.

Or if we do, we don’t know how to stop it.

It’s hard, it should be intrinsic, not something we have to learn.

I’m still working on it myself, but I do believe that Beauty and Goodness are the best places to start.

As Paul wrote “whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. (Philippians 4:8)

We really don’t do that anymore, do we. And so we’ve lost our value for all the things that are valuable.

But, be enoucred, friends. Even if our culture is dying, Jesus is not going to die He’s beent ere done that. God is not goidn anywehre.

All Nations fall, and all peoples corrupt, but God is incorruptible. He will stay the same.

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)

In a world where nothign huamn is cerating excpet sin, peopel turn to God as a certianty.

We must hang onto that if we’re gong to not lose heart, it’s so easy to do that.

David wrote;

I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
That I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.

 Wait on the Lord;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord!
” (Psalms 27: 13-14)

Notice, he says the “goodness of the lord” not man.

I’ve been thinking of that, because this year, I really want to see the goodness of the Lord…but I think, I keep looking for the goodness of man. And that’s hit and miss.

I’ll leave you with that, until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

Me, my name, and I.

To add to this list of things going wrong in my life, our microwave is busted, and we live off leftovers and homecooked meals in my house.

Oh well, I guess we’ll have to rediscover the art of reheating on the stove or oven until we can get a new one. Maybe by the end of the week.

It’s funny how stuff piles up isn’t it? C. S. Lewis observed that when things begin to go right they generally keep going right for a while, the same when things begin to go wrong. It’s like our life is a pendulum. The old saying for it goes “it never rains but it pours.”

With a slight dying down of my physical symptoms, my depression and anxiety and intrusive thoughts re-surged, this seems to happen every time, the two really seem connected.

But every time, I am starting to reach out a little more. To more people. Broadening my range of who I will rely on for help. It’s not easy for me to do that, as I’ve been burned many times even by Christians, by people who say they want to help but never call you or want to talk it out.

This is not an indictment against the Church itself, I blame this culture of distance and isolation more, we’ve forgotten not just how to support each other, but I honestly think we’ve forgotten what people even need from each other. Why else do so many self help books try to explain it to us?

It’s funny, I bet people from centuries ago would find it ridiculous. We humans have always advised each other about what others need, but we used to keep it to a basic religious philosophy with personal experience, not thousands upon thousands of options.

I think one of the only true differences between this age and the past is the options.

It’s actually interesting if you study communication throughout history, you’ll note how as it increases, so do people’s options worldview-wise. The invention of the newspaper and pamphlets basically was the reason the Revolutionary War was fought and won.

The telegram made the Railroad more effective and safer, and made War News easier to relay over long distances in a short time, changing how we fought wars.

And now computers and internet have made knowledge about anything and everything accessible to people who are barely literate.

The true change throughout the world is the swapping of ideas more easily and readily. You can see it as a good or a bad thing, but it’s a fact, and it’s not likely to go away.

I almost think this crisis has got us all thinking way too much on a global or national scale. If you think about how miserable other people are all the time, how can you ever let yourself be happy? Anne Frank wrote of that in her Diary while in hiding.

Personally, I only feel more depressed when anyone alludes to COVID. It disheartens me to be reminded of how everyone supposedly is discouraged and depressed.

I get the same feeling when I watch anime, maybe you other weebs have experienced this, but is anime not the most depressing crap ever? Even the happy ones can be depressing.

I think it’s the unfinished feeling of their storytelling, no problem even feels truly resolved by the end of the story, the message is generally, “they’ll just keep going with the same problems, for all eternity. Gleaning happiness briefly form others, but never forgetting their sorrow.”

Come on, that literally could be a tagline of an anime or manga.

Western stories are entirely different. Something gets resolved at the end, whether it’s sad, like most European stories, or happy like English or American stories usually are. At the end, you can say as Jesus said “It is finished.”

Oh sure, you know theoretically that the characters will live on in the fictional setting, but the story you need to know is over.

I think that’s why there’s arguably more fanfiction about anime and other Asian mediums, at least more that is constructing a cohesive storyline, and not just having fun with it and trying a few different settings out. I mean the 200+ chapter longs stuff. (The kind I write)

All my longest fan fics have been about anime or anime inspired shows. Save for one, but that one was done more sporadically in some ways.

There is just something so irrevocably depressing about the idea of going on forever trying and never quite succeeding, like a bird in the water toy.

I think anime is addictive for that reason, because it never feels finished, people always want more, most probably don’t even realize they are waiting for that ending. That’s why weebos hop from anime to anime, trying to find one that satisfies that need for a good ending.

Yeah, I know, one year as a weeb and I’m an expert? Maybe I’m wrong, but I know the affect it’s had on me is exactly what I’m describing, I am never satisfied, and if I like the ending, I still want it topped by something else, I still have something to be desired.

Unlike stuff in my country. I have wanted plenty of sequels for my favorite movies, but that has never made me unsatisfied with the original. Not like anime.

I imagine plenty of weeboos would be mad at me for knocking anime in this manner, or they’d sheepishly agree with me, sometimes they are surprisingly honest or self deprecating. They are also by and large, depressed.

I know maybe two who aren’t, at least I haven’t heard form them that they are, but I’m not sure.

And the fandoms have to be some of the most depressed sounding people I’ve ever heard.

Why am I bringing it up? Maybe you alredy guessed I see a connection between this and how depressed young people are in general.

Oh, I’m not blaming anime, though a lot of it is not helping. I think youth are drawn to it because they already are discontent with their lives. But I think anime magnifies it, I’ve noticed it much more since I started watching it.

The truth is, I don’t think young people actually mind being depressed that much. They are so used to it, it’s popular to gripe about it on line, and if you are the rare person who isn’t (not an anime person definitely) you feel no need to talk about it. Misery loves company, right? Contentment is quiet.

I never feel the need to write about it when I feel happy, because I am just happy, it’s when I am suffocated by sadness or fear that I need an escape.

