Godless Perverts Social Club — Game Night! Tuesday, July 5

Godless perverts social club game night banner for july 5 text over image of game pieces

Godless Perverts is having another game night on Tuesday, July 5! These are big fun, and they’re becoming some of our most well-attended events — so we’re making it a regular event, and our next one is on Tuesday, July 5. Wicked Grounds has a huge stash of games including chess and checkers, Cards Against Humanity*, Scrabble, Fluxx, Slash, Gloom, and much, much more. Feel free to bring your own games if you’re not sure Wicked Grounds has a copy of your favorite.

We’re meeting at Wicked Grounds, the kink cafe and boutique, at 289 8th Street at Folsom in San Francisco (near Civic Center BART). 7-9 pm. Admission is free, but we ask that you buy food and/or drink at the cafe if you can: Wicked Grounds has beverages, light snacks, full meals, and milkshakes made of literal awesome sauce. We meet at Wicked Grounds on the first Tuesday of every month: we also meet in Oakland, on the third Thursday. All orientations, genders, and kinks (or lack thereof) are welcome. Community is one of the reasons we started Godless Perverts. There are few enough places to land when you decide you’re an atheist; far fewer if you’re also LGBT, queer, kinky, poly, trans, or are just interested in sexuality. And the sex-positive/ alt-sex/ whatever- you- want- to- call- it community isn’t always the most welcoming place for non-believers. So please join us. We meet at Wicked Grounds on the first Tuesday of every month: we also meet in Oakland, on the third Thursday. Hope to see you there!

Godless Perverts presents and promotes a positive view of sexuality without religion, by and for sex-positive atheists, agnostics, humanists, and other non-believers, through performance events, panel discussions, social gatherings, media productions, and other appropriate outlets. Our events and media productions present depictions, explorations, and celebrations of godless sexualities — including positive, traumatic, and complex experiences — focusing on the intersections of sexuality with atheism, materialism, skepticism, and science, as well as critical, questioning, mocking, or blasphemous views of sex and religion. Godless Perverts is committed to feminism, diversity, inclusivity, and social justice. We seek to create safe and welcoming environments for all non-believers and believing allies who are respectful of the mission, and are committed to taking positive action to achieve this.

*(If you decide to play CAH, please be cautious; it can be a really hard game between people who don’t know each other and aren’t familiar with each others’ limits and triggers.)

Comforting Thoughts book cover oblong 100 JPG
Coming Out Atheist
Bending
why are you atheists so angry
Greta Christina is author of four books: Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God, Coming Out Atheist: How to Do It, How to Help Each Other, and Why, Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless, and Bending: Dirty Kinky Stories About Pain, Power, Religion, Unicorns, & More.

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Godless Perverts Social Club — Game Night! Tuesday, July 5

Frivolous Friday: Big Pots Of Things, Frozen Into Little Tupperwares

roasting pan with tomatoes peppers onions and garlic

If you live alone or in a two-person household, the cost-benefit analysis of cooking at home can be challenging. Eating convenience food or takeout/ delivery every night can be expensive and not that good for you. But it can be hard to find the time and energy to cook a whole meal every night. That can be true for anyone, regardless of your household size — but when I was living alone, I always found it extra-hard to be motivated to cook, and it’s almost as hard with just two people.

There’s a trick Ingrid and I have been doing for several years now. It’s not like we made it up, a lot of people do this, but it took me a while to figure out, so I’m sharing it here.

We make giant pots of food, divvy it up into single- or double-serving Tupperwares, and freeze them.

You get the convenience of pre-packaged meals or takeout, with the cheapness and deliciousness and healthiness of home-cooked food. You get the pleasure of cooking at home, without the hassle of doing it every single freaking night. Plus you get to make your food exactly the way you want it. Want Old Bay in the split pea soup? Want lentil soup with stock from the Christmas roast? Going low-fat, low-carb, low-salt? Obsessed with cardamom and are putting it in everything? Knock yourself out!

