Friday, June 29, 2012

Judgments in Moderation

The best thing when I'm in a really great friendship is, there are no judgments, (unless they're hurting themselves, then perhaps an intervention), but aside from that, I've never been one to say anything about how someone else lives. What they do is their business. For me, friendship is about sharing yourself and being open and honest about who you are. No aires, no complications - just total acceptance of the person you are. Just like in relationships, nobody's perfect. We all have our 'thang' so to speak, and if that 'thang' isn't to be tolerated, then simply walk away. Simple. But why are some people so intolerant to other people's lifestyles? Years ago I had a friend absolutely appalled over the fact that I was married...to a woman. It baffled her mind that I could even commit such a "sin" and in her eyes, I was living a destructive lifestyle. I could have easily turned around and told her how destructive I think drinking an entire bottle of wine is every single night, or the fact that she has a bad habit of smoking -- but we all have our vices, so I didn't go there. I just said, "This is me, take it or leave it."  She left it.

One of the strangest encounters I have ever come across was meeting up with a friend at a restaurant. We were getting to know one another and having a great time so far. She had drove over an hour to come see me, so I took it upon myself to order a bottle of wine for us. When the waiter walked over with a bottle and two wine glasses, she capped her glass off and said, "Oh no thank you, I'll have coffee instead." I was a bit taken aback because she heard me order a bottle of wine. Did she think I was going to guzzle it down all by myself? Anyway, I didn't make a fuss and began to sip my delicious red wine, hoping that a "doggy cork" would come along with it after dinner. My friend leans over as if to tell me a secret. She says in a really low voice, "I'm in AA." My goblet went down and my eyebrows went up - not in a judgmental way, but in a guilty way. I felt so bad that I never asked her if she drank occasionally. I felt really inconsiderate, so I hid my goblet behind the bread basket for the rest of the night and stuck to coffee, as she did. As the evening went on, she began to badger me about how awful it is that I drink and how it will destroy my liver and can cause breast cancer. It went on and on and on as she drank her 5th cup of coffee and smoked her 20th cigarette. That's when I started getting a little peeved because -- how hypocritical of someone who has their own vices judge mine?

Then she leans over again to give me another secret. "When I used to drink red wine, it made me crave cocaine." Good to know. Pushed the goblet even further. As we hung out a bit longer that night, she kept chain smoking so much that I had to ask her why she smoked so much. She said it curbs her addiction. So basically, she replaced one addiction for another. The next time we went out, she started in with me again even before we were asked what we wanted to drink. I was seriously going to order a club soda, until she hit my last nerve. The waiter walks up and says, "What can I get for you two?" She orders her coffee, the waiter looks in my direction and I simply just. had. it. "A Ketel One straight up with 3 olives please."  I was done with people judging me left and right and especially people who have replaced their addictions with something just as bad. And I admit, maybe I should have not hung out with her in restaurants or bars, but she was the one who suggested it and wanted to go out to these places. The thing I have noticed with AA members (because I was there once for a 90 day 'clean out'), is that they all replace their addictions, and most of all, judge those who are occasional drinkers. Every meeting I had gone to, everyone seemed angry at the world around them - angry that people can actually control their liquor and not overindulge - and I get it - I really do - people have problems with drinking, but don't forget, there are people like me who don't have a problem drinking... I love it. Everything in moderation and less judgment would be the perfect set up for a healthy friendship.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Distractions

This is not the last time you're going to go through something difficult. "How did you know I was going through something?" You're alive. That's how. The unavoidable mystery boardwalk. No matter what - you have to walk it. You have to go through the entire length of the boardwalk to get to the other side. Then there's always the easy way out, over there on the side where the never ending ocean sucks you into its riptide just because you couldn't handle life anymore. But is it the easy way out? No one will ever know for sure. Each shop and concession stand is a distraction - a good distraction. You stop in one shop, come out and head off onto the boardwalk again. But at least you took a break. Even with life, everyone needs a break. People often feel guilty while having a pleasant distraction while going through a turbulent time in their life. "It's just not appropriate."  And remember, the boardwalk cannot survive without all of its "distractions" (stores, ice cream stands, casinos, restaurants) - so how will you survive if you never take a break?

