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I have contemplated whether I wanted to weigh in on this big topic of Caitlyn Jenner and her big reveal. After much thought, I decided that I wanted to share my potentially controversial thoughts on this topic. Before you are quick to hate me based on this introduction, I suggest a careful reading of my actual thoughts.

I truly applaud her for taking this journey. Struggling with such an unimaginable feeling of not feeling like yourself in your own skin is bad enough;  doing it in front of the whole world for this judgment is 1000x worse. People are blaming him for being part of a trend that is ruining America, helping break down the moral fiber of a great country and being a part of some fallacy set to further an agenda. Obviously a person is born as they were intended by God, and God makes no mistakes… right?

The true ruin of the moral fiber of America is this spread of hate and nonacceptance of people for who they truly are. Beliefs are no excuse for hate. The KKK is a group that believed they were being great Christians and promoting how white people are superior and everyone else should be enslaved or killed. Does that make them not hateful people because they use religion as a defense for their ignorance? People are born gay, not turned that way because they saw a gay couple kiss and somehow caught a disease that makes them gay and needs to be cured of it. Sometimes God does make mistakes, and modern science can help fix them, like putting people in the wrong body that doesn’t match who they are. People should do whatever it takes in order to feel better about themselves. A transgendered person transitioning into the person they feel the need to be should be encouraged to do what they feel they need to. Who are we to judge? Their decisions do not affect my life, why should it affect yours?

My problem isn’t in what she did. I think it requires a great amount of bravery to come forward, especially in the hateful world we are unfortunately living in. My issue is in the how. Everyone knew what was going on, yet she chose to sell it to the highest bidder. She discussed about how she wasn’t going to publicly identify as a woman yet in said interview. Great, she should move at her own pace. Except a couple months later, she then sells her new look and big reveal to the highest bidder. Do I have a problem with someone doing something publicly flaunting this? No. Anything to raise awareness for such an important topic is a positive. Should she be laughing to the bank, adding to her millions for it? That I take issue with. If you are going to thrust yourself out there and make yourself the face of a cause, you should step up and be more than just a glorified spokesperson and do something to help the cause.

I would have less of an issue if that money, even part of it was put into or started a fund to help the transgendered youth that are disowned and tossed out on the streets because they aren’t as fortunate to have a loving and supportive family by giving them a safe place to live. If the money was used for a fund for people who can’t afford to have such a life altering ability to transition, to have the luxury to do so. Instead, it was used to make a rich person richer.

If one of my sons felt they wanted to wear nail polish or a “girlie” outfit to school, would I consider it? Why not? If it’s just a phase, then what’s the harm. If it’s more than that and it’s truly who they are, then they’ll know that I love and support them no matter what. Because I choose to teach my children acceptance and love and not hate.

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Choices

Adulthood is as awful as it can be amazing. You are able to own a home, raise children/dogs/whatever animal you choose, and you can eat ice cream for any and all meals that you may want without your mother informing you that you will get the biggest belly ache of you life. Yes, you will likely get a giant belly ache, and probably a sugar induced headache from consuming that much Hood chocolate chip deliciousness, but dammit I’m an adult and I want to. I choose it. I choose that deliciousness over my maple and brown sugar oatmeal.

Okay, maybe I did have Special K Honey n’ Oats instead of a delicious bowl of ice cream. Why, after all that ranting about “me being an adult, Imma do what I want”, did I eat a bowl of healthy cereal for breakfast? Because the important thing about being an adult is making choices, the right choices. As much as I want to eat ice cream all day long, it isn’t reasonable, healthy and it’s expensive. (Aforementioned ice cream comes at $5 a half-gallon when not on sale. You do the math.) Additionally, what would that show my kids? That they can eat ice cream all day long because mommy does it, and then I raise statistics rather than children, considering how terrible the stats for obese children in our country. It’s bad enough both boys and my lab have all picked up my nail biting habit. Choices.

As children, you make dumb choices all the time. If you’re lucky, those dumb choices will provide consequences to make you less dumb as you’re older. What happens when you grow up without any consequences to your dumb choices? You continue to make them because why not? Then, likely you look at other people who make great life choices and think “why can’t I have that?” The answer? Because YOU made a choice, and you need to either make a different choice or stop complaining about how awful things are. Because you can make choices because you are an adult.

My husband made choices to work his butt off to provide for his family. As a result, he’s a 29-year-old man and father of 2, who owns a home and can make sure that everyone is taken care of. We made a choice that our children were better off in my care than daycare, especially considering the obscene cost of daycare, so now I’m at home raising children and tending to the house. I could choose to sit around and play video games or watch television/movies all day, and every now and again I do make that choice. Instead, I’m trying to follow my dreams as a writer, and make some extra money doing so. Because I want to contribute to my household and because I want to show my children that following your dreams is important, as is being a contributing member of society.