I never am clear on what I’m escaping from exactly, a lot of empty possibilities that will never happen? Myself? Reality?

I got to say, young people are more afraid of spectral threats than we are of real ones.

We’re hiding out form the trouble in the world, the possibility of the apocalypse, the looming threat of society’s well being being left to us and the fact that we are not as a whole, the last bit prepared for that.

I digress.

I’m trying to figure this out because I want not only to be saved from this horrible trend of depression and discouragement in my age group, but I want to be able to pull others out of it. I get heavy hearted when I think of the amazing, sweet, kind people who feel like they are crap because they have depression and anxiety and mood swings.

I wonder if I was the only one who struggled with this, would I feel better? It would suck to be a loser (as I’m sure I’d feel like I was) but it’d be encouraging to know most people aren’t like that and there might be a way to be normal.

Jesus said “I did not come to call the righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” and “it is not healthy people who need a doctor” But being healthy is meant to be nomral.

(Is it even normal anymore? Seems everyone has a diagnosis of something nowadays. A lot of it is neurotic too.)

Well, I am not trying to add to the depression. I want to suggest that a lot of it is just… false.

Not that the feelings aren’t real, of course they are, but I know half of what I get depressed over is not reality. It’s what I fear my reality is, or will be. But in a moment of clarity, I know it’s not true, and probably never will be true.

Getting depressed over how dark the world is is easy, but it’s not based in Reality.

The World is Dark, the world has been dark since the fall, but people have never derived their joy from the world, if they were smart, but form each other and from God and from doing good work. Solomon wrote that that is the best thing to take Joy in.

Everything in the world is vanity, without the Love of God to give it meaning.

The most lasting man made things are the ones that reflect God’s Nature the most. Beauty, Simplicity, Courage, Glory, even Terror, all feelings God invokes in us, and symbols of those things have stayed with us.

I don’t write to you as someone who’s got this figured out, I’m seeking it. I’m trying to find how to Live. I am sure at least it involves getting outside myself and my own head, forgetting what I think I know about coping with my life, and embracing what God actually says.

All of which seems impossible, but God is a God of the impossible.

In the words of many Christian songs, I am reaching the end of myself. I am running out of my own ideas. And whenever I really do finish, I think I am gong to find God waiting there, and it’ll be clear at last, what I only got glimpses of up till this point, it’ll be in full color.

I must be so close now, if I can even guess that’s the end of all this.

I think if I had that revelation, I would not need medicine, or therapy, because those are for people who have not yet found it, but are still looking.

I am waiting to me other people my age who feel this way, who will encourage me to think that way, who are not willing to give up and succumb to the depression of the world.

I get really tired of it you know, not just of being miserable, but of thinking of what a nuisance it is.

I literally get anxiety about driving the new car I wanted for ages and was so grateful to get, yet I can’t take it out many days without feeling afraid I’ll crash it, either on purpose or on accident.

That really ticks me off, because it’s a gift, and I want to enjoy it, and how dare the devil try to ruin that for me.

I go to hang out with kids and I feel sick, or I feel sad or out of it, even if I felt fine beforehand. and I just get so freaking ticked!

I wish this anger was enough to propel me out of this mindset, but anger does not destroy fear. I can still feel that chain to it, even if at times I almost forget it.

Hannah Hurnard describes that well in “Hinds Feet on High Places.”

And anyone who’s been set free knows that you know when you know that you are free, when that last shred of hesitation has gone from your mind. When you have stopped drawing back.

Maybe it takes a thousand baby steps outside your cage before the door really slams shut behind you.

I don’t know.

But I am not content to just get a patched up version of wholeness. Where I can function, but not flourish. I know I could probably have that, if I took pills, and was willing to be selfish the rest of my life, always taking, never giving except when it didn’t feel like a risk, I could take the easy route.

I could have gone in for that a long time ago, I’ve considered it, and while it may be a step in the future, too many people park there who don’t need to.

I still want to me mad enough to believe God actually does heal us completely, and set us free. I know people He’s done it for, I’ve read the stories, I want a piece of that. Why should I settle for less than the Best?

Why should I settle for less than what God would give me, if only I would receive it?

Oh, but I do.

You all don’t know how often I choose to feel worse than I have to. I’ve done that for many many years, and been warned about it before. It’s sad.

And I want to stop doing that. I’m tired of treating myself like I deserve that. I may not be able to fix myself, but I don’t have to sabotage the help I do get.

Lastly, if you’ve read this far, here’s a fact about me I haven’t mentioned here before.

Natasha is my pen name, but my first name means “Joy” or “Rejoicing.”

It’s always struck me as ironic, from a very young age, how I never felt happy. If I did, it scared me. It wasn’t joy.

Someone even once told me that, they were one of my peers. And my father used to mock me for it all the time.

I’ve experienced joyous times since becoming saved, but many times my name still felt entirely inappropriate, yet people have prophesied for me constantly throughout the years that I will have so much joy.

And year after year of not seeing it, I wonder, “what the heck?”

And now, dealing with serious depression, anciety and helath problems, I want to laugh.

But… I heard at an event I was at that “if you struggle with depression, you’re meant to walk in Great Joy, if you struggle with fear, you’re meant to walk in Great Faith.”

Supposedly, one of my gifts is Great Faith.

Funny, isn’t it?

But at some pint, ladies and gents, you have to decide what you believe. Yourself, your family, your fears… or God.

I fight it, but at the end of it all, I have always chosen God because I know that is right. Paul or Peter said “Let God be true and every man a liar” (meaning not that all men are liars, but that that it is better to think that than for a second to think God could lie, because then we’re all lost).

So, I will keep doing that, and keep you posted for whenever my breakthrough finally comes. Until next time, stay honest–Natasha

An existential crisis and other things.

 I might like Evanescence…who knew?

Well, I got a job at last. Yay!

