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*Off topic* Economics: an incredibly simple way to change the world…

4 Oct

A few things in the news recently have gotten me thinking about economics and a book I read a few years ago which gave me a pretty decent idea of the state of the world (‘The shock doctrine’ by Naomi Klein, read it. read it now.). The events in question are the Wall street protest, and present republican muffin/possible future american fucknut Rick Perry.

I read an article in which he reasserted his opposition to regulation of greenhouse gases and pollution in general. Whatever you believe about global warming*, you can’t argue that having factories belching out smoke and chemicals into surrounding areas is a good thing. It’s not. Whatever you think about the grand scale of things, on a small scale it’s bad for us. Simple as.

*(I hope I can make this brief, it’s a big subject: Global warming is real. The majority of scientists who believe in it are well respected, qualified professionals who measure data and present their work to be peer reviewed so that any mistakes can be picked up by other well respected and qualified professionals. Those who deny climate change, usually keep their research to themselves or else have it laughed out of the community if they release it to proper scientists for review -usually because they’ve carried out that research for a dummy corporation/foundation set up by an energy industry company…yes that does happen. More than you think. A lot more. In fact, next time you hear/read about a climate change denying piece of research, do a quick search to see what company/institute it was done in the name of. After that, do a quick search to see who’s behind that institution.

Food for thought; the term “Global Warming” was phased out in the mid-90’s in favour of the more friendly and ambiguous “climate change” because, after all, who hates change? change is progress isn’t it? change isn’t bad- it’s damn good!! Lobby groups for the Energy industry used this confusion to soften the debate, and appreciated the long term decline in interest it helped contribute to…Oh, and one more thing; There is no debate about climate change. There are scientists who do their job properly, and then there are others who say what they’re paid to say. Simple as.)

So anyway; Rick Perry is hugely opposed to regulation, because it would harm the business interests of the companies involved and therefore do damage to the economy of his home state. Fair enough, he’s looking out for his own I suppose. The thing is though, that’s the exact same reasoning as that of a CEO.

The CEO of a company has a legal duty to look out for their shareholders’ interests. Doesn’t sound like a bad thing, does it? If an investor puts a chunk of money into a company, they should expect a reasonable return, right? In the beginning of the 20th century this logic was well accepted and needed because big business was only starting out. People needed to have “investor confidence” (which had a totally different meaning back then), so this logic was inshrined in law. It’s a CEO’s/board of director’s legal obligation to look out for the interests of the shareholders.

But; and here’s the rub ladies and gentlemen, the almighty rub that has our mighty planet -socially, economically and politically- slowly crumbling under the weight of its own people collectively mumbling “Hey I’m just looking out for #1, fuck you I’ll do what I want!”…

That obligation is defined in simple money. You want to look out for your investors*? Make them money!!

*Investors nowadays are a far cry from the 19th century pioneer family plowing all of their mattress money into a travelling snake oil salesman. Sure, that used to be the majority of investors: small families hoping to improve their lot by investing in business but nowadays, it’s just a bunch of bankers.

And here’s where we tie back into good ol’ boy Rick: take those energy companies operating out of his constituency. They don’t have regulations because he’s so supportive of them, so to cut costs and make money-money make money-money, they dump a little waste into a sinkhole somewhere.That waste makes its way to an underwater aquafer somewhere else and contaminates a local river. Hey, doesn’t matter; those shareholders want money, not a damn conscience! Will a conscience pay for copious amounts of Viagra and Champagne?! Fuck no!

Let’s move into the world of business: A good old american car company wants to cut costs, so that the shareholders can see a return on their investment, see their stocks rise in value a little and maybe even cut them a nice profit. How can that be done? Well I’m glad you asked because it can be done easy-peasy: Move the damn factories to China! Their labour costs are a fifth of what they are in America, so the company’s stock will skyrocket! Happy days!

Then the company naturally hires The Fonz to deal with the redundancies, because nobody can get mad at the Fonz!
“eeeeeey; your security clearance has been revoked, go live under a bridge or sumtin alright”

One of the main reasons the world economy has been shitting itself like that old man who sits at your local bar every night, is this legal obligation and it’s interpretation. Sure, you could argue greed, self justification, irresponsibility, general dumbfuckery and all sorts of other human conditions laid waste to the fragile game of Jenga we were playing (…you don’t know how fitting that comaprison is..you really don’t…) but it all comes back to that one legal obligation: the CEO must look out for the shareholders, and that is taken to mean “the CEO must do everything possible to continue cutting costs and making profit, regardless of the ethical ramifications”. Everything that comes after is just icing on the cake.

