Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Things That Piss Me Off - the I have not been on social media for two weeks hardly at all and just look at this mess...

Hi.

I need to write, but I can't promise that any of this will make sense. I'm going on week three of anxiety fueled sleep deprivation and being kept upright through the use of a magic elixir known as caffeine.

*slurps gigantic Diet Coke*

*slurp*

*slurp*

Seriously, you guys. I've seen things.

I'm not here to talk about what has been going on in my personal universe, mostly because I am (yet again) peripheral to the story and it really isn't my story to tell and even though way too many people I am related to seem to believe that I overshare EVERYTHING, the truth is that I don't actually reveal very much about the shit that matters. So. There's that.

What I am here to do today, though, is to get some of this rage out of my system. And I said I'd write more too, so killing two birds with one stone or something like that.

I mean, I meant to do a whimsical quote series or some uplifting shit, but we both know that wouldn't last long anyway.

You and me, both, reader. The one of you that is left.



I think it's cute that I still blog as if blogging still holds some teeny bit of relevance in the world.

SUPER CUTE.

Long winded, I am today.

Let's get to the rant, shall we?

Hang on. I need to paint my nails....

Seriously. I am painting my nails. Because I have been so busy/distracted/anxious about basically everything the last few weeks that I had old nasty nail polish that I picked off last night. Because I am all up in my bad habits right now.

I know, I know, I know. I need to take care of myself. Can't pour from an empty cup. Put your oxygen mask on first. All those things.

I am amazing at giving that advice and terrible at following it and that pisses me off.

The selective outrage of...well....everyone
I quite literally haven't been reading much news lately. Avoided my Facebook newsfeed completely for over a week. Missed out on all kinds of stuff that I would normally pay attention to, and not really by choice, but because of all that other stuff going on around here.

I had occasion to jump on for a bit and it was pretty obvious that I was going to be really pissed off by what I was seeing. Everywhere.

A whole bunch of people outraged about a Polish doctor being held by ICE because he'd been brought here as a child, his parents entering the country without formal permission. People who never ever seem to notice all the stories of people of color being deported, doctors or otherwise. Even the veterans - people who've served a country that would toss them out on their asses, send them to a country they've no recollection of...those don't seem to rile up the people who were pissed about this Polish doctor.

Then, in every corner of my interwebs, the story of a mom who'd told her doctor she was dealing with postpartum depression, only to have the doctor call the police on her. Allllllll the maternal mental health advocates were in a tizzy over it, made this story she shared go viral, turned her into a hashtag and started protesting at their statehouses over the terrible things that happened to this woman. And, don't mistake my words here - what happened to this woman was horrible and wrong...but let's not pretend for even a fraction of a second that this is the first time it has happened. Black women have been telling these stories for decades, begging mental health advocates to understand that calling 911 during a mental health crisis can be anything but life saving. Listen to black women.

Listen. 
To.
Black.
Women.

Whiteness. It's a helluva drug.

All those gymnasts...
While it seems like most of the country is shocked and appalled at the horrors told in victim statements, I watched all of it unfold from a weird place in my life. Disconnected, but seeing things that maybe I wouldn't have seen.

This wasn't one victim. Those victims weren't all silent. Some talked and those in a position to do something did nothing. Others knew and allowed it to continue. When rape apologists whine about how victims should have left or said no or should have told someone, this case is a glaringly obvious example of why those arguments are bullshit. Here, a man in a position of authority and unique access to both the underage gymnasts and their dreams, found victims lined up at the door and a universe willing to insulate him.

If you're outraged about this case, be outraged about all the other cases. How many victims does it take to get society to collectively give a shit? 5? 10? 100?

What about all the predators who only violate one person?

Are those victims to be less believed?

While we're on the subject, let's talk about Aziz
You know damn well I don't want to talk about Aziz. Not specifically, anyway. I'm sure as hell not getting into any discussion with people who want to play the "why didn't she leave" card, which rapidly became the new "well, look what she was wearing".

If you're into victim shaming, don't try me.

Women tolerate abuse because we're groomed to tolerate it. We put up with shit like what he did out of fear that it might suddenly turn into something so much worse. Women die at the hands of men who claim not to understand what the words, "no", "maybe on the second date", or "I think I need to leave" mean.

This particular guy has claimed feminism as his own to advocate for, has claimed to be the nice guy who understands, has made money selling books and tickets about how he's trying to be better than most of the assholes out there...and yet, he's still that guy.

Which is exactly the problem.

I saw the stage production about a blind date with my teenagers this past weekend. In the show, there is a recurrent character of the female protagonist's "bail out friend" calling to check on her, give her an out....who eventually comes to the restaurant to make sure that she is okay.

