Decorative Flower
Her Realm, Personal website and blog of Cole
Jun 14

Thoughts I’ve Had About the Mass Shooting in Orlando

This is kind of a stream-of-consciousness thing. I might stumble with words and thoughts that aren’t as clear or supportive as I’d like. It is not my intent to talk over any victims, their families or members, and I will continue to share their words via social media. But it’s impossible not to have thoughts, and I just wanted to get them all down.

50 people is the largest mass shooting the country has ever seen? C’mon, this is America. Surely, we’ve had worse than that.. which led to: I can’t believe how desensitized I am to violence like this as an American.

I am so relieved this was far away, that it doesn’t personally affect me, that I am not the target demographic for violence like this. I am reassured by my privilege. In the same token, I feel guilt at feeling these things, and I can only wonder how long it will be until those things are no longer true. The next bombing, shooting, hate crime or act of terrorism could hit much closer to home. And it’s awful even if I am not personally affected.

I can’t believe people are trying to erase the significance of it being a gay nightclub. This stuff matters. How can it not?

I also cannot believe that people will just paint him as a Muslim connected to any group. He was clearly mentally unstable, and professed his allegiance to multiple, mutually exclusive groups.

I do not want people to focus on that fact that the gunman was potentially closeted gay or bisexual because it minimizes the fact that most violence is done to the LGBT community by members of the straight community. But it’s clear he did have a preoccupation with the LGBT community.

And how can people say it’s not time to argue about gun control? Not only is it always time to argue for some sort of stricter regulation on firearms, but it makes sense to do it after a heinous crime is committed with a gun. In fact, I don’t understand any of the pro-gun rhetoric that’s being used right now.

I find it especially funny that people who say the gov can’t infringe on their second amendment rights even if it would deter some criminals and terrorists, which it would, are the same who say that men who have sex with men (and women who have sex with men who have sex with men) cannot donate blood. If you argue that the rights of the majority outweigh the risks of the minority, you cannot take both stances. Sorry.

Everyone has a theory how it could have been prevented or the violence lessened — never mind that there was an armed, off-duty police officer who fired at the shooter.. and he was overtaken and killed.

If more guns are the solution, then we’ll have to mandate firearm training and education for everyone, including those who never intend to be gun owners. I’m not sure how since we can’t even do this uniformly for gun owners.

I have no qualms about my stance on gun control. I could live comfortably in a country where citizens weren’t allowed to have them. I know these countries exist. I also know that countries such as Australia have successfully taken almost all guns off the streets. I realize the biggest hurdle here is the American culture surrounding the second amendment, and I’m not sure how we get to where other countries are from where we currently are. And, yes, it might mean that people are unable to protect themselves but people are going to die anyway. That’s so completely shitty but I’d rather see progress than this heel-digging-in we’ve got now.

I also understand that guns are just a tool but they’re a tool created specifically for destruction, even if that destruction is necessary or condoned. This one of the reasons why comparing guns to cars re: regulation is an imperfect analogy, but cars were not intended to do violence. They just happen to be capable of it, especially when used incorrectly.

Technology is both a blessing and a curse. That some people were able to call or text their loved ones even moments before their deaths is amazing. But to be on the receiving end of those calls? I can’t even imagine.

I am incredibly humbled and touched by the reports about the victims, their lives and the hole their deaths leaves in the world. From Anderson Cooper to BuzzFeed, the response has been tactful and compassionate.

It’s so difficult to process death. One moment, someone is alive and the next? Their machine has shut down. There’s a finiteness to that, which I just cannot grasp.

And, finally, I just wish I didn’t know that I would eventually come to peace with this.. until the next time.


Dec 13

7 Modern Christmas Songs I Love

River – Sarah Mclachlan

I’d only vaguely heard this song before I bought Sarah’s Christmas album. It’s melancholy but somehow not in a bad way. I don’t even know how that works. Her version of “O Little town of Bethlehem” is also worth a listen or twenty.

Gothic Christmas – Within Temptation

This song is cheesy and ridiculous, and I love every moment of it. Let’s talk about evil Santa and Rudolph (not Krampus). Let’s make everything sparkly and green

Leroy The Redneck Reindeer – Joe Diffie 

Speaking of cheesy, there’s this one that’s about 20 years old. It’s got that Christmassy feel but it’s totally got that dated 90s country sound, too. And it’s going on my iPod as I type!

Deck the Halls – SheDaisy

Slightly less redneck is SheDaisy’s version of “Deck the Halls,” which might be the only version I actually like. It sounds so grown up, and it’s crazy to think I first heard this when I was in high school!

Winter Dreams – Kelly Clarkson

Kelly Clarkson’s Christmas album is one of the better modern Christmas albums in my opinion. There are some classic covers, but the new songs manage to capture the feel of Christmas and the jazzy tempos match Kelly’s powerful voice so well. “Winter Dreams” could be my favorite Christmas song of all time, but “Underneath the Tree,” and “4 Carats” are excellent, too.

A Mad Russian’s Christmas – TSO

It’s all really hard for me to pick a single song by TSO that I like. I know that most people only like Christmas Eve in Sarajevo, and it’s good, but they’ve  got multiple Christmas albums! “Wizards in Winter” is a song that I keep on my iPod all year long, so I think that shows you how much I like it. But “A Mad Russian’s Christmas” ugh. It’s everything, guys!

