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Sat Mar 30, 2013 at 07:45 AM PDT

Let Them Marry

by leavingthezoo

I want to preface this by saying it is evident marriage equality is a civil issue, and not a biblical one. However, if we were dealing with civic minded people, this discrimination would not be happening. Since the Bible is the weapon used against me, it is the weapon I am also using in defense of me.

A dear friend sent me scripture. She anticipated it would jolt an awakening within me, one that would make me suddenly realize if I am unwilling to marry a man, then I would want to live my life in celibacy. After all, that is what God has called us to do. She was saving me from myself and the innate debauchery of, gasp, loving a woman.

She didn't realize in the midst of the scripture she sent was one sentence that Biblically supported my relationship. It was the same sentence that supports hers. It is there. Very plainly written. Short and to the point. New testament stuff, too. (Which, to this brand of religion is quite important because it involves the "new law". The old law only matters to people like my friend when it refers to homosexuality as an abomination, but has no relevance for its litany of other commands that she, and those like her, are not interested in adhering to).

1 Corinthians 7:9 ... but if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
(More after the fold.)
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Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 03:01 PM PST

Equal Does Not Mean Adding

by leavingthezoo

I am thinking about equality today. I am waiting with hope as the Supreme Court takes up "gay marriage", which is a silly term to me in all honesty. We don't call it "rich marriage" for the well-off, or "straight marriage" for the heterosexuals, or "fifth edition in a series of failed marriages marriage" for serial grooms or brides. Whether the first or the last, no matter the circumstances, marriage is marriage. At least, it should be.

But what if the Supreme Court defies logic? What if, in its drive to be activist, it turns its back on a growing consensus that equality of marriage should be afforded to all? What if the ruling tells those who have poured heart and soul, tears and laughter into loving relationships that have not only endured the natural stressors of any relationship, but also the outside influence of visceral hatred, discrimination, belittlement and mockery, not to mention an entirely different set of rights and privileges, that inequality still stands? What if the Supreme Court does the wrong thing?  

What if we aren't presenting all of the equations on the path to equality?

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Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 06:32 PM PST

Non-traditional Student

by leavingthezoo

I am a non-traditional student. It's a term used for those who didn't follow the logical progression of a higher education right out of high school. It can include single moms, older students, adults looking to change careers, or any other situation not recognized as the traditional path.

I was 34 when I decided to go to college. It was a whim decision. After years of defiance against structured learning, I woke up one morning and literally said, "Guess I'll go to school." Some major decisions come that easily. And when they do, you can bet the follow-up will tax you on levels never imagined.

Along with being older, I'm non-traditional in a different sense. Instead of choosing a major that fit my strengths perfectly, something that would include writing, or even teaching, I opted to magnify my other strength. Doing the unexpected. Defying conventional wisdom, I chose a major that made my family ask, "Are you insane?"

Sometimes.

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Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 08:53 AM PST

Guns Are Tools Just Like Pencils!

by leavingthezoo

I don't alway process as quickly as everyone else. I'm prone to over thinking, over feeling, compulsively trying to understand that which comes easily, and that which does not. I try not to dismiss other opinions, especially those that are in direct conflict of my own because I know until we see (as best we can) from the other point of view, we can do nothing to change it. But, I am at a loss. I can't see the other side of the gun issue no matter how open I insist I be, or willing to listen. This time, I have grown increasingly disheartened, and even angry. I've gotten argumentative in moments, and dismissive in others.

When someone compares guns to pencils or forks as tools that carry out the intentions of a person, I sarcastically and callously respond by saying, "Yes, yes. Totally same. I remember when that man misspelled an entire classroom of children to death, and that time 12 women were force fed to death in under a minute by a fork."

These things are not the same. And to imply they are further proves the demented thinking that fights so diligently for looser gun regulations, and greater accessibilities to the very tools whose single purpose is to kill. When I fully grasped it is my friends, my family and my neighbors who share this mentality, it changed how I see them. It encourages thoughts I'd rather not think. It makes me question their own mental health. It makes me wonder what value their children are to them. It makes me want to ask, "If you had to choose between your gun and your child, which would you choose?"

They don't have to answer. We've seen the answer. How many times have we read of a child accessing their parents pistol, only to accidentally maim and kill themselves? Whether people want to admit it or not, that is an answer. Knowing the destruction a gun can bring, and mixing it with the natural curiosity and adventure of a child, they've given the answer. When a gun remains in a person's possession long after their sweet child has been buried in the ground, they have answered.

(more after the fold)

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Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 11:55 PM PST

He Tried To Break Down My Door

by leavingthezoo

The wind is blowing. The news is threatening us with snow flurries. Nothing major. Most likely I will see no evidence as it is not expected to accumulate over night. I'm huddled in my living room wishing I were in bed asleep. I tried to be. But sleep isn't coming easily to me lately.

Last week, Wednesday night, or really Thursday morning, I was sleeping as peacefully as I ever have. I live in a trailer. (Yes, yes, I know all the trailer trash jokes, and no longer cringe when I hear them.) It's a temporary abode. I will be gone from here in six more months. But for now, it is affordable as I finish up at a local community college before transferring to my home state's pride and joy. My significant other has moved ahead of me so as to make the move as easy a transition as it can be. So, I am here. Alone.