Women have to do that. Men don't.

The thing that makes people uncomfortable about the Aziz story is the familiarity. If you're over the age of 25, chances are damn good that you've had an experience with eerie similarities.

Women, maybe you've been pressured to do something you didn't want to do, felt like shit afterwards, wondered what the hell happened, then proceeded to blame yourself for being there in the first place, rationalized it in your head somehow, carried on.

Men, a whole hell of a lot of you have been there too. Maybe you've been the guy saying, "I'll stop, just don't leave", thinking that she's "playing hard to get". Pressing for more with someone who isn't interested. Pressed on anyway. Succeeded. Considered it a success. Or if she did get brave enough to walk out, you decided she was a bitch. Whined about being friendzoned because if a woman doesn't want sex, she's lesser in your eyes. Do not even come at me with the #notallmen bullshit. I'm not saying all.

It makes us all uncomfortable because damn near all of us have been there to some degree...which is the problem.

Is it the same thing as forcible rape? Of course not.

Is it something we can ignore? Fuck no.

This is absolutely societal. It infiltrates everything kids are taught from birth about gender, seeps into every interaction. We have to talk about it, we have to stop pretending that it isn't a problem. Even if it seems a little too close. Especially if it seems a little too close. 

I'm here to make you uncomfortable. You're welcome.

For the record, guys...I don't give a shit if you feel guilty feelings about things that happened in the past and don't want to admit that you've been that guy. I really don't. Fix it moving forward. Know better. Do better.

And maybe, just maybe you should fucking apologize to whoever you might have hurt.

P.S. All the women out there doing the "she should have left" thing. Stop. For real. Don't buy into the toxicity of rape culture.

Peace.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Things That Piss Me Off Tuesday - the rape culture is a thing edition

Hi. Waves. I haven't done one of these in about.....ohhhh.....five months or so.

Not that I haven't been pissed off in that time period. I have. Trust.

I just haven't been writing much for a whole bunch of reasons, some of which you may care about but most of which you probably don't, so I'll spare you the details.

Mostly I am just really fucking tired of arguing with people online, and have found other ways to more productively channel my energies.

But alas, I am here today. Pecking away. I have work I need to get done, and am trying to multitask, which is one of my actual superpowers. Hooray ADHD. Use your powers for good, you guys.


Rape Culture is SO OBVIOUSLY A THING

Hi. I'm so tired of explaining this one. To friends, to strangers, to co-workers. It seems like every week, there is some new breaking story of some man in some position of power or influence or fame who is being accused of sexual harassment at least, aggravated rape at worst. I could list them here for you, but that would be a really long fucking list, and at this point I am truthfully more surprised when a story breaks that ISN'T about some dude treating women like crap.

There are all these people who think that at some point, it'll be a tipping point in terms of the current presidential administration. I don't. His fans/followers/voters/base voted for him knowing exactly who he is and was and has always been, and I don't anticipate there being anything that could sway them. Certainly a settlement with a porn actress about an affair he conducted with her while his third wife was pregnant won't do it.

Stop waiting for people to do the right thing. Stop waiting for Congress to do the right thing. There are probably a whole bunch of men in those hallowed halls who've done the same or worse, so I wouldn't hold my breath waiting on their moral authority.

I am sick and tired of the selective outrage, of the immediate defense of the accused based on whether he is funny or good with a football or OMG YOU GUYS HE IS MY FAVORITE ACTOR EVER or political affiliation. This shit transcends everything. Culture, class, religion, race, all of it.

It is societal.

The pessimist in me, knowing that the vast majority of women I know have dealt with this stuff in one degree or another, suspecting that the vast majority of men I know get a little more uncomfortable with the Aziz Ansari accusations than the Harvey Weinstein ones because they're a bit more familiar, feels like our generation isn't going to be the one that fixes this. We may be irredeemable.

That's not to say that individuals can't atone for the harms they've done, learn, do better, all that jazz. They can. But as a generation, this just might be the thing we're remembered for. Which is great.

Generation X - #metoo

We've got to be better parents than ours were, we HAVE to teach our kids better. We have to raise our sons to value autonomy and consent and healthy, reciprocal relationships. We've got to stop making women's bodies commodities, we've got to stop teaching little girls that when a boy chases you it is because he likes you. We have to, or we're destined to allow this shit to perpetuate.

In which case, we'd be known historically as the generation of #metoo that did nothing.

That would be even worse.

