My Awkward Conversion Story

Confession: I feel weird when people around me talk about their “how did I convert to atheism/secular humanism” stories.

Most go like “I was involved in such-and-such religion for blah years and then I read this book/listened to this podcast/observed some non-believing person in my life”, which is inspiring and awesome and should be shared with the world.

…and I’m sitting there like, “Officially? I was 12. Read the Bible from front to back. It didn’t mention dinosaurs. None of the Bible stories I was told made sense.”

Continue reading “My Awkward Conversion Story”

My Awkward Conversion Story


Today in “shit I can’t believe I have to say”:


Attitude will get you in trouble socially.  Attitude will get you fired.  Attitude will get you detention. Attitude will make you lose friends and gain enemies.

But it is not a crime. For too damned long, it’s been treated like a crime, though.

Recent case in point, the murder of Sandra Bland.  Now there’s video (that may or may not have been edited).  I’m not going to link to the video here, if you haven’t seen it yet, you can make use of the search engine of your choice.  Personally I tire of seeing Black death at police hands broadcast over and over.

According to the video, she was asked to put out her cigarette.  Not a lawful order, she didn’t have to obey. She asked repeatedly what she was being arrested for, and received no answer.  She stated that she couldn’t wait to sue, which is not a crime.  She outright stated that she had epilepsy, and the cop didn’t give a shit (I could write about how dangerous it is to be Black and disabled and having to deal with cops in this society, but that will have to wait for another day).

He didn’t care.  He didn’t get the respect he thought he deserved, and she paid the  price.

Yes, she coped an attitude.  Still not a crime.  But as we see over and over and over again, cops love to treat it like it is.  They act as if someone disrespecting their authority (insert Cartman impression here) is a crime to be punished from a beating up to death.  You know what other organizations treat disrespect as a lethal offense?


We have cops acting like stereotypical gang bangers, walking around openly armed and expecting the people to cower in fear of them and never say a bad word about or to them.  And that’s some bullshit.

What’s worse is that people actually play along with this shit.  We have people claiming that is Ms. Bland had just quietly complied with the cops unlawful and unreasonable requests, she would be alive today.  That coping an attitude with a cops is grounds for a beatdown, to be treated like a criminal when no crime had be committed.  Bow you head, say ‘yes sir/ma’am” and “No sir/ma’am”, don’t make trouble, don’t stand up for yourself.  It’ll be over sooner if you just behave.

And to that I say, Oh Hell Naw.

People get all up in their feelings when we talk shit about cops?  “Being a cops is so hard”, they say. “It’s the most dangerous job out there”, they say.  First of all, it’s not – ask an oil rigger who’s more likely to bite it on duty. Second of all, of course it’s a hard fucking job (so is being a brain surgeon or an air traffic controller).   That doesn’t give anybody license to act like damn fools with huge egos. The point is, they’re not special and we should stop treating them as such when one of them fucks up.

It’s time for the cops to get a goddamn reality check.  You have been given your authority by the People, and they are the ones you need to damn well respect.  I don’t care how many shit talking law enforcement agents you see on TV, here in the real world, giving you a “disrespectful look” ain’t a fucking crime.  It is your job, your duty, to be more responsible than the average citizen, because you have the authority to kill a motherfucker (and get away with it).  Do I need to quote Uncle Ben here?  “With Great Power Also Comes Great Responsibility”?

That mean, yes, if a clerk at a retail shop can’t punch a mean and nasty customer in the face, you can’t either.  Yes, even if they ran and made you run and catch them and you’re pissed off.  Yes, even if they called your momma everything but a child of god.  Yes, even if they make a pig and/or doughnut crack at you.  That means each and every time you strike a perp with hand or baton, you need to be held accountable (frankly, I think if you have to hit a motherfucker that ain’t tried to hit you first, that should be an instant investigation).  That means each and every bullet you fire needs to be held accountable.  That means every time you’re seen acting a fool, you get disciplined. That means remembering that yes, YOU CAN BE RECORDED ON DUTY (like a lot of other people with jobs have to put up with), so you better act right each and every time you go on duty.  We don’t want perfection, we want accountability.  We want to trust you again, and we can’t if we’re scared that the cop coming out of his car is going to be Officer Friendly or Deputy “Got Something to Prove”.

