Ending the Year with a Burnout

In some ways I can’t believe the year is over. A week ago I couldn’t believe it was Christmas already! Where did the time go? Wasn’t I just pulling the tree down and now it’s time to put it back up? Probably it’s because the weather this summer sucked big time. And autumn wasn’t any better.

But in some ways I can’t believe it’s still 2016. I’m so ready for this year to be over. And it has nothing to do with the high number of deaths in the science, author, and celebrity communities. Okay, very little anyway. My very first ever childhood celebrity crush died this year and I’m very torn up about it, still. (Feel free to comment with a guess as to who it was, I’m not admitting anything)

My niece was born in May, early, with a congenital diaphragm hernia (which means her diaphragm didn’t form properly and part of her intestines was poking up and pushing her heart over towards the center of her chest) and she had to have surgery within 48 hours of her birth.  I lost my job in June. A week later my husband’s grandmother died. My sister-in-law made the trip halfway across the country with a 1 year old and a 1 week old to be there for the funeral. My cousin had a growth removed from her neck (not cancer, thank god).

And none of that is the root of the problem.

I’m burning out.

I’m working as a ghostwriter writing fiction on contract. I write some ten thousand words a week most weeks. Some weeks more. In the meanwhile I’m trying to get a novel and 2 novellas done for 2017 release (before October so they’ll be available for C4 next year). I also released a novella and a children’s book this fall.

I’m raising two kids. My husband got switched to afternoons (4pm-12am) which has thrown my sleep schedule out of whack. And my work schedule. And has my kids on edge because Dad’s not home for dinner anymore.

The house. The kids. The writing. Groceries. School events. Hair cuts. Appointments. I’m going CRAZY!

I know. I signed up for this when I had kids. I get that. It’s all a part of motherhood. And I love it. As I write this my kids are sleeping over at my grandmother’s and I miss them. Even though they’d already be in bed. I miss reading to them before bed. I miss filling water bottles and chasing them to bed with threats of “if you’re not in bed I’m going to eat you for dessert!” while they giggle and dive for the covers. I miss sticky kisses. Even when I’m pulling my hair out in frustration I love them. I miss them. So is it any wonder that I have not spent more than 48 hours away from my children at a shot in the last 7 years?

And it wasn’t even a vacation. I was working and my grandmother would take them camping overnight. Send them off Tuesday before work, pick them up Wednesday after work. That’s the longest I have been without my children in 7 years.

Not my husband though. No. When his niece was born he flew halfway across the country on a long weekend to visit his sister and the new baby. They went camping. I stayed home and entertained 2 kids. And when he took a week off for Christmas this year I was excited to do family stuff – like the zoo and skating. No. He decided to go see his brother halfway across the country for 4 days. And I stayed home through a blizzard and entertained 2 kids.

Took me a lot of crying and soul searching to figure it out but I’m losing myself to motherhood. I’m losing Casey. I’m stubbornly wearing what I love, even though I have stretch marks. Crop tops, short shorts, crazy hair colours, bold make-up, high heels – you’re not stopping me. I don’t want to be frumpy at 30. I’m writing. Chasing my dream. And yet I’m losing myself.

A friend told me “you need to take a vacation. Go to that place you always wanted to see. No husband, no kids. Just go.” And all I could think was “I don’t remember where that place is.”

If you gave me a plane ticket that could take me anywhere I’d have no idea where to go. I’ve forgotten half my dreams it seems. I’ve let my world cave in.

So I’m sitting here a day before the end of the year wondering how I’ll make it through another year of being defined as a mother. I think it will take a little more thinking.

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I’m Christian, Do I Have to Hate Homosexuals?

 

It’s a choice. It’s a lifestyle. It’s a sin.

Sound familiar? Yeah. I’m tired of hearing it too.

I’m Christian. To be precise, I’m Roman Catholic. I know. Some of you are ready to lynch me already. My religion and denomination get a bad rap and we all know why. Hate. Christians just seem to hate people. Homosexuals. Muslims. Single parents. Abortions and anyone who has one, talks about one, or performs one. The list goes on and on and on. And it seriously makes me want to throw up.

I’m going to focus on homosexuality for a moment and I’m going to start by saying I’m cisgender, female, and straight. But I’m an ally. I will not judge you for your gender, your sexuality, your gender expression, your hair colour, skin colour, eye colour, religion, or country of origin. I will however judge you if you are an asshole, a racist, a bigot, or encourage hate speak against anyone.

That’s not to say you can’t have an opinion. You can be against abortion. You can believe that homosexuality is a sin. But you have to be polite. And you have to be kind to people even when they don’t fit your mold for the world.

Sorry. I’m off topic. Homosexuality.

Homosexuality is a choice. Therefore choosing to live like this can be labelled a sin because only choices can be sins. 

This is a loaded statement and needs a little unpacking here.

  1. Christians believe that homosexuality is not part of God’s plan for humanity and was never intended to exist. Therefore anyone who does not fit the binary gender and binary sexuality standards is choosing not to fit.
  2. There are two levels of choice here. One is choosing to be attracted to the same gender. The other is choosing to act on that attraction and date/sleep with someone of the same sex. MOST Christians will go so far as to say that being attracted is not the sin, only acting on it is. In fact  you can sometimes convince Christians that being Homosexual is not a choice if you split the issue like this.
  3. The lifestyle of sleeping with someone of the same sex is a sin because all sex outside of marriage is a sin and homosexuals cannot be married in the eyes of God.

Christians are evil and cruel because they won’t allow homosexuals to marry in the church or openly express their sexuality without retaliation. They shouldn’t be able to discriminate against us.

