Thursday, November 16, 2017

Me? No. Never! Well,... hand me that ring.

I am getting married.

Written out, black on white, it brings up so many emotions, thoughts, memories, and a lot of curiosity. People who know me will be surprised and say, 'but you never wanted to get married'. To those I say, that I never say never. At least not fully convinced. I just don't like to restrict myself.

Granted, I doubt the usefulness of marriage and I'm puzzled by women and men, who start dreaming about and planning their dream wedding before they have left their diapers. I understand the concept of marriage and how it evolved but I do not agree with what religious fundamentalists, mostly men, and marketing machines have made out of it.

I accept it as a union of two people of any gender, religion, orientation, or geographic origin. I understand that they might want to show the rest of the world that they committed to spending their lives together, come what may. And I love that idea. Although, it still doesn't explain the institution of marriage. A party, vows and stuff, and a contract would do just as easily as that. 

It makes sense if there are children involved, to give them certainty and in case that one of the parties rethinks their commitment, given the stinky diapers and sleepless nights combined with stretch marks and the loss of a perfect set of boobs. Or the acquisition of a perfect set of boobs by the other party. In that case there needs to be a legal basis without having to employ a lawyer before you get married. But even then, this should be based on whether or not someone is the mother or father or the child.

A big tax saver it is. But mainly if only one partner earns a lot of money and the other one not a lot.

My favorite feature of marriage, is the fact that you can bring your spouse to your home country. I love this. While there is a lot of paperwork required and it does get abused, oftentimes commercially, many times crossing the threshold into human trafficking. But overall, it's one of the best parts of marriage. Especially for someone who is torn between "Heimat" and home.

So yeah, while I did think about it and even talked about it with former partners, I never felt the need to get married. And eventually, I let go of the feeling of failure that I hadn't gotten someone to marry me by the age of 30, of the idea that there must be something wrong with me. And began to enjoy the prospect living my life like I want to live it. Do what I want to do, ignoring any expectations society might have, whether real or imagined by me and my inner critic.

Yet, here I am now. I do feel the need to tell this world that I want to commit to this man for the rest of my life. Come what may. I want to share everything I have with him, without a second thought. I know that he will let me be who I am. If anything, he will help me better understand who I am and who I can be. I will not be absorbed by an institution and a spouse and disappear. I am and will be myself will remain so. As is and will he. And soon, there will be this third entity. This new, pristine union of two human beings, an unimaginably powerful,  kind and compassionate combination. Not to mention totally weird and silly. And scared as hell, facing this world with its newborn eyes.

I do not say "never". I am not sure about "forever". But I am sure as hell about "I will do what I can for as long as possible".

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Burning Inside

I want to stay optimistic. I want to focus on the positive. I want to be happy about the fact that the German Supreme Court ruled in favor of adding a “non-specified” gender option and a transgender person won a seat in Virginia in the US. I want to be glad that a global network of investigative journalists repeatedly risk their and their families’ lives to uncover how the 99% are being cheated out of trillions of tax money by the 1%, who want more, more, more, all the time and have become less willing to pay their fair share, than ever.

But it’s hard. When I hear that German politicians, the ones that rule the country, are not required to disclose ownership in businesses if their share is 25% or less. When you know that these people, who have a vested interest in who knows how many companies which will profit from whatever they decide are the same ones that could change that rule. What are the odds, they would? The same politicians that cannot escape the lobbyists, they’re far outnumbered by who are throwing money at them, or, I can only guess, if they don’t succeed with that, threats? It has become harder and harder for me to believe that politicians are in it because they want to make a difference. Because they want to improve the lives of the majority of the country they represent. That they are willing to do the hard work and ignore the offers from big money to rule in its favor.

I can’t. When I see one article in the German public news that talks about how Germany’s economy is booming like crazy and another one that says that 20% of Germans live below the poverty line. How can I remain optimistic? Unemployment rates here and in Germany are very low, which sounds fantastic. But, given that the social security payments have been severely cut since the Social Democrats ruled Germany and never were enough to speak of here, and corporations find more and more ways to ignore the minimum wage, and taxes, while rents and general cost of living keep rising, what other choice do people have than to work any job or as many jobs they can get?