Guilt is a horrible emotion. It rips you of all your happiness, peace and anything tranquil in your life. It steals away the power to do what you want in this life - not what others want. When you help, give it your all, and if that's not good enough, you've done all you could. In my personal life, when I'm made to feel guilty, I simply withdraw. I can't have that negative vibe nagging at me, waiting to be absorbed into my system like a sponge. This also applies to being around negative people. Whether negative or positive - their energy will rub off on you. I always try to pick my friends wisely - pick my company wisely. And if the company I keep is giving me grief, I leave. When people are miserable, they tend to hold onto other people's happiness, or whatever joy they have left to give. And while helping someone who's negative or (miserable) in their lives, it's just a good idea to put up proverbial protective shields, or as I like to say, a hedge of protection from God. All those negative words will bounce off of you and hopefully land in a place where it can never be picked up again. Once people realize their negative effects have no impact on you, they withdraw as well. Give it any attention whatsoever, and you'll get more than you bargained for. All the clichés and platitudes are true, yet sometimes repetitive. "This too shall pass", "Time heals", "You'll get through this" - but my favorite one is, "If He brought you to it, He'll bring you through it." Embrace those little distractions that keep you sane...somewhat.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

My Heart Goes Out to Kardin Ulysse

When will it stop? Another case where a Brooklyn 8th grader, Kardin Ulysse was bullied to the point of potentially being blind in one eye if it cannot be corrected. The kids were harassing him, calling him antigay slurs and attacking him physically. On Good Day New York, Kardin stated, "They were calling me such horrible words, like being gay." Instantly I thought, wow, progression hasn't really taken place as far as acceptance for the LGBT community. More so, being called "gay" is seen as horrible, as Kardin described it. Nobody should be harassed for who they are or who they aren't -- my point is, these kids have the mindset that "being gay" is a terrible thing. Even Kardin said it was a terrible name to call him. Even if he's not gay, regardless, the word itself or description is certainly not of a negative one, unless used in a derogatory manner. I'm hoping by him describing gay as "horrible", was meant by derogatoriness.   The two kids who beat him up were arrested and the school system is being investigated for proper supervision.

Back when I was in middle school, in fact, 8th grade, I was being bullied and taunted every single day because I had a terrible argument with a friend who had an entourage of approximately 20 girls. Every single night, I would get a phone call saying, "You better not come to school or you're dead you fucking lesbo!" I'd stay up all night, worried that morning would come too fast. I would play sick or cut out. If I was forced to go on the bus, where my bullies were, I was cornered in the back of the seat, being called awful names, having books being thrown at me and having to hide when the bell would ring, leaving me late for class just to not get my "ass kicked" as they threatened. They walked in a pack of girls practically hunting me down. I'd come home and get the threatening phone call again. "I"m going to kick your ass if you show up tomorrow!" (With a few other choice words.) I hated school because of this. I hated anything that had to do with going on the bus or going into that school. It meant my life was at risk. And finally, one day, I carried a huge doubled edged hunting knife that I had taken from my dad's room. I even showed a few people who were on the neutral side of the klan.  Their eyes bulged out and of course, they ran to tell them what I had. Luckily, the teachers didn't find out. But more so, I would have never used it. I just wanted to show that I was protected. But if I think long enough about it, what if I was being physically harmed in a way of defending myself? I'm not sure if that knife would have stayed in my coat pocket. It came to the point where I tried to kill myself by drinking an entire bottle of scotch in my iced tea. I was saved, thank God, but my intention was getting out of this mean world.

So whenever I hear about a story where a kid is being bullied, I cringe. I can't imagine what it's like to be a student today going into a school with so much technology to be used against you and so many kids 'offing' themselves due to the aggressive bullying. I know I tried, I'm sure we'll hear more and more of this unfortunately. To be completely honest with you, if I were Kardin's parents, I would remove him from that school or homeschool him. After a traumatic experience such as that, I'm not surprised if he has PTSD. He's not well enough to go back to school. They have every right to sue that school for 16 million because there should have been more supervision on every single corner of every hallway and security guards surrounding the cafeteria. It angers me and tears my heart out because I was there. I was forced to go to school. I was frightened for my life on a daily basis.  I will say that it got better once I got into high school, but the memories of being in middle school still haunt me till this day, especially when I see someone innocent get the shit kicked out of him for no reason at all, or for a misassumption of him being "gay". It's just wrong. My heart goes out to Kardin & his family.

And you're right. I'm angry.


