Response: Venting is Bad for You

A friend posted this article entitled “Venting is Bad for You (and Others)”.

The gist of the article is that you should never speak openly about things that are hurtful, frustrating, or unjust.

Wait, what?

Yep. Did I mention that was God’s will, as well?

Direct quote time:

“God’s standard was that venting be non-existent” (“Venting is Bad for You”, Gosselin).

That incredible piece of rhetoric is based on Philipians 2:14-15, which reads

“Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world”

Please note, that the KJV version, which is an earlier translation, properly reads:

“Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world”

Even without the severe differences in translation, the intent of both of these verses is clear: don’t bitch about your responsibilities. Don’t protest that it’s “not your job” when asked to do something. Set an example in what you do, and how you carry yourself.

Not once in either of those statements do I see “never speak aloud about anything bad that happens to you except to Me”.

This is strengthened given the context of the verses. Philippians 2 is all about humbling yourself, being more Christ-like, and taking care of your soul and well-being through love and compassion.

Keeping all negativity inside and not expressing yourself is in direct opposition to all of those things.

The author of this article cites science! as confirmation that venting is bad for you.

However, when you link to the science! article that supposedly backs up her theory, you will see that the science! does not address venting at all. The subject of the article is complaining.

Here are the definition of the two words according to Merriam Webster:

Complain: to express dissatisfaction or annoyance about something

Vent: to give free expression to (a strong emotion)

Venting has nothing to do with negativity, which is what is actually bad for you. Venting is about expressing yourself freely, sharing your emotions, your passions, and sometimes your problems.

It isn’t droning on about how your life is terrible and your boss sucks. It isn’t shouting at your husband for no apparent reason (as the photo atop of Ms. Gosselin’s article suggests).

It is communication – open and free communication. In other words, healthy communication.

The article and research linked to actually addresses effective communication as a responsible alternative. I don’t see that mentioned in Ms. Gosselin’s article.

I agree 100% that negativity and complaining (otherwise known as whining, whinging, grinching, bellyaching, etc) is bad for you and the people around you.

However, I think that venting (aka talking, communicating, sharing, being intimate, etc) is very healthy, and can help prevent long-term problems.

Imagine you’re in a relationship, and they are saying or doing things that hurt you on a consistent basis? According to Ms. Gosselin’s theology, you would be in direct opposition to God were to you calmly say “Hey, you’ve been saying some things that have been upsetting me. Can we talk about it?”

Better to just tell God that your SO is hurting your feelings, and never give the poor sap boyfriend the chance to know he’s hurting you.

That will be great to discuss in two years time when you’ve finally had enough of it.

No. That is not how adults handle negative emotion. And it’s certainly not how God wants us to handle  negative emotion.

Does He want us to yell and scream and shout about it? No. Does he want us to live emotionally healthy and mature? Absolutely.

The thing about negativity is that it doesn’t just “go away”. Sooner or later, it gets out.

We can either choose to let it out in a healthy fashion, or keep it pent up, slowly poisoning ourselves and our relationships, to keep from “stinking up the room with our negativity”.

 

The Great Unknown Tour

DISCLAIMER: This is a very biased and partial opinion. There is a 20 year history between the author and the topic at hand (Rob Thomas music). Be advised there will be fangirling.

On February 22nd at 7:30 PM, I was privileged to attend the Canberra leg of Rob Thomas’s The Great Unknown Aussie 2016 tour.

Having been a hardcore listener to Rob’s music for the last twenty years, I must confess that was the highlight of my year thus far.

I was sitting on the ground floor 13 rows back from the stage. I was slightly off center, but I had a phenomenal view. Originally, I was going to go for the cheaper seats at the back, but on a “why not” impulse bought the floor ticket.

I’m so glad I did.

It was a non-stop party from start to finish. Even though it was a Monday night (a fact which Rob jokingly alluded to semi-regularly), it beat any Saturday night gig I’ve ever attended.

