But Boy, Am I Tired

I’m tired. I am tired that we live in the world we live in right now. My latest release, a short story, was supposed to make me feel better about the social climate of the world right now. “How Not to Be a Bully: The Guide to Being Kind That We Shouldn’t Need” was inspired by this hatred we seem to have towards each other. It needs to stop. It has to stop. Our future generations are depending on this to stop now. They are going to be poisoned and the future will be full of people who think that a reasonable conversation is one where people hurl insults because the other doesn’t agree. What happened to that time when people could sit down across from each other and say “Well I believe this and this is why” and the other would say “Well, I don’t and this is why”? Is that really so hard?

Over the weekend, my family (I include my husband’s family as my own) took the annual trip up to this gorgeous orchard in the mountainside for apple picking. After having a great time enjoying the Pats game on my phone while picking apples, we went to the car to drop off the apples to sit around the stunning view and enjoy ourselves. (Even living in Massachusetts, the views here never get old.) As we were walking back, we heard screaming then saw a truck angrily pull over and everyone started piling out of the vehicle. I didn’t know what was going on until I noticed the signature red hat that we are all familiar with. That’s right, two grown men got in a fight about politics in a place where families are trying to enjoy their Sunday afternoon. Apparently the anti-Trump person said something to the Trump truck group and the Trump truck group felt the need to pull over, pile out of the truck, and get aggressive back. I told them to please not swear in front of my child and the Trump person turned on me. “It’s that f_ing snowflake’s fault. He disrespected me.” “When you got out of the car instead of ignoring it, you became just as guilty. Grow the hell up.” The very kind woman at the orchard apologized and asked the group to get back in their truck and to leave. The other guy, just as guilty in this for starting it and continuing it, should have also left for being a nuisance. He said it started over the other guy insulting his wife. My opinion: Ignoring people is a lot better for everyone. I again ask “Is being kind really so hard?”

Instead, we live in a world where people are constantly putting each other down. It is easier, I suppose, to lump everyone in with hateful words rather than being open-minded. We all are entitled to having a specific set of beliefs. I really like to hope that people can sit down with each other and have a reasonable conversation without the terms “racist Republicans”, “snowflakes”, or “libtard” ever being mentioned. It’s a foolish dream, but one that I have no less.

The thing is… this is not something that we can’t achieve. It can happen if people learn to put their pride aside, stop thinking that they are smarter or better than anyone out there, and just listen to another perspective. As the expression goes: “God gave us two ears and one mouth, so we ought to listen twice as much as we speak.”

I can start by making this very simple for you. No, not all Republicans are racist, uneducated, misogynistic white men. There are some but that does not mean all of them are. Not all Democrats are “snowflakes”, whiny liberals who are offended by everything. There are many people who are offended by everything, on both sides of the aisle and many “whiny” liberals but not all Democrats are any of those things. Independents are not wishy-washy people that can’t choose a side. These are people who realize that both sides have their flaws and would rather vote on political stances rather than a political party. I am a proud Independent and I know exactly how I feel on every political topic and that is what decides my vote. Not all Muslims are terrorists. Not all Catholics are pedophiles. Not all Puerto Ricans and minorities want to live off of welfare rather than work. Not all cops are corrupt murderers. However, all politicians lie. That is a fact that we can agree with. (Just kidding… there may be one or two out there that don’t.)

The point is that this is getting out of hand. We’re Americans, dammit. We have the right to an opinion without getting insulted for it. If someone is telling you something, you can fact check them. However, that doesn’t mean a person is insulting rather they are just trying to point out that you may be missing some information that can be helpful for making an informed decision on any topic. If you don’t want to listen, that’s your right but in neither case should anyone spend any effort insulting each other. What does that even prove? That the other person is right about their preconceived notion of who you are? We’re better than that. We have to be better than that. (Shameless promotion incoming) This is the whole point of my short story, which is now available in eBook format on Amazon.

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Why This Keeps Happening

This post isn’t meant to offer any answers. Why? Because with acts like this most recent one in Nice, there really are no answers. There are speculations and theories, but rarely any actual answers. What does it matter anyways?  There are no answers that could make things like this suck less.

I hope that society is just in the teenage years of existence. Anyone with a teenager knows that they just want the world to burn. Then they eventually grow up and they get out of the stage. I hope this is a temporary thing because this state of affairs is becoming too much. So much so that at this point far too many people are desensitized to these things. People have become too used to the hate and anger that causes these events that they seem to just accept this as the new normal. We can sit our children down to tell them about these events and instead of questions, it was just like you were telling them something insignificant. There is no shock anymore and that in itself should be shocking.

Why this keeps happening is a mystery. If it weren’t a mystery, we could do something to stop it. But we can’t. These people who are out to make the world burn always seem to be one step ahead of us. But we get stuck because we know that if we give up our celebrations and events, that they win. And they can never win. The minute that they win, it’s all over. We will never let them win.

Transitions

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.

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.

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.