SO. there it is. one simple way to change the world: Alter the definition of the basic duty of the CEO to take into account not only the monetary obligation to the shareholder, but also the moral health and social responsibility aspect. Simple as…

hahahaha, yeah right. Never gonna happen. Here: console yourself with a sweetbeat…

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I’ve let things slip

16 Sep

I’ve let thing slip, in too many ways…

In anything, you always need to keep an eye on context and circumstance. Seeing something without keeping these things in mind can easily lead you to over or underreact. My problem is that I usually keep these things too close, so I usually end up underreacting horribly. Something bad happens to someone? well; that’s horrible, I sympathise and understand what you’re going through, respect your position in the grand scheme of things and want to help you get through it… but at the same time there’s probably 3 billion people in the world worse off than you at any given moment. Deal with it, and move on. You’re still alive after all…

This attitude causes me a fair bit of self-aggro because I know I’m leaning too far to one side of the balance. I know this all too well, but often fail to set it right.

keeping all this in mind, it’s safe to say my mother’s had a difficult one. Details aren’t needed, but let’s just say I’m incredibly grateful to have been raised by such a strong woman.

Being an only child of a single parent, and a protective male, I worry about her. I know she’s alright on her own, but still I worry. It’s only natural. Which is why she didn’t tell me anything about her taking a detour home from work, until I got home after a late nights training.

I came in the door to find a football matchday programme sitting on the kitchen table. In my tired state I was confused enough but this was something else entirely. I wondered to myself ‘did ma get me a footy programme on her way past the stadium?” because it simply didn’t occur to me that she would go to a match.

She bounced happily into the room and, with a mischievous grin, told me how she was on her way home from work feeling tired,unappreciated, lonely and just a little bit depressed when she saw the local team was playing a group game for the European league. On the spur of the moment, she decided to see if there were any tickets left, seeing as it was the team she supported with her father as a child and she had nothing to rush home for.

Quite a few things flew through my mind at this point, most of them worries. She went on her own?, what about the crowds? what about her going home at a late hour? what about her health? and, in my flurried state, what about the small but noticeable element of hooliganism?

“I say, you there: come and have a go if you think you’re hard enough, old boy!”

I voiced none of these concerns as she sat bubbling away at the kitchen table. She described how, after asking if there were any tickets left at the ticketdesk, the nice young man gave her a free one that someone had left because they couldn’t make it. Importantly, the person who left the ticket told the attendant to give it away for free and, surprisingly in a world that can grind you down all too easily, the attendant didn’t think to make himself some money and just gave it to my mother; happy days all round.

She then went on to describe, between fits of laughter, how she approached the stewards carrying the few bags of shopping from Tesco’s she had bought just before, and another nice young man jokingly ‘confiscated’ a bag of grapes because “he hadn’t had his dinner yet”, after which she gave him a few oranges to tide him over.

After that, she found a seat in the unreserved area alongside another few people who had obviously gone along on their own. There was, yet another, nice young man who spent the whole match with his head in his hands while biting his nails, who kindly offered to grab her a cup of tea at half time, and an older man just behind her who compared any slick pass by a player to someone of his own generation: “great pass…just like georgie best that was…lovely tap there; reminds me of a young Liam Brady…”

It was great to see her genuinely happy, and even greater to have found out that the fates conspired to make her detour as enjoyable as possible.

I’ve let things slip, in too many ways.

Trying too hard to keep things in context, I’ve forgotten just how bloody hard she’s fought all her life, and what an incredible person she is. This story reminded me of many she had told me during my life but which I’d shamefully forgotten. The time she went with women’s rights activists on the train to Belfast so taht they could buy condoms (which, in Catholic Ireland during the 80’s, were strictly illega, immoral and forbidden)…

…or the time her and a similar group of forward thinking women entered a bar and ordered a round of pints (large glasses of beer; don’t know what the American equivalent-if there is one-  is, sorry) to which the barman replied “women don’t drink Pints, they drink lady drinks”…

well, the gathered outside and settled on a plan.