Rob has great music. That’s undeniable (see original disclaimer and don’t argue). However, part of the appeal of seeing him live is his charm.

I’m not downplaying his solid performance of such favorites as “Lonely No More”, and “This is How a Heart Breaks” as well as tracks from his new album; but the real show of the night as his personality. His expressions and mannerisms were just as entertaining as the songs themselves.

I’ve been to concerts where the artists were fairly sedate, and it seemed very routine. Honestly, it must get that way sometimes – they perform the exact same songs night after night. It must get a bit boring.

Rob is the exception – he makes each performance feel new. He acknowledges the fact that this is a brand new experience for us, so that makes it different for him. If it feels monotonous to him, he doesn’t let it show.

He directly addressed the fans at the back of the auditorium, empathizing with their low-budget plight, and making sure they knew he was aware of their collective existence.

He intermittently told stories about his past, including an amusing anecdote of him and Lionel Richie comparing notes on how his (Richie’s) music had helped them with the ladies.

At various points throughout the night, every single section was made to feel like they were appreciated and a valued part of his experience.

I’m somewhat cynical by nature, but if he doesn’t genuinely love his shows and the audiences that attend them, I’ll gladly live with this delusion for the rest of my life.

What songs did we hear? If pressed, I’d say all of them. He pulled from “Something to Be” (2005), “Cradlesong” (2009)… he even harkened back to his Matchbox Twenty days with a stripped down, ballad-esque version of “Unwell”.

One of my favorite moments of the evening was the acoustic and melodic rendition of “Ever the Same”.

There was a moment – a brief one, but a moment regardless – where I thought he’d wound us down too far to recover. Having had two beautiful, yet slow, ballads in a row, I kept thinking “there’s no way he can get the energy back”.

I remember only shaking the feeling slightly when I heard the intro to “I am an Illusion” (from Something to Be) immediately thereafter. How could he bring back the frenzy after so artfully easing us into such a peaceful state with those last two songs?

However, I should have known better. Though roughly 65% of the audience had remained faithfully attached to their seats throughout the entire night, there was not a single occupied chair when the familiar guitar sounds of the classic Santana/Thomas duet “Smooth” pierced the auditorium.

This was clearly the capstone, as there was no topping that. The music faded, and we were left with a final bow and a cheeky kiss blown to the crowd. I was sad for it to end, but happy that it had come full circle.

Rob, thank you for your music, and thank you for a fantastic show. Easily the best Monday Saturday night I’ve ever had. Keep doing you.

 

Cheers,
Emi

 

Stop Travel Shaming

Good thoughts from a fellow traveller

The Guiri With Glasses

There’s shaming of all sorts now a days: fat shaming, skinny shaming, and slut shaming. One that I’ve seen recently is a sort of travel shaming. As the name suggests, it consists of shaming people who don’t travel. With articles like “Date a girl who travels” and sayings like “To travel is to live”, it gives the impression that somehow my decision to travel has made my life better than that of a woman who has never left her home state. It is simply not true.

To be clear, I am no better than the non-travelling person, nor are they better than me. It doesn’t even make me braver or more courageous than them. It makes me a person with different goals and desires in life. This doesn’t make me any less proud of my accomplishments of living, studying, and working abroad. It’s hard work and has required a lot of…

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The Joy of Traveling, and How to Defend It

Greetings, Travellers!

The title of this post may seem a little odd. Defending joy? Especially in such an expansive and invigorating world as travel? Sure there are road bumps (missed flights, overbooked hostels, hitting the sauce a little too hard and being arrested on the Italian Riviera). You certainly need to guard against the propensity to let these things get you down… but defend? That implies a foe, an active adversary intending to steal your joy. Surely there are no such creatures?

Well, dear travellers, there are. Amongst the whole vast world of travel stories, adventure tales, and wander yarns, there are countless stories of people helping each other on the road; the kindness of strangers is a big draw for travelers, we want to experience the goodness of people outside of our own realm. See how others live their lives and try to contribute to theirs, while only hoping to take away a fresh perspective on our own lives.