Next time you look at something in your life that you don’t like, remember that you have a choice to change it. You can choose to go back school if you don’t like your job. You can choose to move out of your neighborhood if it’s really that bad. You can go to school if you can’t find a job, or find training and job centers to help you find something you like or may even love, or just something to help you get by. If you don’t make choices to change things, how can you possibly expect things to change? Our parents can’t help us all the time; they’ve done their job and they hope they have raised us self-sufficient enough to be responsible and functioning adults. Our parents can’t wave a magical wand to fix our choices like they could when we were kids because we’re adults in a sink or swim world. You’re the only one who can make your choices. You’re the only one who can change those choices. And if you’re not willing to, why should anyone else?

You’re going to stumble in adulthood. Some months you will worry about how a bill will get paid, or how much is on your credit cards. You will have to make tough decisions, like “is this neighborhood safe for my family?” or are the “schools good enough?” and be willing to make changes if necessary. You may not have anything in your savings account, or have to live off ramen a month straight. But life is hard and it’s sometimes painful to experience, but you can choose how you deal with it. You can make the choice to sit there and take it, or you can make the choice to change it. Choices.

I Have No Thigh Gap, and I’m Okay

I keep seeing this talk about thigh gaps. I looked down, and I saw nothing but curvy thighs, and then I shrugged it off and had some pizza. I gained a few pounds on account of new medication, and now sit on the scale around 130lbs, up about 10lbs from before I was switched to this medicine. Still, 130lbs around my 5’3″ frame is actually still within the healthy range. Plus, I consider that an incredible feat considering I popped out 2 children and have a seemingly unbeatable pooch, as well as weighing around just over 200lbs when I was pregnant with my most recent bundle of joy.

Still, I see people talk about their gap like it’s a bragging right over people without one. As if they are part of an exclusive club that makes them better than me. News flash: it doesn’t. Would I rather a thigh gap or the ability to enjoy that bowl of ice cream that I want, or that heavily greasy and cheesy pepperoni pizza that makes me drool just thinking about it? I choose to enjoy my greasy and sugary indulgence, and I am quite okay with my choice. As long as I work out daily, as I do, and keep my weight at a reasonable and achievable but healthy goal, I don’t care that I have wide hips and thicker thighs. Because I’ve had them my entire life. I can thank genetics for them, and I refuse to stress out about something that I may not be able to change. Because I like me. And my husband doesn’t complain, and quite frankly that’s the only opinion that moderately matters to me.

So you can enjoy your thigh gap, because the trend will die out, and you will realize that you were just genetically blessed or you missed out on enjoying simple things in life. I will wear my big thighs, my 2 baby pooch, and my stretch marks with pride, because I’m 31 years old and I left high school long ago. Not that I cared too much what people thought of me then, either. Until my doctor, who I pay to make sure that I stay healthy, tells me to fix something, I’m going to keep doing what I do. I’m going to make sure that I’m healthy, because that’s what matters. Not how I look. Not anything but staying long enough to raise my family and be there for their kids, and if I’m lucky, their kids’ kids.

Next time someone tries to shame you for what you eat or how you look, remember that. Your parents were right when they told you that people who pick on you for things like that is really  just over-compensating for some deficiency in their life. Don’t compare yourself to supermodels or celebrities: they have personal trainers and nannies and personal chefs/dietitians to keep them looking that good. You’re setting yourself up for failure, that will eventually lead you to give up on meeting whatever fitness goals you may have. My goal? I just want to get back down to where I was before the medicine. Which is still a healthy and achievable weight, just one that I feel more comfortable with. No man wants a stick figure.

We Need Choices!

We are fortunate enough to live in a place where we have choices. We can wear what we want. We have the choice to work our dream jobs. We can eat whatever we want. We have the right to choose in America, which is also a curse because half the time we aren’t even really given options to actually make choices when it comes to the important things in life.

The problem is simple: we live in a democratic nation, which gives us the power to elect the people who govern over us. Well, at least some make shift form of democracy that attempts to give us piece of mind that our vote matters. But what real choices are we given? Although we live in a place where we can choose our governing body, we are really in a two-party system, which really does not give us any actual options. This gives us sheep (the politicians, if you will), and we have to choose which herder (democrat or republican) leads them. These sheep just follow their herder blindly, uncaring what it means for the big picture.

We are in the beginning of the fight for the 2016 fight for president. I say fight, rather than election, because the process seems more vicious than civil. There is rarely a factual ad that discusses actual political ideals, but there are plenty of ads where we watch someone kicking an old person in a wheelchair off a cliff to give an attempt at wit. We don’t know what it means, but we were either outraged that a poor old person was kicked off a cliff, or amused because we thought it was satire that was meant to be laughed at, not poignant.

