Happy Thanksgiving

I don’t get days off, but don’t expect some long and poignant post today. Well, maybe you shouldn’t expect that most days. Today is Thanksgiving, a day that people set aside in hopes that it makes them feel grateful for everything that they have for at least one day a year. It’s a day that politics should be left out of. I’m sure Halloween has pretty gruesome history behind it, still going to celebrate that. It’s not about the past; it’s about where we move forward.

I’m thankful for every day. I’m thankful for my beautiful boys. I’m thankful for their successes and their struggles, because both make me a better mother and human. I’m thankful for my supportive family, who’s always there when I need them the most. I’m thankful for my husband, who always lifts me up when it feels like everyone else wants to take me down. I’m thankful that I have a house, food, and loved ones. I have a lot to be thankful of, which I’m very thankful for every day. We don’t need a single day to be grateful. We should be grateful every day.

If you are lucky enough to spend the day with family, remember how lucky you are. If you are working today, putting your life on the line to ensure the safety of others, thank you for your service. We are thinking of you, grateful for your selflessness. If you aren’t fortunate enough to be with family, be with the family you choose. Blood doesn’t mean family. Love does.

Happy Thanksgiving and remember the lessons of today every day of your life. Even in darkness, there is something to be grateful for.

Social Media Help For Esports

Some teams have an awesome team behind their social media accounts. As a Boston Uprising fan, I feel as though they have done an amazing job. The Overwatch/Overwatch League teams (and Blizzard team in general) also have a knack for getting information out and actively engaging with their fans. This is just one of many things that I personally love about Blizzard. The problem is that PR on the social media front tends to be a problem for these teams/stars, especially in the Overwatch League and apparently now their Contenders teams.

You may have heard that there’s a new team in town: the Toronto Defiant. I cried a little on the inside when they had Neko in their video releasing info on 2 of their new players. The reveal was well-produced and the hype around it was perfect. This was social media used in an effective manner to achieve awesome results for the team. Even though this worst kept secret was something some Boston fans were hoping was fake. (Which quickly disappeared when Neko referred to HuK as a lying bastard on the internet, but still some of us clung onto hope that Neko would be our fearless Zen/Ana once again.) The Neko incident of calling HuK out on and it going viral on social media is just one of many ways that the PR team has failed players on the social media front. I could go into real life examples of how social media can give people a negative impression on you without the polish of an experienced professional, but I really don’t like to talk politics on Gaming Day.

Way back when DreamKazper did that terrible thing, I pointed out that this was just one of a few examples back then that you have these kids who are impulsive and inexperienced socially (in most cases) who need help navigating the finer points of engaging fans and social media strategies. As an Uprising fan, I can point to NotE and Gamsu as evidence that when a player uses social media properly can grow a massive following without any drama. Gamsu posts images of the beautiful views when he hikes or hilarious images of him missing his flights. Then there is NotE who goes the puppy route and keeps up this wholesome and goofy image that he has. These are players that have either been coached properly on social media PR or ones who just are personable and relatable people with a talent for social media.

Then you have teams like, I don’t know, the Toronto eSports Club who went full nerd-rage on Twitter. “We were told we couldn’t have our name so we quit Overwatch”. They sounded like petulant children. Does it suck that they had to change their name because of the Toronto Defiant? Absolutely. I don’t think it was right that they had to change their name. Throwing a childish fit on Twitter? Probably not the best way to go about it especially if you want sympathy over the situation. Plus, I mean just flat out quitting the game and bashing how awful it is? That brought up a lot of concerns for Uprising fans (and potentially even their players/staff) of what this meant for them since this seemed like a rash overreaction one the part of their academy team. When HuK comes off as a reasonable party in a situation, then you know you’re wrong. This is another case where someone who shouldn’t have a Twitter account while representing other people makes everyone look bad. (Applies to politics today as well.) In case you’re wondering Toronto eSports doesn’t actually own the academy team, the Uprising do. So, this really means nothing.

These teams and players need better social media coaching. Fissure has an awful reputation due to his social media presence. xQc has a reputation due to his online persona where you either love him or hate him. Social media today can make or break your brand if you let it. In a lot of these cases, they are letting it break them. I’m no expert on social media, but I have done enough where I don’t utterly squash the brand I’m trying to build up. If you don’t have the funds or means to get social media professionals to manage the more difficult people, maybe it’s a good idea to at least train them better in these areas. In most cases, the Overwatch League players are freshly 18 with their own income, living on their own, coming into a massive fan base. It can be easy to get caught up in the fame, not realizing the consequences of your actions in the grand scheme of things.

