This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

I try to refrain from talking about my daughters on my blog because I have this thing about parents who blast their kids lives on display. It feels so ooky. Like, photos on social media is one thing; but bloggers posting stories about their kids or videos of coached kids doing “spontaneous funny things” and tagging Ellen feels so gross to me. I choose to be a blogger and share my life publicly; the kids have no say. So, I never post photos and keep stories about them to a minimum.

But, they will be mentioned a bit today, although I’ll keep the deets high level.

Yesterday, I was stressed out. I had worked from open to close on Black Friday & was on hour six of what was supposed to be another 10 hour day. I was tired, terrified that we wouldn’t beat last year’s numbers, and generally cranky. I was kind of stressed because the guy I’ve been getting to know seems almost too nice, too perfect. Too many “I love that too,” and too many compliments, and it makes me feel like it could be too good to be true and after a few weeks I’ll find out he’s a serial killer. I was stressed because I hadn’t been to the gym in a week, and I had planned to try a barre class, but I couldn’t find the time. I was stressed out about finances, because it’s Xmas and I’m a sole support parent. I was stressed because I’m trying to get the girls their gifts, as well as hopefully surprise them with tickets to Taylor Swift and a fun trip to Toronto to go to the zoo and my 10 year old will perhaps finally get her dream of seeing kangaroos that hop and aren’t depressed like the ones in Detroit.

I was stressed and pushing myself too hard, and then I got a phone call that my two oldest daughters had been hit by a car during a hit and run. I ran out of my mall, panicked and thinking the worst, with my only thought being how I could get home faster to get to them. The good news is that everyone is fine, injuries are minor and they’re only shaken up. I insisted that they all sleep in my room last night because I didn’t want them out of my sight. Today was spent with doctors and taking steps to have the case investigated, but also to eat pizza and go to Toys R Us, play Super Mario Run and listen to our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Swift.

The most important thing you can do when things are shitty is make your day as normal as possible, to remind ourselves that nothing is ever as scary as it seems. I don’t want my girls to live in fear of the world around them. I want them to focus on good things, like the neighbour who went out to help them, or my coworkers, who all called to make sure they were okay. Focus on the fact that Aunt Kiki called and checked in every few hours, not that dad dismissed it as no big deal and didn’t call to check in on them, just a quick call at 8pm to fume about my upgrading a phone, never asking if they were okay. Focus on what’s good; the rest sorts itself out.

In the end, the store hitting budget, the guy being too nice, or my bank balance didn’t matter. What did matter was that I could have lost 2/3 of my whole world because some dude in a Honda Civic was speeding in a school zone. What matters is that they’re okay and safe. They get to grow up into women and make me proud every day. What matters is that somewhere there’s a parent who isn’t as fortunate as we were and their story doesn’t have the ending mine does. They would kill for a chance to call out of work to take their teenager to the doctor to check for concussion symptoms, or rearrange their shifts to walk the kids to school because they’re scared to cross at that crosswalk. I’m fortunate af that I get to do those things. Sometimes being a sole support mom means you have to work so much to give them a good life that you miss stuff, like parent teacher night. But what matters is that you put them first, whether it’s working that 16 hour day, or rushing out into the night to protect them. That’s being a parent; not a handful of phone calls or a visit every now and again. Being a parent means supporting your kids emotionally, financially, protecting them and being there for them 24/7. That’s what matters. If you’re not doing those things; you’re not a parent.

I hope no parent ever has to have that kind of shock to the system. Let’s not lose focus on why we work so hard, or do so much. We’re doing it for them. We can’t take even a second for granted because an asshole in a Honda Civic could take it all away. I’m going to try to remember that next time I’m stressed about sales numbers, or my bank balance, or because someone did some stupid shit to piss me off. I’ll remind myself that what really matters is making time to hang with the kiddos, play Super Mario, and be grateful that I have the chance to do so.

Centuries

There are very few things in life that I can honestly say make me angry.