To do this you need: Continue reading “Frivolous Friday: Big Pots Of Things, Frozen Into Little Tupperwares”

Frivolous Friday: Big Pots Of Things, Frozen Into Little Tupperwares

“The frivolous bits of life”: Meme from The Way of the Heathen

"The frivolous bits of life are the universe knowing itself, experiencing itself, and taking joy in itself."

“The frivolous bits of life are the universe knowing itself, experiencing itself, and taking joy in itself.”
-Greta Christina, The Way of the Heathen: Practicing Atheism in Everyday Life
(from Chapter 60, “In Praise of Frivolity”)

(Image description: above text, juxtaposed next to an illustration of a woman in a colorful outfit and a large cocktail glass filled with bubbles)

I’m making a series of memes/ inspirational poster thingies with my favorite quotes from my new book, The Way of the Heathen: Practicing Atheism in Everyday Life. Please feel free to share this on social media, or print it and hang it on your wall if you like. (The image above is pretty big: you can click on it to get a bigger size if you like.)

Way of the Heathen cover
The Way of the Heathen is available in ebook on Amazon/Kindle and on Smashwords for $7.99. The audiobook is at Audible. The print edition is at Amazon and Powell’s Books, and can be ordered or carried by pretty much any bookstore: it’s being wholesaled by Ingram, Baker & Taylor, IPG, and bookstores can buy it directly from the publisher, Pitchstone Publishing. Check it out, and tell your friends!

“The frivolous bits of life”: Meme from The Way of the Heathen

“Written with clarity and humor”: Jennifer Michael Hecht on The Way of the Heathen

Way of the Heathen cover
Some people I like and respect greatly have said some really nice things about my new book, The Way of the Heathen: Practicing Atheism in Everyday Life. Here’s the blurb from Jennifer Michael Hecht:

“If you are a newcomer to atheism in America in the twenty-first century you will be glad to spend time with Greta Christina in her new book The Way of the Heathen. Written with clarity and humor, the book tours some of the key issues facing someone who has recently emerged from a life defined by Christian belief. Christina roots her exploration in her own experience of awakening from religious dogma, and her candor is one of the particularly strong aspects of this much-needed work.”
-Jennifer Michael Hecht, author of Doubt: A History

The Way of the Heathen is available in ebook on Amazon/Kindle and Smashwords for $7.99. The audiobook is at Audible. The print edition is at Amazon and Powell’s Books, and can be ordered or carried by pretty much any bookstore: it’s being wholesaled by Ingram, Baker & Taylor, IPG, and bookstores can buy it directly from the publisher, Pitchstone Publishing. Check it out, and tell your friends!

“Written with clarity and humor”: Jennifer Michael Hecht on The Way of the Heathen

Steven Universe Episode 13: So Many Birthdays

Steven Universe so many birthdays image pearl amethyst garnet and lion in birthday hats

Ingrid and I are re-watching Steven Universe, and I’m blogging some of my observations and reactions, about individual episodes and the show as a whole. These posts will probably make more sense if you’ve seen the show, but I hope they inspire the rest of you to check it out, as it’s one of the richest and most emotionally intense things I’ve seen on TV. This post contains spoilers about Steven Universe: the show as a whole, and/or about Episode 13: So Many Birthdays.

“I never realized birthdays meant leaving things behind.”

Adults and kids are sometimes like alien species. It can be so hard for kids to understand adults, and vice versa. When I was growing up, adulthood seemed both glamorous and alarming: I though teenagers were the most sophisticated creatures on the planet and I couldn’t wait to get into high school, but at the same time I fought like a tiger whenever I’d grown out of clothes I liked. Kids have a hard time even parsing age: I could never grasp that adults had limits to their energy and physical ability, and yet anyone over thirty seemed ancient. Adults have a slight edge here, in that they’ve been kids in the past, but that advantage can undercut itself: adults often think that because they were once kids, they must understand them. In Steven Universe, the gems’ alien-ness is a metaphor for a lot of things — but one of the most important, I think, is the age gap, and it makes for one of the most emotionally poignant episodes of the show. Continue reading “Steven Universe Episode 13: So Many Birthdays”

Steven Universe Episode 13: So Many Birthdays

Greta’s Podcast Interview on “The Humanist Hour”

Humanist Hour banner

Attention, podcast fans! I recently did an interview with The Humanist Hour, the official broadcast of the American Humanist Association.

