A Practical Guide to Driving Like an Asshole

I try to refrain from cursing in titles, but I couldn’t resist.

Now that I’m participating in a daily commute that consists of the Thruway, Northway, and Route Seven, I’ve become well-versed in asshole-driving.

So if you want to be an asshole driver — because, you know, they’re more important and obviously get where they need to be way faster than you and are probably more successful in life as well — this is for you.

Me, I recently put a few new stickers on my back window: “Nobody Likes You” with a Facebook-eqse middle finger; “The closer you get, the slower I go” (I actually do this to people); “I go from zero to bitch in 3.5 seconds.”

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You can’t read them really, but this is my proof

Anyway, here we go:

Tailgate

Get right up their ass. This will signify to them that they either have to move over a lane or speed up. Yes, you have to hope that they don’t suddenly brake because it’ll be your front end that’s damaged, but it’ll be worth it if you can force them to even go five miles an hour faster.

Some good drivers actually leave enough space between them and the car in front of them so that they can brake without making their tires squeal or without swerving into another lane. They leave a comfortable distance. And the faster they’re going, the bigger it gets. Imbeciles.

High-Beaming

If they still don’t get the fucking hint, high-beam the motherfuckers. That’ll teach ’em to only do ten over the speed limit — and in the fast lane! The nerve…

Blow By Slow People

Because, fuck it, they’re not doing your speed limit. This is most effective if you fly up behind them, remain behind them for a minute or two, then angrily change lanes and zoom by them, only to pull back in front of them and force them to tailgate you.

Give Dirty Looks

The above is really only truly accomplished if you also give the offending driver a pissed off look. Something along the lines of “You kicked my puppy” will do. No, they didn’t attack your child, but like, it’s your puppy. If you’re in a hurry because you’re late, you can bump it up to, “You slept with my wife (or husband).”

Not Slowing to Let Others Pass

On the flip side, don’t slow down to let others pass — or especially merge into your lane, hell no. Yes, you can glare at others for not slowing up for you to zoom by them, but you’re not required to slow to let someone pass you or even into your lane for their exit. No mercy. Driving is basically an evolutionary competition; only the most fierce (and successful, obviously) will reproduce.

An extension of this is when you need to get into a lane but some arse is in your way. You could do the reasonable thing and slow down to let them get ahead, then pull in behind them (where there’s plenty of space), but doing the reasonable thing didn’t get you where you are today. No, you throw that directional on (or don’t) and speed up. Race them for that coveted spot. Winner takes all.

Weaving

Likewise, you weave because you have a duty to fulfill. YOU’RE DOING THIS FOR YOUR FUTURE OFFSPRING. You dart out in front of someone, then another vehicle, and another…and that first person watches you until you’re out of sight. But you don’t care about their judgment; you’re more important.

Weaving on a Motorcycle

This is extra fun because you don’t even have to be in a lane. You can cut between two lanes and really speed. Moreover, don’t use any kind of signal. Just appear out of nowhere. The best part is that, even though you’re being an asshole, the driver of the vehicle will always be blamed because they weren’t looking out for you.

Hit and Run

Honestly, it was probably their fault anyway. You shouldn’t feel obligated to assume any responsibility, even for a second. Especially if they were parked and you hit them. Obviously they were in your way. It’s on them, not you.

Hit and Run, Living Creature Edition

Fluffy shouldn’t have been in the damn road anyway. It’s up to pet owners to control their pets, and you have somewhere to be. You don’t have time to stop and pretend to give a shit. And if you manage to hit a person? Well then it’s definitely not your fault. Hell, it’s practically natural selection. Evolution should thank you for your participation.

Hold Long Conversations at Toll Booths

So what, you have a long line of people behind you? Strike up a conversation. Insist you can’t find the exact change. Question the toll booth collector on their life choices. Whatever you have to do to make a lot of people wait. This is even more effective if you do it at a busy time so they can’t easily swap lanes.