I am lucky to have gotten a very good higher education that taught me how to think, see, and understand how all of this is interconnected. And I didn’t even have to pay a shitload of money for it. I am even more lucky, to have chosen the right industry, and the right company to work for long time ago. An industry that pays well for, albeit stressful, not really meaningful, but relatively easy work. I should count my blessings and enjoy the life that I have. Or I should get off my ass and go into politics. But I can’t. I don’t believe that things will change via politics. The system will collapse, eventually, but it will not change because of a good leader and hard work of dedicated and honest politicians. We saw what happened to Bernie Sanders, who could have been such a person. Someone who we wanted to follow. Incorruptable, driven, smart, and charismatic. He got kicked out of the race that he would have won (Yes, don't try and tell me otherwise!) by his own party. Good job, Democrats, arrogantly ignoring what the majority wants only to get slapped so hard in the face that you fell hard on your fat pantsuit millionaire’s ass.

It’s dark in my head. All the meditation practice, then Tonglen, the Koan work, I’ve been doing doesn’t seem to be able to change that. The “epiphany of positivity” my colleague calls me, feels flattened, and terrified. My only hope is that burning anger that is still there. Not a destructive kind of anger. None that would cause me to lash out violently at anyone. That powerful, mighty fire, that is getting stronger every day, seeking an outlet, a target. Not wanting to sit on my ass anymore. Not accepting that just changing myself to be a better person will be enough to make a difference. Needing to make myself feel that I am making a difference. And I know there will be that moment, where I cannot ignore it any longer. When it will come out, be heard, seen, and become impossible to ignore.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Just breathe

Just a few months ago, before I closed my Facebook and Instagram accounts, my life had become almost unendurable for me. Reading the news and posts and comments from friends and others was too upsetting. This world seems to have come to a tipping point. It finally broke openly into two sides. Black and white, good and bad, right and wrong, rich and poor. Albeit the latter two are very unevenly split. Everyone is screaming and fighting without stopping for one second to even consider listening to what the other side has to say. When you are one of those sides, it's easy to filter everything you hear and see to only hear and see what supports your own side of the story and be outraged at the sight of anything that doesn't. Scanning my social media feeds I felt myself taking a side. Of course I was right and mine was the right side. Of course this president was incompetent, a sociopath, and the worst that could have happened to this country. Or the world, for that matter.

But I knew that I could not go on like this. My self-development and all the reading and work I had  been doing for my coaching certification would not let me just judge and stay angry. I began to try and understand what had made so many people take this choice and why this person had become the man he is now. And I had compassion with them. I know, this doesn't really change anything, it won't undo the election results, it won't save any lives, it will not stop bombs from falling on houses of innocent people, or keep the pole caps from melting and the deserts from growing, causing billions of people loose their home and desperately trying to find a safer place to live. Given the amount of issues to tackle, we might feel overwhelmed and helpless and not every one of us has the time, the opportunity, the money, or just the right idea how to alleviate them. Nowadays, with social media, quite a lot of people seem to think that they can influence how other people think. That scientific facts could change the minds of climate change deniers, that photos of battered children in Syria could stop the bombs from being thrown, or that attacking someone who does not think that all men are responsible for gender inequality or all white peope must feel responsible for racism will make them get in line and assume the opinion of the troll. Or the troll would change his mind when you call him out for being one. Assuming, that troll is even an actual human being. Chances are high that none of this will work.

What it did help me with though is that I began to remember that we cannot change other people. We can't control what others think, change their opinions, their view of the world. What we can do, though, is change ourselves and how we react to what happens around us. Take a step back and try understand where the other person is coming from. Stop judging and beginning to be curious. And to a certain extent, accept. Accept that there will always be black and white, good and bad, darkness and light. While we might not see an immediate change in what is going on in the world, it will definitely make us feel better. I am not saying that we should look away, ignore what is happening around us, find excuses for behavior that cannot be excused, and sit on our couch without ever taking any action to improve the situation around us. No, what I am saying is that the only way we could ever make a difference is by changing our own behavior. Michael Jackson was onto something there.