I talk with Peggy Knudtson and Jenn Wilson about who my real atheist heroes are; why it’s such a strange thing to have to defend social justice; why writing about death and suffering is sometimes more rewarding than writing about fun subjects like sex; the progression many nonbelievers go through with our nonbelief; how humanism can shape our relationship with nature; how to decide which ideas to revisit and which ones we’ve questioned enough; how The Simpsons has shaped my philosophy of life; and more. Check it out!

Greta’s Podcast Interview on “The Humanist Hour”

“Depression is not a philosophical failing”: Meme from The Way of the Heathen

"Depression is not a philosophical failing. It's an illness."

“Depression is not a philosophical failing. It’s an illness.”
-Greta Christina, The Way of the Heathen: Practicing Atheism in Everyday Life
(from Chapter 22, “How Humanism Helps With Depression — Except When It Doesn’t”)

(Image description: above text, superimposed on image of a cloudy sky above hills and a lake)

I’m making a series of memes/ inspirational poster thingies with my favorite quotes from my new book, The Way of the Heathen: Practicing Atheism in Everyday Life. Please feel free to share this on social media, or print it and hang it on your wall if you like. (The image above is pretty big: you can click on it to get a bigger size if you like.)

Way of the Heathen cover
The Way of the Heathen is available in ebook on Amazon/Kindle and on Smashwords for $7.99. The audiobook is at Audible. The print edition is at Amazon and Powell’s Books, and can be ordered or carried by pretty much any bookstore: it’s being wholesaled by Ingram, Baker & Taylor, IPG, and bookstores can buy it directly from the publisher, Pitchstone Publishing. Check it out, and tell your friends!

“Depression is not a philosophical failing”: Meme from The Way of the Heathen

No, Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine Will Not Help My Depression

Acupuncture needles

Are you seriously going to tell a skeptic with depression that alternative medicine is an emotional cure-all?

In response to yesterday’s piece about meta-depression, I got this comment on Facebook:

“A long course of acupuncture from a licensed acupuncturist plus probably Chinese herbs is often going to help anyone with anything emotional.”

Sigh. Okay, fine. Let’s do this.

Dear Person:

First, I specifically asked people in this post to frame any suggestions as things that worked for them. I specifically said I did NOT want prescriptive advice, for me or anyone else. Are you always this careless about violating depressed people’s boundaries?

Second: Your advice is unhelpful at best and dangerous at worst. Even if these methods were effective, there is no single method of managing mental or emotional problems that works for everyone. Suggesting that there is one is dismissive at best, reckless at worst.

And there’s no reason to think these methods are effective. Continue reading “No, Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine Will Not Help My Depression”

No, Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine Will Not Help My Depression

“Intimately connected with the universe”: Meme from The Way of the Heathen

"I feel much more intimately connected with the universe now that I'm not lying to myself about it."

“I feel much more intimately connected with the universe now that I’m not lying to myself about it.”
-Greta Christina, The Way of the Heathen: Practicing Atheism in Everyday Life
(from Chapter 59, “Letting the World Surprise You”)

(Image description: above text, juxtaposed above image of a galaxy and stars in outer space)

I’m making a series of memes/ inspirational poster thingies with my favorite quotes from my new book, The Way of the Heathen: Practicing Atheism in Everyday Life. Please feel free to share this on social media, or print it and hang it on your wall if you like. (The image above is pretty big: you can click on it to get a bigger size if you like.)

Way of the Heathen cover
The Way of the Heathen is available in ebook on Amazon/Kindle and on Smashwords for $7.99. The audiobook is at Audible. The print edition is at Amazon and Powell’s Books, and can be ordered or carried by pretty much any bookstore: it’s being wholesaled by Ingram, Baker & Taylor, IPG, and bookstores can buy it directly from the publisher, Pitchstone Publishing. Check it out, and tell your friends!

