Thursday, September 28, 2017

"Them" because of people like him....

As a veteran, even when I was military, I was often faced with orders that I didn't necessarily agree with.  I'm not a big fan of the kneeling, which will come to a big surprise to most of the people that know me.  It's not that I am a fan of what they are doing or that I agree with it.  It's that I swore to protect the Constitution.  She states that anyone in this country can peacefully protest.  She provides all the freedom of speech.  And until Jerry Jones and the Cowboys showed solidarity and kneeled prior to the Flag being unfurled, I saw no more peaceful way than taking a knee as if in prayer while the Anthem played.  The Cowboys action was a gesture that should have united people.  It didn't.  It caused even more ruckus.  That's when I realized that it wasn't about a flag or song, but what it was about was way more nefarious.

First, it was disrespecting a flag.  No one really cares in this country.  Walk into a bar while the anthem plays on the TV. No one is standing.  Sure, that might change for a short time, but it will fade.  Human nature.  So people have been disrespecting the flag for eons.  Even the people that are super heroes right now defending the idea that we have to stand.  Let's call it what it is--hypocrisy.

Next, the flag represents veterans and active military.  I thought about it.  Yes, I have had friends that I have lost and the flag was draped over their casket.  It is because it is a sign of our country paying her respect to our service, not the other way around.  The flag is representing our Constitution, our way of life, our Rights and all American citizens, not just the veterans and military members.  In fact, she's a symbol of what we swore to protect in our oath.  The only time the flag is supposed to be laid down even, is upon our caskets or other public service people like police, firefighters, Presidents, Senators, etc.  Those that have entered service to this country are honored by the only exception of how the flag may be laid.  The rest of the time she is supposed to flap freely in the wind.  At no other time should she be draped upon something.  So, even if we stick with this argument that it somehow is disrespecting those of us that served, well, maybe, maybe not.  If it's disrespect to veterans and military, then it's disrespecting Congress, Justices, Presidents....  The same people making these arguments disrespected Obama like it was going out of style.  I didn't like him either, but technically, by this argument, they are disrespecting Reagan, Obama, Trump, Clinton...basically everyone that has ever served this country in any and every capacity.

So I had to think why am I willing to defend their Right to kneel, but not willing to kneel myself.  My country has been really good to me.  I live in what I view as the greatest Nation in the world and I have seen several other countries.  Some of them are beautiful and majestic.  Some of them have some really neat things about them.  But no country is like mine.  She allows you to disagree peacefully.  She allows freedom of speech unlike any other.  She prevents illegal search and seizures and she promises that these Rights are inalienable.  No other country promises as much as ours does, and that's because no other country has our Constitution.  I stand because my country has loved me as much as I have loved her.

Has my country loved them the same as it has loved me?  Has our country loved everyone as equals?  We are human, and it is human nature to try to be better.  Unfortunately for some, being better means holding others down rather than being better themselves.  We don't want to admit that, because most of us genuinely try to not put other people down.  But it really wasn't the majority that were screaming.  Hell, no one ever paid attention until a bunch of twitters.  The pre-season and first couple weeks went by quietly and it was no big deal.  The whole concept had lost its momentum, and to be honest, I would've been perfectly happy with that.  But right now, with all the bullshit, I had to think about it.  Really think about it.  We want to be a fair country, but we're not.  It's just that simple.  So it shouldn't surprise anyone that some people are going to protest somehow.

So, when this all started, it was about police brutality against anyone, and mainly against black men.  But statistically, it is more black men.  They make up less than 1/3 of the population, but make up the mass majority of people in prisons.  That's not because black people are more likely to commit crime.  Anyone that knows anything about population distribution knows this is an impossiblity.  Then, I end up in this conversation with this old guy who graduated high school in 1965.  Years before I was even born.  He thinks he has the lockdown on "right".  He looks white, but he knows all about racism, even though his parents look white too.  Why?  Because he's part Native.  Did he get treated differently?  No.  He didn't.  That was a fallacy he claimed.  And that's when it hit me.  He's the epitome of why all this is happening.

Why?  If people hadn't thought he was white, then he would've been treated differently.  He's only a little younger than my parents were.  My father looked very Native American.  He and my mother were attacked in Pennsylvania while this guy was in high school.  So he's full of crap.  He looked white enough (assuming he's even telling the truth about being part Native) and therefore he was never treated different.  He knows this both consciously and subconsciously.  But he's blowing smoke anyway.  Then he insulted me multiple times and finally when I got mad, he turned it on me.  That's what the game is.  And anyone that has had a conversation with a jerk like this knows exactly what I'm talking about. That's the real root problem.  He's going to say anything to make sure he gets you and I to agree with him.  He's an old racist jerk and he will say or do anything to make we sure that we agree with him, we concede or he goads us into anger.  When I started laughing at him because it was just too pathetic once he whipped out how he was never actually treated any different, he was pissed.  No shit.  Then he wanted to talk nice again.  Bye bye.

But that old dude is exactly why all of us are arguing over this.  Most of us know there's inequality still in this Nation.  Most of us are younger than his ass and wouldn't normally permit him to disrespect another American.  Even if we did, we would turn around and apologize for his piss poor behavior in embarrassment, and he would stew in his juices that we felt it necessary to apologize for him.  He is mad because his racism is no longer valid.  He's just a mad old white dude.  And, he wants GenX and the Millenials to share his point of view.  That's it in a nutshell, and many of us are buying it hook, line and sinker.

Why do I think this?  Well, here was the priceless part.  He admitted that he swore, both he and I swore to protect the Constitution.  Only it didn't apply to "them".  Who's them?  The people kneeling.  Kaepernick.  What about Jerry Jones?  He joined "them".  He lost all respect for him, because he joined "them".  That's right them.  So in his mind, our Constitution applies to him and anyone that agrees with him, but not "them".  And anyone that defends them, well, he's lost all respect for "them".  Well, okay, then.  I swore an Oath to protect the Constitution for all that are here in the USA.  She is the Law of this Land and she applies to anyone here, even if they are not citizens.  The "them" he was referring to?  They are USA citizens, and unlike him, I know that she applies to "them" as much as she applies to him.  But because he was raised that "them" are not afforded those Rights, he wants the rest of us to join him in putting "them" in their place.  At that moment, I felt ashamed.  I stand because I love my country and she has been really good to me.  He reminded me that there are "them" that love her and she hasn't loved them back because of people like him.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Being the best that we can be....

