Monday, September 26, 2016

Dear Voters: This Is Not A Drinking Game

The first Presidential debate of 2016 is tonight.

I'm not entirely sure that the word debate is really going to adequately describe what is about to happen, though.

Mostly, there will be a lot of rambling and interrupting and promises to "Make America Great Again" from one side. The other will, I hope, be the voice of reason that dares not to slip up even one time because we all know damned well that if she does, she'll be eaten alive by the internet and the media, after being ripped to shreds for what she's wearing, her tone and how tired she looks, of course.

One candidate can literally say nothing truthful and his followers shout louder. They don't care about facts or lies, they just like what he says.

The other displays even the tiniest bit of inconsistency and she's condemned for being a liar.

(Among other things...)

I saw my first

TRUMP THAT BITCH

bumper sticker this past weekend.

I've seen them online, wanting to believe that they weren't real stickers, that they were just memes created by bored trolls online with nothing better to do than start fights with strangers.

Nope.

It's totally a real thing.

The fact that it was slapped onto the back of a brand new Porsche??? I'm not sure whether that makes it more laughable or more terrifying.

In the next few hours, you're going to inevitably see about 1/4 of the people you know online share some link with some grid or some set of made up rules that makes the debate into a drinking game.

Normally, I share them too.

There's way too much at stake in this election to be so flippant. Way too much.

Besides which, if you were to actually attempt to play a drinking game during whatever the hell actually happens tonight, you could end up with alcohol poisoning. Seriously, you guys.

This is a hugely important election.

This is not a drinking game.

I repeat, this is not a drinking game.

Vote.

Please vote.

Please, please, please vote.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Salutations

I haven't been writing much of late.

Some of my absence is just a by-product of homeschooling and working and having a toddler and living in my car for huge chunks of time each day shuttling kids to and fro.

Some of my absence is absolutely intended.

Deliberate.

I'm angry a lot. I'm far more often disappointed.

God, I'm starting to sound like the parent of a teenager...except the target of my most frequent anger and disappointment isn't my children (don't get me wrong, it is sometimes), but instead society. People I've known in some capacity or another who've revealed themselves to be someone I'm utterly disgusted in.

The thing about this election is that it isn't just about political ideology. It's not about some tangential argument about fiscal responsibility or budgetary accountability.

Nah.

The issues at stake in this election are bigger than that. Humanity seems to be up for negotiation, and far too often people are siding with fear.

Really, so much of the division in this country comes from fear.

That fear - where does it come from?

Ignorance, whether willful or the byproduct of biased education and upbringing, seems to be at the root of so much of it all.

There are large groups of people who rely on that ignorance and the fear it generates. We are witnessing politically what happens when the masses are convinced that they should be afraid.

I spend so very much time trying to unpack my own issues, listening to the experiences of others, honoring their word without questioning it or allowing my own biases to somehow skew what I hear. If more people could just do that, if more people could drop the shield and sit down and listen, things might be so very different.

Might be.

I feel, I truly feel, like we collectively are on the precipice right now. Teetering so very precariously on the edge. So close to outright war with ourselves. All it would take is one swift breeze and we'd be over and on the way down.

But.

This is how change happens.

Change of this variety doesn't come quietly and incrementally. Change of this variety has to be dramatic. It has to be forced and there will always be people who dig in their heels and fight that change because it somehow threatens everything they've ever known.

Fight, if you must, but change is going to come.

I see it in the eyes of my child, the one who refuses to accept that this is the way the world is or should be. The child who vows to do what she can already to ensure that the world her own children will someday occupy will be different than this one. Better.

I see hope there.

I see it there, but we can't wait that long. We can't just educate our children and hope they correct the wrongs we've tolerated. We can't.

It's not enough.

It's not enough because if you believe that it is, privilege is telling you that lie. Just because something doesn't affect you doesn't make it less real, certainly doesn't make it more tolerable. Turning a blind eye to the now, urging the next generation to fix it, it's not enough.

I have been asked increasingly by friends, by fans, what we can do.

There are so many things.

Educate your children, yes. Please. Do this. First educate yourself. Learn something from a new perspective every single day. Refuse to filter what you read with the biases you've been taught. Recognize your own biases, stop insisting that you don't see race. You do, and I promise that it affects how you treat people more than you are comfortable with. Go here. Take the test. 

Speak out when you see or hear or read bias and hate. Use your voice and your privilege to stop it, to call people out, to demand that things change right now.

Listen when people share their experiences. Listen. Do not insert your opinions or what you've experienced into their reality.

Stop elevating your feelings above the lives of other people. Lives matter more than feelings.

Intervene when you see injustice. Be willing to hold that video camera, to insert yourself in situations where you might be able to help.

Write to elected officials. Attend meetings of city councils and school boards and oversight committees. Join advocacy groups. Vote. Donate money if you are able.

Mostly, pay attention. If you're looking for instances of deeply rooted systemic racism, they really are everywhere. Once you start to see them, it quickly becomes impossible to not see them.

When you see them, get angry.

Then do something.

Hell hath no fury like a soccer mom, slightly inconvenienced. 

