Of Men and Beasts Part 1


A little piece I had begun a while ago.  Hope you enjoy.

Just enough to smell the wood of the kitchen hearths.  That was as close as he would allow himself to be near people, even then only when in human form and the moon was waning.  He didn’t trust himself not to shift.  Granted the only times he shifted anymore were on the night of the full moon, when he had to hunt for food, or when he needed to defend himself.  Not that there was much that he needed to worry about, granted that one rabid bear was something, but other than that there wasn’t really anything around that could or would challenge him in his other form.

He sat on the bolder near the stream where he would always go when he needed to remember that he was still human, well, at least some of the time anyway.  It was a quite little place, the woods on the mountain having a reputation for not allowing trespassers to leave kept the normal humans away, but still close enough to people, to the smells of human habitation that it was perfect for his purpose.  He would come sit there during the waning moon sometimes and try to remember what it was like to be human.  Sometimes he would even wear the shirt and pants that he had when he had originally fled to the woods.  As old as the clothes were, they were still of good quality.  They had been new when he fled and he only started wearing them again in the last two years, when he could control the shifting to some degree and only when the moon was on the wane.  His clothes, a sturdy leather satchel, and the good knife his father had given him when he came of age were the only things that he still had from his old life.  The only things he still had from when he had been completely and totally human.

Sitting on the boulder daydreaming about how he was just on a hunting trip in the woods, and would return home to a wife in a few days, he was startled to realize that the scent he thought he was imagining as belonging to his fictional wife was real.  That startled him back to reality fast enough to realize the voice singing also belonged to a real woman and she was close and heading straight for him!  He jumped up intending to flee, but she pushed through the foliage before he could escape the clearing.

They both stood there in silent shock for a moment, just staring at each other. Her shock quickly began to turn to fear, as she realized he might bring her back to the village and her family.  As he began to smell the scent of her fear, his brain quickly woke up before other instincts could and started to turn to run off.

A quite voice stopped him with a small, “hello?”

It froze him, he couldn’t think for a moment.  Just hearing another person’s voice speaking to him created such a feeling of longing and stirred the loneliness that had shoved down after being alone for so long he could not deny it.  It took him, a moment to find his voice, disused as it was.  “Hello,” he croaked cutting off her quite question that had gone unheard through his internal conflict.

His rough croak startled a small squeal from the already frightened woman after his silence.  He ran, her fear was too much and he did not trust himself in her presence with the scent of her fear ever-increasing.

“Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!  Thank the gods she did not run!  I don’t think I would have had any chance to stop myself from hunting her down as prey,” he thought to himself as he took off in the woods.  Once he felt he was far enough away, he stripped down, packed his clothes and knife in his satchel, and melted into his other form.  Grabbing his satchel in his jaw, he ran back to the cave he had made his den, loosing himself in the sheer joy of the run.

When he arrived instead of melting back as had become his custom, he chose to remain in his beast form, to remind himself why he can never be among humans again as he continued to berate himself over the incident.

“What was I thinking, I could have killed her!  I am too dangerous to be that near humans.  I will never go that close again,” he thought as he found a comfortable spot in the moss he used as a bed on the cave floor, ignoring the tear that spilled down his face.

***

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The Rights to be Offensive and Offended


In response to how much I am seeing people (in the news and in my personal life) try to force their opinions and beliefs upon others because they are offended, and find _____ behavior or expression offensive.

How many times have you heard the following or something similar?  “I am offended by this!”  Or perhaps it was, “That is offensive!”  How often were those sentiments followed by this or that “should be stopped”?  Good money could be won if you bet on usually, often, almost always, and etc, provided you were able to find a sucker to take that bet.

Of course any behavior or expression that offended someone should be stopped at once because being offended is hurting that person, isn’t it?  Everyone should just stop being offensive and doing offensive things, that would make the world a better place, wouldn’t it?  Would it really?  Let’s look at the definitions of the words being discussed as stated in Webster’s Concise Desk Dictionary ©2001.  The military and criminal/legal definitions will left out and disregarded for this discussion since neither military strategy or criminal matters are being discussed within this essay.