Earlier this week, I was told by a good friend, sort of like a father figure to me, that I probably needed a stupid man.  I'm way too smart and smart people usually need to be with stupid people according to him.  This struck me as ridiculous.  I used to joke that I can have my "stupid" conversations with my friends, but over the years I've learned that my closest friends tend to be of a higher intelligence level also.  I simply cannot see myself living happily in a day to day existence in the same house with someone that is not able to handle daily interesting conversation.  I mean sure, I like stupid conversations about stupid stuff.  It's just as fun and entertaining as the more intelligent conversations, but to be limited to only that day to day with someone who I'm going to spend half to 2/3 of my time with?  It sounds utterly painful.  Then another friend said it was the "whole personality" thing and that I needed to find someone with a similar personality because I'm such a unique personality.  Well, by that measure I simply should accept that this is not going to happen.  But then a friend of mine that is extremely happy is married to someone who personality wise they are not technically compatible.  That's right.  It struck me that her personality and his, at least by the conventional personalities (Briggs-Myer), are not supposed to be together.  Intellectually, they are on similar ground, although frankly she's a little smarter.  Then I started looking at my friends in "happy" relationships.  They are not personality matches but intellectual matches.  That started me wondering about this whole personality thing again.  

Over the years I've read a lot about personalities, what makes us tick, who we are and why.  I've learned a lot.  I've taken personality tests and I tend to borderline depending on the day I take the test.  I've been identified as a "lion" or "otter" in the basic 5 minute personality test with 4 types (lion, otter, beaver, retriever).  Sure, I always come in more often as "otter" than "lion".  I like to make light of many situations.  In the more complicated Briggs-Myers 16 types, I teeter from ENTP to ENFJ.  Under excessive stress, I will test as an ENTJ, and under little stress, INFP.  Now if you read all of those, you start to get a picture that either I'm a very complex animal or that personality testing might be bullshit.  Is simple testing that we all might fit into 16 boxes accurate?  Yea, I'm leaning towards bullshit.  One company I worked for used a far more complicated personality analysis that divides us into 9 basic types with some of each with leanings in one direction on the "wheel" of types--creating 27 "basic" types with 10 different levels of mental health.  In that particular analysis, I'm the "Enthusiast" with a "Loyalist" leaning which translates into the "Entertainer".  I'm pretty sure most of my friends that really know me will tell you "Entertainer" is me in a nutshell.  Basically, the Enneagram comes the closest in describing me.  I am busy and fun loving.  I am extremely loyal.  The main goal of an Enthusiast is "maintain their freedom and happiness while experiencing new things, keeping themselves busy and occupied and avoiding emotional pain".  So yes, overall, this is far more accurate.  Now this also includes a "mental health" level, and that's where the Enneagram becomes far more accurate.  If I'm honest, I have been at a 5 at times and the best I have been is a 2.  I probably have finally reached a point that I'm a 3 most of the time.  On a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being the most "healthy"), I'll take it.  Now, some of you have already paused and looked up what the hell that last test was.  A couple of those have also read that description of me I have provided.  If you know me, then you've just realized that the Enneagram seems to describe me better than anyone that has attempted to describe me.  Personality testing is evolving and companies are using it more and more.  But is that a good idea?

What I find fascinating is that each of these tests appears to get it "right", but neglects so much that it essentially gets it wrong.  The Enneagram is unique in that it has grades for your mental "health".  But who cares, right?  Suffice to say the majority of people will be in the middle range of the mental health scale in their particular personality--somewhere between 4 to 6.  Now, here's where the bullshit begins.  We may be very "healthy" at work because we understand the expectation level, while we are secretly falling apart in our personal life.  The testing does tell us a lot about how I think consciously, because all my answers are based on my conscious answers.  Subconsciously we are more than what we think of ourselves consciously.  There's no test for the subconscious, and it's the subconscious mind that is in true control.  

For example, how many times do you listen to the radio while driving?  Even sing a long?  Try this sometime this week.  When you get to work, wait an half an hour.  Try to remember the songs you sang on your way to work.  Can you?  One maybe?  The conscious mind has no recollection.  You were busy singing, but you can't remember what.  Now try to remember all the cars that were in front of you.  Even if it was just one car, and you intentionally made a mental note of which car, you will likely not remember.  You might remember the car color, or that it was a small sedan.  You might remember the brand.  Odds are good that you don't.  Yet, they've proven that under hypnosis, you will even remember the license plate of the car if you noticed it at least once while driving.  Sure, someone with a perfect photographic memory will be able to recall the car, the license plate, even the distance between the other car, but when you ask them to name the songs?  No, they will have as hard a time as the rest of us.  Yet again under hypnosis, you'll be able to tell all the car details, the plate and every song--in order.  Interesting?  Maybe a little scary.  It's not that we only use less than 10% of our minds.  It's that we only use 10% consciously.

So, now who cares?  Well, all this discussion, and we've only talked about 10% of who any of us are.  That's it.  But is it?   We are not just a personality and the differences between them.  Briggs-Myers for decades tried to tell us what personalities would work better with other personalities.  Who we should marry, who we should work with, what we should work at, what we are better at.  But our personalities don't tell you that.  Our intellect tells you that.  Are some personalities more likely to be engineers versus finance?  No, the incorrect testing did that.  We became convinced that certain people were more capable, less capable, more desirable, less desirable.  In fact, with the more simple tests like Briggs-Myers, we have encouraged people into certain positions.  For example, it was considered at initial launch of these personality analyses that women were more likely to be the more docile, more "pleasing" personalities.  Was that true?  Or was it a sign of the times and women being inflicted with having to fit into certain boxes and certain norms?  The conscious mind was answering the questions.  The conscious mind is able to pretend to be what it feels it needs to be.  If you look at current testing of women, more and more are actually moving into what Briggs and Myers used to define as a "less desirable" personality types.  Maybe the percentages are even wrong because some people feel like they have to be something else.  Grams used to say eventually someone's "true colors" come out.  What if there was nothing wrong with the color spectrum and we were using things like personality tests to subvert the colorful personalities of the world?  

Now, here's the kicker.  I know Briggs-Myer used to tell us what personalities we are more compatible with.  I don't remember reading that in my book on the Enneagram personalities, so I double checked.  Briggs-Myers does actually try to tell us who we will work with best in relationships, at work, blah, blah, blah.  But isn't that a nice negative box for us all to live in?  What if we have simply been forcing ourselves to believe that we are only suited for certain types, certain people and should only be around certain types and people because these tests lead us down that path?  On the other hand, the Enneagram makes no such claim.  It, in fact, states that depending upon the goals (as far a company's goals) that it is better to have a more diverse team.  It focuses on the mental health more so than the actually personalities at that point.  For obvious reasons, the less mentally healthy, the less capable of working with others regardless of personality would be less desirable.  Sure, an Entertainer is probably desirable to take the edge off terse situations, but what happens if it is the Entertainer in the situation?  How do they handle it?  This comes into the mental level, not the personality.  The Enneagram also doesn't suggest perfect or even good matches for personal relationships.  It's taken this out of the equation.  This is probably more accurate.  Think about it.  How many times do you meet a couple that is perfectly happy and personality wise they don't seem to match?   It's not what makes a good couple or a good team.  In fact, a more diverse team makes a better team....