They returned to the barman and ordered a round of whiskeys (expensive stuff in Ireland during the 80’s recession- and yes, this is not the first recession nor will it be the last). The barman obliged, after making sure they wanted them, and then when the large round of whiskeys were laid out on the bar they informed him that they would only pay for the whiskeys when he served them the pints they had asked for…

and many many other stories she’d told me. Some to inform, some to warn (a sombre confession of my late fathers drug habits when she found out I was going the same way springs to mind) and some just to entertain. I had forgotten most of them, until I was reminded just how exemplary she can be.

But the most inspirational, and unfortunately the easiest forgotten, is the things she did without mention. The things she did, and still does, every day to keep things ticking over. The things that you don’t notice when it’s there, but are painfully absent when they’re gone.

I’ve let things slip, in too many ways
Never again shall I waste the days

I wanted to finish this with John Lennon’s ‘mother’ when I started, but it’s a little bit too sad. I don’t know what I’ll do when she’s gone, and it’s only rarely that I listen to that song because it gives me quite a realistic idea of how I’ll feel. No; instead I’ll post something she’d enjoy (and which reminds me of her bouncing into the house after seeing it live, raving about the lightshow, the wall, the music and the nostalgia).

If this post has gotten you thinking about your own mother and you’d rather contemplate mellow, then look up the Lennon song, if not then put this on full screen and sound…and enjoy. That chorus is just heavenly;)

A sense of wonder: Incredible planet discovered

28 Aug

I was sitting at lunch a few days ago and there was a (probably) four month old baby sitting with its parents at the table beside me. Normally I’d smile happily and get back to eating like a demon, but there was something about the little one that kept catching my attention. The parents held the baby in turns while chatting and kept it occupied by dangling keys, phones, toys and other stuff in front of it.

Each time it saw something new it let out the most adorable gurgle, shaking with laughter when it got it’s hands on the object. It flailed it around in its hands and generally acted like it had won the lottery with each and every thing they gave it. You probably know the feeling, it’s something we’ve all experienced whether we remember it or not. There’s something very special about seeing a baby get that feeling, because it reminds us of the joy in learning or experiencing something new.

There are a few rare things that fill me with that sense of wonder, and the universe is one of them (haha, I know…nothing big).

Recently a new planet was discovered, a very special planet.

Located in the serpens constellation, it was found orbiting a millisecond pulsar which is a neutron star formed from a supernova (a supernova being the event that destroys a star, condensing its entire mass into a smaller entity which produces the neutron star). If that makes as much sense to you as it does to me, to put it simply it means that the star in the system is a super dense star, sending out a beam of electromagnetic radiation which can only be viewed when it points at earth (like a lighthouse) which gives it the ‘pulsar’ name (…as far as I can tell).

But anyway, that’s not terribly important. If it does catch your interest, pick a few astronomy terms out of thin air, make a good cup of coffee, open up a wikipedia tab and run wild…there’s a lot of interesting stuff out there, although it could take a while to wrap your brain around it.

Anyway, usually there’s another star close to these pulsars, which either collide with or become consumed by one another; stripping them of elements with their intense gravity (on a galactic scale that is, not your average “whoah, that ollie you just flipped was tight” intense).

In this case, there seems to have been another star nearby but it wasn’t consumed fully by the pulsar. Instead, it was stripped bare of everything except for carbon and then gently moved itself out to a safe distance.

But, not before the gravity condensed all of the carbon into the planet itself which means that…

Out there somewhere, there’s a diamond planet. Not in the metaphorical “I’m writing this on an iPhone while standing in a field wearing a tin foil helmet screaming ‘E.T. beam me up to a better place; this world is not worthy!’ ” sense, but in the actual literal sense. Carbon, when put under intense pressure, forms into diamond, and in this case all of the carbon was crushed together and formed one hell of a diamond.

Let that sink in: a planet, which is completely a diamond…just incredible.

(it’s not the middle object; that’s the pulsar. It’s the one orbiting around it, and the blue trail is the electromagnetic radiation pulse…the odd spiral of it is caused by the difference between axial rotation and…something or other else…look it up)

It’s five times the size of earth (fuck you deBeers, just fuck you) but 3,000 times larger than the star it orbits. Now it’s not like somebody has actually sauntered up to the planet and knocked a knuckle on it to check for sure, but the studies done by the Swinburne university of technology in Melbourne Australia suggest that this is what happened. Congratulations to those who took part in the study, that’s some find.