It did work for me. Not from one day to the other and it might go away if I do not pay attention and keep working on it every day. I am still aware of the state of our world. The fact that we can't stop global warming, even if we had stopped emitting carbondioxyde yesterday. The countless wars and massacres around the world, affecting millions of innocent people every day. More and more countries being ruled by money and greed, ignoring and cutting constitutional and human rights that our ancestors were fighting for so hard. Or the smaller things, people who don't pay attention while driving cars, underpaid and frustrated agents on the phone of Medicaid who blame you for their mistakes and basically make it impossible for you to sign up for the free healthcare you qualify for and you've financed with your taxes for years. All of this used to want me pull my hair out and post angry posts on Facebook, yell at the people who annoyed me or sue them. Or just curl up in a ball, cry and never go outside again. But what would I gain with that? What would really change if I did that? Most likely my blood pressure woud rise and my day would be ruined. Which happened a few times. Worst case, I could get punched or shot by someone who just doesn't like to get yelled at and carries a gun.

So what do I do instead. I still get angry. You'd think that the fact that I'm even more attentive to and aware of what is going on around me would make matters worse. Would give me more reason to be angry or upset, sad or terrified. But somehow, I am not. At least not for long. I've come to be aware of the moment when the anger arises and I try to observe it and be with it. Granted, this does not work every time but it works more often every day. And instead of yelling or giving a sharp response to the person who just annoyed me, I don't. Which results in one less escalation and at least one if not two less angry people. Or maybe even two happy people. Many times, an unexpected friendly reaction to a usually frustrating event resulted in an interesting and lovely encounter with the other person. While I do miss yelling sometimes, especially at people who are shorter than me and get this funny scared look on their faces when they hear my German accent and see my furious face, not yelling has become my go to reaction. A deep breath or two, a warm wave of compassion that results in a smile, and I walk away from a situation that would have ruined my day before. And just like that, situation by situation, day by day, my life has become happy again.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Simple Gun Math

"If someone wants to get a gun and shoot people, he'll (or she'll, though looking at the statistics this doesn't happen very often) do it regardless of how strict the gun laws are."

That's an argument often used against implementing stricter gun laws in this country. Even though just another 58 men and women with lives and friends and children and parents were killed for no obvious reason. With guns bought legally.

What if there were much stricter laws that would cause the price of a gun to rise from, let's say $100 today to $10,000. Assuming that you either have to obtain a license, pass numbers of tests, and get insurance, and take courses regularly to keep the license or buy the gun illegally. So, the average total cost of a gun would go up to $10,000. Plus, if you do buy a gun illegally, you add the risk of getting caught and send to prison. Let's say you could get up to 5 years in prison. And the chance of getting caught was 25%. Assuming that a year you spend not in prison is, let's say worth $100,000, we would get this:

Price of buying a gun today: $100 + 0x100,000x5 = $100

Price of buying a gun with stricter laws: $10,000 + 0.25x$100,000x5 = $135,000

Granted, this is very simplified and doesn't take into account a lot of different factors. But that's why I called it simple. I am just trying to show that the price for guns would increase and that the increase includes more factors than just the actual price tag.

Now, let's just say there are currently 1,000 people in the US who are contemplating to do a mass shooting. And 500,000 are planning to kill themselves with a gun. Each one of them is willing to risk something to do it. And let's assume for the potential mass shooters, that they are going to shoot themselves afterwards, just don't care what happens to them if they get caught, or that the "glory" of the deed offsets all punishment for them. That way, the only factors included in the price they're willing to pay is included in the equations above.

What if 90% of these 501,000 people are willing to risk $100 or more. That would result in 900 potential mass shooters out there and 450,000 suicides without stricter laws.

Only about 1% are willing to risk $135,000 and able to pay the actual price of the gun. That would leave us with 10 potential mass shooters and 5,000 suicides. Still a lot of wasted lives, but you see the difference.

Just a thought.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Change of Plans

I will not go back to live in Germany again, anytime soon. I'm so homesick. While I love all of my friends here and many things about the people, and my colleagues, and the beautiful nature in this country, there is so much that makes me sad and hurt and angry. The selfishness and the waste of scarce resources. The absence of compassion and the unwillingness to share. The claim for greatness but at the same time the utter lack of appreciation of knowledge and education beyond "What makes me rich fast?". How can you pay your teachers less than $30,000 a year and expect to be "great"?