Intellectual capability is going to define what someone can or cannot achieve, but even then, there are societal norms that eat us alive.  Some of these can be blamed on the personality testing methods and concepts of the past, but not all.  One of my really good friends is a high school drop-out.  Yes, you read that right.  I met her while I was in college after getting out of the military.  A friend at the time pointed out that she was "poor white trash" and suggested that I write her off.  "Don't waste" my time, my friend told me.  That was almost 20 years ago.  She's probably an Investigator or ISFP if we were to type her.  Regardless of personality, she's actually one of the more intellectual people I know.  She reads quite a bit.  She's very detail oriented and notices things that other people miss.  Coming from a family of teachers, I know all she ever really needed was a teacher to take a genuine interest and encourage her intellectual ability.  None of which was defined by her personality.  She didn't achieve, not because of her personality type and not because of lack of intellect.  She simply didn't achieve because she was put in a box.  The box was societal, but I believe that societal boxes have been furthered by old mindsets on personality and intellect also.  She couldn't be that smart because she was born "white trash" and therefore the teachers didn't bother with her. The other day she told me she was reading law books, family law specifically, because of something in her personal life.  I listened as she explained some of the things that she had learned.  While others might be dumbfounded that a high school dropout had this ability, I'll remind you that one of our greatest Presidents, Lincoln, was a self educated lawyer.  No formal schooling whatsoever.  Since my friend was both white trash and an unusual personality in the deep south in the 1970s, they simply wrote her off.  To shame, too shame.

But to what point then do we use personality testing?  Well, for one, companies are using these.  Ideally, hopefully the ones using them are realizing that it's so they can create a more diverse environment where teams can bring more ideas to the table and to fruition, rather than the limiting idea that you need everyone of like mind to succeed.  In a relationship, it's probably more bullshit than anything.  Nice to know how the personality will respond, but this is going to vary and each personality in the relationships is going to have to learn to deal with the other even if they are pretty similar.  No people are ever going to be exactly the same.  As far as mental health level, well, that is really up to the person and what is going on in their lives at that time.  So, it's probably basically useless overall for anyone anymore.  Boxes upon boxes.  

However, there is some use for us as individuals, and it might be nice to know since more and more companies are focusing on it.  The Enneagram's RHETI test is going to tell you what personality you are.  But it's going to tell you even more.  It's going to provide an opportunity for you to get to know you.   Consciously, you're going to answer questions and it's going to box who you are into one of 27 places.  But it's going to tell you about your mental health and how to improve it.  Here's a unique opportunity.  While maybe our outer personalities are the 10% of the test, there are some correlations between it and our subconscious.  It's the mental health portion.  Those 10 levels they really can't test.  That's where you have to be more self conscious and more aware.  These tests used to be extremely expensive, but you can now take the RHETI yourself for $12 USD.  (https://tests.enneagraminstitute.com/test/1/code

No, I don't normally endorse a lot of things, but if you've read this far, maybe you want to get to know you.  I mean sure you know you.  I know me.  But there are some things that you get better when someone points it out to you.  (Don't shake your head.  We all know that it's always easier to see something from the outside looking in, even if we have to take the glass (filters) that someone is looking in with into account.)  But these tests online have no filters.  They don't know you, so the basics of who you are, well, that's going to be you, at least the conscious you.  I'm not sure that it helps you deal with other people by knowing either.  But the insight might help you be a better you.  I'm not convinced that most people want to be a better themselves anymore.  But if you are, here's a helping hand, and isn't that what any personality, intellect or capability test is really about?  Not comparing ourselves to others, but giving us a little insight into ourselves so that we can be the best that we can be?  

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Reservations?

So, apparently I'm menopausal.  Oh, wait, no, no, I'm perimenopausal, because menopausal isn't enough of a mouth full.  That's when you are what people used to call menopausal except it's before your period has stopped and an additional 12 months haven't passed after your last unwanted visitor comes to visit.  Sounds like BS to me, but I'm not a doctor so...  But I am a geek, so I kind of want to know what is going on with me.  Last year my monthly visitor skipped my house for 3 months, which either meant I was menopausal, I mean perimenopausal, or pregnant.  Gotta get laid to be prego and I had those annoying little tubes cut, tied, burned and threatened to kill my doctor if I ever got pregnant.  He took an inch out on each side for good measure.  So, yea, focus, peri-whatever.  There's like less information on this than erectile dysfunction.  Apparently, it's way cooler to talk about a man not getting a hard on than me not laying an egg.  

First of all, no one seems to agree on anything.  The majority of the work, conducted by males (seriously, just can't make that up), shows that women lose estrogen.  This has to be bullshit.  First of all, I know PMS and I know when mine flares up.  Loss of estrogen my butt.  An idiot cut me off the other day, and I swear I was more irritated than a pregnant woman who is craving chocolate, pickles and peanut butter isolated from any version of food, who has cold feet and sweaty boobs.  Seriously, I thought I was going to sprout wings, and be able to pick up the guy's car like a hawk picking up a mouse.  Preferably a super pissed off hawk that really doesn't need to eat, just wants to pick up the mouse and watch it bounce off the ground, again and again and again....and again.....Since I had medical tests at one point to help diagnose hormonal issues, I also have a good feel for when my hormonal levels are off in general.  Of course, most women that have above average intelligence can tell you when they are PMS'ing.  We're not usually going to tell you, particularly if you are a man, well, because men set a strong precedence hundreds of years ago that we are supposed to keep that kind of stuff to ourselves.  Basically men only have other men to blame for being completely clueless on how women work.  On the other hand, we women pretty much have men to blame for us not knowing more too.  Estrogen lower my butt.

So, I reviewed some data.  We actually have higher spikes in estrogen than a teenage girl.  That's right.  Pregnant women and teenage girls have nothing on some women going through peri-whatever.  The problem with the data appears to be that there is so much variation from woman to woman that there's simply no way to really "know".  But guess what?  None of the data seems to divide us up in any logical way other than age and they think we are peri-whatever.  I'm sure that some of this variation is based on race, and probably more so actual regional historical factors.  I know several friends that have a strong Anglo-Saxon background complain more than my Native or African descent friends.  Of course, I'm only gauging this on my friends who are all American women, so totally unscientific and completely arbitrary bullshit.  Pretty much my assessment of every study I wasted my time to review.  So what do I know now that I didn't know before that?  Nothing.  Seriously.  I know the couple of symptoms that I actually have are "normal", but that's about it.  I mean I have had a couple of migranes.  Whoopie.  I haven't had hot flashes.  I haven't had any more sweating than normal.  And the weird stuff with the monthly bozo which varies so much that pretty much short of a mouse crawling out of there, all of us women can mark ourselves as "good".  Like I said we know more about sperm swimming than their counterpart eggs.  The only thing that we absolutely know is that when the eggs run out, that monthly buddy stops visiting too.  YAY!!  