Speeding

Asshole driving 101. You are clearly more important than anyone else and the only one with anywhere to be. Never mind that you’re running late because you slept through your alarm; these asshats just don’t understand that you’re in a hurry. Because you matter. People are depending on you. Or maybe nobody is, but you just really want to get your grocery shopping done. It doesn’t matter. Your attitude must always be that you’re most important, or else you’ll never win at life.

Going Way Under the Speed Limit

On the flip side, this is an excellent way to piss people off (and indeed I do this when I have an asshole tailgating me). Maybe you’re lost, maybe you’re looking for a street, maybe you’re just not feeling the speed limit today. Whatever. The world waits for you. Don’t mind the line of people behind you. They can wait.

Wait in the Middle of an Intersection to Make a Turn

Those pesky left hand turns when you have two lanes of traffic coming at you, am I right? The best way to handle this situation, especially if traffic is heavy, is to creep forward into the middle of the intersection and await an opening. When the light turns yellow and you’re still waiting there, continue to sit there until the light turns red — wait for the people who’ll run the red light — and sit for an extra beat so the other light turns green. Make them wait for a second or two, then complete your turn. If you’re behind someone executing this maneuver, feel free to follow them and make everyone wait an extra bit while their light is green.

Roll Through Stop Signs

Just because you fucking can. It’s not like you’re going to get pulled over. You’re just asserting your authority and making your devil-may-care attitude clear. Perhaps as a warning. This will surely irritate those good drivers.

Flip People Off

And do so liberally. This is another gesture that shows you’re an asshole and will annoy those law-abiding drivers. But you should never flip off a driver who flies by you or cuts you off. That affirms their superior assholeness, and you never want to give them that satisfaction. If anything, you should speed up to pass them, preferably cutting them off, with no warning. You need to assert your authority. Only flip people off if you’re certain you’re the asshole.

Drive on the Shoulder

Because you need to get ahead in life, dammit. And when all three lanes are stop-and-go, how else are you going to move forward? No, it’s not technically a lane, but you have places to be, like at home, eating a TV dinner while you watch TV. You have important things to be doing! Especially if your exit is only half a mile away. Anyone who thinks this is unreasonable is an idiot and obviously doesn’t understand that you’re a VIP driver.

Related is when you need to be in the exit lane, but it’s very much stop-and-go. So you quickly dart out into the next lane and speed ahead, then slow down and “beg” to be let in far ahead, poor you. It’s the adult version of budging in line.

Pass When You Shouldn’t

In this same vein, if someone is going 30 on a 30 mile-per-hour road, you should be allowed to pass. Never mind that it’s a double yellow line. Pass them. They don’t understand how driving works anyway. Maybe you’ll teach them. Then no one will have to suffer like you did.

Parking

If you can take up two parking spaces, good. Three, even better. Everyone else who only occupies one space is a pussy. This is a territorial thing. The more space you take up, the more important you are. You go, alpha-driver. Stake out your space. No one else will dare park near you. Bonus: this lessens the likelihood of people scratching your car with shitty parking jobs.

Brake at the Last Second

As I mentioned above, if they rear end you, they’re the ones with front-end damage, plus it’s kind of their fault. So wait until you’re certain you’re going to hit the poor bastard in front of you, then brake. Hard. The person behind you will have to brake even harder. Don’t even let off your gas. Just wait until you must brake.

Run Red Lights

Because, once again, you’re more important than anyone else. So what, it turns red? It’s not like you were going to slow down when it turned yellow. That’s just silliness. People will wait for you, because they are patient creatures. Well, you aren’t, but it’s probably safe to assume everyone else is. Also, if you do unfortunately get caught at a red light and you’re first in line, inching forward until you’re a decent way into the intersection actually does urge the light to change faster. It’s a well-kept secret.

No Directionals

Classic. Assume people will move out of your way. They can read your mind. They know that you’re going to want to fit your 15-foot SUV into that 10-foot long space, and they will automatically back off. They can sense your superiority. If they’re dumb and don’t realize it, you’ll make them move. Also, don’t bother checking your mirrors or your blind spot. You live on the edge.

