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.

The Vaccine Debate

I’m very much pro-vaccine. If my doctor told me to get a vaccine, I’m going to trust the person I’ve trusted for 20 years with my health over information on Google or YouTube. When I was pregnant, with my kids, my biggest question was to always make sure that I was up-to-date with vaccinations because I wanted my unborn child to be safe. I might not always be the best when it comes to getting a flu shot, only because it always seemed like an inconvenience to go through. But I try to remember it for myself. I never forget it for my kids, which is the most important thing.

Now enter in the COVID vaccine, which I’ve already written about. It’s not new science behind the shot, mRNA approaches to vaccines have been studied for decades. People are hesitant and the sole reason for that is half-assed research on the internet. Fine, don’t get it. That’s absolutely your choice. I’m all about people making their own decisions, as dumb as I may find them. When I had my newborns, no one was allowed around my kids without being up-to-date on their basic shots. You weren’t going to hold my newborn and give him whooping cough. Nope. If people don’t want to get vaccinated, that’s 100% their choice and right not to.

What I’m not going to say is that because they made this choice, that they should be denied medical care. If they don’t realize the hypocrisy in getting experimental treatment to not die from COVID but are afraid of the “experimental” vaccine, then there’s not point in even reasoning with them. People don’t care about facts or logic. It’s easier to be told what to think than actually trust science that they don’t agree with. Their beliefs hold precedence over anything else. It doesn’t matter what the reality is. But when you start limiting medical care because of one reason, what’s to stop someone from limiting medical care for another reason such as obesity? You can’t claim that you’re for medical care for all but then start talking about who you should limit medical care for. That is just as hypocritical as taking non-FDA approved “experimental” treatments when you won’t take a shot. Both sides are equally wrong and equally bat-shit crazy, in my humble opinion. Science isn’t political; people make science political.

Though, I admit I do have a lack of compassion for people over their choice. I was reading this sad story about how someone was talking about how their wife nearly died from COVID. It was heartbreaking. Then I read that they were both against the vaccine because it’s experimental. Then I was like “But so is the medication that saved her life?” Then I didn’t feel bad. Play stupid games, win stupid prizes I always say. I’m very much a believer in actions having consequences. If you made a choice and you nearly died from it, then I honestly don’t really feel bad. I’m a horrible human being like that.

Would I feel comfortable having someone over my house that wasn’t vaccinated? Absolutely not. If they got sick from COVID and even died from it, I don’t want that on my conscience. I don’t want my unvaccinated nearly 9 year old to be put at any more risk than he has to be. I might even only have a family-only birthday party for him because at least I know that they are all vaccinated. You can make your own choice about not getting vaccinated. That’s your right. But just as I respect that right, it should also be respected that I’m going to be extremely cautious around you. It goes both ways. I’m not a sheeple and if you think that I am, I’m going to say you’re also one because you’re just following what you saw on the internet. At least I’m following the advice of medical professionals that I trust.

Mask or don’t mask, your call. Vaccinate or not vaccinate, your call. I’m biased and think basing your opinions on a vaccine based on not educating yourself properly or listening to people who are actually vaccinated telling you that it’s bad for you, it’s something that doesn’t impresses me. I don’t think you’re brave for that choice. I think you made a choice and that’s that. Do I judge people who spread misinformation? Absolutely. I’ve heard very valid reasons for people not vaccinating their kids and themselves and I respect the educated decision. I don’t respect the decision of “Fox News/Newsmax/QAnon Politicians told me not to, so I won’t” or “I saw on the internet…” because that’s insane to me. Ignorance is a choice. It’s one that should be accepted because if someone is at that point, they aren’t going to listen to any arguments to convince them otherwise. I’ll still be friends with you and support your decision, even if I roll my eyes at it.

That’s what we’re supposed to do. Because we can’t fight for liberties of making own own health decisions while telling other people what their health decisions should be. Do I personally believe in having an abortion? Nope. I couldn’t do it because of my own beliefs. Does that mean I think no one else can because I don’t personally believe in it? Nope. Their body, their choice. But I just ask that you remember the “my body, my choice” excuse that you’re using now about this vaccine should apply to other people for making their own decisions about their body.