But why do we have enough eggs to make it into our 50s anyway?  I mean seriously.  We all know that if you don't have kids before 35 it's not recommended physically to have one, and after 40 is high risk even if you've already had a healthy pregnancy to full term.  Just an hundred years ago the life expectancy for a man was 47 and 53 for a woman.  I mean I understand why men come with an unlimited supply of swimmers.  The swimmers are pretty much like men.  Some of them are really athletic great swimmers and some of them are lazy swimmers just hoping the tide will carry them in there.  If swimmers are anything like the people spitting them out, then there's a huge variation in swimming capability.  The more there are, the better chance we survive as a species.  However, the whole egg thing?  Really?  I don't see the point in having a 45 year supply--25 years would be more than sufficient.  God must've really had no faith in those swimmers.  That's a better explanation than anything I could find from the scientific community. 

Well, so peripausal, I mean perimenopausal, a friggin mouth full--seriously erectile dysfunction gets called ED.  Can we call this PMP?  Anyway, it simply means that we are finally running out of eggs.  It's kind of exciting to think that bozo won't visit anymore, except no one can tell me how long it takes to run out of eggs.  Oh, sure, they can tell me I'm PMP.  Yes, I don't care what the doctors want to call it.  If we can shorten hard on issues to ED we can shorten that mouth full to PMP.  They can tell me I'm peri-whatever, but they can't tell me how long it will last, whether I will develop all or any of the crazy symptoms some women experience, and the best that they can tell me is that I'm not actually menopausal, MP--yes, MP, shut up, until I have been 12 months bozo free. Which sounds like my mother saying "because I said so".  You're not menopausal until after 12 months bozo free.  Why?  Because I said so; now go clean your room.

Admittedly, I've noticed some changes.  None of which have been bad, excepting that sometimes I feel like I want to be the Hulk and beat the ever living daylights out of Loki while a crowd in the theater laughs hysterically.   Oh right, that's an Avengers movie.  Yea, still feel like that sometimes.  I've also noticed I'm happier.  Seriously,  I mean, think about it ladies, who isn't happy that they are going to save $20 a month on product that all you do is literally flush it down a toilet.  Let alone not having to worry about ruining my favorite pants or being caught in the middle of something and having to run to the restroom in hopes of beating bozo to the punchline.  All kinds of positives if bozo fails to visit anymore.  

Someone said the sex drive ends or reduces or something.  I looked this up too.  They can't even tell us what is a "normal" sex drive for men, let alone for women.  Let alone what happens to our drives as we get older, or peri-whatever.  So how do you know if it is less or not?  I suppose this would be all relative.  I'm relatively sure that any reduction for whoever would be "normal" if they could define what is "normal" in the first place.  I mean if your drive is like a Ferrari, then if all the sudden you're a VW bug, that would definitely be a "reduction".  But if you're a Ferrari and now you're a BMW 500 series, in spite of the more recent bad reviews, you're not a Ford Fiesta, so who cares?  Of course, at least the Fiesta gets good gas mileage.  The older we get the wiser too.  Perhaps we are a little more particular and a lot more motivated.  Might not be how fast you get there, just that you get there.  

Regardless, for something that women have been going through for literally centuries, oh, shit, that's right.  No, we haven't.  The average life span wasn't old enough for most women to have experienced PMP, let alone menopause until the last 50 years.  So, I suppose we should know more, but there's not a lot of data to know a lot and most of the data is only based on our ages.  I guess I'd be disappointed, except I'm still looking forward to never seeing bozo again.  Seriously.  Happy dance.  I just wish they would tell me based on some real data how many more reservations bozo has made....


Saturday, September 2, 2017

Subconscious my ass...oh wait...

Reading is a big hobby of mine.  Not so much because I like to read.  Reading can be pretty boring depending upon what you are reading.  However, I love to learn something new, and reading affords me every opportunity.  So, it will come to little surprise that I started reading a book by an extremely educated guy, more degrees in more complicated stuff than worth boring you with, about the subconscious mind.  I'm reading most of it, about a 1/4 way through now, and thinking "no shit".  Really?  No shit.  Uh huh.  No shit.  Then it hits me.  Shit.  

So dude is going through scent, music, colors help us choose things we like on a subliminal level.  He goes through color on boxes helping us decide a better cleaner, even when the cleaner in every box we've been given is the same.  He talks about scent making women prefer some pantyhose over others--again, all the same pantyhose.  Even introduces a study conducted in England where if French music was playing 77% of all wine sales that day were French wine.  So what?  If it was German music, 72% of the sales were German wine.   I could see it.  A study I read a few years back took people, several samples.  Dressed them in entirely black, height and size were the same for the male to male in the study and likewise for the women.  They added numbers--1 to 10 on each of the male and females (total 20).  None of the participants knew their number.  Each group of 20 eventually divided 1 to 1 through to 10 to 10.  That's right.  Somehow, even without having a clue what they looked like, 1 ended up with 1. 2 with 2.  3 with 3. All the way to 10 to 10.  Subliminally, they had chosen their "mate" by conversations with each other.  

Okay, admittedly, I'm the odd swan.  He points out the Pepsi taste challenge.  Yes, Pepsi is sweeter and therefore in reality most people should choose it over Coca-Cola.  In blind taste studies, Pepsi consistently wins.  But Coke wins over and over when people know which one is which.  I am that odd one out that always picks Coke.  I don't like overly sweet.  I prefer the taste of Coke.  I actually like the Pepsi can more, but still prefer Coke.  So, I am that weird person that typically tries to consciously override my subconscious.  I like to know.  But I also have over the years noticed that certain people act a certain way based on their names.  I don't remember who pointed it out, but I was young and still in the military.  A friend said, "oh she acts like a 'Jennifer'."  The chick's name was Jennifer.  He had guessed her name, never met her, and that was his response.  Over the years, I have noticed that some names---the less common names--this is absolutely true.  However, I also noticed that the more common the name the less applicable.  Then I watched.  People do tend to treat certain names a certain way.  It's hard to predict who a John is since it's such a common name, but pick someone with a name like mine.  A girl that goes by Alex or Elizabeth instead of Beth, Liz or another more common derivative.  We get treated the way people perceive the name.  More often than not, I have observed that the less common the name, the more likely they are to fall into the name "stereotype".  Funny, right?  Which might be why I have so many nicknames.  Most people have a hard time categorizing me.  So I'm Alex, Ally, Alexis, Alexa, Alexandra, Andra, Andrea....I have always joked that I had more nicknames than anyone on the planet.  People have literally "re" nicknamed me to suit their version of me.  "It fits better," a friend once told me when she re-dubbed me.  I have heard that explanation at least half a dozen times.  The name they got from me didn't fit their stereotype of who they perceive me to be.  Okay.  How's this book sounding like an epiphany for me suddenly?  Sounds like I get it pretty well.