Wait Until the Last Second to Merge

Oh, there was a sign way back there telling you your lane ended? Probably best to wait until your lane is a quarter of its original size to start thinking about moving over. There’s someone in your way? So what? Other drivers are so considerate (unlike you, naive fools) that they’ll realize your predicament and let you out. They’ll be happy to. And then you’re ahead of them in the lane and in life.

Cut People Off

Another obvious one. This not only works for lane changes or merging lanes (see above), but when you need to make a right hand turn out of someplace. Yes, there’s one person coming your way, with probably enough space before them, but plenty of space behind them. Pull out in front of them. Make them slow down for you. And please, take your sweet time to get up to speed.

Remember, people love their vehicles more than proving the point that you’re an asshole, so they’ll slow, swerve, or stop to avoid hitting you before they T-bone your ass.

Intimidate People

Ahem, guilty. I’m not an asshole driver, but there’s something about being in a truck that makes it easy (and tempting) to fuck with people. Oh, someone just cut me off? Let me ride their ass. I’ve been in a small car with a large vehicle bearing down on me. The instinct is to go faster to get them off your back.

Look, I’ve got probably more crumple zone than you do, plus I’m sitting up higher. (Oh, and I have plenty saved for repairs and/or a new vehicle.) I’m not afraid.

I want to get a push bar so I can “bump into” assholes and put a dent in their Beemer and my Ram won’t feel a thing.

I’m kidding.

Maybe.

This leads me into my next point.

Good Driver Assholery

Like I said, I consider myself a good driver (I use directionals, stop when I’m supposed to, and don’t speed too much). That said, I can’t deny the appeal of asshole driving.

As one of my exes once said, “There’s a lot of ways to give someone the finger without giving them the finger.”

Here are a few ways I achieve that…although I do give a lot of people the finger.

Here’s the most basic: blast your music at red lights and whatnot. Be that guy. The one whose music (and bass, hopefully) shakes everyone’s vehicle and drowns out their own music. Because yeah. You do you. And loud.

Or leave your directionals on for a long-ass time. I don’t know why, but this really irritates people. Even me. Perhaps because they/we don’t know what you’re about to do or if you just forgot to switch it off. Oh well.

Less innocuously, when an asshole flies up behind you and gets right up your ass and then wants to pass you, don’t slow down for them. In fact, speed up. Do the speed they wanted you to do. They reminded you you were going too slow. Basically just make it impossible for them to actually pass. It’s super satisfying when they end up behind you again.

Change lanes after they pass. Love this one. I employ it often. After an asshole has successfully passed you, shift into the next lane. You have to do this like right after they pass. Basically you say that if you’d waited half a second, asshat, I would have been out of your way anyway. Calm the hell down.

As I said above, intimidate. This may be hard if you’re driving a small car, but if you have an SUV or truck (and you’re somehow not an asshole), then get up their ass after they pass you or cut you off. Trucks are associated with rednecks and rednecks are associated with crazy. Good for you.

Personally I have a lot of warnings on my truck (see above, plus “Super Bitch” and “If You Can’t Dodge It, Ram It” — words to live by).

As I said, one of my stickers says “The Closer You Get, the Slower I Go.” I do abide by this. If some asshole is tailgating me, I slow down from 10 over the speed limit to 10 under, or whatever it takes to piss them off and make them pass me. Then I flip them off as they go by and then speed up again. I have places to be — but I’m never in such a hurry that I can’t fuck with someone.

Pro tip: it helps to leave comfortably early. When people zoom by me I just think, “Whatever. I’m in no hurry.” And I’m not. Which makes for the best driving.

But let’s get to the last tip for asshole drivers, whether novice or pro.

Know Where Cops Are

If you’re going to break the law, at least know how not to get caught. Know where cops hide. Be aware of where they might hide. Know where they’re harsher.

For the “mostly” good drivers, just don’t do anything wrong here. When the threat is gone, resume.

For the asshole drivers, good luck.

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Why America Scares Me

Grad school has officially started. I’ve started TAing, written my first quiz, graded my first assignments, and answered my first emails bearing questions.

I haven’t started my lab rotations yet.

But so far I’m enjoying it.

Semi-flowy segue to my topic for today: why America terrifies me.