Very rarely do you hear the tales of the unkind nature that some people show to you. It’s not happy, and it’s kind of a downer. And unless there’s a lot of blood and gore, it probably doesn’t sell that well, either. People don’t want to think ill of each other, and I am no exception. However, I believe it is important that these stories be told, if for no other reason than awareness. Awareness that, yes, there are people out there who will try to steal your joy; awareness that no, not everyone you meet that honestly needs your help will be receptive to receiving it.

When you are aware that these things can and will happen, you are better prepared to meet it. If your guard is already up, they will be able to steal less joy from you. You will be better able to retain your faith in the good people, and just walk away from the bad.

Now, what prompted this? I recently joined a site who’s sole purpose is to match people abroad who truly need volunteers with travellers who can help them. For no pay. You donate your time to their project (whether it be they need extra help around the house, a warm body for a hostel night shift, or improving their language skills, etc), and in return you get to stay with them. Sometimes they give you food, sometimes not. It depends on the host.

My first venture into this world was a couple in the UK who’s house had burned down, and they were in desperate need (obviously) of repairs. My heart was instantly engaged. I’d had fires almost destroy my home, and before I was born a house of my parents burned down due to a neighbor’s carelessness with a cigarette.

So I messaged the host:

first message

I tried to be honest, open, and engaging. Since I am already in Europe and traveling in the area, I thought why not take time out of my vacation and help somebody. I’m currently in a position where I work less time than what they were asking and actually being paid. I received this in reply.

reply

Should I have known from that simple response? Probably. I should have let it go. But my naive self read the email like this, “Hey, it all looks good except for one thing. We can’t really do that kind of flexible because of the distance we have to drive to the workplace. But you seem cool, to bad we can’t work together!”

So of course, always eager to clear up a misunderstanding, I responded:

secondmessage

First off, who am I kidding? I love being an au pair. Posh my behind. I get paid (I never realized you get paid for working in the real world… what witchcraft is this?) to do less work with more time free. However, it wasn’t about that for me. I want to connect with people and give to those who really need it. I simply wanted to get a feel for the vibe of the host.

I certainly received that with his next communication:

final reply

Well, alrighty then.

Let’s start with the obvious.

Crap, which is the most obvious??

OK, here goes again… first of all, he admits at the beginning that I misunderstood his communication. That immediately invalidates the supreme hostility contained in this email. If someone genuinely doesn’t understand you, the mature and adult way to deal with them is to gently say , “Hey, I think you misunderstood. It’s a no. Good luck!”

Secondly, renegotiation is offensive? Pardon my french, but like hell it is! People renegotiate terms when they are exchanging extremely hard labor for money. All I did was simply throw out an example, saying that I like being flexible and doing work whenever it was needed. The idea was that I didn’t mind being flexible as long as they were. I am barely brave enough to ask for a legit vacation day in a (paid) job!

Thirdly, hostile, much? Let’s assume that I am this horrible person that he is accusing me of being. That I shoved a “list of needs” (we’ll get to that gem in a minute) into his inbox saying “I want you to lessen the workload, bring me my breakfast every morning, and actually pay me for my time that I’m donating (!) to you”. Why on earth would you waste your time bantering with an idiot like that? What purpose does being hostile serve? If I really am that kind of a heartless, thoughtless bitch, I’d simply laugh at you. That doesn’t gain you anything. My brain can’t compute the pointlessness of hostility.

Fourthly – list of needs at a difficult time. At this point, he shows his motivations, and his reasons for his hostility.

Here, he is obviously, painfully showing the fact that he is self-conscious about asking for help on the internet. He tries to redirect his own discomfort by putting it off on somebody who (quite innocently) brought it to his attention that he is basically a charity case. His house burned down, and he can’t afford to rebuild it. Fair enough. But that doesn’t give you the right to thoughtlessly punish other people because of a simple misunderstanding on the internet.

