For some people religion is how they center their lives. By believing in the lore and moral laws of a set belief, they structure their world around believing in texts and stories. I grew up in this world. My family was very religious.
But somewhere, around the age of 12 I started to question things.
Then, I started to think all religions were kind of the same.
Then, I was sent to christian camp that same summer and I started to feel like all of it was completely manufactured and fragmented and twisted in order to manipulate the masses.
I remember sitting in one of the church services in the middle of the week and feeling completely alone as everyone around me started balling over a sermon that was given. Everyone was crying because of Jesus’s sacrifice…his life…for others.
I believe Jesus’s sacrifice is also a good story on giving up things for others. It’s moving. But I didn’t feel like crying. Not in front of 100 teens being manipulated by adults with their own ego trips and megalomania.
These same people tried to tell everyone that Catholics weren’t true christians.
These same people tried to say that if you watched R-rated movies Jesus would be upset with you.
The camp counselors, teens, mocked and made fun of us younger kids if we were awkward or didn’t want to do a game. I was meant to lick another girl in the face.
This whole thing made me feel suicidal.
Christian camp made me sink into a dark place that I have never fully recovered from.
Because that it was then that I realized I didn’t fit in with these masses. I was not like everyone else. I had questions and deviant feelings. I had opinions and disagreements.
Not only that but the “friends” I went to camp with began to bail on me because I didn’t “participate” or “care” enough when I didn’t cry over Jesus.
So I was left alone a lot. People I had known since I was 3 bailed on me because I didn’t conform.
As painful as it was, and as much as I was told “Jesus is watching” over things or actions others viewed as not “Christian” enough, that was when I found a part of me.
I found that I was different than these groups, and that made me stand out against mob mentality. I realized that religion wasn’t to be found in church for me. So I must seek elsewhere.
Before this time I had been learning to sew with my mother and grandmother. I made dresses and a skirt that won a blue ribbon at the state fair. I tried embroidery. I escaped into writing poetry and stories. I had been doing these things for a few years when Camp IANA in Divide, Colorado but the final nail in my religion coffin.
There was my chance to find a new religion. One where I create. One with needles, thread, fabric, paint, buttons, patterns, clay, glass and anything I could get my hands on.
This turned into a love of art history.
That turned into a love of design and storytelling and media.
Photography was my safe place.
I played some music and sang too.
I did theatre and wrote essays on my favorite books and made elaborate history projects.
I found my calling in creating. Though it may not be everyone’s path or faith, it’s mine and it is very important and personal and life-altering.
This is not to say there is anything wrong with belief in a defined religion, I’m just taking a different and agnostic path.
I read an article by NPR that discussed the moral and ethical concerns around having a child in the age of climate change. Read it if you haven’t already.
I have been having these same concerns since I was about 13 and took a child development course in middle school, which meant that I had to bring home a fake screaming baby monster…. Which had the effect of making me really consider the child commitment. A good shock factor for protection, but it also opened the door to talking with adults in my life on the moral qualms on what it meant to be a parent in an over-taxed and mistreated planet.
A dear family friend made sure to inform my sisters and I of our choices. That we had them, first and foremost, and that our choices had an impact on others around us. My family is big and classic examples of midwestern protestants that have babies and their babies have babies all before 30. Therefore the pressure was always on us, and the real expectation pressed on us, to have children in our 20’s and pass on the family traits.
My sister’s and I have always hesitated at this idea. Instead we all want our own time and opportunities to travel, get degrees, and make sure we’re better prepared for children. Then there becomes my climate anxiety on what exactly it means for children in the future.
My fiance has a daughter that is 9, and I think very often how much she will be left with in the future. I think of the recent flooding in Louisiana and how it DIRECTLY was influenced from climate change. It was also personal in that one of my best friend’s had her entire home submerged in water. She now has to figure out what can be saved or has to be destroyed. Yet the headache doesn’t end there, because future predictions and melting ice caps mean that many areas will be underwater, soon and permanently. Including many part of recently flooded Louisiana, parts of Florida, New York etc. Learn more here.
src=”http://www.climatecentral.org/wgts/human-caused-flooding/index.html?utm_source=Robinson%20Creative%20Enterprises&utm_medium=embed&utm_campaign=2016HumanCausedFlIt’s not just the ocean rising, but it is the weather that comes with rising temperatures, melting ice caps, cold and hot water hitting together and more.