But why, you ask. I’m white. I’m Christian. I may be a female, but at least I’m not black, Mexican, Muslim — none of those “bad” groups.

No, America terrifies me because I’m intelligent. So when I say America, it’s specifically uneducated America. (Which is a safe generalization.)

What do I mean by uneducated? Not those who didn’t go to college or even finish high school. You can not go to college and still be educated. Not college-educated, but not a dumbass.

When I say “uneducated,” I mean those who lack critical thinking skills and can’t seem to think for themselves, for whom blind hatred and passionate ignorance are their weapons of choice. You know the type: who believe everything they read on the internet, who are prone to mass generalizations or overly simplistic thinking.

I once said that intelligence is the capacity to learn (and the willingness). I must add that it’s also the ability to think critically.

America, on the whole, is stupid. Gasp! How anti-American!

But really, how else could we have let Trump become a prime candidate to be the LEADER OF OUR COUNTRY?

Jokes aside (if that was even a joke), America terrifies me because it can’t seem to evaluate anything critically or with an open mind and sometimes it resorts to what I can only describe as Salem-Witch-Trial-Era mentality. Except substitute Muslims for witches. Or whatever hated group du jour…but it’s often Muslims.

Which brings me to what inspired this post: Colin Kaepernick, Islam, and the Media

I don’t give a single shit about football, but I do care about Muslims, and anything with “the media” in the title is bound to result in an eyeroll, so I gave it a read.

It irritated me. I wanted to rant about it to Dave (and see what he thought), but he was ready for bed and had apparently switched his brain off (which amazed me because that implies it was once switched on). So it kept me awake.

Or that might’ve been the anxiety about going to RPI in the morning.

Alright, so let me dive into this. Unfortunately.

Well, first of all, it was shared on Facebook by a guy who once posted a video about how it’s okay to hit your kids, Dave’s mom said Kaepernick should be fired, and the post is from the “American Family Association.” I’m afraid to see what else is on their site.

But really, what is an “American” family? Since, you know, we’re the melting pot and the nuclear family isn’t really a thing anymore and, Heaven forbid, American Muslims have families.

To me it sounds like the kind of site that tries to propagate a WASP-y, confederate South kind of family. One white, Protestant man, one white, Protestant woman, one white daughter and one white son who grew up saying Grace and going to church every Sunday. They live in a white bread town and only have friends who are also Anglo. Black people and Muslims are either not a thing or are to be regarded with disgust.

Did I nail it?

I took a look at their “Mission Statement” page.

“The mission of the American Family Association is to inform, equip, and activate individuals to strengthen the moral foundations of American culture, and give aid to the church here and abroad in its task of fulfilling the Great Commission…

The American Family Association believes that God has communicated absolute truth to mankind, and that all people are subject to the authority of God’s Word at all times. Therefore AFA believes that a culture based on biblical truth best serves the well-being of our nation and our families, in accordance with the vision of our founding documents; and that personal transformation through the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the greatest agent of biblical change in any culture…

To that end, AFA spurs activism directed to:

  • Preservation of Marriage and the Family
  • Decency and Morality
  • Sanctity of Human Life
  • Stewardship
  • Media Integrity”

These things don’t exactly sound the like antithesis of Islam to me.

Oh, and:

“We believe in holding accountable companies that sponsor programs attacking traditional family values. We also believe in commending those companies that act responsibly regarding programs they support.”

Traditional family values. Well, I’m heinous by that standard. So is my mom, because she divorced my dad. My grandparents might make it, though. Oh, wait, they’re Catholic. So the Methodist AFA probably wouldn’t like them. (I believe my grandmother was Methodist, but converted, much to the chagrin of her family.)

To me the AFA sounds more the like “League of Acceptable Americanness.” If they approve of you, you’re a good and true American.

But I’m Catholic so I’m ruled by the Pope, not the President. Which is why people were wary of JFK.

Anyway, let me move on the to actual text, most of which I’ll probably quote.

“49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick made waves this weekend by his conspicuous refusal to stand for the national anthem at the beginning of the Niners’ preseason game Friday night against the Green Bay Packers.