Sufjan Stevens – Christmas In The Room

If you want coffee shop indie music, then this last track is the one for you. It’s not my favorite on this list, but it’s definitely enjoyable and festive/


Nov 12

11/11

It’s Veteran’s Day. At least it is for a few more minutes (or was, by the time I get this posted).

I know this because of the onslaught of emails telling me about sales. I also know it because many of my friends on Facebook have changed profile photos or cover photos. I know many people who have served, many of whom I met while I was married to someone who was in the military.

Veteran’s Day is also a reminder of everyone I know has served, has family members who have served or has sat at home during a long deployment while their significant other was in a war zone. There are many more of these people than I anticipated. I often forget. I’m willing to bet you have similar feelings on this day every year, that you’re surprise by how many people known to you who have connections to the military, even if you’ve never served yourself, have never lived on a base or live somewhere without a heavy military influence.

It is because of these people, most of whom I like, many of whom I respect, and a few of which I love dearly, that I cannot post this on Facebook. I would not want to take away from their posts or the support they’re receiving. In fact, as I type this, NCIS is playing in the background, and two characters are musing about the type of person who would sign up to go to a war zone. Tony says “Crazy.” Ellie says “Noble.” Perhaps this very dichotomy is what has me tripped up.

Enlisting in the military takes you away from your friends and family, even if you only leave for basic training and school. You may be stationed across the country or world from them. Deployments put you in the middle of war zones, without most of the perks of first-world living. There are rigid protocols for fitness. You can expect to be on-call for your entire military career. There are a lot of sacrifices we don’t make in the civilian world, even though there’s definitely some shared sacrifices with some jobs.

None of this negates the perks, however. Free schooling, housing and medical. Pensions after just twenty years.  The military provides many people with resources that are hard-fought or even too expensive to be considered for many people. These resources are a real motivation for people who struggle to obtain them through other means. It’s often sign-up bonuses and a stable job that appeal to people who enlist, rather than their desire to “fright for freedom” or the American way.

There’s a stability provided that might be a stark reminder of how unstable life can be for those who has signed up for the military. I recognize this. I respect this.

Still, there are some people who never deploy. There are those who have short deployments that are few and far between. Training to survive and defend is forgotten as people work desk jobs for their entire career. I’ve seen it happen. People get all the perks while dealing with little more than an inconvenience.

There are enough people in the military who don’t respect their jobs, their sacrifices and their risks that I can’t help but wonder, “Why should I?” Perhaps they’ve earned the right by being in it, something I only came within grasp of when I was married to the military. Maybe I was lucky that my loved one came home time after time, with every limb in tact. Maybe I am jaded because I had the best experience possible.

Perhaps that’s the point. We never know whose life will be stable, which deployment will be one that we return from and who will escape from their service unscathed. But there’s entirely the risk that that the risk turns into a real sacrifice, that lives will be torn asunder, irrevocably changed. I guess I can’t argue against showing a little respect for those who take that risk. It’s not fair to revoke respect simply because the worst didn’t happen. In fact, I think I feel a little grateful for those who had it “easier.”

Happy Veteran’s Day.


Sep 19

How Have I Loved

I have loved people who didn’t love me or past the expiration date of their love because my love isn’t dependent upon someone loving me back.

I have loved difficult people, and I have loved at times when I wasn’t sure I was capable of love, because being difficult doesn’t mean those people don’t need love or that they don’t deserve it. And few things easy are worth it.

I have loved people because I could see positives in them when no one else could.

I have loved others even when I couldn’t love myself… and I have loved when (it felt like) no one loved me in return.

I have loved after hurt; I have loved while hurting those I loved.

I have loved until it hurt, often well past that point.

I have loved when every fiber in my being was afraid of doing so.

I have loved on faith alone.

I have loved when there was nothing else I could bring myself to do.

I have loved long distance because I don’t need to be near someone to know that I love them. In fact, I have loved with only words on a screen or a voice through a phone to know.

I have loved even when I didn’t want to because I was angry or frustrated. I have loved in spite of myself, and couldn’t stop myself if I wanted to.

I have loved poorly, but still I loved.

I have loved well and will continue to love better until I can love no more.


Aug 28

The In Crowd

I feel pretty euphoric right now. I feel so connected. Part of something bigger than myself. Like I’m helping to make something happen.

And while it may seem silly, there’s a very specific reason I feel this way. Tonight, I contributed to two crowdfunding campaigns. One for hilarious, nerd comedian Joseph Scrimshaw and one for rock band Adelitas Way’s new album.

Sure, there’s perks to these things, including some immediate song downloads, emails with folks whose work I admire and other prizes I didn’t opt for. It also feels pretty damn good to help ensure that the things I love will continue to be made. And if I can help in any way, it’s like the girl without an artistic bone in her body is a catalyst, as the very least. I will be able to continue to enjoying these things because I wanted it that much.

But there’s something even better. Can you believe that? It’s this feeling of connectedness. Of knowing that I’ve joined thousands of other people in pledging money, not to mention the people actually making these things. We want a thing. We are brought together by our love of it. The world isn’t so cold, lonely or harsh.

I wonder if heaven feels a little bit like that?


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