It’s all around not great news, and YES we are taking a few good, and feel good steps by countries signing contracts and reducing their output. However, the reality is that our children and grandchildren are going to have a lot of issues to sort out.
In Colorado we may not have the ocean to worry about, but rising temperatures in the summer pose risks to human wellbeing, crops, livestock and water supply. By 2050 they’re expecting summers in Colorado to be significantly higher than they were previously. Meaning we can expect a lot more 100 degree+ days. That also causes issues to snowpack in areas that typically have snow reserves later into spring and summer will then run off earlier, which can disrupt natural growth patterns and farming.
Precipitation is harder to determine, but Colorado has had many droughts over the years and with various parts of the state growing dramatically in population, and there being more need for natural resources, it could be the perfect storm for a difficult life.
So here is the kicker. With current estimates on life expectancy, it’s likely I’ll live to be around 80. Or until about 2071. If I’m 32 when I have kids, they’ll be 10 in 2043 and maybe will have kids within a decade of that. If projections are where they expect, for a 2050 estimate of hot, dry, and scary changes their 30s, and possibly their life with those repercussions are frightening.
That’s if things DON’T get worse than they’re expecting. Which, so far, isn’t looking promising. Yet many, myself included, want to be hopeful that times will be ok. While many scientists point out that it’s all too little and far too late. Therefore it haunts me to think that we may just be running out of time to be here and any children I bring into the world will have to fight much harder just to survive.
Terrible images flash into my mind of Mad Max, The Road, and the Book of Eli; desert landscapes, little hope, and near starvation. It’s an abysmal and depressing idea, that may be closer to reality than science-fiction.
Finally, I will leave you with that trailer for This Changes Everything and have you mill about that even though the United States could face terrible strife, it is nothing compared to the horrors that poor countries will have to face and the untold millions that will suffer as a result of our selfishness and lack of care.
No one can know for the future but maybe, just maybe, we could take this all more seriously and make choices, vote, support and demand action to make the hit a little less.
Tea is one of those almost bizarre human things that we gather around in ritual and enjoyment. Imagine the first person that decided to take a plant, dry it and throw it in a pot of hot water?
Well I am sure it was nothing that simple or elegant. Likely someone tried eating said plant, noticed it gave them energy, tried drying it, tried eating it, then tried water, tried it as powder, tried it……okay you get the idea.
Tea is this sort of elixir of life, it goes back centuries and it compels the drinker to ponder the world, ponder flavor, wake up, dream, and explore new things. With so many tea blends and kinds there are endless options in the world of tea!
My favorite place in Fort Collins is Happy Lucky’s Teahouse in Old Town. They are one of the first places I found when I moved to Fort Collins and they have become an absolute favorite over the years. I’m even lucky enough that they let me do their social media for them ;). They sell over 180 kinds of tea, which means there is something for everyone. Their funky and modern but relaxing design makes for a lovely sitting and sipping experience and I am friends with almost everyone on the staff. They are wonderful people that do a lot for the community and the world. 10% of their profits goes to Sustainable Schools International which helps educate and empower children in Cambodia. It’s pretty damn cool!
Before Happy Lucky’s I spent hours at Montague’s in Colorado Springs, and before them it was my kitchen and my living room in the mountains of the house I grew up in. Where tea parties were frequent and company split a pot with us.
Tea has been a constant event and enjoyment for myself, and I hope to enjoy it for years to come. As Happy Lucky’s Teahouse suggests, enjoy daily and nourish your happy.
Hi yes, hello it’s me, another 25-year-old bitching about their privileged life with a macbook and an iphone 6s next to me.
