June 15th, 2016
I finally have something to say: in case you want to know how I really feel
Why social media is bad for you: reason 3,567
A while ago I made the decision to severely limit the amount of news I took in. The media often forgets to mention the beautiful things in life unless they just happen to support a political agenda. It’s NO secret that they push their own agenda, and yet people still tune in to be fed the fodder. We really are like sheep. Me too, as you will see. Since I stopped tuning in to my morning or evening news, my life has looked a little brighter. Not that the bad things that happen are inconsequential, but we all choose what and how much we feed ourselves. If you fill your vision with negativity, the world will look like shit. Honestly, it probably is shit, but if you look closely, you can see that there are still some precious and valuable things out there.
Maybe the reason we tune in is that our human nature craves shit. I say this because now instead of tuning into the news, I just tune into social media. Which is arguably worse. It’s kind of like the news but angrier and full of opinions that are better than yours.
I argue that I tune in to unwind, but honestly most of the time it just drains me. I go on hoping to see pictures from your birthday party; things that are going on in your life that you want to share, good or bad; a funny joke or informative tid-bit; an inspirational quote. I’ll even settle for a picture of your lunch, although to be honest, I really don’t care unless you have some amazing story behind it.
I know that social media is a great place to voice your opinions and stand on your political soapbox. I wouldn’t deny anyone that right. It just kinda makes me sick and drains me most of the time. If you’d like to go get coffee and talk about abortion, let me know. If you want to discuss the pros and cons of vaccination without hate speech, I will listen with open ears and contribute my opinion when I think it’s valid. I honestly make a horrible conversationalist when it comes to politics, but I’m open to hearing your opinions as long as you respect my hippy, anti-establishment perspective on life.
This is what we have allowed social media to steal from us: the engaging discussion over lunch; the passionate debate face to face that actually helps us grow and learn; the ability to express ourselves without the shelter of angry or clever memes that sarcastically tell our “friends” how wrong and stupid they are.
It’s actually quite the dilemma. We are all very busy, and outside of a few close friends, who has time to catch up with 367 friends? I don’t have time for all of you, but at least I can take a superficial peak into your lives. How else would I share my news and accomplishments with all of you at once? How else would I get people to read my thoughts? email? So outdated…
Unfortunately, in light of certain catastrophic events and highly charged political agendas, things on the social media home front have gotten worse; they are almost as bad as flipping on the TV. Don’t misunderstand my desire to resist as apathy. Despite my resistance to news, I have a pretty thick skin to it, and rarely does it upset me to the point of tears, and recently, I have been. I don’t think that’s the news, though; it’s more that people died in the name of bigotry and hate.
So here is what I get in my news feed: pro-gun; anti-gun; funny kitten video; you’re stupid if you want gun control; you’re stupid if you don’t want gun-control; links to two other shootings: one from the day before, one from 2015; prayer vigils; people giving credit to hate speech; random lunch photo; more I’m right, you’re wrong, how utterly stupid can you be to not see it?
Here is what was in my news feed not long ago, and will probably resume in another week or so: pro-Sanders; anti-Sanders; pro-Trump; Trump’s an idiot; transgenders in bathrooms will ruin our nation; transgenders in bathrooms, hurrah Target; Who the fuck cares about transgenders in bathrooms? (apparently, a LOT of people); more cat videos; inspirational quote; funny meme; vaccines save children; shame on you for killing your child through vaccines; a cute picture of a friend’s new baby (Thank, God!!! Fucking-A, I’ve filtered through all this bull-shit to see your cute baby, and I would venture to say it’s worth it!); cute anecdote about life (more warm and fuzzies!!); two people posting about a new abortion law, complete with obviously highly researched and informed self-righteous opinions about it (and, we’re going down).
It’s not that I don’t care about these things; I DO agree with some of those things, and I don’t think less of you for having opinions I disagree with, otherwise my news feed wouldn’t be so…divided. I don’t fault you for sharing your opinion on social media, but I hope and pray that you have something to back up your opinions outside of more memes and less-than-credible sources. I would just rather talk to you in person about these things and not through a meme battle.
If you only pay attention to social media, you won’t know my stance on abortion, vaccination, how I’ve reacted to recent catastrophic events, my politics, my beliefs, or my opinions on recent laws that have passed. Honestly, I probably won’t tell you unless you specifically ask, but I most certainly won’t tell you those things in that space. If I told you in that space, I would either not be respected, or worse, I’d be in it just to see how much approval I can gain to feed my ego and tell myself that I’m right because I’m human, too.