More reading/original article here: http://www.space.com/12731-diamond-alien-planet-discovered-neutron-star.html

Here’s a song with a super backbone to help you process this;)

(if any -or indeed all– facts written here turn out to be wrong and you know how to correct them; post a comment below!)

London Riots: Big society gives itself a big pat on the back…

10 Aug

(*for the benefit of those across the seas, the ‘Big society’ initiative was announced a good while ago by David Cameron and the conservative party as a remedy to all of Britain’s woes. It was designed to create a more harmonious society by encouraging people to take an active part in their community…

…It was quickly laughed out of the country when it became depressingly clear that it was nothing more than a nice sounding metaphor for drastic budget cuts and general political fuckery…George Orwell working in conjunction with Douglas Adams and a crate or two of Jameson couldn’t have thought of something more ludicrously twisted.)

Don’t panic…that’s just a ‘community participation liaison’ coming round to check you’ve done your share of the nations’ tax returns…

Some of the more heartwarming reports to come out of the london riots are those of people gathering together to protect and serve their own community. Yesterday, large groups of people organised themselves on twitter and facebook to clean up the scenes of the riots, showing that even though people were angry enough to destroy, people were also angry enough to rebuild. Heartwarming stuff.

“Gentlemen: TO BROOMS!”

It has only been mentioned in passing, but there have been rumours of people arming themselves and standing guard by their local businesses, ready to chase away anyone that might have an eye for trouble. This is particularly motivating because along with the large chain shops that have been looted, rioters have also targeted small family run cornershops and businesses in what is nothing more than senseless destruction. Tesco? yeah fair enough I can maybe understand that; they’ve got a nationwide organisation to back them up…Mr Singh the friendly man who runs the local chipshop? He’s got nothing more than yesterdays earnings to see him through.

I read a clip in the paper this morning about looters being confronted by a teary eyed woman when they emerged from a local fashion boutique, because the boutique was built and run by one woman who hand made all of the clothes herself. When confronted with this, a lady-looter stood there with a freshly stolen wedding dress draped across her arm looking very sheepish (but, importantly, she didn’t do anything about putting the dress back as far as I know). Heartbreaking stuff.

But wait! People gathered themselves of their own free will with those good old english brooms to clean up the mess! jolly good show, as Boris johnson would say.

Ah…Boris Johnson. Again, for the benefit of those across the seas: The hithchiker’s guide to the galaxy defines Boris Johnson as ‘ a floppy haired being, known to appreciate a glass or two of cucumber sandwiches soaked in Gin, who is so out of touch with his constituency, and the Earth as a whole, that he has been regularly sighted talking to a tree along the A127 dual carriageway, having stopped there for a rest on his way to pick up a mess of cricket bats from Basildon for use in his regular bi-weekly tap-dancing class. It is not known how the cricket bats felt about this, although the tree is said to be surprisingly despondent.

So he turns up to shouts of “Where’s your broom!” from the crowd being carefully kept far enough away from him that they won’t actually notice he’s probably goggle-eyed, and yknow what? he actually gets one and marches down to the crowd. Fair play to him I must say. He gives a speech about how he appreciates their work and effort and how they won’t let these hooligans represent London proper, and that they will all persevere in their efforts to show the world that London can not and should not be defined by that awfully obvious/lazy headline: ‘London’s burning‘.

But, unfortunately, this is where I have to put a dampener on it. I don’t want to, not really, especially with the solid example the people of London are showing in the face of mindless violence and destruction, but I have to say it.

The groups of people who protected local businesses could be described as taking part in the big society….but then again that’s what the police are for. They’re trained, insured and paid for that sort of thing. And of course, the people of london pay taxes so that the police can be trained, insured and paid to do that sort of work.

The groups of people who cleaned up the mess could very well be held up as a prime example of the big society, as I have a feeling they might when the smoke clears…but then again, things like cleaning up the streets are what streetcleaners are for. They’re trained, insured and paid for that sort of thing. And of course, the people of London pay taxes so that they can be trained, insured and paid to do that work.

