The “American problem” isn’t men, and it’s not masculinity, either.

At least, not in a vacuum. That’s a gross oversimplification of the problem. And women, girls, and anyone favoring democracy or democratic ideals must stand against the poison that gives way to the status quo.

What conservative Catholicism and Christianity does to men, how they think and perceive the world, and by extension, their families, and the societies and cultures they have built to uphold the traditionalist status quo both contradicts and parallels the ideals set forth in the United States Constitution.

You are damn straight I am coming for the First Amendment… but just not in the way we usually talk about it. I am talking freedom of religion, that poisonous legacy of conquest that the West was built upon. (Not to mention the Far and Middle Easts; though in my limited knowledge this is not true of indigenous/aboriginal groups native to the Pacific Islands and North American continent. By all means, if this is wrong, I do hope some kind reader will correct me on this.)

It’s no secret that in “Judeo”-Christian America, “fringe” cult movements like Quiverfull dovetail with the outcomes of the Jesuit missions in opening American Universities in the United States. For those who are unfamiliar, Jesuits, as adherents to the Order of Jesus, are one of the most liberal Orders. But the Order of Jesus is still Catholic, whether or not conservative Catholics in the US and in Europe think Jesuits are heretics or promoting heresyincluding today’s most famous Jesuit (and current leader of all Catholics), Pope Francis. Which is hardly surprising since there are high stakes:  poorly educated and religious Americans need to bring those votes to a party that lies to them, promoting the formation of a political elite ruling class comprised of incredibly wealthy robber barons, while giving them someonething to blame (other than the sainted Stars and Stripes which ensures their right to enact whatever religious delusion they want).

And let’s be real to the voter who believes the lies and empty promises of man like the TrumpDumpster, it really is something to blame. The politicians that are elected in a populist movement, the orange Dump himself included, are acutely aware that Americans who are women working outside the home, LGBTQ, and the Black descendants of those stolen from their homes and enslaved to build the very Capital (and Capitol!) which they legislate from within are people… because their representation in those austere halls would have dwindled to like… three sets of Duggar families and some Catholics… since the 1970s if not for Evangelicals bringing the votes, and Catholics bringing the brains, ideologies and strong opposition to family planning to the table platform.

But that leaves all women and girls getting the shaft (and no, that’s not a rape joke. But it might as well be, even though drawing that parallel is more depressing than it is funny.)

At any rate, there are two options as a woman in an Evangelical or Catholic family, church, and community (and in America at least, they do tend to crop up all around each other like that):

1.

Madonna.

Be subservient to the dogma and maintain 1980s John Hughes teen movie ideas about how “our” men should behave, and follow suit as a woman, protecting their reputations and careers at the expense of your own dignity, bodily autonomy, self-efficacy and livelihood.

2.

Whore.

Act as like Jezebel Jezebel and buck every rule, time after time, until all those men can point at the crazy shrew who can’t hold her tongue or her temper.

Of course, this is only applicable to white women. And as previously discussed, in the modern America Religion, White Supremacy is the theology and the dogma.

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I’m with you on this one but we can’t have nice things in America, like anti-racism, secularism… or even non-awful, un-creepy, not predatory clergy.

Women always need to know their place, whichever of those two options they choose, and anyone outside this man/woman dichotomy shouldn’t have one at all, even if the Synod isn’t going to come right out and say that… (and no, that’s not a gay joke). At the end of the day, making more people feel welcome and comfortable to proudly believe in your absolutely mad special guy in the sky stuff means that there are more people PTS (proselytizing that shit).

This is mostly a problem because the sociocultural interests of traditionalist men broadly are not oriented in the direction of women being autonomous about anything, let alone their bodies. Or having self-sufficiency, of having careers and financial independence at all.

