War of Hearts and Minds

By Isis Win

recent years, marriage of same-gender couples has become one of the most published headlines in the US history. Every sector in the public opinion has seized the opportunity to express their position and in particular, to the media, for the benefit of gathering larger audience. This is not an old issue, but certainly it is one that grew in the past few years, and following the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, it has grown enormously. Since its repeal, advocacy agencies (such as HRC – Human Rights Campaign) finally let go of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, allowing room for the next issue in their agenda: Marriage between gay and lesbians.
This issue has become a larger controversy than the right to abortion when it comes to large-scale public participation. The religious realm, particularly Mormons, launched an unparalleled initiative to fight legislation passed in California that allowing gay and lesbian marriage equality, the 2008 ballot Proposition 8 “Eliminates Rights of Same-Sex Couples to Marry Initiative Constitutional Amendment”. Proposition 8 and its repeal landed in the hands of millions of people who didn’t care about it either way. Many were not even aware of this battle. Massive ad campaigns in TV and newspapers awakened these people, however, and as well, many important pedestrian traffic spots in California were manned by groups of Mormons distributing literature against same-sex marriage and preaching to the passers-by. Some organizations claim that Mormons spent about 20 million dollars in this campaign. But the religious opponents of marriage equality have not limited themselves to California; as well, in recent years they have been sponsoring the same campaign in many cities and states across the country, except that now they use Obama’s recent public support to attempt repealing both, the right to marry and the presidential candidate.

Religious opponents to same-sex marriage sustain their argument based on the Bible that, according to them, contains many entries referring to “marriage exclusively between a man and a woman”. Some people as well say that the Bible claims marriage in the between the same gender is an aberration and sinful behavior, regardless of the contributions of theologians, anthropologists, sociologists and archeologists that show that there is no evidence of such citations, but rather, that they are citations based on majorly flawed interpretations. In fact, archeologists report finding evidence that same-sex couples during Jesus Christ’s time existed and were not abominated. But arguing the Bible against a civil right, clearly will never end this issue. While religious extremists argue that marriage equality is contrary to their beliefs, their opponents argue this is not a religious issue but an issue about freedom and civil rights. Such an argument between apples and oranges offers no future to either party. However, this attitude from the extremists is fueling a response that is better to leave alone because, it adds gas to the already roaring fire. Defenders of freedom and civil rights, will be in need of breaking into pieces the Bible, categorizing it and proving that the Bible could never address this issue when it was created. There is enough evidence to this case that ultimately will make opponents to Marriage Equality so angry, that it is not unforeseeable that they will hire the devil to revenge against these “pagans”. Something already is happening but it is escalating into a major war, and all because although, in a democratic nation the wishes and will of all matter, this issue is one that cannot be fought by beliefs and phobias. In democracy, facts are the most determining factor and if this issue is examined by the Supreme Court based on the facts of the constitutional elements of it (or lack of thereof) so that the law rules what is fair and not, then at least in some form, this issue will be a thing of the past. However, extremists present their case as if it was “written in stone”, as the Ten Commandments. BTW, the Bible cites that they were 3 tablets not 2 as used today. I bet that the eleventh commandment was in regards of not getting your nose into someone else’s business.

On that note: religious extremists tend to believe that they are in the right to rule and force how others should live; it is a clear demonstration that religious extremists are people who are unhappy within themselves and lack fulfillment. It is that same unhappiness and lack that forces them into looking into the eye of others instead of addressing their own issues and how they observe their religious views themselves. This type of behavior is nothing new according to anthropological and sociological studies that establish that for centuries, in small towns or cities, the country side, part of the daily routine of a large number of citizens was, and still is to criticize, ostracize and gossip about the behavior of others that they do not approve. However, times are different and this phenomena has no longer any place in a modern and civilized society. Bottom line is: This attitude among those activists have nothing to do with Christianity and they heavily deny the basic principles of Christianity based on their personal beliefs and assumptions.

Christianity is based on the teachings of Jesus Christ, and the Bible as a historical record proves that the cornerstone of Jesus doctrine was about forgiving everyone, loving others as they love themselves and God and giving them the opportunity of redemption when their time comes. Jesus? message was about love, support and compassion. And the lack of these attributes is what shines in this initiative against Marriage Equality. On that note: The Bible cites in several chapters that slavery was OK and that slaves should submit to their owners and never raise against them. I wonder what the view about this issue is for those extremists, because slavery has been fought for centuries as an issue of human and civil rights cruelty and injustice and gradually and slowly has been disappearing from the face of earth. Only seriously under-developed and uncivilized nations still preserve this abuse and those nations are being fought by human rights activists and international organizations such as the UN.

What this issue talks about in reality presents a much larger scenario than a human and civil rights issue or the religious beliefs supported by the sacred scriptures. This issue is clearly stating where the hearts and minds of people are and that place is not a good one; rather, it is a totally antagonistic place to the Christian beliefs. No wonder after a century of an explosive technical, industrial and scientific revolution, we still can’t live among ourselves peacefully and this place is not so different than centuries ago. We still act as savages, greed is the religion of most on the top at the ladder and poverty and inequality still is rampant even in most developed nations. Only when tragedy strikes do the people at large open their hearts and care for others. Do they choose and pick who is to received this help? Hard to believe but such still is the case in many nations at this time. Just the way it happened post-Katrina.  The most affected people had to wait for governmental aid at the cost of unnecessary deaths and suffering. However, those – volunteering helping hands – post-Katrina, didn’t look into ethnic profiles, religious affiliations or lifestyles to serve the needed. People with a good heart helped everyone and for a long time, even feed them from their own pocket. There were hundreds of volunteers that traveled – even thousands of miles – to serve with their human duty. Hard to believe but, in many studies across the nation, it has been said: Overall, people nowadays are self-centric and selfish. Just like many cities have a reputation of this trade by excellence (like NY city) even remote areas are equally sad and poor in compassion giving.