What Does Family Even Mean?

Some people go by the traditional definition of family, where it includes a mom, dad, and their kid(s). But family isn’t about some definition. Family isn’t about the blood that connects people; it’s about the love that does. It doesn’t matter if you pushed your child out naturally, had them pulled out surgically, or if you legally or unofficially adopted them. It doesn’t matter if you were born into a family. Family is something that you can build for yourself, with whatever your definition of family is. Because it’s the love and support that matters; not genetics.

Recently for a movie night, our family decided to watch “Instant Family”. The premise of this movie is that the main couple want to adopt a family. While the movie itself was a cute, heartwarming, but silly movie, it sparked a conversation in my family that proves just how powerful art can be. Our oldest, who was essentially unofficially adopted by my husband from around the age of 1, understands that it’s not about the blood relationship. He knows that my husband was there for his first t-ball game, any school event, band concerts, and anything else. He screamed his name with pride from the stands during sporting events and screamed as loud as he could at his graduation. Even after having his own biological child, he never treated our oldest as anything other than his son. It’s definitely something that warms my heart all the time, watching the bond those two have.

After watching the movie, my oldest talked about how he wants to adopt too. He said it wasn’t just the movie, but also seeing the way that his father is with him shows him that you don’t need to be there for the child’s birth to love them. From someone who insisted that he never wanted kids to deciding that he wanted to adopt when he’s older was something incredible to see. Even prior to the movie, my husband and I have considered fostering/adopting. In the future, when we have more money and a bigger home, then that’s something we probably will do. Even my youngest has decided that he wanted to adopt, because “so many kids have no parents and that’s sad”.

The whole point is that you can create a family of your own choosing. You can adopt or foster or have your own kids. It’s about the love that you have for the child, not how the child became a part of your family. Or, you can choose to not have kids at all and surround yourself with friends and family that you love. There’s no single definition of what a family is. Sorry, forget that. There is a definition of family that I follow: People who love and care for each other, always offering support. That is my definition of family.

Don’t resign yourself to society’s expectations for what a family is. Have as many or as few kids as you want. You shouldn’t be pressured to do something like get married or have kids because that’s what a family is supposed to be. That’s someone else’s definition of family and that doesn’t mean it’s right for you. Make your own definition of what family means to you.

The Last Weekend at Home

It’s back to school time. That means that some of us parents are sending our kids back to school at the local grade/middle/high schools. But there are some parents that are spending this time getting ready to either send their kid back to campus or sending them there for the first time. This is the last weekend at home with my oldest, before we pack up the car and travel across the state to send him off for his first day of school next weekend. It’s a bittersweet moment. We’re proud of him for getting accepted into the different colleges, especially his top choice. We’re happy he chose one close-ish to us (about 2 and 1/2 hours away). We’re happy to take our first trip up to Salem, despite the fact we’ve live in Mass practically our entire lives. We’re scared and sad because he’s going to be gone and who knows when the next time he’ll come home is. It’s a lot of different emotions that every other parent in this position is probably experiencing right now.

This weekend will be dedicated to him. We’ll have a nice game night. We’ll take him out shopping for stuff for school. We’ll spend every second that we can with him making as many last minute memories that we can so that he’s setup for success when we drop him off at campus. Then, during the week, we organize his stuff and pack it. Maybe we’ll work in silence, not wanting to talk about it. Maybe we’ll reminisce about some hilarious memories. But we’ll likely sit in silence as we make sure his clothes are cleaned and packed up. Focusing on the task at hand rather than the emotions. That’s how we roll. Makes sure he remembers everything that he needs from home and make lists of what we need to get the day before we leave. We’ll talk about how nice it will be having his own dorm and not having to deal with his little brother annoying him. We’ll console his little brother, who will miss his big brother despite his protests that he won’t. “Because he’s super mean to me.”