It's hard. Every day that I witness this, makes we want to go home more. I know that Germany is not perfect, either. I remember being unhappy and angry, the dense population causing stress and impatience. Not only do people don't want to know "how you are", they don't even ask you! The gap between rich and poor is widening there, too. The every day richer rich and the power addicted dictators with tiny hands and penises are slowly eradicating democracy. While claiming to defend it by arresting and killing all opposition, throwing bombs at hospitals and schools, and building walls to keep out the children who are seeking shelter from theses bombs and the ones they were aimed at.

But I'm deviating. 

The move to Germany was meant to save my sanity. Leaving this country that has long killed democracy and been ruled by money, names, and greed. The brilliant minds who could alleviate the pain and lessen the gap to the poor focus their energy on marketable profitable products. Settle on Mars. Live forever. Travel anywhere, anytime, as convenient as possible. Instead of making life better for everyone. Even the ones that cannot afford to pay for it. I want to live in a country that still has enough common sense left to care for and invest into human beings. A country where mistakes are accepted and used as learning opportunities to better oneself and not sold as victories, calling everyone who disagrees liars and fake news creators. A country where science and facts are worth more than Hollywood, money, and size 0.

I keep thinking about how I never wanted to move to the United States. Everything about this country made me not want to live here. The culture, or absence thereof, the horrible food, the lack of compassion for weaknesses, the blindness of its people towards the fact that it is not a democracy they live in but a 'monetary aristocracy'. If you can only vote for two parties, THAT. IS. NOT. A. DEMOCRACY. And yet you bomb countries to bring them the gift of democracy. Countries that are not treating their people much worse than you do... 

And yet, I have to stay. And make it work. I'm staying for love. I am unable to leave behind the man I love and his dog, our dog, who is not allowed to enter Germany. Because of her breed. Because some lazy ass politician found it easier to ban a list of breeds than educate and treat the broken people who turn innocent creatures into killers on command, exploiting their unconditional love and absolute obedience. Too lazy to help people understand that no animal is innately bad. Not even humans are. They all become who they are because of what happened to them. And they all can be helped.

Life does theses things to us. And despite all of the terror and anguish and pain of the above, I feel blessed and grateful to have found love like that. Love that wouldn't even let me hesitate for one second to decide that we cannot go. Whatever made me want to move back in first place, loses its importance. Because we cannot just discard her like a piece of furniture too big to fit into the new place. And I can't go alone. 

And there go all those plans. Moving to Germany. Going into German politics. I certainly don't want to go into politics here. The why is a whole other blog post. But the need to do something prevails. I want to help mitigate effects of living in this country on children and animals. We will build a house and have enough space to foster. And live a life away from noise and people. In nature. Off the grid. In a house built by us. Build a little oasis. An oasis of compassion and common sense.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Was zuviel ist, ist zuviel!

Mir fällt nichts mehr ein. Ich lese so viele Nachrichten wie noch nie zuvor. Mittlerweile komme ich auch mit dem Brechreiz angesichts der vielen Bilder des Herrn mit dem ungesund orangenen Gesicht und der roten Krawatte besser klar. Und da ist immer wieder der Funke Hoffnung. So viele Menschen gehen auf die Straße. Endlich. So viele sind aufgewacht aus der jahrzehntelangen Lethargie. Leider zu spät. Nicht zu spät für Reiche und Weiße. Aber zu spät für weniger glückliche. Hart arbeitende Alleinerziehende, Randgruppen, die mit der "falschen" Religion oder dem "falschen" Geburtsort, die, die das falsche Geschlecht lieben, Kranke und Arbeitsunfähige ohne Versicherung, schlecht ausgebildete oder die, mit einer Ausbildung in der falschen Industrie. Und zu spät für die hunderten von Millionen, deren zu Hause seit Jahren zerstört, heimgesucht, vergewaltigt und gefoltert wird. Unter der Führung des Landes, das denen, die jetzt verzweifelt eine sichere Bleibe suchen, dafür noch mehr Leid und Gefahren auf sich genommen haben, jetzt ängstlich die Tür vor der Nase zuwirft. Aus Angst vor dem Terror, den sie durch die stetige Vergewaltigung und Ausbeutung anderer selbst gezeugt haben. 