With the people now throwing their hats in the race, I feel annoyed at my choices. I actually almost feel betrayed by my choices. I don’t like the idea of Hillary becoming president, but at this point in time I feel the Republican Party is just handing her the election. The choices on the republican side are: someone who read a children’s book to block a bill and no one takes seriously, a doctor who’s only claim to fame is berating Obamacare while 2 ft. from the president and being launched in the spotlight for it and is now an expert on politics as according to Fox News, and Rand Paul, which I feel does not need an explanation. We need real choices guys, this is almost becoming more comical than it should be.

This is becoming more of a case of why we should eliminate a 2 party system. Hell, we should just eliminate a party system period because you are just inviting those who don’t care enough to research the candidates a reason to just blindly vote for the letter next to their name, rather than voting for an ideal that you can stand behind.

Freelancing and Me

Sure, I make beans compared to people who aren’t in this freelancing world. I have always wanted to be a writer, which is why I got into this to begin with. The only real benefit is that in the grand scheme of things, at least it’s something extra of an income to allow for a few luxuries here and there. When I can get more hours in due to my toddler being unusually behaved on a given day, I try to pile on more work in order to get a little bit more coming in. That doesn’t often or really ever happen, but sometimes it does.

It has given me a chance to complete NaNoWriMo two years in a row, and published both offerings. (Which you can purchase by following the links to the side.) Plus, with my toddler needing specialists to come to the house twice a week this really works out for me. Most people find what I do to be a joke, as if I’m a lazy person trying to pretend to work and be useful. I’m not taking any money from assistance; our family has earned every dollar. I’m not lazy, I just choose to follow a dream and not work a job that I hate. Do not make a joke out of it, because I take what I do seriously even if you don’t.

I took an internal tour and realized there is more to this than just following a dream. The reality of the matter is that I don’t do so well out there, out in the real world. I’m awkward. I’m beyond socially inept. I speak my mind, often without any real concern for how people take it or how it comes out. I try, I really try to not be this way but I am. It is even more than that on most days. The idea of making phone calls for work makes my heart rate pick up. I don’t like talking on the phone, especially when I don’t know who the other person is. Business calls cause all sorts of anxiety. I even opt to not take jobs that require such contact as Skyping to keep regular contact on projects. I much prefer to just be sent what I need to do and send it back without any other communication other than written.

Being out in public also causes this. I don’t know how to associate with other people. I don’t know how to make small talk. I try my hand at it, and I get nervous because I’m unsure of how successful I am at it. Even at events with other people like myself, I find that I have an easier time if someone just hands me a glass of wine to get through whatever mental craziness happens to get me through those moments. It isn’t healthy. It probably isn’t normal, but what really is?

Ideally, I could go out and teach a college class on literature or creative writing. I wish I could go out and do book readings or some other really cool event like that. I have managed to, as a result of having grades forcing me to perform such actions, but not without downing a container of Tums and praying nothing comes up. Maybe I was just meant to be at home and live my life pretending to be Emily Dickinson. I don’t mind leaving the house, I just mind any interaction I may have to have with a person when I do.

So I work from home on my own terms. I work from home because I hope eventually my hard work will pay off and I will see my dreams come true. Or maybe I will just stay this forever anxious mess. I’m oddly okay with that. It isn’t about admitting you have a problem. It’s about accepting it and figuring your way around it.

It All Started with a Doorbell

I was working away, when I heard the ring of my doorbell. I went, unsure of what to expect. I don’t normally ever get visitors, let alone visitors that actually ring my doorbell. I wasn’t expecting a delivery. Reason of deduction led me to the likely result of a Jehovah’s Witness being my impromptu visitor. I answered the door, with a dialogue in my head, and I was not disappointed.

“Hi! Good morning to you.” The pleasant woman responded as I opened the door. “Here is an invitation to you, to join us in hearing the good word of Jesus.”

“That’s mighty nice of you. Have you heard of the good word of the flying spaghetti monster?” I replied.

She looked at me, stunned. “Um. No. I haven’t heard of that. He must be a fake God.”

I smiled. “Well, what makes one fake God better than another?”

She had no response, and quickly left me with the invitation in my hand. I watched her scurry down the driveway as fast as she could. I was probably inappropriately pleased with myself over this exchange.

Which leads to an interesting point. What does make one God better than another, that people are willing to kill over this ideal? The answer might shock you: there is no difference between the God that each religion claims to cherish. This God that they all believe in believes in equality, kindness and other positive feels that the so-called believers forget exist. Instead, they would rather fight over which of their “fake” Gods are better than another and cause public debate over it. Are Atheists better than Christians? Are Christians better than Muslims? Where do the Jewish fit in on this grand scheme of awesome?