I don’t earn a living wage, and I live in income-based housing, the sweater I am wearing has a hole in it and I haven’t had a real haircut in five months.
But by god I have the newest iphone. Yet, what if I told you it’s because I do most of my work on these two devices and without them I couldn’t do ANY work in my field right now? These two devices also guaranteed I could do my MA work and get my degree.
Okay, I could go and work for a retail company, again, or I could flip burgers. But I have a MA and I am trying to understand why that means the only job interviews I have got recently are for Kohl’s and a bank teller position. Both jobs only require a GED or a high school degree. This depresses me.
I have a really fun job right now, taking photos for a local teahouse, and creating newsletters, and running their social media pages. It pays okay, and I love who I work for, the teahouse also donates 10% of its revenue to education in cambodia, so I feel really high in Karma points with this job and it makes me happy. I get a lot of free tea, but it’s hard to pay all my bills and my fiance, who only has a GED makes about three times as much as me as a manager for a gas station.
Yet, this is the reality for most people my age. Some of us are back living with parents, and some of us are having rent paid by our parents. Some of us don’t even have a car, or ability to afford internet at home. I have been able to have both. Most of us have astronomical student loan debt. I’m part of that club too.
I have probably applied for 150 jobs in the last 5 months and have only had 5 interviews. For the majority of jobs I have been perfectly qualified or overqualified for, but I still haven’t got an interview. And I am not only applying for jobs in what I am educated to do, I have stretched and applied for everything in every corner of everything I am qualified to do. Thus, I have only interviewed at Kohl’s and a bank. I turned down Kohl’s because I wouldn’t get much pay, and I wouldn’t have consistent hours. I didn’t hear back on the bank.
This is my life right now, and what is frustrating is that I bought into the idea some 8 years ago in my junior year of high school that if I went to school and graduated, even if I got a lot of student loan debt, things would come together for me to have a good job, even $40,000 a year. Which in reality, if you live in as affluent of a city as I do, that 40k doesn’t go that far. However, I bought into the idea, found things I was good at, got a double major in my BA, and an MA in a year. I even went to less expensive schools and made sure I applied like crazy for scholarships, grants etc. I chose my MA partially because it was half as expensive and half the time of other programs, so that I would have less debt and less problems. I don’t regret my education, but my stomach churns at how much it cost me.
The average income for someone my age is $24,000 a year. At the moment, I would be happy just to make that. The average for other generations is $38,000. Note this includes people of all education levels.
I am not the only one in these shoes, these debt-laden and insecure, scary shoes. It’s no surprise that I am on several medications to deal with my anxiety and depression. Compound that with existing problems like post-traumatic stress disorder, and the loss of 10 relatives and friends I cared about just in the last five years and I sometimes feel like I’m drowning.
I have been very lucky too, but I also have to be honest about the trap I am in. At the moment, I don’t know if there is a REAL opportunity into success and I know a lot of people also feel that way. I have talked to career coaches and I’m even making my own company to freelance. Yet, I still feel in limbo, following coaching and steps that I know work for others, wondering when my big break is coming. It’s not that I or anyone is doing anything wrong, but that so much of the deck is stacked against us.
Anyone that wants to say we’re entitled doesn’t really understand the struggle all of us face. The ones of us that are succeeding are the ones that had resources to avoid student debt, and parents that could financially back certain endeavors. They’re the ones that didn’t have to work part time through school and could afford to join sororities and take unpaid internships. While I was trying to figure out the cheapest way to make and eat gluten-free because of my celiac disease.
I don’t want sympathy in writing this, I just want respect in my struggle. I want to afford my basic needs, and I just want a grown-up job. I think most of us can agree to that. The reality is that the economy compounded with a minimum wage that doesn’t reflect a living wage, and companies and systems that don’t give us benefits and full hours are a big problem. I’m not even talking little guys, but big players that refuse to pay for healthcare….I’m looking at you Wal-Mart, Kohl’s, Target etc. I also want a hand up not a hand out, meaning: someone give me a fucking chance!