My performance anxiety is still kicking in over whether I can maintain this one, it’s pretty hard to mess it up, the first day went mostly smoothly, but I lost my last job because I dusted a bookcase wrong, so I realized anew how temperamental people can be. That’s unusually picky, but still…

Especially in childcare, it’s hard.

Oh yeah, so I am working as a Nanny. I prefer that word to babysitter, since technically, the parents are still at home (mostly the case right now) but a lot of people need extra help.

It’s funny to me because I was homeschooled by a stay-at-home Mom, and we rarely got a babysitter. My dad never taught us, and rarely was home with us alone, so My mom didn’t get a break very often, somehow she stayed sane and manged to cook us dinner.

Now, some things got let slide, I can’t say we were very neat kids, and we’d go through phases of fighting a lot. There’s three of us girls.

But even so, it wasn’t bad. We were always well behaved kids, usually, in public. Of course, our parents believed in spanking.

Now, it’s weird for me to go to work for other families, and no one spanks, many people have only one child, and don’t leave their kids alone ever. My mom used to let us play for hours outside or in our room unsupervised, she knew we wouldn’t try to do anything stupid.

Now even if parents are in the house, they want someone to watch their kids while they work. I guess I can understand that, my mom didn’t work, and now she works out of home, not the same thing. Though she did lots of volunteer stuff with us there, and she never found us distracting. Heck, she taught me to help out the adults and she didn’t mind if other people were watching us more than her. I never supposed that was unusual until I got older and found out it’s rare. Rare in my culture anyway, in some parts of the country that might be fairly standard.

I admit in the American West, it’s seen as good parenting to be constantly around your child, involved, attentive to their emotions, etc. In the Midwest or East, it can be more about the child becoming independent and sensible early on, not needing to be carried through life.

There’s something to be said for both, I’ve heard that in cultures where kids are coddled and held more, stress levels are lower later in life; but what comes with that is also a lack of independence from other people, free thinking, or willingness to break from your community even when it’s going the wrong way.

America’s emphasis on independence drove its citizens to become stronger on their own, if the community is less strong than in other countries, we always felt it was wroth it to be free and preserve our Moral Integrity. That’s going away, but it’s not bringing unity. We now have a belief in independence without the reasons independence was ever important.

In the end, the American Dream was originally that if you had to leave your family to follow your beliefs, you could, and the early Pilgrims recognized that Religion has to come over all else, if it’s going to be real. It’s part of Christian Doctrine not to love anything more than God.

I won’t say that’s a less stressful life, but God has never promised us a less stressful life, and stress is not always bad. It can be, but the right kind of pressure makes us into better people, more than anything else can.

I was thinking today how lately it’s hard for me to know what to say when someone asks me “How are you?”

How can I put “I think I’m good, but I don’t really know how I am one day to another, and I’m confused, and I’m up and down, and I’m great, and I’ve never been so strange to myself” into a glib response that someone will accept? 

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I feel like I’m having an existential crisis… and yet I’m not.

It’s funny, I’ve been questioning what does make my life worth it. I guess when you have intrusive thoughts about suicide, and you choose not to follow them, to reject that as being what you are, then the next logical step is to wonder why. What’s driving you? What’s making you different from thousands of people worldwide? What do you have that they don’t? Is it arrogant to think you can conquer a problem so many people fail to beat?

I know I can’t be the only one who feels that way. I remember when I read “Soul Surfer” Bethany Hamilton described wondering why it was her, but not in an angry way, just like she wanted to know the grander purpose of what happened to her. And it was weird to many people that she wasn’t more devastated.

What if your feelings just don’t make any sense?

Even my therapist can’t figure me out every time.

I remember one of the recent episodes of Fruits Basket (I will probably review that show once season 2 ends) had a moment where two characters met each other, and the curse of their family took hold. They felt “Beloved, Hated, Drawn, Repulsed” at the same time.

That’s so accurate to the life of a victim of abuse. Both toward your abuser and to the rest of life, you feel drawn and repelled at the same time. You love them, you hate them. You want more, you want nothing.

Abuse is perhaps the most contradictory kind of brokenness in the human experience, because the nature of it is to be contradictory, to combine love and hate in an unholy way that never should exist.

I love my Dad still, a lot, and don’t want him to suffer, yet I want him to feel the weight of what he did to me, even if it hurts him, and I don’t want to see him, or talk to him. What do you make of those feelings?

I want to live, but I don’t want to live the same way I always have. I do many things, but I don’t know why I’m really doing them anymore, I don’t know if I believe they matter to anyone in the long run. 

“Vanity, vanity, all is vanity” Ecclesiastes says.

I am a student, I am a blogger. I have a YouTube channel. I read, I write on average 10 pages a day by hand, I knit, I watch kids, I go to Church. I dance. I sing.

I have goals and dreams and things I want to do, and I wonder why I want to do them. Won’t the end be I’ll feel the same as I did before? Are they just escapes? Isn’t everyday life the only real experience I will ever have.

One of my favorite things about the Bible is how much it lacks false sentimentality. You won’t read the fairytale , wishful thinking mindset in the Bible. None of this “escape” stuff.

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When the Bible has heights, it claims those as fully real, as normal as the lows. When things are dull, the Bible records them as faithfully as when things are exciting. We have whole books of Laws, Numbers, and History. We have books of Spiritual Revelation. We have a book about sex that beats any porn crap, both pure and passionate. (Did you know the Bible had a book about sex? A lot of people don’t know that.)

The Bible sees everything as important, it treats life as a journey, I picked up that attitude and I’ve always been less discouraged in my life because of that.

I guess right now, I’ve just had doubts about whether the Bible is right. Is my life a journey? Or it is dull. Don’t thousands lives never go anywhere? (At least in our eyes).

You have to really learn that you can’t know everything, if you want to make it through life sane.

