Sunday, March 13

Stickel, Out!

It might be more than obvious to the six people who have (graciously) stuck with me over the last year and a half, but this blog, which was once an integral part of my life, is no longer a central point in my existence. There are many reasons as to why my literary absence prevailed over my literary diligence, but I assure you that it is (was) not without intention.

"Start at the beginning." says the March Hare to Alice as she stumbles into the Mad Hatter's unbirthday party...and who is to argue with such genius.

Growing up, my life was one of emotional abandonment. It was a rarity that I found company in my corner. People didn't go out of their way to believe in me.* In reality, I was passively viewed as inanimate to the people who cared about me most. (There are some who believe this to be a mere representation of my perspective, that it is not a genuine fact of validity, but those people are self-preservingly mistaken; I stood alone when I stood up for myself.) While a childhood riddled with emotional abandonment could have lead to many things; for me, it lead to early-onset individuality. Almost wondrously, and certainly through no intention of my own, I learned how to emotionally and externally believe in myself. And I did so through self-created channels in which I found refuge and fortitude.

When I created "LEZ give 'em something to talk about..." nearly four years ago, it was for a lot of reasons. I wanted to feel a connection to something outside of myself, I believed that I had something important to offer, and I, egocentrically, needed to create something that provided me with a sense of routine and grounding. Yet, beyond all the catalystic intentions that brought me to this blog, there was something more essential. After an excruciatingly dark time in my life, I found refuge in myself, and as that refuge turned into fortitude, that fortitude brought about the realization that I was (am) a homosexual. It was through this blog that my sapphic realization became something I could believe in, something that I could affirmatively stand behind, or stand for.

The ritual of this blog's intellectual intercourse became a stronghold for me, but I'm no longer that same person, and thus the return to this specific domain became fraudulent and imitation-like. (Two things I am not willing to be.)

This last week, Stephanie Stickel ceased to exist. There are many reasons as to why I choose to remove the patriarchal surname that I have possessed for the past twenty-six years and replace it was another; none of which are extraordinary, nor particularly enlightened. Suffice it to say, a new chapter has begun and thus a new blog. You can find me at "Homocidal Tendencies" from now on.**

Good Riddance Stephanie Stickel.

*I do not wish to invalidate the few: a youth pastor, a creative writing teacher, a dance instructor. The strength those few exerted onto me was introspectively priceless.
**This blog will still exist on the interwebs, for I am egotistically proud of what has been written here.

Tuesday, January 11

Causal Impotence

"It is known that Whistler [the famous British painter] when asked how long it took him to paint one of his "nocturnes" answered: "All of my life." With the same rigor he could have said that all of the centuries that preceded the moment when he painted were necessary. From that correct application of the law of causality it follows that the slightest event presupposes the inconceivable universe and, conversely, that the universe needs even the slightest of events." -Jorge Luis Borges

There is a premise in the theory of ethics that asserts that there are some actions that an individual takes that have no extended relevance in the world; that there are some things you do that have no impact. In other words, what you do doesn't matter. Philosophers refer to this theory as 'causal impotence'; situations in which the cause of something produces nothing except sterility. For instance, it has been argued that utility-based vegetarianism, while nice and all, is essentially ineffectual. Peter Singer, the leading philosopher on animal liberation, once wrote, "All the arguments to prove man's superiority cannot shatter this hard fact: in suffering the animals are our equals." Many people have attached this ideal to the reasoning and rhetoric of vegetarianism, arguing that the compassion-motivated ideology of vegetarianism is essential to ceasing animal suffering. However, many people have also attacked this ideal by arguing that the sole abstinence of eating meat is impotent to a solution. (There is a solid argument to be made that the industry surrounding animal products isn't nearly sensitive enough to be swayed solely by an individual's choice to renounce meat, but does that mean that the individual's choice produces absolutely no results in the world?) This is, in essence, the debate around causal impotence. Can you perform (motivated) actions without any form of consequence?

How you answer the above question depends, I think, upon your personal worldview. Do you view the world vertically or horizontally? Do you think of the world like a time-line, where events are related, yet not reliant, upon one another? (The horizontal worldview isn't completely without a reliance factor though; it can (does) apply the analogy of dominoes, but I don't find that analogy particularly productive, mostly because it exudes feelings of predetermination that I find vapid. Once a domino falls, the entire set of dominoes is destined to fall as well. Where's the free will in that?) -OR- do you think of the world as a giant game of Jenga, where events are entirely reliant upon the previous events and entirely effect the subsequent ones? In a Jenga world-view, you are certainly free to make whatever move you choose, but that move directly effects any future moves. Everything builds upon everything else and there isn't anything that doesn't have some sort of power.

There are people that go through life certain that they are causally impotent; that what they do doesn't have an impact on the people around them. People that make choices and are then shocked when future events begin presenting themselves. (I'm this way about food: I eat cookies and am shocked when my pants no longer fit.)