I don’t like to be angry, or irritated because I pride myself on being like Ruby Gloom, the happiest girl in the world. The only things in life that make me angry are;

1. Stupid people
2. People who make other people feel like crap.

When I first read about the disgusting Cloud photo hack, I was horrified. This was an enormous sex crime. These women were being violated in the worst way & most people said “they should know better.” I’m sorry, what? Their personal items were stolen & we’re blaming them? What? That’d be like me stealing all of your stuff & then the cops saying that because you only had an alarm system & not a dog too & some of these DVD’s were rated R, you asked for it. Silly, right? I went off on a number of Facebook pages when people blamed these women saying they shouldn’t have taken the pictures. Well, funny story; since the invention of the camera, people have taken nudes. Polaroids can get stolen too. Have a nice day.

It bothered me because we were basically telling women “Hey! If you’re famous, your bodies belong to us! Nope, it doesn’t matter that you don’t want us to see these photos, you make movies, I get to own you,” and that kind of made me sick. However, the ever classy & beautiful Jennifer Lawrence said what everyone should have said in her Vanity Fair piece

…this was not a scandal. It was a sex crime.

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Fast forward to the Wendy Williams show, where Williams publicly chided Lawrence, saying because she chose to take the photos (for then boyfriend Nicholas Hoult), she’s guilty & this probably gave her career a boost! She then encouraged fans to whoop & clap if they looked @ Lawrence’s photos.

Wait, what?

You’re encouraging people to say “yay! I violated a woman!” Williams claimed she wasn’t disgusting for looking at Lawrence’s photos because Lawrence took them. That’s like saying a person deserves to be raped because they once chose to have sex. Those photos were for Nicholas Hoult, Ms. Williams, NOT FOR YOU and yes, that does make you disgusting for looking. You are a horrible person & I hope Jennifer Lawrence never appears on your show again. Jennifer Lawrence is a three time Academy Award nominee & Best Actress award winner. She is the face of Dior & most notably Katniss Everdeen, the main character of the billion dollar franchise, The Hunger Games. Nude photos didn’t “give her career a boost.” Her career was already there.

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It’s funny how we preach that women should be able to do what they want with their bodies but then shame them when they do. I’m currently in a long distance relationship, as my boyfriend lives two hours away from me. I’ll admit that I have sent him risqué (for me) photos & may or may not have promised a “sexy Skype striptease.” When you don’t have the luxury of face time & physical contact, you use what you can. However, I also trust that he wouldn’t share those photos because we are both very private about our private life (in fact, much like my children, my references to my relationship will likely be minimal). I once knew a girl who sent risqué photos to a “friend” whenever she wanted him to come over. When my friend lived far away from her then boyfriend (now husband), she made him a risqué care package. It’s more common than you think. But, instead of teaching women to look at their bodies & sexuality as a filthy & dirty thing & how dare you want your man (or woman) to look at you & think you’re sexy (which is exactly why I sent the photos, because I want my man to think “hey, my lady is really sexy, I can’t wait to see her in person again,”), let’s teach people to stop hacking clouds & humiliating other people & looking at doesn’t belong to us. I’m pretty sure Wendy Williams wouldn’t want someone going through her phone; so I’m not sure why she felt it was okay to go through Jennifer Lawrence’s.

Hey Brother

Much like everyone else, I was instantly mesmerized with the beautiful story of Ryland Whittington, who’s parents made the brave choice to accept their child for who he is, transgender. Ryland (now seven) often lashed out, saying he hated himself & someday when his family died, he would live as a boy the way he was supposed to. His parents Jeff & Hillary consulted doctors & therapists, who all came to the same conclusion; Ryland was exhibiting feelings of a transgendered male who wanted acceptance. So they did. Their video explaining to friends & family that Ryland would now use male pronouns & live as a male went viral & they received the Inspiration Award at the Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast.

However, instead of celebrating this family & their demonstration of unconditional love in a time when so many children talk of coming out to find their parents do not accept them, many bloggers & commenters claimed that these parents were actually abusing their son (before I get hatred, I want to remind you that Ryland identifies as male, so I will refer to him as the Whittington’s son).

Wait, what?

Self proclaimed “Speaker of absolute truths,” Matt Walsh claims that Ryland is too young to understand something as huge as gender & he’s confused & his parents shouldn’t have allowed it. Fox News correspondent Keith Ablow said Ryland should have been prescribed anti-psychotic medication. Both of these men stated clearly that Ryland was too young to understand what being a boy was, despite the American Association of Pediatrics saying gender identity is determined at four (Ryland was five when he began his transition).