I recently reread Ecclesiastes all the way through, I noticed that what that book is about is how the World’s pleasures, and man’s own pursuit of knowledge and wisdom, do not satisfy us. They don’t make us happy. Indeed, the end sum of wisdom is realizing everything is empty. That’s why Eastern religions have their goal as to be removed from the world and other people, they have reached the pinnacle of man’s wisdom.

Yet it’s strange that the Preacher in Ecclesiastes says to still do our work, because it is what God has given us to do, even if there is no point in it, because good things happen to both the good and the wicked person, and so do bad things, and we can take nothing with us.

It wasn’t until Jesus, the only man wiser than Solomon, that we got the answer s to why God would have us still spend time on earthly things. Jesus told us that we could lay up treasure in heaven for ourselves by our faith and works here.

The Bible does not teach that we are saved by works, but that we are rewarded for them. We can be saved even if our works are empty, but it shows our faithfulness to God is they were of value. 

And of course, human beings are not earthly things, strictly speaking, and we need to be concerned about each other.

Still, there are times I feel I am failing even at that, that I’ve hit a dry place in my life where I have nothing to give, and no one would appreciate anything I have to say. Like I’m just using other people for life support, but am myself a vegetable, emotionally or spiritually speaking.

I don’t know how true that is, but I suppose even if it was, everyone has seasons like that.

What I think God wants of me is to decide that even if I see no point in anything I’m doing, I will trust him, because I know He does have a plan. And that’s all I need to know, I don’t need to know what it is.

And even if I am not doing any other thing worth doing, if I Love God, and He Loves Me, then life is still worthwhile. Like the end of “Groundhog Day” when every day is the same, he realizes, the only thing with lasting meaning is Love. Love isn’t bound by time, or repetition, or memory.This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is groundhog_day.jpg

Like with Mary of Bethany, it is better to sit at God’s feet and worship, then to be busy doing everything for Him, but nothing with Him.

It’s easy to write that, easy to tell people to do that, it is not easy at all to do it.

It is amazing how it can take the most strength to be still.

Again, all the most true things are the ones we’ve heard so many times and just never understood the meaning of.

Maybe it was good for me to realize all this now. Rather than chase these things for decades of my life only to understand at the very end why they didn’t matter without God’s purpose.

Until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

Why should we make our bed in the morning?

Yesterday marked my 4th straight week of being off coffee. This is from someone who loves the taste of coffee and has drunk it almost every day since I was 15 or 16.

I went off it because of my infection, coffee is bad for a sore mouth, too acidic, but I realized in the onset of headaches, energy drops, and cravings that followed that I am a little too dependent on coffee. I’m no addict, but still, I don’t love the side effects.

My mood changed too. I wake up and feel a little down most mornings, low energy, empty stomach, etc. Coffee can help jolt me into productivity, I usually work on creative stuff in the morning, and do actual work in the afternoon. Of course, needing caffiene is part of what makes that feeling, so I’ve created the problem I’m trying to solve. Who can relate?

Today, I felt better than I have in days waking up, but it’s funny how when my obdy does better, my mood tends to swing back to fighting off the blues.

I’ve noticed illness can be a distraction from other problems. Some people are forever worrying about their body, who are probably actually perfectly fine, because that’s easier than facing the fact that they are lonely, unhappy, or angry about something in their life.

Of course crippling anxiety comes with illness, for me, a lot, though I’m getting over that, but to me anxiety is an old feeling, and Im used to it. The feeling that my life has stopped, will never change, will always be this gray, drab indoor existance, that is what I prefer not to focus on, when I don’t feel well, that’s easier.

Not that I prefer feeling ill. It’s a vicious cycle.

This morning I was going to watch a movie (I bet some of you wish your mornings were so free you could watch movies on a Friday, but sometimes it just makes me feel like loser) and I was going to watch G. I. Jane (good film), but it was unavailable all of the sudden, so I selected a movie my mom recommended and I was planning on watching: “Julie and Julia.”

If you like cooking or human interest stories, I think you’ll like this film, but this post is not a review.

It’s just that the film brought some things to mind.

I dont know about you, but since quarantine really started dragging out–you know, after the first 2 weeks– I’ve had issues watching anything that reflects any of the emotions we’re all feeling. Fear, depression, a sense of purposelessness.

But converseley, watching anything about freedom, happiness, and the perfect ending also grinds my gears, it’s like its taunting me with a “You can’t have this. Your life is on a loop.”

I know I’m talking to someone here.

Basically, I’m tired of living through a screen, one way or another. But reading has had rather the same effect, it’s almost worse in a book, I get more into it emotionally. I just read “The Diary of Anne Frank” and that was a rollercoaster, but hey, being in hiding, being in lockdown, there’s a lot of similarities. Anne describes the living for the little things, the brief glimps of the outside worl through a window, or through friends coming over. The frustratation of being stuck with other people, the joy of finding solace in other people…etc.

The fear of something going horribly worng. Even if at times she felt her life wasnt worth living, she was terrified at the idea of losing it.

Yeah, it hits home, doesn’t it. At least I know Im not crazy.

I figure everyone feels the same as I do, so there’s no reason I should hide it.

I was walking down a street yesterday, and I heard some women talking very loudly, the hwole block could have practically heard it, about having troulbes in their relationships. One was, anyway, and she felt seh had no reason to have a meltdown, no reason to feel this way, she was supposed to be happy. The other woman loudly told her that the whole world has never gonet hrough anything like this, we’re all in it.

I felt both sympathetic, and like laughing at this.

On the one hand, I feel you, ladies. I really do.

On the other, its pretty narcissistic or else just ignorant, to say the whole world has never gone through something like this. Oh yes it has. This is still small compared to WWII, the Great Depression, the Communist Threat in the East and Russia. I’ve read the books, it was just like this, but worse, because we can still go out, still face-time our friends, and still lead relatively normal lives, just differently. Some of those people couldn’t trust their own family not to turn them in. Couldn’t trust they wouldn’t be shot if they left their house.

I know, there’s been rioting here in the USA, so some people don’t feel safe, but it’s not every single place in the country.