I have recently come to the epiphany that my father is this way about our once-was relationship. He's the one that choose not to stand up for me as a kid. He's the one that kicked me out because I stood up for myself and voiced my perspective. He's the one that choose not to respect what I had to say. And when he came waltzing back into my life as if nothing had happened, he acted shocked and hurt that I wasn't eternally grateful for a second chance?! He's the one that decided that I wasn't good enough and there is nothing impotent about that.

I do not find the argument for causal impotence compelling. I believe that for every action there is an equal and necessary reaction. In the case of utility-based vegetarianism, I take the perspective that, if nothing else, the extension of compassion does good for our world. Abstaining from animal products might not have an immediate response in the food industry, but I refuse to believe that valuing compassion or striving to reduce suffering in the world (whatever form of suffering that might be) doesn't make some kind of difference. Actions aren't impotent. What you do matters. When people reject who you are or what you stand for, it's not unreasonable to move on with your life and its not unreasonable to refuse to cater to their shock when the residual events begin presenting themselves.

There's a place for forgiveness, of course, but at what point do I get to forgive and then forget without everyone jumping down my throat?

Wednesday, May 26

Birthday Apologies

Today is my 25th birthday...

I know that my absence might make you believe otherwise, but this blog is important to me. I'll tell you all about the last few months in the next few weeks, but I thought that first I'd give you a quick recap and tell you about my goals for my 25th year of life.

A quick recap:
1. I changed my career path from journalism to political philosophy. I'm planning on going to law school after I'm done and I'm very excited.
2. I have absolutely no love life and I am, actually, perfectly content with that for the time being. (Though I do wish I was having more sex!)
3. I have a new kick-ass apartment blocks from Prospect Park in Brooklyn. Did I mention that it's kick-ass?
4. These last few months have provided me with the opportunity to believe in myself in ways I never have before. I'm stoked to tell you all about it.

My goals:
1. Be fearless. I'm no chicken, but sometimes I allow my fearful nature to be my catalyst. I don't want to make choices only because its the safer choice any longer.
2. BLOG! This place is important to me and my decision to take a break from it was authentic; however, I want to start making it a priority again.
3. Increase my global awareness. I never realized how self-centered my life was until I moved to New York City. Not that I'm selfish, just that I've never really looked beyond what I see with my own two eyes.
4. Be happy. I've never been this happy my whole life and that is something I'd like to hold onto.

I do apologize for my absence and I'm excited to get back to blogging again! Thanks for sticking with me.

Peace and Love,

Thursday, February 4

Music Meme

Alphafemme posted this meme. It was fun!

Figure it out:

Pick Your Favorite Artist: The Police

Are you male or female: Demolition Man
Describe yourself: Bombs Away
How do you feel about yourself: Does Everyone Stare
Describe where you currently live: One World
If you could go anywhere, where would you go: Walking on the Moon
Your favorite form of transportation: Behind My Camel
Your best friend is: Roxanne
What’s the weather like: Shadows in the Rain
Favorite time of day: Darkness
If your life was a tv show, what would it be called: Secret Journey
What is life to you: a Message In A Bottle
What is the best advice you have to give: When the World is Running Down, You Make the Best of What's Still Around OR Rehumanize Yourself (I couldn't decide)
If you could change your name, what would it be: Sally
Your favorite food is: Peanuts
Thought for the Day: Don't Stand So Close To Me
How I would like to die: Wrapped Around Your Finger
My soul’s present condition: The Bed's Too Big Without You
My motto: Be My Girl

Now YOU take YOUR favorite musician … GO!

Saturday, January 30

Back In Business

It is well known that many of the great writers of our past (and present) were also great drinkers. Ernest Hemingway had the mojito, John Mortimer had champagne, and F. Scott Fitzgerald had gin (and lots of it). Mark Twain once said, "sometimes too much to drink is barely enough" and Tennessee Williams hardly ever sat down to write without first consuming a martini and a bottle of red wine. Kingsley Amis notoriously claimed that a glass of scotch was the perfect artistic icebreaker and A.J. Liebling, an American journalist from the New Yorker, once fled a burning restaurant but not without snagging a bottle of brandy first. Suffice it to say that most writers can hold down a glass or two...

And I think that the motive is quite is the job, or the responsibility, of a writer to make the mere arrangement of words mean something that can exist beyond the two dimensional boundaries of a binding. Thus, writers live in their pain. Writers savor the sorrow. Writers reside and settle and exist in a space that feeds off of the severe, and often times diligent, emotions that contribute to great writing. And sometimes all of that emotion can get to be too much. Sometimes you can delve too deep and feel like survival is forever beyond the bounds of possibility...

But what if you, as a writer, also want to be happy? What if you also want to be productive beyond the margin of words?...

I had an incredibly shitty holiday and the writer in me dwelt in those emotions in the hopes that they would manifest themselves into some kind of creative genius. And the writer in me used an excellent bottle of bourbon to alleviate the anxiety around those emotions. And perhaps I created genius, who knows, but what I do know is that I wasn't particularly proud of the kind of person I was during that time. Maybe great writers don't make that distinction. Maybe great writers are great because they don't separate themselves from their work and if their work is something to be proud of, then it doesn't matter that they aren't something to be proud of...