The book, yes, I get it.  But it opened a door.  We all have a subconscious that is constantly working, no matter how aware.  I used to go to bed while studying engineering.  My study team couldn't figure something out.  At 2 in the morning, on a regular basis, I would wake up, write the whole solution, call my team members leaving messages that I got it, and go back to sleep.  No one understands that the subconscious is still ticking more than me.  My team referred to it as my "epiphanies".   And often, we actually counted on them.  So, it wouldn't be any surprise to anyone, that having this knowledge, I have always "never" dated the same type of guy twice.  Nope, consciously, never.  No one I've ever dated from a conscious level is the same guy.  I knew this would be repeating the same mistake over and over, right?

Then I'm reading this stupid book.  Ummm....no, they are not consciously the same.  Hell,  none of them are even similar.   Then bam.  Yes, technically there are some similarities amongst my favorites, and oh shit.  That's got to be subconsciously.  Really?  I know some of my friends are like, BS.  No one makes a more concerted effort to not date the same type of guy twice.  For real.  That is me.  But, I do.  The book points out the superficial stuff like looks.  I like blue eyes, Yea, but not everyone I've dated has blue eyes.  It is a significantly higher number, but I consciously am aware that I have a preference because of my Granddaddy and make the effort to not let this affect my decisions.  Oh no, I know, and anyone that has been close to me knows, blue eyes are a big draw.  But I have dated, and even been quite serious over someone without blue eyes.  Again, it's the conscious effort that some of us never take, right?  Yet, all of the sudden reading this book I realized, that the majority of the men I have dated have a seriously strong German background--German or Anglo-Saxon last or first name.  Yup.  An unusually high number.  And, while I like to pretend it doesn't affect me, I even consciously am aware that a man over 6 feet, particularly from 6' to 6'5" is more likely to draw my attention.  I like tall, because well, my grandfather was 6'5" and yes, he probably had shrunk over the years, but he had blue eyes, tall and a deep voice.  I go completely brain dead "consciously" when all three of these meet.   But, yea, who cares if the man turns out to be dumb as a box of rocks?  Me.  I will write off a stupid man so fast it will make a head spin.  So sounds like my conscious choices are awesome, right?

Well, no.  Germanic name.  A large majority as I've already stated have a Germanic first or last name. (Anglo-Saxons are Germanic.)  Yea, but that's a name and no, I haven't actually ever dated anyone with the same last name and even for the most part never dated many with same first.  Yet, all the sudden, I realized that an unnatural selection have deep voices, Germanic or Anglo-Saxon names, tall larger builds, blue eyes, and yes, some of my grandfather's traits.  Ummm....in fact, at least 2 out of 3 if not 6 out of 7.  Add a degree, a little bit controlling (minor to huge), and certain personality traits, and yes, this girl is looking for her grandfather.  Damn it.  Damn it.  Damn it.  In fact, the closer a match to my precious Granddaddy the more likely I am to be attracted.  I'm not going into all of my grandfather's traits--it would be like laying out a roadmap--but cripes.  I thought I was very conscious.  At least over stuff like this.  I have whittled out the extremely controlling.  I have whittled out the cheaters (or I like to think).  My Granddaddy wasn't a "cheater" per se, but in his generation, they almost all were compared to our current expectations.  I've whittled out the men who wouldn't defend me like my grandfather defended my grandmother.  But, for all my conscious decisions, I've still been looking for my version, subconsciously, of ideal.  And no one, no matter what bad or good my grandfather was in reality, the ideal that was placed there at a very young age is still the guiding mechanism to my choices in men today.  

In fact, this is so strong that I still expect the proper courting niceties.  I actually refused a date, literally turned around and walked back into my house, letting my oldest son tell the guy I wasn't going on the date, because the guy didn't open my door to his truck for me.  I mean, I have overlooked it later in a relationship, but subconsciously, I'm insulted.  I don't want to open my own door.  It's not about me being an independent woman; it's about being shown the proper respect you show a lady.  Oh sure, I can cuss like a sailor; I'm a sailor afterall.  But I expect to be treated with the correct nuances for the situation.  I went out on several dates with one guy, who has some control issues that are neither annoying nor more than I could handle, but if that were all I would probably have just dropped him completely.  Except he stood up when I left for the restroom and he stood when I came back.  I expect this.  Subconsciously, I was so impressed that I overlooked that he's a bit overbearing in some ways.  It's like a trade-off going on in my subconscious.  Some fellas have all the preferred things without having the subconscious things that I expect.  They get dropped like hot potatoes.  In fact, there's little doubt in my mind that I have allowed my conscious mind to make choices that the two parts of my mind have little recompense that will never work for both.  The selection has to work for both.  The conscious makes up its mind simply to avoid continuing to try and admit that what the pair are looking for may not exist.  

Granted I have often joked that I have chosen people on purpose of not getting any further involved and I have made a concerted effort to not do so anymore.  Holy crap.  So, in reality, my subconscious assessments have been set loose, and it's actually a higher, much higher bar.  Now what?  Is anyone like my grandfather, crossed with certain parts of my father, and all the idealism that I had in my mind that both of them were back then?  Add in a little of my favorite uncles--the parts that I adored about them.  Uh, that's what my subconscious has been looking for, I think.  I mean it is a subconscious for a reason, but yea, maybe that's what is right and wrong with me at the same time.

Subconsciously, I have known the best decisions for me, but overrode them for various reasons over the years.  The subconscious thoughts have always proved more right.  What I have consciously wanted has never been as right as what I have subconsciously wanted that eventually brewed over into the conscious.  Is this book right?  Of course it is.  We are the sum of the pair, and the subconscious is the more powerful of the two.  Now consider this.  Many of us, albeit not a majority by any means, are more conscious of our decisions than others.  An intellect thing perhaps?  But, those of us that are truly more aware even realize that we are all a majority of subconscious thought.  I certainly do.  So what does that mean when talking to those that are barely any truly conscious thought?  What if they are so lacking intellect and depth that they are completely guided by little more than subconscious?  It would mean that there was no conscious decisions at all.  Nothing would be deliberate other than the basic needs of self absorption and self preservation.  The most basic and base of who we are as human beings.  Little more than animals.  While I get that my choices in a man are totally guided, almost entirely by certain factors that I have had instilled in me at a much younger age, I still have the conscious mind to assert what is right and wrong. 

