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.

Thanksgiving is Nearly Here

This year, people can share their homes for the holidays after that year we would like to all forget. But with this annual holiday, I’d just like to remind people of a few things.

Be grateful for what you have, even if you don’t think it’s that much. You have more than others and that’s something to be grateful for. I’m grateful because I have an amazing family system, both my biological family and the one I married into. I’m grateful because I have the best friends on the planet and you can’t change my mind. I have a roof over my head, that may not seem like much, but it’s ours. We worked hard for it and I don’t care whether or not you’re impressed by it. It’s mine and I’m grateful every day for it. I’m grateful for my writing jobs and my current job. I’m grateful to have my husband and the boys. It’s easy to forget about the things that you should be grateful for when you’re busy trying to keep up with the Joneses. But once you start listing them, you realize there’s a lot to be grateful for.

You don’t have to agree with someone to be kind to them. These days, there’s this hard line drawn between conservatism and liberalism. It still boggles my mind how crazy people are about this. Instead of tossing childish insults and ignoring the other side, maybe try finding some common ground. Can’t find anything to agree on? Who said you had to? One person’s beliefs should not dictate whether or not you should be kind to them. Kill ’em with kindness anyways. Sometimes taking the higher ground is the best choice, because then you can walk away with the moral satisfaction that you didn’t stoop to someone else’s level. Just be kind. And here’s a little hint: it doesn’t even need to be a holiday for you to be kind. Think about it.

And finally, take the time to give back. I’m of the belief, and this is something I’ve worked so hard to instill in my kids, is that you should do something that can make a difference in someone’s life. I think you should do this every day that you can, but this is especially important at the holidays. Some people have difficult relationships with their families. Some people don’t have families. Some people don’t have homes or money for their own holiday meal. You shouldn’t need to advertise your good deed to get social media karma points. You should just want to help your fellow person. Even the smallest act can have some significant impact, whether you realize it or not. Make your impact today.

That’s my annual reminder for the holidays. Enjoy your time with your family or friends or anyone else that you choose to spend your day with. Life’s too short, so appreciate it more.

Finding Your Voice

I’ve always encouraged a little activism in my boys. I told them to fight for what they believe in, whatever that may be. That if they believed so strongly in something, they should educate themselves and if they need to fight for it, then they should. That’s how positive changes are made in the world. Whatever they are passionate about and believe in, that’s what cause they should back. I would support them no matter what. Well, I mean within reason. If they aren’t hurting anyone or encouraging anyone to be hurt, then knock yourself out. Well, I mean also within reason. I think people who hate on others and start hurling slurs at another human being deserves a nice knock to the jaw. Not that I would actively encourage that on any platform. I just won’t denounce anyone for it. What’s the joke? Punching Nazis is the American way?

My oldest son has always been hesitant to fight. He wanted to participate in things like walkouts at the school to support the teachers, but he was afraid of the consequences. I told him that was his choice. But that if he was suspended for doing that, I certainly wasn’t going to punish him for it. I’m a firm believer in the right to a peaceful protest. He wanted to go to college and not have any blemishes on his record. I told him that the right school wouldn’t care. As far as I know, he never participated in those protests. He’s boring. I would bet anything my youngest boy wouldn’t hesitate. Mostly because he’s a bit on the mischievous side. And we love him for his… willfulness.

On my oldest son’s Facebook, he posted a thing about a counter-protest on his campus. This protest was for a supposed preacher who was spewing hate on campus. (I believe no true man of God spews hate. If they do, then that proves my side of atheism because that’s a God I want nothing to do with.) That if you’re in the LGBTQ+ community or support them, you’re going to hell. From what my son had told me about him, he walks around the area where the classes are, speaking fire and brimstone. Which, I suppose tracks for Salem, MA. I’m hopeful this is a sign that he has found his voice. That he was going to use his voice to fight for something he believes in. And I’ve never been more proud of my boy.

It’s empowering when you finally find your voice. Whether it’s being away from your comfort zone causing you to stand up more for what you believe in or age or wisdom or newfound confidence in yourself. Your voice, oral or written, is one of the most powerful weapons you have. You have the choice to use it to fight for whatever injustice you feel needs to be fought. You can use your voice to make a difference. And I will always support a strong voice as long as they aren’t used for the wrong things. If they are used to incite violence or hate, then I will never support that. I don’t care what side of the aisle you are on. As long as you’re being respectful and aren’t running on a platform of hate and/or violence, you should use your voice. The minute we stifle that voice, especially because we don’t agree with it, we’re stifling another person’s voice. And as much as it’s hard to think about in this divisive world, they have the right to their peaceful voice.