This battle of same-sex marriage, a marriage equality issue, is no more than a war of wills and beliefs to almost the silent majority of the population. Well, at least, those against Marriage Equality are extremely active and quite verbal. But because of that, the smallest of all minorities suffer their weight: gays and lesbians, when all they want is to have equal rights like the rest of the population. And there is no logical, sensitive and sensible reason to deny this right to anyone that cares for being part of an establishment that ultimately cares in the largest scheme for their nation and the institution of the family that supports society at large, the same institution that has suffered tremendously in the last six or eight decades because family members no longer gather as a family; it is not rare that family see each other once every other decade, because they are too busy entertaining their well-being and future while forgetting the love and gratitude that they received and owe to their parents. As well, in the US divorce has been growing at an alarming rate and at this point about 50% of marriages are divorced, many marriages are exclusively preserved by convenience or religious beliefs but there is no true sense of family among them and more than 50% of the existing couples do not marry but live together, even if they have children.

Almost everywhere I go, where people like to share their views about current events, I hear from the conservatives their camouflaged hate against LGBT and their consideration that such “lifestyles” are no less than a deviation according to God and their bible. They leave no room for education or understanding but the mysterious part to myself is the humongous question: What makes them think they are entitled to and should fight anything against their religious beliefs? I don’t even bother asking them, again, because reliably their answers are biblical citations that they believe to the core of their heart.
But on the opposite end, people express anger as well because they are unable to stand those they call “bigots” and among the religious ones, they call those who use the Bible to oppose Marriage Equality names such as sacrilegious because the word of God is being used for a mean and intolerant personal issue against LGBT people and their supporters. Many believe this bigotry is mostly a case of denied homosexuality because they find no other explanation for this. But the concerning part is that now I hear people judging institutionalized religion and the biblical interpretations by those bigots, something I believe will grow in a crescendo, and I see in it no positive end. This same phenomena was exhibited several hundreds of years ago in the Middle East among other areas and were the reason for many true wars between nations of different belief. Exact figures about the death toll of those wars are not reliable but suffice to say that entire populations were extinguished. I don’t believe we have the chance to escalate that badly nowadays, but Jihad fighters prove me wrong. So I wonder if in reality not only we are not able to live in peace but we need a war of some sort to justify our presence in this physical life.
However, time, as always, will decide the outcome of this particular war of hearts and minds and I have no doubt, like others, that this one will be won by granting all the needed rights to all minorities. And the LGBT is the one in turn. I hope I witness this change during my lifetime because it is rather disturbing to hear, see and known that there are humans that despise humans because they do not conform to their lifestyle and beliefs. Something must change right there!
I was told by a Guatemalan friend that her country was celebrating the first year against LGBT bigots in their country and as I reacted to her, I say to that: Let other live their own choice and present compassion and generosity to those that are unable to do so.

So meanwhile, let the war keep happening and let’s see at what point we may destroy each other when clearly these times prove that our historical mistakes demand our utmost good heart investment for the well-being of everyone. The well-being of everyone offers better guarantees that our personal future and space have better chances to achieve, peace, harmony and fulfillment. That leads to those occasional and rare moments in which we consider our selves being happy people.

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Presidential Equality.

By Isis Win

This past Sunday, I watched Vice President Biden candidly say on “Meet the Press” that he has no issue about gay couples and their desire to marry.

Coming from the second highest office, this is something that cannot be taken lightly. As well, he mentioned that he believed President Obama has been supportive of LGBT people, although Biden did not compromise and assert Obama’s position. This was followed by all the news services and of course, the questions about: “A political mistake? Compromised the upcoming vote? Political maneuver?” popped wildly. However, the press had no clue in regard to the presidential take and position on this issue that had become almost as important as the economy in recent days. Previously, the press reported Obama does not support Marriage Equality.

See excerpt of this interview here: http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/video/obama-sex-marriage-legal-16312940

It is extremely hard to know what is the true level of general support for this effort and as well, the counter movement. Even after the many polls and the numbers skewed to figure the true numbers, there is no true statistic.  This is an issue that covers a spectrum much larger than left-center-right political views. Religion, moral beliefs and the personal state of mind, and as well the feelings of each person have weight in this issue. Homosexuality has been such a stigmatized issue since the earliest days of our history. Although archeological findings have much to say as to how and what changed in certain times, ostracizing homosexuality has grown on its own for centuries.  Homosexuality has been associated mostly with superstition, bad interpretations of the Bible and other sacred scriptures, but as well, through times in our history homosexuality has been considered decadent and sinful, creating a strong animosity against it. Mostly during times when homosexuality was not closeted, many high rank figures were gay and what was considered marriage in those times was common. But as well, those times were times of major tragedy and famine, such as the events during and after the fall of the Roman Empire, both abroad and their country itself. Superstition was used to justify many of those tragedies as well as many of the natural disasters of the times. The “Wrath of God” at work, and of course, religion took part in these times. However, homosexuality before and during those times, if not accepted, it wasn’t fought and committed gay relationships were allowed.

Today, after Obama’s announcement in support of same-sex marriage, this panorama has changed somehow. There is a positive joy going on around not just because the importance of the first US president supporting Marriage Equality, but as well, it is believed that this news will help the movement for LGBT equality. I have a very different take on this and trust me, I am not a cynic in this regard. The very same way discrimination against LGBT people seemed to be fading, discrimination against African-Americans seemed to be a thing of the past.  The reality is that political correctness and politeness were abandoned by many people who in theory were OK with racial equality. Something that somehow changed post Obama’s election. Something that, to my own disbelief, I’ve witnessed personally in many realms walks of life: Many voters despise Obama because he is black. The reality is, while African-Americans were accepted “across the board”, that didn’t include having a black president. A president with different ideology (socialist as alleged by many conservatives), opposition party, etc, is one thing but an African-American that will determine the future of the entire nation? That is unacceptable by many. People do not express openly their views in this regard, unless in the presence of others who they know are in the same place. I heard things such as: The trust and importance of the White House in the world will be severely demerited by a black president. A black person lacks the necessary quality and style of an American president. I even heard people calling him a monkey. The same is the case with homosexuality. Prior to President Obama’s Pro Equality announcement, a lot of people refrained from sharing their opinion openly about same gender marriage. But today, many are infuriated that our president, a Democrat, who in their view “has done nothing for the country and themselves”, has made many serious mistakes and now is supporting something that most people believe is immoral and against the biblical beliefs. I find the hatred against Obama exhibited in many of these conservatives now is a combo of hate against Obama with homosexuality. People seem to fear change more than any previous time in American history and their fear, becomes unproportional to reason and logic. It is no more than shutting the door to both issues, as much as any issue that represents change and tradition that seems threatened.