Being raised by or in faith systems (of any kind) upholds the status quo. And while it’s not all bad, it does first and foremost benefit the men ascribing to that faith, and its theology = dogma. Which does not make it any less absurd. Nor surprising that the US is a disaster because of this: a nation founded on the ideal of welcoming anyone of any faith, and protecting all faiths.

But it’s even more absurd that women continue drinking that Blood of Christ Kool Aid (and I’m not talking about all the teens and wine moms at your parents’ church taking longer-than-appropriate swigs of that virus-laden Jesus Juice after mumbling “Amen.”)

All religions have vested interest in ensuring that its adherents believe they need absolution from a spiritual authority within said institution, so any such group’s leadership and institution will be diametrically opposed to values like tolerance and acceptance, though they will preach the exact opposite.

This is true both of one’s own perceived flaws, and those proscribed by the institution itself. They need you to keep believing you are bad, you are a sinner, you need absolution (specifically their sainted absolution).

But this is 2018, and that is no way to live life, here on earth, in America, today. Even if you, personally, are not surrounded by people of all different kinds of lifestyles and backgrounds and ideologies, and the only people where you live in whatever neighbourhood you live in all look exactly like you and go to the same churches and send their kids to the same schools, public or otherwise.

Here’s why:

1.

There have always been other Americans who are not like you, in looks, in thoughts, in opinions. They have always been in government too… but it’s a big enough place that you never have to see or hear them or be around them… until now, with the proliferation of the digital media, when everything is televised 24/7.

(If this is a thing that bothers you, to see other people having more the same basic human rights because when they’re different from you, I suggest turning off the TV to remedy this. TVs have made America worse, and you want to Make America Great Again, don’t you? Good. Stop it. Turn it off. Same with talk radio.)

2.

There is no absolution. At all. Ever. There are only other people… which is to say (within a faith-based framework), there are men and there are boys.

There have always been girls and women and girlfriends and wives and mothers who will forgive and pretend to forget, who will uphold the values of the Church, who will not only uphold that “boys will be boys,” but whose non-actions ensure that “boys and men can and will get away with behaving like savage cavemen, and acting in a dominant if not always sexually predatory manner.”

That is the sole purpose, function, responsibility and role of a Good Catholic Woman (outside of a nun’s habit. Nuns can engage in social activism surrounding issues like environmentalism or homelessness and poverty prevention, but need to be celibate, and not tempting to men in any way, shape, or form.)

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I mean, I guess those aren’t the only the two options… you could stake out seminaries too I guess? So insane that this was written in 2016 and not like… 1952.

Any woman who wants to know why those are the only two options, who dares ask, is a bad Catholic… and worse, is a bad member of their family, their family’s Church, community, maybe even their school, but hey, she doesn’t really need to read more than Beatitudes, Proverbs and Luke anyway.

And women who want to tear up a storm because the priests and youth ministers and bishops are not being held accountable for their actions, and scores of men do not and will not admit that they don’t see their women as people, and that men of the cloth do not need to be held accountable for their actions because they are accountable only to a higher power? Well, they are a threat. They are scary.

And the Church needs to shut them up. Because they are also right. Both logically and morally. Which is important because that is all a religion is: an institution to police morality in its adherents.

Good religious folks will then go proscribe that ish on everyone around themselves, PTS on more people and more people… In their homes, in their families, schools, communities, etc.

How the hell do I know?

Well, if you knew me three years ago I’d have been able to explain ridiculous minutiae about my life based solely on my birth chart (Sagitarrius/Gemini Moon/Rising Libra yo!) and read the tarot for you. Shit, I even paid my rent for 2 months in the summer of 2016 by reading tarot! I’m an atheist now, but witches are inherently queer and powerful women, with power outside the scary, fucked up patriarchy, so coming from the toxic faith background I did, I can’t be too hard on myself for that. Shit, I still want to call myself a witch. Maybe I will. They’re the only women in history with any agency, after all, and often some of the most pioneering freethinkers, for all that they and their writings were burned.