His reason? ‘I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.’ He insists he will continue to disrespect the flag and this country until there is ‘significant change.’

This is exceedingly ungrateful at best and absurd at worst. Here’s a man of mixed race living in a country that has made him a household name and put $120 million in his wallet.”

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I’m a conservative, but like, a reasonable, rational, intelligent one. Yes, we exist.

Okay, I concede that maybe he should have stood (not saying he had to stand), but declined to participate in the actual pledge. If anything, nobody would’ve likely noticed at that point and everything would be cool.

But his reasoning is sound to me. It’s not ungrateful nor absurd. Okay, he’s mixed race; I’m sure mixed race people still face discrimination and also, does the fact that one of his parents is white make it any less important that black people still face discrimination? No. I’d also like to see the citation for that figure of $120 million. Not that I don’t believe it, but I can’t without proper references. It is a pointless sentence.

Also, Dave, Mr. ‘Merica (aka the most patriotic person I know, the kind of patriotic that makes me want to vomit) could recite neither the Pledge nor the Lord’s Prayer. He also didn’t know the actual title of the National Anthem, much less the words. Interesting…

“We can all stipulate that the U.S. has had a problematic past when it comes to race, beginning with its flatly unbiblical embrace of African slavery in 1619. (The kind of slavery practiced in the United States was a death penalty crime in the Bible, according to Exodus 21:16. If the Bible had been followed, slavery never would have gained the slightest foothold in America.)”

Problematic? Try horrific. And we clung to it much longer than other countries.

“But this is also a country which abolished slavery, Jim Crow laws, racial segregation, and has twice elected a black man to the highest office in the land. The reigning NFL MVP is a black man, as is the reigning NBA MVP, and America made Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods some of the richest athletes in history. In other words, America, while not perfect, is a nation to be proud of.”

Abolished, not eliminated. My ancestry may be from various parts of Europe, but even I’m not blind to the fact that African Americans were treated terribly and that this was wrong!

Abolished is a legal term (in that sense). That doesn’t mean that discrimination and segregation stopped socially. There are still issues even now. If there weren’t, we wouldn’t have affirmative action.

And cool, you can name a few black guys who have done well in sports. That’s like my racist (and homophobic) ex claiming that he wasn’t either because he had a black and a gay friend. A token friend (or team member) doesn’t make you non-discriminatory. The best runners come from one tribe in Kenya (http://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2013/11/01/241895965/how-one-kenyan-tribe-produces-the-worlds-best-runners) and many baseball players are Hispanic (http://www.espn.com/espn/commentary/story/_/id/7058357/are-there-too-many-hispanics-major-league-baseball).

Yes, I talk about having Muslim friends, but I’m not speaking negatively of Islam and using my friends to somehow justify it. Furthermore, I’ve taken time to learn about the religion.

I am not proud of America. I am ashamed. We let stupid, stupid politics dominate our news and give this popularity contest we call a presidential race priority. We don’t know the horrors of what’s going on in Syria (unless we happen to catch the minute interlude between Trump and Hillary’s bullshit), but we know what Trump’s most recent most offensive tweet was.

Holy shit, guys. Get it together.

“Kaepernick speaks as if these things never happened, as if we are still living in the antebellum South. Kaepernick himself is living proof that whatever the United States used to be, today it is a land of opportunity to people of any race who work hard and develop their talents.”

Um, pretty sure the antebellum south is alive in one way or another. Dave once told me his mom (who loves the south as much as he does) would shoot him if he brought home a black girl. Seriously? This deeply troubled me. Dave seemed to think this was funny, or of no concern (at best). Funnily enough, I asked Dave what the antebellum south was and he had no idea.

My ex once said his grandfather wouldn’t hold a door for a black man (but would for white man). I was like, what?

Black people and white people are the same. Literally the only difference is the pigment in our skin. The fuck, guys?

And not everyone could just be an NFL player, if only they “applied themselves.” I could say the same and claim that anyone could get a PhD in cellular, molecular, and developmental biology if only they tried. No.

America is not a free-for-all for those who develop their talents and work hard. It’s also very much about money. And luck.

Not every black, female, or Latino kid who excels in some way makes it big because of that gift.