Things could be a whole lot worse. And as a Christian, I have it on authority, one day they will be. But this is not the end yet. It can’t last forever.

You know what’s strange, not a single person I know at my church has contracted the virus. I’ve not heard of one. Even their families for the most part. Fortunately, no one in my own family has got it either.

Even with the knowledge that we are relativley blessed compared to past crisis, I understand many people have lost someone, or are simply depressed because of the constant gloom.

You have my condolences if you have lost someone, but there’s not much I can say about something I haven’t gone through, so I will focus on what I can perhaps help a little with.

I honestly feel like, part of the problem is that we all have toom uch time to think, about all the things, not just that we wanted to do in the future, but that we have failed to accomplish in the past.

We’re not where we want to be, and now it feels like were not even getting there, because we’re stuck in the same place, with the same people, every single day. Week after week. Month after months, has it really been 8 months? At least for some countries, I think it’s 6 months here, soon.

Before, I could do things that distracted me from feeling like I wasn’t where I wanted to be, I thought, I’m at least working on getting there, but now it feels like that ground to a halt, not by my own choice, and I feel out of control. Hence the depression many people are feeling.

My sister says that it’s human nature, not know what will happen makes us wonder if anything is worth it, but if we knew what was coming, we’d be afraid of it because of our mortality. I guess that’s why so many myths portray finding out the future to be a fearsome thing that causes people to make really stupid decisions, which end up leading to the bad things they knew would happen, or else, ruining the good things they were told would happen.

Yet, Jesus told us the future, and said “Do not let your hearts be troubled.”

How?

Well, I’m still figurien that out.

I’m at the stage where one little dissappointment feels huge, because I have so few things to anticipate happening. I wanted to cry when I heard the next season of my favorite show would be delayed till next year.

And one good thing happening feels tenous. Like “but if this goes worng, then what?”

And, it has gone wrong. I can’t say a whole lot of good things have happened to me this year. Though my problems started before the lockdown did.

We’ve all heard that the little things are important. Like you should make your bed every day, you should brush your hair, take a walk. Cook.

And we’re like “why? Who cares?” I see it all over where anyone talks about quarantine, people aren’t showering, doing laundry, or cooking or anything. PEople thought they’d be productive, but now they are finding that if human approval was all you were ever after trying to work, and play, and such, then once it’s removed, you have no motivation.

Pays to be home-schooled your whole life and taught to love learning for its own sake, and to do work because it mattered to your God and your family, and not to earn browning points at school. My mom didn’t do grades. Now I make A’s and B’s. Guess not knowing all those years didn’t hurt me at all.

but I struggle with feeling like it’s all meaningless too.

But I had a thought today. When we do these menial tasks, as repetitive as they are, it’s kind of like an act of faith, an act of hope. We’re sort of saying, to our family, ourselves, and our God, that “I still care. This still matters. Because I believe that doing the small things leave me open to do the big things.”

I cook a meal today because I believe cooking will be important in the future. Even if it doesn’t feel like it matters now.

Even if cooking dosn’t matter, my family eating does.

Making the bed doesn’t matter that much in of itself, but doing your daily duty, it matters becaues it’s the daily things that remind us of the long term things.

C. S. Lewis got at the idea that th Present is the closest thing any of us experience to Eternity. And Eccleistates says that God has put Eternity into the hearts of man.

Christian think that heaven will be an eternal Now. All things will be happening at once, yet nothing will overlap. Something we can probably only even imagine though dreams, because time is odd in dreams.

And the every day things are important because, when you think about it, Heaven doesn’t really touch our lives at any time except in the present. We can’t live in the future, we shouldn’t live in the past.

If I try to live into even 6 days ago, I end up in a world of hurt, because I’m borrowing troulbe I already went through and going through it again.

I think this quarantine is kind of liek that. If we think about how long it’s gone on, we’re exhausted, and it feels like we’re serving out a sentance.

When Corrie Ten Boom was in soliatary confinement, she learned to make every little thing she did count. If she had a chore, she did that, if she had ants to watch, she would stop the chore and do that. She would read scripture “until the pain stopped” and it became more alive.

Funny, reading the Bible doesn’t make me feel worse. It truly is the book for the suffering person. It never minimizes suffering, but it promises a renewel of strength for those who suffer. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall laugh” (Luke 6).

The Bible also tells us to do everything we do as to Christ. I think this means what people are trying to say when they say “live in the moment.” Be fuly present.

You know what robs me of joy the most in my life is not sorrow itself, but being distracted by thinking about my problems. When I do things I ejoy, my mind will wander onto it all.

Take a second, ask yourself, how many times doing anything I liked lately hve I quantified it by a reference to the lockdown or virus?

Ive heard it from everyone “Right now we can’t do anything else but…”

“Everything’s crazy right now so I didn’t…”

“Because of quarantine I binged…”

If we were brutally honest, we’d admit we would have done or not done all those things even if quarantine hadn’t happened. It’s just a really convientednt exuse.

But here’s something I wouldn’t have done without this:

I wouldn’t have made a new friend in my ASL class probably, or not as fast.

I wouldn’t have tried as many new recipes and found out I liked being creative in cooking.

I wouldn’t have gotten to know the people at my church better from hearing their stories and seeing who was consistant enough to keep coming and trying to connect.

I maybe even will get a job because of it, fingers crossed.

And yes, I’ve spent too much time watching stuff, but I did find some new shows I liked that maybe wouldn’t have sounded as interesting without this.

I’ve read more books too.

And I’ve gotten closer to God, and my family.

Is it all good, no.

And do I still need to learn how to live in the moment. Yes.

But here’s the thing, what if we all stopped focusing on what we lost because of this, and started looking at what we gained? Or what we still have. What we can still do. And instead of measuring it by quarentine, look at it as outside of it. Something that isn’t really touched by this trial.

The Word says everything that can be shaken will be shaken until all that remains is what cannot be shaken.

