“Man it Takes a Silly Girl to Lie about the Dreams She had…”

“Lord it takes a lonely one to wish that she had never dreamt at all.”-“Carve Your Heart Out Yourself”, Dashboard Confessional

Ever since I first heard that song, it spoke to me. I’m a huge music lover, particularly emo music of my youth. I admit it and I’m okay with this love. The reason is because there are so many songs that speak to me. This one included. Here are some other songs that I directly relate to on a level that gets into my brain.

  • “Freakish”- Saves the Day
  • “Bend and Not Break”- Dashboard Confessional
  • “Several Ways to Die Trying”- Dashboard Confessional
  • “Stare at the Sun” – Thrice
  • “Lucky” – Seven Mary Three
  • “Extraordinary Machine” – Fiona Apple

In fact, I would say that “Carve Your Heart Out Yourself” one of the songs that has spoken to me the most. A reminder of my greatest weakness: myself.

I like to think of myself as a relatively confident person. I like to think of myself as reasonably smart, somewhat talented at what I do. I even sometimes dare to think that I’m an okay mother. I talk about acceptance. I talk about how we should be comfortable with ourselves and how we should take solace of “At least I’m trying my best”. But most days, I don’t think any of that. Most days, I’m a failure. And I either decide that I’m going to make the next day better. That I’m going to try to be a better mother. A better writer. A better anything than I was the day before. It’s those moments that I realize that I’m not confident or talented or smart or even worthy. It’s those days that I struggle.

It’s easy for other people to pass judgement on how you live your life. That if you don’t live up to their ideal, that you are nothing. You are insignificant. That you are making excuses for your laziness or how you’re a failure at everything. How you’re not a real writer. You’re barely a good mother. You don’t deserve anything in life because you didn’t earn it. Those ideals that get forced on you cut more than anything you can possibly imagine, especially when you make the choice that staying home with your children is the best choice for your family. Those moments shake me, realizing that someone else’s words are more powerful than mine. That I should give up on my goals and the things that I have tied to my identity. That I should give up power and accept my fate that maybe I was bound to fail all along, no matter how hard I try.

Who doesn’t feel that? Who doesn’t get put down to a point that you wonder if you should even get back up and fight? I’ve always prided myself in being a scrappy fighter. But even the scrappiest of fighters wonder if the fight is even worth it anymore. Because someone else judged your life. Because you gave someone that power to judge your life. And you look in your corner, realizing that maybe you have someone there willing to fight with you. Fight for you. But… what if you don’t? That’s not something that anyone wants to face: fighting for yourself.

I’d like to say that you shouldn’t give anyone that power to make you feel like that. I’d like to say that even someone who once prided myself in my mental fortitude is weak to this. Maybe I’m not as strong as I’ve always led myself to believe. Maybe by admitting this weakness, I’m showing strength. Maybe by pouring out these thoughts, someone else who has felt this way can take solace in the fact that they aren’t alone. Because in times like this it helps to know that you have someone, even someone miles away, there fighting alongside you.

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It’s Different… Except It’s the Same

I remember when Tim Thomas stood up for his beliefs, taking a stand that he could not meet President Obama because they simply didn’t share the same beliefs. He felt that he would be betraying his belief system. The right, lauded him as a hero. Standing up for his beliefs. The left, they denounced this. He should stick to hockey, not politics. That’s a slap to the face to his country. Was he a hero to stand up for what he believed in? Sure, I think so. I won’t fault the guy for not compromising his morals. I refuse to do so in my art; why would I admonish a person for doing the same.

Fast forward to now, with President Trump. When an athlete says “I just don’t share the same moral ideals as the president, so I won’t meet him.” The left laud them as a hero. Good for them, standing up for what they believe in. The right? Stick to kicking soccer balls, you are disrespecting your country. I stand by the same position here: you cannot go against your morals, and you need to do what you need to do to go to sleep fine at night. What makes one person a snowflake for this and what makes them a hero for morals? You can’t have it both ways.

For a society that moans and complains about the lack of morality, they seem to only talk about people who share the same morals and belief systems as they do. That’s the difference. The difference in both cases is that they are doing the same thing, but when one person does it they agree with the morals and not in the other case. Does that make the act different? No. It’s just people blindly following like good little supporters. People need to follow their beliefs and have the freedom to do so. As long as they aren’t being hateful and violent to another human being, that’s their right. That’s what it is to be American: Acceptance. You don’t have to agree with them; you just have to accept them.