And if America is a land of opportunity for any race, why did it take us this long to elect a black president? (Oh, sorry, mixed race, because that’s significantly different.) Cool, we finally got around to it. We should be ashamed it took us this long.

“Yesterday, Kaepernick talked repeatedly about ‘police brutality.’ This means one thing: the low-information media shares some of the blame for this mess. Again, we can stipulate that there have certainly been examples of police misconduct. But time and time again, we discover the media sensationalizes violent confrontations between cops and blacks, with the initial suspicion and blame being placed on law enforcement.

When the facts emerge, law enforcement, far more often than not, has been exonerated. But the media is not interested in the truth if it justifies police behavior, and so low-information consumers of news, like Kaepernick, never find out about it. Kaepernick is apparently unaware, for instance, that the ‘hands up, don’t shoot’ narrative in Ferguson, Missouri, never happened. It was all a lie.”

Remember this? North Miami police shoot black man who said his hands were raised while he tried to help autistic group-home resident

This hits home for me because it revolves around a man trying to help a suicidal autistic patient. (I don’t know where I read that he was suicidal, but I did.) Also, Kinsey asked the cop why he shot him and the cop replied, “I don’t know” (http://www.cnn.com/2016/07/21/us/miami-officer-involved-shooting/).

No, the black community, more often than not, takes the blame or is made into the threat. Even if they don’t or aren’t, the hostility and mistrust is aimed at them. Cool, facts (that you don’t cite) say police were innocent (nope, exonerated, sorry). But we here in America aren’t too fond of facts. We do however enjoy blaming victims.

The really disturbing part of this is that Fischer, the author of this word vomit, is trying to justify police actions and make us feel pity for them because they’re always wrong.

He’s trying to make black people out to be the bad guy — when that already happens on a daily basis. That doesn’t need to be perpetuated. It needs to be stopped. The vibe I get from this is that “Kaepernick is wrong because police aren’t the bad guys, black people are and he doesn’t get that.”

You’re trying to defend your wonderful country by putting down its own citizens. Explain that to me.

 “He is apparently unaware that cops are 18.5 times more likely to be shot by a black man than an unarmed black man is to be shot by a cop. He is apparently unaware that cops are actually much more hesitant to pull the trigger when the suspect is black than when he is white.

But the media is only interested in news if it can be sensationalized against those who have a sworn duty to protect and to serve. They lose interest instantly if the truth doesn’t fit that narrative. And uninformed individuals like Kaepernick are duped by their lies and selective misconstructions.”

Again, I would like to see the citation for that statistic. You are not credible without citations.

Did you know cats are 52% less likely to care about their owners’ feelings than dogs? As believable as that may sound, I pulled it out of my ass. Which is about how believable a fact without citation is if you read and think critically.

Yeah, I also don’t believe that cops hesitate to shoot a black person more than a white person. There is an unfortunately pervasive air of distrust, fear, and suspicion surrounding anyone who isn’t white/of European descent in this country.

Fischer has one valid point: the media loves sensationalism. And it doesn’t care much for truth. But the target of this distortion and misinformation is not cops. Not entirely, anyway. Ironically, Fischer may be blind to the experience of the black community because it doesn’t fit neatly into his beliefs…or agenda.

I consider myself a reasonable, rational person, and although I have better things to do than watch the news all day, I think I have a feel for the social climate. (I must, if I’m always writing about society.) Black people aren’t exactly living unfettered in America. Police may be afraid to do their jobs, but black people are afraid to live their lives.

I hope that’s a fair observation, since I am neither black nor a cop.

My grandmother weighed in on this and said if she were black she just would’ve joined the Black Panthers. My 80-year-old grandmother would’ve been a Black Panther.

Even white people are afraid to be black.

Seriously though, it really bothers me that Fischer is standing up for cops — and would probably stand up for anyone as long as they weren’t black.

But let’s get to the part that really made my blood boil.