So, maybe we should look at what hasn’t been shaken.

If nothing else, people will always be arguing about politics as long as free speech exists, which I hope is still for a long time. I get annoyed with it, but I’d rather have constant arguing than lose the ability to argue in public at all. Think about that.

I still get restless, and I’m sure I will again, even today. But if I’m growing closer to be able to just be present to everything here, then I am growing stronger.

In the end that’s what Anne Frank learned, and what Corrie Ten Boom learned, and what everyone who survives and thrives in these times learns. not to never be depressed, that’s impossible, but to live for the Now. Whatever the Now happens to be.

Looking ahead is good, too, that’s how we hope. But it’s good to appreciate what we already have.

Even if it’s just one or two things, that’s something. There’s some who don’t even have that.

I guess I’ll end this with a challenge, if anyone has read this far down (thank you) then how about you comment something that you gained or still have even after all that’s happened. Anything’ll do. We all need to talk more to each other about it.

Until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

Hanging in There.

Time to get serious.

Stuff happens. It’s been a rough mental time for me.

I both got and lost a job recently, and am now looking at another one. My sisters and I went to the beach to get out of the house. And I went to a women’s group at my church.

We just spent the whole time talking, and then praying. It was really good.

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You know what I found out? Age is just a number.

All us ladies, from the youngest (me) to the oldest (a lady in her 70s or 80s) have similar struggles.

The Lock-down has given many of us anxiety, some have not gotten to see their children or grandchildren in months. Some are still out of work. More than one of us are in therapy or counseling.

I was surprised to hear a lady much older than me, who has a daughter my age, say she has some of the same problems as me with feeling guilty about relying on people.

It reminded me that there are things you don’t grow out of with age.

Of course, I had proof of that. In my own family. It can be weird knowing I was more mature than some of my much older relatives.

One other thing that I got reminded of was the importance of sharing our story.

I’ve heard that “the degree to which you are able to tell your story is the degree to which you are able to heal.” I think that’s true.image (28)

Maybe that’s why anime characters always get redeemed after the whole tragic backstory comes out.

You know the most shocking thing about sharing is that you find out how your experiences are not really rare. It takes a very uniquely messed up person to have a story that doesn’t ring true for thousands of other people.

Good experiences tend to be our own, they would only have been special to us in the way they happened, what sounds nice to us sounds boring or weird to someone else, but everyone understands humiliation, betrayal, heartbreak, depression, etc.

The reason I write about my unpleasant experiences on this blog is because I know people need to hear about them, they need to hear what I learn along the way. and it also serves to remind me that I am going through a process.

Lately, my biggest struggle has been intrusive thoughts about killing myself.

Now, when I say that, people think I mean contemplating suicide. But that isn’t what I’m doing.

It’s more like a suggestion “kill yourself” or “I want to kill myself” comes into my head, uninvited, and I am horrified by it.

Thoughts of harming myself also come often. Like an image in my mind’s eye.

The suggestion is more like “I could do this” then ” I want to” usually.

I wonder if anyone reading this knows what I’m talking about.

I have had intrusive thoughts most of my life, sometimes they are about hurting other people, sometimes they are about hurting myself, those ones dated back to my preteen years.

I never once acted on these thoughts, and I still haven’t to this day. I assumed they came from depression, but they happen when I don’t feel depressed.

The real trigger seems to be anxiety, I think that’s common with people who have these thoughts. I have anxiety about my ability to deal with life, and with people, and with myself, the thoughts center around making me feel even more insecure about that. If what you think about is a reflection of who you are, the logic goes, than I must be a terrible person.

Some people do give into these thoughts and become terrible. Others never do, and the thoughts get better.

They come most when someone feels bad about who they are. These thoughts are like your mind’s bully. Telling you you are all the things you fear you truly are, deep down. And it’s hard to get away from them when it’s in your own head.

I got so afraid of these thoughts, I didn’t want to write anything about it for fear of focusing on it more.

But I believe in sharing my struggles. So here goes.image (31)

I’ll admit, I do not yet have the solution. But I can give you somethings that have helped me find some relief and even victory in this area.

A big thing: I had a breakthrough when my mom helped me realize that if killing myself was something I wanted to do (it’s not, but the thoughts raise the question) I would not do it, because I believe God has given me a life, and I should let Him be in charge of it. I would choose God over taking an easy way out. (At no point did I plan to go through with such a thing, the whole power was in the suggestion of it.)

While my confidence in my own resolve varies, it’s good to know what I really want.

Another thing that helps, trying not to follow these thoughts, it’s like a trap, you end up treading a well worn path that never gives you any answers about anything, or makes you feel better. But it’s addictive. You end up feeling kind of wrong without it.

One day when I tried to go the whole day not worrying, I felt empty. The noise in my head was what filled me up and took up my energy.

Something else that really helped, getting prayer and encouragement from those ladies. They encouraged me not to feel like such a failure, or so weak. To remember who I am. And to believe there’s an end to this.

A thought that often bothers me, and I’m sure you can relate, is “Will this ever end?” I’ve had the problem for so many years, and even though it’s gotten better at times, it has come back again and again.

This is the first time I learned anything about why it happens though. Or what works on it, other than distraction.

On record, I don’t know if intrusive thoughts end or not, at least for the average person. God can fix any problem.

And believe me, I get frustrated that He hasn’t yet. I hate it so much.

But hating it only makes me hate myself, and that only makes it worse. And being afraid only makes it worse for it adds to the anxiety that probably causes it to begin with.

There are people who fought something for 20 years before God healed it. Healing happens, but not always in the time we want it to.

Sometimes I feel I can’t take it anymore, but by then I’ve usually worried more about having the problem then the problem itself makes me miserable.

It’s true, struggling with a sin like fear and doubt is humiliating for a Christian. We’re supposed to have Faith, Hope, Joy, and Love.