Find your voice and use it. That’s it. That’s the advice.

Taking Back the Power

We’re all guilty of taking other people’s perceptions of us and using that to prove our worth. But our worth isn’t dependent on other’s perceptions of us. We determine our own worth. The minute that you let others take that from you, you let them win.

Too many times, we shy away from striving for our dreams. Why do we do that? It’s mostly fear, but is it our fear that we can’t do it? That we’re not good enough? Or, does this fear come externally? Are you afraid of achieving your goals because other people will think that it’s silly? It’s easier to just give up on your dreams than fight through all of the noise trying to achieve them. It doesn’t matter if you’re a college freshman or a nearly 40-year-old woman. We all have this believe that we should have it all figured out by a certain age. But let’s be honest here: how many people actually do? I’m willing to guarantee a lot more people died in the world, just winging it because they didn’t have it figured out. Knowing that should give you some type of comfort that just maybe, there’s no age that you need to have everything figured out. And as I always say, “that’s ok.”

You just need to find some passion in your life, no matter how silly you think other people think it is. If your passion is to stay home and raise a family while your partner works, good for you in knowing what you want to do. If you want to be a writer or a teacher or an FBI agent, and you are truly passionate about achieving that goal, the only thing that should be holding you back is you. And if you decide, “nah, maybe not?” That’s okay too. Sometimes you just have to experience it to know whether or not that’s the right path for you.

This can sometimes be the pressure that makes kids more stressed out than they need to be. That they need to apply to college with a specific program and stick to it because they had to have a plan. Then, for some reason, people make them feel guilty for deciding to go another route. Maybe they found that what they though was their passion, really wasn’t. That’s okay. That’s what college is for. I switched my major halfway through. I get it. You have a dream and realize that maybe you don’t love it anymore.

But, you should never give it up for other people. Don’t give them that power. If you are truly passionate about something, pardon my language, then “fuck ’em”. They don’t dictate your life. You do. Take back the power and do what you want with your life. As long as you can go to bed at peace with yourself, you’ll be all right.

BluishOblivion’s Day on the Internet

I’ve had trouble finding inspiration for these posts recently, primarily because between my 2 jobs, my brain power is already stretched too thin. But I always find the best inspiration in my everyday life, so today I would like to talk to you about my day on the internet Sunday.

By the time this posts, it will be Tuesday. I’m writing this Sunday while the hilarious events of my weekend are still fresh in my mind. Because honestly, I’ll probably forget about it by tomorrow. It all started by my usual “Asshole Parking” posts that I do on my Facebook, which are the only public ones that I post. I keep those public because sometimes people like to share them. We all like to laugh at them. It’s fun. Then a family member invited me to join a group about “Masshole Parking”. I’m among my people now!

Except I apparently either A) didn’t fully understand the group or B) the person who’s car I posted in the picture was in the group because apparently it wasn’t as amusing to them when I posted Sunday’s edition of Asshole Parking. Honestly, it was my bad. I ended up deleting the post and leaving the group, primarily because as an adult, I don’t engage in arguments with people hiding behind a keyboard. With the time and effort that they put into trying to be “savage”, they obviously have their struggles so if they want to win the internet award in their mind today, let them have it. I barely care what people I know think about me; some rando on the internet certainly doesn’t impact my world.

So why am I posting about it? As a lesson to everyone on the internet. Why waste your effort to be cruel or to argue with someone on the internet? You don’t. You leave it alone and let them win because life’s too short to give a crap. It’s like that high school bully. They only act like that because of their own insecurities and need for superiority. My ego is fine. You want that win over me, have it. Sometimes stepping back is more powerful because you’re showing that you’re the bigger person. Except not really, because I’ve definitely considered using the illegally parked car picture as my post picture.

There’s Not Enough Time in the Day

I noticed that I haven’t been up to date with this. I’ll be better about that, I promise. I’m still trying to figure out that work/work/life balance that I keep hearing and ghostwriting about so much. Spoiler: I think it’s as fake as a unicorn. Or I’m just taking on too much. Honestly, it could go either way. But there’s just never enough time in the day.