The book while interesting implies we are more subconscious than any of us want to admit.  True, indisputable.  But, it is those conscious decisions that we make that divide us from actually being animals.  I'd say it was just intellect that makes that difference, but it's not all nature.  My Grams. Granddaddy, father, mother, all nutured me to be more thoughtful, more deliberate, more conscious of who I am, what I think and do, and be aware.  Did I not already know that my subconscious guides way more than I would like?  Yes.  Is it a bad thing?  An aunt once told me that "gut" decisions were wrong.  Yes, for those driven by self absorption, of course.  Their "gut" is driven by insecurities, self doubt, and false views of the world.  My "gut" doesn't get ignored, but it also doesn't get "carte blanche" either.  Perhaps that is the difference.  Problem is that those that are not using much of the conscious would never recognize the difference.  They perceive who they are as conscious and all their subconscious decisions as conscious also.  According to the wine study, only 1 in 7 noticed the music might have affected their choice.  Not a crying call of consciousness over subconsciousness, and perhaps a sign that we still have a long way to go as a species.  

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Life lessons...

This morning I was actually going to write a blog entitled "life lessons" because a good friend had posted that her and her husband had a couple that they thought were friends who stole from them.  I was told several years back to pay attention to who someone is for at least 6 months before you make up your mind.  Not because any of us are dishonest.  In my humble opinion based on years of experience, most people are basically decent.  But, those that aren't honest, it's pretty much a good piece of advice.  Those that are worthless pieces of crap will slip up in 6 months.  You just still have to be watching for it.  Those "types" of people who are dishonest, less than honorable, that will be ugly or take advantage or try to mistreat you or use you, well, they usually can fool you into trusting them after a couple of months.  What you find out is they are telling you constantly what they don't like about others, well, manipulation is the quickest way to identify them.  They just can't help themselves, but they won't start that until they think you "trust" them.  They usually use their inputs and your responses to "know" whether they can start pushing the envelope with you.  I'm not even sure that they know they are doing it.  Do they?  I cut these types out pretty quick, but the ones I've missed are all the same.  When they get caught, it was your fault. 

So, one of my sons tells me in passing when we are talking about something else that my exes' wives are spying on me regularly.  They "met" on FB while stalking me and mine.  I'm like kind of set off.  You're kidding, right?  Nope.  The one who literally was screwing my husband while I was pregnant 22 years ago still stalks me.  I asked how he would know this.  She said so.  Right in front of him.  She is so crazy she talks crap about my ex's sisters, me, pretty much anyone.  But I get his sisters.  They live near by them.  Me?  Why me?  He told me that it really didn't matter.  She's had 7 abortions and other crap and she's just jealous.  Wow.  Jealous after 22 years?  Let that settle in.  I consider her a blip.  Seriously.  My ex cheated on his pregnant wife (me) who he supposedly loved with all his heart.  I just wasn't raised that way.  She, whether she meant to or not, set me free.  I gave my ex a couple of chances to fix it, and a lot of people thought he had lost his mind.  But it was what it was and I walked away.  For over 10 years, every year for my birthday, I was served court paperwork.  Seriously.  You just can't make this stuff up.  After 10 years, the judge took notice and he told my ex he never wanted to see him again.  He told him I was entitled to a lot more in child support, even encouraged me to file.  I told the judge if I could just have peace and quiet it would be worth money I never saw.  So the money that was ordered when our youngest son was just a couple months old in 1996 was the same money he paid for the duration of 17.5 years.  I wanted quiet and that day I finally got it for the most part. 

In fact, those that know me well, and as of a couple years ago, my ex also knows, that I have never done an ugly or manipulative thing in my life.  I just wanted peace.  They were so much drama all the time that I didn't want a relationship.  Seriously.  I got asked why I was single all the time.  That was really it.  I wanted to come home and relax, and I was raising 3 boys that needed me.  I put them first and tried to keep the drama to a minimum.  A couple years ago, he was yelling at me about being a manipulative bitch.  So I told him just once.  I had manipulated him once and it was the meanest thing I had ever done in my life.  I told him he would remember  as soon as I told him.  I had laid it on thick when he and this woman had broke up.  I knew they had finally broken up, but he was yelling and carrying on.  So I told him, "oh yes, I wish I had found my soulmate like (he) did."  I laid it on so thick the icing on the cake was thick enough to be a double layer cake all on its own.  I punchlined telling him this with the fact he married her a few months later.  He hung up on me.  We have had no contact since.  It has been so quiet and peaceful....

Until my son told me that his wife is still stalking me after all this time.  I mean it doesn't really affect me.  How pathetic and sad is this poor woman to still be stalking me after all these years?  Admittedly, at first, I was a little pissed.  Then I thought about that last conversation I had with my ex.  I laughed after he hung up on me.  In fact, I've laughed every time I've told the story about him marrying this woman after that "mean girl" thing I did.  Today, knowing that this poor guy is really stuck with someone that's crazy obsessive like a high school girl on crack, well, I actually didn't laugh when I thought about the story.  As I started to write the blog, I realized I felt sympathy.  For him, in the sense that he really didn't want a crazy marriage, but he made it come true.  We were young, but neither of us were crazy.  But here's the kicker; I even feel sorry for her.  Again, she did it to herself, but no one obsesses over another woman like she has obsessed over me for years unless two things are true.  One, she's nuttier than a PayDay candy bar, and two, in her mind, my ex still must love the heck out of me.  I can't imagine being with someone that didn't love me.  I'd rather be alone.  But I suppose that doesn't actually matter to a crazy person.  

To my friends that know me well, they know this epiphany is huge.  I have always been amused by what I did.  I mean, even when I have admitted it was an ugly thing to do.  But it's the only mean thing I ever did to my ex.  That's it.  I don't feel bad though.  He was and is a grown adult.  He could've stepped back and figured out what was what.  He chose to be in this crazy, drama zone that just never seemed to stop.  I chose to get myself out of it, even if it meant he paid $906 a month instead of $1600-1700 a month.  That's how desperate I was to keep the craziness out of my life.  That was what the judge told us and our lawyers that last court date...The next 8 years were silent until he actually quit paying his child support while our kid was a senior in high school.  Whole senior year.  Priceless.  All I had to do was file, but I seriously realized that it was going to be a fight and I just didn't want to bother.  I'm still amazed at how callous he was about taking care of our sons, but then consider this crazy woman is still stalking me when our boys are full grown men.  I guess he really loved me at some point.  I never really doubted it.  Now, I don't know who to feel more sorry for.  Her, for marrying a man who didn't love her.  Or him, marrying someone he didn't love just to prove he hadn't made a mistake.  