Yet, somehow, even in this process, I haven’t lost those things. I think I love my family more for how supportive they’ve been, and for friends who’ve also helped.

I have Hope in that I am still in this and haven’t give up, and God promise “he who endures to the end shall be saved”

Sometimes I have Joy, despite this suffering, when I remember the Goodness of God and how He has helped me through many, many difficult days when I thought I couldn’t go any further.

All that has built up my Faith.

I have moments of doubt, every day sometimes, but overall, I have stayed true to what I believe.

And I have done what my Dad, who has the same problem, never did. I have asked for help, I have sought answers, I have prayed and praised God and not lost my connection with Him throughout this.

So, I believe I will survive it. I will go on, and I’ll recover from how emotionally draining this experience has been.

I guess I could close with some advice to anyone who has dealt with or knows someone who has dealt with this problem.

  1. If they told you about it that took courage, don’t act afraid of them.

Believe me, anyone who owns up to this is in enough shame and guilt, don’t add to it. They don’t like these thoughts, so you don’t need to worry about that, unless they start acting on them, but that is no longer intrusive thoughts.

2. Be encouraging.

Everyone has good and bad days with this problem. Encourage them to believe in the good, and that the bad day will always pass. And at least they stuck it out.

3. Tell them the truth.

What helps you when you’re down? What gives you strength? What typically helps the person in question? Try to help them focus on that.

4. Remind people it’s not permanent.

5. Listen.

People who feel guilty may need to talk it out before they can let go of that.

6. Know that it is never just about the thoughts. It’s about the fear and dread and self hatred.

Someone with this problem needs lots of love, constantly. Sometimes it helps me to just get a hug. When I feel disgusted with myself, I need a reminder other people still want to be close to me and help me, and they like who I am.

People tend to become who they think you see them as.

7. Don’t take it personally.

The thoughts aren’t because you did something wrong. Especially if it’s about hurting you. That means the person loves you, and they don’t trust themselves. If anything, you must be on the right track.

The fear of these thoughts led me to isolate myself in the past, and this time around I am purposefully not doing that, which is helping me deal with it.

Honestly, I think once it stops working, it starts going away, because what’s the point anymore?

And I think that will be all for now. Until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

Killing God With the Power of Friendship: an anime conundrum.

Okay weeboos, let’s do this.                              image (27)

If you’re not into anime, stick around, this should still be interesting.

You know the famous (and depressing) philosopher Nietzsche? The guy who reputedly said “God is Dead.” Or, that God never existed and the idea of Him is what is in fact dead.

I am starting to think almost every single writer in Japan is with Nietzsche on this one.

Since I got into anime about a year or two maybe ago, I’ve seen maybe 20, not nearly as many as die hard fans, but a fair amount, and I’ve heard the plot of other ones from reviewers and my sisters.

And I started noticing a really weird common thread in Shonen or sometimes Isekai anime.

Shonen anime is basically superhero/special power adventure type shows.                                                                   katsuki-bakugou-my-hero-academic-4k-3o

Isekai is AU, or other world based shows, where the premise usually starts with an ordinary guy or girl somehow being transported to another world, sometimes through reincarnation, sometimes a summoning, etc.                                                          HappyColor_19332

There’s a few anime that are kind of a combination of genres that also would fit what I’m about to describe.

Nearly every anime of this sort that I’ve seen ends in, or has some plot at some point, that involves defeating a character that is said to be either a god, or basically the equivalent of a god, or maybe even The God.

The character is typically a villain, of course, and usually cruel and power mad and ready to wipe out or enslave the human race.

An then the protagonist will either use paragon powers, or the power of friendship to do what everyone swore was impossible for the whole show, and kill this god character.

If you think I’m wrong…well…

Naruto, easily one of the most popular anime of all time, ends (SPOILER ALERT) with Naruto and his team effectively killing or defeating at least, a god and…maybe another god? It was unclear (honestly most of the fans agree it was bizarre).

Fairy Tail, another really popular and really lengthy anime, also ends with a character who had basically become a god (or was cursed by the gods) being killed. Two characters, actually. Along with a host of other very powerful, god like people. There were even “godslayers” in the show.

I recently started Katana Maidens, it ended the first half with defeating an evil goddess.

What’s funny is if the show doesn’t kill the god, they end up subduing it to the hero’es side. Like, the heroes will still beat it, it’ll just become their friend then.

Examples include Dragon Ball when it got to Beerus (weird but funny)

Probably Fruits Basket, so far it hasn’t concluded.

Freaking Boruto advertised the killing god ending in the first episode

Full Metal Alchemist, from what I hear.

Not to mention a crap ton of video games made in Japan also have you fight gods or fate, and defeat it.

Speaking of Fate, if we counted the amount of anime that have people declaring they’ll change or resist Fate, we could count a lot of  Rom Com or slice of life or sci-fi anime also.

And it’s starting to trickle into American Media influenced by anime.

 

she-ra-season-5-netflix     NetFlix’es She-Ra ends with a character who claimed to be like God dying.

The freaking Guardians of the Galaxy kill a god in their 2nd movie. Thanos gets killed in Endgame.

But those examples are a bit more shaky, Anime is what has the gods actually have followers, and a lot of power and they are almost always evil, or else stupid or lazy like Konosuba’s (I suppose that beats evil.)

Personally, I prefer anime that just stay off the subject, because once they introduce a god, the show always gets much, much darker.

Oh, yeah, that new BNA Netflix show also has a god battle in the end… I guess I won’t spoil what happens (I think the show really wasn’t that good but some people like it.)

I’m sure a hardcore weeaboo could name a bunch of stuff I’ve missed too. But I think you get the idea.

What the heck is with this trope? No one ever talks about it, but it’s everywhere.

And if we extend it to how many anime have a weird Catholic-garbed religious sect as the evil villains in at least one arc, then pretty much every shonen and isekai would now be on the list.