“There is also some evidence that Kaepernick has turned away from Christianity and embraced Islam. He has an Islamic girlfriend, and has sent Ramadan greetings out on his social media accounts. Islam is virulently anti-American, as exemplified by the rhetoric and behavior of the Nation of Islam. It’s entirely possible that Kaepernick’s mind and heart have been poisoned by the dark energy coming from Islam and the anti-police Black Lives Matter movement.

At any rate, this is a sad development. I have always been a Kaepernick fan, and have been pulling for him to make a comeback and become the happy, carefree superstar quarterback he was when he rocketed to fame in 2013. Instead, he seems to have become sullen and angry. It’s a shame.”

I…I don’t even know where to begin. Give me a minute.

Okay, first of all, WHO THE FUCK CARES if he’s “turned away from Christianity and embraced Islam”??? Except that you believe that Americans can only be Christian. And white.

And there’s some evidence. Like, enough evidence? A rumor? He was spotted near a Mosque once? He said he was Muslim? “Some evidence” is not affirmative evidence. Let’s get that shit straight.

Oh shit, he has a Muslim girlfriend and sends out Ramadan greetings on social media. Holy fucking shit. Two of my best friends are Muslim, I have many friends that are Muslim, and I wish my close Muslim friends Ramadan Mubarak and Eid Mubarak. AM I MUSLIM TOO?????

No, I’m just a sympathizer. Still, sound the damn alarms and send homeland security to come get me.

I’m sorry, Fischer, but that is some dumb fucking bullshit.

Clarification: I’m not sorry. That was sarcasm. I figured Fischer wouldn’t be intelligent or perceptive enough to know the difference.

Those actually practicing Islam are peaceful people who aren’t filled with hate, much like those actually practicing Christianity. I guess that Mr. Fischer isn’t a true Christian by that definition.

But what do I know? I’m a dirty Catholic.

Islam is not anti-American. If anything, America is anti-Islam and is the antithesis of Islam (and likely Judaism, Christianity, any religion with any sense of morality…). What rhetoric and behavior? YOU HAVE TO BE MORE SPECIFIC.

Let’s take a look at this, another post shared by the same guy that shared Fischer’s post.

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“Still we welcome them here.” Them. Them. THEM. I’ll say this for the 487th time, all Muslims are not these Muslims. These Muslims do not represent all Muslims, unless Trump represents all white people. He does not. How do I know? He sure as hell doesn’t represent me, and so he doesn’t represent everyone. And referring to Muslims as them, like I imagine Hitler referred to the Jews, is inherently combative and divisive.

Posts like these, writing like Fischer’s, hateful words meant to demonize Islam just because it’s different and you don’t know a damn thing about it and only know it even exists because of the bad examples — this infuriates me. What terrifies me is that people are swept up by it. People like this poster or Fischer are relying on scare tactics to make a point, not facts or actual evidence, not reason or logic. It’s the severely reductionist thinking that some Muslims are bad and violent, so all are, because the media tells me so. If 9/11 had been perpetrated by Christians, would we be hating on them right now? No, because a Christian would never do that? I’m sure most Muslims feel this way about the violent ones.

Think for yourselves, people.

“It’s entirely possible that Kaepernick’s mind and heart have been poisoned by the dark energy coming from Islam and the anti-police Black Lives Matter movement.”

This one sentence is so absolutely painful for me that Dave asked what was wrong.

Poisoned? Are you fucking kidding me? Poisoned? POISONED? It’s entirely possible that most of America has been poisoned by your type of thinking. Actually, pretty sure it’s already happened. That’s the only thing that’s even remotely possible, much less entirely possible about this situation.

And as soon as you mention “dark energy,” you went like a thousand times negative in the respect I had for you. Because it was already at zero. But if I’d had any, it would be gone by, like, a thousand times.

Dark energy? Really? Is that what we’re resorting to? “Well, we can’t really name how Islam is bad or destructive, so let’s just call it ‘dark energy’ to appeal to those uneducated millennials.'”

I don’t support the black lives matter, blue lives matter, or all lives matter movement. In a sense I’m all lives matter, but not in a way that detracts from black, blue, or any life. A life is a life, and it really has no color. The body has color, not the soul.