Sometimes I feel exhausted and broken from what’s happening in the world, and not all of it is due to some bigoted asshole shooting up people because he didn’t agree with their lifestyle choice.
Despite all of this, I know that life is beautiful. If life weren’t beautiful, we wouldn’t be saddened by death but rejoicing instead. If you don’t tune out the noise, you’ll miss it.
See you tomorrow for more loaded opinions and half-formed political ideas, at which point I will probably remind myself that I’m wasting precious minutes of my short life.
May 27th, 2016
When It’s Time to Write: The Voices
“I know that at the end, I’ll be satisfied that I made the effort and have a finished product. I always feel good after I write something, even if it’s shit. Uh, what if I write something, and it’s crap that no one, not even myself, can respect?”
“Please, you know you’ve produced some really good stuff.”
“I’m out of practice.” *pouts*
“You’ve been slacking.”
“For a couple weeks, yeah.”
“The longer you slack, the more out of practice you’ll be, and then it WILL be shit. Remember your writing from a few months ago even?”
“Uh! True. Okay, let me get my notebook; I’ll start writing. Hey, there’s a sock on the floor. Oh, crap! Did I put the clothes in the dryer yesterday?”
“Okay, done. Now what prompt are you going to write?”
“Did I eat lunch? I’m suddenly very hungry. I can’t write if I’m thinking about food. Water. I need water, too. That snack made me thirsty.”
“Is that my son that I hear? Is naptime over already?! I’ll have to write later…”
“I’m just so tired. I’ll finish this tomorrow. At least I’ve found a good prompt.”
So the above is what typically goes through my head when I’m about to write my weekly prompt. I had a brilliant writer friend who once said that writing is a strange addiction. No one forces a heroine addict to shoot up. But a writer? Even addicted, you have to drag them kicking and screaming to do what they love.
I just got back from a fantastic conference that was helpful in lighting a fire under my ass. While at the airport, my dad called to inform me that it had been 10 days since my last post, and on the way home when I told him about my trip he mentioned that I now had something to writing about -.- Thank God for accountability.
In regards to my trip, there’s a lot to say, but one thing I took from the weekend was that it’s all about honoring and cultivating my priorities. If writing is a big priority, I need to pay attention to that. Part of the conference also mentioned that an balanced life is not necessarily a chill life. It’s being 100% present in each moment and focusing on those priorities, even if you’re busy. It’s doing the right things at the right times.
I have a lot of homework to do; homework that will benefit me and my family. For now, I’m off to focus on another priority and sign off for this week. Enjoy your weekend, and I’ll see you next week!
Week 7: May 7th, 2016
I’m convinced that a certain social media site is actually killing my brain cells and productivity. I’m sure many of you feel the same way. My life would possibly, no probably, be a lot more fulfilling if I just gave it more of a rest and didn’t check it every time I thought of something important to do. I have to do “X.” Wait, let me first check this before I get busy. Bam! There go 15-20 valuable minutes of my life and 15-20 priceless naptime minutes. The ironic thing is that many of you only know to read this post because I told you about it on said social media outlet. *sigh*
So, this week’s post is more a reflection on my thoughts on my old friend Procrastination. I didn’t find this topic anywhere; it was just on my mind after missing last week’s post and very nearly just saying “screw it” for this week’s.
I imagine that the hobby of writing is very similar to going to the gym. It’s extremely rewarding especially the more you work at it; however, it’s also SO hard some days to just sit my happy slacker ass down in front of my journal or computer. I did actually start a post for last week, but then I decided that after a certain small human’s bedtime, I was *too tired.*
You have done this, too. Don’t look at me like I’m all alone! 😉
We are human. I missed my post last week despite this wonderful outlet to keep me accountable. Shit happens. Moving on. I’m here, and hopefully the missed postings will be very far and few between.
I figured though, that this would be a great time to tell you about my relationship with Procrastination. We broke up a while ago during this one time in life when I learned a bit more about how to adult. I have grown some, thankfully. You know those bad relationships that teach us about who we don’t want to be? Once in middle school, Procrastination kept me so distracted that I had to take a day off of school to finish a project I needed to turn in. I had been given something like 9 weeks to finish this project, and instead I waited until the day before it was due, stayed home and finished it in 1 day.