Thing is that now that I wrote all this, we come to the real question, right?  What did I feel?  What do I feel?  No different than I did yesterday except....  I am not laughing at "tricking" him into marrying her anymore.  I feel bad for him.  Everyone else could see what he was getting into but him.  I did it in hopes that the harassment would stop.  It took several more years before it would in that courtroom.  Sure, she is still stalking me via social media, but apparently my ex has given up participating.  There were plenty of different ways this could've played itself out.  I guess I was due feeling a little bad about icing that cake so much.  But, truth is after writing all this, I feel good.  I do.  I am not in a miserable marriage.  I'm not a manipulative, scheming, obsessed woman.  I'm not married to a manipulative, scheming, obsessed or other version of crazy person.  That 6 month rule might have saved him.  All the life lessons I needed to learn about marriage as an adult, I learned from watching my ex.  Poor guy.  I wouldn't wish it on anyone...anymore...and for that I'm actually grateful that he was ever part of my life.  

Friday, August 25, 2017

Go entertain yourself...

Some of you will remember this blog started as a dating blog.  It's not that anymore.  It's random thoughts of my own on either current subjects or about myself that sometimes has good advice in it.  Sometimes it's hilarious; sometimes it's somber.  Well, this should be a golden nugget for my readers.  It's about a date, about me, and there's probably some underlying advice, while hopefully making you laugh your ass off.  So I had a date last night.

My date started with him asking if I knew where the place we were meeting was at.   It's a restaurant and bar in the town I live in.  That seemed pretty silly.  Even if I didn't, there's this really cool thing called Google Maps where I can find out and get directions.  So I get there.  He looks like his pictures for the most part.  He's a little shorter and a lot scrawnier.  Okay, admittedly I like buff.  But he's supposedly an engineer too, so yea, if you've ever watched Big Bang Theory, the male version of engineer isn't always buff--usually not.  So eventually we come to the point in the conversation where we discuss who we are.  I'm a quality engineer, mechanical, who started in processing and stamping lead and now I'm working with steel stamping.  All pretty mundane at this point.  What kind of engineer is he?  He asks me if I have heard of AutoCAD.  Uh.  What the hell?  I am a degreed mechanical engineer.  The sarcastic side of me came close to mustering the valley girl in me "oh yes, and Catia and Pro-E toooooo".  No, I didn't.  He's a structural engineer.  Really?  So was my Dad.  That's the end of that conversation from his point.  So where was he working now.  Oh he's not, but he gives me some song and dance about checking other people's work from home.  So, at best he's an unemployed, associates degree in CAD.  Again, dude was being so vague, the red flags were flying everywhere.  Even for friends that were sitting on the other side of the bar from us.  One asked if I needed help when he went to the bathroom or to have a cigarette.  I probably would...

He comes back and we're done talking about work.  Now, on to the kids.  Here he does have some specifics.  He has a daughter who just took the bar in Georgia, and unlike his vagueness about himself, he knows where she went to college, where she works and that she gets her bar results in October, if he remembers correctly.  At this point, I tell him about my boys.  Of course, I'm a doting mom.  I brag about the 3 of them.  My youngest at Michigan.  My middle coming home to go to Clemson after working the pipelines for a stint.  (Oh he did that too--again, when asked he was vague.  Wouldn't say where or when.)  Next, my oldest, who's living with me.  I would've bragged on the dog next.  He's one of my boys too, but this guy goes into a whole lecture telling me that my boys wouldn't want to live with me.  And that normal boys wouldn't want me in their business.  And, how they don't need their mother.  And, and, and.  Now this was the most talking he had done.  Hard to do any talking when you're being so damn vague.  Thing is I haven't really told him much about me.  I haven't told him much about my boys.  Just the typical mom bragging stuff.  He knows more about my relationship with my boys than I do.  According to him, I'm not friends with my boys and he makes me sound like some clingy Southern mother who follows my boys around asking about their sex lives.  Uh.....seriously, you just can't make this shit up....

Okay, his next choice of subject is motorcycles.  Did I ride mine?  I'm in sandals birdbrain.  What do you think?  No, I didn't say that either.  I told him no that I had run some errands and hadn't had the time to get changed to ride.  What kind of bike?  '09 Fatboy.  He has the same bike he bought new in 1998.  Softail custom.  Okay, I saw this bike when I came in.  There were only 3 bikes outside.  It was a wide glide, but who am I to tell him the difference?  No, didn't say a word.  Besides, I don't know.  He might have changed out the forks.  We talk about bikes.  He doesn't like the new Harleys.  Apparently not, I thought.  Then we talk about choppers briefly.  Okay, things seem to be on an uptick.  Talk about Bourgets.  He doesn't like them...He doesn't really seem to like much.  Whip out my brother in law's 1973 Bowling Ball...aka. AMF Harley Davidson Shovelhead Heritage.  This bike impresses everyone.  Not this guy.  Nope, not one bit.  WTF???  A Harley dude who isn't impressed by a shovel??  Where the hell did this bozo crawl out of?

Oh no, this date isn't over yet.  Sure, this girl should've cut it short at that point, but it's only been 45 minutes.  He changes the subject from the shovel to tires.  Oh yes boys and girls, let's talk tires.  Ah, yes, so that he could introduce that he has a 2016 Mustang.  This girl is a HEMI girl, but I suppose a Mustang is impressive too.  GT?  No, Shelby.  Uh, dude, a Shelby is a GT...nevermind.  So far, he's pretty much bullshit and when he said shelby he said it under his breath that I had to ask twice to even understand what the hell he was saying.  It came with Pirellis.  P-Zeros?  I asked...He didn't know.  What kind of engineer doesn't even know what tires are on his sports car?

So, I go on about having the Pirellis on my car, because I have Pirellis on my bike.  I explained the different tires that I've ridden on my bike--the HD Dunlops, Avons and the Night Dragons by Pirelli.  Even rode a friend's bike that had the Metzler.  I go into the different grip of the 4 brands on the Fatboy...Okay, admittedly I'm a true geeky engineer.  But this dude is about as gearhead engineer as I am a brain surgeon.  He tells me he's always run the Dunlops.  Nothing else.  In fact, I have no idea what I'm talking about because rubber compound has nothing to do with tire grip.  It's only about the tread.  Bwahahahaha.....Nope, if you know anything about tires, then you know this moron knows nothing.  Oh, yes, and I still said nothing.

Finally, he begins the next question asking if I'm Italian.   No, why?  Because I get way too "fired up", and apparently this is a common issue with Italian women.  At first, I try to explain that I get nervous and I'm a pretty passionate person.  SMH at myself.  This bozo isn't worth me trying to explain.  Next, he starts patting my shoulder like I'm a dog and telling me to calm down.  This is like baptizing a cat asshole.  I'm ready to knock him off the bar stool.  He's explaining how women like me don't need to get so upset.  In my mind I'm thinking, let me get this straight, he has lied about everything about himself, completely misrepresented himself, and I've tried to be entertaining anyway????  He was even patting my leg.  I think he thought this was going really well.  I turned on him and told him who I actually am.  I don't really care.  I get "fired up" because I enjoy conversations.  I haven't even gotten fired up as far as what he's talking about.  And, y'all be proud, this was the cold, drop down the voice because I'm ready to deck him, me, not the giddy "ooo fun intellectual" fired up conversation me.  This bozo still thought I was walking out with him....

