Tag Archives: today

Falling Dominoes: Our Changing World

I started a posting a couple weeks ago, when Egypt’s revolution was on the verge of blowing wide open. I saved it, moved on. I’m not a political nor economic pundit, so what have I got to say, right?

But it brought to mind the oft-misattributed proverb/curse “May you live in interesting times.”

Party like it's Tahrir Square after Mubarak stepped down, people.

Boy, things are getting interesting.

Watching the Eastern world come tumbling down is like being spectator to a game of Jenga after a bottle of vodka. It’s just crazy shit. It’s terrifying, it’s beautiful, it’s mind-boggling. It’s everything I never thought I’d live to see.

Decades of corruption, oppression. Decades of us living in the west and thinking Arab countries liked their lives and those horrible leaders.

A few years ago, I did some ESL tutoring. I met this great pair of Saudi couples. They were profoundly Islamic, and very traditional, but still young and hip, living on the university’s campus, trying to take in the Western way of life for a couple of years, and finding it really hard to assimilate, because nothing says “We’re different”  louder than a full-length burqa, you know.

You might as well have a klaxon blaring “SUPERORTHODOX” as you approach a young group of kids, if you’re in a burqa here in Vancouver. We don’t get a lot of that here. And this was five or six years ago, closer to 9/11, still in the throes of war, under an idiomatic Bush regime to the south.

Yeah, it was a tough time to be a Saudi student in a burqa. So, naturally, the husband wanted a female teacher so the wives could learn some of the culture and take their burqas off, and be comfortable.

Well, learning about the culture went two ways. They were wonderful, kind, curious, sensitive people. I loved learning about traditional Islamic experiences, trying their food.

So, my attitude about the news I was getting, with western perceptions of Islam, began shifting at a faster rate. I’d also seen the documentary Control Room, around this time, and knew Al Jazeera to be a fair and well-delivered news network, not the “mouthpiece of terrorism” that our leaders were demonizing it to be.

As much as I loved the couples I got to know, I never did abandon my belief that much of the Arab world is far too patriarchal, and that the deference to their traditional beliefs was not only hindering their progress, but putting much of our world in a risky position. I’m a feminist and a leftist thinker, do the math.

Fast-forward a few years, and here we are, waiting for the house of cards to fall in Libya.

A powder keg of change has exploded in the Middle East and North Africa, and it all traces back to one man on December 17th.

Mohamed Bouazizi was a 26-year-old fruit vendor who set himself ablaze, in response to being slapped and beaten by officials, after they tried confiscating his apples and his scale.

So, when denied a meeting with the governor, he set himself on fire.

He died January 4th. The people fought in his name. By January 14th, Tunisia’s dictator had fled.

Less than two months later, the eastern world is being redrawn as decades-old regimes have begun toppling. Mohamed Bouazizi’s indignation sparked the fire that now rages.

It’s an amazing time to be alive.

Honestly, the future terrifies me. With this economy? Throwing in the uncertainty of a fast-changing world?

Where do we go now? What do populations that have been poorly educated and long-repressed bring to the societal table? How do tribal nations create democracy?

No one KNOWS how to accomplish this. Everyone’s got ideas. Everyone has a different level of “holy fuck!” they feel about what comes after all this. Every pundit’s betting on a different outcome. We have no idea.

When communism fell in Eastern Europe, that unleashed crazy shockwaves and took a while to adjust to,  but it wasn’t that bad.

This time, our cultures are completely different. Whether it’s about the roles women play (but usually don’t play) in the eastern society, or the lack of widespread quality education, or the fact that the countries have all but given up trying to export anything but oil, well, we have one hell of a road to travel.

Never mind the whole “writing a bunch of constitutions and creating safe, transparent elections” dilemma.

Simply put, the ability to effect change in so many regions, at such a pervasive and far-reaching level, is an opportunity the world has seldom ever had, and certainly not on this breadth or scale, at this pace. With technology and communications that we have today, this is an unparalleled time of potential.

For the moment, today… wow. What a thing to behold. What a time of change.

There is nothing more amazing to watch than that light-switch that flicks on when someone realises they’re entitled to stand up for themselves and ask for more.

That’s basically what’s happening to millions of people. These people are saying they’re willing to die before they’re willing to take another day of being treated like shit.

Me, I’m inspired.

Interesting times, indeed.

Tomorrow, we’ll put together the world again. I hope. Today, we’ll watch, cheer, and dream.

Fight on, Libyans.

Should I Stay or Should I Go Now?