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Actual photograph of my actual “familiar” Sir Franklin, sitting on some woo stuff, next to a bookshelf full of queer theory monographs, all of which I left in America with people less mad over religion and magical thought, if not necessarily less mad in general, when I moved to Istanbul to teach English. Suffice to say I know I’m a trope okay? (Even though I’m not one of the right ones… again, not really a Madonna, and never have been paid for sex.) Not that there’s anything inherently wrong with that.

Once you’re raised in a faith, it’s hard to leave all of it. There’s a bit of spiritual or metaphysical Stockholm Syndrome at play. Love your captor. Embrace what binds you. Cling to magical thinking because it’s not abnormal or weird in your family anyway, and it is your Constitutional right to have some kind of magical megastructure, even if the dirty and nasty politics of the whole instituionalized ones are just so vile. The patriarchy doesn’t have any riot grrrl or queer best interests at heart, after all… shit, it hardly has any ethical interests at all! And it never will.

Of course, there’s an economic interest in this as well, since the amount/size of parish memberships contribute to the amount of tithes paid, the clergy’s salary. This is usually a share of one’s income, or in America, $20 or $50 or $100 per week for an activity you take part in for roughly and hour on a Sunday morning. My queer grrrrl lifestyle and ideas aren’t going to make a buck for me.

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Yasssss! Can’t help being #BornThisWay, after all! Don’t stop, get it get it!

But that does not and cannot strip the truth, and sense in what I’m saying about the church and these religions either, even if some of it is a bit extreme and that alienates some people from absorbing the message.

Think I’m being unfair?

This is the parish I grew up in, where I was one of the most senior altar servers when I was 17. Not in the Church pictured in that article though! My parent donated quite a bit to the construction of that church, constructed in 2010, notably on the same razed swamp as the house I grew up in (built in 1975, replete with a sinking basement!) Its pews are a panopticon built around the altar where the priest who instilled so many moral lessons as a queer teen trying to figure shit out in my formative years not this one, though, thank God! (And really in this case, praise be for my second class meat sack avatar for ONCE).

Of course, I had summarily dismissed most of those lessons long before… once I realized that the heroes like Joan of Arc whom I’d looked up to (she saved France! …only to be killed by the English, who were still Catholic then, by the way...)

But still, total bullshit either way!

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Maybe I still do admire her, though that sentiment has been pretty jacked since before the Korean War… after all, who doesn’t have a secret desire to be burned at the stake as a witch? What an honor! Even if there are too many #WitchHunts these days, can there ever really be enough witchcraft?

So the fact that clergy critical of the megastructure that upholds these abuses (like my mom and dad’s neighbor!) are not allowed to speak up against this in the church community in 2018 wasn’t really a surprise to me.

What’s more weird to me at 30 is why my role model at age 16 was both a martyr and a saint. Both really sound like incredibly boring if not downright miserable, ridiculous things to be. But this probably has to more to do with a different Freudian complex than the Madonna-Whore Dichotomy.

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Yeah that Joan of Arc thing is super weird, it’s not like there weren’t a slew of telvision shows aimed at my demo in 2004… but really, I’ve always been early-30s Lorelai, even when was I was 16. My mom should have called herself Emily, since the name does not suit me anyway.

But I’m not going to go into much more detail here about the family I was raised in. Suffice to say that there is quite unfair treatment of women and girls versus men and the boys, which plays out across generational divides a little bit. My dad’s relationship with his daughters has suffered greatly over the years because he chooses to stand by his brothers rather than in solidarity against wholly Catholic ideals… but then, there’s really been no room for moderates in American Catholic families since The Feminine Mystique was published, even though Freidan never had such honors bestowed upon her as Simone de Beauvoir did (but then the Index Librorum Prohibitorum was abolished only a couple years after its publication, and back in those days, American Catholics weren’t Catholic enough anyway.)