Chosen Tweets: 
Unaware of HomophobiaMeet Kardin Ulysse14blind in his righteye after thugs attacked him for being gay.

Roxanne Lapeña ‏@roxanne_amanda
I almost teared up watching that segment on Fox 5 about KardinUlysse who was left blind in his right eye after being bullied atschool.



For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Curiosity Revealed the Atheist

Through my own experience having dealt with atheists who have challenged my faith, I find them to be constantly searching for answers, or proving that religion, or perhaps, spirituality is just nonsense. But they want concrete proof; scientific proof. And just because I can say I've had a spiritual experience and saw God Himself -- they can chuck it up to extreme euphoria that the mind can produce -- who knows. But if a person is truly atheist, then why ask so many questions? It reminds me of the girl who was in the closet about her sexuality of being a lesbian asking me a million questions about what it's like to be gay. To me, it's the same concept. The curiosity of it all springs up new assumptions about atheists. I can be totally off on this, but this is how I see it. One atheist told me something I'll never forget. He said, "Atheists don't do 'good deeds' just to please some 'god' - they do it from their hearts."  Meaning there is no genuine love (or good intentions) on Christians who do good. Through my experience with my own faith, 'good deeds' is not a ticket into heaven. You can do all the good in the world and it will not guarantee a spot up in paradise. What counts is a faithful heart - a heart that believes that without a doubt, God is real and Jesus has saved them. One scripture from Galatians 2:15-16 reads, "You and I are Jews by birth, not 'sinners' like the gentiles. And yet we Jewish Christians know that we become right with God, not by doing what the law commands, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be accepted by God because of our faith in Christ - and not because we have obeyed the law. For no one will ever be saved by obeying the law."  It's amazing how right in the Bible in black and white that it clearly tells us that nobody will be saved by doing 'good', or in Bible's words, obeying the law. This doesn't mean go out and be an evil little demon - it's just displaying how human we are and how God knows all the flaws in humankind, which is why He brought His only son to die for us on the cross. So with more faith and spirituality, Christians are doing 'good deeds' because of their faith, not because they want God to accept them. They're doing it to please YOU, as a brother & sister -- not to get a Christian badge of honor. My point is, I don't see the point in an atheist challenging the beliefs of Christians if they are indeed, truly an atheist. What's the point? If your mind is dead set on not believing any 'supernatural' entity or deity, then why poke the arms of other believers if there isn't one bit of curiosity whatsoever. And if there is curiosity, then great. Maybe the seed can be planted in a roundabout way.

While tweeting about it, I got a couple of responses:

 Some people don't yet know the difference btw expressing their thoughts & attacking others. Sounds like he failed.

 Deb, just say bless and go on! *LOL*

All good and sound advice and thoughts being given to me. I think I'll just play Switzerland, leave my beliefs and faith on my blog and let people either read it or simply "X" out of the page.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com

Are You the Luster or the Lover?

As I sit to write this post, I just had walk over and close the window because there's a log still smoldering out on the back patio from the fire pit we had last night. It's strange how something can burn for so long and yet the people who enjoyed the fire are long gone, at work and moving on with their day. Isn't that how it is with certain types of relationships, or better yet, breakups? There's always one person still 'burning' for their ex, sometimes it's mutual, most times it's not. And like the people who  enjoyed the fire pit, they have no clue that the log is still burning, trying to hide its embers, but if you're close enough to it, you can still see it smoking, waiting to be rekindled. The entire process is really sad, especially if the other person lets the fire go out because theirs did long ago. There's no point. Start a new flame. There are rare cases where the need to rekindle is inevitable, but for those who are still pining for their long lost loves, the only thing that'll make that fire go out is time (and possibly a handy extinguisher). I truly believe that some people lust instead of love. And when one lusts and the other loves, it can become a tricky situation, especially when the two break up. The 'thrill' is gone for the luster, and the heart is still beating strong for the lover. There's also the confusion between lust and love.