Normally by now in the year, I’m prepping for NaNoWriMo. It hasn’t been a successful November so far, but I try every year. Sometimes I hate that I try, mostly because I hate failing at it. I don’t think this year will be much better. I haven’t even decided whether or not I’m doing it, but maybe. I will probably decide at the last minute.

We’re all getting well-adjusted to our new routine. One of our fears of me deciding to go back to a physical office to work was that our youngest would have a disruption in his routine. He’s a creature who loves his routine, so any disruptions to that tend to bother him. When I say “any disruptions”, I mean that something so much as I ask him to get dressed before the time I usually ask him to get dressed can trigger him. But, he adjusts well after he’s established a specific routine. We’re getting there.

I’ve been working at my new job for over a month now. I love it. I’m happy to go to work everyday. I low-key even love the grunt work of unloading pallets and moving them into the warehouse. In this month, we have established routines that seem to just be instinct now. I get up early to shower, do some writing work, then get myself, my husband, and my youngest ready for the day. I make lunches in between pouring hot water into our Chemex to make our coffee for work. I take one of our puppers out, then get dressed for work. Then, we leave for work. Come home, I feed the dogs, take our Arya out, then start cooking supper while my husband brings the babysitter (my brother) home and helps our youngest with his homework. It quickly becomes natural. That’s where everything else gets messy.

There’s not enough time in the day to do anything other than basic cleaning, if that. And honestly, sometimes I’m way too tired to bother. The good news is I’m now too busy for guests to come over, so the cleaning is secondary to everything else in my life right now.

However, there’s still that expectation of everything that a working mom should be looming over me. I shrug it off, mostly. But sometimes it’s hard to think about how little I think I actually do when I’m home. Because even after I clock out of my out of home job, I’m still balancing my writing jobs. But, money helps because that’s the society we live in. Especially now.

Don’t worry about running out of time in the day. Focus on your priorities and honestly, to hell with everything else. It’s easy to feel like you’re drowning, but prioritizing your day can really be the lifesaver that you need to come up. Also, I promise to do better. Maybe not promise. I will strive to do better.

Back to the Grind

I’ve been missing lately, primarily due to illness and general busyness that is life. I’ll be better, I promise.

Among the latest moves in my life was a shift to working back in a normal job, at least temporarily for now. Maybe more permanent later if the option arises. Even if there isn’t another opportunity for me, it’s been really great to be back at it. You underestimate the boosts to your mental to get out of the sweatpants and house for a little bit. It’s refreshing. It’s a little sad missing my boys, but it was time. Even if I’m somehow blessed with another one, it’s still time to be back at it.

It’s still a bit of an adjustment period, especially as I still navigate my writing career on the side. It’s something that I think is important to keep because I like writing and it’s still money. While my writing jobs have taken a hit from COVID, I just take it as a sign that it was time to find something outside of the house. Plus, being home all the time during COVID did take some of the enjoyment I had working from home. But I’m a creature of habit who thrives on routine, so finding a new routine is hard and annoying to get into. I’ll get there though. I’m an intelligent, reasonable, and resilient person. I’ve got this.

This is just a reminder that no mom has it easy. It’s not easy when they work from home. It’s not easy when their sole job is being a mom and homemaker. It’s not easy when they work outside of the office. You’re not going to win no matter what you do. What matters is to not compare yourself to the “more perfect” moms who have everything seemingly together. I guarantee that they don’t. Social media only gives glimpses into an entire story that you can’t see. It’s hard being a woman with all the expectations society places on you, especially when you’re a mother. But, you got this.

We just need to be reminded that we got this. That even on those bad days, we’ve got this. Even if you are too tired to cook and the Burger King is right next door and you don’t care if it’s the 3rd time this week you had fast food because your fridge is still dead. You’ve got this. Even if you feel guilty that you’re happy about being at work and not dealing with tantrums. You really have got this.

Always Running On Empty

Everyone’s social media pages seem either full of happy pictures of their picture perfect life or inspirational quotes that are meant to be poignant and/or uplifting. It’s nice to read. My social media page is full of illegally parked cars blocking my driveway, which further fill me with anxiety-addled rage every time that I post them. A frequent theme that I see in these posts are “You can’t give from an empty cup”. It’s true. As someone who’s frequently running on empty, it’s hard to give anyone 100%. I do it anyways, sucking it up and overcoming exhaustion to do so. That’s what I’m good for.