When I pointed this out in the comment section of Walsh’s blog, along with the fact that he is not a doctor and has never met Ryland. Many of his commenters replied that doctors don’t really know anything so they were unqualified, but Walsh speaks truth. One caught my eye & inspired this post, so thank you commenter, whom I’ll call “Bigoted Psycho (or BP for short).

BP mentioned that doctors don’t know anything. She was diagnosed as bipolar, then with General Anxiety Disorder. But she knew her body & that these weren’t working & found other, natural methods to curb her anxiety & now she’s happy.

Wait, so what BP was saying is by understanding the feelings in her body, she was able to effectively convey them to a medical professional who was able to diagnose her & help her feel okay? So, when Ryland Whittington told his family he felt his body was wrong & he didn’t feel right & needed help, he was able to convey that & feel okay?

No, BP says. Ryland is a child. She was a teenager. It’s TOTALLY different. Oh, okay.

I don’t know the Whittington’s. I am not a doctor. I am not even very smart most days. But I am a parent. I love my girls more than life & I want them to be happy. I want them to know that I’ll love them if they’re LGBT, or straight, if they go to college & become doctors or if they work @ Burger King for life. I also want them to know if they feel something isn’t right, that I’ll be there for them. Whether their stomach is upset or they feel like they’re in the wrong body & they hate themselves. I want them to know that I will understand & accept them. I am their mother & it’s my job to give them the safe haven from cruel people like Matt Walsh, or BP, or the bully down the road & that they can tell me ANYTHING & I’ll help them any way I can. The Whittington’s obviously felt the same way & I have nothing but respect for them.

It’s okay not to understand what it means to be transgendered. I don’t 100% understand. But I’m learning so if I meet a trans person I can get to know them on a human level & not ask a million intrusive questions (I’m a journalist; we ask a lot of questions). But it’s not okay to tell them how they feel about what’s going on in their body is wrong. It’s not okay to tell them it’s a phase. It’s not okay to call them “it” or say they’re confused & this magic pill will fix it. It’s not okay to say that to any LGBT kid. If you don’t understand, then take the time to learn. Try to see things from their POV. I bet we’d be burying fewer LGBT kids who took their own lives if we did. And if you can’t understand, STFU. There’s lots of things I don’t agree with in the world but I’ve learned that, despite Matt Walsh’s claims, there is no absolute truth other than we are all born & we all die. Everything else is a big gray area. So, instead of judging the gray that you don’t like, focus on your own gray.

Through the Dark

***I apologize in advance that this is all kinds of ADD. I have about four things that I’m thinking of and they’re all like minded. We’ll see how this works out.***

My decision to start dating again had a lot to do with the fact that I was interested in a guy I met casually by chance. He was cute, seemed funny, and he was the first man in 15 months that appealed to me…until I got to know him. We had literally NOTHING in common. He didn’t care for pop culture (you know, how I makes my livings when I’m not schilling phones), thought the media was biased, only liked documentaries, and didn’t understand how one good song makes life magical. So, when I mentioned that maybe we were meant to be friends, he said his only interest in life was me…ew. I like having a life separate from the men I date. I don’t like us sharing friends, I like being able to go out with my friends if I want while he’s out with the guys, no asking “permission,” etc. So, it was curtains.

That’s how it works. One tiny mistake, or tell me one thing I don’t like and out you go. I guess it’s why I recognize it in others, because it’s what I do. My friends tell me it’s because I’m still standing by the water, frantically trying to say the right thing (without saying the one thing I cannot say), stammering with tears trying to fix what I didn’t know was broken, but the truth is, I’ve always been fairly closed off and now it’s worse. My best friend the Psych Major mentioned that because she didn’t feel nutured as a child, she loves to cuddle now. I’m the opposite. I’m detached. My marriage wasn’t a love match and I’m afraid of going through the motions and finding myself wishing I could blow out my brains than spend one more second in this loveless joke where we fight and hate life. I’m also afraid to fall in love. Because if I do, we’ll plan a life and he’ll leave me…and I’ll have to start over again. Because I’m hard to love and I don’t want to fall in love and risk them leaving me again. I’m scared of giving someone my blind, unconditional love & them throwing it back in my face like it was nothing…like I was nothing. I’m sure eventually I’ll get over that fear, I’m working on it, but right now, you likely are sent packing after that one mistake.

