Tuesday, 29 April 2008

New Dawn

Incase anyone was still wondering .....

Noni isn't feeling very chatty anymore so the chat room has closed. The Poetry For Urbanites blog is still open and from time to time will be updated. Latest posts seen below:

From time to time, I may also feel the need to write something and I may do so here or who knows reopen the chat room. Apologies to all those who wanted me to update and to those who I never quite responded to (shame faced) Hope you're all well and ... yeah.

Happy New Year - may it bring you everything you deserve.

Warmest regards always
Noni Moss

Thursday, 12 July 2007

Brave New World

Once again - I've been bitten by the courage bug and have made my Chat Room open access. Anyone may view and browse freely. However I dont know how long I may leave it open - quite possible till someone pisses me off again.

Please feel free to send me your email addresses or leave a comment with it so I can send you invites should I close it once again. My Poetry Blog is always open.

Have a great week!

Thursday, 5 April 2007

Judgement & Religion

I’ve always prided myself on being non-judgemental. If someone I love comes up to me and tells me of some atrocity and terrible deed they’ve committed, I try and be supportive. Ok personally, I may never choose to do what they did, but it doesn’t stop me from loving them or supporting them publicly. Similarly if someone random tells a story of some their past misdeeds – I also try and be objective and see if I can understand their reasoning.

However it has been forced to my attention that I am judgmental. Both internally and externally. I have somehow deluded myself into thinking that some of my actions or comments/reactions to certain situations do not stem from judgement. The most recent example was during Uzo’s Bachelorette Series. One of the questions the bachelorettes had to answer was how they would spend an indoor weekend. One of them who in previous posts was clearly religious, talked about having sex with the bachelor and I asked a question about why all the sex especially if she was soo religious. This sparked off a bunch of other comments leading to the girl feeling attacked. I think I apologised then and I want to apologise again as it was a stupid comment and uncalled for.

I was asked if I felt that because someone is Christian, does this mean they shouldn’t have sex? Thinking about it now, I think I tend to mix up being religious with having principles. I realise now that I have very little faith in Christianity. It is not as narrow and prescriptive as say Islam but its teachings and principles are often twisted and interpreted in soo many ways. I also find that above all, Christians don’t practise what they preach. This is from my personal experience and from what I’ve witnessed. Now it would be rash of me to say all Christians are like this – especially as the whole theme of this post is about judgement. I have been to a few Churches and I have met lots of people who are devout Christians, live their lives accordingly and are genuinely good people. Yet at the same time I’ve met “born-again Christians” who are truly vile, capricious, selfish, self-centred creatures who feel that just because they go to church every Sunday, they are on a moral high ground. I don’t know maybe it’s because I go to Nigeria and see people begging in the streets and know how hard they struggle to survive day to day, and then hear of stories of Pastors throwing lavish parties, “earning” 6 figure sums paid out by the church, and asking for thousand pound (dollars?) donations. My Uncle is a pastor and he’s a good man – he really is. Yet I confess to find it hard to understand why he’s building a N200 million church. I can help but think, in a country overrun with churches (you can find one on almost every street), why cant the vast sums used in building such large coliseums, be used to help the needy? Does God really need another vast marble-topped, pillared vestibule to praise him or is it better to take people off the street, feed, clothe and show them human kindness still exists at least for a day? I know I am being totally idealistic and that especially in a country like Nigeria, such notions would never work. The question still stands though and I would really appreciate if someone could tell me – What is the point of having beautiful expensive churches when next door you have hovels full of destitutes?

I have read enough and been to enough churches to say that I think I understand the basic principles of Christianity. From what I understand, in my admittedly narrow and idealistic view, I don’t believe that church leaders should “earn” anything from the church. I don’t see why some struggling family trying to make ends meet, would go to church every Sunday and then donate what little they could scrounge to the church, for some leader to then use it to swan off to Europe in private jet, buy flashy cars with personalised fancy plates, or have the audacity to use it as their personal campaign fund to run for president. I think there must be some brainwashing involved that these people don’t challenge their leaders and ask questions.