…like in…some sort of…-oh gosh I’ve forgotten the word-…so..soci…God I’ve completely forgotten it. You know what I’m talking about: Where a nation, through thousands of years of hard work and perseverance, gathers itself together enough to say “Hey! why don’t we all pool our money, so that we can create neat things like a police force, who we can train for that job alone, then we can pay people to clean the streets, cos we don’t want our Janet from number 12 doing it anymore- she’s got a very bad back nowadays especially since the operation and she can’t miss anymore work- and then we can maintain it properly and find a place for everyone and look out for each other so that when people need protecting the police will be there in full force; well trained, insured and paid, and the cleaners too! when there’s a right big mess to clean up they’ll be there: well trained, insured and paid…

A SOCIETY! I knew it…it was there right at the tip of my tongue.

To drastically cut funding to schools, services and society as a whole is taking political fuckery to a completely new level. To then gather round for a press opportunity with the very people you’re fucking over and telling them they’re contribution is valued, is bullshit you could smell from the far end of Baltimore. They make a contribution. Every fucking week. It’s called ‘Taxes’, and you are crippling them with it. Don’t repay them by cutting essential services. Don’t repay them with a jolly good show. Repay them with the services they pay for: Well and fully trained, insured and paid.

(I am not in any way trying to imply that the people who did the good things that they did shouldn’t have. I am inspired by the things they are doing for their city.I am trying to imply- no sorry; I’m saying– that if the governments had actually focused on actively making society better, rather than just throwing everything in the air and hoping for the best, maybe they would have been in a better position to deal with the reasons and ramifications of the riots)

Back on the horse

6 Aug

Okay okay okay, stop fucking around and write something…

It being a few weeks since I’ve posted anything, my heightened blogging ego demands that I tell you why, so that I can rest assured that all breaths being held have been exhaled and you are safe and sound in the knowledge that I’m okay…

Meh, it’s good to take a break sometimes. There were reasons, mainly that I was busy, but to be honest it’s always good to take a break.The funny thing about writing stuff, is that with each passing day I didn’t write anything there was more to write about. Soured relationships between family members being gently cleared over a cup of tea. The hacking scandal (I refuse to add the suffix ‘-gate’ to any and all groundbreaking news stories: It’s lazy, stupid, and nonsensical) and the funny but completely overblown sidestory that Rupert Murdochs wife was a stone cold brawler.

The incredible turnaround completed by nearly everyone in the media and public spheres when it was revealed that the Norwegian mass murderer was not, as thought/presumed ignorantly, a rabid muslim but a blue eyed christian was something that had me itching to write. But, I decided against writing a four page discourse on the use of language in the influencing of public perception for fear it would flag me up with it’s excessive use of danger words, intelligence and mockery. So, instead of a riveting commentary, you’ll have to do with a simple question:

Did you notice the complete absence of the label ‘terrorist’ when it came out that the killer was not a muslim? Gone was talk of ‘hate’, ‘jihad’ and all discussion of ‘why do Muslims hate Norway?!’, in came talk of ‘lunacy’ and sombre examinations of what could push such a person to do carry out such horrible actions…I have not witnessed such an amazing turnaround since Debbie did Dallas.

hmm….methinks those words will get me flagged anyway. SO, to persuade any g-man/scanning software snooping my page for evidence of violent tendencies that I didn’t mean the words written above to be taken as agreement with awful, horrific beliefs, here’s a pic for you. Hopefully, in the good old ‘short and punchy statement of being’ spirit of the internet (which, let’s be honest here is just fucking unbelievable…here we are with access to the world’s combined knowledge/experience and we’re defined by 140 characters or less and our humble contribution to the Lolcat meme) it will convince you that I did not, I repeat did not, write them cos I’m in any way sympathetic to senseless violence and in fact I’m just a harmless cuddlebunny. Anyway; have a good day G-man, have a good day.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder (Absence, or Absinthe? not sure…more hands-on research needed), in more ways than the saying intends.

Here’s hoping that this post can dispel that terrible nonfeeling you get when you’re struggling to put words to thoughts. Although the fact that I half wrote this last night, then rambled away to watch Mad Max 2 with a nice cup of tea doesn’t bode well. We’ll see. I’ve got a damn good cup of coffee, so there might be a flurry coming. Either way I apologise for the nonsense contained herein; you deserve better.

Friday

8 Jul

It’s friday, and you’re awesome. You can:

A)Strut, happy in the knowledge that you’re more than you were, and invigorated by it. Any improvement, no matter how big or small, is a good one. keep on strutting. You deserve it.

Or…

B) Chill; safe in the knowledge that you’ve still got a bit to go, but you’ve gotten this far so it’s not gonna hurt to keep going. Sit back, take it easy and relax. You deserve it.