I had an end-of-the-night chat on Twitter with my friend Tris Hussey (@TrisHussey), one of Vancouver’s best WP blogging smartie-pants, about the strange life of being a vanilla girl in a sex-blogger-world.

It’s had me thinking since, which is why I like smartie-pants like Tris.

See, he thinks the world needs more sex-positive voices — especially from everyday-peoples like me, I guess.

Me, I still have a hard time swallowing the role. So to speak.

That’s what my whole journey in sex-blogging was about. Discovering my own sexuality in a more positive way, where I no longer judged my tastes or worried what things might suggest about me ethically or morally.

It was a hard fucking battle and I’m not even sure where I am on that road right now because I’ve been abstaining for too long. Just… because. I didn’t want to think about sexuality. I had to think about me.

But I’ve thought about me. I’m a better “me” than I’ve ever been. Now I’m ready to be more. Again.

I think the reason my sex-writing has been so successful at being applicable to the average person is because I am one. I’m not interested in burlesque. I couldn’t give a shit if I ever experience a threesome. I don’t have anything too crazy going on in my closet, can’t tell you about any really freaky encounters or swinging parties. I don’t have really odd kinks, I don’t need to push any boundaries. I don’t need more/crazier/harder to get off than I used to.

I like a little bondage, a little kink, trying creative positions, and have a little thing about sex in interesting places if time/lack-of-visibility allow. That’s about it.

I’m not off-the-charts with my sexuality, and I’m not even promiscuous. I’m old-fashioned.

But I think into every sex life a little doggy-style must fall. Or maybe a lot. It’s open for debate — let’s bang-out a plan of attack. What can I tell ya?

I think sexuality is probably one of the biggest journeys we all take.

How many people ever truly get comfortable in that context? How many people not only get comfortable with being truly sexual, but do so in a healthy way — they don’t overconsume porn, hurt others in their quest for fulfilling needs, or develop unhealthy dependencies on any particular activity, person, or lifestyling?

The world doesn’t have enough oft-laid happy “average” people skipping through life with a “I”ve been shagged SILLY” bounce to their step. How many accountants do you see walking bow-legged on Monday morning, huh?

The attitudes we DO have about sex, unfortunately, are being shaped by really fucked-up messages on the media, in Hollywood, and the internet. Sleeping around’s more popular than it’s been since the ’70s,  STDs are on the rise, people are experimenting left, right and centre because media’s showing all these alternative approaches to us…

But where’s the heart?

Where’s the emotion?

Why’s there such a profound disconnect between what we’ll let ourselves feel in the crotch versus what we’ll allow our hearts to feel?

What the hell are we thinking?

Sigh. Don’t ask me, man. I’m only beginning to even attempt to crack that nut.

For the last 2-3 years, I’ve not been considering sexuality and society as much as I once did. Re-reading my work has reminded me of why I’d been so angry about it all in the past, and has rekindled my interest in being one of the voices to bring some reason to the argument.

I think so much of what’s wrong with us as a society can be explained through our skewed perspectives on sex.

I’m not suggesting getting laid equals world peace.

I’m suggesting that it’s the attitudes we associate with sex that matter, not necessarily about whether we’re getting laid or not.

When we do get shagged, how vulnerable do we truly let ourselves be? How willing are we to let our loved ones into our deeper darker places we’re scared to admit exist? How ready are we to open the doors to where we keep our skeletons?

Sex is the physical realm of mental trust. What you’re willing to do mentally SHOULD translate sexually, vice versa.

Yet how often is that true?

Are you open to others, do you accept all ways of life, can you trust those around you, are you comfortable expressing your needs? Tell me what kind of lover you are, and I’ll tell you the answer to those questions. Again, vice versa.

If everyone was open, trusting of others, accepting of other lifestyles and worldviews, willing to be versatile, able to be vulnerable but also strong when needed, and could let others lead when necessary but follow when called for, what kind of world do you think we’d live in?

Don’t tell me sex can’t heal us.

Don’t tell me sex isn’t an important statement on who and what we are as a people.

And don’t even think of telling me we’re okay.

I’m not crazy about standing up here and being the sex-positive poster-girl. I’m not enthused about the judgment or speculation it promises to hold for me. I’m not happy this job needs doing by anyone.

But there’s no one out there talking about sex for ME.

There’s no one *I* get. No one echoes the battles I’ve fought, the lessons I’ve learned, and the thoughts I’ve had in a way that really resonates.

And I know how alone I felt and how fucked up and self-judgey I was, and for how long.

Someone needs to speak for me.

So I will.

And hopefully it’ll mean a few other people feel spoken for.

Because I’m getting real fuckin’ tired of the people who’ve been doing all the talking so far.