“Intimately connected with the universe”: Meme from The Way of the Heathen

Meta-Depression

Sad women sitting in window seat
Content note: depression, obviously. Also, this post has a different comment policy than the usual one.

Dammit to hell. I was doing so well. I’d been depression-free for several months. I’d dialed my meds dosage back down; I was even planning to leave therapy. And then the shit hit the fan. Orlando/Pulse happened. The latest accusations broke about sexual harassment in the atheist community, centering on someone who had once been a friend and colleague. Brexit happened. And my depression is back. It’s not as bad as it’s been in the past, but it’s bad enough.

And on top of the depression itself, I’m dealing with meta-depression. I am feeling irritated, pessimistic, and helpless, about the fact that I’m depressed again.

My depression tends to be set off by two or more traumas at once. So what does that say for my prognosis? The world is extra shitty right now. I don’t think that’s the depression talking: it seemed that way even when I was feeling better, and I’m far from the only person who thinks this. The world just seems to be on a hair trigger. There are some good things about that — I think a lot of the social upheaval is backlash and polarization about real progress that’s being made — but it doesn’t make the traumas less traumatic. Depression is sometimes defined as feeling hopeless, pessimistic, sad, or shut down, when there’s no external reason to be. But what if there is an external reason? How does a depressed person handle the fact that the world often is unpredictably shitty? The best wisdom I can find is that when depression tells me the world is terrible, that’s not a lie. The lie is that the world is only terrible. But as comfort goes, that’s kind of ambiguous. “Hey, someday you’ll feel better, and you’ll be able to deeply experience the unresolvable conflict of the joy of life being deeply interlaced with its pain and brutality!”

I’m also wondering if I’m more likely to get depressed than I used to be. My last round of depression — fall 2012 to spring 2016 — was bad, really bad, the worst it’s ever been, and the longest. I’m wondering if it just wore down some of my mental reserves, or carved the depression paths deeper into my synapses. With some physical illnesses or injuries, you get better, and once you’re better you’re totally fine. But with some, you never get completely better. You’re always weaker in that arm; you always have a harder time catching your breath. Is mental illness like that? Now that I’ve had a three-and-a-half-year stretch of serious, disabling depression, am I more likely to get depressed again? My therapist says that’s a real possibility, although I have no way of knowing yet how often this is going to happen, or how severe it’s going to be when it does. I used to get depressed every few years: am I now going to get depressed every few months? If that’s true, I don’t know what to do with that.

Hence, the meta-depression. I’m depressed — and I’m depressed about being depressed. I’m depressed about how easily I got depressed this time; how much it was triggered by external events I had no control over; what my depression may look like in the near future and for the rest of my life.

The plus side is that I now know what to look for, and I know what to do about it. I now know the difference between feeling sad, angry, frustrated, irritated — and feeling foggy, unmotivated, pessimistic, anhedonic. The day I started feeling low, I started dialing up my self-care routines. I started leaving the house every day, being social every day, meditating every day. I started drawing again. I started asking for help. I had a brief round of denial, trying to convince myself that I wasn’t depressed again, I was just sad. And tired. And headachy. And forgetful. And unable to focus. And amotivated. And… But I was also able to tell myself to play it safe. It’s not like there’d be any great harm in dialing up my self care. If I was wrong and this wasn’t depression, the worst that would happen is I’d meditate more than I needed to, and spend more time outside and with other people that was strictly necessary. Those are good things to do anyway, why not just do them?

As a result, I think I may be nipping this in the bud. Or at least, I’m making it less bad than it would have been, and hopefully it won’t last as long.

But it still sucks. And it meta-sucks.

Other people with chronic depression — how do you handle it, both the illness and the meta?

Comment policy: If you yourself have depression or other mental illness, I welcome suggestions and perspectives on managing it as a chronic lifelong illness — but please frame them as what works for you, not as prescriptions for me or anyone else. If you don’t have mental illness, please don’t give advice of any kind. Thanks.

Meta-Depression