Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Ten *More* Things We Should All Stop Doing In 2016

I know, I know.

I hate lists. I hate writing them, a lot of people hate reading them, but there is just something about the last week of December that makes me feel compelled to write things in this format. Again. The first list went live yesterday. If you haven't read it yet (and you may not have because my mobile app erased half of it for a while...technology hates me), you can find it here. 

Sorry for the lists.


I apologize.

Wait, no. I don't apologize.

1. We should stop apologizing for the way we are. 

Heh. See what I just did right there?

The apologizing is out of control these days. I find myself doing this all the time, and it drives me nuts when I hear the words coming out of my mouth. I'm sorry I'm sad. I'm sorry I'm happy. I'm sorry I share things. I'm sorry I don't share things. I'm sorry I'm angry. I'm sorry I'm sorry I'm sorry. Blah blah blah.

It needs to stop.

I am the way that I am, and you are all the way you are. It's not something we should feel compelled to apologize for. Take me or leave me, this is who I am.

2. We should stop trying to censor what children are taught.

This one is especially irritating me in the new world I'm living in as a homeschooler. I want to believe that people teach their kids for academic reasons, for medical reasons, for mental health reasons. That they keep them home for some compelling reason having to do with the school system's inability to meet the needs of that specific child given their specific situation. I want to believe that. I know that there are many people out there doing this for those reasons. I do.

There are a lot doing it for other reasons though, ones having to do with trying to limit exposure, control the curriculum, shield their kids from whatever they perceive the evil in the world to be. Those people, I'm in groups with some of them online. I left many of those groups recently because I couldn't handle the amount of censorship going on, not just with what the kids are being exposed to, but within the group itself. No one puts Baby in a corner.

It isn't just the homeschoolers of the world though. We live in a world where parents forced a school district to close because of an Arabic lesson, where creationism is put into science textbooks, where sex ed is removed entirely because parents can't stomach their kids learning about penises and vaginas and IUDs and HIV. (p.s. humans are sexual creatures. deal.) We live in a world where the vast majority of the history books ever written have been penned by those in power, from the perspective of the people in control, where the stories of literally everyone else have been ignored and left untaught. That creates a situation like we have now, where entire generations of people have been raised to believe that the stories told in their history books are the only ones that matter.

They aren't.

3. We should stop telling people how they should feel.

Ooooh, this one makes me start hopping around and doing high kicks. I hate this so fucking much, and I see it all the time. People, probably well intentioned ones, have even done it to me on more than one occasion. You'd think I have a warning label on my forehead by now, but apparently not.

Regardless of what is going on in someone's life, regardless of whether something similar has happened to you or to your friend or to your neighbor's uncle, twice removed....you don't get to tell them how they should feel about it. People get to feel however they want about the things that happen in their lives. Insisting that they should feel anything different does a vast disservice to them, minimizes their true feelings and shouts from the rooftops that you are incapable of actually being supportive to them.

Just stop it.

4. We should stop giving out unsolicited advice.

This one goes out especially to all the people who like to tell other people how to raise their kids. You know what is even worse then this phenomenon, though??? Ready for this??? The only thing I have found worse that human sanctimommies are pet sanctimommies. If you think people shaming you for parenting choices is bad, you haven't ever posted a picture of a dog wearing pajamas online...

Every person is different, every parent is different, every situation is different. We're all different. What works for you most certainly won't work for me. If I ask for help, please offer suggestions...but if I don't, please don't try and tell me that I'm doing it wrong.

5. We should stop believing there are arbitrary age limits how we dress, do our hair, etc.

This one annoys me as a freak flag flying nerd and cosplayer. I'm probably too old to paint my nails black and dress like a superhero. I'm probably too old to keep my hair long and buy t-shirts at Hot Topic. (p.s. they still let me in the store) I'm too old to ________ (literally insert anything there).

I'll do me.

You do you.

I really don't care how old you are or I am as long as we're comfortable in the skin we're wearing.