I awoke to what I thought was an earthquake. We've felt a few here in recent years. Small ones. Just enough to register in your head that its an earthquake, but not severe enough to drop to your knees in prayer. This one was different. It was jolting. With it was a distant booming sound that I couldn't quite identify. I sat up as I tried to get my bearings, still groggy and confused. It wasn't until I made my way halfway down the hall that I realized the booming sound was someone throwing themselves against my front door. It wasn't until then that I understood the jolting of the trailer was from the force. And I could hear a man yelling.

I instantly panicked.  

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Republican leadership needs to lay off Romney. All this crazy distancing by the Jindals and Gingrichs, this sudden epiphany that the reason republicans cannot connect with the American majority is because we aren't actually gift-seeking individuals is wrong. We do like gifts. We love them! We want more of them! We just aren't particularly fond of the types of gifts you're willing to give, Republicans.

I see you creepin' Tea Party Patriot! I know you're there Redstater. I smell the stench of you hoverin' Freepers. You think this is an "A-ha!" moment. "A-ha!" you say. "Evidence! That fool Leavingthezoo just totally fessed up to being bought by Obama! Damn, cheap Democrat. She probably got a pony."

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Wednesday morning, November 7, 2012, I awoke to a beautiful sunrise coming up over the trees that outline the field behind my home. I could already hear the hustle of workers making their way to work along the highway. An early morning breakfast at my parent's home was on the agenda, but I noticed I was in no hurry to arrive. With all the joy, and pride, and success over the previous nights re-election of President Obama, there was a gnawing dread that I could not release.

The night before, I received a drunken phone call from a cousin just before the election was called for Obama. When he called, his first words were not "Hello," or "What's going on?" In fact, when I answered the phone, he said nothing. It wasn't until I repeated "Hello" multiple times that he finally spoke. I say spoke, I mean wailed.

"I just... I just need someone to talk to. I just... I can't believe I'm sitting here watching America go straight to Hell." It wasn't anger in his voice. It was fear. It was heartbreak. And it was stupid.

(More after the squiggly)

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Thu Sep 06, 2012 at 02:41 PM PDT

Obama Will Be There

by leavingthezoo

I am often asked by my Republican friends and family, "How can you be one of them, and why on earth would I vote for that guy?"

I was born and raised in Oklahoma, and as you know, we are the only state that failed to deliver a single county to Barack Obama in the Presidential election. I was born into a caucasion (at least by census) conservative family with a fundamentalist former preacher as a father. Some of us may be drunk on Friday, but by God, we are in those church pews come Sunday morning! We love the Constitution, especially when we pretend it came with caveats for equality, and even though the word God cannot literally be found, we believe "freedom of religion" is just another way to say God and/or Christianity! If we aren't waving our flags, we're wearing them. And, don't you dare try to trick us into believing Shariah law isn't a threat to our state. Our bibles are our guidance, unless of course, it's in conflict with other things. Like judging others. Serving the afflicted or less fortunate. Giving unto Caeser. We boast a low unemployment rate, but neglect to acknowledge our median household income keeps us near the bottom as far as national averages. We believe Fox news is the only news, and because those nice guys know whats best, we will vote against our best interests. Over, and over, and over again. Well, lots of us. But not all of us. Not me.

I want to explain why I fit several demographics the Republican party is railing so heavily against and explain exactly why I am one of you, and how I can proudly vote for "that guy". I want to acknowledge how grateful I am for the opportunities given to me by selfless individuals like you, and how those opportunities do not encourage me to stay stagnant, and comfortable where I am, but urge me to grow and become so much more. I want to show, first hand, how the ideology of Democrats does not equal a handout, but a help up. I want to share how the efforts made by others to improve my life will afford me the opportunity to pass it on. (More after the fold.)

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Fri Mar 23, 2012 at 07:33 AM PDT

The Pulse in My Veins

by leavingthezoo

Every night before I go to sleep, I remind myself to breathe. I remind myself, because when the world is closed out by the blinds, and stillness permeates our room, in the silence I take inventory of where I have been, and where I am going. Without fail, I see her in both destinations of the journey. She was there in my youth, and with all hope, she will be there in my future. This steals my breath, and stills my mind. But, it wasn't always so clear.

In I Love Her, an explanation is given as to why I made the move back to Oklahoma. By the second day of my arrival, she was pulling up in the driveway.  When I saw her, the emotion swept over me that I had carried for so many years. My arms instantly ached to hold her, and when she fell into them, I cried. I knew I missed her more than I have missed anyone. But, I hadn't yet been willing to explore love's intensity, or why it was she I loved so intensely. Before I could accept the truth, I would feel as if I were betraying our friendship.

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Wed Mar 21, 2012 at 03:58 PM PDT

I Love Her

by leavingthezoo

Our friendship began in 1989. I was fourteen. We were nothing alike, and the spark of our relationship began with a playful car theft. I say playful because we warned the boy whose car we were going to steal that we were, in fact, going to steal his car. He drove a yellow mustang. We were bored. Bored girls with access to the keys of a yellow mustang leads to car theft. We returned the car with no damage, and the beginning of a friendship thoroughly cemented.

I knew I loved her then. I just had no point of reference to explain how I loved her.

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