We need the soccer moms to get pissed.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

To the one who is growing up faster...

It's your birthday tomorrow.

Everyone in the house will make more of a fuss over you than they already do, and you'll drink in every ounce of attention more than you already do.

It's hard to believe that there was ever a time when you weren't here. Though you're still so fresh and new, it seems that you've always been here, a part of this family.

I certainly didn't think we'd ever meet, you and I. I longed for the day that I'd have one last chance to do it all over again, but there was a part of me that let go of the hope that it would ever happen.

A bigger part held on to the hope.



Even when that hope didn't make much sense, I held on anyway.

And then one day, as though according to some script hidden and secret, you arrived.

Had you been a little girl, your middle name would have been Grace.

For reasons.

So many reasons.

Instead, here you are, your middle name taken from my father's name. You and he never had the chance to meet in this life, but I have a feeling you'd have gotten on splendidly, the two of you.

There's a devilish naughtiness to your smirk, a coyness to your demeanor, an excitement at new experiences that have so often reminded me of him. Maybe you didn't need to meet him in this life. Maybe you met somewhere else in the realms of the universe that make no sense to those of us here.

Maybe.

I just know that I look at you and I see him far too often for it to be mere genetic coincidence.

You're in a hurry these days to grow up. Faster, stronger, bigger. You see all your siblings and you want so desperately to keep up with them all.

Until you want to crawl up in my lap and rest your little head on my chest.


Part of having done this as many times as I have is that I know what to hang on to longer with you. I know what I'm going to miss. I know that I'll read all the stories you could ever want to listen to and I'll rock you in the chair for as long as you want. I know that someday you won't wake up in the middle of the night anymore wanting me. I know. There's a bittersweetness to it all now, the older you get, the more of those nights you sleep restfully without interruption.

All the rest of the time, there are other people and other things and other needs that need me, but in the small hours of the night, it's just you and me and your little fingers wrapped around mine.

If there was a way to hit pause on life, to keep a moment just so for all of eternity, that's when I would press it.

If.

There isn't.


I know that with absolute certainty.

Life doesn't cooperate with the time frames we would elect in any circumstance, least of all with children.

I can't keep you little no matter how hard I might try, and so I won't.

I'll embrace this new trip around the sun of yours for the journey it is, consider myself lucky for the chance to accompany you.

Never stop being amazed at the beauty in the world.
Sometime in the next few days, there will be a cake and balloons and that song your siblings so often sing to other people will be sang just to you.

It will all be for you.

They really do adore you, those brothers and sisters of yours.

You helped them, you know.

You helped them learn patience.

You helped them learn to appreciate how relentlessly time marches forward.

You helped them learn to slow down, get back on the floor, color.

You remind us all to play.

You remind us all to seek out joy, to witness the beauty in the world, to be amazed and excited about how awesome this world really is, and we get to watch you see it all for the first time.

You helped them be better people, just by being here.



You make me a better person. You challenge me. You make me laugh. You wear me out. You have helped me heal and grow as a woman, as a mother, as a person.

I can't wait to see who you become.

Thanks for completing our family, sweet boy.

I love you.

Happy birthday baby,
Mama

Monday, September 12, 2016

I chortled when I read this piece about feminism and dating....

I am sick. Not like super sick or anything, just dealing with some bizarre virus that mostly involves body aches and horrendous swings in temperature.

Consequently, I didn't do much this past weekend aside from read things online.

One of them made me laugh out loud. Heartily.

HEARTILY.

I laughed because it was so completely fucking ridiculous.

I laughed because I have known men like the writer, both in real life and (abundantly) online. There are so very many men out there who honestly feel this way about women. I know, I know, I know, #notallmen.

Eyeroll.

What was so funny, you might ask?

Oh, just a piece written by a very single man, proclaiming all the reasons he won't date a feminist.

Uh huh.

Yeah, that list is missing the primary reason - you won't date them because they won't fucking date you and that's how dating works - you don't just get to decide, the other person also gets to have a say in the matter. ;)

By the by, I'm not linking to his preposterous article because the absolute last thing I want is for him to have his ego stroked by seeing those page views tick up, even if I'd just be sending people there to laugh. If you really feel inclined to read this piece of unintentional sarcasm, by all means go ahead...but I'm not here to contribute to this idea that he's making some kind of valid point.

The internet is your "man hating" oyster, so to say.

Feminism isn't a dirty four letter word. It's a movement designed to push for equality in how men and women are treated in all facets of our society.

What is so threatening about equality?

I mean, aside from the idea that he wouldn't be able to handpick a potential dating partner with some kind of ideological screening tool about whether she might believe that men and women should be equal in general, let alone in any type of relationship setting...because clearly he's the big strong man who needs to rule over her.

Uh huh.

Except he's alone.

Hey...hey, buddy.

How's that working out for ya? The women knocking down your door yet? No? Huh. Imagine that.

Good luck, man. My tiny little woman brain thinks you're going to need all the luck you can muster.

Oh, and just for the record...I love men, but only the men who aren't threatened by my intelligence, my sarcasm, my wit and my uterus.