When Talking to Your Child About Death

The first time I had to discuss a death with my son, it was my aunt who had passed away. He was still young enough where he didn’t exactly comprehend it and it didn’t ultimately have an impact on him. (I want to say he was 3ish at the time?) The second time I had to discuss a death with him, it was my paternal grandfather. This time he was in Kindergarten. Still, he was too young to really understand. I asked him if he wanted to go to school, if he wanted his birth father’s family to take care of him (it was just before his Christmas break started) while I attended the funeral. I missed the wake to take care of my son. I couldn’t miss the funeral.

My son, who even still is a lot older mentally than he should be, decided he wanted to come with because it was the right thing to do. I reluctantly agreed that he could go, thinking that he was too young to be at a place like this. But I figured if he was mature enough to ask and understand what was happening, that he was able to attend. He wanted to come up to the body with me. I held his hand and we prayed together while kneeling in front of my grandfather. We attended the Catholic mass afterwards, where people were crying and remembering my grandfather. I stayed stoic, as I tend to do. Probably why I have the reputation for being “cold”. I stayed stoic until out of the corner of my eye, I noticed my son was trying to be like everyone else. He asked for a tissue, and started dabbing his dry eyes because everyone else was crying. He started forcing sniffling noises while doing it. I didn’t want to laugh during a somber mass, but I chuckled. He didn’t understand what was going on, but he knew the motions that he needed to go through and he just wanted to make sure he was doing it right.

It was a long time later when I had to tell my now older son about a death in the family. This time, it was his biological paternal grandfather, a man he maybe met twice? I remember failing at this opportunity, making a joke because that’s who I am. “Dylan, you know what sucks more than your computer dying?” Yeah, you can finish the joke. I said it. I should be ashamed of myself, I know. But you have to be me and my son to understand. He didn’t react. He didn’t even really know the guy. He was confused as to whether he should go to pay his respects, be alone among a room of people who he didn’t even really know. Ultimately, he decided that it was better for him not to go. He was 15; that was entirely his choice.

My youngest son’s school was doing a project about Veteran’s Day. We decided that it would be cute to write about my maternal grandfather, who served in the Navy and passed away when my oldest son was about 2 or 3 months old. We named our youngest after my grandfather, so we thought it would be cute for our son to learn about him. It was cute until he asked why he didn’t meet my “Grampa”. I calmly explained to him that my grandfather passed away a long time ago. “He’s dead?” I nodded. “Did he die in the war?” I explained that he died of cancer and that cancer sucks. “What happens when you die?”

I stopped. What was my approach here? What do I say to him? Do I say what I believe? That he’s just dead and there’s a body in the ground and that’s really it? I couldn’t do that. I found myself saying the words I’ve learned through all my years of Catechism. “Well, he’s in Heaven watching over us to make sure that we’re okay. He’s protecting us.” My son went on. “What’s Heaven?” I found myself getting wrapped up in a lie that I didn’t believe, as parents often do in so many situations. “Well, it’s where good people go. And your great grandfather was a very good man.” He nodded, asked a few more questions, and that was the end of the conversation. Until he kept bringing it up. “How can he protect us if he’s up in Heaven?”

I wanted to say to  him “Mommy doesn’t believe in God or Heaven or angels, I just lied to you because the truth sucks”. There was no right answer here. I had to keep going with this lie to protect him. Just because I didn’t believe, doesn’t mean he doesn’t have the right to believe if he wants to. It’s a loaded topic dealing with death, especially when discussing it with your kids. I worry about the day when I have to tell them that someone they were close to died because I’m the last person I’d want to tell me if someone passed away. The last. I’ve done it before. I’m not very good at it. I blurt it out without softening the blow. I answer questions honestly. I’m brutal and cold. I admit my faults. I have no idea how I would tell my child that someone they loved died. I could barely make it through a conversation about telling them how someone they didn’t even know died. Did my child need to know that my grandfather died of cancer? Was that too much to put on him? Did I screw up my oldest by telling  him the news through a joke?

I’m a mom trying to figure out this hard stuff just like everyone else. My way probably sucks and I don’t know how to fix it but it surprisingly has worked up until this point. I’m numb to the death thing and admittedly that has hardened me. My first thought it never “oh that sucks”, it’s always “okay, what needs to be done next.” I hope that I figure this out because as you can see, my gut instincts are not great here.

But Wait… First I Need to See What’s In Your Pants

I have always been a bit of a tomboy. To the point that until puberty really hit, a lot of people looked at me and swore I was a boy. Now imagine if just because of that, my parents would have to pay someone to make sure my parts in the pants were checked before I was allowed to put on my cleats and head to left field. Ridiculous, right?