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“Is the Trump presidency a religious cult?” (by Reza Aslan on Big Think)

 

Spoiler alert: Everything is terrible and nothing is okay.

Religious studies scholars will explain that all religions are, or were, cults at their inception. Really, there is no difference between religions and cults. Don’t get me wrong, there is a lis a lot of quantifiably false, made up stuff that Trump’s disciples initiates marks Kool-aid drinkers followers believe… but that’s also true of Christianity, of Catholicism, of Islam, Hinduism… literally all religions. That’s the definition itself.

The choice to believe can certainly be therapeutic, soothing, dull the sharp pain of loss and make the grieving process easier. And it’s definitely your First Amendment right, (if you’re American), though grieving and coping mechanisms do not need to be linked to religion, nor does that minimize the fact that religion is delusion.

Religious congregations are communities, and can be social hubs, so these can be especially important for sad or lonely people, but so can secular community centers and recreation centers, libraries and senior centers (none of which have the funding for in-person door to door welcoming committees in lieu of proselytization street teams targeting lonely people who are at home alone).

According to vulnerability researcher Brené Brown, community, belonging, compassion, understanding, and the like are irreducible human needs, and religious congregations can fulfil all of these things. But so can social media, and we don’t call that a church. We call that an addiction, and most of us universally shame each other for those. But it’s taboo to question the religious, since it is a First Amendment right to be an insane religious zealot, after all.

When does having faith end and diagnosis begin? When do people of faith become a cult, or a cult become a church? And when can we just call all of it pathology?

That said, I do wish they’d stop making every article about American religious freedom about Muslims these days… I mean, yeah it’s more militant than exclusionary like the WASPy crazies who believed, in as purely literal sense – everything they read in the Bible – and then went off and populated White America.

But consider the life of Muhammad’s favorite wife, Khadija, was a successful and respected businesswoman in her own before she decided to marry her distant cousin, poor and two decades her junior, specifically because he was a prophet (which is to say, probably a bit more delusional than most people even back in those days when so much more was “explained” with woo). He lived on after her death, scribbling in his old man bitterness and sadness all of his manly warlord shit so of course that’s what stuck.)

Regardless, focusing on Islam as the problem in the US of all places is such low hanging Forbidden Fruit when there are so many sects of extreme religion in the US. Those first wacky Bible Thumper types have reproduced at alarming rates, and the ones of English descent had already been proliferating their insane theology for over a century before the Boston Tea Party… remember the Mayflower, anyone? Oh, and you know what came next…

But of course, women and girls are to blame for all the bad things that happen to men, and formidable women confident in their beliefs and self-efficacy are still a bit scary in 2018, especially when they’re intelligent and childless, emotionally sufficient and financially independent without men, are they not?

Women are so easy for powerful religious dudes to blame for stuff they can’t control, like for everything from the Fall [of Man], all the way on down to any legitimate opposition to Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court appointment. (His alleged sexually predatory behavior as a teenager notwithstanding; like, everyone knows he wasn’t on trial.)

It was a job interview though, and numerous letters of opposition, (basically the antithesis of good references) from those he’d worked with in prior Clerkships and Judgeships that attested to his poor judgment, partisan nature and lack of levelheadedness on the Bench… which should have been more than enough to eliminate him from finalists for the position, long before Dr. Ford even heard he was in the running, shit, even before Justice Kennedy was forced to step down.

So, “is Trump leading a new religious cult?” is a stupid question, and quite frankly I’m rather disappointed in Reza Aslan for even asking it, when such a better, obvious question is “why are scared, gullible masses so drawn to such unstable masculine charismatic pathologies, over and over again?

And Masculine it is… even though it is #NotAllMen rather, it is damaging to all men). Also, to be clear I do not refer to The Masculine here, nor is paganism devoid of a lot of quantifiably false, made up stuff… but neither is it any kind of organized and codified religion, but hey, Catholicism/Christianity and Islam incorporated a bunch of completely made up paganism into their own completely made up traditions, so there’s that.