I liked Obama’s interview and what he said. Particularly when he mentioned the “Golden Rule”: “Don’t do to others what you don’t want to be done with you”. Exactly! Where would the president be if he realizes that one of his daughters is a lesbian and desires a committed and legally supported marriage? What many people fail to see, is that compassion and generosity are some of the most positive and influential forces that make everything better, for everyone. People seem to overlook the fact that freedom is a necessary and mandatory state of life to achieve the best possible growth in life. Denying legal marriage to gay and lesbians, is a form of denial of this freedom. Something that perhaps didn’t matter to them much before, but today is a vital need. Regulations and laws do not permit couples out of legal marriage to benefit from federal and state perks that come along with the accomplishments of their obligations and the necessary requirements to claim legal rights when the partner is unable to decide for her/himself or deal with the legal and necessary rights in case of death, child custody, and divorce. But all unjust civil issues take their place in the roster of what needs to be addressed at some point. Many racial issues somehow have been worked out and only time will decide how much gain comes from it. So far, African-Americans have been able to achieve higher education, predominant places in all industries and fields, including the military, and so having a president of African-American origin definitely changes that perspective for them by many folds. Black people today, especially young generations, increased their aspirations and confidence because America elected one of them.
I’ve heard educated and upper (or more) middle class people wondering if allowing same-sex marriage rights at some point will allow having a gay or lesbian (and couples) elected as an US president. This is a terrible miss and a short-sighted view because what a nation really needs and can benefit from, is having capable people in charge that are willing of giving their very best to the nation. Lincoln was not fully accepted when running for the White House chair because his education and social status. But his mind and heart were much more than brilliant and with his “limited” resources, not only saved the nation in one of the most difficult times in American history, but he pushed the nation better than what many presidents had done. Those shoes will be hard to fill for a long time.
I really hope that this testimony from the President does not do any more harm to his effectiveness and re-election goals, and helps many to persuade themselves that denying a basic civil right to a few – that is supposed to be granted to everyone, does not treat anything or anybody fairly or justly.
Apparently many people opposed to Obama and LGBT rights now – out of the blue – became very vocal and are taking initiative to broadcast their views to fight LGBT equality and president Obama. Perhaps before president Obama’s testimony supporting LGBT people and marriage equality, people who never cared nor believed this right would be granted are reacting to this news, but Obama’s support “awakened” their animosity and in just a few hours past this testimony, they became quite vocal and active to show their true sentiment. The irony of this case is: God didn’t invent marriage. Marriage is a human invention that through centuries and millennia had changed about the reasons to exist. For instance, at some point it was used to halt women from seeking relationships out of marriage and if doing so, they would be executed by law. Men were allowed to do exactly that. As well, during some history periods, this was the tool for fathers to make any claim about their children. Gay and lesbians care for legal marriage simply because they care of having the exact same legal rights all other couples do. Legal rights that will not exist for as long as their marriage is not legally recognized and granting Civil Union rights is not the same. Still is a form of control and discrimination and there is no true reason within the human realm that can justify such aberration. As well, religious beliefs must be left in the hands of the parishes the very same way the government doesn’t have the right to state, regulate, etc, them. The will of the church is free from this. Government and religion are two different and separate entities that by any means should not be mixed, as the US Constitution states. So why do people fight marriage equality as an item of biblical reasons?

The world is not going to become gay across the board because of same-sex marriage equality. There is no way that a straight man or woman is going to turn gay because nondiscrimination laws are in place. The very same way that a gay person cannot switch to being straight, heterosexual people cannot change their sexual or gender orientation; that is innate and unchangeable. Let history speak about this so people can see that homosexuality has existed through our entire presence in the physical realm and never produced any harm to anyone or anything. Nothing has changed, regardless of the many efforts through our history to fight them, and even to eliminate them, such as the genocide of homosexuals in many cultures through centuries. Middle east nations still do that!  Despite these oppressions, no one, absolutely no one is capable of changing what is built-in, what we are born with.

More importantly, it is evident that those who are allowed to be themselves, freely and without concern, have been individuals that fulfilled their role in life and often for the benefit of many others of all ethnic backgrounds, walks of life, social status, etc. regardless of all the limitations and denial of their rights. In fact, this denial is so unfair, unjust, stupid and non-sensical because many of the best contributors in all realms to the American life were (and are) people that had been ostracized by society and their obsolete rules. These people never focused on the unfairness that was imposed in them. Instead, they focused on the talents they were born with and poured all their dedication to render their best to all. And because of their pride of being, they survived all. But no one is “cut from the same cloth”, nor has the same abilities as anyone else. Some need to be supported in order to explore their gifts of birth and to not deal with a lifestyle that needs to fight everyone and the establishment. Let them live freely and join the battle of moving from our ankylosis and bring fortune and well-being to themselves and everyone. Let everyone be free! Everyone must have the right to choose whatever they wish!

I thank President Obama for taking a stand in this issue, although the possibility of making him to lose this coming election now is larger, judging from this reaction. What President Obama has done is to be himself; an honest, fair, compassionate human being and a President to all, including the underdog. Something to celebrate forever.

Is sex overrated?

 By Isis Win
Sex has been the talk no one “should” ever have for centuries. Good sex, bad sex, no sex at all, lots of it. But certainly everyone without exception thinks about it. Good, sex, bad sex, no sex at all, lots of it. Everyone wants and enjoys good sex, but at some point bad sex comes through the door and we don’t really know what to think about it. Try it again? Or simply ignore it? Men do not think about sex the same way women do. Men do not have sex the same way women do. So what is it with this thing about sex, that regardless of what we do, good sex, really good sex is hard to come by? The puzzling starts by: We find great sex and at some point it goes bad. Like milk! After a long while of having sex with the same partner it becomes monotonous, at times undesirable and often rare among long-term couples. Most couples invariably will fail in their partnership once sex goes bad. Well, that! next to economical troubles. Whys isn’t it that the older sex is, with that partner   doesn’t get better like an old wine? Oh! Old, old wine goes bad too! So what’s the deal with sex?

