Friday, August 19, 2011

The trouble with marrying an atheist is that “til death us do part” is true.

I used to be a fervently evangelical atheist; I believed that I was right about the non-existence of any form of deity or after-life, and I needed to show all the non-atheists out there how deluded they were.

Having married a man staunch in his faith who believes simply because he does, I have learned to understand faith a little more.  I still don’t agree, but I know now that trying to change his mind would be like trying to convince a toaster to run a marathon: it’s not what he’s built for.

When people ask me about it, I try and explain how for both of us our belief – one way or the other – is so deeply part of us that we are not conscious of it until it is challenged.  I have likened the situation to the Belief Chip from Red Dwarf.  Tareka is wired for faith, I am not.

I have come to accept that my husband’s faith is as much a part of him as his sense of humor and his inability to perform “active listening” convincingly.

We both believe what we believe and know that what matters is how we live now, rather that what might or might not happen after we die.  I accept and respect his faith and he mine.  We take the piss out of each other for our beliefs, but ultimately honor them.

Try looking at your partner, or your friend, or your neighbour in this way.  Try and understand that their faith (or lack of it) is not a failing or something that needs to be corrected.  It is part of what makes them who they are, and you care about them, so you should also care about their beliefs.  As long as no-one is trying to force you into something you do not agree with, then there is no reason that we can’t all behave well towards each other.

Love thy neighbour, even if he plays the trombone.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

KN1TT1N6 633K!

I’ve been so busy on the latest projects this week that I completely forgot to blog about anything, so instead you can have a picture of what I’ve been doing:

I love Science and I love Knitting (capital letters, yes they are THAT important).  Thanks to it being the International Year of Science and the wonderful people of the Royal Society of NZ and the power of the internet, I am now part of the Knit the Periodic Table project.

I chose Europium because a lot of the cool elements were already gone by the time I found out about the project, and because I am from Europe (England, for those who don’t know).  I was also hoping for the atomic number 42, but it had already gone, so Europium it was.

It’s not hard to knit a square, I had to frog it once as my knitting is so loose that I needed to cast on about 5 fewer stitches than recommended, but other than that it was a simple project.  The letters were interesting; I’ve never tried knitting an E or a u before, so it was a learning curve.

My embroidery for the atomic number is passable, but I really should practice a bit more.

I’ve also finished the bed wrap for my Mum, and am ¾ of the way through some gloves for a friend’s daughter.

I may also have a new commission for a Dr Who scarf….watch this space!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Lightening the mood with CHICKENS!

If you haven't read the Bloggess' post about using giant metal chickens to win an argument with your husband then I suggest you do it RIGHT NOW... I'll wait.

Right, I hope that now you are laughing so hard you can't speak and feeling a lot better since my last post which was terribly depressing and yet topical.

Chickens make me furiously happy.  Our little flock are getting very adventurous and interested in their surroundings.
and doh-see-doh your partner


 They run around like crinolined ladies at a yarn sale and get terribly excited when they think you have food to offer them.  They also like to get into interesting looking spaces.
Ahhh I see your problem, it's your left manifold sprocket

They have also learned that we mean them no harm, and they sort of squat down when the kids go to pat them, or when I try and take their photo.

left a bit..right a bit.. ohhh right there

They tend to stick together when perambulating around the grounds, and Hakopa has no end of fun attempting to herd them in different directions.

Come by! Come by! Awaaaay to me!
 I think they must be happy though, as despite it being the depths of winter, and the chooks only being young ladies at the very start of their egg-laying life, they have been providing us with at least 4 eggs every day, and sometimes we get a MASSIVE egg.  I do notice that Big John tends to sit down a bit more after we have had one of these.

Spot the double-yolker...and the mutant carrot abandoned by a small child
I have to remember to keep the doors shut as the weather gets warmer, as the chickens cannot resist an open doorway and I have had to shoo them out of the house a couple of times already.  They still come back and tap on the window though, as if to say "Your cross stitch is appalling, and your posture needs correcting"

Monday, August 1, 2011

Following on from last weeks suicide post

I just wanted to publicly thank two people who saved my life in 1997.

I was in my first year at University with all the stresses, excitement and intoxication that this entails.  I was discovering who I was, and who I wasn’t.  I had no idea, but the freedom to be anyone I wanted was liberating and terrifying at the same time.

I was in sparkling new halls of residence sharing a flat with a couple of lovely girls who I was friends with through the first year, but drifted away from when we moved out in the second year.

I had great neighbours and a host of luscious people to befriend.

My neighbours in the flat directly above me caught my attention.  I can’t remember quite how we all met, but I am pretty sure there were buckets, alcohol and chair-dancing involved.  They too were 2 lovely girls, one looked like Kate Winslet with a smile that lit up the whole room and the other looked like Cameron Diaz even at 8am lectures.  I was smitten.

We quickly became good friends and spent many happy hours talking rubbish, eating strange concoctions and getting uproariously drunk.  When they were home and wanted to call me they would stamp on the floor (which was the ceiling of my room), when I wanted to call them I would bang on the ceiling with my broom.  We sometimes used the in-house intercom, but it wasn’t as funny as trying to tap out the rhythm of Radiohead’s Fake Plastic Trees with a wobbly broom handle.

Occasionally they would send down aid packages tied to a belt which they swung down from their window to mine, other times it was notes asking to borrow sugar.
One time, I remember them asking for help with preparing a chicken to cook.  They couldn’t bear to touch it as it reminded them of babies or something.  I was a vegetarian, so naturally I danced it around the kitchen like some kind of macabre Buster Keaton.

I am talking about these two wondrous people as if they were one person.  They weren’t quite that inseparable, but they both saved my life together.

I had been simpering after a fellow from the SCUBA dive club for months and was eagerly awaiting his return from the recent break.  I met up with him at a local bar (having filled myself up so much with Dutch courage I was leaking) and he let me down gently, saying he was with someone else.

This would not normally matter, but I was not a normal person back then.  I went back to my halls to talk to my lovely neighbours, but they weren’t in.

I was distraught, destroyed, and grief-stricken.  Convinced that I was a bad person that didn’t deserve friends or boyfriends, I staggered back to my room and attacked my left arm with the blade from a disposable razor.  I wasn’t trying to kill myself at that point, just wanting to let the pain out somehow and seeing the blood flow down my arm seemed to be a physical outpouring of the pain I felt inside.  I wrote a note about it, and sat in my room wondering why no one was coming.  Then my head cleared a little and I thought “I need to talk to someone about this”, so I staggered back up the stairs to my neighbours.

Bless them, I can’t imagine what they must have thought to find me on the doorstep tear-streaked, blood-soaked with a dozen slashes across one forearm, but they took me in and cleaned me up.  They held my hands and cried with me and told me I should get the cuts stitched, but I refused to go to a doctor.  I don’t remember much after that.

Later that week, or month or year (I’m still not sure when), they sat me down and told me that they didn’t think they could share a house with me (we had planned to move in to a shared house in our second year) and that I needed professional help.

I was hurt and angry, but I knew deep down that they were right.  They could not rescue me from myself, and I could not expect that of them.  I went to the doctor, took a deep breath and showed her my scars.

Thus began my journey into counseling, anti-depressants and psychotherapy which I believe has saved my life.  I started healing myself from the day my friends saved me.

I lost touch with my friends after university, but thanks to the amazing power of Facebook I found them just around the time I moved overseas.  I don’t think I ever properly thanked them for what they did for me, so this is for them.

Thank you Sian and Julia, you saved my life.