Tag Archives: FPQ

FPQ24: Fear of Failure

Fandango provocatively asks…

“Have you ever been so afraid of failing at something that you decided not to try it at all? What’s one thing would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?”

Yes, many times. But I don’t consider this some sort of character defect ~ I consider it a rational decision.

Let’s take the dating scene. I’ve decided to stop looking for love because I’m afraid of another heartbreak, not to mention how annoying and time-consuming the process is to begin with. This is a logical choice, given my experiences since 2009 when my ex-husband left.

There are other examples throughout my life where I’ve made safe choices over more “interesting” ones because of the fear of failure. But in my mind, I’m making a good decision based on risk analysis. The reason fear of failure even comes up is because the more exciting choices are riskier.

I choose the road that has been taken, along with a GPS phone, extra water, snacks, and a jacket. I’ll leave the wild, overgrown path for an intrepid explorer.

PS: The one thing I would do if I knew I could not fail? Spend all my time and resources writing The Great American Novel.

FPQ23: I Burn Whole Cities

Fandango provocatively asks…

“How do you manage or deal with stress? Is there a specific strategy or approach that you’ve found to be particularly effective?”

My post title comes from the HBO show Game of Thrones where dragons have been known to release stress by destroying cities with fire. I am not a dragon, alas, though I have gotten vicarious pleasure especially during stressful times by reading A Song of Ice and Fire and from watching the show.

In general, I find that losing myself in a fantasy world of a novel or movie for a few hours is a great way to deal with stress. I do prefer movies over series, or series that have finished, because I don’t want to have to wait for the next season (and these days, that can be so unpredictable), which ends up leaving me at the mercy of people yapping online about the show and giving their predictions. Annoying!

Depending on what the stressful even was, I may wish to talk about it privately, with a daughter or a friend. I’m careful what I say to whom these days though, so as not to end up with more stress from the convo itself. I may write about the situation in a diary for my own clarification. I find the act of writing words on a page/screen to be therapeutic.

For immediate relief, deep breaths work. For a 24 hour period, repeating the mantra that “this too shall pass” helps a lot. If I can’t sleep, there’s always the Valium or Benadryl last resort. It’s really bad not to sleep because then I’ll feel even worse the next day, which will increase my stress. Cuddling my kitty and spending time alone at home usually helps me feel better.

Here are some stress management techniques that are supposed to help but do nothing for me:

1. Exercise. I know it’s good for me, but it makes everything hurt more and I end up with a (worse) headache.

2. Taking a vacation. Way out of my budget and I would be completely stressed about the money I spent.

3. Glass of wine. This is a migraine trigger about 50% of the time.

4. Music. This is tricky because a lot of songs pull up sad memories for me. I have to be careful about music. Plus, Gatsby doesn’t like it. Mostly I only listen in the car.

5. Sex. With a man? This was generally the cause of almost all my stress and giving it up has reduced my anxiety to nearly zero.

Dracarys! 🔥🔥🔥

FPQ22: Aliens?!!

Fandango provocatively asks…

“Are we alone in this vast and expanding universe? Do you believe that intelligent, alien life exists? Defend your answer.”

I think it’s highly likely that intelligent, alien life exists now, or once did and died out, which of course could divert us into an interesting discussion about the nature of time itself and if it exists.

My defense is basically why not? There are so many planets with so many atmospheric configurations over such a vast amount of time… why wouldn’t intelligent life have appeared (and possibly disappeared) on places other than Earth? It’s rather egocentric to believe that we’re the only intelligent life that exists anywhere.

I use the word “intelligent” very broadly of course, in case any aliens 👽 are reading my post and rolling their glowing eyeballs.

FPQ21: Rainbow White House 🌈

Fandango’s back and there’s gonna be provoking, hey la, hey la, Fandango’s back!

“Do you think America is ready for an openly gay person to be elected to the office of President of the United States? Explain your opinion.”

I’m going to be very “Zen” about answering this question: The U.S. will be ready for an openly gay President if and when we elect an openly gay President.

We were ready for a black President when we elected President Obama for two terms. Apparently we were not ready for an LDS President, as Obama defeated Romney in 2012. We also weren’t ready for a female President in 2016, but maybe we will be at some point. Sometimes we accept male Presidents who cheat on their wives (Bill Clinton, Donald Trump, et al), but other times we toss them out of the lineup (Gary Hart, Herman Cain, et al). We’re a moody country and you can’t depend upon us to react consistently.

So, you will know when we’re ready for an openly gay POTUS when we in fact elect one and not before. If “Mayor Pete” goes up against Trump (not gonna happen), MP will lose. Nothing personal. If I had to bet on 2020 right now, I would unfortunately have to bet on the incumbent. 🤮

FPQ20: The Hardship Lollipop

Fandango provocatively asks…

“Does hardship really make a person stronger? If you think so, under what conditions and at what point is it too much hardship? If you don’t buy that hardship makes a person stronger, what do you think does make a person stronger?”

Welp, I can only speak for myself… and the answer is… it depends!