It’s exciting for him. He gets to have this experience that neither of us really had. We gets to live on campus and make his own way in life. He’ll do well. He might struggle or fail at something. It’s all a part of the growth process. Every year of his life prior to going away, we focused on raising a child that was as confident as he could be, as self-sufficient as possible, and with a passion for learning. This is where he’ll learn if he really wants the dreams he’s had his entire life of solving crimes and impacting lives. This is where he continues his growth that he started in the comforts of his home. This is where he can exceed expectations or disappoint himself. That’s all a part of becoming an adult. As parents, we can only hope that we did enough to prepare him.

I’m not worried about losing contact with him. I’m sure he’ll at least send a meme or hilarious Reddit post for me daily. I’m sure he’ll call regularly, at least once a week. He should be taking this time to enjoy himself in between his studies. He should be meeting new friends. Taking full advantage of this experience that he’s lucky to get.

I don’t know a lot about this new chapter because it’s not something I’ve experienced. I have no wisdom to share. But what I do know is that he has a massive family behind him full of family and friends, that is here supporting him. He knows that he has this support. He knows that we believe in him. I’m so excited that he gets to have this moment and he’s worked damn hard for it. He will be the change. He will be great.

A New School Year is Nearly Upon Us!

Parents, rejoice. It’s nearly time to send the monsters back. At least in my school district. We have exactly 2 weeks before the schools open up for everyone but grade K. Even my oldest well be headed off to college for his move-in date on the 29th. It’s exciting, but with everything going on it’s still very anxiety-inducing. What can we expect from the school year?

Our school system hasn’t voted on whether or not they will be enforcing a mask mandate. They said they would base their opinions on the health department, who said “Yes, mask mandates for all”. A school councilman then said in an interview essentially, “enough with the masks, I’m tired of the masks”. So am I. But yet, I still have to wear one in busy locations because people made it a political statement rather than consider things like reason and facts so here we are. One teacher came up and started to talk about how the masks deprive the students of oxygen, and I just hope my kids don’t have to learn science from her because those are false talking points, not reality. I did what I was supposed to do. I wore the masks. I got vaccinated. But the people who don’t are the ones who talk in class when the teacher threatens to give everyone extra homework. And the people who listened to facts and science are the ones left with the extra homework. Doing the right thing sucks most of the time.

My son’s college has a mask mandate in place. If our children are going to school, vaxxed or not, have a mask mandate do we know who’s fault it is? That’s right, the people who aren’t wearing masks or getting vaccinated. Also, coincidentally, are the same people complaining about mask mandates. It’s actually a cycle that I can very easily explain. If numbers are high, then masks get mandated. When a sick person wears a mask, you are reducing the amount of aerosol in the air which, shockingly, means that there’s less virus in the air. Less virus in the air means that people are less likely to get a virus. Now, when a non-sick person wears a mask, this not only serves as extra protection for them but it also protects others should that non-sick person be an asymptomatic carrier. I’m not even particularly great with science and I know that. Also, I don’t trust politicians or news “personalities”. What I do trust is the doctor that I’ve trusted with my health for many years. What I trust are my friends who are medical professionals.

Does this post sound a bit judgy? Do I sound condescending and snide? I hope so. I guarantee that this tone is on purpose. I’m annoyed that this thing could have been over and done with. I’m annoyed that It’s been a year and a half and we’re still arguing about this. Maybe… just maybe, people need to stop getting their news and science information from journalists who specialize in propaganda and just maybe listen to medical professionals that aren’t willing to sell themselves out for a lot of cash. Many of these people are the same ones that laugh at anti-vaxxers, but are looking at the same pseudoscience that a doctor cashed in a big paycheck to write just because it fits in with their beliefs rather than facts.

Will there be a mask mandate? Probably. And you really only have yourselves to blame for that. We should be at a point when we can live with this virus. We could co-exist peacefully with it, letting our lives move on and being done with it. But no. You guys are right to listen to a vaccinated Tucker Carlson who probably wears a mask to work telling you guys not to do either because “medical freedoms”, while also taking away medical freedoms of women. But you’re right. Muh liberties.

The School Committee Debate: Too Mask or Not to Mask… Also, Those People.