One common thread, the men who first edited the Bible, the Bishops at the First and Second Nicaea Councils, and this asshole in between the two, must have really wanted to keep women in their place. A big meeting of Catholic bishops in the 7th Century would hardy have been complete with a bunch of sex workers being trafficked into the place for the big event, just like today’s Olympics, World Cup Finals, Super Bowls, etc. But back then… I mean, eventually the Church itself was plagued by its own hubris: Schism after Schism, Reformation after Anabaptist Anarchist Revolution and finally, all those crazies moving to America to escape persecution….

Little known fact, the Amish are one of the most multilingual populations in the US:  In addition to English, their Ordnung (Laws) are still written in Palatine German, and they speak a dialect called Pennsylvania Dutch (denn wenn man erwartet, dass Amerikaner “Deutsch” richtig sagen, würde das unsere Fähigkeiten überschätzen…) Also their blueberry pies are fucking phenomenal! So there’s that, but shit, the United States was literally built to defend and uphold this and similar religious delusions.

Which ironically but not unexpectedly has been our undoing: defending the rights of anyone to believe whatever they want has set up the US, as nation borne of the lofty ideas of academics and mad scientists (e.g. Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin) to fall as a nation of fools. I mean, think about it: we are taught about how the Puritans were the first permanent settlers of families in what became the American Colonies.

The Puritans were brave and good, so kind! It was a freezing cold winter, and they shared their blankets with these savages, (and smallpox! And they had the nerve to call their welcoming hosts, who taught them how to hunt and prepare turkeys, and how to grow staple grain corn, savages!)

Then they shared that feast of Thanksgiving with the natives who had taught them how to survive after they had to leave England because of how they were persecuted in the countries they left for their beliefs… all those bad, horrible people trying to stamp out the insanity! (Shame on them, for trying to tamp that down! Then they went on to tax TEA of all things? The NERVE of those LobsterDads -Backs…)

So the first American religious crazies were the Puritans and the Amish (who are still stuck in the 18th Century, for fuck’s sake) and their Mennonite and Hutterite brethren, who are all direct descendants of those Prophets of Doom people who full on delusional and unhinged upon having the Bible translated into their German vernacular in the wake of Martin Luther’s Protestant Reformation. Religious nut jobs flee to America. And now they’ve congregated around the TrumpDumpster.

Even though religious nuts have always come to America, hopefully this won’t always be so? After all, the Muslims coming to the US aren’t radicals. Radical types are staying much closer to their Mecca. This is, however, the same thing that happened with all 8 of my own Catholic great grandparents (about a century ago from Southern Italy and Poland) too… and yes, I have cousins who have congregated around the new Idol of TrumpDumpsterism, uncles and cousins who have gone into the US military to spill the blood of innocents in Vietnam and the current wars America is waging to line the pockets of our wealthiest citizens. I had a great aunt who was a cloistered nun, and I have a second cousin who is a Catholic Priest, whom I think is asexual but if not, I hope and pray he will leave the collar and pulpit if he one day wants to come out rather than touching the youth of his parish, unlike the father of the cousin I’ve never met because my uncle (a former Catholic Youth Minister) impregnated one of his teenage flock around 18 years ago. A creepy man who hugs too long and has asked me if I have my genitals pierced, whose son was made in his image and wants to go into politics (which is fine since he’s a total lech who has molested my breasts when we were teenagers, despite our dads being brothers, yuck!) and he’s done blow off a public bathroom sink at family weddings, so I’m sure he’ll fit right in at any hallowed house of legislature in the entire country; besides, that is really no secret anyway, so if he is given that opportunity I’ve sure as fuck learned from the public censure of both Dr. Anita Hill and Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s experiences to just keep my damn mouth shut and just let the predatory man govern us all.