Let’s take physical hardship, as it pertains to me. I am in chronic pain and have been for years. Does it make me stronger? Hell no. It sucks. I used to belong to a gym. I used to take 5 mile walks. Now, I can barely drag myself out of bed. I keep saying I’ll feel better if I get some exercise, but it’s so impossible to do anything when I’m at this level of pain, which I am all day every day.

On the otter hand, financial hardship was good for me. No really. I was spoiled by my parents and segued right into being the kind of wife whose husband took care of the money. I was told how much I could spend and had no idea what was going on. When it all came crashing down, I had to learn how to take care of myself and my children later in life. It was a good lesson and made me a better person in all kinds of ways.

As usual, these answers depend on the person and the circumstances. 🙂

FPQ19: Is It Fate?

Fandango provocatively asks:

“Do you believe in fate and/or predestination? If so, what or who is the source? If you do believe in predestination, is there anything anyone can do to change their predestined fate?”

And bonus: “If you believe God is the source, and God has already determined the future for each of us, why should people bother to pray?”

This is a doozy. I’m probably not going to be able to explain my thoughts that well ~ I’ve been messing up a lot lately anyway. My posts are full of typos, errors, and calling people by the wrong name. I have no excuses.

I don’t believe in God or anything supernatural, but there’s a whole lot of “natural” I don’t fully grasp because I don’t have the science knowledge or the vocab to express my hazy thoughts. That said, I’ll answer the praying question anyway: people pray because it makes them feel good and gives them hope, which they then offer to others out of kindness, and what’s wrong with that? You don’t have to share their beliefs to understand that they’re doing something nice.

So, “fate.” Taking out any supernatural elements, there are two components left (imo): time and free will. I don’t fully understand the concept of time, but I lean toward the interesting idea that everything has already happened and we’re simply experiencing it in a way our minds can grasp it. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take precautions and do all our normal, sensible things. But whatever occurs next will occur regardless.

In the same way, I don’t much believe in free will. I think our actions are dependent upon and determined by what came before, biologically and environmentally. In this way, I believe we are “fated” to do the things we do, simply as a result of who we are, but not because some spirit in the sky is directing the show.

Sorry, if none of this makes any sense! 😜

FPQ18: A-hole Artists

This week’s provocative question was spurred by the recent headlines about R. Kelly and Michael Jackson. A Lifetime docuseries, “Surviving R. Kelly,” along with Kelly’s bizarre interview with Gayle King of CBS News, has sparked renewed interest in allegations of sexual abuse, manipulation, and inappropriate encounters with girls and young women. And HBO’s documentary about Michael Jackson, “Leaving Neverland,” which focuses on his alleged sexual abuses of young boys, has also put his inappropriate sexual proclivities under the spotlight.

As a result of the highly inappropriate behavior of these two artists, many radio stations have ceased playing their recordings and people are removing their songs from their personal playlists.

So, my question this week is about whether or not you think it’s possible to separate the art from the artist.

“When you learn about highly regarded artists being accused of inappropriate sexual behavior, especially with minors, can you separate the artists from their art, or would you refuse to listen to, watch, or read the artists’ works?”

Great question! First, I want to say that I am not convinced of MJ’s guilt by the conflicting testimony of people motivated by profit, especially given the fact that he’s no longer around to defend himself. But that’s a side issue to the question. My basic answer is that I do not separate the art from the artist. But in reality I am a bit more nuanced.

For example, I am disgusted with Woody Allen, from what I’ve read about him. He may not be a criminal, but he’s icky. And I don’t want to financially support that, no matter how “great” an artist he may be. So, I would not spend money on him. But if someone else had one of his films that I know I like (I only enjoy the ones where he isn’t a main character), I might re-watch.

Another example is Mel Gibson. He doesn’t fall into the above categories; he’s merely an anti-semite. Yes, I know he “apologized.” I think very little of apologies, especially from men after they’ve been caught doing something wrong. It’s easy for me not to spend money on any MG film, since I never liked him in the first place. The rest of you can wrestle with your consciences.

But what about the musical artists Fandango mentioned specifically? Okay. I don’t listen to R. Kelly, so he’s irrelevant to me. I do listen to old MJ songs sometimes, though I’m not a superfan. I will continue listening to them. I don’t see the big deal ~ he’s dead. I’m not enriching him.

What we need here is an example of a live artist I liked, who totally disappointed me, in order to discover what I would do. Luckily, we have such an example: Sean Penn. I loved him in several movies, such as Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Carlito’s Way. Then he became a traitor, so I quit liking him, and I will never see another one of his films.

NB: I don’t really want to debate the traitor thing. I respect that people have other views. This isn’t Facebook and I don’t intend to host a flamewar. I have no problem deleting nasty comments. Thanks for understanding. 🙂

FPQ 17: Misty Memories

So, I decided to ask a question about human memory, which has been shown to be incredibly unreliable. With that in mind, here is this week’s provocative question:

“How do you know which of your memories are genuine and which have been altered over time or even made up?”