Und wie gewohnt werden hier und auch überall sonst, lediglich die Symptome bekämpft. Für die ohnehin schon Superreichen ist es ja auch viel lukrativer, an der Therapie zu verdienen, anstatt eine Heilung zu finden. Jugendliche, die nichts zu verlieren haben, die der Hunger und die Verzweiflung in die Arme von radikalen Vereinigungen getrieben haben. Oder die einfach rekrutiert wurden. Um ihrem eigenen Tod oder der Folter zu entgehen oder die ihrer Familie. Oder in der Vorfreude auf ein besseres Leben nach dem Tod, alles ist besser als die Hölle, in der sie derzeit Leben, schultern sie den Rucksack mit der Bombe und begeben sich zum nächsten, gut besuchten, öffentlichen Ort... Diese Jugendlichen werden als Terroristen bezeichnet. Fünfjährige werden am Flughafen in Handschellen gelegt, weil das Land der Tapferen und der Freien sich in die Hose macht, wegen geschickt gestreuter Lügen des Twitlers. Anstatt den Terrorgruppen den Nachwuchs zu nehmen, indem man den Kindern ein zu Hause, eine Zukunft, eine Chance gibt. Eine Alternative zum Terror und der alltäglichen Angst und Verzweiflung. 

Die Grenzen werden zugemacht. Wir schotten uns ab. Schauen weg. Spenden und schreiben Blogposts. Erklären uns die Welt wie sie uns gefällt. Bezeichnen etwas als "Fake News", wenn es zu schmerzhaft wird, sich vorzustellen, dass jeden Tag tausende von Kindern von Priestern vergewaltigt werden. Millionen von Menschen vor Krieg und Terror auf der Flucht sind. Ihr Leben riskieren, um an einer Grenze zu einem Land, abgewiesen zu werden, in dem nur drei Personen in einem riesigen Penthouse in einem goldenen Turm wohnen. Jetzt nur noch zwei, denn die dritte ist in ein Haus mit über 100 Zimmern gezogen. Allein. Wie können wir erklären, dass wir unsere Millionen und Milliarden und unsere 1.000 Quadratmeterwohnungen nicht mit ihnen teilen wollen? Dass wir sie zurückschicken, in Terror, Folter, Gewalt und Zerstörung, weil wir soeben bestimmt haben, dass das Schlachtfeld, das einmal ihr zu Hause war, "sicher" ist.

Ich will gar nicht erst damit anfangen, wohin dieses Land sich bewegt. Dann kann ich den Anblick von tausenden von ausgehungerten blassen Leichen, die von einer Raupe in ein Massengrab geschoben werden, gar nicht mehr aus meinem Kopf verbannen. Dahin geht es. Das passiert, wenn Lügen als normal und akzeptabel angesehen werden. Parteizugehörigkeit, Hörigkeit über Qualifikation und das Wohl des Volkes geht, von dem man gewählt wurde. Das passiert, wenn extrem misshandelte Kinder ohne Hilfe und Therapie erwachsen werden und an die Macht kommen.

Was bleibt mir übrig? Ausser, mich jeden Tag zu betrinken, das Internet zu verlassen, in eine einsame Waldhütte zu ziehen, und sicher zu gehen, dass ich genug Waffen dabei habe, um mich vor der verrückt gewordenen Regierung zu schützen. Endlich beginne ich, die laxen Waffengesetze hier zu verstehen. Und das 2nd Amendment. Hier ist eine Regierung, die mir genug Angst macht, um meine Schusstechnik zu perfektionieren.

Ich werde dieses Land verlassen. 

Ich kann nicht in einer Diktatur leben.

Ich bewundere den Kampfgeist und den, wenn auch schwindenden Optimismus der Amerikaner. Den habe ich nicht. Dafür weiss ich zu viel über das Dritte Reich. Und hier geht es in die selbe Richtung. Ich werde zurück nach Europa, nach Deutschland gehen. Und in die Politik. Es ist Zeit. Schreiben hilft nur bedingt. Ich muß etwas tun, um wieder gesunden Menschenverstand zu aktivieren. Wenn die Welt etwas braucht, im Moment, dann ist es gesunder Menschenverstand. Und jemand, der dazu bereit ist, laut "Scheiße" zu rufen. Und dann kopfüber, mit einer Schaufel bewaffnet, in sie hinein zu tauchen.