Why I Won’t Do the Ice Bucket Challenge

The title should be self-explanatory. Do I think this makes me a terrible person?  No, but it probably makes you think I am and I doubt if you’ve already reached that preconceived notion about me solely on a blog title, that you even know me well enough that I would care about your opinion about me. I have not been nominated for it, probably because my friends know I would ignore it and not even care about paying the $100. I don’t have $100 to give every charity that needs help. I hope someday I do have a lot of money that I could spread across to all kinds of charities, but until then I have to pick.

Call me a cynic and blast me with hate comments, but we are all about viral trends in America. Sadly, right now ALS is the “charity du jour”. I can’t deny the amount of money it has raised for charity, but what happens when the trend stops? They will start struggling again while another trend will take waves. I hate to compare it to “planking”, but let’s be honest in that it will be forgotten as quickly as it spread. I don’t mean to take away from those people who did it, kudos to you for raising awareness. But in most of the videos, there was no mention that it was for ALS or even a place to send donations. How does that help spread in the awareness of a very serious disease? “Tuesdays With Morrie” had more of an effect on me wanting change than watching people dump ice on themselves. Also a note: I have only actually watched 2 videos. My brother’s and the one where the woman pulled out papers to protest this idea rather than actually dumping water on herself.

During this whole thing, the Jimmy Fund Telethon did its usual marathon to raise money to help the Dana Farber  Cancer Institute to help fight cancer and raised just over $3 million dollars. While people were dumping ice on themselves, this charity needed money. My cousin every year tries to raise money for awareness for TSC (Tuberous sclerosis), a disease that I had never even heard of until she started fighting for the cause and her family. (Shameless plug to help her out: http://giving.tsalliance.org/site/TR?px=1001886&fr_id=1122&pg=personal) I hope that helps her cause and I hope they don’t need a “take a swim in pudding” video to get the awareness that this cause does so desperately need.

We shouldn’t be made to feel guilty for not participating. I loyally give to the Jimmy Fund every year, in some way or another, and I don’t have much else to give. I take part in the Relay for Life. I have donated my time at a soup kitchen. I don’t need to splash my good deeds around to make myself feel good. The fact that I did something is enough for me. It’s the little things that you do in your daily life to make a difference some place that matters, not whether you dumped ice on yourself. If my son chooses to do it, will I discourage him? No, it’s his choice and it makes him feel like he’s making a difference in the world. I have no right to judge him for doing it anymore than you have the right to judge me for not. If it makes you feel good, then you should do it. Just make sure that you are doing it to raise awareness by spreading the word about what it’s for and where to send the money and not just do it because someone dared you to.

All About Random Stuff

My head is swirling with all the stuff all over the news and otherwise. And what better place to air that swirling than right here with my readers. Don’t worry, next week we will be able to get started on the grand reveal of the house. I’m really just waiting for my resident photographer to not be working crazy overtime to get nice shots for you guys. Until then, you’re stuck with my rant of randomness for the day.

1) Can women have it all?: This has been a debate that has been going on for a while in the news. I ignored it at first as a ridiculous ploy to rile up the masses of my fellow gender. Can women have it all? Absolutely not, at some point something has to give. Even now as I’m currently trying to write this, following my dreams of writing, I am half watching my son to make sure that he is safe but half uninvolved because I can only multitask so much. The question isn’t whether women can have it all; the real question is “can anyone have it all?”. Which again I answer with: “absolutely not”. We can have pieces of it all, but you can’t fully be invested in everything. Does that make you a terrible person? No, it makes you just like the rest of us humans that are struggling to juggle family, home, and career aspirations. That does not mean you should have to choose between any of the above, it just means that you’re splitting yourself into pieces and not having it fully all to yourself. That is why I stand by my “no one can have it all: no man, woman, or child” stance.

