Church Consideration…”Dust off your heart and take it for a spin” (- Andy Grammar)

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This morning I “dusted off my heart and took it for a spin”

I haven’t talked much about my faith on this blog

I am Roman Catholic and look to my faith often for guidance

However, I also respect all others of other faiths or no faith

It’s about you as a person, not your particular faith that shows your heart ❤

But today I had trouble waking up

Finally I rose

I showered, made my bed

Gathered the laundry and my thoughts

Darn! I missed the ten o’clock mass

Well, wait, there’s one at noon

When my dad came home

A light bulb moment

There’s mass at noon

The song starts and I rush in

Right on time

I sing, I express my faith in feeling

The rest was me, one with God in my heart

In love and faith

I want to dust off my heart and take it for a spin…

Are those three words enough? Journey back to high school days…

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when I came upon this question
rather haphazardly
when we spoke
words failed me
the emotions
he evoked
within my spine
ignited my bones
and I realized
it’s more than a crush
I think about you
when I brush my hair
when I hear music
when I adjust my marching uniform
when I cry
i wish you were there
someone who’s shoulder I
could hold onto and cry
you wouldn’t mind
I know you wouldn’t
but how do you tell
someone
that you have feelings
strong ones
possibly love
but those three words
are not enough

so
how do you do it?
how can I?
when words fail me
when we coexist in the same space
I can’t hide my smile
perhaps we will collide
but perhaps
i’ll never know
what he actually thought of me
if anything reminded him of me
or worse
if he ever thought about me at all…

 

The Tempest …thoughts

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Act 1- Act 3 of the Tempest I realize that this is unlike the other plays we have read and in a good way. Not that the other plays weren’t enjoyable, this play just had so many unique layers that I liked peeling apart and seeing what would come next. I really like the many dimensions of Prospero and see the perception of him change throughout the play. Wizard and loving father are two hats interesting he wears that I really like and enjoy watching develop through the first three acts.  He must think of how to regain power that has been usurped by his own brother (an annoying theme in many plays) while still keeping his daughter in mind. This is complex because he must make sure his daughter is raised properly given where they are, while still using magic to control whatever he wishes starting with the name of the play, the Tempest, or the storm he creates that Miranda begs him to get rid of because it is frightening.

I love the act of crashing a ship on this island so he can plot a way to fix his problems but at first that concerned me that a seemingly evil man has a young daughter. (No one was harmed so it is ok. If there were deaths because of the crash I would feel much differently.) I also adore the idea of being secluded from much of the world. It creates a certain mood through the novel and I think Shakespeare does this to create a land like this island where Prospero can perform his magic and it is more accepted because of the tone.

There is this concept of white magic and black magic. Something that is not addressed but is very important is that both light and dark magic can be used for wrong such as when Prospero tortures Caliban. However, when I discovered that Prospero wanted good for Miranda when she falls head over heels in love with Ferdinand I knew he was not the evil man he was portrayed to be in the beginning of the story. I also think it is an interesting concept that Miranda had never seen another man before Ferdinand. Also, I do not like how Prospero treats Caliban and Ariel. He threatened Ariel with twelve years of being in a tree when the floating figure asks for freedom. It is sad that Prospero is such a kind, tender, and loving father but he treats others with cruelty. I understand the colonial ideas thrown out by Shakespeare but it creates a character that swings between kind and cruel and I do not care for it one bit. Caliban and Prospero have a complicated relationship because he claims the island belonged to him because it was left to him by Sycorax. And Prospero took the island and tricked him with kindness and now is his slave. Caliban does not make himself very likeable. Finally, despite the gender implications of not allowing Miranda to work, I really enjoyed the little back and forth between Miranda and Ferdinand. I thought it was cute and a break from all the serious topics going on around them.

Cup of heaven

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I overslept!