*skips away*

Thursday, September 8, 2016

The Walking and the Self Loathing

I don't do change well. I've written about this topic only about a million times. Here. On Facebook. Hell, even on Instagram.

I don't.

I fight change on a cellular level, even when I know it is necessary, even when I know it will be for the better.

Even then.

I've been walking a lot more since I got this Fitbit (i.e. the electronic self loathing leash attached to my wrist, the one I'm taking off because it makes typing hard.)

I've been walking. A lot. Taking the baby and the one who is here homeschooling out for almost daily trips to the lakes or river or parks and walking. Trails, loops, all of it.

I do it because I know I need to.

I'm overwhelmed.
I'm resisting the changes that are happening everywhere else.

I had a few shower epiphanies in the last week or so. One was a refreshing one. I'd managed to watch the entire season of Stranger Things without incorporating any of it into an intrusive thought.

Maybe that means I'm finally headed out of the darkest part of the postpartum depression tunnel. Maybe.

I know better than to get my hopes up, believe that it is really gone.

I think, based on personal experience, that it might never really be gone, that it has just become a part of who I am now, much like that whole PTSD experience from hell I went through a few years ago.

That one still rears its ugly head sometimes too.

Most of the time, I'm in a better place, and it wasn't until I got through the end of that show (and started massively getting triggered by another one, Mr. Robot) that I realized it hadn't even bothered me.

Fuck Mr. Robot right now. For real. I mean, it's a phenomenal show thus far, don't get me wrong. I don't mean to insult the writers or actors or producers. It's me and my abundant issues.
......

I just recently became a Warrior Mom Ambassador, which is something I've been telling myself that I would do as quickly as I could after most of my postpartum fog lifted. And I did it. And I was accepted. I'm hoping to do some training for it here in the next few weeks.

Truthfully, it's just a formal designation for much of what I've been doing for over a decade now - being a safe place for mothers navigating the murky world of postpartum mental health.

Realistically, it means that I'm going to have to make sure that I take good care of myself so that I can be the person that other people might need me to be in a time of crisis. And I will.

So, the walking.

All the walking.

I need it.

I crave being near water in general, just as part of my human makeup. I gravitate towards water when I'm struggling in any way. Seriously, if I ever disappear and you can't find me, go to the nearest river or lake. I'll be there, sitting under a tree, probably with my feet in the water, contemplating the universe. Probably hysterically crying or quietly sobbing. Approach with caution.

Anyway, the walking. Which is what I'm supposed to be writing about.

It helps.

I need vitamin D. If I don't get outside, the hole gets deeper and I become more and more content to stay in it.

I need the movement. All those totally bullshit sounding things that people preach about exercise helping with mental health issues - well....they're mostly true, assuming of course that you can get over the self loathing enough to actually go outside, and sometimes that first step is a real motherfucker.

All this walking has done wonders for me in a lot of ways - mostly emotionally. I'm also one of those communes with nature kind of hippies so it helps me in a spiritual sense.

Plus it's really beautiful here, so that helps.
In all seriousness, sometime if you're ever feeling totally out of control in life, go find a field of tall grasses on a breezy day and just sit there and watch it. Go sit by a lake or the ocean as a storm moves in and watch as the water shifts in anticipation of it. Find some dead tree out on the middle of nowhere and watch the birds.

It's done tons for my cardiovascular health and metabolic health. My blood sugar levels are down. I'm in much better shape, I'm sleeping better, my resting heart rate is lower, I've cut my blood pressure meds down because I started getting dizzy all the time on the dose I was at. I can do more. I can go faster.

I'm not winning any land speed races, that's for damn sure, but I am making progress.

Well.

Except in one area.

My weight.

And this is where the self loathing comes in.

(And this is the part where I ask that no one tries to placate me with explanations - I know why I'm not losing weight. I do. It's a combination of three things. 1) I'm still nursing a toddler - and when I'm nursing a toddler, my body will cling to every single ounce of fat like my entire milk supply depends on it. 2) I have built a ton of muscle too, and we all know that muscle weighs more than fat, so I don't need that lecture either. 3) Tacos. Well, not specifically tacos are to blame for all of it, but related to number one, I eat food.)

I have a long and tumultuous relationship with the scale.

I've been overweight my entire life, regardless of what I've ever tried to lose weight.

I've struggled with an eating disorder and was still fat, so I failed in two ways. (that's a joke, put away your pitchforks)

I know that once the baby weans, it will be much easier to lose weight and restrict my food intake. I know that.

I do.

And still.

The fucking number on the scale.

I keep repeating to myself:

Being healthy is more important than being thin. 
Being healthy is more important than being thin.
Being healthy is more important than being thin.

Say it with me.

I'll keep walking. Keep doing what I need to in order to make sure that my body is healthy and strong, that my mind is as focused and clear as possible, that my emotions are regulated as much as humanly possible. I'll do it for me and for all the people in this world who will or might depend on me.

And I'll do it even if that goddamn scale tries to convince me that I'm a failure.

I can't hear you.

lalalalalalalalalalalalalalala

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