Living on an alien planet can be difficult sometimes. It requires work and effort. Every afternoon, I turn on the news and try to figure out what is going on around here.

The news anchor swivels his eyestalks as he lectures his audience. “On our planet, we believe in having as much freedom as possible,” he explains. “That’s why the clerk in Kentucky is keeping same sex couples from getting married…she’s doing it in the name of freedom.”

Okay, so that makes no sense. But hey, different lifeforms and all that, right? And what kind of strange name is Kentucky, anyway?

I keep watching, but it doesn’t get any better. An interviewer shifts herself and her low-cut dress towards the camera, so that we can more clearly see the cleavage of her five breasts. “Ooooh, is that really your answer?” she chirps. “You wouldn’t terminate your female partner’s pregnancy even if it meant ending her life? You would watch her die?”

“Oh, certainly! I will always stand in defense of life.”

“Well, blirpity blorpity, Senator!” she giggles.

This is becoming hopeless. Now, snippets from a press conference. A truly strange creature with a bizarre growth on its head leans into the microphones.

“The Latinos love me!” it yells. “The Mexicans, they love me! Just last week, I gave one of them a $10 tip, and he said to me…”

Is there no intelligence to be found out here?

It’s almost a relief to see the televangelist lifeform flail its tentacles up to the sky. “He’s coming back!” it screeches. “He’s coming back and when He does, everyone who didn’t listen to my warning will get TOSSED into the lake of fire!”

The lake of fire sounds preferable to this insanity…I hope I get tossed in there soon. To borrow a phrase from this crazy tribe, amen.

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One of the more amusing aspects of traveling around America’s little motels is the reading material you might find in your room. While staying at the Sweet Breeze Inn on my vacation trip last week, I ended up perusing a 1960s Ann Landers book encapsulating some of her life advice. I believe it was titled “Since You Ask Me”. Some of the advice was quite outdated–Ann took a firm stand against interfaith marriage, for instance. But other parts of the book sounded like they could have been written today. In particular, there was a section talking about how not everyone is meant to be married. Ann wrote about women who don’t have the desire to get partnered up–and how she rarely received letters from those women asking for help, because they were, for the most part, content with their lives.

As I get older, I’m turning into one of those women. In fact, I’m starting to suspect that I’m a person who’s happier when she’s not in a relationship. A relationship requires compromise, it requires a give and take. There’s no way around that. I get frustrated about having to give up time and space to a partner, and that’s not fair to either one of us. I like to spend my time doing the things I’m passionate about. I like writing. I like being involved in volunteering and politics and social events. Whether it’s because I’m the creative type or because I’m just plain selfish, I don’t want to have to sacrifice all that for another person. And I definitely don’t want to have to listen to a guy bitching and complaining because I want to go to a protest rally or want to go out dancing.

Our culture is in such a fevered rush to pair everybody up, as if our life isn’t complete unless we’re part of a couple. As if we don’t represent something complete as an individual. The problem is there is already so much going on in my mind and my soul that I have trouble making room.

So I have to say that it would take a lot to convince me to try dating again. I would have to be sure that my partner would recognize the real person I am, instead of trying to change me or make me over to match his tastes. I would need the freedom to still follow my passions. And I don’t know if any of that is possible.

Because inevitably, a relationship would require that I give and change as well. And like those single ladies who never wrote to Ann Landers, I kinda like my life as it is right now. Is this a bad choice on my part? Am I too self-centered? Am I settling for something less than? And if so, why do my wrong decisions make me feel so damn satisfied?

While I would never be silly enough to say that making money is evil or that it makes one a sellout, the past week has reminded me once again that all of the most meaningful stuff I do in life I either do for free or while giving my money away.  Writing this blog, taking my friend out to dinner, hiking.  My work exists as financial structure to support the things I love to do.

This does make me wonder about what we decide to focus on.  Is it a positive thing that we focus our lives on making an income, since that effort supports all the good we can then do?  Or is it sad that most people I know, including me, will spend the vast majority of their time on the less meaningful?  I don’t have a real answer for this question, and will choose to believe in the happier version of the story for now.

Lou Dobbs loves good old American individualism.  He loves it so much that he recently spent time on his show singing the praises of the 3D printed gun, which can pass unnoticed through metal detectors.  What a wonderful way to stand up against those pro-gun restriction folks who want to control our lives, right?  The guy who produced the gun is a self-proclaimed anarchist, and Lou hurried to note that “In that view, which is to assert really individual freedom … it’s not entirely, well, dissident with American exaltation of self-reliance and independence.”

So, yay libertarian anarchy!  Except for that one…very *special* group of people.  You know the one I’m talking about.

Yep, now Lou Dobbs is discussing the Pew Research study which shows that the number of women in the United States who are the sole or primary breadwinner of their household is increasing, and he is singing a very different song.  After all, women’s traditional role is to stay at home and take care of the kids, so…these results are “troubling” and “concerning”.  Lou even thinks that “we’re watching society dissolve around us”.

But Lou, I thought society dissolving was kinda cool as far as you’re concerned?  Or is it only cool for the guys to exercise all that individual freedom, while women have to stay in their prescribed roles?  Wouldn’t it be exciting to see the ladies shrug off those aprons and step out of the kitchen, maybe while toting some of those 3D printed guns?  No…?  Okay, I guess the fear of teh vagina!! continues.

In the past few weeks, I have been hearing a lot about liberty.  The freedom to live one’s life as one wishes to live it.  And, of course, the government’s desire to take that liberty away.

I would like to add to that chorus of voices and say that I, too, believe in freedom.

First of all, I believe in the liberty to live my life without having twelve or thirteen children.  We’re not in the nineteenth century anymore and I don’t need to spend my existence as a woman pumping out kids and dying in childbirth.  I want the freedom to fulfill my goals and ambitions, to educate myself, to have a satisfying career and to be creative.  I don’t want that freedom taken away from me as I am reduced to the procreation role of a rabbit. 

Secondly, I believe in my freedom to follow a religion other than that of the conservative Christian church.  As far as I know, we are (still) permitted to follow different religious faiths in this country.  Therefore, I will plan my principles, my sex life, my marriage and my worship rituals around my individual spiritual beliefs.  I realize that there are conservative Christians in government who would like to take those liberties away, but all this means is that they don’t understand the greatness of this country.  I have my conversations with God too—they are not the only ones with that privilege—and the message I’m getting from Him doesn’t bode well for them.

I also believe in the freedom to use my brain.  I don’t think God would have given me an active, functioning, sarcastic mind if I wasn’t meant to use it.  I believe in the freedom we have as a species to use our intelligence, to make amazing technological and medical advances, and to make the world better this way.  I don’t think we should be ashamed of that, as if it somehow takes us further away from God or Nature.  I don’t believe in abandoning all the progress we’ve made so that we can return to the “good old days”.  Or the Dark Ages, more like.  Does anybody here really want to live in a world with no cancer treatments or high-speed Internet?  Moving on, then.

Finally, I would like to live my life free of fear.  Free of the fear that if I develop a serious illness, I will lose everything I have.  The fear that I will be swindled out of my retirement savings.  Or the fear that I will have to spend my life working for minimum wage, because all of our work will get outsourced overseas and there will be no other options for me.  But I forgot…I have already been born, so my well-being means very little to those in power.  Even less since I’m a woman.  If only I was a fetus, perhaps I would have better luck!