The same applies to actors and comedians. Why do people like James Woods, Tim Allen, and Jon Voight get to say their opinions to be applauded by the right, but other celebrities are ridiculed by the right for talking about their political ideas? It’s the same thing. You can’t applaud one person while telling the other to “stay in their lane and pretend to act”. It doesn’t work that way. It really doesn’t, I promise. Do I think celebrities have the right to discuss their political beliefs? Sure. I also have the right to not care what they say and just enjoy watching entertainment, as long as it isn’t completely propagandized in any direction. I can handle a little doctrine, but please don’t force feed it. I can’t be bothered if you’re just going to force your beliefs on me.

I have this crazy little philosophy on life of: “If it doesn’t affect me, I don’t care.” When I say this, I don’t mean this from a charity standpoint. I don’t mean that I don’t care about the plight of homelessness because it doesn’t affect me. I’m referring to the choices people make. If someone else wants to have an abortion, that doesn’t affect my life. If two men are in love and want to get married, that doesn’t affect me. That’s their business, not mine. I just have this crazy notion that if people aren’t harming other people or animals in any way, then let them be. Let them think that Fox News is the second coming of Jesus. Let them think that Rachel Maddow is a real journalist. Let a man (or woman) have a sister wives/brother husband situation if they are truly consenting this lifestyle choice. It doesn’t affect your life.

I don’t care that Megan Rapinoe or Tim Thomas doesn’t want to visit a sitting president because they don’t share the same beliefs and morals. I don’t care that Taylor Swift encouraged people to go to the polls and support gay rights. These are small moments in the grand scheme of life. You do you and they will do them. The sooner we get over ourselves, thinking that our way of thinking is the only way to be, the sooner this world can be a little less craptastic.

The Cautions of Censorship

I’m a writer, which means I’m very much pro the concept of “freedom of the press”. I’m aware that this freedom only goes so far. For instance, generally speaking private organizations can do whatever the hell they want and there’s nothing you can do about it from a freedom of speech point of view. This freedom really only applies on a governmental level. The government isn’t shouldn’t be policing citizens on their opinions. The idea that governmental officials can get the false narrative of “fake news” out there is appalling to me. This should be more appropriately titled “opinion news” or “biased news”, and both sides are guilty of only showing the cards that best fits the narrative that they want to put out there.

The notion of censorship bothers me. I write because I want to share my thoughts and opinions. I’m always careful to let people know that what I’m saying is opinions, not necessarily fact. I’m a blogger; I’m here to write opinions based on the facts as I see them. When faced with a real possibility of a slide away from my freedom to write as I wish, I do get scared. I see this shift happening, and it really scares me. When the press is deemed “the enemy of the state”, bloggers and writers are probably not that far behind so long as they don’t “fall in line” as they should. I wasn’t cut out for following blindly; my parents made me that way.

Social media is getting more and more… loose… with their ban hammers. I don’t like the thought that you’re one wrong meme away from Facebook jail. Do I find some things on social media offensive? Sometimes things cross a line that I don’t feel comfortable with. Do I report it or even do more than just scrolling on past it? No. Because whether or not I find it offensive or agree with it, they still have the right to post it. As long as they aren’t specifically calling for mass murders on people or specific groups of people, I don’t see a problem with it. If people want to post racist, homophobic things, then that just lets me see the people I don’t want to associate with. It isn’t anyone’s job to police them. If people want to post awful things on social media, let the real world deal with it.

For instance, a person posts a racist thing on social media and then gets fired. If you were dumb enough to post the thing to begin with, you deserve the real life consequences of your actions. I think the moment you start censoring social media this way, you make it harder for us to let social Darwinism sort itself out. People are going to be racist homophobes; banning their content on social media just emboldens them. It makes them a martyr of their hateful causes. I want to see who people really are, which is the benefit of the cesspool we know as social media.

Let’s ease up on talking about what offends us and work towards teaching the next generations to be better than us. That’s the only real way that we are going to change the world. Not by being anonymous keyboard warriors that hide behind a false sense of security in our blanket forts.

Lessons Learned from the First Debate

I’m not going to lie. I tried really hard to watch the debate. At some point after making a crack about how Corey Booker looked confused on stage and Beto reminded me of an old Napoleon Dynamite, I realized that suddenly Rachel Maddow was on stage. Apparently memes on Reddit were far more interesting than what was going on stage. Why? First of all, I didn’t know half of the people up there anyways and honestly even after the debate I couldn’t tell you who they were. And that is the biggest problem the Democrats are going to have right now. I’m a prime target for both of these parties: An independent. If I have no clue who you are putting in front of me, I’m not going to see why I should vote for them. Then, you are going to lose because most true independents are going to have that same struggle.

