Is Freemasonry Sexist?

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I’ve always been fascinated by secret societies and any organizations that tend to have “secret teachings”. The Freemasons specifically have always been an object of curiosity for me. I have always been tempted to join the Freemasons and work my way up the 33 degrees of their Scottish Rite path, because I would love to know what they actually teach for myself. However, because I am a woman and have a vagina instead of a penis, that isn’t allowed.

I knew that Freemasons have a history of excluding women, but wasn’t sure where they stood today, so I reached out to our local Freemason branch to see if they have any programs for women and received this in reply:

“We do not allow women to join our fraternity. We have always been a fraternity which, by definition, is for men only.

There are so-called “co-masonic” groups which you could research on the web. But we are not in any way related to those groups nor do we recognize them as Freemasons.”

How can a religious group with so much influence and power in our world entirely exclude women? This isn’t just some little college fraternity – look into the history of the Freemasons and see their influence and scope! This organization was enormously influential in the formation of our country and many of their symbols reside on our money and other government institutions to this day! They claim to possess important esoteric knowledge, and yet refuse to share any of that with half of the human species?

I hope this doesn’t seem petty or stupid to you guys, but it seriously annoys me. I know other religions are sexist. In the Catholic church, a woman still can’t be a priest (although they should rethink that, perhaps women priests wouldn’t molest all the altar boys), but at least they allow women to be Catholics in the first place!

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Can Abusers Ever Be Reformed?

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This is a question I struggle with myself on a regular basis. Can abusers really ever change or is it just theater to try to pull you back in so they can mistreat you again? Should you ever let a prior abuser back into your life if they seem to have changed for the good?

None of these are easy questions and there are certainly many contributing factors that should be considered as well. Perhaps abusers who once had drug or alcohol addictions and have now gotten clean for a significant period of time will have changed enough to give them a second chance.

What about those who lived for years with undiagnosed, untreated mental illness and finally get the help they need? How much of the abuse was who they truly were and how much was the influence of the untreated mental illness? This scenario is one I personally have experienced to some extent with my own family. How much responsibility should they hold for the abuse, especially any times they may have actually dipped into psychosis?

I know many abusers find religion at some point in their lives and claim to have been completely changed. I must admit I am suspicious of this claim. Perhaps religion truly does change the hearts of some, but much of my personal experience has taught me that if someone is a bad person before they find religion, they will likely be a bad person after they find it. Superficialities may change, but does their behavior/attitude/actions?

Unfortunately, I have no real answers to the question of whether abusers can ever change, but I hope that they can. I would warn everyone to be cautious in extending an olive branch to anyone who has deliberately hurt you again and again, but I do understand the desire to believe in the power of change.

 

Review of Netflix’s “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina”

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Last night I watched the first episode of the new Netflix series The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, based on the comic books that also inspired the 90’s tv show Sabrina the Teenage Witch. I was a big fan of the 90’s show, so I have been waiting with excitement to check out the new series, however, after watching the first episode, it is clear that this new version is much, much darker and less light-hearted than the older tv show!

I do like the new show so far, so I am not necessarily complaining, but I want to warn everyone that if you are looking for something similar to the Melissa Joan Hart Sabrina, you will not find that! I was initially a little bummed that Salem doesn’t really talk in this version, but I think it actually fits better into the show considering how somber this show is compared to the previous one.

I do like the actress they cast as Sabrina (Kiernan Shipka). I’m not huge on Ross Lynch playing Harvey, but maybe that is just because every time I see him I still see Austin from Austin & Ally. I felt like they did try to find actresses who resembled the 90’s versions of Aunt Hilda and Aunt Zelda, although Zelda is not nearly as likeable and is kind of mean instead of just serious and scholarly like the older adaptation. I do enjoy the character of Ambrose quite a bit and feel it was a good addition.

I have seen some viewers complain about the satanism elements included in this new show, and I can see why some people would find that upsetting, although it doesn’t bother me personally. Although, as someone interested in paganism and Wicca, I hope that viewers of this show don’t start thinking everyone into witchcraft is into satanism – a stereotype that has already existed far too long.

I do plan to watch the rest of the series and enjoy it, but as more of a horror/dark fantasy series than a comedy or silly teenage drama.

Denied Access to Mental Health Records

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I found out recently that my Social Security Disability (SSDI) hearing has been set for February 2019. When I found this out, I contacted my attorney’s office to ask for a copy of my medical records since I honestly don’t even know what all is in them other than what my doctors have told me and what little is available on the online portals. I was rather shocked when they told me that they could give me the physical health records, but it is a HIPAA violation to allow me to see my complete mental health records.

To be honest, this bothered me. I’m not allowed to see some of my own mental health records? This doesn’t seem right to me. Maybe I could understand if I were violent or a real danger to others and they feared me getting pissed at what the doctors wrote and trying to harm them or something, but the closest I’ve ever come to violence is just having a meltdown and yelling at someone because I was overwhelmed (normally this has only happened at work places when I was put under a lot of pressure). Even yelling is pretty rare for me though. I am much more likely to just burst into tears, lock myself in the bathroom, or try to get away from the situation by finding another “safe” area where I can be alone.