There are more myths about sex than true facts in the minds of mainstream people. Thousands and thousands of books have been written about sex and most sell like hot cakes. Some books have even survived millennia! When a new book come out with some interesting facts, mostly educational stuff, most people get excited (even aroused?). Just kidding! Many try what they learned from them but as well, all that becomes old at some point. Should we be reading more books about sex all the time to keep it roaring? Who wants to read books about sex when we have videos? The number one industry in the internet is sex! And how about all the millions of photos in the net that one way or another one, are loaded with sexual overtones?
In the old days (40s/50s), a photo that was considered provocative would never made into a family magazine. But today, even the billboards of metropolitan cities contain more than provocative photos. Not to mention many fashion catalogs! Did you have the chance to peruse the early catalogs (80s) of the now internationally famous brand name Victoria Secret? They were sooo sexy! Borderline between provocative and the content of most men’s magazines of today. Isn’t strange that those catalogs made this brand name a staple in the bedrooms of the mainstream world? When sex is so mystified? Many more catalogs and brand names came out after the success of VS. Television and cinema as well, are heavily loaded with sexual and provocative images. Ratings simply describe it “Sexual content”. No wonder why we think so much about sex! Like if we need reminders!

The history of sex is a confusing one. While sex is a normal and needed human activity, sex has been subjected to stigmatizing, ostracism, judgment and all the negative adjectives anyone can throw at it. There is no need to delve into what the reasons are. We all know them quite well. For starters, when young, our parents gave us at least one warning about sex. Some parents even threatened their kids if they would ever knew they were having sex . . . Aah! This is history that will never change. One irony of the case is, many of those parents indulged their sexual life quite well when young. Take for instance, the Baby Boomers. The 60s and 70s were the times of sexual liberation. Not that such liberation never happened before, but this time, it was public and highly eloquent. “Make Love, Not War” was the slogan of the times as a demonstration against the war in Vietnam or was it just for the sake of making love? I betya! Young people wanted to indulge their interest and attraction to sex freely.

We can’t ignore as well that celebrated thinkers had something to say about sex too. Freud was one of them among many. And his words were concerning and alarming to the mainstream. According to Freud, sex represented many not so cool things about the character or psychological issues. I will not get into that. In the 40s/50s, Dr Kinsey had something to say about sex too. But his message was exactly what the mainstream could not manage: The truth. He stated things like: Women and men of all ages, masturbated and fantasized often if not daily, and had at least one homosexual experience. But not your grandmother and mine, right? How can we think about our grandmother playing with herself? And having sex with another woman? Can you imagine finding a dildo in your grandmother’s bedroom? Oh no! That is not possible! This is how confusing sex can be.

Recently we read at xQsi magazine an article by marriage and family therapist Roberto Olivo talking about sex addiction. Sex what? Addiction? Not me! Not you! Not anyone we know, right? Well, it is not easy to understand sex, period, much less to understand what sex addiction might be. Yes, it exist! And what is it? Good sex, bad sex, and lots of it? All of the above? Sex is an act of instant gratification that anyone can indulge in and it can come with the biggest and hardest hangover anyone can experience – when indulged irresponsibly. Hangover? People with the “ability” to drink heavily and regularly can stand a hangover. Can they do the same with irresponsible sex? Oh yes! Just like alcoholics, they must seek for more alcohol to recover from that hangover. Same with sex. More sex takes care of it. So why do people drink again and again? Because of the very same reason sexually addicted people must have more sex. They need that instant gratification, they need their “fix”. However, although one may recover from sexual hangovers, the consequences will not go away! Unwanted pregnancy, venereal diseases, tarnished reputation and many more. As well, such “fix” does not fix anything but creates the illusion, a temporary illusion.
Frequent masturbation, multiple partners, anonymous partners, unprotected sex, all that and lots of it are among the symptoms of sexual addiction. The more the merrier, right? Well, there is a true reason for it and it is not precisely a humorous one. Sexual addiction happens because of an emptiness in-within – at a core level. Sexual addiction becomes a coping mechanism that will allow us to keep going on and on – when things are not right. Things like poor self-confidence and self-love, frustration, guilt and stress, among many others. But it turns our backs to responsible sex once it happens, turns that sexual experience into bad sex. More emptiness, more void happens and we are back to square one. Then, we get hangover! But the interesting part about addicted sex is that most people fail to recognize addiction to sex. As well, they are not able to recognize the hangover, not even bad sex. But they can recognize sex much easier! And always as an imperative need that needs to be fulfilled immediately and regardless of its cost. Is sex just sex, nothing more?

Looking into our inner self is not an easy chore. And there is no instant fix either when we find something that is wrong. The tribulations of daily life, the interpersonal crisis, financial limitations and complications, plain lack of fulfillment and happiness tend to make us seek for that fix somewhere else. There is no difference with alcohol or drugs abuse, greed, an obsessive quest for power or appreciation and an obsessive need for validation. Bottom line is, when we are missing something in within, we seek for it somewhere else. And that is not right! It just doesn’t deliver. But this is the not the problem that our parents warned us about. They just meant not having sex, because our judgment may not be grounded, period!. As well, all those moralistic and religious minds that claim sex is only for one exclusive purpose . . . Give me a break! Clearly when we indulge that is not our purpose. Ours, is to feel good about our own selves (physically and emotionally) and to unwind our pressures, frustrations, stress, etc. But it doesn’t work when it only serves that purpose -> for a quick instant. The Petite Mort as the French call it, is no more than an orgasm, which even though it is almost always nice to have, may leave an emptiness after all. A spiritual and emotional death.

The reality about sex to most, is that we know so little about it. But we seem to act it as if we were experts. We just feel the hormonal call or an opportunity to prove our selves or to fix something that is broken. Even all those books written through history will not teach us the level of importance sex has in our lives and selves. Sex is the most innate intimate activity we can share with someone else. When indulging into sexual activity we fully strip ourselves down to the bare bones! And I am not referring about physical nudity. Sex as well, can be the most gratifying experience one can experience with another individual when done responsibly. We hear about it all over the place and at all times: Making love is generally acceptable – having irresponsible sex, comes with all the wrongs. Making love is an action that we perform with somebody that we respect and love. Someone that we like so much that we harvest and expect having a steady – long-term relationship with. When we make love to that person, we go to a very different place than when we just have plain sex. Don’t get me wrong! Plain sex can be great too! But granting at least some quantity of true personal intimacy, will come with quantity of quality. I bet you that there are some among your old experiences, experiences that you will remember and treasure forever. Yes, that’s it! Intimate loving sex is something that we will always remember so we don’t need to go into more once indulged. We do not need anyone else. As well, we don’t need to have sex with that partner without the proper regards for that appreciated person. For starters, when we make love or have intimate loving sex, we love our own self too. After all, besides of becoming attentive to the needs and desires of our partner, we are taking care of ours. Question: When you masturbate, do make love to yourself or just take care of that need in a brief instant?

