Friendships, Offspring and Realization

I was scrolling through Facebook when I came across an article titled “Why Do We Murder the Beautiful Friendship of Boys?”  Now, I’ve been interested in gender issues ever since the first time my mom told me I couldn’t do something because “that’s for boys.”  As much as I railed against traditional gender norms for girls I totally bought into those for boys until embarrassingly late in my life.  I mean yes, it did piss me off that boys seemed to be socially and emotionally inept but it never occurred to me that ,  some males didn’t want to conform to these roles. Honestly, this was probably because I had never met a guy  who showed an (even mild) interest in learning to listen and communicate. I do not mean in romantic relationship either. In truth most of my friend group has always been pretty mixed so the majority of  my interactions with guys was platonic, so you could say I got to see them “in their natural state” (yes, I’ve been a nerd forever too :-D).
Anyway, this article describes how loneliness is a genuinely life threatening problem for men in the U.S. It talks about factors that lead to this such as traditional gender roles, the hatred toward anything feminine/female in “real” men, limited range of feelings, etc. and goes on to point out that as boys age they tend to lose the people they consider best friends. For some it’s because they “drift apart”, others don’t want to be seen as “weird” or “gay.”  Which brings up yet another factor that goes into destroying close male/male relationships: homophobia. Boys who are gender non-conforming are automatically seen as gay.  And of course we live in a heternormative, patriarchal society and no one wants to be seen as less than if they can help it.
In my last post I wrote about how important community is for individuals. I think one of the greatest things the internet can be used for is building community. Meet-up and other sites encourage people with similar interests or from similar walks of life to get together and enjoy each others company. Humans are naturally social creatures and do poorly when isolated from others. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: one of my favorite things about cannabis is that it is a social drug. We WANT to share our joy with others, we WANT to have buddies to pass the joint, even so some people still struggle with how to get past being buddies to form deeper relationships. This is not limited to just males, females and others may have problems forming these deeper relationships for various emotional/psychic/physical reasons.
So how does one form deeper bonds or reconnect with former friends?   ***Warning: Cliche ahead* It varies from person to person. One thing IS essential though: open, honest communication. Usually, people learn this from their family of origin. As we all know this is not the case for a lot of people. Even people who are determine to raise their child with the most open mind have struggles with unlearning behaviors and ideas that have been ingrained in society for centuries. Talking about feelings and thoughts is hard because we fear we will be made fun of for feeling and thinking, in other words, merely existing. It’s no wonder people have trouble with communication.

Community

                      A theme that has been coming up a lot in my life lately is community. A lot of people have approached in my both professional and personal capacities and spoken of their desire to engage more fully with the world around them. It may be that they have a hobby that they want to get back into, a brand new endeavor that has always interested them, or a friend they want to reconnect with because “we had the best adventures”, but whatever the reason one thing is universal: humans are curious. No matter what the endeavor I always remind people to start with other people. Simply talking to others about your desires and interests might lead to an unforeseen opportunity. At the very least one can gain copious amounts of knowledge from seeking out the community in which they can foster a passion.
                      Socializing is hard for a lot of people. This is understandable given the various pressures that come from a society that values “fitting in” and the consequent felling of inadequacy/anxiety when one doesn’t or chooses not to blend in with the crowd. However, when one finds a community based around a passion for something, learning and sharing new ideas around said interest it can be a way to “ease in” to socializing because one already “fits in” in at least one way. Finding community can be transformative for many because it it is the first time they are surrounded by like minded people and guess what? It feels AMAZING to belong to a group as passionate about an interest as one is. One such group I recently joined was the East Bay Canna Community I consistently attend their First Friday Meetings on Lake Merritt and have found a tight knight group of activist that I could not be happier to know.

Play

              Yesterday, I had a conversation with my neighbor about play. He told me about how he and another mutual friend were walking to lunch and decide they would  reach their destination by walking on the shaded areas only. I lamented the fact that more adults do not engage in spontaneous play and shared with him the fact that kids learn through play. He answered with “but it’s so fun!” and wondered aloud why adults don’t play more. I ventured that, as adults, it seems like we have forgotten the innocent joy of play time.  We have redefined “play time” as something unproductive,useless even, and so we hardly ever engage in it unless we have an excuse (a child visiting, vacation,etc.). I also think that we, as a society, treat children as less than. Engaging in any behavior that seems “childish” automatically gives one a second class status. Children have no power, therefore we must refrain from behaviors that make us look like children.