Am I alone in being frustrated by the seemingly patronizing system hiding my own truth from me? Who else deserves to know my doctors’ real, honest perception of me more than myself? I’m not a child. I can handle knowing what my doctors really think of me and maybe knowing those things would help me in my own personal growth.

I Don’t Owe Anyone Anything

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Yesterday I had rather a bit of a breakthrough moment. Now, to most people with healthy backgrounds and relationships, this will likely be a bit of a “duh” moment, but to people like me who were groomed to be codependent caretakers, it is an immensely important realization.

My “eureka moment” can be summed up in one sentence:

I don’t owe anyone ANYTHING, and no one owes me ANYTHING.

Of course, this does not mean that I can’t give to others out of the goodness of my heart, or that they can do the same, but none of us should feel required to do so. I would say the one exception to this rule would probably be children. If you bring children into this world, you do owe them something – and that is to do your best at providing them a safe, stable, and loving childhood. I guess pets fit that category as well. If you sign up to take care of something that can’t care for itself, you are essentially accepting that responsibility.

Outside of that, I’m not sure if any of us should feel like we have to fully take care of others emotionally, mentally, physically, or materially. We all have a responsibility to do our best to meet our own needs, and while that may mean reaching out for help now and then, we have to realize that sometimes we may be turned down and that is ok. If so, we just need to keep looking I suppose.

As someone with disabilities though, I do want to say that I do feel it is vitally important to have public programs and assistance available (whether these be government or charity systems) for those of us who sometimes struggle more than others at being “functioning adults”. To me, it is just a simple matter of society welfare and empathy that should strive to help anyone who falls through the cracks.

Kanye West is Bipolar?

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A couple days ago, I was watching Kanye West’s “interview” in the White House Oval Office with Donald Trump. I must admit I mostly wanted to watch it just to see what kind of crazy stuff Kanye would come up with. To be frank, he has always seemed a little like a loose cannon, even back in the days when he announced that George W. Bush didn’t care about black people, or when he interrupted Taylor Swift during her award speech to say that Beyonce should have won.

However, when I heard Kanye say during his recent interview that he had been diagnosed bipolar, suddenly, a lot of things clicked into place. I hadn’t really thought of it before, but Kanye does come across as highly manic in his speech sometimes, especially when he is all worked up about things and causes a scene. He definitely seems to have pressured speech (his words just flow out everywhere and in every direction), and I recognize flight of ideas as well (his train of thought is often hard to follow, he shares his thoughts in a way that definitely isn’t always linear or seemingly coherent). Kanye often appears paranoid during these times as well.

I heard that after the interview, Kanye was asked about the bipolar diagnosis and said something along the lines that he thought he was misdiagnosed or he had somehow been cured (contradictory thoughts together). Even this reminds me of manic episodes, after all, what is more predictable than someone with bipolar denying their disease or refusing treatment when in the throes of mania?

Anyhow, my main point is that as someone who has bipolar type 2 myself, I do have empathy for whatever Kanye is dealing with mentally, even if I don’t agree with some of his bizarre or outlandish statements.

Instagram – People Who Try Too Hard to Be Sexy and Cool

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When I joined Instagram a little while back, I originally started out trying to follow back everyone who followed me. My thinking was simple, if you are kind enough to support me, I want to support you. I still follow back many of my followers, but there are a couple kinds of profiles I have stopped following – those who ONLY post photos of themselves trying to look “cool” or “sexy”.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with trying to take an occasional photo of yourself in a funny “aren’t I so cool” pose, or showing off your sexy side…but when EVERY SINGLE PHOTO on your account is you in shiny sunglasses trying to look macho or “hot”, closeups of your thighs and butt, or your face pinched into pouty expressions, that just shouts fakeness to me.

I want to follow people who are real. I love following artists, other creative types, people who are passionate about their hobbies, inspiring people who are honest about their personal struggles, or people who share fun pics of their family, pets, and everyday activities. Am I the only one that has an aversion to the overly narcissistic, seemingly self-obsessed multitudes on social media?

Who Do I Want to Be as an Artist?

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Today I was inspired by a blog post from Judith over at Artistcoveries, in which she asks the question – Who do I want to be as an artist? I love thinking about stuff like this, so I wrote the question down in my journal and brainstormed my own answers. Here is what I came up with:

Who do I want to be as an artist?

  • Unafraid to experiment
  • Unafraid to offend
  • Unafraid of mockery
  • Confident in my creative abilities
  • Willing to share the good, the bad, and the ugly of my art
  • Use the materials I love, not feeling forced to use what is considered artistically “professional”
  • Confident enough to charge what my art is worth (probably one of the hardest parts of being an artist in my opinion)
  • I want to be loved and respected by other artists and art lovers, especially those in the autism, bipolar, and outsider art worlds
  • I want to create what I like
  • Overcome my fear of doing in-person art events (currently hindered by my crippling social anxiety)
  • Monetarily successful enough to rely on my art for my general income

Do you relate to any of these wishes? Who do you want to be as an artist?