Except apparently it’s not ridiculous because laws that promote trans hate by promoting a violation of their rights are popping up everywhere. I call these laws “Drop your pants and let me see what’s in them” laws. Let’s be very clear here: the sole purpose of these laws are to demean those in the trans community. Or can be used to demean anyone really, since it’s the “accuser” that matters more. It’s kinda like the Salem Witch Trials of the genitals.

I can’t help but to remember when the people who so wholeheartedly stand by a discriminatory law like this will also talk about how wearing a mask or requiring vaccine passports are infringing on their rights. So let me try to figure this out, for my own sake, so that I can better understand.

  • It’s infringing upon people’s rights to force them to wear masks.
  • It’s not infringing on their rights when you force them to have a transvaginal ultrasound to get an abortion.
  • It’s infringing on rights to require people to have a COVID vaccine to enter into certain locations.
  • It’s not infringing on rights to make a woman get a permission slip signed to go through a sterilization procedure.
  • It is not infringing on rights to tell a woman who suffers from severe gynecological conditions that they can’t have a hysterectomy because they are too young and childless.
  • It’s not infringing on rights to demand to see someone’s private parts before they participate in school sports.

I think I got everything covered there. And I have to say, I’m not sure I’m really clear on what infringes on rights. Is it just based on pushing your beliefs on others? Do you just like discrimination and want blatant laws to back that?

These laws are disgusting. Disgusting doesn’t even cover how atrocious these laws are. Any law that is solely there to demean another human being should not exist. It shouldn’t and you really can’t convince me that they do. People all have the right to dignity. And forcing someone to pay so that you can drop your pants to prove a point to hateful people who get their rocks off by discriminating against another human being really needs to take a closer look at what’s wrong with their lives. What if your cis daughter had to do this because she was so godly good at soccer that the other teams wanted to punish her? What’s to stop them from forcing you to put your cis daughter through this? Would you be okay with this? Because I wouldn’t like it for any of my kids, trans or not.

People don’t understand the trans community because they don’t care. They consider this group to be some less than human being. I can’t be a part of that. I can’t support that at all. Transphobia, homophobia, xenophobia… None of these things have a place in the America that I want to live in and raise my kids in.

Overwatch League: Season 4 May Melee

Gaming Monday is back now that Overwatch League is back for its 4th season. (Yay!) This season has already kicked off with so much excitement, even if my favorite team the Boston Uprising won’t make their 4th season debut until next weekend. (Sad.) But, that doesn’t mean that there wasn’t anything worth watching this weekend.

First of all, this new digital format is amazing. I was skeptical at first because last year it didn’t quite seem as impressive as it does this year. The production team killed it. From the way that they make it look like the casters and analysts are together in one space to the addition of the face cams during game play (more on this later), this feels like a cohesive and well-done setup. I’d also like to mention the 4K broadcast. Because at first I was like “Why is that even necessary?”, but then I had it and I don’t think I ever want to go back.

The biggest stories that I think should be mentioned of the weekend is the Houston Outlaws, who went 2-0 this weekend despite a very shaky and disappointing season last year. The new additions, especially JJANGGU and Happy, were really able to shine. The JJANGGU and Piggy tank duo were great. These new additions really let Hydration and Danteh shine more than ever, which showed us a fantastic team that all fans can be excited about. Plus, putting JAKE out there on Brig for Dorado was actually quite beautiful.

Now the real story with them was the way that they took down the San Francisco Shock in an exhilarating 6th map. (Those sneaky JJANGGU shatters were on fire.) Though, I would like to mention the earth shatter that shook Super’s world, which was made even better by watching Super’s reaction on the face camera. Seeing Striker take the loss so hard stung a little, but I was rooting for the underdogs to do well this weekend. And they more than delivered on that.

The main story of the weekend is the fact that no one knows what’s going to happen. Houston beating the Shock? Insane. It was a meme pick by the desk and it happened. Chengdu taking 3-0 over Shanghai? Insane. This is likely going to be the best season of Overwatch League to this point. And I can’t wait.

What do I hope for next weekend? I hope that Boston can prove that maybe scrimbucks do matter after all and our new team can come together as strongly as they have so far in the unofficial preseason tournaments. While SoOn was a great piece to have during those tournaments and it really sucks that he won’t be a part of the team for the rest of the season, our new additions and our veteran players are a solid squad this season. I hope that I don’t regret my optimism with them.

Fighting!