Offense: n. (a) state of offending; being offended to take o[ffense] at = to be offended by; […]

Offend: v. to be/ to go against ([…]opinions/ wishes/ feelings)

Offensive:  adj. which is unpleasant […]

Now since there is no direct definition stated for “offended” being as it is merely the past tense of the word “offend”, let us take the definition of “offend” and place it in past tense:

Offended:  To have been/ to have gone against (opinions/ wishes/ feelings)

Using these definitions as the baseline for discussion allow us to look at what it really means for something to be offensive and for us to be offended by something.  Beginning with the word “offensive”, what are we really saying when we say “This is offensive”?   All we are saying is “this is unpleasant.”  Since we can only speak from our own individual perspectives regarding whether we find something to be pleasant or unpleasant because such a state is completely subjective, what we are really saying is “This is unpleasant to me.”

Going back to an earlier question, would the world be a better place if everyone stopped being offensive and doing offensive things?  Let us look at the question again, but this time using the definition instead of the word.  Would the world be a better place if everyone stopped being unpleasant, and doing unpleasant things?  At first most would answer in the affirmative, that of course they want things less unpleasant and more pleasant.  At first most would not think about telling a friend a hard truth, like they significant other was cheating on them.  Not a pleasant experience is it?  Or how about a doctor telling their patient’s family that unfortunately the were unable to revived the family’s loved one after the patient suffered a heart attack.  Not scenarios that most would find offensive to be on the receiving end of, but there are enough that we have people who would try to push for malpractice lawsuits against our figurative doctor.  There are people who would rather stop talking and think their friend was offensive for “lying to them” because the truth was unpleasant.

Now let us look at the word “offended” and what it really means to say, “I am offended by this.”  Since that is a rather round about way of saying it and for the purpose of this discussion overly complicates the grammar and therefore increases the likely hood of misunderstandings to arise, it shall be simplified to, “This offended me.”  Replacing the word “offended” in the latter sentence with the above meaning, we get “This has gone against me.”  To be more grammatically correct, “This has gone against my opinions, wishes, and/or feelings.”

Return to another earlier asked question, should any expression or behavior that offended someone be stopped because being offended hurts that person?  Considering the length of the question and definition, this time it will be written using a shortened from of the above definition instead of “offended”, and someone shall be changed to the 1st person perspective.  Should any expression or behavior that has gone against my feelings be stopped because being against my feelings hurts me?  The definition was deliberately shortened to the feelings from, since that is the most likely of the three to cause hurt.  Keeping that in mind, many would say answer yes to that, at first.  Who wants to feel emotional pain, or be the cause of it for another?  Almost no one, but once again if the question is inspected on a deeper level, all may not appear so cut and dry.

A scenario to consider: your crush declines because they are not interested when you ask them out, in essence rejecting you.  Your feelings are hurt; you are offended by their rejection of you.  Should they not decline your request, their rejection of you, since it causes you pain, and date you?  What of them?  Should they then be hurt by having to date you when they do not wish to?  Should they then be the ones to feel pain in this situation, merely so you don’t have to be offended?  Look at it from the other perspective you are the one being asked out, are you not offended that their wishes should come before your own?  That they feel your pain at being in an unwanted relationship is less important than them being rejected?

If that held a bit too much high school drama for you, then perhaps the following scenario will suit you more.  A beloved friend or family member dies, you are hurt by this, to compound this pain, you find out that it was because they ambulance took too long to arrive and get your loved one to a hospital for treatment.  Would you be offended that it took so long?  Even if it was because there was a traffic accident that they could not foresee or avoid?  They did everything they reasonably could to help save your loved one, but still, you say, they should have done more.  What if you were the ambulance driver and you knew unless there was an accident that this was the fastest way, by several minutes and time counted?  Would you take the long way on the off-chance there would be an accident or the shortest and fastest route you could think of?  Would you be offended by them being angry with you over something you could not control?  What behavior or expression should be stopped in this case to prevent someone being offended?

To conclude, being offensive or offended is a completely subjective state held by the one who chooses to find offense rather than the one who is found offensive.  While we have every right to our feelings and opinions (ideas that are subjective to our emotions, personal experiences, and etc.), we do not have the right to dictate that our subjective experiences should be taken as fact or objective knowledge.  Meaning, we have the right to be offended and to find something offensive, but that does not give us the right to dictate that said something is in fact offensive to all or that all are offended by it.  Nor do we have the right to dictate that another conforms to our opinions, wishes, or feelings because we find some action, or words on their part to be offensive (unpleasant) to us.  We do have the right to engage in introspection regarding why we are offended and why some phrases or actions are offensive to us.  Let us take these opportunities to learn more about ourselves, rather than trying to control or condemn another.

