Friday, December 30, 2011

"White Wine in the Sun"; It's Sentimental, I Know

I just can’t let this season pass by, without doing a “White Wine in the Sun” post. This post won’t be about anything UU per say, just some brief thoughts about family, which is the essence of this song, and what Christmas means to me. I really love this song. It is probably my favorite song ever. This is my favorite version of this song:

Of course there are some amazing UU- applicable concepts there, like “I don't believe just cos ideas are tenacious it means they are worthy”. That is basically the essence of our worldview in that simple line, isn’t it? I do also kind of have an uber-fangirl fantasy, in which Tim Minchin comes to our church and plays this song on our beautiful piano (and then sings non-dodgy hymns, like “Here We Have Gathered”, and he holds my hand during closing words and comes to coffee hour and has deep discussions with the youth). I’m sure this is completely normal, and I never indulge in said fantasy while actually sitting in church.

UU Church of Peoria Piano by Lynnda White

This song evokes strong emotions in regards to two different aspects of my family relationships. I feel immense gratitude and love and protectiveness when I think of my children. I feel a sense of loneliness, grief, and separation when I think of my parents. Both bring tears to my eyes. Even though my boys are grown, I remember well holding them as infants and wanting them to know I will always love them, and always be there for them, no matter where they are or who they become. I will support them in whatever they face. Always.

socks, jocks, and chocolates

I have had a couple instances this year which have caused my heart to skip a beat being worried about Eli’s health and safety, even though he is now 18 and an independent adult. One was when he was in a car accident, and that was quickly resolved as soon as I heard he was fine and no one was hurt (even though the car was totaled). In that instant of NOT KNOWING, it felt as though 18 years simply disappeared and I was holding him as a baby wanting to protect him.

I am now facing a longer “not knowing” situation, in which Eli has a lump on his neck that after an MRI is still a cause for concern. It could be a virus, or according to my research, something like “cat scratch disease”, and may be nothing to worry about. While we are waiting to learn what it is, I want him to know that I just want for his happiness. I may be guilty of occasionally being overbearing and even judgmental. I think I need to lighten up and not be harsh on his teenage choices and let him learn from his own mistakes. Facing something potentially serious, and listening to this lovely song, help remind me of these ways to be a better mother.

In regards to my own mother, I sometimes feel 9,000 miles from home. I would have loved to have known, at 21 or 31, that she would be there whatever comes. I hate not knowing that. I hate that she sees me through the eyes of her definitively overbearing husband and they are always disappointed in what I’ve become (atheist). Maybe by the time I am 41, I will be able to know that she wants to be the person who makes me feel safe in this world. Until then, I will keep waiting for her, drinking white wine in the sun. I should probably grow up and get over it. It's sentimental, I know.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas- A New Song

This is a blog about Tim Minchin...and religion...and it is Christmas Eve eve. I have been thinking about the almost obligatory Christmas "White Wine in the Sun" blog post since the day I started this blog. This is the song that introduced me to Tim Minchin. This is the song that melts my heart with images of loving families sharing a joyous holiday together, regardless of their religious beliefs or lack thereof. It is a song about Christmas traditions and meaningful memories. The day after Thanksgiving felt like crunch time for me. Time to get started on that perfect sentimental blog post about that perfect sentimental song. Unfortunately, because of stupid wacko religious strife in my own family, I have not been able to write about “White Wine in the Sun” without my post turning into a bitter rant about personal family problems.

Luckily for me, Tim Minchin just delivered an early Christmas present- a NEW Christmas song- available to the world to view and write about even before Christmas Eve, when it was originally scheduled to air on the Jonathan Ross Show. And wow. The world has been writing about it. It got cut from the Jonathan Ross show, after being approved by their people and after being taped. You can read all about this on Tim Minchin’s blog (and in various newspapers and blogs and all over the internet).

The song is called “Woody Allen Jesus”. I really like it. People seem to think it is a song about Jesus and therefore mocking (grrr, that word again) Jesus. I know this is just my interpretation, but I think this is a song, not so much about Jesus, but about all of the supernatural, magical attributes people have used to shape a superhuman-to-the-point-of-no-longer-being-human image of Jesus. What enamors me about Jesus is his humanity. I don’t care about stories about loaves and fishes or walking on water or magical, healing touches. Those are lovely metaphors. The things that I have found the most meaningful about Jesus are the stories about his real compassion, and sense of justice and equality, and his humble nature, his ability to speak his mind and challenge the status quo, and his sense of integrity and conviction under even the most extreme persecution. Those are the aspects of his humanity that inspire me. Yes, even me, the non-Christian. Stories of this human Jesus helped shaped my moral conscience and are meaningful to who I am. I easily acknowledge that and am grateful to have learned them. Jesus stories about miracles and supernatural powers are even fine with me as they are presented in the Bible. They are intriguing myths that I’m sure have deep meanings which could enrich my life, if I took the time to ponder them. It is supernatural Jesus stories that I hear today that I cannot understand at all, stories about Jesus reaching down from heaven and healing an illness, or changing the outcome of a game. When people make fantastical claims about Jesus’ presence in their lives today, I can respect their beliefs, but those beliefs just don’t have meaning for me. I feel no connection with a supernatural Jesus. I prefer the human version. I think this song is about people making Jesus less human. It is funny. I am going to write Comedy Central. I would love to see Tim perform this on The Daily Show or The Colbert Report. Also, if you purchase "White Wine in the Sun" from iTunes or Amazon before Feb. 1st 2012, all proceeds go to the National Autism Society UK.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

"If I Didn't Have You", I would probably...have depression and maybe be a slut

This will be a weird post...