It’s All Fun and Games Until They Come Home Republican

The point of the title is shock factor. That offensive commentary that people will either dismiss without reading, hate read assuming I mean it, or love read because they assume I mean it. The other day, a good friend of mine posted a meme on social media, which said something along the lines of “I don’t care if my kid is gay or trans or whatever. But let them come home Republican…” I laughed. I laughed because I would have laughed even if the other part of the meme replaced “Republican” with “Democrat”. The joys of being a lowly independent in the middle of the bickering.

But at the core of the meme, I don’t agree with the message. Now if my kid came home an alt-righter conspiracy nut that follows Q, I’d have some issues with that. I’d still love the kid, but holy Jesus, would I not be happy about it. But coming home Republican? Just do you, bruh. At the core of my principles is to just let people be. If they aren’t hurting anyone else and following the law, I honestly don’t care. I don’t care who you love and want to marry. I don’t care if you think getting an abortion is the right choice for you. I’m not gay nor would I have an abortion. Just because I don’t feel morally right about having an abortion, that doesn’t mean my beliefs should be pushed onto others. I’m pro others to have that choice. I’m straight, that doesn’t mean everyone else should be. People just gotta live their lives. What consenting adults do in the privacy of their home is their business, not mine.

I don’t care if someone is a Republican as long as they don’t push that belief system on me. I don’t care if someone is a Democrat, as long as they don’t push that belief system on me. I don’t care what religion you are, you can see the pattern here, as long as they don’t push that belief system on me. There’s enough crap going on in the world than worrying about which side of the aisle the other person is on. Though, I would argue that the fact that people take sides of the aisle is at the very core of the problems today. Why does it always have to be an “Us vs. Them” argument?

I remember one time, someone asked me if I was a Democrat or a Republican. I replied, “Neither. I like to think I’m somewhere in the middle.” The person laughed at me, saying it was because I couldn’t make a decision and wanted to stay neutral, as if because I was a woman that I didn’t have my own opinion. I responded back, “No, it’s because I realize that both sides have great points. When you can see things from another perspective, you’ll see the solutions are always somewhere in the middle.” He laughed at me again, completely dismissing my statement. He said that I had to choose a side.

Why do I have to choose a side? Why are there even sides to choose? Why can’t we just be what we are without having to put labels on it, so that people can organize us into pretty little boxes together? I’ve been very vocal about my opinions about abolishing a two-party system. I think that there should be more candidates debating than just the Republican or Democrats. Up until this last election, I’ve never even voted for a major party candidate. (I still don’t regret my choice, yet.) I’ve also consistently pointed out that they like us better divided because without us coming together, the extremes on both sides are better able to control us and how we think.

We could let this stay the way it is. We could continue bickering for no reason because we are the only ones who lose by doing this. America is the only thing that loses.

When You Just Want to Lash Out

I live in a neighborhood like many others. You have some great neighbors and then you have those inconsiderate ones who make your life miserable. Like say, for instance, they park their car illegally blocking a sidewalk and impeding on your driveway against a yellow curb and leave their car there for days on end. Then cops drive by said illegally parked car and do nothing. Then you can’t call the cops because your neighbors tend to get aggressive and make the neighborhood feel unsafe if you cross their ability to do whatever the hell they want. I’ve already made that mistake once. As my youngest son nearly fell into the car, since it blocks the sidewalk we and the other neighborhood kids use to get to and from school/bus stops, my oldest said “It’s kinda of a cool looking car. It would be a shame if someone towed it.” I narrowed my eyes, angrily, as dealing with people blocking the driveway and sidewalk for the past 4 months wasn’t annoying enough (expletive alert, and there will probably be a few more), my response was: “It’d be a shame if someone smashed their fucking tail lights.”

I wouldn’t actually smash the tail lights, though I’m not sure it’s because I can’t afford the lawsuit or because despite this pent up rage that I have for my neighbors, I was brought up to not feed into these violent and aggressive impulses that I admittedly fantasize about. Such as, smashing an asshole’s tail lights because I’m tired of the B.S. It wouldn’t set a good example for them if I did anyways, and going to jail wouldn’t work for me.

Sometimes you want to lash out. (And I don’t mean to compare my situation to the one I’m about to address.) Sometimes it just becomes too much. You’re tired of seeing these things on the news. You’re haunted by imagery of a cop kneeling on the neck of a guy pleading for help. Criminal or not, that imagery is horrifying and unacceptable and I honestly understand why people are lashing out. They’ve had enough of this madness. I’ve had enough of it. Every time that I hear a story like that or an elderly Asian person just being a random target of a hate crime, I just want to lash out. I want to scream. I do have an urge to cause some destruction because it’s completely normal to want someone else to feel the pain and anger that you do. I don’t mean that I think it’s okay to set the world on fire. But, I mean, sometimes you just want to set the world on fire. Because maybe from those ashes, we can create something better than it was.

