To Glorify or Vilify the Queen? Neither for Me

Since the recent death of the United Kingdom’s Queen Elizabeth II (QE2 or the queen for short), there has been a flurry of positive and negative posts on social media about her and the British monarchy. I am admittedly not deeply informed about British history, including during the seventy plus year reign of QE2. In a broad sense, I know the British monarchy and the royal family wealth have benefited directly from colonial and post colonial capitalism, which was once extremely, and is still somewhat, exploitative and oppressive around much of the globe, such as Africa. Also, a lot of the Irish do not like the government the queen represented, so they did not like her either. Hence, for example, there are a share of Black identifying voices not mourning her death, due to her enabling of oppressive colonizing of them and/or their ancestors. It is arguable, as some have made the case in great detail, how QE2 in her role may not have caused or even did not directly cause such extensive oppression and exploitation. However, it is easier to point out how she allowed or enabled such unfair, inhumane treatment on a mass scale to continue. For many, including myself, enabling harm is viewed to be just as bad as directly causing something harmful.

Personally, I have neither vilified nor glorified QE2. But, I have expressed supportive acceptance of the varying feelings people have shared over her death, which have not all been warm and fuzzy. I’m fine with that. There can be, and naturally is, whether one likes it or not, room for all the range of feelings and emotions over such a world figure. I’m neither a fan nor ardent detractor of her. I do personally wonder about the need for a monarchy to be supported so much by English taxpayers in comparison to how a counterpart monarchy in, say, the Netherlands is more leanly funded by that country’s public. I honestly do not carry much investment in people’s responses about the queen, who embodied a powerful archetype for sure, a crowned female ruler (albeit symbolic only) over a prominent land. She was a living fairy tale character for a lot of people.

I do think there is a slim distinction between the institution of a monarchy and the person filling that role. On extremely rare occasion, people in high places are heroic and undo oppressive power from the inside out. Gorbachev in the former Soviet Union comes quickly to mind here, though he was elected and not in a far more ancient, entrenched position like QE2’s, which has developed so much awe, wonder, and protection around it, several centuries in the making. A part of me admittedly wishes more individuals would sacrifice their and others’ mass power when they are in positions to do so. Alas, it is easier to go along, make incremental changes here and there, if any, and still enable large parts of an institution’s harm to continue over others than to take larger, more radical risks. QE2 was no such daring person, no sacrificial heroine for deep systemic change. She was human, and a fairly conservative one at that, an upholder of layers of tradition valued by many, enabler of classism and racism, also valued by many, sadly.

Those who are more directly affected by an institution’s, such as a government’s, harm, including ancestrally, are going to feel pain from that legacy of harm. That pain can and does often present as raw and ugly, not thought out with rationality. The public discourse occurring seems natural to me, even if rough and downright toxic in places. Well, the way social media works these days, many jump on the opportunity to post extreme and uninformed memes about anything, and most certainly when the topic is political. But, much of that mean-spirited, extreme, polarizing language is a reflection of a larger problem than how QE2 is currently being discussed online, such as the deterioration in more intelligent, civil, and nuanced discourse.

Over time, history will judge the queen however, probably in a nuanced way. She certainly was no tyrant and couldn’t be if she tried, though I don’t believe she spoke out against all tyrants in the world when she could have. She does not seem to carry a wide reputation for being nasty. She was a grande dame in her own way, stoic to a degree we may not ever see again in public figures. I think this is both indicative of some healthy human evolution and also a unique loss.

QE2 had to know that she was stepping into controversy when agreeing to become a monarch, albeit a figurehead one. I’m sure she rolled with the punches as best she could and undoubtedly still is, wherever her life essence may happen to be.

Accepting Some Types of “Weeds” in My Yard

Excluding the formally designated “invasive species” plants, it’s often rather arbitrary what people collectively label as “weeds” in the U.S. Dandelions didn’t used to be viewed as such, but now they are. In Ontario, Canada there seems to be a different category for these particular plants, where they are allowed to abound everywhere. This makes for quite pretty sites, the round, yellow blooms dappled over expanses of greenery.

In my front and back yards, to different extents, I selectively weed out some plants and not others. I cull assorted ones back but not completely while removing certain other types wherever I see them. As I’ve previously written (here: https://practicalpagan.blog/2022/07/28/radical-acceptance-of-letting-go-of-my-grass-lawn/), the grass in my yard is going to eventually die off anyway. Hence, I’ve been enjoying observing what hardy greens are naturally replacing it that I can accept and live with. Crab grass, for example, is, well, a grass of sorts and something I can tolerate while many other people around me seem to passionately dislike it.

I’m working more with nature here instead of battling it on so many fronts. And, frankly, I don’t care how “eccentric” that makes me seem to my neighbors. Like the assorted “weeds” in my yard, I’ve long been viewed by a good share of people as not belonging. I feel a sense of relief and peace over allowing many of the “weeds” before me to grow and be, their presence adding to my property, not somehow taking away from it.

In this place I call my home, I am a steward just as much as– if not more so– an owner.