Sleep was a lovely thing 

Techincally, you can’t oversleep on a Sunday

I meant to go to mass this morning 

I will go with my parents this evening 

Instead I sip, I smile deep, I enjoy

My second cup of heaven

The gentle breeze from the perfect summer morning 

Is coming from my window

I breath the air and I sip

I’m sipping my coffee

And this grin appears

It’s my cup of heaven

Freud’s False Facts

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Many times while explaining something of great importance to another person, we don’t realize that we are being biased or allowing thoughts that are our own to corrupt and the truth of the work is thus changed in the minds of others. In this way, we are negatively affecting our audience and distorting their thoughts and minds. For example, when reading The Bible you can explain it as God’s literal teachings or as mere stories, depending on your religion and beliefs. That is not distorting people minds but giving viewpoints and options for people to take in. Taking the stories and construing a negative meaning is wrong, such as when people turn The Bible into a vehicle to explain and excuse their hatred towards the gay community, claiming God hates them and spewing false truths. It is a particular problem because certain people are using The Bible to perpetuate hate in the same way that Sigmund Freud takes “Femininity” and “Female Sexuality” and creates something completely inaccurate. It is particularly grotesque that something meant to be spiritual as The Bible turns so cruel because of human interpretation. Sigmund Freud does something quite similar with his alleged research and observation in “Female Sexuality” and “Femininity”. He uses these works to just chisel away at women’s image using bizarre theories he himself claims he cannot prove. One might read these passages and say he is merely being phallocentric. An argument can be made for either Freud being phallocentric or purely sexist. However, Sigmund Freud exploited people’s somewhat gullible nature when much wasn’t known about the theories behind female sexuality in such a manner as he provides. One may come to the conclusion that he is sexist. Another may come to the conclusion that Freud is merely using phallocentric opinions. It can be misconstrued that Freud has a strong male perspective, that his comments about woman one finds offensive are just a male’s viewpoint. However through numerous examples in these two articles alone, Freud gives one enough ammunition to prove his is extremely sexist as well as phallocentric. In “Female Sexuality” he claims the woman to be inferior on the mere fact that she does not have a penis and how this causes angst through her entire life. There is never shown the other side of this paradigm, where a woman has a different sexual construction and that alone does not make her inferior. It is this difference as one example that points at Freud’s sexism.  When all the information is set and truly put under the microscope, sexism as well as phallocentricism is the clear way that Freud takes us into his mind through a series of essays, full of false convoluted conclusions. Phallocentric implies emphasizing the male view point which he does do and at the expense of all females. Through use of language, instilling fear in women and creating false truths about penis envy, and discrediting successful women Freud develops deeply flawed and unbelievably sexist statements that baffle the reader and are not constructive in any way.

Before specific examples are given, simply by reading Freud’s phrasing and language you can easily see phallocentric and furthermore sexist, which is exactly what Freud is. He makes these little snide comments that especially to a woman come off so rude and insensitive. It is his bold yet ignorant use of language that gets him in deep water with the female reader and hopefully the male as well. At first, this language can be taken as phallocentric, but when further investigations are made one realizes that he is sexist as well as phallocentric. The “atrophied penis” is a term implying that the penis is better somehow. All the adjectives he uses are really not only phallocentric but lend strongly towards sexist. The phrase “a boy’s far superior equipment” (Femininity 157) is one troubling instance of not only language but a bold claim lacking support. Furthermore, these almost cruel digs do not even help procure a valid argument for Freud. He comes off as actually less intelligent because of these jabs at women. One such comment, “There is another, far more specific motive for the turning point away from the mother, arising out of the effect of the castration complex on the little creature without a penis.” (Female Sexuality 4) Reading that, one starts losing faith in Freud because women are now subhuman by being calling creatures. This is dehumanizing and it only gets subsequently worse when Freud describes the young girl as being angry at her mother for not giving her the “proper genitals”. This strikes deeply as extremely sexist because according to Freud the proper genitals to have are clearly male. Women are just as important in society and gentially speaking if not for a woman, children could not be born and Freud’s beloved penis could not come on to this Earth because the female has to literally produce it. It is absurd to just say that the male genital is the proper one with even giving a proper conclusion as to why.  This is a huge belief for a phallocentric mindset and Freud highlights it quite well in this example. He does not have valid research and the observations he claims to have made are absurd, for such subtlies cannot be accurately observed.  Although that might further convey the sexism, Freud seems to make a lot of sexist generalizations but not explain why they are such. There is one example where he is to an extent using deeper analytical thought but arrives at a conclusion he cannot possibly prove. This is this notion that “girls hold their mother responsible for their lack of a penis” (Femininity 154) that one cannot prove. This was not studied because this notion cannot be studied, and this shows phallocentricism but also Freud being sexist and a misogynist. Many of these arguments seem to be what he believes and not what he claims to have observed which is unfair to say if truly it cannot be observed.