If you can’t tell the difference between a taser and a gun, which I imagine has such a significant weight difference, in the heat of the moment, maybe you just shouldn’t be a cop. If you think it’s okay to shoot to kill first and ask questions/answer them yourself later, you probably shouldn’t be a cop. This goes without saying, but if you have any ounce of racism or hate in your heart, you probably shouldn’t be a cop. If you don’t want your douchey Ford Mustang towed, maybe you shouldn’t be an ass and park it illegally. Actions have consequences, some far worse than others. And at some point, people need to pay the piper for their actions.

The point of all this is that sometimes people want to lash out. Sometimes this lashing out is worse than others, just because frustration has a nasty way of just building up until you inevitably just boil over. When people have been legitimately wronged, they can only take so much before they finally lash out. Sometimes it’s by writing angry words in the hopes of inspiring change. Sometimes it’s smashing things. Sometimes it’s taking those risks and actions that they didn’t think that they were capable of because they no longer care about the consequences. Because why should they care about the consequences when no one else seems to/enforces them?

Supporting the Diet of a Loved One

Recently, my husband was put on a low FODMAP diet. Something, that I never heard of before and barely understand now as I’m responsible for shopping, creating a meal plan, and cooking meals around this new diet. Honestly, navigating around nutritional labels is complicated. This is made even more complicated when you have to read through every ingredient on the label. I’ve gotten a bit of the hang of catching more obvious things to avoid. As my Meatless Monday meal failed due to me not fully understanding it yet, I still have a lot to learn. (Got the gluten-free pasta, didn’t remember lentils were on the “No” list.)

My husband is someone who is addicted to caffeine, which he had to give up. Especially his midday energy drink. But, he’s adjusting. It’s probably easier to adjust when his strict wife decided that everyone was going to go through with it with him. Well, at least me. And I’ve planned suppers around his diet, because I refuse to cook a different meal for everyone in the house. I just don’t have the will or the energy to do that at all. I found some great compromises, and even Korean meals and hot wing recipes that are low FODMAP, because I’m trying to make this adjustment as easy on him as possible. This way if it’s something we have to live with for a while, at least it’ll be sustainable.

It’s hard though. I do allow myself just a little more wiggle room than him while supporting him. I stick to it, except due to my own food allergies I’m not giving up certain things like breads. But, everything else is gone. Because it’s important to support a loved one when they go on a diet, for whatever reason. By seeing someone else stand by them and eating the same things that they are, there won’t be that jealousy of “Wow, they get a pizza and I have a salad with barely anything on it”. Then, they cheat on the diet. Certainly the consequences may be more severe in the immediate sense when it comes to a low FODMAP diet, but there are still consequences of them falling off the diet without this support. If it’s not sustainable, it won’t help them.

My husband even told me not to “suffer” like him. It’s not even that bad. I probably have the advantage since I didn’t have to give up “regular” bread. But it’s my job to support him so he can be successful. That’s what you do for the people you love. Things like this only work if they have someone to lean on. And if that means I’m grumpy first thing in the morning because I don’t have my coffee and my husband has to basically carry me to bed at 9:30 because my body just gave out from exhaustion, that’s where we are. I might even have the unintended consequence of helping my weight loss out.

People are more successful on any journey when they have people that support them. Whether it’s weight loss journey or following their dreams for their careers, being the best support possible makes a difference in how successful they are. They are more confident and more willing to go through with it if they know that there is someone in the fight with them. My husband and I are best friends and partners. And with this support, maybe he can quickly feel better. That’s worth any sacrifice in my book.

I’m Not That Kind Of Mom

There are those moms that go all out at every holiday. I don’t judge them. Good for them for having the money, energy, and patience to go through all of that. I don’t think they are any better or worse than me; just different. And that’s okay because we all have our own parenting styles. Some holidays do get more priority in my book than others, for instance the only one that I actually care about which is Halloween. Easter is just another money grab from the candy company, I spend enough on it at Halloween.

By the time Easter hits, assuming I remembered, I’m all tapped out from birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Halloween to even bother with the holidays that I don’t really concern myself with. I don’t make heart-shaped anything on Valentine’s Day, which is honestly another holiday I often just forget about. I don’t turn everything green on St. Patrick’s Day. I don’t even like boiled dinner or corned beef and cabbage. I eventually suck it up and do it, but I don’t like it. This year when Easter hit, I just grabbed whatever was left in the store and made something of it. Fortunately, my youngest child’s favorite candies weren’t anywhere near sold out. The only toys that I could find was sidewalk chalk and giant $12 plushies. Yes, I saw the price, said “No way”, and just grabbed the chalk.