I’m a naturally skeptical person. I openly admit that when I hear “so and so said something racist”, I roll my eyes. Half the time I admit that something is probably an overreaction after a careful thought process. I’m a reasonable person. I saw a post from a member of the school committee member about how someone was able to go on a racist rant during the meeting without being cut off. I get it. You don’t want to be seen as infringing on one’s right to free speech. I decided to watch the moment for myself because, “No, it can’t be that bad.” I’m not sure what I was expecting, but I audibly gasped multiple times and I still don’t even know what his point was. I mean, I guess I do. Maybe?

What’s first shocking to me is that you would go up and speak on public access television and give your address and then give a speech about “those people”. I should rewind a minute. When you start off about “Black people were the most literate group of people between the years of and now look at ‘those’ people and how illiterate they are now…” Then you repeatedly refer to this group as “those people” in a tone that is somewhere between disgust and condescension, before talking about how white people ripped black babies from their home and put them into a program called “Head Start” and why do we pay teachers to not educate “those people” and I’m white and I’m not sure if I’m racist or if I’m extra racist because I have a white savior complex that allows me to sit here and lecture you teachers on how you failed “those people”. (Paraphrasing of course, with absolute condescension in my tone.)

I guess I kind of see a point here, as outlandish as this person was in his rant about the shortcomings of the schools. The schools in poorer neighborhoods in some areas aren’t as well funded and therefore are underserved. Somehow, I’m pretty sure that’s not his point because his point seemed to be “white people are purposely keeping them down so that they can’t use the excess of advantages they get just for being one of ‘those people’ that we don’t get as white people”. There is a conversation that needs to be had about those communities that aren’t getting the proper education to succeed. But that’s a failing of policies and other things, not some democratic ploy to keep “those people” down.

I should have started with that I will be mocking this individual throughout this entire post by using his emphasis on the phrase “those people”, because I think it’s so ridiculous that he repeatedly used this phrasing and I wanted you to feel the cringe every time that I say it too. As I said on Facebook when commenting about the video after watching it: “I was expecting him to toss out some slurs and talk about how ‘those people’ end up on welfare mooching my tax payer money. But I guess the upside was that he didn’t?”

Now, to address a couple of things here. Yes, we as a society need to do better to lift these underserved communities. Yes, we need to make real change so that everyone has access to a quality education. These are facts that no one can really dispute. If kids get this access, then they will be less likely to continue the cycle of poverty. You reduce poverty, you can start reducing crime. These are basic social facts. This isn’t just a problem with one race; there are people of many backgrounds that live in poverty. Helping people get the necessary education and develop important skills is a wise investment into lifting those who want a better life up.

The other thing to address is freedom of speech. I’m conflicted as to whether or not I think he should have been cut off. On one hand, at least he didn’t drop slurs. But on the other hand, there’s the argument of what he was talking about seemed to have absolutely nothing to do with anything on the agenda. I failed to see the line in the agenda minutes about “Those People”, “How Schools are Failing Those People”, or “Addressing Racial Inequality”. I saw something about mask mandates in school. But, nothing about “Weird Old Man Goes on Racist Rant for 3 and 1/2 Minutes”. But, opening the floor to the public means that the public can have their say. But, I mean. Not even to comment about it? I definitely heard someone else gasp while he was talking, presumably a school committee member that was mic’ed up. But that’s it? Surely a public official should say something like, ‘His views do not represent the views of our city.” Even if they don’t mean it, but something? Aside from the school committee that mentioned it, which led to this blog post.

Is this just me ranting about local politics again? Yes. But the fact that we’ve come to a point where a person can just go off on a rant about minorities like that out of left field makes me scared for my own family. Was this guy a racist? I’m not sure. I don’t know him. Did he maybe have some valid points? Perhaps. But it’s so hard to see it with how he said it. He came off as a racist and that’s how he’s going to be defined. Is that fair that he’s going to be defined as a racist because of what he said? I would argue that you put yourself at a disadvantage in making a point when you single out a specific race in a rant that would arguably described as “uneducated potentially racist rant about how those people are uneducated”.