Problem #2 that the Democrats are going to have? They are going to end up forcing Elizabeth Warren on us as the candidate, because they learned absolutely nothing from the Clinton/Trump election. I don’t care how progressive you want to look, she is going to be one of the worst people to put up there. She tries too hard to be “average” while also showboating. She’s not likeable. The whole “Native American” thing will be the only thing people talk about. Trump will win against Warren, I have no doubt in my mind about that. And part of that may be because she’s a woman, but it’s mostly because she’s not a very likeable one.

I do hope that tonight’s debate ends up less like a battle to talk over each other and avoid questions and more about learning who these candidates are. Yes, I’m particularly interested because from what I’ve seen there are 2 potential candidates up to debate tonight that I would actually consider voting for. Which is big news because I’ve never voted for a Democrat in a presidential election. Though, to be honest I’ve never voted for a Republican either. (I told you, true independent.) I hope that the candidates I’m rooting for tonight show me something good, something that will make me look closer at them. If not, I’ll have a hard decision to make next year. Because I can tell you right now that I still refuse to vote for Trump. In fact, everything that I’ve seen during his presidency makes me even more unlikely to vote for him. But I struggle with the idea of voting for someone because of their party. I’m an idealist; I want to vote for someone I can believe in, someone that doesn’t make me regret that decision.

Why not Trump? My thoughts on him don’t come from the news or are based in the Russian investigation. Just reading his Twitter account makes me want to have nothing to do with him. Then the fact that everyone kept talking about how “Obama was an embarrassment to the country and no one respects us because of him”, but yet (unless someone has evidence otherwise) no foreign leader publicly said that Obama was suffering from “mental retardation” either. Does the foreign leader actually think that? Maybe, but he most likely did it to get a rise out of Trump… which shouldn’t have worked but it did. That’s not a president; that’s a celebrity running their mouth on social media. Something that apparently the far right hate unless it’s one of them. Then it’s “He’s not afraid to say what he’s thinking”.

In an ideal world, a (good) Republican would stand up and run against Trump. We’d see the debate. I’d vote in the Republican primary if that happened. I want to see someone run that has experience, who doesn’t tweet out his every (and often infantile) thought. I don’t normally buy into expressions like “we’re one tweet away from war”, but I think that’s an irrational fear that’s growing more realistic every day. I want to have a candidate that actually makes me excited to go out and vote, not just go through the motions because of “civic duty, blah blah blah”. Especially as a woman, when people guilt you into it by saying “they fought so hard for your right to vote…” I want someone that I can believe in, that will make a positive difference in the world. Someone who’s a good role model for my kids, because the president is someone who represents us as a country. And we want that to be a positive, strong representation.

Being the Ideal You

Among the many lessons I learned growing up, one major one was about being “perfect”. Whenever teenage me complained about things like “my mildly gap teeth” or being teased for my freckles but there’s no makeup that covers them for me, my parent’s would always say the same line: “That’s the way God made you.” That was their way of saying deal with it; I thought anyways. They really just wanted to instill an acceptance of these are things that I couldn’t change, or rather I’d spend a lot of money trying to change. That it was better to accept them as part of my character, as something that made me unique. And they certainly always accepted my unique self. (Except my freckles. Me and my freckles were never friends. And Bare Minerals works wonders on them.)

This made me to accept that this idea of “perfection” is really a state of mind. Everyone can probably think of one person that they think is perfect, but another person can easily point out every single flaw that you may be oblivious to. That’s because there’s really no such thing as “perfect”. There’s no such thing as a perfect mom; only great moms. There’s no such thing as a perfect partner; their imperfections are what become perfect to you. Everyone is different and you have to the choice to accept that about yourself and others, or you can just be a miserable human being. You do you.

For example, my husband has this birthmark on his cheek that looks like a bruise. When I first met him, I considered asking him about the fight he got into because of the bruise, but I figured I’d let that come up naturally. After a month or so, it was still there and that was that. I never mentioned it. It never made him less attractive. It was just a unique feature he had. Other people point it out, saying he should get it laser removed. Because there’s this ideal of perfect that they have for him. He doesn’t seem bothered by it, so there it is. If it was something that bothered him, I would encourage him to do something about it. But it doesn’t bother either of us, so there it is.

Which brings me to the next point of this: just because you think people should stay “The way God made them”, that doesn’t mean everyone else feels that way. If one of my friends felt like plastic surgery was something that they needed to feel good about themselves, that’s their life. They should do what they need to so that they can be happy and confident. However, if they’re doing it because a boyfriend got in their head and convinced them to do it, I would fight them tooth and nail about how the only thing that needs to be removed is the boyfriend.

It’s all about your state of mind. If you are confident and happy with yourself, there’s no reason to change it. If you feel like you need changes to be happy, you shouldn’t be judged by that. You have to live up to your own ideal, ignoring everyone else’s fight for the ultimate perfection. Because it’s a losing battle. No one is perfect.