You want to improve the way we see cops?  Make them more accountable.  Toss out the heavy handed motherfuckers, the blatant racists, the homo/transphobes, the ones with a rap sheet full of complaints.  They are supposed to be serving the people, ALL OF THEM, and they damn well can’t if they’re bigots.  Take the wrongful death settlements out of their pension fund, make them feel the burn of each and every wrongdoer.  Stop punishing whistleblowers who are trying to do the right thing by exposing bullshit. Train your people on how to deal with all members of society with respect, including the disabled. END THE WAR ON DRUGS and the fucked up incentives to punish addicts just to fill the town’s “too fucked up to raise taxes” coffers.

I could go on forever, but I think it’s a start.


When #blacklivesmatter and Mental Health Collide: Some Thoughts on an Anxiety Attack

So, yesterday was the day during the five day week that I chose to leave the house.  There were things to do.  I needed some writing done and home is just the worst place to do it.  Also, I have four of my meds at once that needed refilling, and one needed approval from my doc.  Good thing my pharmacy and doc’s office were in the same building.

The plan was simple, leave house, catch bus, go to coffee shop for a couple of hours, eat breakfast while I was there and writing, take bus, transfer to another bus, go to doc’s office, then to pharmacy, then the drug store nearby for new lip balm, maybe some fries at McDonalds as a reward for being outside, then bus all the way home.

Not a bad plan.  I’ve done similar plans before, minus the writing bit. Just go, run errands, be back on the bus before the transfer runs out.  It’s short, it’s quick, I’m back before the fact that there is people and weather surrounding me gets to me. No eye contact, earbuds in at all times, make myself look as unfriendly as possible, in and out and back again.

Oh, did I ever mention that I have GAD?  Because I do.

The plan was going smoothly until that first bus transfer.  I was already a little hyped up on nearly missing this bus, then some lady wouldn’t take the “earbuds and short answers” hint.  Then the bus driver kept fussing at someone with the “headphones on too loud”, which made me paranoid as fuck b/c I don’t play my earbuds that loudly, so I had it practically on mute when she pointed it out again and that got me so worked up that I got off the bus two stops early and had to hoof it, cane and all.

So my mind just had a little meltdown on the way. All of these things may seem simple inconveniences of life to you, dear reader, but for a brain on GAD, simple inconveniences turn into big reason to worry very quickly and sometimes without warning. Last Saturday, a silly trigger I’m not sharing but had nothing to do with protesters nearly ruined my pretty good shift at the women’s clinic.

Thankfully I made it to the doc’s office, and they noticed that the hyperventilating teary woman who very much NOT FINE, as I said I was, took me to one of the back offices and had a nurse talk me down.  He asked me if I had anything I could take.

And here’s where things get just plain fucking hilarious.  See, I have an emergency script for Ativan.  Emergencies only.  Keeps me out of the ambulances and everything.  Problem is, I’m also a Black woman with a mental illness. What if a cop decided that the small amount of pills I carry with me isn’t for emergencies? Or knows but just don’t care? Wouldn’t that just be so funny, accosted and accused of having the wrong sort of drugs.  Oh the anxiety attack one could have in jail could be epic!

We also talked about having a little card to show someone if I happen to be having a meltdown in public. Just a simple “Hi, I have anxiety.  Please don’t call the cops.  They might kill me instead of help.” (okay, that’s my first draft). Because wouldn’t it just be a fucking laugh riot if someone mistook my crying/short of breath/eye darting wildness for something dangerous?  “911, this large Black woman is acting out. Please send someone to shatter her spine or shoot her in the head; she’s scaring the white folks!”

At the end, I left with a little keychain mounted pill holder that looks very professional.  Or like I could be smuggling cocaine or something.  That doesn’t help make me feel as calm as the thought of having emergency Ativan within reach should.

And as for that card, I’m still working on the wording:

“My hands are up, please don’t shoot”  

“Unless I pass out, call no one”

“I’m unarmed”

“Please don’t kill me because my brain is fucking up”

When #blacklivesmatter and Mental Health Collide: Some Thoughts on an Anxiety Attack