Well, I am proud of the person that I have become; I am proud of the things that I strive for everyday and the things that I stand up for everyday and if that means that I am not the next Ernest Hemingway or Tennessee Williams, I think that I am finally okay with that...

Monday, December 21


pronounced Li-pam-e... means "I am sorry" in Greek...

I am truly sorry for the deserted appearance this blog has taken on over the last few weeks.

Watch this video and then I'll explain...
(Start watching at 0:45 to 1:52)

I feel a little bit like that...if writing was like eating pussy.

It's not that I haven't had the time to write - no matter how busy you are you can make the time for things that are important to you. And it's not that I don't have anything to write about - I just moved to the most stressful/exciting city in the country and I changed my career path for the eighteen hundredth time; I have plenty of angst to work out. And it's not that I'm questioning my sexuality - I strive to challenge myself everyday, so questions don't intimidate me and it was just a straight crush, just like every straight girl has a gay crush. It's that ALL I do is write; which, don't get me wrong, is fantastic, (I'm already learning so much) but sometimes when I come home, the last thing I want to do is worry about sentence structure.

I had my last final today and my next semester doesn't start for another 5 weeks. I was offered a month long internship at a fairly recognized magazine that would occupy my time during those weeks and I decided not to take it. It was the first time in my life where I made a decision that didn't service my resume. (Funny how a city so motivated by appearances and achievements taught me the value in relaxation.) I'm going to chill in the city during my break from school and I'm going to figure out how I can better balance my life when the next semester approaches.

I hope that everyone has a fantastic holiday season and a safe New Years!


Thursday, November 19

A Sexual Viewpoint

There are three ways to look at sexuality...

1.) You can look at sexuality as if it were a box -

This is the mainstream, cultural normative way to view sexuality. You fit into the straight box or the gay box (or if you're really liberal, you can add the bi box) and you're exclusively characterized by the boundary-driven terminology prescribed to the box in which you exist. It's generally accepted among the queer community (and the majority of its allies or any left-leaning person) that this ideology is outdated and unproductive. It creates limitations on the acceptable behavior for a person, but the whole point of sexual advocacy is to tear down those limitations. If your natural inclinations don't fit perfectly into the box that best suits your preference, then you're obligated to reshape or dial back those sexual inclinations. It is becoming more and more accepted that sexuality is complicated and messy and that, by adhering to the precepts of a box, you display an ideology that is both unproductive and harmful.

2.) You can look at sexuality as if it were a scale or a continuum -

This ideal most resembles the ever popular "Kinsey Scale," which claims that sexuality, much like the categorization of nature in general, does not exist in the binary, but rather in a continuum. This viewpoint allows for an incredible increase in sexual fluidity, as well as establishes a credibility for those that exist in the in between. The diminishing quality of this ideal, however, is that it still places homosexuality in an amount comparative to heterosexuality. My discontent with this viewpoint is that it still holds onto the desire to equalize sexuality; as someone's sexual behavior pushes the scale to full-on homosexuality, it equalizes itself by removing the correlative amount of heterosexuality...and while that might be the experience for some, it still places sexuality inside an equation.

3.) You can look at sexuality as if it were a bar graph -

You can also look at sexuality as if it were a bar graph. In this ideal, homosexuality and heterosexuality are no longer reliant on one another, but rather function as separate entities. Each sexual behavior exists on its own scope, so that your homosexual behavior doesn't diminish or lessen your heterosexuality, or vice-versa. The thing I find the most productive about this viewpoint is that it embraces the pure ideal of sexual fluidity, which I think is the key to sexual acceptance. If you allow your own sexual thought process to fluctuate from the cultural normative thought process, then you can step into the sexuality that best fits your inclinations...and if you can embrace a sexual viewpoint that allows for fluidity without forfeiting your current sexual identity, then you've blasted open the door to sexual acceptance.

I am really really REALLY gay (sexually and politically) and there is this boy. I can't tell you if he's cute, because frankly I don't really know, but I am very much enticed by him. He has a radiant smile and a fantastic laugh. He's insanely witty and incredibly smart. He has this sweet, but not saccharine-y, way of looking at the world that I find unparalleled. Occasionally, I think about what it would be like to be in a relationship with him and sometimes those thoughts are fairly pleasant. (Now, whenever I think about a relationship with this boy, I synonymously think about how 1-there would have to be room for Sapphic activities outside the relationship, 2-he would have to find someone else to give him a blow job cause I'm not putting a cock in my mouth, 3-I would probably still desire to identify as a lesbian, though it wouldn't be a lesbian relationship, and it's highly unlikely that these thoughts will ever actualize themselves.) I guess what I'm trying to say is that my current heterosexual thoughts don't intimidate me and they don't make me less of a homosexual. Sexuality isn't a math equation and one plus one doesn't have to equal two.