What gets me through this empty tank is trying to prove that I’m something. That I’m of use. With everyday life problems like a fridge on its deathbed when that’s the last thing you want to put money into and a bathtub faucet that’s probably using a gallon a day but you know that the piping is probably not to code and will cost like $10,000 to fix, it’s hard to feel like you are useful. It’s easy to feel like you’re a failure at everything when your kid is screaming bloody murder because you enforce the same bedtime every night and they know that they have that bedtime but still scream at you for being unfair anyways. Those are the struggles that people face. The middle class, who honestly took a massive hit during this pandemic, has to face these things every day while trying to work as hard as they can to make ends meet while the rich people sit up there and talk about how you can also succeed if you have rich families so pull yourself up. We’re not going to be perfect. We’re not going to be the perfect parents that feed our kids gourmet, balanced organic meals. We’re the ones who say “screw it” and just cook up frozen chicken nugs and fries, calling it a day because you don’t have much more in you that day.

Still, we get up and soldier on because that’s what’s expected of us. That’s what we need to do. What other option is there, really? Just the simple fact that we get up and try every day is significant, especially on those more difficult days. It’s easy to just assume that getting out of bed is easy. It’s not. It’s something that is easier for some than others. It’s inevitable that some days everyone just wants to stay in the comforts of their bed because they can’t handle anymore. People don’t talk enough about those days. Maybe it’s because they assume people will pity them or think that they are fishing for sympathy. Maybe it’s because they prefer their struggles in private. Maybe they are in denial of their struggles and want to put on a “Thrive not struggle” mentality, pushing that on other people and making them feel worse than they do on those bad days.

This motivational, pyramid-scheme emphasis on thriving is something that I think makes people feel worse. It doesn’t motivate them; it depresses them further to a point where they think falling into a pyramid scheme is the answer to their struggles. It’s not. But they can thrive if they sell this product, which gives the person who recruited them some money and the person who recruited the person who recruited them even more money, creating a pyramid where really the only one that thrives is the higher ups that came up with the scheme to begin with. /endrant

The real point isn’t a knock at “multi-level marketing” scams.. I mean… businesses.

The real point is that when you made the choice to wake up anyways, you won the battle. Mental health is a war and just showing up is winning. You’re fighting every day and sometimes people lose the battle, and they should be remembered for having the strength that they did to make it so long. The battle can be harder for some than it is others. It’s important to remember that every time that you judge someone for anything. Everyone has their silent struggles that they won’t talk about. And you know what? I think that’s okay. I think sometimes people just need to know that people are there and not have a need to share their struggles. I think that sometimes people do need to share those struggles and they should feel safe enough to do so. Everyone’s journey is as unique as they are. I think that the important part is that you make yourself available and support them on their journey in the best ways that you can.

Also, just be kind people. Can we try that for a change?

Finding Inspiration

In the past, the “Random Rantings” of this blog was inspired by news. Sometimes it was news that was too ridiculous for me to comprehend. Sometimes it was trying to see both sides of the argument to come up with my own opinion. Then there was inspiration in my own life. The television shows I watched that sparked an internal debate with me were figured out as I wrote them here. The struggles of being a mom or working from home or really both. The struggles of being a writer. I found inspiration in those moments and shared them because I knew others also had that struggle and it maybe felt nice for them to hear someone else talk through what they are internalizing.

The news isn’t inspiring anymore. It’s terrifying. I can’t believe that this is the world I am living in. That I’m bringing up my children in. I deal with selfish entitled jerks who use my driveway for their own personal parking spot, showing me that people are really only getting worse. (Just for “Hahas”, the article picture is one said car parked illegally blocking a sidewalk and obstructing my driveway. Because I’m petty.) I’m reading about how people think wearing a mask is infringing on their medical freedoms but if you have a uterus, they can infringe on whatever they want. They have people arrested with Nazi signs emblazoned all over the place, while in the same breath insisting that they are racist and full of hate. It’s almost as if I’m living in a fictional world, not writing about one. It’s too insane to even begin to write about, though I’m sure I will after I’ve processed.

Since Kindle Vella has been released, I kept trying to figure out what I should write a series about. I did eventually get inspiration from my real life. I’m genuinely excited for this new project and while I was going to hold off in discussing about it, maybe I can untie some knots in my first serial by sharing with you the premise and title.