Let the Summer Games Begin

The summer games in my house include “How much work can mommy accomplish in a day while the kids are home?” and “When does mommy’s sanity leave the house?” The first day didn’t count, as I was attending a funeral. That was when my husband stepped up to take over the first day of the summer games, the practice day for when mommy is actually home. (For the record, my husband was home with our youngest while I attended the funeral with my oldest. Due to his high energy and anxiety issues, attending a funeral was not the best idea.)

Today, was not a great start. My blog being published late today is evidence of that. My to-do list that was supposed to be accomplished by lunch time, including this blog, was stalled. Because working from home is a very difficult thing when you are also managing your children. Especially my youngest. My daily schedule over the summer is now supposed to include the time where I enforce “school time”; doing more reading (including my oldest son’s AP reading list), working on my youngest son’s handwriting skills so that he doesn’t require OT next year as well, and various other things that will keep my boys fresh over the summer. I’m basically juggling a summer camp, summer school, and my profession every day.

There’s a careful balance that needs to take place over the summertime. Children should have fun and play. They should be free and relax. But, this is also the time to work on some of their shortcomings over the year. For instance, my youngest had struggles with his anxiety, focusing, handwriting, and listening skills. My oldest will be doing his summer reading journals over the summer, as well as test prep for his AP history, AP English, and PSATs. The balance needs to be there otherwise you create school burnout before school even begins.

So what’s my approach this summer? I do give a week break before I wean them into anything educational. However, we’re still doing the Mightier program for our youngest child’s anxiety, and we are getting more strict about our listening expectations for him. I trust my oldest to do what he needs to without too much supervision, though that doesn’t mean he’s entirely going to left alone without my nagging. That’s just how I do.

School is more complicated than ever these days, so it’s especially important for parents to make sure they get this balance. I like to do a 1/2 and 1/2 split. Their fun time occurs while I’m working and when I’m done, it’s time to get down to business. Sure, I won’t be as strict as it is at school. If my oldest wants to listen to his music or podcasts while doing what he needs to, as long as it gets done right I’m not too picky. They are kids and we need to let them be kids without putting too much pressure on them.

If You Don’t Like It, It Doesn’t Exist

If that really worked, I could pinpoint things on my body that I don’t like and it will magically fix itself. Oh, the power of ignorance.

It’s something we tend to do though, isn’t it? We don’t agree with it or don’t like it, so we shut our minds unable to accept the actual reality of the situation. It’s a truly amazing thing, right? Except, it’s not. That’s not called “wishful thinking” or “ignorance”; it’s called “delusion”. And there seems to be an abundance of delusion going around.

This isn’t just about our President, who seems to ooze delusion. Maybe that’s the trickle down effect I keep hearing so much about these days. I know, I tend to never so crudely say things like this about politicians. But delusion is a lot more dangerous than hypocrisy. When you spout hypocrisy, people can see it easier. I don’t think people buy into their own hypocrisy quite as much as they swear by their delusions. That’s what’s so scary about it.

When any politician dismisses any negative news about themselves, it’s delusion that drives them. When they bash polls as rigged or fake news, they are being delusional. For instance, when Trump bashes the primary network that backs him for the polls numbers they show as “Fake News”, it’s pure delusion. What news isn’t fake to him? Alex Jones’ InfoWars? Breitbart? IE: actual fake news? You know who else gets that delusional over their existence? Tyrants do.

I’ve never used this harsh of a language when talking about the president. Mostly because as criminal as I found him to be (and I thought Hilary was suspect as well, so don’t give me that “you’re just a lemming, dumb liberal” crap), I just thought he was too… “not there” to really be an issue. He wasn’t an actual racist; he just was dumb enough to allow himself to be surrounded by them. He doesn’t want to be president, he just wants the title. He sold himself to the American people and people buy into it. Fortunately for me, I’ve never been one to like salespeople or trust them any more than those “Windows is closing and wants to give you a refund” phone call.

But when delusion gets tossed in the mix. When there is a real fear to those who write their opinions, or even worse write the truth, that they will get shut down or blacklisted. Or even jailed for whatever reason they can. I feel like I’m no longer watching those insane television shows where there is a massive government conspiracy; I actually wonder if I’m living it.

The problem with delusion is that people firmly believe it. When people believe that strongly in something, you can’t convince them otherwise. They think that if they don’t like something, it ceases to exist. It doesn’t. It still exists for everyone around the delusional person. Bashing polls as fake because you don’t like what you see means nothing. It just means the people that follow you buy into it without question and those who don’t, think you’re insane.