“The most educated generation in history is on track to becoming less prosperous, at least financially, than its predecessors.”
Thanks for listening. I’m going to go apply for more jobs now.
Rebecca Lee Robinson
I love LOVE. I love romance, and stories of two people fighting the odds. I enjoy laughter, and nights in with my partner to watch the x-files. I enjoy sushi dinner dates and picnics. I enjoy rare vacations where we dress up and eat fancy and enjoy each others company.
When it comes to weddings I feel a little twinge of anxiety. Not for others’ but my own.
I have been to a lot of weddings the last three years, I have photographed most of them, been a bridesmaid in one, and attended numerous others previously. So far in my photography career, one couple has already divorced, but the others seem happy and intend to stick it through. I’ve seen dad’s cry, and mothers wear white to weddings. I have seen dress malfunctions and brides that went barefoot most the nights.
I have seen flower girl meltdowns, and ring bearer run offs.I have seen pretty much every do, and DO NOT in the book. Or even just things that seemed great at the time, but really failed in reality. Regardless of all of this, the truth is that because of working in the wedding industry I think some of the romance has worn off.
Ryan and I are talking marriage in about 16 months. A fall wedding, because that’s our favorite season. A touch of Halloween because that’s my favorite holiday and the rest is kind of perplexing. I would say Ryan and I are engaged, but he didn’t ask me formally, and that throws people off. We talked about it and both agreed, like feminist adults. We’ll just say we got engaged February 29th for humor’s sake. I had him buy me a $40 silver ring with lab-created diamonds and sapphires and within two months I had left it in my cousin’s house in Texas….luckily they found it and I will get it back this summer. Because I knew that eventually I would misplace or lose the ring Ryan bought me, and $1000 missing ring would kill me. I haven’t bought Ryan an engagement ring since we’re kind of struggling on this already. I suggested matching tattoos, but he doesn’t like needles…sooo
We have a venue picked out because they do 80% of the work for us. If we buy everyone dinner, the big things for us, then we get the venue. Add on a few more fees for drinks and sounds equipment and flowers and we have found the best deal in town. They serve almost 100% local food, and everything is organic, they also can accommodate our list of weird allergies. And they even decorate with pumpkins all year as they use them in food!
I know who I want for bridesmaids, and I know what they will wear. I know who will stand on Ryan’s side, and who will officiate our wedding. I figure we’ll have matches and cigars for party favors etc. We want a little bit 1920s to our theme.
I think I have even found my dress, and it’s custom made by a company in the Ukraine. It’s silk and gorgeous, and my aunt is giving me crap but I love it anyway.
The hard part about all of this is not the guy and not the planning, I love event coordination, it’s all the other things that come with marriage. It’s the pressure to take Ryan’s last name and to have kids in x-amount of time. It’s the pressure to “settle down” and not want to seek out adventures and fun. It’s pressure to spend a fortune on one day, just to prove to someone that we love each other enough to want to plan a life together. It’s the pressure on women to look their best, and drop 20lbs. It’s the pressure to appease everyone and no one at the same time.
And this is all probably why I haven’t done something in the last, almost five and a half years with Ryan.
For someone that also thinks so many of these traditions are just fabrications of a consumer society, which they are, I have a hard time wanting to be happy about it. I don’t want a dress beaded by children that make $1 a day. I don’t want my veil, or bouquets or headpieces to just end up in the garbage. It’s just so hard to imagine spending so much money to have so much just thrown away after. Anyway, does anyone else have stories to share? I’m struggling on this one.
can I just be this raptor? She’s got her eyes on fleek….
Here I am admitting my fears in public, when I struggle to admit them to myself. I know Ryan is the one that I want to call old fart, and I can’t imagine living through this mess without him and his daughter by my side. Yet I fear I am not good enough, that I lack something and that he doesn’t deserve a wife with so many student loans, and a wanderlust that could kill a partner. Yet here he is. Long-distance, mid-distance, months apart, still here and welcoming me home.