I realise that I have swung very off-topic (as I tend to when talking about religion) so apologies. When it comes to sex, I believe people should have principles. I have a healthy respect for people having principles and sticking to them. I realise now that I hold people’s religion against them. If you’re going to claim that you are a devout born-again Christian, then stick with that all the way. Which means don’t have sex. I don’t know if there are any Christians who aren’t born-again. I may be mixing up the terms or confusing the meaning but my last year in Nigeria – I was made to go to church regularly and the big thing then was that everyone had to be born-again to “really accept Christ into their lives”. So I automatically compute that by now everyone should have caught up. (Someone please tell me if I’m wrong or completely misguided on this). Once I hear anyone mention strong views on Christianity, I automatically assume that they are devout born-again Christians. If you’re going to go that route, I believe you should go all the way. I know several people who are Christians and don’t believe in sex before marriage so much so they don’t even kiss as that leads to temptation. I think that is incredibly brave and strong willed of them because I know I can’t do that. I have several friends who practise this and they lead very healthy happy lives. However I don’t get those who sprout scripture at me or try and shove some form of religious doctrine down my throat and are then having sex. I am not saying all Christians shouldn’t have sex. I guess what I am saying is don’t go all religious on me and then talk about sex because I will use that against you. I realise that I am being judgemental by that statement but I don’t know how to change that. Sorry, I know I am also rambling a bit but that’s because I’m sort of thinking about this as I go along.

It’s weird because one of my friends goes to church quite regularly but I’ve been pushing her to take up a fuck buddy. I am not Christian so I don’t have these issues to deal with so I guess it’s easy for me to say if you’re religious, don’t have sex. Personally, I chose not to have sex because I want to care about the person I’m sleeping with. Even then I’ve broken my rules before and I by no means try and impose my principles on anyone else. However I also realise now that I may have judged some of my friends in the past.

Abortion is always a prickly subject. I am pro-choice. I truly have no idea what I would do if I got pregnant. I didn’t have sex for a long time (or what was deemed long in comparison to my peers) partly because I wanted to wait for the right person, right place, right time, blah blah (this was the idealistic part of me), but also because I believed that you have to think of the possible consequences and whether you are ready to face them. Were I to get pregnant, would I be able to look after the baby? I had sex when I was 19. At that time I was taking a gap year and was working full time and in my head I felt that even if I got pregnant and couldn’t go to uni, I could still get a good job and study for accounting qualifications so I would be alright. As it so happens, I didn’t actually plan to have sex, it just sorta happened and I guess it was a moot point. Anyways I have never been pregnant. I have taken some stupid chances when I was by no means ready to have a child but so far I’ve been lucky.

Now I have a number of friends who haven’t been soo lucky. I have this one friend who is my role model and who I hold as a standard for all other girls who get pregnant. She was just as smart and ambitious as me and she got pregnant in her first year of uni. At first, she thought her life was over and she was going to abort the baby but she decided not to. She took a year out to have the baby and then came back to school baby-in-tow, worked her ass off, got her 2.1 and has a fantastic job. Granted she had a lot of support from the father and some family and her friends but it still wasn’t easy and yet she managed. If I was in her shoes, I don’t think I could have had the strength to keep it. Especially in the face of adversity from your parents and everyone talking and gossiping about you.

I know other people who have had abortions due to different situations and all of them had their reasons and I supported their decisions. However I now realise that for some of them, I started to pull back after a while. Sex is a beautiful enjoyable thing and I’m all for having it. I had a guy tell me recently that there’s nothing wrong in hooking up with people and having casual relationships. True there’s nothing wrong with it until someone gets pregnant. I know some people who had casual flings then got pregnant. They didn’t feel they were in the sort of situation where they could keep it and they couldn’t tell the guy either. I think that there are some guys you shouldn’t tell that kinda shit to especially if you know you are not keeping it as they can start running their mouth and creating problems. What I don’t get is - how you can go from that (and what should have been a traumatic experience) to then jump right back into another casual relationship? I’m like - haven’t you learnt anything? It obviously cant have affected you that much. And if it didn’t, it unfortunately only makes me think less of you. My mother was always harping on about learning from other people’s mistakes. I guess some of it took. I don’t care if I’m seen as boring and repressed, can’t get a man, etc J. I have my principles and I’m sticking to them.