No. Atheists are not better than religious fanatics, because they can be just as ignorant and unaccepting as the religions they claim to hate. People have a right to religion as they have a right to not walk down that path. I don’t believe there is a God, but I don’t consider myself an Atheist. I don’t believe because I have a hard time stomaching what religions do in the name of their love of God. Spewing hate rhetoric on all sides and ignoring that people just are born different is not something I want to have anything to do with. Does this make me a horrible person? No. I believe that people should be charitable and kind to others and I don’t believe I need religion to do that.

I have people lecture me all the time about my choice to put my children through Catechism classes. “But I thought you were an Atheist?” “I thought you were intelligent, how could you brainwash your child that way?” I think that is as closed-minded as it comes. Just because I don’t believe does not mean I shouldn’t give my child the choice to believe. If my sons want to remain Catholics as I have raised them, then that is their choice. If they choose another path, that is their choice as well. What matters is that I gave them the choice to be whatever they want. If they want to convert peacefully into another religion, that is their right. Part of parenting is allowing children to make these types of decisions on their own.

So next time you find yourself judging another person, think about if that’s the type of belief system you want to have in your life and if that is how you want to raise your child. Children learn by watching their parents. If you teach them hate and disrespect, that is all on you and not your religion. Just because their God (or lack of God) is not yours, does not mean that you are automatically a better person as a result. We all walk the same path down here, and what happens when we die is all the same no matter what religion you follow: you’re dead.

Resolve to Social Media Better

I’m about as social media savvy as  an 80-year-old grandmother that has never even owned a computer. I take this as a lack of interpersonal skills and being otherwise socially inept, over an inability to use a computer. Even still, I know enough on how to play the game. This is more than I can say about 89% of my social media counterparts. Though, without them hilarious websites that mock these people wouldn’t exist so I suppose they have their place. That, and I have to admit that I do love watching the drama unfold, especially when work is slow.

I’m a person that is completely anti-resolutions. (This will go into more detail come Wednesday.) However, they have their purpose. These resolutions are what keeps gyms in business, because people pay for a year in January, and never go back by February. But if you’re going to go down this path of insincerity, I do have a suggestion: why not try to social media better? Here are some tips that you could follow to accomplish this:

  • Vague Posts: Let’s be honest here, we all have a few people on our friends list that says something like “never cheat a cheater” or “boys lie and make girls cry”. Nothing else… but that. Everyone jumps? Did your partner cheat on you? Is your relationship in the tank? Then people respond accordingly with concern and assumptions. Then, the original poster goes nuclear. “Why are you assuming things? I never said that.” Well, you never said anything but a vague post that could easily be interpreted as such and you gave no indication otherwise. If  you did not want those assumptions that are so infuriating to you, maybe you should have been more specific. Unless you were vague on purpose for the sake of getting attention, in which case you got your wish. If you didn’t want the attention, don’t post it.
  • Opinions are like butts, everyone has one and they all stink?: This is especially true around election times. Do not post opinions on any topic, especially those about religion or politics, if you do not want people with different opinions posting on your post. By posting your opinion, you have just given everyone who reads it the right to state theirs. If that upsets you, you know where the delete button is. Then, next time remember that and refrain from posting it. Instead, memes are a great option.
  • Dirty Laundry is for the Laundry Mat: We all get mad at our family, friends or significant others. This is a fact of life. What we do not want to do is get mad at them and post it for the world to see. Tempers might be temporary, but the internet is forever. And those hard feelings will stick. Not only that, at some age it just becomes tacky and undignified. And by some age, I mean any age that is only than “teenager”. If you are older than “teenager” and doing it, maybe you should re-evaluate your life choices.
  • Stupidity Spreads Like Wildfire: I believe it was Will Smith who said it best once, when he was asked about how he feels about his son’s presence on social media. His response was something along the lines of “Kids are stupid. They do stupid things. They have always been stupid and have always done stupid things. Just now, they have social media to be stupid on.” Paraphrasing, because I could not find an actual quote. It’s true. If social media existed when we were kids, would we have done half the stupid stuff that we did? Probably not.
  • It Takes a Big Person to be Nice: Finally, remember when your mother would say “if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say it at all?” I never listened to that, not because I’m a mean person but because I lack that filter that censors awful things from my brain from coming out of my mouth. I’m okay with this, because I do have some self-control when it comes to actually typing things out. Unfortunately, previously mentioned 89% does not have this control. This is why bullying is such an issue today. Instead of saying to a person on their Facebook or Instagram, “Wow, you’re fat. Why are you posting a bikini picture? That’s gross”. Instead, admire their courage for doing that. I’m on the skinny size, and I don’t have the self-confidence for that and I admire those who do. If you can’t find anything nice to say, keep your mouth shut. Opinions do not have to be cruel and purposefully hurtful. In fact, at that point I don’t even consider them opinions. If your mother would be appalled at you saying it, maybe it shouldn’t be said.

That about covers my list of how to social media better. However, if you have anything else to add I am all ears. See you on Wednesday for part 2 of this discussion on resolutions.