Getting addicted to anything is easier than anyone can imagine. And when we get addicted to something, it comes silently and almost invisibly. All we see is a way to fill that hole of void and inadequacy in our selves and lives. The instant fix! Addiction, as you can imagine, is not a good trait to have. Any kind of addiction! Because addiction is dependency. And we should not be dependent on anyone or anything but our own selves. If we become self-sufficient to all of our needs, we will be able to rely on ourselves forever! And we must exercise good judgement and courtesy to others when we exclusively depend on our selves. Although we must observe our independence, we must observe and respect the independence of others. That is the best of all vaccines to anything bad! As well, being self-sufficient/independent will help anybody to determine if she/he is prone to become addicted or not, because she/he are able to face reality as it comes. And that reality always will come with respect and common sense when we responsibly face everything it in real-time and as it comes. But if you are addicted, there is no need to feel worse about yourself, that you are doomed, or your life is finished. Although you should depend on your own self, it doesn’t mean you can’t rely on someone else. Reach out, do the leg work and to whatever it takes to reclaim yourself! There are programs and services to aid everyone with any kind of addiction. And the fun in life will not end if you do so! In fact, fun becomes better, will last longer and you will remember it for as long as you live. When we responsibly indulge into any of our choices, we not only enjoy those much more and better, but there is no hangover or negative consequences once indulgence passed. Then, you can live longer, live happily and live in company of others like yourself.

Sex is overrated and underrated by the standards of that we see in the media, by the myths that circulate around. Indulging in responsible sex requires a level-headed approach, not just like what we see in TV and the movies and we simply throw ourselves into it and all comes out OK. That is fantasy! A pregnant young woman or a venereally ill person is not going to fix the problem as it happens in movies. Although life will not end there, reality will set in and we may end up feeling that our days are over. Yes, this can be a life changing experience and not necessarily for the best. And many of the normal and expected goodies life offers may become much more difficult to reach. Sometimes even becoming impossible to do so. But making love is not the same. Having responsible sex is not the same. Instead of getting fixated in instant gratification, live and love, love and live. That is much better than just having plain sex with anyone and without care and regards. It becomes a lasting experience!

I know the absolute truth but you . . .

By Isis Win

It is so interesting how some of the aspects in a democratic society and process, somehow fail to deliver what originally was intended as a the main purpose of a nation that serves, supports and entitle every single citizen of the exact same rights. Those rights that were extensively examined by the founders of our nation and became the constitution of the USA. Since its inception and the following amends, the constitution aims towards the deserving freedom that every single contributor to the nation earns by abiding the law and regulations that will preserve the peace and harmony of each citizen, same that become the order and progress of the nation. Therefore a free and happy society, brings what the country needs to ensure that prosperity and the well-being of all will be. The results go both ways: to the components of this society and the nation that holds them.

Law abiding citizens that comply with their responsibilities and obligations are deserving of those liberty rights and any other provision the government creates, which will be served equally and without any distinction to ethnicity, gender, lifestyle, belief, origin, social and cultural status, etc. The constitution does not provide any “special favors” to any group, person, organization, etc. All – is about every individual that independently contributes to the positive formation and progress of the entire nation.

Jefferson, considering the measurable and important value of public happiness included in the United States Declaration of Independence the right to “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” . Which is considered one the best crafted and most influential sentences in the history of the English language. He recognized these three rights as an “unalienable rights” or sovereign rights of man.
George Mason wrote:
“That all men are by nature equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.”

But it is interesting that one of those perks offered by democracy, has been used at large, when a legislation that has been passed to protect and provide those constitutional rights to a minority lacking of those – becomes a matter of “popular” consensus by a referendum and only to deny that passed legislation.
Nothing wrong with that mechanism, for as long as the same doesn’t violate the basic principle of granting – indiscriminately – those rights to everyone, no exception. But referendums created and presented to override the right to legal marriage to gay couples should be questioned before posted. The interesting part of all this, is  that there is no substance when it comes to any legal or reasonable principle to deny a right – that already was granted by the higher office of a state and based on that constitutional right. Religious, moral or anything beyond the scope of the legal realm doesn’t suffice to derail something that has been established as a constitutional legal right. But those referendums keep coming and attempting to override that passed legislation. I am not a constitutional lawyer and sadly my ignorance in that department will not help me to present the necessary legal arguments that are violated with such referendums. But just common sense tells me that they are way wrong and out-of-place.
 
Looking a little beyond this constitutional and legal aspect, we can see the main issue at stake, somehow, most miss to see it or address it: There is no individual, organization, law or regulation that entitles anyone to decide how others may live their own life. But somehow those that are against those rights for that minority of the minorities, feel that somewhere marriage between a man and a woman, is written in stone that and that kind of marriage, is exclusively the only one that can  take place in our society. Is it that those religious minds suspect that if this constitutional right is addressed and federally enforced, those gay couples may seek for religious marriage? Give me a break!
 
Interesting! for a lack of a better word, theologians, historians, anthropologists and archeologists had found no sound evidence to such in the sacred scriptures. Not to mention the fact that the basic principle of all religions establish – that every single human being must be loved, accepted, supported and forgiven when wrong. To make this case even more compelling, there is no evidence in the sacred scriptures that presents that homosexuality as wrong, unnatural or a matter of personal choice. So where does this come from? The undeniable fact here is, that some people strongly believe to know the only truth, even if such goes against their own religious principles and as well is a total denial of equal liberty rights to all. We can go even deeper in that regard, when we ask: why those individuals tend to believe that they are the only holders of such truth? But frankly, that is not of my business as much as it is not theirs to analyze, judge, ostracize and sentence those that they are unable to recognize and accept. However, from the civic point of view, it is rather revolting that those uptight and judgmental individuals fail to recognize that gay people seeking for the right to marriage – are as good contributors to the well-being of the nation – as perhaps they are. They work, pay taxes, respect the law, are loving people, etc. And all they ask is the acknowledgment of being who they are: equal to all and entitle to legal marriage that will provide them the same rights their opponents receive. But it is not just the civil right what they seek for. Anyone who desires to commit into legal marriage, desires to do so because, they like the rest of the population, they aspire to help with the foundation in which society has been built on. They want to participate in the well being of the nation with every single aspect of the established, working and organized society they live in.
Their love for each other will note impaired by this denial and their commitment always existed since the moment that they committed to each other. But that “doesn’t suffice” to validate their commitment and the recognition they aim for, which is for the well-being and benefit of our nation and society. How ironic this is, when at least 50% of the heterosexual couples are already divorced, the majority pregnancy cases in the US are in single women under 30 years old, the numbers of family less children sky rocketed in the last few decades, thousands of children lack of any nurturing family and most crimes, come from those that never had an opportunity to become law-abiding citizens, because they are unrecognized and lack of all opportunities.