In college, I wasn’t much better, and I learned that I work best with a deadline. I had this teacher that thought it was a brilliant idea to assign 6 papers and say, “Whenever you get them done is fine, as long as they are done before finals week.” Guess who turned in 4 or 5 of those papers the last week they could be turned in? Silly professor (because obviously it was his fault). Eventually I got sick of Procrastination’s antics and dumped him. Granted, I still really work MUCH better with a deadline. My next self-improvement project is to honor my own deadlines and not cheat myself.
Procrastination still tries to come around again to visit, and like a helpless and hopeless lost ex-girlfriend, I decide to play along. He visits when I plan a party, and the invitations don’t get sent out until a day or two before. He visits when I have phone calls to make, and it takes me two weeks to make them. Lately, he has tried to visit when I decide to sit down and write. Sometimes I entertain him by checking my email for the 10th time in 10 minutes or by looking at posted memes, videos, and family photos. I’m really not sure what happened to him though; Procrastination used to look cuter in the form of a book or a chore or a good movie or even just a nap. Now instead of bettering himself, he shows up in the form of social media just begging me to be dumber. Where, oh where is my dignity?
I remember myself, and how I don’t need Procrastination. I remember that I’m better than that, and I remember that there are many wonderful things awaiting my day. All I have to do is get off my phone and off my ass.
Hmmm…now where did I put that book I’ve been reading?
Week 5: April 22, 2016
My Period Pants
We all have our vices in life: hot coffee, pricey and delicious whiskey, a good book under blankets in a cold house. I feel like I have a long list of these “guilty pleasures.” Previously, one of my guilty pleasures was actually a pair of jeans.
They started out as just a pair of jeans I bought because I had gained some weight. That shopping trip was fun because who doesn’t love a new pair of jeans? It was um, *motivational* because I had plumped up enough to need a pair of pants a couple sizes bigger than I typically wore.
Determination paid off and my new jeans became my baggy jeans. For those of you who know me and remember my high school and early college days, there are few things I have loved more than a good pair of baggy jeans. I know they aren’t the most flattering on anyone though, no matter my wasted love.
They were more comfortable than any sweatpants I’ve ever owned, even to this day. They had fancy designer stitching and strategic holes that I know I paid extra for. Between the weight loss and me artfully expanding the hole in the thigh with my toe while donning them one day, they were restricted to my house. The more I wore them, the rattier they became. They were there for me on rainy days with a good book, on days I spent processing broken relationships, and on days when I made changes to become a better person. They were even there for me while I dreamed many nights. Countless times I fell asleep with them still on. Even after other “better” jean purchases were made, they stayed in my drawer for when I needed them.
Then I started dating my other half. He can tell you stories of other poor wardrobe choices, but by the time he came into the picture, the jeans were so bad that I didn’t take him out in his presence for some time. When I finally did, we laughed about their obvious hideousness.
“What are those?!?”
“These are my favorite jeans!”
Although he seemed to understand my adoration for them (despite being hideous), he assured me that no magic would happen between us while wearing those pants. They became pants that I only wore during times of the month when I didn’t want any magic to happen. They became…MY PERIOD PANTS!! He would see me wearing them and nod his head and say, “Aunt Flo is here?”
Eventually, they disintegrated. Ugly. Broken. Ripped and hanging in shreds. What was left of my beloved period pants had to be thrown away. I will never forget them and will probably never have another pair pants that I love so much.
And that is the story of my period pants.
Week 4: April 17, 2016
A Memory and a Smell
Ever have one of those moments when you make a mental note to yourself, “This moment; this moment right here. I’m going to remember it forever – or for as long as possible.” Memories are SO important and as a person who admittedly doesn’t have the most outstanding of memories, I find myself praying from time to time, “This one; I want to keep this one right here.” Sounds a little overdramatic and slightly depressing maybe, but memory loss strikes me as one of the worst things ever.
I grew up in a Christian household, and I remember this Bible verse that talks about storing up treasures in heaven. My friends and I would wonder what that meant exactly. What was the treasure? I know as most things related to spirituality, there are sure to be varying opinions as to what that means. I hope, though, that at least part of that treasure is a collection of memories, all of the things in our life that make us who we are, although I’m sure there are some memories we will want to forget.
I recall one such time when I made that mental note not to forget. It was what feels like a lifetime ago. It was a simple things really, but my mental note worked, and to this day it’s a very strong memory that randomly pops up every now and again.