Do I go the extra mile? Half the time I barely think my kids are going to make it out of the day alive. I’m frequently reminding them of why putting random stuff in their mouth is a choking hazard, why you can’t live off of just salt & vinegar chips or chocolate, and other things that I feel like are a more important use of my time than whether or not I spent $100 on an Easter basket. Which I would never do, because I’m also extremely cheap.

I bought the ham. We had a nice low fodmap Easter dinner to stick with my husband’s new diet. We went for a walk and let the youngest run free at the park. We sat outside and let him draw all over the driveway, sidewalk, and front steps with his chalk. I’m trying to teach my kids the importance of the little things. It doesn’t matter the stuff they received. It’s just stuff. Those aren’t really the memories I want them to have. I want them to realize that stuff doesn’t equal love. It doesn’t mean anything. The actions, those little moments, those are the ones that I want them to treasure. Are they absolutely spoiled in stuff and in love? Yes. But being spoiled doesn’t mean that I have to teach them to equate material items and cost of things with how much another person loves them.

I only spent $20 on the basket items. My youngest doesn’t care. He cares that he was remembered. He cares that the Easter bunny gave him his favorite candy. We don’t need to go broke for material things to prove that we love people. We need to remember those little things, like how much they love Reese’s and Starburst jelly beans. How much they love to help make the Easter ham and spend time with their family. Material items are just around for so long, much like the people in their lives. They won’t remember all of the material things. I’d rather make the memories so that they can carry those memories long after I’m gone.

That Quiet Thing We Never Talk About

Last December, I wrote this post about an incident that happens quite regularly for me. Every 3 months, to be exact. I was terrified when I wrote it. We’re taught that these are the quiet things that we never talk about. When we do, it’s in embarrassed little whispers and we feel dirty for talking about menstruation and “female parts”. Something that happens to about half the world’s population but it still isn’t something we discuss. Rather than be open about it, we’re taught to be ashamed of our bodies.

I should have written more blogs about what it’s like to hate your own body because of something out of your control. Girls are laughed at when they stand up for themselves because “It must be that time of the month.” It’s a joke to others and a shameful reality for most. Society tells us to just suck it up. It’s in our head. Every other woman has the same struggle as you do. You’re just a baby that can’t handle that.

I’ve been told by a lot of people to just suck it up. It can’t be that bad. It’s a lonely feeling when you know you’re not alone in your struggles with your female parts but it’s even lonelier knowing that these are the quiet things that we’re not supposed to talk about and there are other people who share your struggles who also remain silent. But we need to talk about it. Otherwise, how many other women are going to suffer in silence because we refuse to admit that we’re not okay and no one is willing to help us figure out why?

As it turns out from some research, there’s actually a term for this: “medical gaslighting” or “healthcare gaslighting“. (I added an interesting article I came across.) This article was actually pretty fascinating as I remember a time when I would plead with doctors for answers, only to have them say it’s in my head or I’m just playing up my symptoms. I wonder if there are no answers because no one cares to look. I mean, these issues only affect about 49.6% of the population so it can’t be that important to look into.

I even remember when I was younger and my mom would fight for me at the doctors. “She’s probably not going to have kids with this problem anyways, so why bother?” is what I remember the doctor saying. I was a teenager and rather than taking it seriously, they just dismissed me because I was potentially going to be infertile anyways and I was just a kid who couldn’t handle the pain. (Spoiler: a few years later at 18, I did end up pregnant with my oldest. 10 years later, I very easily got pregnant with my youngest.) I remember missing out on many days of college because I couldn’t leave the bed. I would get my period every 2 weeks and in those “off-weeks”, I was in the nauseated PMS stage where I felt dizzy and like death the entire time with brain piercing hormonal headaches. The first time I ended up on low dose pills was the only time that I found any sort of relief. Well, for the first year anyways. Then the symptoms came back with a vengeance and I’ve just had to deal with it since. But, the good news is that now I only have to struggle for 14 days every 3 months rather than every month. (insert eyeroll here)

I have given up. I figure that I only have about 10 or 15 more years to deal with it at this point, so why bother? I’ve accepted the fact that I won’t be able to work outside of the house because of these problems, even if this is the first time I’m admitting that this is a major reason for my choice. I’ve accepted that I have to plan my social calendar (after coronavirus) around my cycle. I’ve accepted that my husband will treat me like a porcelain doll during this time because he’s afraid of me passing out in a place where I can’t get help or getting more seriously hurt when I do. That I need 3 heating pads wrapped around me just not to cry in pain because nothing I’ve tried works and at least the heat dulls it a little. The embarrassing things that I have to deal with when it comes to the excessive bleeding. And here I am, flushed in the face that I even wrote this paragraph.