Sigmund Freud writes his arguments in a way that is cause for actual fear among women if we truly underwent and subscribed to these theories he has. Many of his “observations” something I must place in quotes because it is not valid to claim the complex sexual development of especially very young children could be observed. This concept mentioned on multiple pages of a women or young girl, depending on what stage he refers to is at a disadvantage is completely unfair because he is the one creating these extra steps in the sexual maturation process that a girl needs to go through. The man seems to have his sexuality as explained through the Oedipus complex wrapped up in a nice little bow. Giving this sense of worry to the women is very sexism, as if we really are so defined by our lack of a penis. Why is it that the woman must go through this struggle of sexual confusion and inadequacy? It makes for a lack of balance and a lack of understanding when the woman is constantly being belittled and attacked and furthermore takes a direct hit at Freud’s credibility. This brings us to the notion of penis-envy something Freud is quite confident about to an obnoxious degree. It is repulsive to think that once a girl discovers a penis on her father, she does not have one and laments this through her entire life even in her subconscious until she bores a baby boy, whom she considers to have fulfilled her ultimate dreams (Femininity 159) which is sickening that through having a child with a penis her own dreams have come true. Why do women need to be defined and furthermore crushed by the notion that they do not have a penis? Freud never gives a starting point for this argument that makes sense. The previous mentioned moment when a girl sees a penis on her father is not a captivating argument for this soul-crushing feeling Freud goes on to claim.  According to Freud, it is in these loosely based arguments. It is offensive and very cocky for Freud to think that a woman’s whole life is spent wanting a penis. As previously stating women provide sex organs crucial for conceiving a child something Freud omits from his theories. It is not the male perspective about female that is bothersome. It is the complete and utter disregard for the woman and furthermore for the truth that one can so clearly establish is not only Freud being phallocentric but Freud stating awful things and furthermore not able to back them up other than to say these are his observations. Can Freud really understand what is going on in a child’s mind or even an adult? One can go as far to say that his general way of thinking and “researching” is deeply flawed and attempting to prove anything in the fashion he tries to attempt this complex concept will end with a bad result in addition to the phallocentric and sexist notions he places throughout his essays.

Lastly, Freud claims something that are purely his beliefs not those of his alleged studies. In the four step process of a woman’s sexual maturation Freud mentions many things, none of which have any basis in reality. Freud states “the development of a little girl in a normal woman is more difficult and more complicated since it includes two extra tasks” (Femininity 147) and he goes on to explain them in such a way that is puzzling and illogical. The two extra tasks are a girl switching her “love object” from her mother to her father and her erogenous zone from her clitoris to her vagina. What is never put into light is why these things are even necessary or make any sense. Why doesn’t the boy need extra stages? This seems to imply the boy’s stages are better and more complete.  What is worse in when Freud claims that things can go awry in the maturation of these two stages and one of the most puzzling is a woman getting an education being a failure in her quest to “femininity” by saying that “a capacity for instance, to carry on an intellectual profession- may often be recognized as a sublimated modification of this wish” (Femininity 155). This is incredibly unbelievable that an educated woman did not grow correctly sexually and thus chose education as a way to compensate for the fact that they are lacking a penis. Why are those things linked? In today’s world many, many women are well educated but have still developed sexually. It can actually be argued that lack of education and knowledge can negatively impact a young girl’s sexual journey so just the opposite of what Freud claims is true. It appears that Freud has taken the liberty of the most blunt and outright sexism and placed it here. One could make a clear argument against Freud but he shoots himself in the foot by claiming to be defenseless. (Female Sexuality 6) He is defenseless for his claims are extremely sexist because it is the woman that has something wrong with her and this maturation theory cannot be proved because it is the loose theory in the mind of a twisted man through being phallocentric finds nothing wrong with the young male’s development.

