Don’t try this at home (without the right music)

(This post to be read with “Can’t Live If Living Is Without You” playing loudly in the back of your head):

I got home last night after a long weekend in OC only to realize that I left the cord to my laptop back in Laguna Niguel. The next logical course of action was suicide. But since I’ve been getting to work so early lately, I’m getting off by 2:30 at the latest and there’s no traffic that time of day. So I just drove down to South OC right after work. Sooo glad I was able to do that, too, because I also left my MAC makeup, and really, I don’t want to be without that either. I’ll live, but it’s not pleasant.

 

John Williams

Ian and I, along with our friend Missy, went to a symphony last night at Verizon Wireless Irvine Meadows Amphitheater.  The Pacific Symphony was doing a tribute to John Williams, the guy who did the music in Star Wars.   He also composed music for the Indiana Jones movies, Jaws,  E.T., Harry Potter, Jurassic Park, etc. but mainly STAR WARS.  It was a great show, and everybody sat around drinking their wine out of little plastic wine glasses, (not us, God not us), and the moon slowly rose up over the stage during the performance.  It’s not easy for me to become enthralled by an orchestra, but whenever I’d focus on the conductor’s hands, I’d get lost in the music and how amazing it is that musicians can come together in such perfect harmony as to create  intense emotions with their music.  I can’t even play the ipod without messing something up.

We also saw Stormtroopers, Boba Fett, Yoda, Princess Leia, and several light sabers throughout the evening.  R2D2 came out and said some things too.  I’m not a fan, but yes, I got pretty choked up while listening to live Star Wars music.

The pig in the family

My sister Lisa and her boyfriend have a potbelly pig named Oblio. He was given to them as a tiny, cute baby pig …and as a joke. He liked to be held and he made cute little noises, and ground his tiny baby teeth. We would feed him little carrot sticks and rub his little belly, and ooh and ahh over him and his babyish sweetness. He grew up to be a foul-tempered 150 pound beast who hates guests. If someone fell down in the house and got hurt, and nobody else was around except for the pig, I wouldn’t put it past him to seriously try to kill that person. He hates Lisa when Chad is home, and if Chad’s not here, he puts up with her begrudgingly in order to get food and attention until Chad get home.

That said, he’s a pretty smart little bugger. He learned all the basic commands staggeringly quick, like ‘sit’ and ‘lay down’. The only reason he’ll hesitate is purely out of laziness. He figured out how to customize his sleeping area to his exact liking, and on any given evening he can be found arranging the pillows just so, a few feet apart, with the blanket dragged in and spread out in between the two pillows. All by himself. He’ll spend as much time on it as he has to. If it takes 20 to 25 minutes, he’ll keep at it until he has that blanket arranged so that it’ll bunch up in such a way that it’ll fall over onto him, just so, when he leans into it. This is where he can be found anytime after about 9:00, grunting and bitching at whoever walks by.

There’s something to be said though, for the bond between a pig and his owner.

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Seconds

Bat For Lashes is coming back to town!  Janae and I are officially going to be groupies, and we’re probably going to go see her whenever she’s in town.  They’re playing at the Troubador on Oct. 9th.  We love her.  So if you’re there, look for the two drunk girls with glitter and headdresses on, and come say hi.

From the “things I can go on about” department.

Everybody who’s known me for more than a few years knows that when I start talking about polygamy in the United States, I can really GO ON about it. It’s disturbing that something like this is going on in this country in this day and age, especially the parts about the arranged marriages involving young teenage girls. It started with reading, “Under the Banner Of Heaven” (another Jon Krakauer book), but continued with reading Benjamin Bistline’s “A History of Colorado City”, and Kaziah May Hancock’s “Prisons of the Mind”. I also read every article I could get my hands on, at the time. A five page essay that I wrote about it for a psychology class in college was recently published in “The Book Your Church Doesn’t Want You To Read”, 2nd Edition, which was edited by Tim Leedom and Maria Murdy (my sister). I finally felt like the story and the problem was getting out there and heard, although it’s also all over the media now, in part because of the arrest of the leader of the Colorado City/Hildale sect, Warren Jeffs.

During the later part of my fanatic research, I started feeling like there is a huge chunk of the story that still isn’t being told, and is essential in understanding the big picture. The less sensational, more neutral stories, the ones that explain in a more in-depth way why people stay in Polygamous communities, are not often told. Among other reasons that women aren’t doing a lot of speaking out: the fact that they are born into it, are subjected to a form of brainwashing, geographically isolated, and the many side effects of working with a small gene pool. Also, allegedly, education for women ending in the 8th grade can absorb some of the blame. This would get in the way of being able to articulate one’s own story in a way that feels comfortable. Self-esteem issues, too, would certainly get in the way of a woman standing up and talking about her life in this kind of environment.

So yesterday I ran into an article in Glamour Magazine about a woman’s exodus from polygamy, excerpted here . I had never heard of her, nor had I run into anyone with the same last name as her in my reading. Nonetheless, all of her stories have the same elements. Being called a “Polyg”, by outsiders and being stared at like the Amish, the repeated use of the phrase “keep sweet”, the knowledge that she would get assigned to a husband without much warning, and having female teenage friends and relatives vanish into another household and rarely seen again. These absentee women are nicknamed “poofers”, and their childhood ends when they are assigned to a husband. No more barbies, no slumber parties, no girl time, no high school. Women are taught to suppress and ignore any emotions that might tell them to question their circumstances. I liked this article, because she really talked about her relationships with the other women in her family, and in a very compassionate way. It really made me glad that they didn’t go all Waco on Warren Jeffs and his followers. Instead, they put out a warrant for his role in the arranged marriage of a fourteen year old girl, and as a result, he left the community and went into hiding. He was arrested last year, and is currently awaiting trial. Obviously the members of his sect were not following his orders at gunpoint, all these years. They all live according to “The Principle,” and it’s The Principle that tells them to continue believing that they will go to hell and be unable to walk beside their families and friends in the Kingdom of Heaven (here is where fundamentalism and mainstream mormonism start to overlap) if they don’t follow the rules dictated in their family’s religion. What it basically boils down to, is the strong family ties that we can all relate to. If your family lives a certain way, and you love that family as much as or more than you love yourself, as I do and many people do, then it’s a hell of a lot easier to embrace their beliefs and lifestyle. The roots of the healing of many of these families lies in cooperation, and side by side helping educate themselves and each other to learn how to live in a way that won’t hurt their sons and daughters.

So the women who leave the community now, are in for a world of hurt, uphill battles and alienation. There will, however, be a world of benefits, chief among these being their daughters’ ability to choose who they want to marry, freedom not to have to deal with abandoning their siblings and families in order to get out, and the fact that their sons won’t have to face being pushed out of the community to avoid competition for older polygamous men.

Freedom is not without a price tag.