One of my feminist idols was wed and in the past out-spoken against wedding mumbo-jumbo. Which brings me some comfort in just embracing what I love and discarding the rest. So maybe I’ll stay in love with my Ryan, plan something fun, and enjoy the moments that surround us everyday as much as the one where we say I Do.
Maybe the reason we as a culture stick together around the idea of the big wedding is that we don’t get many moments like this as a culture anymore. Even a century ago small communities would get together to celebrate each season, they would have dances, new births were greatly celebrated and everyone came to funerals. Today, weddings are sometimes the only chance everyone gets to be together to celebrate, and in this case it’s something very happy and enjoyable. At least it should be. So maybe all the pomp and circumstance really is just a way to say, hey thanks everyone for raising us, for loving us, and helping us find each other?
I love the “big city” of Colorado. AKA Denver, which serves as the capital but also as a massive metropolis of something like 30 suburbs and small towns all connected and smooshed together. Denver proper is rather small, but is packed full of exciting and enjoyable activities for any visitor.
Molly Brown, also known as the unsinkable Molly Brown. Also actually known in her lifetime as Margaret Brown…anyway, lived in Denver and was an activist and feminist in the early part of the 20th century. All around she was pretty badass and did a lot for not only Colorado but also the United States in her lifetime. The house has been restored to reflect her lifestyle and that of the Denver elite in the 1910s and 20s. It’s quite a look at the wealth of the time, and also her life and what she stood for and cared about.
Learn more from a project I did, Acta Historia
9. City Park
If you want to enjoy some of the 300 days of sunshine Colorado boasts about, there is not a more wonderful location in the city than at City Park, which is very close to my number 8 and 7 choices! It’s full of not only some great statues of Martin Luther King and Robert Burns, but also in the summer you can rent boats, there are fountains to play in to beat the summer heat. And always a few dogs to say hello to.
8. Denver Zoo
Yes a zoo is a zoo, but the Denver zoo boasts an impressive collection of creatures for a mid-sized city, and is home to some amazing habitats! Their recently renovated elephant enclosure is like walking into another country! They offer lots of goodies for kids to interact with, and for adults, it’s just a fun time to get face to face with otters and primates!
I have been going to this museum at least once a year for as long as I can remember. I even worked here for a while in college, and it was a dream come true! I love this place, and with revolving and evolving exhibits there is always something new to see! It’s always a lot of fun!
This heart to Downtown is an exciting and beautiful layout full of rich classic architecture and the place for downtown happenings and festivals!
This 1.25 mile long shopping mall offers a lot of fun shopping for the visitor, but it also offers a link to other sights in the downtown area. a FREE shuttle connects one end to the other where you can access Lo-Do and then Capital hill on the other end. The strip offer eclectic dining options and ease of access to other city transportation such as the tram-system. My favorite place is The Tattered Cover Bookstore!
This MASSIVE museum literally has something for everyone, and is full of relics from all over the world. Enjoy renaissance and medieval, or Asia and the Middle East, South America has rooms and rooms! They also have wonderful modern art, and rotating exhibitions so check it out. Plan a day if you have it, or a few hours to hit the main interests. Kid’s can also intimately interact with the exhibits by checking out an explorer pack!
This may be the most Colorado thing about Denver. Not only do you get to enjoy a huge collection of antique buildings but there are a ton of mom and pop restaurants serving up local fare. Then there is the iconic REI flagship store for those outdoorsy types. There is the iconic Union Station that lights up at night for a marvelous view, and Coors field if you want to catch a Rockies game. FINALLY you can Kayak in the middle of downtown Denver! REALLY and it’s FREE, of course you need a kayak…
2. Clubbing and music
The clubbing district of Denver stretches along Sherman street, south of downtown. This is great place to grab a few drinks, dance, meet people and check out the local DJ scene. If this is less of your style, stick to Colfax and the music venues! The Fillmore, Ogden (personal favorite) and Bluebird have concerts almost nightly from local bands to grammy winners, there is always something to check out!