And Catholic priests STILL like to get down and dirty, regardless of a lack of consent from their parishioners partners victims (who are children and adults coming to them for “spiritual guidance,” which is better or more accurately referred to therapy from a mental health professional, but instead is coming from someone completely delusional, albeit they are socially allowed to be so in their position in their culture.) And people are upset that the Catholic Church is under attack, because lawsuits are “bad press!”

This is also Old News, but maybe the Churches and Mosques and Synagogues should all have returned to the dust from whence they came centuries ago, like the Ancient Greeks, Romans and Egyptians, lost to antiquity forever. But I mean, they are beautiful, so even if we just lost all the dogma and got rid of all the stories and turned the buildings into schools and community centers at least this disaster would be salvageable. At the very least we can hope that the abuses and crimes done by these men will condemn them to public shame and ridicule in their communities and parishes, like their bad behavior does to the people brave enough to stand up to them.

And we women need to stop drinking that Blood of Christ too: the 53% of white women who voted for Trump largely did so because of their own misguided Catholicism. Yes, that is what I said, and that is what I mean: it is 100% misguided for women to continue to choose to be Catholic in 2018, and downright amoral/wrong of them to project those beliefs on other women.

The frustration of generation after generation collectively choosing religious delusion and social conservatism over progress and proof beyond measure of a doubt, given the option to do so is maddening. There is so much entitlement, and so much bullshit, and so much interest in Keeping Voters Stupid!

It is so counterintuitive to listen to the most entitled man of all in order to validate your own wounded masculine identity and belief in your own disenfranchisement, but drinking the brown, sludgy koolaid isn’t healthy for anyone… but hey, it’s less addictive than that Blood of Christ wine, and I guess some people are into that 2Girls1Cup deal anyway, or it wouldn’t be out there on the Internet.

Besides, we know who has the most intoxicating bullshit of all, for those of the bullshit drinking persuasion:

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Pro tip: watching Trump gifs while listening to the greatest hits of Linkin Park, Simple Plan, and Sum 41 will remind you what all the boys were like in 7th grade, probably because the ones who stayed there mentally and emotionally voted for this whackanutsack and cheered the loudest when he said this!

 

Writing is hard; or, I took a break after my late grandmother’s birthday which ended up lasting through the Kavanaugh hearing.

Sometimes I want to write, so I sit down to do it and I can’t. This can happen for any number of reasons, but usually it’s because I feel bored or sad. Anger and disappointment are pretty easy to write about, but to do so regularly just turns into a bunch of rants or a bunch of whining. And no one likes an angry non-Presidential rant (not that the rest of us can figure out what anyone sees in those aside from comedic value), and no one likes someone who is just whining all the time. Or someone nagging all the time, since to be fair, I guess different people express disappointment in different ways.

Regardless, I almost didn’t write today. This morning was too busy and hectic, and I got a bunch of stuff done that needed to get done, faster and earlier than usual. I went to the post office, brought a form to be filed at a government office, and came home and got some work done. Nothing too bad there either, just tying up some loose ends, so I didn’t have to deal with any of those more… ahem, particular, types of people online today.

(Sidenote: setting up my life abroad in different places, I’ve gotten used to engaging with about 8 different government offices on the regular in each and every one of them, so I’ll have to elaborate on that in a later post, because let’s just say that the DMV is kid stuff at this point… even though it’s still somehow a much more awful, dehumanizing and inefficient experience than most of the ones outside the US.)

So I almost didn’t write anything. I’m tired, grumpy, and a bit crampy, and I don’t want to just whine about that (or anything) with this blog. But that does quite defeat the purpose of having a blog to write in every single damn day if I don’t do it regardless. I am very lucky in that I have a loving partner and a good life and a great dog and we live on this beautiful Mediterranean Island in a house with a view. And I don’t want to complain about any of that. But this is also the cause of some of my sadness, or at least greatly contributes to it, since living in a rural village (population 1000) on an island that is only 67 km² (25.87 mi²) can be stifling.