We don’t. We’ve all read a novel or three where it turns out that every memory the protagonist thought was real had been implanted for some nefarious purpose. Or in the case of The Key to Midnight, real memories were erased in order to save a person from being murdered. (Shock! When I looked up this book just now to make sure I remembered it accurately, it turned out that yes I did, but the author was using a ‘nym. It was actually written by the horror writer Dean Koontz!)

But in reality, most of us are not so special that gobblement operatives are screwing with our minds. More than, you know, shoveling subliminal political messages at us on Facebook and stuff obviously. I think we can rest assured that we’ve not been whisked off to a medical lab in the middle of the night by agents in black suits and our heads flooded full of fake thoughts.

Many of our so-called real memories can be at least somewhat verified by photographic evidence and the accounts of other people who were present. We can usually nail down dates and locations of events ~ though not always, as Fandango points out, which gave him the idea for his post. And there’s also the problem of many similar events blurring together over time. Or something that sounds so real it feels like it must have happened, but was only discussed vividly and repeatedly.

My parents are gone, so now I’m the only one to tell my daughters stories about the past. I hope they’re correct, but there really is no one around to check me. There are things I was told and never questioned, but sometimes I wonder about them now. It doesn’t really matter though… soon all this will be swept away like it never was.

Of course, there’s a world of difference in trying to be honest and accurate, but getting a few details wrong or even an entire setting because your memory went blip, and deliberately gaslighting or being deceptive with the goal of hurting a person for your own benefit, whatever that benefit may be, financial or otherwise. Those things have been done to me and I don’t forgive the people who did them.

FPQ16: Taxes

This week’s provocative question came to mind when I started to work on our federal taxes this week. My wife said, “I don’t want any of our tax dollars to go to pay for Trump’s goddam vanity wall.”

Unfortunately, we taxpayers don’t have the ability to earmark how our tax dollars are — or are not — spent. And so my wife’s comment gave me fodder for this week’s provocative question:

“Should tax payers have the option to explicitly say what they don’t want their tax dollars spent on?”

What do you think? What areas, if any, would you wish to exclude yout tax dollars from paying for?

No. I don’t think we should have the option to direct our tax dollars to this or that. We are divided enough in this country, and complaining about how our money is spent is just one more way we refuse to work together for the common good. But in fact we do have lots of opportunities to make our preferences known about taxes along with other issues: at the ballot box! And if voting for President once every four years isn’t enough to satisfy a person’s desire to have their wishes granted, they can get more involved in local politics. Volunteer your time to better ensure the candidates who reflect your values get elected. Once I retire I intend to do just that. In the meantime, I vote for Democrats, and they do oppose Trump’s vanity wall, while at the same time supporting immigration reform. Democrats have long been against human trafficking, whether from our southern border or bringing in girls to work as sex slaves in massage parlors for rich hypocrites. Vote Blue!

We Got Trouble: FPQ15

This week’s provocative question is based upon a quote by Bertrand Russell, the British philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, writer, essayist, social critic, political activist, and Nobel laureate. Whew, that’s a lot of cred. Anyway, Russell, who died in 1970, suggested that…
“The fundamental cause of the trouble is that, in the modern world, the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubts.”

Do you concur with Mr. Russell’s perspective? Why or why not?

No. I think that a huge part of “the trouble” is that everyone is cocksure, both the stupid and the intelligent, however we are defining those terms.

And how are we defining them? High IQ, college degree, advanced degree, career success, relationship success, money, fame, power, political alignment, religious values? At what point do we dismiss a person as “stupid” or bestow upon him or her the label of intelligent? Your definition is likely to be different from mine and even if we agree on paper, we may still disagree about particular people. How many errors is someone allowed before they’re out of the intelligent group?

If we admire a person, and especially if we agree with them, we’re inclined to overlook their mistakes. I like Senator Harris, but she was wrong about supporting Jussie Smollett’s hoax story, so I’ll shrug that off. Senator Warren’s supporters don’t care that she lied about her heritage. AOC’s fans don’t care that she’s bad at math. Trump’s supporters routinely shrug off his lies and mistakes as non-events. It’s human nature.

Nowadays, many believe that people who support different political parties are necessarily of lesser intelligence. Trump supporters believe that liberals are stupid and vice versa. I understand that people make these blanket generalizations out of frustration and lack of understanding. I wish Trump would not be re-elected, but I know people who support him, and some are highly intelligent. I also know lots of super intelligent liberals and moderates.

It would be great if everyone could take a few steps back and try to see things from another viewpoint. Are you one of the cocksure people, or a bit more humble, ready to try to understand why others might believe differently? I’m an atheist, as I’ve said, but I can understand why people believe in God. Brilliant people have faith in a Supreme Being, so I’m not going to dismiss them as “stupid.” That would be very stupid indeed.

I think more people should be humble and full of doubts, whether they’re stupid, of average intelligence, or brilliant. No matter how high your IQ is or how many books you’ve read, how many people you’ve met and places you’ve visited, there’s always more to learn, even right here in River City.