2) It’s all in God’s plan: (I will probably let a few obscenities slip through with the next 2 rants. It’s passion, not anger. Okay, maybe a little anger.) Whenever there’s a tragedy, people always say “don’t worry, it’s God’s plan”. I’m sorry, but if it’s God’s plan to take an innocent life away, than I want nothing to do with that God. This is why I send my child to CCD without actually attending church myself. I understand that some people take it as comforting, but do not try this line on me because it will likely anger me into a rant of how “religion only exists for the people who need something to cling onto and I’m not someone who needs lies to cling to” which will just make me into an even more unlikable human being. The real truth is something bad shit happens to good people. I’ve dealt with my fair share of bad shit, and you know what? There are 2 types of people in the world: the type that uses tragedy as a teachable lesson to help them grow into strong people or the ones who dwell on it and try to make sense of the nonsensical. There is no answers to tragedies. We don’t know why that kid decided to shoot down that school. We don’t know why our kid got cancer and the neighbor next door that’s a terrible person lives to be 110. Unfortunately when it’s your time, it’s your time. Like they say: “a person walks out of the hospital being cured of cancer and gets hit by a car and dies.” Bad things are inevitable. That just means you need to cherish all the good things in your life even more, because gratitude for all the good will make up for the bad.

3) Need versus Choice: I keep struggling with my ideals on what “need” is, in terms of people who need assistance and help. Not just from the financial aspect of the government, but also in general. People might disagree and I know I have stated this before but I really need to reiterate this point. A person in need is deserves all the help they can get. A person in need is someone who just has the world crapping on them no matter what. They spend all day looking for a job to no avail. They sweep backrooms of bakeries under the table for a few dollars to get something in. They are trying all the career training and temp searches they possibly can to get something, anything to provide for their family and themselves and have no luck in life. That is a person in need. A person who just doesn’t feel like doing anything and wants to sit back and let the government pay them is not someone in need. That is someone who chooses a lifestyle of poverty. A person in need deserves my sympathy and empathy. A person in choice neither deserves nor will get any pity at all because while I believe some people just have shit luck (I am one of those people), you can try your hardest to fight against that luck. And sometimes you do get lucky. Even if you’re flipping burgers at Burger King to provide insurance and income into your family, there’s no shame in doing whatever it takes to provide for your family.

4) Our America: I have always love the “Our America with Lisa Ling” series on OWN. The episode on foster kids that I finally watched last night tugged at me like nothing else has in a while. You should find it On Demand or whatever and watch it. It immediately made me want to hug all those other kids, which is amazing since I’m not really a “kid person” let alone a “people person”. (Yes, I’m aware I have 2 children, but it’s much different when they’re your own.) Though true to myself, it made me want to hit the abusive stepfather that let the stepchildren see has he abused their mother repeatedly. The poignant line of the night came from the mother, who had lost her kids because the stepfather basically kidnapped one of the kids and she pulled a gun out on him trying to protect herself and her family: “I learned from those classes that even though he only abused me, he was putting another kind of abuse on my kids by making them watch. They learn from that. I learned to be careful who I associate with when my kids see me. Because they learn from that.”

1050 words later, and I have completed my rants. Thank you for reading and feel free to share your thoughts.

Why I Don’t Take Selfies (and other annoyances)

I need to get out of my stress and get away from the move or deadlines. Then I decided that today I would go someplace else. Pop culture and trends that annoy me would be a perfect place to start. I can’t stand most of these things I should be doing, as society wants me to. Let’s explore these annoyances together. And remember, I’m not anti-any of you, just the things you do.
1) The Selfie: I have never taken a selfie for the purpose of posting it across social media. I will not succumb to “duckface”. I know I’m decently attractive, I do not need to have a hundred or more people validate me and tell me they think I’m pretty. I don’t need the attention or the self-esteem boost. What I do need is to stop seeing it. And don’t say “but hot celebrities do it”. I don’t recall Chris Hemsworth doing one, and you’re nowhere near as hot as he is. (Side note: that’s a selfie I wouldn’t mind.) So let’s end this one.
2) Ugg Boots: Seriously, this trend hasn’t died yet? They are called “Ugg” because it’s short for “ugly”. These should never be worn again, especially not by anyone older than those dorm living college students that think wearing them with their sweatpants and pajamas tucked into them. And definitely not with skirts. You’re obviously not a hobo if you can afford them, stop trying to look like one. Though I must’ve missed why it is cool to look like a homeless person. For the record, I have seen homeless people that look better dressed than some of those Ugg people.
3) Leggings and you: Pregnant women are exempt from this one. I love wearing leggings. They’re comfy for working out. They’re comfy for work… if you work from home. They aren’t even that bad if you wear them with a nice tunic shirt that covers up on a quick shopping trip. What isn’t awesome is when I see people that wear them to job interviews or to school functions or even work parties where you are supposed to be wearing “business casual”. They are just a step up from pajamas, another article of clothing that wasn’t meant to be worn in public. And they look worse with Uggs. And on men.
4) The “Moobie” shirts: A “moobie” is a “man boobie” for those not in the know. The “moobie” shirts are those skin tight shirts that males wear because they think they are buff or sexy or whatever they are silly enough to think a shirt like that would convey. News flash: it makes you look like you have bigger boobs than me, and I’m no a-cup. Also, you look fat and not buff. Save the tight shirts for the ladies. And for that point, save the super skinny jeans to us too. The things those super slim jeans accentuate are the same things I don’t want to see.
What are some trends that really bother you? Feel free to share them.