But… stay with me here… what if we didn’t have to suffer in silence because of this thing that we’re raised to not talk about or to be embarrassed about? What if the doctors did care enough to put the time into figuring it out or someone cared enough to research it so there were answers for the rest of us suffering as a result of these health issues? It might be too late for my generation, but that doesn’t mean we can’t fight for the future ones.

It’s Been One Wild Year

It’s been about a year now since the world was set on fire. I mean, I guess I would argue that it was starting on this path of wildfire years ago, but this is when the dumpster fire first started. Schools started to close. Panic shopping started to be a thing. I remember at the beginning of this, when they said, “This will require everyone to work together to get through” my immediate thought was that we were screwed. We have to rely on other people to do the right thing and we can just be done with this? This will be Walking Dead by the end of the year.

It’s been a year, hasn’t it? Here’s what I’ve learned during that time.

  • When you rely on a community to come together and they do, magic happens. The schools came together to make sure the community was fed. Groups made food boxes for families hit hardest by the pandemic. It was incredible to see and gave me just a little bit of faith that humanity wasn’t too far gone quite yet.
  • Also, when you rely on a community to come together, you’re going to be very disappointed. “Masks kill!” runs rampant, preventing people from doing the very basic thing for themselves and their community to keep everyone safe. Then, a virus becomes a full-blown pandemic that kills over 530,000 people just in America alone.
  • Stupidity does reign supreme and you just need a few idiots to ruin everything.
  • Logic is not people’s friend; nor are facts and science.
  • We can’t trust those in power to protect us because they don’t care about us.
  • Political and ideal divisions will literally kill people.
  • This went on far longer than it should have. It wasn’t that hard to just wear masks, people.
  • Teachers and nurses deserve far more credit than they get on a regular basis. (I didn’t just learn this because these are 2 professions I’ve always held in very high regard. Just for the time being at least, other people have started to realize that these professions are the backbone of our society.)
  • I was right to not go into teaching. I have such little patience for it that I would just lose my mind.
  • People are far more selfish than I ever thought that they could be. (See: “It wasn’t that hard to just wear masks, people.)

There are more important lessons that we learned here, far more important than that I learned to make bread and many other great recipes much like everyone else who spent quarantine mastering new cooking skills. The most important lessons should be just how great things can be when we just come together to make things happen. Communities that came together and supported each other through this crisis are the ones that thrived. The most selfish of those communities were hit the hardest. That should have been something that we take away and learn from so that we can become better as a society.

… I don’t have faith that will happen. But I suppose one can hope?

Let’s take what we learned from this year and strive to be better together.

United States of AMErica: One Nation, Under Oneself

Browsing through social media, a place that has caused me more anger than “real life”, I saw someone say that people don’t wear masks because we live in “AMErica”. I chuckled. It was a bit clever. I enjoyed it. But this idea stuck in my head, for all the wrong reasons. It made sense. It was witty because it was beyond true. We have become a country that is more concerned with our own self-serving purposes than helping our neighbors. It’s about selfies to show off “looked cute, might delete later” for the sole purpose of likes and compliments. It’s about taking a photo of you helping someone, when it was just a photo op without any real kindness or intention to help. Once the camera is off, they go back into their luxury cars proud of their “good deed” plastered all over social media.

Think about this for a minute: What issues have been caused by this “Me First” approach? I’ll go with the obvious one first: the pandemic. “But I don’t want to wear a mask. I’ll get asthma if I do and I searched around 20 different websites before I found the one unscrupulous medical ‘professional’ to prove I’m right! You’re all sheeple that are being controlled by the fear-mongering liberals. Don’t wear masks! Don’t follow guidelines!” Spoiler: I’m no medical expert, but they said the longer that people had this mindset and did whatever they wanted because it’s “Me, me, me”, the longer we stayed in this mess. This “Me First” policy has kept us in this situation where over a half a million people in America died and still following these same guidelines a year later. It just involved people doing something for the greater good to get over this quicker, but freedoms and liberties or something. Whatever. Me First.