Let me tell every one of you, I don't care who you are.  The one thing I hate is someone who obviously hasn't got a clue who I am telling me who I am.  Shut up.  Oh, and I don't have to get fired up.  I'm a woman!!   Of course I do, just like almost every single one of us can.  And he's lucky I didn't cuss him out and was still a lady in spite of him patting me like a damn dog.  Do I look like a damn labrador retriever to you????  Hell, I don't like people that don't know me that well touching me, let alone this clown who was obviously misrepresenting who he is.  Liars are always vague that way they don't commit to something that you can verify and figure out that they are liars.  Honest people give you details without even noticing they are doing it.  He did give me some details.  He lived in Atlanta for over 20 years--makes that pipeline thing unlikely, except that is one of the few things that I think he was actually being honest about.  He didn't tell me where he graduated from.  Hell, everyone I know that has a bachelors brags about where--even when it isn't really a school anyone knows.  It's a proud moment for those of us that have worked hard to earn our degrees, even if it's in basket weaving.  We are still proud.  We made friends, and the memories are forever.

I had a good night the rest of the night.  I went and sat with the friends at the end of the bar.  It was fun, and I got to laugh about how full of bullshit this guy was.  Oh yes, we were definitely laughing at him, not with him.  Lesson?  Same I've said for years.  Don't bottle up who you are to make other people happy.  I bottled up that I knew that he was a lying moron.  Perhaps, that was what he perceived as "fired up".  But really, I think I was just nervous initially, and when he realized I was smarter, way smarter than he is, he opted to insult me.  I am who I am, and if you don't like it, you don't have to.  I'm not here for your entertainment.  Go entertain yourself.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

"We failed, but in the good Providence of God apparent failure often proves blessing."

Admittedly, I'm pretty upset about Nazis in Virginia.  I'm pretty upset they are anywhere in this country.  There's something nefarious and scary in general to anyone that knows the history of the Nazis in Germany.  I'm upset that they chose General Lee's monument for their toxic rhetoric.  I mean I think it's ridiculous to take down the monuments in most cases.  But I have the utmost respect for General Lee.  I have read many of his writings and the Civil War is one of those things that weighed heavy on his heart both before, during and after.  General Lee was a great tactician, a graduate of our West Point Academy, and a true Patriot.  His times put him in an intangible position, and it appears now we ourselves are being lead to a similar intangible position.   

Fact is that General Lee was opposed to Confederate monuments after war.  He viewed it as sore losers.  He also in spite of leading the Confederate army did so with great trepidation.  Most may not realize, as so much is lost in history anymore, that General Lee was President Lincoln's first choice to lead the Union army.  General Lee was very conflicted whether to be loyal to his Nation or his state of Virginia.  While we all now think of ourselves as American first and to our state second, the USA was only 80 years old--just over a single life span in human years.  Many were divided between loyal to their state or loyal to our Nation.  The reason it was a Union army is because the Nation that we all love was only a Union to some.  Their State was their Nation.  This nuance was not lost on General Lee.  In fact, it wasn't lost on his brethren in the State of Virginia either.  His home State would subdivide because of the Civil War into two states:  Virginia and West Virginia.  The depth of divide was that deep.  Still, General Lee ultimately showed his loyalty to Virginia, whether State or state.  The General was a sign of his times.  He also upon surrendering ordered all Confederate flags, battle or otherwise, permanently furled.  As the signer of the surrender and the General of the Confederate army, his orders should have stood.  He was known to be vocal in his opposition to Confederate monuments.  No one challenged him, because he was the Great General Lee.  So, I suppose when I say the monument in Virginia of the General should remain, I am just as much disobeying his orders as anyone.  

But it's not because the General was some leader of a rebel cause to defend slavery.  He, himself, stated he was "rejoiced that slavery was abolished".  Slavery in his mind  was an abomination and against his Christian beliefs.  Ironic?  Of course, but none of us are without our irony.  He like many of his time simply thought this would go away in a peaceful way.  He believed the majority would admit "slavery as an institution is a moral and political evil".  So, how did he choose the Confederacy?  He said "if the Union is dissolved" he would return to Virginia and "share the miseries of his people".  In fact, he had implored for the Union to be maintained and was considered one of the least likely officers to secede.  It was known that the Virginia legislature was having a hard time agreeing on whether they would secede.  The attack on Fort Sumter lead by General Beauregard with the secession of South Carolina forced every other Southern State to make a decision, including Virginia and our beloved General Lee. 

Does General Lee's statue belong anywhere if you know all this?  Well, maybe, maybe not.  By General Lee's measure?  No.  The greatness of a man is not defined by just his good deeds, but by the sum of who he is.  We all become better with age.  So, I would argue that his statue, if we were to agree on only one symbol of the Confederacy, belongs in every state.  We need to remember how conflicted and how much the General truly believed in the United States right up to secession.  We need to remember this was not a racist man--in fact in his times he was considered quite the opposite.  We want to measure people of the 1800s at our morality now.  It's not fair.  But take the sum of the General, and he was a great American.  What too many in this country either have forgotten or never learned was officers all over this country were put in a terrible position of choosing between two loyalties--often to their country or to their families.  The Civil War did one thing we needed--it defined us as a Nation as ALL Americans.  General Lee said he couldn't abide by a Nation that could only be maintained by swords.  Now, consider that we just let Nazis turn his memorial into just that.  

Nazis have never maintained control over anything without intimidation, control, weapons in plain sight, full riot gear.  Bullies to umpteenth level.  What would the General think?   What would he have thought of our efforts in World War II?  Would he have thought those men that fought the Nazis with such bravery and resolve would deserve to have their memories desecrated with Nazis rabble rousing in their faces?  In their descendants' faces?  How would he feel about Nazis from another state in his great state using his image in their racist rhetoric?  General Lee was a deeply God fearing man.  General Lee did not believe in raising a weapon against his brother.  We all should understand not wanting to forget those that died, on both sides.  It's who we are.  It made us truly the UNITED States of America.  Whether General  Lee would want his statue there, well, that's a small issue.  I doubt he would.  But the idea that the Nazis want to invoke his memory for their agenda?  The General's own words on the Civil War:  "We failed, but in the good Providence of God apparent failure often proves blessing."  Saving the Union in this Nation was a blessing, even according to the man who led the fight against it.  Do not allow the Nazis to use this man's memory or a statue of him as a catalyst to drive us into fighting each other again.