That’s So Gay

Did I grab your attention? How did that feel? Were you shocked or offended? Or were you just wondering what was “so gay” that I was talking about? I cringe every time I hear that because I’m guilty of feeling offended for others when I hear it. I wouldn’t say that anymore than I would say “that’s so straight” or “that’s so midget”. It’s more about common decency than anything else. I mostly just don’t understand why it’s even used. What makes an object gay? Are Q-tips gay because they are all the same laying together? After all isn’t that what gay is, 2 of the same gender laying together? God help the homophobes that buys anything in a package…

I know that last point is a bit of a stretch, but the point remains. Some things are wrong to say. People might argue “what’s wrong with saying that?”, but then become upset that someone had the audacity to say “that’s retarded”. What’s the difference? You’re still offending a group of people by equating them to something negative. The minute you take a group of people and turn them into a synonym for something you find stupid or strange, you’re wrong.

People can say “well before it was okay to say it”. Well at some point in history the dreaded “n” word was accepted, but try to say it now. Times change and we have to adapt to that change. Society changes with the tides and what’s acceptable changes just as often. You can either keep up, or get beat up in a bar because you said how hilarious a picture of African-Americans morphed into gorillas is.

They keep saying comments about the “PC police”. I admit some people cross a line of over sensitivity and seem like they are only doing it for attention, but is  it really our place to tell someone what should or shouldn’t offend them? I’m thick-skinned and hard to offend, that doesn’t mean nothing offends me and I shouldn’t be judged for that. That also means as much as I roll my eyes at some of things that offends people, it isn’t my place to judge them.

We have become a culture of “offended”. In watching the news there’s always some story about people being offended by something, even with the commentators who are offended by the offense keep discussing how offended they are. I actually think the overuse of the word “offended” has diminished the meaning of the word as much as the annoying overuse and misuse of the word “literally”. The world is being more oversensitive these days, but eventually rather than fighting about whether something is or isn’t offensive, find out why it is and accepted that you can’t please everyone but you can have common decency.

The Medium Road

Sometimes when there’s nothing on television, I look around for something that would be interesting enough to inspire a post. I ended up watching TLC reality television. I know everyone else was watching The Walking Dead, but I’m one of the few people I know that hasn’t really jumped aboard the zombie apocalypse train. In fact, my desire to run in a Zombie 5k has more to do with the twist it puts on a 5k than the actual zombies. I’d probably do a Killer Clown run even though I’m terrified of them just for the same principle.

I ended up watching an hour of Long Island Medium. It wasn’t my first time mindlessly watching this show. A week or so ago I watched when she had a Jonestown survivor on, though I only watched because I was in awe of her story more than the whole medium thing. I’m not sold on it, probably because of my outspoken stance on the afterlife. The survivor’s story both captivated me enough to research it, but horrified me enough that I never wanted to hear about it again.

As I was watching her last night, I still could only think I was watching a female Patrick Jane. Everything she did mirrored all the tricks he utilizes on The Mentalist to solve the crimes. I love that show, so I continued on and watched both episodes. I became conflicted while watching, not because I was buying what she was selling but because I was seeing the show in a very different light than they probably want us to. I found myself respecting what she does.