1. RED ROCKS- not Denver Proper
Okay if you are going to take a trip to Denver, or are a local looking for stuff to do, then you HAVE to take in a show at Red Rocks. It’s one of those holy experiences that only can happen with music and nature and fandoms come together. My first show there was The Cure and since then I have seen Flogging Molly, Devotchka, and The Fray and I’m always planning on going back. Not only do the concerts make you swoon, but the park itself is a really cool place to hike around in and take in the Colorado sights and sounds. It’s only about an hour from downtown (give or take due to traffic) and well worth the jaunt. The best part is sharing it with friends, I got to share it with a family friend’s 13-year-old last summer, and not only was it her first concert, but her first big event like that without her parents. Meaning I got to share in her right of concert-going at 13 with Devotchka, at the best venue in the world!
First I should say we don’t actually have a backyard. BUT we are only an hour and a half away from one of the most famous and well loved National Parks in the United States, Rocky Mountain National Park.
2015 marked 100 years of Rocky Mtn. being a National Park, and over 100 years of tourists coming to marvel at its glorious mountains, wildlife and plants! It also was the first time I ever explored the park. That is not to say I haven’t spent a fair amount of time outdoors and in National Parks, but I had never actually made it to Rocky. Even though I lived so close!
My first encounter was in August with my parent’s for a quick drive around the park. In summer glory it was just warm enough and everything was very green and vibrant. There was also thousands and thousands of tourists, as the park has grown in popularity over the past few years, with 2015 having over 4 million people! That’s impressive considering just a decade ago they had half as many. If you want to look at more nerdy stats, go here.
This massive amount of people made it hard to see everything and park and get through the gift shop etc. etc. It was still really neat to see and I’m glad we went. This also meant that we came out on the Western side of the state, something I had never done. This means a drive through more mountains and getting home late, but it was well worth the adventure.
Fast-forward two months and the lovely cool of Autumn is upon us. I decided to pack up the family and go camping in Rocky for the last weekend of the camping season at Moraine Park. It was also Elk rutting season!
What is Elk-Rutting you might ask? When all the male elks and their harems get it on and Males fight over females, as big dumb animals do. They are also really elegant animals, that have captivated people for eons. Their mating call also sounds like that of some alien species…the native americans used to think of them as spirits. Regardless, it actually makes for crap sleep, but beautiful photos.
The camping part was an absolute blast, it was the first time Lily, my 8-year-old stepdaughter had been tent camping. She camps with her grandparent’s frequently but they have a camper on their truck and us mountain girls call that cheating ;).
Lily loves helping set up the tent, and using new camping gear we bought such as little camp pots and a foam mattress pad, queen size, for us to all snuggle onto. We used a combination of a gas camp stove and a fire for marshmallows, hot dog, vegan dogs for me, oatmeal, sandwiches, and a variety of chips and such to snack on.
Lily got the cool honor of getting to fill out a packet and search for animals through the 24-hours we were there. She saw deer, chipmunks, elk, squirrels, some rabbits and plenty of plant life to keep her busy and occupied. The best part was that we had no service so it was an unplugged weekend to talk, laugh, do some photography, and enjoy the little things.
We also drove to the top of the mountain to see all we could see….at the Alpine Visitor Center. Where we hiked up to 12,005 feet and it almost killed us….
The views on the drive were truly spectacular and Lily loved the chance when we stopped to run around and be blown away at the vastness of the world in front of us! Ryan almost had a heartattack. After almost 5 years together, I learned on that trip he had a hatred of heights.
The biggest struggle was getting the campfire going, because I had a stupid attack and we didn’t pack enough kindling and paper to get it hot. WHOOPS… luckily someone else was there selling wood and kindling so we got to enjoy our fire pit eventually.
For a simple 24-hour getaway we got a lot out of the adventure. We problem solved, we laughed, we had fun, and we learned new things about each other and the world around us. For $50 I bought an annual pass, and we can’t wait to go back. The campground was $18 for the night. A few souvenirs and coffee was another $25 or so, but the photos and memories were priceless.
Get out and explore!
Rebecca Lee Robinson