Same gender marriage will pitch in – tremendously – in addressing and correcting some of those problems. In fact, more than half of the gay families opt for adoption. And there is no evidence of any sort, that kids growing up in a same gender couple family are dysfunctional, less human, disrespectful of the law and much less, not loving people. Many of the kids from gay couples I’ve met through my kid’s events, schools, etc, are some of the most loving and compassionate kids I’ve known. But those that propose these referendums, as well those that vote for them, seem to know the truth better than the rest of the American people. Even better than those gay couples.

More ironic is the fact that not everyone is against same gender marriage. The majority of the people under 30 yo are in favor of same gender marriage rights. But today, baby boomers , the flower generation, are much older and they’ve forgotten what they learned, when they were young as their kids are today. As well, it is overwhelmingly clear – that the advocate efforts of some religious groups (#1 the Mormons) are the reason this legislation has been threatened and defeated before (Prop8) and possibly legislation in those states that already passed this constitutional legislation, will be defeated again and again, until this case goes to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court will not have any other saying but to speak in favor of the constitutional rights of every American. Just the very same way that inter-racial marriage became protected.

But I have another point in this regard, that is as valid and solid as the previously mentioned. We are not in the middle ages. Science, sociology, history and many other fields had proven consistently that homosexuality is a natural event in our species , records existed since our early days of history, there is nothing wrong with it and going against it, reflects a deep lack of compassion, understanding, fear and plain ignorance. And that doesn’t match our needed progress in any field or history. Or is it human nature to always have an issue to go against and a certain group of people? Specially a minority? There is no evidence to this notion but that the individual that feels, thinks and acts that way, have an internal and very personal issue about what they are against. And their issue has nothing to do with the people they are against, because there is no foundation or evidence to their sentiment. The reason they have no other argument than to use something that is not even proven, such as the Sacred Scriptures they assert. However, it seems “they know the truth and the only truth” but those are against to it, in reality, know nothing. They are just holding their sentiment based on their very personal opinion. A Freudian projection of some sort? Therefore, they feel obligated to fight them at any cost. Also, they take the law in their own hands. They police the order they believe should be, they try to enforce it and they do whatever it takes to keep it that way. And the cost of this illegal efforts is a tremendous waste of money, time, and it damages the establishment, the uneducated and fearful society because it plainly disseminates discrimination towards those that never have done anything to deserve such. This is nothing different from what today is not illegal anymore, such as interracial marriage, rights for women, desegregation, religious freedom, etc, etc, etc, The same items that  were removed from our unspoken “laws” of our ancient past and were nothing less than a disgraceful violation to humanity and harmonious order.

Nevertheless, the most of all annoying aspects of this discriminatory initiative of some religious groups, is that the only argument they present to advocate against gay couples, is nothing else than their moral and religious views. Same that had not be proven by any means in terms of any biblical validation and the separation of church and state suppose to go both ways. No one is advocating about any of the above beliefs or religions, so what is the excuse those jealous have to make their case, out of what has been clearly legislated and protected by our constitution? These referendums that attempt to derail any constitutional right, do not deserve to become a matter of democratic process, because no one has any negative evidence proof this attempt. And is a violation to the liberties that all Americans deserve and are granted. Civil union is not the proper measure to be granted by state governments because such is not a validation of that right and as well, for as long as this right is not federally addressed and corrected, gay couples will continued being unrecognized as law-abiding and deserving people, as the constitution and the law states should be.

I am not attempting to state that (as they like to think and act) I own the universal truth about this issue. Therefore I know better than they do. I am just expressing my own view based on a little more educated place. I am not seeking myself to marry anyone, same gender or the opposite. I do not have a family member that wishes to receive this right. Yes, I know of people who wish to be able to do so but my investment is not based on my own belief or wish. I am just expressing something that once taken care of, for good and enforced to the dot, will deeply and positively affect an area in our world and nation, that has been for the longest neglected and unspoken. And that only is because those against this, are extremely vocal and proactive to enforce their own set of beliefs and the rest of the people prefer not to get involved because – for starters – this is not a business that belongs to anyone but those that wish, aim and aspire to get it legally granted. The very same right that you and I receive and most take for granted. Marriage is about commitment into a monogamous, steady and loving establishing of a family. It is recognized as a right to one of  the basic principles that establish a positive future of a functional and progressive society that up-keeps a nation. Nothing more, nothing less. Those referendums should be denied by the local governments and they should use their resources in something that offers true promises to our democratic process, state and nation.

Animus – Anima – Gay -Straight

By Isis Win

In our world of fast and accessible communicating, often we hear people throwing some new stuff that rings well, interesting and delivers some punch. But I wonder how often this information has been understood, or better, digested. In this age of multitasking, more often than not, it is not easy to delve as deeply as necessary to learn the little idiosyncrasies of what we learned. Therefore we don’t have a good understanding of what contexts we can use these new punchy terms or thoughts. We simply use them as they come, because we feel they make sense, explain what we intend and we use them within the context of our delivery. But, it is not unreasonable to question the source this new knowledge. Take for instance what I am sharing here with you. Is this something I have a decent grasp of it? Or is it something that leads me to deliver my own punch line but fails to truly connect one dot with the other one? Well, the only way to figure it out, is nothing else than digging into any reliable channels that may explain it, comparing it with others’ views or theories and arriving at a sound place. We can use the same concept to either support any idea or to detract it, especially if it is used in the wrong context. How boring to have to open our encyclopedias or reference books! Is it that important? You’ll be the judge. But I hope what I express here is enough to trigger your curiosity and interest to wonder how much of that average language you use is right on the money or . . . how much of that may lead to confusing terms, and as well, a bad punch line. The language we use will have a deep impact when it comes to the results, therefore, it is of utmost importance to know well what we say, how we say it and when. And in order to properly exercise this skill, a sound education is vital. On the long run, the level of education we harvest will have a deep impact on the level of consciousness we achieve. And consciousness will open many paths and doors in life. Otherwise, we’ll be shooting in the dark!