She’s offering a probably very expensive service and helping to provide for her family and put her kids through college. I respect the fact that she created this business that seems to be very successful. This isn’t the only reason I respect her. I don’t view her as some conniving wretched woman that’s taking advantage of the bereaved, quite the opposite. I actually think she’s helping provide people with a closure that they need to overcome grief and move on with their lives. I don’t think that’s any different than visiting a therapist; just because they accept massive amounts of money for their services doesn’t mean they don’t have a pure heart that wants to help others.

It’s a big leap that I’m making, I know that. I don’t normally assume one has good intentions, in fact I generally assume the worst in them because that’s what I’ve mostly seen. I consider my feelings as a healthy mistrust of people, which I consider is an asset rather than a flaw. I could be wrong, and  I’m okay with that. It’s all speculation because I don’t know her and I don’t know if there’s an afterlife to be a medium for. Life, I guess, is all speculation.

What To Say

I was considering today’s post. I didn’t have a clue what I was going to write about. Hell, I’ve started writing this out and I’m still not entirely sure where I’m going with this. I would tell myself to close my eyes and go for it, hoping for the best. However, typing this on my phone with my eyes closed may not work too well. I suppose we’re about to take a journey of random thoughts together.

I was watching The Five on Fox News the other day, and was mad that they spoiled a plot of House of Cards for me. I have been unable to obsessively stream the show, since it’s school vacation and that show is not for children. Then I became more upset when they decided that The Following was preaching an anti-gun agenda. Which is hilarious considering most of the deaths on the show aren’t even gun related. Maybe they are preaching an anti-Poe agenda, because we know only Goths and psychos actually care about his works. Right? In another turn of events, The next segment, hilariously enough, was on spoiler etiquette. Just pointing that out.

I just joined Pinterest today. I’m not sure what to do with it and I’m a little late to this party, but I’ll find something awesome about it. I hope it doesn’t turn out like when my husband discovered reddit and spends every waking second on it. It probably will be, at least until I get bored quickly. We’ll see, I’m sure I’ll complain here about it coming short of whatever expectations I have for it. So far it just looks like a jumbled mess to me.

The lesson here? There is no real lesson. Don’t be a jerk and give a “spoiler alert” before giving up story lines. Also, try something new even if you’re afraid to look like a noobish. Though I’m sure the real lesson is to have a plan before writing a blog, otherwise it comes out unorganized mess.

An Unspoken National Issue

I considered originally writing about my thoughts on the State of the Union address last night, but I opted against it for two reasons: 1) nothing extraordinary was said but the same promises (empty) and rhetoric I mistrusted; and 2) I was inspired by reading recaps of television shows last and realized there was a far more important issue to be discussed. There is an epidemic we need to stop and put and end to it. We need to raise awareness and create a support system for the tragic victims of this epidemic, not just one of non-judgement but one of making the victim aware of the epidemic they are a part of. What is this epidemic? It’s domestic violence.

This post will have a lot of statistics and a lot of my (probably controversial and offensive) opinions. If that isn’t okay with you, you can stop reading any time. But I did warn you. These statistics come from safehaven.org.

I’ll start with what, to me anyways, is the most disturbing of the statistics. This is about the children in these situations. 3 million children every year witness abuse in their homes. Children who live in these homes are 30-50% more likely to suffer neglect and abuse. Studies have proven that boys who grow up in abusive households are more likely to abuse their own partners. We knew this. There was a viral video that demonstrated that children mimic what their parents do. I cringed at the part of the video when the child hit his mother alongside his father. What’s more alarming than that? Girls who are brought up in this same environment are much more likely to allow themselves to be abused. My thoughts? If you want to be smacked around by your partner, you’re an adult. The minute you let yourself stay in a situation like that with children makes you, in my opinion, just as guilty as the abuser. It’s selfish. You need to think about your children, because it’s not just about your safety or even their safety at the current time. You, and you alone, are responsible for allowing this cycle to continue. You are raising future abusers and victims.