With the popularity of “Slice of Life” animes, I’ve decided to write a slice of life-ish serial. This will be a compilation of stories from the life of Olivia (still deciding on the main character’s name but so far this is what we’ve got). The serial will be entitled “A Day in the Life of the White Trash Capital”, following Olivia as she navigates difficult neighbors, a love/hate relationship with her city, and everything else a boy mom has to deal with. (Sound familiar?) I don’t want to give too much away, but I will say I’m having fun writing it and it’s definitely been an emotional release of my annoyance and anger.

It’s good to be writing again for myself. I can’t wait to see where this story takes me and it’s going to be a blast.

Check in on Us Moms Right Now. We’re Not OK

Back to school time is one that many moms look forward to, especially those of us who work from home that just want their space back to get the stuff that they need to done. (Spoiler: school makes us even busier, so it doesn’t actually help.) As excited as we are to have them off in the world, getting those experiences, it’s hard. It’s hard to not worry about them at school, because we know how awful school can be with bullying, active shooter drills, and the potential for a school shooting. It’s even harder when they are off to school across the state, trying to figure out their new home for the year. Us moms tend to carry the lion’s share of the burdens. Us moms are the backbones of the family. This isn’t a complaint. This isn’t an insult to the partners in our lives who show up and do everything within their power to help. They are putting in the work too.

But let’s face it: the mom’s are the strength in the family. We’re the ones that hide our tears to be everyone else’s comfort. We’re the ones worrying about the budget and making sure that everything is running as it should. During the pandemic and shut down, this became even more apparent. I’ll admit, part of me was happy about this. Any moms that potentially judged my working from home and mentioning how hard it was to work from home and be a stay at home parent at the same time, were now seeing that it isn’t an easy journey. But we were there, through the remote learning meltdowns, the “everything is falling apart and I miss my friends” meltdowns, and the meltdowns caused by the unknowns that this pandemic tossed in our children’s lives. All while we were fighting back our own meltdowns.

I haven’t recovered from it. That’s okay that I haven’t recovered from the stress of the past year. It’s okay that I’m not okay about my oldest being away at college and how quiet the house is with my youngest back in school as well. It’s okay that I’m not okay because I feel lost and uncertainty of what I’m doing. It’s okay that I’m not okay with my husband going away on a work trip around the youngest child’s birthday all while not being okay about everything else. The whole point here is that it’s okay to not be okay. A lot of us really aren’t okay right now. We’re struggling with how last year impacted us because there was so much going on and not enough time to sit back and process it. We’re struggling with how things are going because we still haven’t processed the last pile of crap we had to walk through and as we’re looking forward, there’s still plenty of crap that we need to waddle through that we’ll eventually need to process. That stuff lingers and set our brains and souls on fire.

Would I be lying if I said that it’s hard to see the grass on the other side of this crap? Nope. Things don’t look like they are going to be better anytime soon. I think we can be optimistic that we survived it so far, showing just how resilient we are even if we don’t feel like it.

You’re not alone right now. You’re really not. Even if you seem like you’re okay on social media, we see you. You don’t need to hide the struggle. I write these posts because they make me feel better about not being okay. But it turns out, it’s as beneficial for readers to see someone admit that they are going through the same struggles as it is for the writer to get them out there. If you’re not okay, there are people out there on your side. You just need to reach out to them. Even if you just want to drop a note here to make you feel better.

And Just Like That, They’re Gone

People always tell parents that they blink and the next thing they know, their kids are being dropped off at their college dorm or moving out or getting married and they are having their own kids. It’s weird to think that 18 years, nearly 2 decades, is such a short period of time. You don’t even know what happened. One minute, your child is walking around a KMart, with his pants at his ankles because nothing ever fit him right saying “Mommy, pants fall” and the next, you’re making his bed at college and taking all of the pictures you can within reason. Did they really grow up enough to be tossed into essentially total independence? Did we do enough to prepare him? I guess time will tell.

We’re so happy that we’re able to give him this experience. We’re happy that his hard work paid off. He’s had a goal in mind since he was little and worked so hard even at such a young age with the goal of going into college and working for the FBI. He’s spent his entire school career working towards this goal and he got into his first choice college. We’re so proud of him. But moving across state may as well be across the country. Though, I’m convinced even if he did go to a closer school, including my own excellent college within our city, him living there would be too far away. You’re really not as prepared as you want to be when the day comes.

The main campus.