6. We should stop insisting that our experiences translate to other people.

This is a wide sweeping blanket request, applies to literally anything in the world. Have you only ever had friendly interactions with the police? Have you successfully breastfed your child without supplementing? Did you love your c-section? Have a totally functional relationship with your parents? Are you only surrounded by people who own and store guns responsibly? Were you able to receive help for mental health issues successfully? Did medication work for you?

Great!!!!

I'm super happy for you.

Your experience means nothing for anyone else, though. It's limited to you and you alone, and you can't think that your experiences translate to someone of a different age, race, gender, health status, etc etc etc.

7. We should stop condemning women who need help postpartum and instead find ways to help them.

This one is a fresh wound for me, given that there was yet another story in the news this week, this time of a mother who committed suicide while her children were with her. As soon as the story broke, the internet jumped all over her, condemning her situation, blaming her for what she'd done. The truth is, as much as the media thinks they're being accurate, what happened was a result of postpartum psychosis, not postpartum depression. They are related, but different conditions. It's an important distinction. Acting like all women with PPD are homicide or suicide risks actually makes it less likely that women in need of help will seek it out, actually makes it more likely that the stigma will keep them from calling, actually makes it more likely that a women teetering on the edge of psychosis won't get help in time.

We need to do better, we need to get her help and we need to do it before she kills herself in the car in front of her kids, instead of claiming to do it after she's gone.

We need better support systems, not just within the medical establishment, but among friends and family. We need to keep an eye on one another, ask the hard questions, offer to help, build resources.

8. We should stop qualifying what we're about to say because no good comes from that kind of justification.

You know this one, I'm sure.

The "I'm not a racist, but...." or "I have a gay friend, but...." or "I don't mean to offend you, but..."

Yeah.

It doesn't work. You can't magically erase the effect of whatever it is that follows those statements with the qualification. If anything, it makes it worse.

9. We should stop ruining things for other people.

This seems to be something that the internet encourages...as if there is an entire segment of society that gets off on ruining things for other people. Haven't seen the new movie yet? HERE IS A SPOILER. Haven't watched the latest episode of your favorite show yet? HERE IS A SPOILER. Posted a selfie? OMG YOU ARE SO FAT. Share a picture of your kids? JUST WAIT UNTIL THEY ARE TEENAGERS. Frustrated with your parents? YOU KNOW THEY WILL DIE SOMEDAY.

Don't do that.

Let people be happy. Let them share what they share. Let them enjoy this moment or be frustrated in this moment.

10. We should stop picking on anyone who loves something different than we do.

Do you love the NFL? Major league baseball? Video games? Knitting? Comic books? Skiing?

Awesome.

I'm all about everyone finding the things they love and doing them with unbridled passion.

What isn't cool is mocking people who don't happen to love the same things you love, calling them names, picking on them. Not cool. For whatever reason, this phenomenon seems to have ramped up lately because of Star Wars, and it's "trendy" again to declare that you aren't a geek.

If you haven't seen the movies and don't get the appeal, that's fine. If you have seen them and still don't get it, more power to you. Honest. It's not everyone's thing. We don't all have to love the same things.

Just let me put my hair in Leia buns in peace. Mmmkay?

I think I'm done now, Hive. 

Maybe.

But hey....I'm writing again....so there's that.

3 comments:

  1. WOW Kelly, you have no idea what your article has meant to me. I almost didn't read it. But, it came back into my newsfeed so I decided to read it twice. Words cannot express how I feel now. Except for homeschooling everything spoke to me. I have tried to do some of that mostly haphazardly. My daughter is pregnant with her third child. In Feb. and realized what I really need to for her. Ask her.The family is living with us right now, so I will be here with her so I can give them a break once in awhile. I thank you again for the thoughts and time to put them in words to share with people who really need them. God Bless you. You have helped me.

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  2. Since I can't grab you by the arm and drag you around my campus pointing and yelling "here, listen to this!" (because that would be weird) I'm sharing this one like crazy. I needed a lot of this today, and the people I come in contact with on a daily basis really REALLY need it. :)

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