In a lesser, but equally important context, the concept of offensiveness. When Dr. Seuss’ estate stopped publishing books that even the author himself said was racist (also key point here: the estate stopped publishing the books not the government), it suddenly became this “I don’t see how this can be offensive.” “I don’t find it offensive at all.” First of all, I didn’t even know those books existed until this happened and I’m willing to bet most of the outraged people didn’t either. Secondly, if an Asian person (like I don’t know, my husband) points out why it’s offensive, I believe him. When your kid is called “chinky” or won’t get played with because he’s “Chinese looking”, I understand why that imagery of Asian people is offensive. When I pointed this out on Facebook to someone who says “I’m not sure why an Asian guy wearing an Asian hat eating with chopsticks” is offensive and people still don’t get it, it’s because they don’t care to get it. Because the fact that it’s offensive to someone else is irrelevant to them. Because it’s “Me First”. They were told to be offended by people being offended and by golly, they are going to be loud and ignorant about it!

I don’t remember it being like this growing up. But now I realize why my heart gets happy when I see something on social media about how someone bought their coffee order for them or paid for their breakfast tab at a restaurant. It’s because at some point, we have become so numb and oblivious of this descent into selfishness and self-serving ideals that these stories of people just being decent-freaking-human beings is hero-worthy these days. These people are being kind, and are rightfully complimented for their anonymous good acts. Hilariously, the biggest people applauding these special moments are the people who seem to be mostly about “Me First”. Do as you say?

The point is, we can be better than this by listening. Maybe instead of just letting someone tell you “cancel culture” (hilarious note: think of all the banned books in predominately Republican states before ranting about cancel culture), maybe take some time to see maybe why someone finds it offensive. Because it matters to them. Even if it seems ridiculous to you, maybe there’s a valid reason that you didn’t consider. Maybe if medical professionals say “wearing a mask would end this thing”, you should just suck it up and wear a mask. Because freedom doesn’t mean that you get to tell everyone else to eff off because you don’t want to be told what to do. Imagine the crappy world we’d live in if that were the… oh.. wait.

But, We Have to Save Them!

To start things off, I’m going to be very clear: racism is a very serious problem and it never really went away, despite what people tell us. If we don’t acknowledge the problem and the severity of it, there will never be change. If we ignore the facts and listen to talking points of how any movement trying to address this problem is a violent and extremist organization, then racism will be a forever problem. This is one topic that there should be no divide on: Racism is bad. It’s wrong. And if you can’t see that it’s a serious problem, you may actually be part of the problem.

I’m a reasonable person. I like to think that I put a great deal of thought into everything I say. I don’t want to be a talking piece for a political party, that recites their beliefs without thinking for myself. I’ve never been one to let someone tell me what I should think. On Facebook, a dear friend posted something about race on my timeline, how to be “less white” and asked my thoughts. I was confused why. He just wanted to get opinions. I gave mine. The moral of that lengthy response: Racism is bad and there should not be any argument there. However, the “race conversation” has to be one that inspires togetherness and change, not division. If you unnecessarily use the labels “white superiority” in a place just for the sake of sounding woke, you end up looking ridiculous to me.

One of the major points I tried to make was that I’m a privileged white girl that can only empathize with the problem, though I admit situations with my own son has made me see the problem closer to home. I can’t presume to know what it feels like when you’re targeted because of your skin color because it’s never happened to me. But, what I can do is listen to see the ways that I can help make the change that needs to happen. Even if it’s by writing words of solidarity for those who suffer injustice. Injustice is the enemy; not race. The minute that we forget that, we lose the fight.

My oldest son and I were talking recently, as he’s very fond of thoughtful conversations and debate. He asked, “Do you think that sometimes people go so far in one direction that they then become racists?” I responded: “Yes. The minute that you think that you have to save those being oppressed or mistreated, you have turned yourself into a racist because that implies a superiority over them. They don’t want to be saved. They want allies to fight with them to solve injustice and create a more equitable society. It’s not our job to save women or anyone else who’s fighting for equality; it’s our job to support their fight without demeaning any party. When you do, you lose the chance to inspire the change that you want to see.” He was satisfied with that answer and agreed.

This savior complex is what gets us in trouble. We keep thinking that people want us to save them. They don’t want some grand white angel to come down and save them from the world; they want your empathy and support to fight the issues that create this unfair world. We seem to have this need to think that we are in some way superior and that we need to save everyone. But it’s not about saving. It’s about changing those institutions that make life unfair. Racial profiling, shoot first/ask questions never. Lack of funding and support in low-income schools. These are the things that need to be changed. The practices that we have just accepted need to change. There’s no saving required. Just fight alongside those who are peacefully trying to change the world into a better place for all of us.