It's hard to tell when someone says, "I love you", but merely loves the idea of the relationship. Is it "you", or is it the entire situation? Is it "you", or is it the fact they love being around your family and friends? Is it "you", or are they satisfying their lustful desires and playing the role of "the lover"? Through my own experience, I once dated someone who loved the idea of my life--- not me. She loved my family, my friends, where I lived, what we all did on the weekends and played the role of "the lover". Hindsight 20/20, it wasn't me that she loved at all. Looking back, there were no actions of love set in place. There were tons of words that flew from her mouth, but nothing out of the ordinary that 'showed' me that she cared. She was nice to me, we laughed together and had great times, but no real true sediments of love. I was blinded of course and overlooked those necessities because I truly loved her and showed her in every way I did. Sadly, it wasn't mutual. Of course I can assume and she can tell you a whole different story. There's a great saying someone once told me, I don't know the original author of this, but it goes: "There's always three sides to the story. Yours, theirs, and the truth." It makes so much sense because sometimes the "truth" gets muddled into a cornucopia of rattled emotions. It's like debating over religion - it gets you nowhere to argue over it. (And yet we always do.)

Have you ever thought about how you truly feel about your partner? Are you the luster or the lover? And sometimes, most lusters don't even realize how they truly feel, which makes the entire game so unfair.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com

Friday, June 15, 2012

Religion: "I'm Right, You're Wrong"

While speaking to a friend last night, she had asked about my views on religion and asking what my book was about. I started the book in 2003. The manuscript sat there, waiting for something, a bite, anything. I thought it would be just another unfinished project, however I finally published it. You're talking about almost a decade ago, so you can imagine that some of my ways of thinking have changed slightly -- "slightly". Back when I was writing it, my views were very extreme and perhaps a bit rigid for some, while others tell me it wasn't. It's a mixed review. I started a blog after writing it and my views were quite hefty to some, leaving it open to heated debates that caused nothing but frustration and anger. I had other Christians bashing me for being a lesbian, while other Christians weren't accepting of some of my views -- which should have been "okay", yet we all decided to see whose sins were "okay" and whose sins were damned to hell. Each person who was involved in one of our debates were "right" in their minds. I was right. She was right. He was right. But which one had the "truth"?  And that's where the gray area comes in: nobody has the "truth" if it's a belief system. It's not science. I want to even go far as to compare a belief system of a religion as an "opinion". That's how much it holds up in any heated argument. There is absolutely no proof. It's all about faith. My faith is my truth, not anybody else's -- and that's the difference between the "slight change" of my thinking from 2003 till now.

Here's where I stand with my beliefs and lack thereof with other religions/faiths: I only go through Jesus. I will not 'talk to spirits' or any other source of enlightening soul to seek whatever it is I need. I will not pray with other people of different religions, as Unitarians do, yet I don't condone or judge it. That's just a personal choice for myself. I want to be around other Christians when I pray. I'm not saying that it's "bad", I just feel more uplifted and inspired around people of the same faith. I did mention this in my book, to which I was a bit extreme about. Even though I still hold that same choice, I don't rattle off that it's "bad" or something to be avoided. Each person has their own journey and who am I to judge it? Who knows -- it may all lead us to the same place. Again, there is no proof.  I also spoke about those who practice Wicca. As for "me" and only my knowledge and understanding -- if you are wearing a five pointed star around your neck (the five elements of the earth), it is a symbol of the devil. Those who say it's not can look up Satanism and see that they use this very same symbol. The five elements being, wood, water, fire, metal and earth.  Increasingly so, people have changed an element here and there to suit their needs for "spirituality", leaving out wood or water. But the originality of the pentagram are all OF the earth. Christians are not "of the earth" -- the focus is on the kingdom of God and not earthly things. So why would I pray to something to which God has created instead of God Himself? That's my belief. I still stand strong with my belief, however I don't tear people down with it. My friend who is Wiccan shares her faith and practices with me. It's very interesting and very spiritual. It just doesn't work for me, and she appreciates that and accepts our differences.

Years ago I was in quite a tangled web with another Christian due to my lifestyle. We debated back and forth about what's wrong and what's right and what it says in the Bible about homosexuality. I've always believed that Leviticus states many rules, including the act of eating crustaceans of the sea (shellfish) is to be seen as an abomination, as well as shaving one's beard or sitting next to a woman who is menstruating. All of these "set rules" that no longer apply to Christians are still being used by mostly extremists. They cancel out other sins just to focus on one. All of the other references about homosexuality in the Bible refer to promiscuity whether straight or gay. The interpretations as well as translations are sometimes confusing and very debatable.  Here's where it gets tricky... If you say "THIS IS THE TRUTH" and not "your belief", you're opening yourself up for a good battle with another believer.  It's exhausting and it drains you of any ability to focus on doing good for others or just focusing on God alone. It takes your time away from your spirituality to prove that "you're right". I threw in the "I'm right" towel and decided to only share my beliefs, and accept others. Time to time I'll have a healthy debate that discusses my takes on scriptures and other beliefs, but it stays in the neutral zone. When you try to force your views on someone, they'll quickly run the other direction. It's like holding on to someone too tightly. They slip out easier. But, if you share yourself, your faith, your heart with someone, then you plant the seed of faith, whether or not they "choose" to accept it for themselves or simply be content, listen and follow their own hearts. And that's what faith is all about. The heart.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Understanding