In conclusion, Freud tries with vigor to explain female sexuality and femininity but succeeds in offending us and leaves us to question deeply the true value of the research he claims to have done and the observations that would be so crucial if they were feasible. He is using these little digs at women that are so incredibly sexist as well as phallocentric. His language alone is enough to say that hey, this Freud fellow is a complete misogynist! Phallocentric is a part of who Freud is. Also through his flawed theory of penis envy as well as claiming a woman’s education means something went awry in sexual development just are crazy for all the aforementioned reasons. Freud took on a concept with a deeply flawed bias. He was about to create many theories but ones people of the general public should be able to see past because he is just incorrect through everything I have previously explained. Furthermore, it is unfair that men get this preferential treatment while women are at the mercy of whatever sick theories Freud has to offer.

Almost doesn’t count: Their Eyes were watching God

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There are many significant questions which arise throughout and at the disappointing conclusion of Their Eyes were Watching God that we as human beings must ask ourselves as we wrestle with the meaning of symbols and themes throughout the novel and attempt to get at the core of who Janie was and who she became. These deep, profound questions are: What does it mean to find your voice? And, elaborating upon that question for the context of the novel at hand: what does it mean to find your voice as a young woman of color? These are questions that are imperative to ask as they help one understand the troubles that Janie our protagonist faces and struggles with in a way never presented to some including myself. She struggles on a emotional and psychological level to find her voice.

Many, many life altering things happen in her life, some things that she actively chooses and some that are simply out of her control. Janie is manipulated in different respects by three men who contribute to her voice being for through the events that occur but also choices she consciously makes. With each man we learn who Janie truly is because she had ways of using her voice that she did not.  Through Logan, Joe, and finally Tea Cake it is discovered that Janie is not the strong female character that has found her voice, for Janie is not a good representation of a strong female character that has grown and found her voice. She is manipulated by THREE men, while the choices she has are limited one can analyze that she attempted to have a voice but constantly did not stand up for herself when it counts like not demanding Tea Cake seek medical attention after the dog bite or Tea Cake stealing all her money and listening dumbly to his rationalization. She only has a bit of agency but it is fleeting for when she loses the one man she actually loved (Tea Cake) she regresses to what was comfortable instead of building a life for herself which she had a golden opportunity to do. Janie’s voice and strong female character do not exist to put it simply. She continually has opportunities to seize what she has and make a life for herself. Many times it appears she has a voice but it is quickly silenced by choices she makes. Through three men, one she did not choose and two she did it can be seen how she does not have a grasp on how to achieve her voice. She is content not having a voice or being strong.

At the beginning of Janie’s journey, she is taken from her beginnings of learning about herself. The symbol of the pear tree and her budding sexuality are so important but they are stifled, suffocated and destroyed. Her grandmother is thinking she is helping Janie by having her marry Logan, this is in a time different from now where being content and happy meant he did not beat her too much and she had an “okay” life, which Janie discovers is a meaningless life. Her budding sexuality was taken away by her grandmother’s concern for her just as it started to bloom, “On a late afternoon Nanny had called her to come inside the house because she spied Janie letting Johnny Taylor kiss her over the fence at the gatepost” (Hurston 10) is a scene where Janie’s sexuality is stifled. The pear tree of budding sexuality described as “snowy virginity of bloom” (page 10) gets taken from her. This scene is absolutely a starting point for things going downhill for Janie only ten pages into the novel. Society is telling her that her own curiosities are to be ignored and she is to marry and “learn how to love”. This is one event in the book that disjoints Janie’s mindset and develops in her a hatred for her grandma that Janie discusses way later in the novel.   When Janie discovers she will not “learn to love” (Huston 12) Logan and the twisted things she was told about love turn out to be wrong, she does demonstrate some agency when Logan belittles her work in the house and demands she does work outside on p. 31. At this point in the novel Janie defends herself by saying her work does count. It is deeply sad seeing Janie hope that the love between her and Logan will just somehow develop, when it is clear through Logan’s actions that is not the case. Logan does not physically abuse her, but leaves emotional scars that cause her to cling to Joe Starks. There is a point where one feels sympathy for Janie but also realizes her agency at this point in the novel is limited because she belongs to Logan like property and he takes that expression quite literally by wanting her to behave like a mule, which is part of the emotional abuse. The mule imagery is overlapped into her interaction with Joe. Unfortunately, the mule symbolizes how women are viewed and how they are to actually push the load for the male. This quote encompasses it quite well, “So de white man throw down de load and tell de nigger man tuh pick it up. He pick it up because he have to, but he don’t tote it. He hand it to his womenfolks. De nigger woman is de mule ud de world so fur as Ah can see” (Hurston 44). This quote by Nanny examines that the white man is at the top of the hierarchy and black men attempt to compensate for that by lowering the black women and giving her that burden of suffering at the bottom. It is sickening but this mule imaginary is something that Janie does challenge and ultimately when Logan leaves to get the mule she discovers her future husband Joe Starks. She runs away, but clearly with the first husband she does not have agency or much of a voice and we will see that steadily decline.