Let’s unpack the other side now, shall we?

  1. Christianity is protected by Freedom of Religion laws and does not, now or ever, have to cave to external pressure and allow homosexuals the sacrament of marriage. Catholics don’t allow the Sacrament of Holy Orders (priesthood) to women and we’ve been hollering about that for generations. Don’t expect Christianity to change this any time soon.
  2. Christianity is also often against short skirts, revealing shirts, pornography, sex before marriage, public displays of affection or sexuality, children born out of wedlock, and drunken revelry. Don’t worry, they’re just uptight about sex in general.
  3. Discriminate. Here we’re talking about the infamous wedding cake and wedding photographer issues. I will discuss those in detail in a moment but hear me out. Anyone has the right to refuse a job that makes them feel unsafe, right? Generally that applies to using unsafe equipment or doing a task they are not trained in. This is an extension of the Safe Work issue. They want to be allowed to refuse work that makes them uncomfortable and I say let them. Hate on me all you want but I say let them.

So how do we rearrange all this so that homosexuals and Christians can co-exist? Seems impossible, but it’s not. Except that there are people who don’t want to solve the problem, they just want gays to go away. But we’ll ignore those people for a moment and deal with the rational people first.

I’m going to start with the wedding cake and photographer issues.

Let’s say I’m a wedding photographer, and I’m Christian, and I believe that gay marriage is a sin. A same-sex couple approaches me to shoot their wedding. What do I do? Easy, I reply to their query like this:

“Thank-you for your interest in my work and your kind words about my portfolio. Unfortunately I am unavailable on the date of your wedding. Thank-you again for considering me. I hope you find someone you really like and I hope your wedding is beautiful.”

Or like this:

“Thank-you for your interest in my services. Unfortunately I am not personally comfortable working with same-sex couples. I believe all couples deserve the best on their weddings and I would not be able to provide that for you. I hope you find someone you really like and I hope your wedding is beautiful.”

See? Polite, professional. I have turned down a job without ever condemning the couple who has approached me. And cakes can be handled the same way.

But for me the issue is deeper. Why are you turning them away? If it’s just because you’re not comfortable with it, you’re not sure how to translate the poses you use to this new subject, then you’re declining for professional reasons. I’ve turned down work because it’s something I don’t think I’ll be able to do well and I don’t want to disappoint a client. There is NOTHING wrong with this. BUT if it’s an issue of beliefs, then we need to talk. And here’s why.

We already established that sex before marriage is a sin, and since Christians don’t allow homosexuals to get married in the church they don’t believe homosexuals are ever married at all so they will always be living in sin. And they don’t want to support this sinful lifestyle. And I say this should be allowed. ON ONE CONDITION.

Sex before marriage is a sin. And the only marriage Christians recognize as legitimate is the sacrament of marriage in the church before god. So anyone who gets married with a Justice of the Peace is living in sin. Common law? Also living in sin. Do we extend this to Jews and Muslims too? Or do we assume that if you are getting married before god in the religious tradition of your choice that it’s a religious marriage, and therefore a sacrament, and therefore acceptable? Debatable.

So here’s my condition. You are only allowed to deny services to same sex couples on grounds of religious freedom if you also deny services to anyone who is not getting married in the church. EVERYONE. Either you support sinful lifestyles or you don’t but picking and choosing? Not going to fly with me.

 

Can we please accept that there are two types of marriage? There is the Sacrament of Marriage and this is provided by religions. There is also Legal Marriage and this is provided by the state. So long as homosexuals are just getting a Legal Marriage and not applying for the Sacrament of Marriage they are no more living in sin than the atheist couple in the next chapel.

So let Christians keep their Sacrament and offer it only to those they choose to. Let the state offer marriage to all consenting legal adults.

And let me just cover a few tangents quickly.

“But pedophiles claim they have no choice either. They’re attracted to children. We still say it’s wrong even though it’s a wiring in the brain. We still arrest them when they act on it.”

Please tell me I’m not the only one who has heard this. There is so much wrong with this statement and this comparison. First of all, I only support homosexuality in the same contexts that I support heterosexuality. You MUST follow the law. That means obeying the age of sexual consent. That means obeying statutory rape laws. That means obtaining consent without alcohol, drugs, abuse, or coercion. Period. Always. For everyone. So that means that pedophilia is against the law, not because it’s a choice to be attracted to children, but because children are vulnerable and our laws protect them from adults and teens. If two consenting adults have sex no law has been broken so what do I care about their genders?

“If we let homosexuals marry soon they’ll be letting people marry their dogs.”

Talk about insulting. I repeat: bestiality like pedophilia is against the law not because it’s a choice or not a choice but because animals can’t exactly consent in any understandable way to having sex with a human. Second, an animal has different rights under the law and therefore cannot be married under human law (which deals with taxes and benefits). Third, you are stooping so low as to compare same sex couples to animals. Stop it.

“We’ll be legalizing incest next.”

Nature doesn’t like incest and so actual cases of incest outside of rape and porn are very rare. Most cases center around adult siblings being reunited after many many years apart. Their affection for each other is misplaced as sexual attraction because they did not grow up around each other. This normalizes after a while. It can also happen between a parent and a child who were separated at the child’s birth and reunited when the child is an adult. There’s a term for it. It exists. As far as I’m concerned, incest is wrong on the basis of genetics and in breeding and all. And I’m going to leave it there. The reason we don’t allow it under the law is because we understand the danger of in-breeding and because we understand the danger of coercion increases in these cases.

What are your thoughts on this?