It’s a nice campus. It’s bigger in person than we thought. Due to COVID, we didn’t really get to tour the campus ourselves to check it out, so it was a bit overwhelming. We took ourselves on our own little tour, hoping that when the first day of school starts next week, he won’t be as overwhelmed going to class. His dorm is within only a few minutes walk of a small beach and marsh hiking path. There’s this nice running/walking/biking path in the area, which I teased him for not knowing how to ride a bike. He rolled his eyes at me and mumbled, “I know how to ride a bike” and I responded with, “Last I saw, not very well.” He was always much better with his skateboard or scooter than his bike.

It was hard. My husband had his teary-eyed moment when he started packing up our son’s desktop, because he intends to continue his streaming while at college. He later laughed about it saying that he saw more dads crying at the move-in day than the moms. I said it was because we had to be strong for everyone else and we’d have our meltdowns later when we were alone at some random point of time because we folded a towel wrong or something. Admittedly, despite feeling the tears form in the back of my eyes and throat, I haven’t had that moment yet. Maybe after my youngest goes to school, we’ll see if coming back to the lonely house hits me.

It’s already hard. The first night, it was hard because after our youngest went to bed, we would watch shows or movies that weren’t appropriate for the youngest. We’d connect over these shows, talk about random things inspired by the shows. We’d sometimes group up for Overwatch and complain about how bad the other players were. He streamed with the new shiny webcam that our nephew/his best friend got him as a going away present. We watched, like the weird, stalker-y parents that we were, marveling about the great job we did while also being sad about doing a great job and having him so far away. My husband kept reiterating the point of “if you hate it here, there are plenty of closer schools.” My husband also kept switching between “I hope he loves it there” and “Is it bad I hope he hates it there and comes home?” It’s funny to watch the struggle between wanting your child to succeed at their dreams, but the selfishness of us wanting to keep them our small babies forever.

It hurt a little getting off the Pike back home and hearing a song come on that he would normally sing very loudly to in the backseat. We pulled up to the house to drop off our nephew so he could get his car out of the driveway before we picked up our youngest from my parents. As we pulled up, he still had his “Class of 2021” sign in our yard. It’s been hard to consider taking it down. It was even harder pulling up to see it.

The next morning was also hard. Normally our oldest son, despite having his own room and a very nice, comfortable mattress, falls asleep on the couch. He’s usually too tired from playing video games or streaming that he just goes to bed where his computer is. But he likes having his computer out in the living room because he’s a weird kid who loves hanging out with his parents. I woke up early, as I often do on Mondays to get my husband’s lunch and coffee ready before he goes to his early morning meeting. Normally, I walk into the living room and I have to be quiet as a go in to work and get my husband’s stuff ready. I tiptoed in, only to remember that he wasn’t there. He wasn’t sprawled out on the couch, with his favorite blanket that I got him when we first bought this house 7 years ago. I didn’t have to go over and fix his blanket, even though it’s hot, just because he likes the comfort of it. It was just an empty couch except for our lab/pointer mix Arya, who was laying in our son’s “spot”. She looked at me with sad eyes. “Yes, Arya. Me too.”

I saw the recycling that was still full and normally I would wake our son up to take care of it for me. But he’s not there. Still, I walked around as silently as possible out of habit or even hope that maybe it would trick my brain into thinking he was still here. He’s not. He’s not going to be here to watch our trashy TLC reality shows that we love to watch together. He’s not going to be there sharing the memes from Reddit about the show after watching it together. He’s not going to be there to laugh when I say “kimchi bitches” and imitating the scene from “Nora from Queens”. I’m not going to wake up to hear him in the kitchen and smell the kimchi that he’s eating with chopsticks straight from the fridge at 3 in the morning. Or smell the extra hot yakisoba noodles that he likes to cook up. Or see him walk into the living room with his kimchi ramen, spoon, and chopsticks and watch him quickly take chopstick bites in between Valorant rounds. Or wonder why he has the spoon because he just slurps the broth after the noodles are gone anyways, like normal kids would drink the milk after their bowl of cereal.

It’s the little things that you miss, like the arguing between the siblings or yelling about tossing the clothes next to the hamper, not in the hamper. Or the spilling the kimchi broth as I gag trying to clean it up because I just cannot get over how nauseating it is to me. It’s only been a few days and it’s so hard to overlook that there may be a part of you missing.

It’s for the best. He’s going to be great. He’s going to do great things in the world. I believe that. He’s destined to be the change that he wants to see in the world and he’s determined and smart enough to do it.