Don’t stop there though, hell no. Play me off, courage wolf…

have a good one;)

Freaks and Geeks, part one: Freaks

29 Jun

In honour of a weekend spent watching one of the greatest shows ever created, and cancelled, Im gonna link a few things I’ve been wondering about together under it’s heading.

I had the misfortune to catch a bit of the monster’s ball concert recorded by lady gaga for HBO (Oh HBO…how did you fall so far from the wire) recently, and her wince-inducing monologues caught my attention. I’ll get to the content of it later, but the first thing that got me was the delivery which was, to put it mildly, cringeworthy. Sorry Gaganauts, but this won’t be kind.

Obviously she was partly sticking to her image; that of a stone cold goddess who doesn’t really care what people think, because she’s doing her own thing and loving it. Fair enough, that could account for some of the woodenness. Unfortunately, after the third or fourth badly executed dramatic pause in her soliloquoy, I started feeling awkward. You know when someone is really putting their heart into something, you just do. The content of her carefully crafted speeches were worthy of some heart being put in- well, the content stood up to a few minutes of basic logic anyway- but to me it just fell flat.

Take this one. Even though it’s a video ( you can’t get that personal-contact level of understanding with videos), you still just know he believes what he’s saying. It shines through, relentlessly.

Now compare that to this one:

(Quick edit: WOW, watching the two vids again, it strikes me how divisive lady gaga’s speech is compared to Henry’s)

Again, she’s got that whole cold as ice/madonna-like/fashion icon/strong person thing going on, which I’m sure must account for some of the lack of any discernible emotion in the speech, but to be honest if I hear someone in person making an inspirational speech I don’t equate being loud or shouting with rousing inspiration. (you could say that she doesn’t want to be seen as one of those weeping, feel-good, people gushing over how we can all get along, something I’m down with, but the Henry Rollins clip above shows that you can walk the line between cold hearted honesty and uplifting emotion damn well)

As a side note, I find it a little funny that she tells the crowd to forget all the people who told them they couldn’t be something in their life. It’s a useful tool,  for a quick fix I suppose, but you can get a lot farther by acknowledging those things and either working on them or using them as a spur. Then again, emphasising a groups persecuted nature is a classic strategy for collecting them together under a single banner- something I thought about touching on, but figure I don’t want that can of worms opened just yet: It’d distract from my main point below…although I’d love to tear lagy gaga’s logic apart)

(Sorry; I should say now for those of you not in the know, that in another speech on the tour she speaks about how they’ve locked the doors and left all the ‘Freaks’ outside, presumably the people who don’t understand or agree with her fans and their lifestyles, which is why I’ve titled this post Freaks)

Which brings me to the reveal. “Born this way”. That was gnawing at my mind for a good while before I realised what annoyed me so much about it. I’m not going anywhere near the debate of whether someone is born of certain sexual preferences, personality traits, prejudices, needs, wants, desires etc… or anything else like that. NO sir-ree. I’m nowhere near knowledgable enough on the subjects of genetics to go wading into that one.

Simply saying “I was born this way” is a complete cop out. As if you never did anything other than ‘be’. I’m not gonna dance round the subject (although I did do that a little up above, apologies), but she’s obviously talking to her gay fanbase. You were just born this way? Really?!

No, you weren’t. You went through countless hours, days, weeks and months of wrestling with yourself before admitting the truth and embracing it. You completed a mental marathon the likes of which many people in the world would never experience.

You spent even more time worrying about the effect that revelation would have on your family and friends. Before tackling the issue you worried constantly about their reactions and the honest light it would shine on your relationships.

You might even have spent gallons of tears, both happy and sad, when the subject was broached and discussed with those people. You became grateful for the people who supported you, appreciated their presence in your life and maybe recognised a layer of them you never knew they had. For the ones who reacted negatively, well…you dealt with it, somehow.

You weren’t just ‘born this way’. You worked hard, went through countless times both good and bad, and came out a better person for it. You were forced to question yourself, the world around you and your relation to it before finally deciding whether to open yourself up and embrace it, or close yourself off and forget it. For me, that’s a much better rallying call than simply saying “I was born this way”.

You went through a lot to become that person, and it’s made you all the better for it. Please don’t cop out by just saying “I was born this way”…it sets a terrible example for everyone else.