That moment where Janie escapes Logan was a point in the novel where one hopes a shift has been made. Janie realizes that Logan is wretched but also finds an escape in the form of Joe Starks. She takes a step to get out of an impossible situation by leaving with someone who she obviously believes is a better option than Logan and who can possibly offer a better life. However, as Joe becomes mayor her sense of self is diminished to “Miss Mayor” (Hurston 43) and it is troubling how yet again she is in difficult circumstances. Could she have foreseen how much she would have suffered – no but she does little about it. The worst part of this particular selection when Janie is with Joe is the level of control over her Joe gains and she cannot even speak, and her grand speech is just too little too late. He already beats her over a bad meal and constantly tells her where her place is.  There were steps she could have taken that she did not, such as simply leaving the situation that made her miserable and this is because she sees superiority, a whiteness about him something that she perhaps hopes will give her a leg up in the world. There is a key part where Joe passes away and her mourning for him is an act. It is a pondering as to why this act was necessary and it does not say good things about Janie that she “starches her face” (Hurston 88).  She decides to pretend she loved him and to look like she is mourning when actually she does not have to do any of that. That is a place where she could have used her small voice, made a grand speech that would have had a gigantic impact, and she chose to do something that was not beneficial for her at all. It is a part of her we have not seen but a strange way to use her “voice” which we are going to see diminish even more.

As if Janie hasn’t had enough trouble, she finds more in the form of Tea Cake. By far the most difficult to analyze of the three men because she loves him (so there occurs a skewed view), but once it is all cleared away it becomes easy to see that Janie does not use the voice and thus loses it to this man and the situations that arise. This is the first and only man she loves and is attracted to sexually. One would think that she has found her voice by going fishing and on various other trips with Tea Cake, and it appears that a shift that we have been waiting for has been made at long last. However, once they are together and married everything is blurred and a gray arises where one must recognize Janie is making mistakes and not allowing her voice to be heard. Why does she now want to work with Tea Cake picking beans whereas she hated the store work with Joe? She loves Tea Cake so she loves being around him, but what real choices about her life does she make to enrich it? She also gets abused by Tea Cake so her being hit repeatedly is a symbol of possession but still loves him in spite of that. This is perhaps is the most upsetting. She accepts his gambling and other faults but when her life is in actual danger, she continues to be in denial by saying that he is just pointing the gun at me or he is just shooting: “The gun came up unsteadily but quickly and leveled at Janie’s breast. She noted that even in his delirium he took good aim. Maybe he would point to scare her, that’s all” (Hurston 183). She simply had a bit of a voice with Logan and somehow love has blinded her to a point where she does not comprehend the danger she is in. Not only does Janie not have a voice and doesn’t demonstrate a strong female voice she doesn’t use the agency she does have. It is painful to read on as this tale unfolds and see her mourn Tea Cake and then there is her behavior after his death truly does it to nail shut the case about her voice. Instead of using her new life to create something of meaning, she regresses to a state of who she used to be. If anything positive can be said it is she went on a journey that changed her for the better but then she went backwards in her journey and she changed back to a ghost of herself.

In conclusion, the saddest part is all the chances that she had that she let slip away. It is lost opportunities throughout this novel that disappoint the reader. It is true that Joe treated her better than Logan and Tea Cake treated her better than Joe. That does not matter when the way she is being treated by the “best” man is still quite awful. With Tea Cake, she had a man she loved and if she could have pulled through and used her words and actions everything that happened could have happened differently. The hurricane is obviously something no one has control of, but she could have made better decisions such as getting treatment for Tea Cake when the dog bites him. It is sickening how she chose Joe and Tea Cake and accepted many things and then was upset by the outcome. She was always close to a breakthrough in her voice. One kept waiting for it to happen and the novel to drastically change. Unfortunately, almost does not count and Janie is left with no voice because of her own choices and is not a strong female character as a consequence.