He deliberately tried to offset his own shame for having to ask for help by stealing my joy. Too many people, when they are hurt, think it is unfair for others to be happy. Being in a position of need, where you are the one receiving, should make you the more open minded – instead, he looks to others to do that for him. I sorely wanted to engage him and point out this fact. However, because I do try to have compassion, and he is in a tough spot, I politely (I think he should look up the definition of this word) replied:

thirdmessage

At this point, I sent the messages to my trash folder. Was I miffed? Yes, I was. I had extended a hand just to have it slapped away. Somebody had intentionally tried to steal a little of my joy, and I didn’t want to let them. So I let it go. I thought about how thankful I was that I had the knowledge and experience to recognize that it wasn’t me who was at fault. Then I started thinking about how other people may react to this same situation. I knew people in my immediate circle of friends who may have had their joy stolen.

That’s when I dug the messages out of the trash and began writing this post. Simply for the awareness. It’s fabulous to tell stories about the kindness of strangers, the giving of joy. But I think it’s equally, if not more, important to be aware of those who, without any joy of their own, want to lessen yours as well.

So go forth, travellers! Go into the world, and smile at everyone. Give of yourself. Accept from others.

But guard yourself. Guard your joy. That is for you, and nobody else.

Cheers,

Emi

About the Black Widow thing in Age of Ultron

A good friend of mine puts an interesting perspective on the “un-feminist” portrayal of Black Widow.

Amethyst Marie

Warning: This post contains SPOILERS for Avengers: Age of Ultron. Proceed at your own risk.

“Widow,” by deviantART user alicexz

So, there’s been some controversy about Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff’s backstory, specifically that her Brainwashed Soviet-Ish Killing Machine training was concluded with a routine sterilization and she feels un-good about this. As for the scene itself, I don’t see how it’s being framed as a gendered issue. Bruce Banner has already told Natasha about his own infertility, and they’re having the discussion in the first place because they’re seeing the family life that their male friend has deliberately created and likely gone through an insane amount of effort to keep.

However, other bloggers have already done a great job analyzing the scene and the overall movie, so I’m not going to spend much time on that. Instead, I’m going to talk about my experience as a medically sterilized woman.

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So I’ve been busy…

Due to a long string of things I’ve done, I have not been posting lately.

Let me catch you up!

In the span of nine days, I was in five different countries – Spain, Singapore, Australia, Italy, Portugal.

Whew! That’s quite a list.

How did it happen?

Well, I random-hopped a plane to Australia in lieu of my “original” plan of Barcelona/Zaragoza for the trip.

It was a hellish commute.

31 hours in transit. Both ways.

Layovers in Singapore (both ways), and a layover in Milan (return trip).

Then, I went on a roadtrip with four fantastic amigas from Madrid to Portugal for a tirolina (zipline) that crosses the border between Spain and Portugal. There will be two or three separate blog posts for that adventure due to a TERRIBLE hotel experience, a FANTASTIC hotel experience, and then the roadtrip itself.

I’ve also recently begun two sets of Spanish lessons and had a sudden upsurge of online work. Good golly miss Molly!

So, while I may not have been blogging much, it’s not because I’m not doing anything. I have a ton of notes and half-finished posts that I just have to find the will-power and waking hours to complete.

That’s all for now. More to come soon!

(Oh, and I’m going to Segovia on Saturday, and then another road trip to the beach next week!)

Later, travellers!

The Trip

So, I didn’t go to Barcelona. Or Zaragoza. Or Dublin/London/Edinburgh.

Instead, I canceled all my reservations…

And went to Australia.

Also, I dyed my hair.

Fun times.

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Kelly, my stylist, decided I’d look great with a bleach mohawk

Post bleach….

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A touch of Draco Malfoy….

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Scared, Potter?

Enter the color….

and the winner is….

Electric blue.

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I was not nervous at all.

Okay, I was completely terrified. But it came out absolutely fierce.

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My sister is a bad influence on me. Her hair is a subtle purple, and she said I should get my hair did too. Go big or go home, no?

Cheers, Travellers.