Whitewashing history, with a song a dance
Holy crap the justifications people will use to fall in love with a musical. Yeah, I get it. Hugh Jackman is a great entertainer. Musicals are one of my all time favorite genres of film.

The Greatest Showman is a fictionalized story loosely based on the life of P.T. Barnum, and by loosely based, I mean they trivialized or removed entirely his horrid racism, the fact that he was a slaveowner who went to extreme measures to make sure he could keep his slaves in free states. He objectified anyone different, profited on the differently abled, abused animals and more.

But that tap number. So good.

Jesus.

Yeah, sure...some people know these things about him and will be able to separate the movie that is so fictional it should not have any association with real life people, who'll use it as a jumping off point to do actual research about what a monster he was....but most people won't.

Most people will go, fall in love with the shiny dude on the screen, celebrate the positives of the film, never bother to learn the truth, and have their impression of this actual historical nightmare be completely warped.

This, by the way, is how we got into the political mess that is 2018. Warped history. White washing. Ignoring all the terrible things and upselling the "good" ones with a catchy song and dance.

People being falsely educated about an actual historical character isn't a fun family movie experience, it's really fucking dangerous.

Ugh.

It's almost time for another reminder of the power of privilege
The days are ticking by and it is almost February, when some really awful stuff happened last year.

Well. More specifically, when some really awful stuff came to light in a public, ugly way.

I still won't tell the story because it isn't mine to tell, but I'm dreading the narrative that I know is coming.

We all lost something, sure.

Some of us lost a lot more.

Some people risked their financial security, the welfare of their families, to stand in their truth.

At the end of the day, though, the reason we lost that thing isn't the fault of those who shined the light. It isn't.

It couldn't be.

Even the ultimatum that so many have held up as evidence of how it was the fault of those who spoke up...it isn't. It wasn't.

When you give a person in power a choice between doing the right thing and running it into the ground and they choose to run it into the ground, that choice is not the fault of those who called it out.

It is not.

That choice rested, as it usually does, in the hands of privilege.

You can tell a lot about people in a hurry in these situations, about where their loyalties lie, about what they value the most, about whether biases dominate their assumptions. I have no regrets about where I stood back then. I have no regrets about where I stand now.

I'm still mad as hell, though.

And I'm pretty sure I'll never stop being disappointed in people.

What I am rarely, though...is surprised.

This 2018 version of me...still fueled by coffee and rage.

Monday, January 8, 2018

To New Beginnings or something like that....

It's January. You know...that time of the year when everyone half heartedly resolves to be better versions of themselves for however long that lasts.

I don't really think we should make resolutions for one reason. It's a simple one, really.

Most of us suck at keeping promises we make to ourselves.

I'm including myself here, so spare me the lecture.

I mean, I'm all for self improvement, don't misinterpret my words. I just don't happen to see much utility in doing it just because the date on the calendar changed.

Change because you really want it, because it will improve your health, because it will strengthen your relationship, not because someone selling something on TV told you there was a sale this month.

As for me, I'm giving keto a shot. I started before the holidays, actually, presumably because I enjoy torturing myself. And because I'd rather eat sadness than chocolate.

FOR REAL I need some chocolate.

I'm not doing it for vanity or for the number sewn into my pants to diminish. I'm doing it because my pancreas needs me to.

And it's okay.

I mean, you can eat so much cheese and bacon and avocados. I've taken to snacking on handfuls of almonds and started wondering who the hell I think I am.

I promised myself that I would try to paint my nails once a week, again not for the benefit of anyone on the planet except myself. I want to make sure that I'm forcing myself to do something nice for ME. Because I spend just about all my time taking care of other people, signing up for more and more volunteer projects, taking on more at work, and generally being so busy that I can't see straight.

Truth, though?

That's how my ADHD anxiety ridden brain functions best. I have to stay busy. I HAVE TO, or not a goddamn thing gets done. It really is all or nothing in my life, and there's too many things to get done for me to opt for the nothing side.

Plus, our society is a total fucking trash fire right now, and I really have to keep fighting even if I am worn out because there's this stubborn little voice inside my head that tries to convince me all the time that there are more good people than evil ones and that somehow together we can generate a Care Bear Stare or build a Voltron or something to fix it.

Where are my 80s kids at? You'll get those references.

Anyway, I haven't written here for a while and I probably won't be back for a while because I really am this busy, and one of the things I am doing these days involves FINALLY getting paid to be a sarcastic know it all writer. SO I'm going to do that.

I love you guys. Take care. Be well. Keep fighting.

Oh BTW, this is officially my tenth year as a blogger, which is insane. Peek over at that margin. What the....

Some of My Most Popular Posts