 

              For some people, engaging in play is as natural as breathing, for others not so much. Regardless of your natural disposition, one should make time and space for play. It doesn’t have to be down-home-rough-and-tumble-in-the-dirt play either. It can be board games, coloring, making up a story, pretty much anything one can think of that engages creativity and promotes relaxation. Indica strains tend to have more of a body relaxation effect, which in turn can reduce the amount of stress one feels at the end of a long work day, thus reducing two barriers to play. Indica dominant hybrids can also contain the right amount of sativa-induced creativity for a fun play session. Sativa strains are my go to for fun-enhancement. I love playing while I am engaged in it but it can be difficult to motivate myself. Sativas allow me to get out of my own head and just DO. It’s that little push I need to get out the door and play the shadow game or see if I can jump rope 20 times in a row (FYI the answer is no) or walk across the street and see if my neighbors want to play board games. We all could benefit from a little more play in our lives and I encourage you all to find your passion and play!

Music, Marijuana and Mirth

I was sitting and listening to Green Day’s “When I Come Around” and was blasted back to high school. I was filled with a sense of nostalgia and happiness, remembering how I listened to Dookie, Nimrod, and Insomniac on repeat, occasionally switching out to Led Zeppelin or the White Stripes. Those albums, full of memories and music were amazing stone cold sober. For me, one of the most beneficial aspects of marijuana is the amplification of feelings. I feel things very deeply in general so one would not think I would welcome an increase in intensity but with the right sativa it’s different. With the right sativa, my brain will attach itself to the positive feelings/memories.

Sativas are known for increasing euphoria,energy and creativity. On the flip side, if one has too much sativa one might experience paranoia and increased anxiety. It’s a trial and error process to figure out which strains work for you. If you’re just starting out, I suggest picking one symptom you want to reduce and picking strains that target that symptom. When I first started I wanted “something to make me laugh” and that’s exactly what I told the budtender at my first dispensary. Luckily, the person guided me in the right direction and thus began my love affair with Blue Dream.

I’ve come a long way since entering my first dispensary. I’ve learned to be more goofy and relaxed when not medicated but it was Blue Dream that showed me what that felt like and gave me a goal to aim for. Friends, board games, music and good food have also helped in furthering this ability.

Women in the Cannabis Industry

Women are making big in roads in the world of cannabis.

I was really happy when I got this email from Bloom Farms.

Women need to be more well represented in traditionally masculine fields. Personally, I feel like marijuana is a gender neutral field (the fact that fields of study are gendered is a topic for another post.). However, because it has been seen as a less than legal industry it can be argued that it is seen as a more male industry,’cause, ya know, it would be unseemly for a woman to engage in illicit activities.

With the turmoil our country is in I feel we need to take this opportunity to support each other as much as possible, in as many ways as possible. We all have different sets of skills and abilities. We all have different audiences who listen to us. We have the power to make a difference and change the world, AS LONG AS WE DON’T STAY SILENT. Talk to people, spread info via social media, march in the streets and spread love.

I rarely consume indica based products. However, the  overwhelming reality of the level of sexism, racism and homophobia in the country has been giving me trouble sleeping. I picked up some Master Blaster sugar wax (Purple Frost Genetics has long been a trusted grower;Bad Fish Extracts  is a new favorite extract maker). I’m so glad I chose this one for a bed-time aid. The extract is a beautiful blonde color (indicating a lower level of plant matter/residual matter), and delicious terpene filled scent are just scratching the surface of the awesomeness of this strain. One dab and there’s an immediate wave of relief that overtakes my body. As I take a deep breath and savor the flavor of the terpenes on my tongue I am reminded that there is still beauty in this world and I’m lucky enough to witness it every day.

Authenticity

               Follow your passion. Everyone has heard this at one point or another. Living in the Silicon Valley, this seems to be especially true. Here’s the thing: following your passion is a luxury. When you’re more worried about being an outcast because of a marginalized identity following your passion is not high on your list of priorities. Everyone wants to belong. It’s why things like meetup.com work: people want to connect with other people.

              Stoners are one of the most authentic group of people I’ve ever met. I’m not the most social of people so whenever I’m at a social gathering I tend to look for the stoners. They are the group I am most comfortable with because of the welcoming atmosphere. Once the preliminary sharing of tokes is through I get to discover the diverse interests of my fellow people. I wish I could talk to more people about my love of cannabis and be my authentic self in this regard but I can’t. I’m sure that there are other people out there who feel the same.

              One of the consequences of living in the shadows and only getting to revel in the loveliness that is cannabis when around other confirmed stoners is that you miss out on potential connection with other people. I know this is the big draw back in my find-the-stoners-plan at social gatherings. The thing is for people who use cannabis to reduce social anxiety this might be the only way they can strike up a conversation. That is perfectly alright as long as it’s not the ONLY way one can socialize.