As a Christian, I find it pretty creepy when elements related to my religion are turned into some weird cult thing on a show. I hear that most people in Japan don’t even know much about the Church, they just think the outfits look cool, and the symbolism. Ever wonder why so many anime villains wear crosses? Yeah… I don’t get it.

Personally, I really think the writers could bother to look it up before using it, a lot of Christians watch this stuff. Why be insensitive?

Not that Christianity being villainized is anything to be surprised at.

As I noticed this trope, I began to wonder why it was so prevalent. My sister told me that in a video about Christianity in Japan, people admitted that it was rare, and that people there are often afraid of religion. They might acknowledge Buddhism a little, but they don’t have deep beliefs in it.

Kind of how many people treat yoga and other Eastern teachings and practices. Like a buffet you can pick and choose from.

I think that it’s interesting that anime comes from a culture of not very serious religion, and it itself often treats God as the problem, an obstacle in the way of harmony, peace, and our own human happiness.

It makes me kind of sad actually. God is so different to me.

Many people, even Christians, think of God as distant, angry, or cruel. Unwilling to help us. Thwarting our plans, etc.

God does do that.

But I don’t think most people stay away from God because they think He’s cruel.

I don’t think, at the heart of anime and possible Japan, if one could know that from its media, is truly the fear of a cruel God.

What the real fear seems to be is of the all consuming nature of God.

We, in general, are okay with dipping our toes into religion. Maybe trying church once in a while, maybe reading a little about it, maybe praying to God, maybe not any specific god.

Even Christians live distant from God. Many religions teach that God or the gods are distant on purpose, only a few enlightened people can get close to them, only a few should. The rest of us should just live ordinary, good lives.

Generally, only the best and brightest of us humans can approach the gods. See Greek Mythology, Egyptian Mythology, any mythology…

Christianity shocks people, and scares them, by bringing God too close. It slaps you in the face with it, and pins you down till you squirm.

We’re told that God searches the hearts of men.

David even prays for God to strike his enemies in the face, a very personal kind of blow compared to just “smite them”.

And the story of the Israelites at Mount Sinai, when they begged Moses to go speak to God for them, and they wouldn’t themselves, they were afraid they would die.

God’s might and power and holiness are what scare us the most about Him.

In my own life, I grew up knowing God was good, but the sheer greatness of Him frightened me. I thought God would control me in a way I would hate, and I could never escape it, so I hid from Him. (Sounds like an anime to me.)

Later I found out God doesn’t force us to do things in that way. Not when it comes to accepting Him.

God can be puzzling to people. Eastern religion tries to reconcile the good and evil in the world by saying there must be an equal amount for balance.

The God of the Bible can seem like a collection of contradictions. He is Just, He is Merciful. He is a still small voice, he is in a whirlwind. The list goes on. But always, He is Good.

It’s overwhelming all right.

I understand fearing God. But I don’t know how anyone could believe God was defeatable.

The arrogance of anime is astounding. Especially since it comes with a lot of very wimpy messages.

They go to great lengths to kill the god characters…and ironically, they kill their own moral standing.

If you think about it, if God is real, or the gods are real, and they are in control of the world…then if you kill them, you’ve kind of doomed us all.

I find many endings to promising animes unsatisfying. They can’t commit to a message. Naruto most infuriatingly ended the show still never answering Pain’s excellent question about how he intended to heal the world.

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I think the writers must know deep down it’d be ludicrous to say one human could do all that, but they have cut off their only viable option, a Divine Being… so they are forced to just leave the question open ended.

Think about how many anime end with “basically everything went on the same way it always had” That’s not an ending. That’s… stalling.

Characters usually talk like this “I think maybe this…” or “I have hope that somehow…” Like, they never know anything. They never have logic, or an argument, or proof. Just blind hope in… nothing. They hope for hope’s sake.

It just doesn’t work for me.

Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy many shows, and I like the more pure characters and romances. Those can be done decently well.

But the moment any major statement about the world is made, it’s weak.

The reason is obvious. Without God, there is just no moral standard anyone can possible be made to conform to. Maybe you can just pick one out of thin air (I doubt it) but you have no right to complain if other people disagree with you. Meaning Unity is virtually impossible.

People complain about organized religion without realizing it is the only reason society can even exist. Religion decides morals, morals decide the justice system, and no society of 5 people, let alone 5 million, can survive without a justice system.

Without God, what gives our lives meaning? There’s a sadly high suicide rate in Asia, Japan is no exception.

A lot of anime try to encourage kids not to kill themselves over failed work or grades or goals, to keep trying.

As if trying ever cured depression.

I appreciate the effort, but it’s hopeless. It’ll never work.

The ones that say love is the reason to hang in there are much closer to the truth.

I’ve mentioned that I deal with depression, sometimes suicidal thoughts. Though, I more of mean, I wonder why I don’t give up. I wonder what keeps me going. When so many people take that way out, what gives me any reason to believe I won’t or can’t?

It’s weird, but my dad often got depressed over work and feeling useless, so anime can be very familiar to me. And it make me sad the same way my dad would make me sad. It causes me to wonder, what will my answer be to the same failures and disappointments? Will it be his, or will I have a better one.

Slowly, God is helping me answer that question.

The more I learn, the less I think the “Try harder” message will work.

And the less the “killing God” message seems like anything but emotional suicide to me.

I know I can’t assume Japanese people really think that way.

But, if they did, I would feel very sorry for them. It’s all about being strong enough yourself to face life, not needing anyone, not needing help. Definitely not needing God.

(The implied message often is, no one will be there to help you anyway.)

But what other foundation could someone find their worth in? God made you, God put you here for a reason.

In the end, trying to protect yourself from God is like trying not to breathe. It’s the very thing you need to live, and you can’t get away from it.

God can be like water. Try to block him out and the pressure will build up until something explodes. But accept Him, and it’s like going into a pool. At first it’s a shock, but then it’s a relief.

Anyway, that’s enough for now, maybe I’ll explore this more in the future. Until then, stay honest–Natasha.