For a short period of my life, I played ice hockey. A friend of mine took me to a minor league game once and that was all it took for me to become obsessed. It took that one game for me to decide to purchase a pair of skates and watch countless games. I practiced skating almost daily, and eventually I started playing. At the time I was also attending a local community college, but I looked young enough to pass as a high-schooler still. A guy that I met while skating one day said as much and invited me to practice with the high school team that he coached. It was an exciting opportunity, and I learned a few things to improve my amateur game. Since this was a high school team, practices needed to be very early before school. Sometimes I would get there early before any of the other players. Since I was there so often, I had made friends with some of the staff, and they would let me on the ice early.
One time I was there quite early. The ice had been freshly Zambonied (okay, I’m not sure this is actually a word, but I’m using it :), and I was the only one there. I stepped on the ice and let the familiar smell of the rink wash over me. There is no other smell in the world like it. It’s not exactly like flowers; more like the coolant they use for the ice and the compounded smell of sweaty hockey players from all the countless games. Gross, right? There’s something about that smell though that links to this memory and others like it. I love it. It must be like the smell of horse manure to equestrians.
Inhaling deeply, I pushed out on the smooth ice, the blades from my skates gripping the ice and pushing me smoothly forward. All was quiet, just the sound of my blades against the ice. I warmed up, slowly picking up speed as the industrial lights slowly warmed up too and started glowing. I went lap after lap, each go around building a happiness in my heart. When my legs started to feel the familiar burn of work, I slowed down and enjoyed a moment of slowness before I picked up the pace again. It was a total Zen moment. Taking one last deep breath, I realized that my time alone was short lived, and I made that mental note, “This one; this one right here.”
Week 3: April 10, 2016
A Short Reflection on Laughter
Today I’m sharing with you a brief free-writing exercise I did on the topic of laughter. It’s short and sweet; it’s not exactly earth-shattering, but it’s a good reminder to myself and maybe even to you that laughter is awesome. : ) I know there has to be science behind this topic; I just haven’t taken the time yet to explore it. I might just have to.
The topic of laughter sounds kind of simple. However, laughter is one of the most important things in life. I mean, some serious ish could be going down in your life, but if you can laugh (genuine laughter, not bitter and sarcastic laughter) at something, life is just a little bit better. It’s not to say that laughter solves all of life’s woes, but it’s just so good for the soul. When is the last time you had that uncontrollable deep from your belly laugh?
I think this is one reason that many babies and toddlers are so full of life. They can laugh. I remember that one thing I waited for with such anticipation was hearing my son’s laughter. I so looked forward to hearing it, and he has not disappointed. It’s that from the gut laughter that starts from somewhere deep inside and bubbles outward; their heart is so full it overflows. They laugh over the silliest things, too: a simple phrase repeated over and over, a face you make at them, a dog barking. Babies appreciate the simplest pleasures in life, finding joy in the mundane and typical. Being around that type of laughter is a good reminder to enjoy the simple things.
Did you know that some people even participate in a style of yoga involving several different types of laughter as a main attribute? These practitioners will even fake a “ho ho ho, he, he, he” until their laughter becomes genuine. They laugh so hard that they break a sweat. Such a curious sport. I’m sure though that they feel so much better afterward. Here, I’ve included a link to prove that I’m not making this up: http://www.laughteryoga.org/english
Anyway, this is all for today. I hope you have a great day filled with at least a little bit of laughter.
Week 2: April 2, 2016
Alcohol, a Rose, and Jail
It was just supposed to be a night of fun. A night to escape the monotony of the day to day that had taken over our lives, as so happens if you’re not careful. Work, school, soccer practice, whatever. You know, the random shit that was once exciting that has become – normal.
All the way through college, I had been close friends with a group of guys in a fraternity. It was an odd thing as that wasn’t typically my crowd. Even now, I much more relate to the nerdy philosophers. I had put aside judgmental stereotypes and formed strange friendships. I did crazy things I swore I would never do, and they were able to dabble in philosophical conversation over black coffee and clove cigarettes. I know we shouldn’t judge or stereotype people, but you know we all have done it at one point or another.
I looked over at my wife. Her fishnets were torn in several places, her shoulder was decorated with dried tomato, and mascara created a look that resembled half-raccoon, half-Goth chick. Leaning on her other shoulder was Sam, twirling the most pristine orange rose between her fingers. Ari hadn’t cried yet, but she was still steaming. I could almost see it: waves of anger and embarrassment emanating from her. I knew she would continue to steam until she finished processing, at which point she would then cry or laugh hysterically. There was about a 50/50 shot either way.
