Sunday, October 31, 2021

Halloween, a Holiday of Acceptance and Possibility

    Today is my favorite American holiday. It might have something to do with Autumn, enjoying the dip in temperatures without the worry of an ice storm, the steam on a mug of hot tea on the patio in the early morning, the vibrant purple of the asters against the golds and reds of the changing Maple leaves, and the simmering pot of soup on the stove. Halloween itself is pure revelry in the human condition. We return to make believe and fantasy. We face human mortality, look the skeleton in its eye socket, and make friends (or at least shake hands) with our own impermanence. We know the world is full of scary monsters, and Halloween is when we get to openly, if not playfully, be honest about our anxieties and fears, whether inside or outside of ourselves. And it’s never more true than when it comes to our own selves. We open the lid on what we are, or what we might be, with fear, excitement, or both. 

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Before I begin, a brief word about terminology may be useful. There is no universally agreed-upon phrase to refer to what we alternatively call domestic violence, intimate partner violence, gender-based violence, and family violence. Often, these phrases are based in a specific discipline and reflect that discipline’s approach. Moreover, definitions may categorize different kinds of violence, such as physical, sexual, emotional, financial, and social. There are also legal categories and definitions, such as battery, assault, and homicide. Then there is the question of who is included, since domestic violence can involve parents, children, lovers, ex-es, and extended family. Its affects can range from mild to severe, from temporary trauma to death. Whatever this violence is called, its effects are pervasive and destructive. And our personal and social well-being cannot be separated from bringing domestic violence to an end.