Having gone off-track, (yet again, I really am sorry), I guess the point of all that is now I realise that I may be judging them for sleeping around and getting pregnant. Now that may come out as blasé, but I do know that I shouldn’t be judging them as I haven’t had to deal with any of these things personally. This point was hit home more directly when I watched Oprah with my mum last week. This episode is quite old and aired in November last year I think. - watch the video clip - the story - read the comments

The story is basically about how this 15 year old girl got pregnant, and didn’t tell anyone. She was a cheerleader, very popular, lived in a small town and didn’t want to deal with the humiliation. She was also anorexic and bulimic so she didn’t show while she was pregnant. She finally delivered the baby – believed to be stillborn, and then stabbed it before her boyfriend dumped it in quarry. She said she stabbed the baby because she wasn’t sure if it was still alive and she wanted to take away its pain.

Now all through out the show, she sounded teary and shaky but she never once shed a tear. I thought it was all a show and she was faking it for the cameras. I also couldn’t understand how she could do that. Stabbing the baby to take away its pain? Come on! She delivered the baby in her bathroom, cleaned up, left it in her bedroom (sitting on it in the process), and then went down for dinner with her family. She didn’t tell anyone or say anything. She then went back to her room, stabbed the baby and put it in a bag at the back of her closet. Her boyfriend came the next day and threw it into a quarry. 6mths later when the body was discovered, she didn’t say anything or admit it was hers. It was 6 years later (when she had a new boyfriend) that she broke down and confessed to him in public. Someone overheard and called it in, and that’s how she got arrested.

Oprah was very cold and gave her short shrift. This comment by another woman summed up my attitude after watching it -

“She was a young girl who murdered her child. To refuse murder is irrisponsible. Why stab a child who was birthed still-born? It makes no logical sence. Shock is no excuse. She had months to prepare for the birth. She knew she was pregnant. She had to expect to give birth at some point. She was sitting at the dinner table having dinner with her family 30 minutes after the birth and acted normal enough so not to let on anything was out of the ordinary. Shock?

In my opinion, as flippant as it may sound; she was a girl who was terrified that her cheerleading outfit wouldn’t fit, and now is a young girl who is upset that she can’t wear one in prison. Is she sorry about the dead child? After that interview, I don’t believe so.”

I agreed with that as I thought – she basically felt having the baby would mean her life was over. She wasn’t prepared to give up the popularity and her boyfriend so she decided to kill the baby. I didn’t think it was a fair exchange.

My mother on the other hand was like we cannot judge her. She was 15. At that age, her popularity and her boyfriend is her whole existence and she didn’t know better. I shouldn’t judge her until I’ve had to walk in her shoes. What do you all think about this?

Basically, the whole point of this extra long ramble is that I realise I can be quite judgemental. From now on I’m no longer going to classify myself as non-judgemental but would rather say I try to be non-judgemental. I find that when we drop labels we place on ourselves, we stop trying to live up to those expectations. I don’t want to stop being non-judgemental so I’m simply going to refine that tag – to someone who tries. I guess my rant about christians earlier was basically to drop the banner proclaiming it if they are not living up to it fully; but I think that should be keep the label but state that it’s a work in progress. What are your labels and the aspects you’re still working on in the aims of becoming a better person?

Have a lovely holiday everyone!

Update: - For clarification.
1. I am not saying all christians shouldn't have sex. I think everyone should have sex if they chose to and I actively encourage it amongst those who do. I guess my rant above is speaking to one particular type of Christian. The ones who feel they are better than everyone else and are on a moral high ground because they are Christian. I am aware that not all Christians are like this and I dont hate all Christians. If this kind of Christian should come and start preaching at me, I will bring up the sex issue. Sex is the most obvious choice and is probably a low blow. Were I being gracious, I might attack with other sins like lying, stealing and general all round disregard for your fellow human beings.

2. I am not anti-abortion. The reason I talk about abortion in relation to this post is that I am anti using abortion as a means of contraception. I feel this makes me judgemental

3. Finally. I realise that I may be judgemental. I dont accept this as a good trait to have and I am sorry for all the people I may have upset by my comments and my attitude. I am aware it is a problem and will continue to try to redress it.