On Avoiding Toxic Relationships and Making Amends

The more I clear away internalized negative beliefs about myself and feeling states that accompany these beliefs (e.g., “I’m not good enough”), the more I clearly understand how vital it is to minimize and, where possible, avoid spending time around anyone who relates to me from a place that reinforces these negative beliefs. I will not automatically return to any past relationships tainted with emotional toxicity. I would need the other party in question to indicate some significant changes having happened in themselves, demonstrated by them freely admitting to any hurtful statements and actions they had said and done to me and expressing remorse over these. I would then gladly admit to any I had said and done to them and apologize. That would be a healthy start.

Initiating the making of amends is a courageous act. Over the years, I have made it a point to do this where and when I can, when doing so would clearly not cause any harm to the other party. This has been very healing to do, even when the other person has received my amends with some reservation. It has still felt like the right thing to do.

Adios, Adam Rippon

Adios, Adam Rippon. I had fun following you with your pretty face and pretentiously fun camera closeups. But, the recent reel of yourself prattling on about the difficulties of being rich and deciding not to have children because you don’t want to have to explain to them why they have three nannies while so many children don’t, well, that went beyond the pale of tolerable ignorance and insensitivity for me. One person posted this comment to you: “Rude.” That about summed it up.

Now, I can have more space on my Facebook and Instagram feeds and in my brain to fill with something better or nothing at all, which amounts to the same: better. Ah, the power of choice to unfollow with a single finger tap. 👇

Radically Accepting Letting Go of My Grass Lawn

It’s interesting, this having so much grass lawn around my house within a neighborhood of homes with grass lawns. Even the one word term “lawn” is largely assumed to mean “plot of grass.” But, there is room for “lawn” to mean a plot of land filled with other vegetation besides grass. Someday, lawns across the U.S.A. are surely going to be far less grassy and more, well, filled with some other kinds of vegetation. I understand that this has already been gradually happening in some places. Climate change will render this inevitable everywhere across America and other regions.

I am only now embracing “radical acceptance” of the long-term un-sustainability of my front and back yards of lawn. The grass is dying and dead (or looks that way) in whole patches, small and large, while just hanging on over the rest of the ground. We’re in a drought this year, like so much (if not all?) of the U.S. is. But, we’re in a long arc of climate change over any single year.

I feel fortunate to have bought a home with a lot of grass lawn, a dream I long held like so many people have and still do. However, it’s a collective cultural attachment– certainly in my generation and older– this hankering for grass lawns as part of one’s “dream house.” I know; I’ve been a direct participant in this attachment.

What I find myself doing of late is thinking about other possibilities, namely the reality that, someday, my front and back grass lawns will no longer exist. I may have long moved away or died when this is the case, I realize. But, in the meantime, I am beginning to radically accept that maintaining some picture perfect green lawn is, well, not worth my time, money, and focus. (Actually, it never really has been for me.) It feels like a Sisyphean task, and one that goes so much against the natural environment I live in. I feel for all the people around me who work so hard to maintain their grass lawns. I also wonder how this is yet another way I’m somehow different than my neighbors with their ongoing lawns, but that is for another writing.

It’s time I open up to exploring the option of growing plants native to my area, not simply because it’s the right thing to do but, also, because it will be easier and more rewarding to engage in than fighting to maintain the health of such water-demanding vegetation as grass. Either that or eventually re-seeding with a whole other kind of grass that does not need much water and is likely *native* to long-dry parts of the U.S.

I have read that grass lawns are inevitably going to be a thing of the past. I accept this. In the mean-time, in addition to the effects from drought and hotter weather, I will likely soon be more constrained from maintaining my half living lawn via an inevitable watering restriction (or “water ban” as it’s dramatically called here) by my city government. It will continue to wither, leaving room for other possibilities. Such go the cycles of life, which, more and more, I simply accept.

On The Mindful Use of Social Media

Ah, the seductiveness and pullulations of social media. Over on Instagram, I selectively follow few public figures, most of them politicians I respect but also a few actors. I follow two “influencers” (though one may not even identify that way) who I happen to actually know. The few actors and actresses I follow don’t use their accounts to heavily promote their own image. This self image promoting gets less interesting the older I get. It is enough that I take peeks at “suggested” profiles of pretty young men, often sleekly gym pumped, who have tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands, of followers. They don’t need me within their mass audience and I don’t need their pictures filling my feed and brain. The peeks I take of these aggressively promoted strangers are the psychological equivalent of eating candy or ice cream, tasty fun but best done in moderation. It’s like when I used to pick up a tabloid while waiting in the check-out line at the supermarket.

There is a set of choices behind how we each engage in social media. The more conscious and mindful they are made the better. I choose to fill my feed with a good variety, such as photos of nature, useful political and scientific information, updates from my friends, art, humor, and, yes, a beautiful sexy man here and there. It’s been an evolution for me, this what I intend to be a more mindful use of what I follow and post on Facebook and Instagram. We’re all on our own adventure with how to best navigate this interesting jungle called social media. May we each grow from it— including adding to the betterment of the community— along the way.

Brief Thoughts on Intelligence


I have a Masters degree while my husband has no college degree. But, his ability to figure out mechanical stuff like how to operate the DVD player with our three remotes or how to fix a household appliance never ceases to impress me. I have no patience or focus for such things, but, over and over again, he sure does. Also, his visual-spatial capacity/abilities surpass mine. He envisions how to set up and/or remodel a room with ease.

Intelligence reveals itself in so many ways. I honor and respect my husband’s expressions of brainpower which show up time and again. Any comparing between us of who’s “smarter” is pointless and ridiculous.