My girlfriend challenged me about my love life and I realized I’ve always been the dumb girl with the long term crushes, aside from that guy in high school I crushed on and Gigi and I laugh about it to this day. My first crush was on my friend’s boyfriend’s brother when I was 15. I crushed on that guy all through high school and when I ran into him at the beach 4 years later, I jumped @ the chance to date him to make my ex boyfriend jealous (Trust me, I learned how BAD an idea that is). That boyfriend I was interested in for two years before I made a move. My ex husband was the only guy I sort of just fell into a relationship with. Even my quasi attraction to my former best guy friend simmered for a year and even then, there was another man that held my interest, so much so that I was a total bitch and wouldn’t even add him on Facebook because I was married and I shouldn’t have been thinking such impure thoughts. I’m always a long term, awkward, I want this but I’m too chicken to do anything sort of girl.

This made me think of the kinds of men I would want and I realized that it’s a guy like Christian Bale.

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It’s not just because he’s the hottest guy on the planet. It’s because he tears up talking about his loving, supportive, patient wife Sibi Blazic. He doesn’t need to flaunt her and his daughter everywhere. In fact, no one even knew his daughter’s name until a couple of years ago. He wants to keep their marriage private and away from the meddlers and the instigators. He even cut his mom and sister out of his life to protect Blazic from their unkind thoughts. He adores her, worships her, is happy that she accepts his temper and physical transformations for work and the separations and loves her. He loves her so much that he breaks down in interviews talking about her. Candid photos show him opening doors for her, pulling out chairs, etc. They do their charity work in private. He may yell @ sound techs and sound like a douchebag in interviews, go through dramatic weight losses (the Machinist) or gains (American Hustle) to play a part, but the reason Christian Bale is the hottest man on Earth is because he respects his wife and daughter.

So, I want someone like that, but I’m so afraid that if I fall, they’ll leave me like everyone else I’ve driven away by you know, the crazy. So, I want someone to share my life with, but I won’t look, I hold them to unrealistic expectations, send them packing the minute they displease me and I still leave that front light on. This probably means I shouldn’t be actively pursuing a relationship, so it’s for the best that I’m not. I just don’t know how to let go of that fear of that boring, blah life that I hated or getting my heart broken again. Also, part of me likes my life. I like being alone. I love being left alone. I like that I’m home almost every night. I like that no one is nitpicking my life under the guise of “helping me.” I like that I talk to my friends once a week or so and I’m good. I like that I play with my kids and hang with the angriest tween @ night and I sleep alone and sprawl like a starfish. For my entire adult life people have controlled me. First my ex fiance, then my former husband, then my own best friend (which everyone noticed but me) and I don’t want to give up control of my life. If I could have my independence, and a partner, that would be kind of awesomesauce. But I don’t feel lonely, like there’s a void. So, these are the new things I need to work on so I can continue to be the most awesomest MHC I can be…or unless Christian Bale calls (although he breaks my dad rule). I also need to get this move done and out of the way and get situated in my new life before I think about adding anything to it.

But I think it’s a good thing. It’s good that I’m not afraid to be alone. I don’t fear life thinking I’ll die without a companion. I love my life & I love that it’s MY life & that I do things MY way. I love that I make my own choices & I’m working on loving my body image & I’ve even embraced that I’ll always be a little skittish, a little anxious & that I need to work on those things. I needed to work on not allowing my friends to take over my life, interfere because I’m a shy bunny who needs protecting. I needed to learn that I matter too & I can’t expect someone to make me happy because I give them the world. I have to make me happy. But I like me & that will help me when I’m finally no longer gun shy about falling in love again. Because I know I’m awesome & you should too. Like Katy Perry said recently, this time helped me love me so that the right person can love me the way I deserve & I’ll find my John Mayer (only not Douchey) & we’ll realize that “Who You Love” was about us too.