Anima and Animus are the two primary anthropomorphic archetypes of the unconscious mind. Just right there, anthropomorphic archetypes? Unconscious? What the heck are those? Do they have any importance to be considered as part of our personal lexicon? This will drastically depend on each individual preferences, but as well, on the consciousness level of each of us, or wanted knowledge.
In this regard I want to share with you: consciousness will always be one of the largest and most determining tool or skill, anyone can use to grow in life. But let me stick to my title. Carl Jung, one of the fathers of modern psychology used anima and animus in his school of analytical psychology. Oh! psychology! Who wants to dig that BS? . . .  Psychology is a thing for the mentally insane or derailed person! That’s not me, right? We are OK and need no psychology, correct? Sorry, but in order to deliver my thought, you need to be able to understand each of the thoughts I am suggesting, so you can connect the dots. Otherwise, you would be wasting your time reading me. If you are still with me, let me explain this concept that is so badly used in our contrived culture and in the long run may deliver a totally screwed up idea. Take for instance, gay and straight. What does that have to do with these? Well, if you are paying attention you will be able to connect the dots and perhaps do not get lost in my point.

I will not jump into a psychology text-book explanation, so you understand what this is all about. However, I need to explain my starting point/dot FIRST. Anima is what, according to Jung, the feminine represents in the inner personality in the male. In other words: The unconscious feminine traits in the male. But in females, animus represents the masculine in their personality. What a? Feminine in a male and masculine in a female? Yes, although the average person tends to believe that all feminine is exclusive of the female and all masculine of the male. Well, there are many other science fields that can further explain this duality but we will not go there. It suffices to state that every single human being has built-in traits of both genders. Interesting right? So what are those traits? Perhaps without knowing them, you will fully reject this idea. But if you understand that specific traits in each one’s personality are gender oriented it may make sense. NOTE: both traits as well are composed by negative and positive aspects of the personality. We can look at it as anima-animus is a Ying-Yan and this Ying-Yan has its own Ying-Yan.

In street terms, anima refers to animated, or perceptive and animus to animosity or decisiveness. Does it start making sense? A recognized female trait is how much emotional data a female collects before assuming anything. It is the reason females usually take a little longer than males to take action. But how can this be if the male’s trait is the anima? Well, that is his counterpart but males are mostly represented by the animus in general. Anima is a trait that feels not only the emotional content but as well, considers the content from others. Huh! Do males do that? Well, not usually or at all times but yes, they do! However, they mostly act their animus. Confusing? While the animus simply is assertive and direct to take action making him decisive and taking charge, the anima as well can have an impact in his behavior. This is the part where integration of both shines for its value.
According to Jung (he didn’t invent this thought, this concept has been exhibited in ancient cultures as well), both genders carry both traits, although they may appear to be antagonistic to their gender. This is rather simple to understand since we all experience the female and the male through our parents, siblings, friends, etc. In order to recognize anything, we must have it built-in into our psyche first. Otherwise, how can we recognize what that is? If we don’t know it, we don’t. Everything else we’re aware of, consciously or unconsciously, is something that, at some level or another, we experienced, and can therefore acknowledge. That’s because it is already built-in us.
By the same token, females have their counterpart animus but generally, like men’s case, they represent it when they have integrated it into their emotional since already is in their psyche.

If you still are with me, think about: What would be the most important task to do with this piece of knowledge? To achieve full integration of both traits in a conscious level. A very interesting aspect of this is that gay, lesbian and transgender people have an easier path to integration of this because they allow both traits to operate or take place more often and naturally. But being conscious of it will make a great difference.

Huh! This is becoming more confusing, right? This integration is something that has been changing in the last few decades. Although, most males refuse to allow such train of thought. Meaning, most males will not allow anything that may point them in the direction of having any feminine traits. In fact, the average male will do whatever he judges necessary to represent his male-maleness at any cost. Therefore avoid anything that in his view may resemble female. The obvious result? The macho or machista. Males will not only reject such notion but anything that maybe represented by it or like it, to them may feel gay, sissy, queer, etc. They will refuse it because what it represents to them, even if it would be an asset. It is not common to hear a male publicly stating their refusal to accept it. Just like males sort of refuse to become sentimental, cry, etc. Well, unless in the right context! Such as being with other macho males and talking about it but will avoid talking about it in the presence of a female or a gay/sissy male.
So what about females and the animus? Women in the contrary had been embracing, either consciously or not their animus. Women had been achieving a large level of assertiveness and drive at least during the last century. Therefore, their role in society, family, work, etc, is much more participation aimed than ever before. But for the sake of “justice” I must add that in the last decades males are getting more in touch with their feminine. Today, we see males staying home, taking care of the chores of the case, nurturing and caring for the children, etc. Something that four or five decades ago was largely considered feminine, therefore . . . gayish? Are we agreeing so far?

Now, let me connect the dot with another further more convoluted issue: sexuality and preference. Men by default are more reluctant to accept male gayness but have no problem with female gayness. In fact, males that reject male gays find lesbians arousing. On the contrary, women have been more accepting of both gay and lesbian sexuality. Sexuality has been through our history one of those things in life that is very delicate to discuss, and much more so to concur on. There is a heavy stigma attached to gay sexuality! Wait, sexuality, period! Of course, changes have been occurring for a long time now in males and females, but there are men and women that still refuse to accept gay sexuality, or even recognize it. But invariably we can look at this case as the result of religious or moralist roots, or close mindedness.

OK, I feel at this point you may grasp my point, hopefully! So it is time to connect the dots between anima-animus and straight and homosexuality. By the way, using this term (homosexuality), even up to date, is a no-no even among some gay people. There are so many people who refuse to use the word homosexuality, which is no more than a technical term to describe sexual orientation. It is a not-so-transparent way to see where the lack of integration of anima-animus is for that individual.