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Hard Truth vs. Little White Lie


A crisis of conscience seems to occur for many people when it comes to the matter of should they tell someone a hard truth, that would hurt that person, or a little white lie to try to protect that person.  Many people unfortunately choose to tell the little white lie despite the fact that if you were to ask their preference, they would claim they want to hear the hard truth. These, upright and caring people, who claim a preference to hear the truth, in the same breath will also claim that a little white lie will hurt nothing and may even make the other person feel better.  Despite their own preference in the matter and utterly disregarding their own knowledge of the pain they would feel upon learning of the lie.

Humanity puts such positive emphasis on truth, loyalty, and justice while it condemns lies, betrayal, and injustices as demonstrated continuously through out our literary history.  Yet we as a species continuously disregard those ideologies that we have been raised upon and spoon fed from almost every direction of literature, biographies, novels, poems, plays, and so on and so forth.  As a species humans continue to disregard the reoccurring warnings against the ills of such negative behavior as are found in our literature.

William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is a prime example of such a warning.  How much needless death occurred due to Romeo’s and Juliet’s betrayal of their families?  Now for those die-hard romantics, would you not prefer if Romeo and Juliet told their families they were married and lived?  Could they not have averted their own tragedy if they were honest and less rash?  For that matter, if Montagues and the Capulets were less unjust to each other, would the story of Romeo and Juliet have even been a tragedy?  Probably, Shakespeare needed to have some sort of climax to his work in order to sell it.  Yet many of people, especially young teens, choose to wear blinders to the repercussions warned of in this tale, recalling only the great passion between the two lovers.  They claimed to love their families, yet lied to them constantly, resulting in several deaths including their own.  They claimed to love each other, though Romeo, instead of seeking confirmation through the friar, chose to end his life depriving his supposedly loving Juliet of her husband.

Another well-known tale of tragedy, that of King Arthur and the fall of Camelot.  The betrayal of Guinevere and Lancelot (and Mordred depending on the version) is at the heart of the destruction.  Oaths broken, because the couple would rather lie to one who loved them dearly than do the honorable thing and keep their oaths.

These tales serve as a warning to us all, yet repeatedly we as a species and as individuals fail to heed them.  We too often choose to hide behind masks of lies than to honestly be who we are out of fear, either fear of being hurt or of fear of hurting another.  Either way we continuously choose to lie and pretend while claiming to love each other.  Can one truly love who and what they do not know, or is it only mere infatuation at best?  Without honestly and truth, can we truly be us?  Can we ever truly even love ourselves?  Which do you prefer, the easy lie or the harsh truth?  Which do you actually tell yourself?

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Our Eagle


Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You held us dear in your heart
You were our shield even when apart

It seemed as if you could fly on the wings of eagles you wore
We would know our true beauty if only we could see what you adore

You taught us when to walk away and when to hold our own
Gently guiding us by the hand and sometimes over the phone

You may not have always been there when you were wanted
But always there when needed,  protecting us from being haunted

Loved and trusted by so many, how strong you were to us all
No matter what you tried to save us from seeing your fall

You lived your life as you chose
Doing what you must and going as the wind blows

We love always and hope you know
We will miss you and wish you did not have to go

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At Best, Mere Infatuation


Sad how many of us lie to each other.  Even “little white lies” dim the truth and the light of our souls.  A thought I plan on taking to heart:

One cannot love who and what they do not know, they can only be infatuated at best.  Without honestly and truth, you will never be able to know anything or anyone. Including yourself.

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Expense


Expense

It is after midnight again, and I have died a little inside once more.

The end of yet another day, whence I was nothing to no one.

No.  Not so, I was an annoyance, a pest, a walking reminder of mistakes and regrets.

Of a cost thought too high to pay, after the purchase.  An expense if you will.

I hear of my cost, though I must wonder at my value.

Do I even have a value at all?

Or am I merely an expense that has for some reason not yet been written off the books?

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Their Glory


Realized how long it has been since I have had time to sit down and actually write something.  Not my best work, but it still felt good just writing again. Their Glory We hide our pain behind half-hearted smiles, The … Continue reading

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