A couple weeks ago, I celebrated my 21st wedding anniversary with my husband. I’m 39. I have been married twenty-one years. Over half my life. We were just kids when we started dating. We have both grown and changed into essentially different people. Luckily, the person I’ve become still likes the person he’s become and vice-versa. I think that is pretty amazing and we are quite lucky. Love also has a lot to do with it. Marriage is often trying, and we often disagree, but we really love each other and want for the other's happiness, and that gets us through a lot.

Tim starts out in this clip saying that he lost his virginity to the girl he married and how that is uncommon. It is pretty uncommon, and I’m not sure it is always wise, but that is my situation as well. I’m going to post some personal details about my sex life. Not like, details about SEX, but just about what it has been like for me to have only had sex with one man, and some of the goods and bads about that for me. If that is TMI, just watch the video and move on. If you want to read some mixed up, but very honest feelings about monogamy, or lack thereof, see you on the other side.

Ah, so, “If I Didn’t Have You”. Tim implies that it is not a song about love or relationships, but rather a song about maths. This may be true, (I guess he did write the song and would know what it is about), but it does have some amazing insights about relationships. Of course, it makes the point that the idea of “soul mates” is a myth. I think it is a myth that there is someone out there specifically designed for someone else. I do think I am now with my soul mate, but he wasn’t my soul mate when I met him. We’ve become best friends who have been through so many joys and sorrows and passions and pains, that now, after all these years, he is part of my “soul”. As the song says,

“And if I may conjecture a further objection
Love is nothing to do with destined perfection
The connection is strengthened; the affection simply grows over time
Like a flower or a mushroom or a guinea pig or a vine
Or a sponge or bigotry or a banana
And love is made more powerful by the ongoing drama of shared experience
And the synergy of a kind of symbiotic empathy or something...”

So funny, but so true, and our “ongoing drama of shared experience” really has been dramatic. I’m not proud of this, (but I try not to be ashamed of it either), but I went through several periods in my young adulthood of mental instability and was not the most pleasant person to be married to. In fact, I was fucking batshit crazy. I was already prone to depression and had jumped right from a pretty fucked up childhood into marriage at eighteen with a lot of baggage and issues and was pretty immature. (Of course I was immature. I was 18. Right?) After the birth of my children I suffered severe postpartum depression. Finally, when my youngest was about 6 months old, my husband convinced me to seek some help. He probably saved my life. It definitely saved our marriage.

After spending several years on anti-depressants, and after growing up a bit, I finally became a normalish person, more like who I am today. Mentally ill Me was extremely needy, ultra possessive, terribly jealous, over emotional, painfully shy, and basically all around psychotic. Normal me was happy, independent, confident, able to think clearly, and starting to experience the hindsight that comes several years into adulthood. I always try to be honest with myself and with my husband. I believe honesty really is what has helped our relationship last. I realized a couple things about myself and had to be honest about them. First, I had this curiosity about what it would be like to be sexual with other men. Second, I fall in love with people. Rather than, "If I didn't Have You",I began to consider the possibility, "Even though I have you, someone else will do too."

There are a couple types of non-monogamous relationships. Swinging is focused on sex, having another sex partner, but (from my understanding) it is usually about recreational sex. Polyamory is about love, or being in a relationship with more than one partner. We started to kind of explore these concepts. I'm actually NOT going to go into a lot of details, but I'll say we went through some amazing and amazingly trying times as we bared our souls and feelings to one another and asked ourselves many questions about love, commitment, jealousy, possessiveness, freedom, control, autonomy, and sacrifice. This was a process that lasted a couple of years. There are still lingering and unanswered questions which may surface again someday.

We learned some important things. I know I can say anything to Lee and he will listen and try to understand. That's an amazing feeling and an amazing trust to have in someone. I learned I need to be true to myself, and I don't want to be loved for pretending to be someone I'm not. I learned monogamy is right for me, for right now. I read a Tim interview, in which he said he is a "philosophical vegetarian". I feel like I am a philosophical polyamorist. I think it is a beautiful concept, the idea that the heart has the capacity to love more than one, that loving one person does not diminish your love for someone else, but I don't have the fortitude or for the energy for it. I am content. I am in love. Still. Probably forever. Probably.