There's not much you can do to help someone who has a hidden resentment toward you for whatever reason. Even if you're experiencing the same, or perhaps similar turmoils in life, "your" experience seems less important for some reason. Or at least, that's how I feel. If you don't show your feelings, then you're insensitive. If you reveal too much emotion, then you're insensitive for not holding it in. If you have a little peace within the chaotic wave of happenings, or dare smile, laugh or experience a little joy, then you're insensitive. So, I show nothing. I hide. I try to stay out of everyone's way so they can deal with what they have to. I try not to say anything that'll upset anyone or stir up emotion - I stay neutral. Of course, if you're not around at all, then again, you're. just. too. insensitive.  When I'm pushed away, I stay. When I offer to help or do something that'll make someone else's life a little easier, and I'm brushed off or even hung up on, I tend to not ask or offer any longer until that person lets me know what's bothering them, or wow, maybe even apologize. But you can't expect an apology from someone who is resentful. You just have to accept whatever "form of apology" comes your way - even if it means a 'read between the lines' peace offering. Take it. You can't change people. You can only change the way you view things, but right now I have a lot of mixed signals from those who I try so hard to help in this difficult time, and yet I feel pushed...and then tugged back when they notice my absence.

It's hard to be understanding when you don't understand what's going on.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Life: Valuable, Precious...Short

Sometimes it's hard to just keep it together and not run outside screaming bloody murder just to get it all out. It's expected, and yet 'uncivilized'. So, we keep it under wraps. Have you ever felt like if one tiny change disrupts your life, it's the be-all end-all? When all of it finally passes, maybe weeks, months and even years later, the inner chaos withers away miraculously. I heard a phrase used by Joyce Meyer. She said, "I may not be where I want to be, but thank God I'm not where I used to be." And if you truly meditate on that one phrase, it kind of hits you like, "Wow, I made it through all that," whereas before, you thought you'd never. And of course the old saying, "If God takes you to it, He'll get you through it." I do believe that. It's easier to believe something like that before a stressful event and months after it. Strange how life works. It's hard to stay calm in the midst of chaos - to have inner peace throughout a stressful situation, no mater how short or long the length of time it is. In John 14-27 it says, "I am leaving you at peace. I am giving you my own peace. I am not giving it to you as the world gives. So don't let your hearts be troubled, and don't be afraid." I'm realizing more and more every single passing day how valuable, precious, and sadly, how short life truly is. For me, managing my anxiety is a very challenging obstacle, but being closer to God through turmoil and even through good times is my only saving grace. Just one day at a time. That's really all we can do.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com


Friday, June 01, 2012

Mike Bloomberg Puts a Halt on Obesity

Mike Bloomberg is trying to control the obesity rate. Good luck with that. But how can you pick & choose the "sin" of other people's guilty pleasures?  Ok, so he takes away the oversized 62 oz. of sodas and yet leaves KFC in the clear, the chain, Friday's untouched (which one plate is approximately 2,000 calories) and oddly enough, today is "National Donut Day".  Smoking is still legal, but not in most public places, oversized 40 oz. bottle of beer can still be sold in your local bodega and of course, you have BJ's and Sam's Club to go bat shit crazy and buy everything in bulk. Although I can't see anyone actually finishing a 62 oz. big gulp of soda, the same people probably can't see me finish a 40 oz. worth of Heineken. Which is worse? Alcohol is legal, but marijuana isn't? So many priorities are far way up the wazoos of many political idiots. Whatever the political agenda is on Mike Bloomberg's part, it's not going to stop the obesity rate by just making it illegal to sell big gulps. There are other major "offenses" out there that contribute to "America's weight problem", perhaps even our self control? Could it be?

Happy Donut Day!

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com