For comparison by size, smallest to largest:

  • Rochester, NY: 59.77 km² (23.08 mi²)
  • Buffalo, NY: 136 km² (52.51 mi²)
  • Helsinki, Finland: 184.5 km² (71.22 mi²)
  • Raleigh, North Carolina: 370 km(142.8 mi²)
  • Toronto: 630.2 km² (243.3 mi² )
  • Berlin, Germany: 891.8 km² (344.3 mi²)
  • New York City: 783.8 km² (302.6 mi²)
  • Los Angeles: 1,302 km² (502.7 mi²)
  • Istanbul: 1,539 km² (594.2 mi²)
  • London, UK: 1,572 km² (607 mi²)

It’s beautiful… but it’s also kind of lonely. I’m no Thoreau, much as I’d like to be. I’m hardly able to run errands a few days in a row without spraining an ankle on the hills, or at least straining one. Also, we both work from home full-time, but my partner works twice the hours I do, and it is his work that dictates a lot about our location and lifestyle. Since I work less, I do more of the household chores and take care of our pupper. It’s getting to be a lot more work than it was just a year ago. He is such a dashing, yet odd looking pup, and his short legs and long stocky frame have given the poor boy some hip problems and pain in his dotage. He is such an amazing dog though:

 

 

I am lucky and privileged and blessed to live the way I do. But I am also so so so incredibly lonely. Some evenings while he’s working late, I sit in front of my computer and just cry a bit… then I knuckle down and keep working. There’s not much else to do. We keep different hours than our neighbors and the locals (most of whom are so very welcoming and kind! I think Malta in general has a bad rep for xenophobia… it’s not nearly as bad as most of rural Western New York, though to be fair that is a super low bar).

And even the local grocery store opens at 5 am and closes at 1 pm. Then it opens from 4:30 pm to 7 pm… 6 days a week. Since I grew up in a large Catholic family I get that there are families here and they all know each other and have been living here for generations upon generations, and we are outsiders.

There are some other outsiders here too, in spades! But most of them are tourists, or English pensioners who are mostly very kind and sweet, but a little condescending. Ex. I do not need an explanation of the right kind of cream to use in every conceivable cooking and/or baking situation whilst I am doing my shopping at Lidl (a supermarket, with better hours than the local one, but three times as far and with an abundance of loud German tourist and English pensioner patrons, and apparently a serious dearth of cream varieties: they only offer the shelf stable vegan kind, the shelf stable cooking kind in a box, and cans of the shelf stable Reddi Whip type dessert topping that doesn’t need to be refrigerated until you open it).

I have made one friend, and she’s quite sweet, in her late 20s from France. But we are both always working, and I expect she’ll be leaving soon since she also finds it quite dull and really misses the land where she’s from. For me, it’s especially bad on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings. When in Buffalo, on Monday and Wednesday I used to attend potlucks with my friends at their housing co-ops, and  Thursday I used to play DnD with a small campaign in one of their basements… it was a creaky old house, so it felt like we were playing DnD in an actual dungeon, too.

In Rochester I used to spend those same evenings going to meet ups, board game nights, or just doing my homework at the local Gay Café, Equal=Grounds, which was right around the corner from my tiny apartment. A nice little coincidence that.

And, I used to see those same groups of people those days and on Saturday and/or Sunday afternoons, taking part in different community volunteer initiatives or just shooting the shit over a cup of tea (or rather, an herbal infusion, as opposed to the English black tea). It was nice to always have a group where I felt I belonged, since I really hadn’t had one of those since I broke my ankle and couldn’t keep working at Girl Scout Camp… which of course was only in the summer.

There were messy parts in between of course, and in the moment it didn’t lend much to the consideration of my future (now current) nostalgia. But since now it’s now going on three years since I moved abroad and stopped having that social structure, I am starting to really miss that aspect of having community, in ways I’d never realized I would.