One in 4 women experience abuse in their lifetimes. Most abuse isn’t even reported. I’m interested to find a statistic of how many that are reported that are not tried because a woman thinks that after the 15th time, he loves her and still won’t do it again. Then I would love to see that statistic against this one: 1 in 3 women are killed every year by their current or past abuser. That is a scary thought. These women are victims of these men and their own low self-esteem and lack of self-respect. They are easy prey for the hunters, and get fed lines of manipulation and false promises and derogatory speech to keep them at bay. They mistake punches for kisses.

Don’t allow yourself to be conflicted. Families who watch a family member go through this can only do so much when it falls on deaf ears. I’m conflicted how I feel about this. Part of me understands there is a lot of fear and anxiety in uprooting your family and seeking help for this. You feel ashamed you allowed this to happen and worried about people judging you. To be bluntly honest, they’ll judge you more for staying and allowing harm to come to your children. This is what makes me the angriest. If a woman wants to stay in that type of situation, then only you can make that (very stupid) decision. I’m not going to lie, I think it is disgusting to raise the children in that environment. The boys might think that all women are weak. Even worse, the girls will think that this is acceptable and when the moms will try to talk their daughters out of it, they will say “but it was okay for you mom. Isn’t it normal?” I hope their consciences are at peace with this because they did that. I know it seems harsh and insensitive, but adult decisions affect the decisions children make as they grow up. Get help. There are dozens of services that can help or find help. If you don’t have the strength or self-respect to do it for yourself, do it for your children. Even if you don’t think you deserve better, they do.

Beliefs for All

Today is Martin Luther King Day. This was a man who was strong in his convictions and had beliefs that helped change America today. My post today has nothing to do with this. In fact, when inspiration hit me I didn’t even consider what today was. This post may seem a bit contradictory at times, but I’ll risk it anyways and hope that it makes sense. When I was younger and attending religious classes to make my Confirmation, I was put in a place of personal moral dilemmas. They were telling me about how homosexuality was a sin, but I didn’t believe it. They couldn’t tell me that God was infallible but yet made a mistake in people I believed he created. Now, I tell my son who is attending religious classes that being a good Catholic means two things: question everything and only God is allowed to pass judgement. It isn’t our place. Luckily, he listened.

We all have different beliefs. If we didn’t,  this world would be such a boring place. Our beliefs is what makes us do what we do. One of our biggest problems in America is also our best asset and it’s all about beliefs. Our country was founded on a belief of freedoms to be who we are without the government persecuting us. So you might ask, “I agree that our biggest asset is that we believe, but how is this our downfall?” I’ll tell you why. Because we live in a place of intolerance of people who don’t share our beliefs. Because we live in a place where laws are made based on beliefs that can seem to oppress people. This is where beliefs are a downfall.

I believe that your beliefs shouldn’t dictate my life. I might not agree with people posting sonogram pictures or bath pictures on social media. I believe these are personal and private and the latter is fodder for pedophiles. This doesn’t mean I have a right to tell you that you’re wrong and shouldn’t do it. The great thing about America is we can disagree and it’s okay with us. It’s not our place to judge. My beliefs shouldn’t dictate how you live your life.

This is where the post might become a little contradictory. I believe we have freedoms. I believe that people should be treated as people, no matter how they look or love. I believe what a person does with their body is their own business. Should what I believe be common beliefs? Maybe, but it’s not. We have freedoms though. And amongst those freedoms is that all people have certain unalienable rights and the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It doesn’t say, “except if you’re gay or a minority” at the end of that. So where does a belief have the exception to become a law over someone else’s beliefs? When you consider these unalienable rights that were written by those brave men that created our government because they wanted a place that was better than the state of oppressions they lived in before. They wanted better for us as we want better for our generations to come.

We do pick and chose what beliefs lead to laws in America. I think what makes this right or wrong is what was written in those documents we love to think we follow. We don’t. They would probably spin in their graves if they saw the state of oppression that we currently live. They wanted a land where religion wasn’t a cause to oppress another. They wanted us to be free people. They wanted a place where the government stayed small and not small enough to fit in our bedrooms or female reproductive systems. They wanted people who obeyed the law to live free without worrying about someone coming after them. They wanted a land where people could have a better life. And we have lost that somewhere along the way.

What’s in a Number?