Excuse me for going through this lengthy explanation to arrive to this but it is necessary to make my desired point: LGBT, lately converted into LGBTQ. Something that in my view and as well many other advocates and activists does not favor our battle for civil rights. What does this have to do with all of the above? Well, I really hope you already grasp the idea but in case you don’t, let me explain. Although being gay or lesbian is a matter of sexual inclination, preference or whatever you wish to call it, our civil rights should not be pending on our sexuality. Isn’t sexuality a private matter that 99% of the people refuse even to talk about? So why are our rights defined by our sexuality? Something to think about it and I am sure most have an answer to this question and likely will be very similar if not identical.

The battle for our civil rights should not be about what preferences or lifestyle we have or choose. This battle should not be anymore than the civil rights granted and “protected” by the US constitution towards all sorts of diversity that exist in our country, period! The Constitution clearly states that no American can be excluded from what the founders of our nation fought, removed and protected by creating our constitution.
The addition of bisexual, transgender and now queer to our umbrella flag (LGBT) actually does some damage among the ignorant in our main-streets. How is that? you may ask, especially if you are bisexual, transgender or queer. Simple: We are adding something to what should be no more than the innate right to choose and live a life according to our preference and enjoy all those rights that should be observed and enforced by our constitution and . . . human decency, even if those that disapprove are reluctant to integrate their compassion and understanding to every single human being. Why do they do that? Because they clearly disapprove of sexual diversity that in their eyes, is not more than a case of choice and such choice is wrong. What a?

bisexual and transgender were included in the gay and lesbian advocacy and activism movement because bisexuals felt excluded from the fight because they are troubled by being singled out as only gay when they are not. They just happen to be gender unbiased. A case of anima-animus integration. Transgender people were included as well because the need to include them in the fight towards achieving non-discrimination towards them and doing so separately would add to the cost and possible gains of the gay and lesbian efforts. An interesting trivia fact in this regard is that gay and lesbians disapproved of the inclusion of transgender people and transgender people did the same because they do not recognize their “issue” as a sexual preference issue. Both showed antagonism towards the integration of fighting discrimination jointly. However, practical matters left no other alternative. Still, transgender people and gay and lesbian reject this fact. But now we are facing the inclusion of queer and cisgender people into our acronym. We are diluting it by doing so. And what is the true reason for that? Whatever fight is carried out by the existing advocacy and activism organizations will benefit everyone that is discriminated. Does having a specific wording on the legislative have an impact on any possible passed law? I don’t believe that could be the case but what can be is that the addition of queer may stir the existing efforts and pending legislation. That was a serious problem not long ago when activist organizations refused the exclusion of transgender people in their working legislative momentum. This delayed the process until finally transgender was included. But that case made sense since what is at stake is another layer of diversity that didn’t necessarily fit into gay and lesbian and its character differed with the case. But adding another letter to the acronym will create another can of worms. OK, I give away this case since at this particular point advocacy organizations are not including the Q, yet! But the acronym is proliferating across the board and we see queer and cisgender people demanding to be part of the acronym.

Let me rephrase my case once more: The true issue is about a group in our American diversity that has suffered and is suffering the results of discrimination and the denial of civil rights that every single person in our country deserves, the very same rights that any American is granted but LGBT do not have because we are different! That discrimination and denial should be removed for good. How we live our lives, what partner we choose, what we do in our beds, how we dress, etc, are things that do not belong to anyone else but the with-holder! It is not that LGBT people are advocating against those that are different from us to receive such denial! We are talking about bigotry, an unlawful action; ostracism is an inhuman act, all the bad things that arise from a lack of understanding of the true nature of human diversity. Those human components cannot be tailored at will! And much less so because others leave us no other option. Jews were hiding during the Inquisition times in Europe during the 17th century, otherwise they would have a horrendous pile of dead in a fire! Many were killed that horrendous way. Those times are way over! So why do we need to be  closeted so we can live a “normal” and safe life according to others?

I am not suggesting to change our umbrella name or what it does. All I am doing, at least trying is to encourage thinking, acquisition of sound education, scrutiny of our inner and outer selves, so we look at what is and is not, instead of going with the flow and complying with what doesn’t work? A few long-time supporters of HRC had told me they no longer do that. They stopped trusting HRC because of too many reasons to state here, but on top of all, because they are not doing much in regards and behalf of transgender people. The last group added to the acronym. This is true, in some regards, because in the past HRC has changed their position in regards of the language to be used in their activism and in a few times, compromised the transgender community.  A lot of HRC supporters have dropped their donations.
HRC was aimed since day one towards the benefit of gay and lesbian people and later included the rest. In terms of the language used in civil rights legislation, inclusion makes total sense but it seems a bad mistake in the acronym because adding more letters to the acronym feeds more to the fire in the main-street world and makes that world disregard us even more. This is not an assumption of mine but the result of an investigation I’ve conducted for several years with people I don’t know.
At this point, the attempt to add a Q at the end of the existing acronym is not a bright idea. It is not that we, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people do not support them, but once again, what’s the point? As far as I know, we are all behind support of diversity of all kinds. But more importantly, we should not be advocating for something that doesn’t belong to the approval of others but that can be used against our cause. Our cause is about fighting the basic anti-constitutional violations that affect many of the rights and decisions that we “different people” are forced to make, because being a minority of minorities we cannot easily fight against a much larger crowd, especially if we are to rely on referendums which as well are a fragrant violation to our rights but come disguised with a mask of democracy. For starters, the cornerstone of democracy is the right to a free-living and choices for everyone. That before any “democratic” move to halt those rights in any minority and simply because they do not approve. It is not their right to choose how others may life their life nor what rights should be granted! Legislative, executive and judicial branches have no right to halt any of those rights! Unless there is an amendment to our constitution that derails the intentions of the founding rights that have made this nation what it is and the same nation that every single lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and anyone you drop into this list – contributes every single day of his and her existence. New Jersey legislated approval of same gender marriage but there is a referendum coming up. Watch out!
The very same way that either – we admit, accept, support or not any civil rights, are part of our built-on feminine and masculine traits. And again, what we do with it is no ones business. Whether we want to benefit and grow with our anima-animus or not, is not more than a personal right that no one has the right to say yes or not. But we all have the responsibility of exploring it and the only possible way of doing so is by educating our selves before acting and talking. And all this is happening because most people are troubled with their lack of understanding and knowledge about what animal sexuality is about. Worse, they tend to forget that we humans, have the ability to discern about everything, therefore figure what is and not and that has nothing to do with what we personally choose in life. It is what it is, period!  

Voilà, as the French say.