The night had started as all normal nights do with lots of alcohol and amazing food. The women had had a bit too much wine by the time dessert was served. Tim’s wife all of a sudden started complaining about never getting flowers. “Seriously though, where has all the romance gone?” she croaked. Usually, you assume that alcohol will make people more attractive; whatever was in my cup just seemed to amplify how annoying she was.
My wife in all her moscato-fueled brilliance, rolled her eyes, snorted, and following a brief hesitation, smacked her hand on the table, “Let’s go get our own flowers!” Instead of dissuading the women, it was decided that we would watch over them while they went to satisfy their sudden floral fetish. Jack, who had not had much experience with tenacious women, thought it would be a good idea to suggest the public garden two blocks over. This, of course, had seemed like a splendid idea at the time.
Once we had all managed to get over the fence without breaking any body parts, we started looking for the best flower to take home. A few things then happened all at once. Sam found her flower (an honestly stunning yellow-orange rose); Aaron found a tomato plant; Ari ripped her fishnets and yelled, “FUCK!” really loudly, despite our pact to use “inside voices” as I always told my 3rd graders to use. I decided at that moment that my 3rd graders were actually better at following instructions. I shushed them quietly at the same time that Aaron shouted, “Hey, girls! I found your flower.” He then lobbed the tomato and managed to hit Ari in the shoulder right next to Sam, who was innocently sniffing her rose. Still pissed and complaining about her brand new $20 stockings, Ari wheeled around toward Aaron and went to attack him. I managed to grab her before she tackled my friend just as a bright flashlight placed us in the spotlight. “Hey! You there! What are you doing?” We had tried to run, but making it back through the fence was too much to hope for.
I’m sure after we get out of here we will talk about how this whole thing was a bad idea. At least it was a break from the norm.
And that is how we ended up in jail!
Week 1: March 21, 2016
So…I didn’t quite make it
For this first entry, I’m starting things off short and sweet, or in this case, short, gross, but funny in the embarrassing sort of way.
I never would have imagined this type of thing happening to me.
The magical group called “they” tell you that life with a child has its special challenges, and one of those challenges is finding a way to go to the bathroom while finding a place to put your baby. You can’t just set them on the floor of the bathroom stall. That would be quite disturbing. Strollers have helped me since in this regard.
However, before becoming the supremely wise and all-knowing mother that I am today, I had a little incident. An I-just-actually-pissed-myself incident. *insert reader judgment *
So, what had happened was…
*sigh* So, I was driving back to my side of town after running an errand for my other half. At the time, my son was still nursing every 2-4 hours. Despite blissfully sleeping for the first ten minutes of the car ride, he waited until we pulled onto the interstate to inform me that I had obviously mistimed his next feeding, and it was now way past time to eat again. As life has it, this specific interstate was under construction and had no place to pull over. So, like a horrible mother that needs to get more up-to-date on pop-child psychology, I let my son wail and scream until I could get off the interstate near my destination. He finally fell back asleep, so I decided that it was safe to run a final errand. In the back of my head, a small voice in my head whispered that I needed to go to the bathroom. I ignored it. Who has time for that?
This was probably the first domino that fell.
He started wailing again; It was past the point of no return, so I just rushed to the store I needed to run into and fed him in the parking lot. Sweet relief. Happy fed baby. Happy mommy with a no longer wailing son. Life was good. However, as I was getting ready to go in the store, that small voice that said I needed to go was now not so small anymore. It was shouting.
No, I didn’t need to shit, but shit, I had to pee! (It’s okay boys, girls don’t poop. I don’t want to disillusion anyone here…)
Of course I tried to put him in the cart, but of course it was stuck to the cart in front of it. He was just starting to be able to sit on his own anyway. I didn’t have time for that.
Run, quick. Where is the bathroom?
I finally found the stall and realized that I had no place to put my baby. So I had to try to unbutton my pants with one hand, hold the baby with the other, and dance the pee-pee dance all the while. I was so close. Button undone, baby safe, shorts over the hips, and…aahhhh!!!
- Didn’t. Make. It.
I almost cried. Instead, like a big girl, I cleaned up as best as I could, still with only one hand, and left. To top it all off, the store didn’t even have what I needed.
It was one of those moments when you realize that maybe you need to slow down. So I did. I got my son loaded back into the car, put a towel over the driver seat and went home, laughing at myself the whole way. After that, I waved the white flag of surrender; I was done, and I’m almost positive that we ordered take-out that night for dinner.