Numbers don’t scare me. My weight doesn’t scare me. My pant size doesn’t scare me. Age doesn’t scare me. When I was in high school, I admit that I had thought that the minute you cross the 20’s threshold that something automatically changes. You suddenly have wrinkles, a sort of newfound wisdom and you miraculously turn into a mature adult. Numbers scared me back then.

Maybe it’s the fact that after having two boys that nothing is really too scary after that, except having two girls. 30 didn’t scare me. In fact when I woke up this morning, crossing that 20’s threshold into my 30’s nothing changed. I was still me. I had already matured as every parent should when they first have children. I looked in the mirror, and nothing changed. All that is different today is that I’m 30, and that is all.

I didn’t shudder at the thought of turning 30. The fear people have isn’t the number, it’s the uncertainty of what that number means. It’s the reality that we’re not teenagers that can do whatever we want whenever we want to. We have responsibilities. We now should be grown up enough to realize the world isn’t going to hand you everything like you’re a doe eyed teenager. It’s time to face the music that we are adults that have bills to pay and are responsible for our families.

30 isn’t the end of your life or youth. I don’t feel old and I certainly have a lot of life to live. In fact, now that I’m settled down with my husband and children, I can save money because our perfect date night means being at home with each other and our children. I don’t need to bar hop to have fun. A girl’s night out with my lovely ladies doesn’t mean getting smashed and dancing with strange men. I would dare say that even though I’ve only been 30 for a few hours that it’s actually pretty awesome in comparison to my 20’s. So to my female readers, turning 30 is ok. We’ve experienced much worse.

When Health Beliefs Conflict

Once upon a time, I wrote a blog here about vaccinations. I’m avidly pro-vaccination and think that more harm is done from not vaccinating your children than from getting the vaccine. I equate the people against vaccines to the people who choose their faith in God over modern medicine to help your child’s cancer go in remission. Not everything is in God’s hand. I’m sure he’s far too busy with worrying over the state of the world and people using his name to cause harm to others. That is the reality of it. Does that statement make you hate me? I wouldn’t bother reading on then, because if that offended you then the rest of what I have to say would probably not please you.

People should make educated decisions about their health and their family’s health. When I say educated though, I mean from reputable sources. This doesn’t mean research the sources that agree with you, it means reading everything. If you read only one news source, you are getting a biased report of only one author. You’ll have nothing to compare that too. You need this comparison to weed out the truths and biases. This applies to everything, not just health topics.

I wonder personally, how many anti-vaccination people use natural and herbal supplements. If the argument is that there is not enough evidence of the effectiveness and safety of vaccines, what makes the lack of evidence there more worthy of worry than the lack of studies on natural and herbal supplements. At least vaccines are tested and approved by health organizations and have to undergo strict testings before being put on the market. I could go to the bathroom in a bottle and pass it off as a magical herb to cure arthritis, and it wouldn’t have to be checked for safety or usefulness.

There is all these studies done on the effectiveness of breastmilk and they agree that it is the best for your baby. Now say I didn’t agree and started a viral “researched” article about how this was a giant conspiracy to make women into housewives that did nothing but nurse babies and cater to their husbands. Would I be accurate? Other anti-breatfeeding people could validate my arguments for no other reason than fuel the debate. There could be no truth to my statements and theories, but now they are all over the Internet passing themselves off as unequivocal facts and people would believe me without fact checking me. People read what they want to anyways and if it’s on the internet, it must be true. You can’t lie on the internet. Right?

98% of statistics are made on the spot. See, I just did. If you give you children herbal supplements and not vaccines, I personally believe you are a hypocrite. It’s all or nothing, folks. In fact, at the risk of sounding harsh maybe you shouldn’t trust chemotherapy or radiation for your sick child, because those are poisons being put in their bodies. There’s a reason why diseases that were basically non-existant are now back and killing children. Imagine if some moms back when polio was running rampant decided, “nah, I don’t think so”. It’s not just irresponsible, it’s selfish. My infant too young for vaccines could die because of your moral stance. And if situations were reversed, you would deem me an awful person because you had to bury your child because I didn’t feel like vaccinating mine. Consider those consequences.