And it’s not like it’s black lives versus blue lives, like Saints versus Engineers (my alma mater versus my current school). Both matter, and they shouldn’t be competing as to who matters most. Creating and perpetuating that dichotomy is more harmful than Islam or the black community, and that’s exactly what Fischer is doing.

It’s not a sad development. It’s a necessary one. Sure, you’re sad to see it because you like the status quo and don’t want any group but white protestant men to gain any power or have any impact whatsoever.

Yes, he’s sullen and angry because he sees all the discrimination and injustice everyday. He may have experienced it. You have no idea because, again, you’re a favorable skin color, religion, and sex.

It’s not a shame. What is a shame is that someone like you can write posts like these. That white people can tell black people how to act, when we’re all humans. That in the land of the free, we can get mad at someone for exercising his freedom to not stand for the National Anthem. That white people can criticize black people for being “sullen and angry” when we’re the reason they feel that way. That black people are still discriminated against. That anyone who’s “different” is discriminated against…with the rationale that they should have to assimilate because ‘Murica. That we even have to make a big deal over Kaepernick…when there’s way more important things going on in the world. (How’s that war in Syria going?) That I even have to write this damn post.

“The playing of the national anthem before athletic contests is a powerful unifying force in American culture. Players of both teams and fans of both teams stand together, hands over hearts, to honor the nation we all love. All that now has been placed at risk.”

Well when you feel alienated by your teammates, should they subscribe to shit like this, then yes, I wouldn’t feel all that patriotic or much camaraderie with them. I wouldn’t love a nation that makes my community out to be criminals (which you helped above, Fischer). No, it hasn’t been placed at risk because one man decided to protest it. It was placed at risk when you decided to write your post. You played a part in dividing black Americans and white, black Americans and police officers. Good job.

“We’ll have to wait and see if other NFL athletes join Kaepernick in his divisive crusade against America and its flag. He could single handedly make the national anthem a source of racial division rather than a source of unity. We may see boycotts of the national anthem not only in the NFL but in the NBA and major league baseball. We may see boycotts of the anthem at the college and even the high school level.”

I hope they do. I really do. (In fact I heard some NFL teams w ere going to.) America is racially divided. Why not raise awareness? You have to do it somehow, right? We use celebrities to advertise everything from acne medication to home gyms. Why not advertise equality?

It’s not a damn crusade. Again, I’m Catholic, so I know a crusade when I see one. He’s speaking up, which is apparently heinous in a country which prides itself on freedom of speech.

If we do see further boycotts, good. We need it. Because America is not where it should be. I haven’t said the Pledge since high school, when we were forced to. Yes, I still know all the words, but I’m not proud of my country at this point in time. When I am, I’ll happily say it. Along with singing the National Anthem (the title and all the words I do know).

“Here’s hoping that cooler, wiser, and more informed heads will prevail, so that we can continue as one nation to celebrate that America truly is the ‘land of the free and the home of the brave.'”

Lol. If cooler, wiser, and more informed heads prevailed, I’d be in charge, and you’d fucking hate how I ran things. Because Muslims and black people wouldn’t be the bad guys. White assholes might actually be held accountable.

Speaking of accountability, one of my Facebook friends raised a good point: we’re more upset by Kaepernick declining to stand for the National Anthem to make a statement than we are the fact that a rapist served only three months out of six. Where’s the media stink about that? Can I ask more athletes to boycott the National Anthem until we actually crack down on rapists? Our priorities are so fucked. Hell, the only reason anyone cares is because Kaepernick is a major athlete. If he were a high school athlete, maybe some clickbait would have circulated on social media. But we have a nearly perverted fascination (or obsession) with our athletes and celebrities — when that attention could be focused elsewhere and actually do us some good.

Anyway, America will never advance toward the land of the free and the home of the brave as long as we’re putting down parts of our population.

And can I make an earth-shattering point here: part of freedom of speech is the freedom to not speak. Compelling someone to speak (or castigating them for their silence) is no more freedom than ensuring silence by force. They’re not freely choosing to speak; you’re bullying them into it.

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Also try reading this: This Veteran’s Post Defending Colin Kaepernick Is Going Viral

I’ll quote it briefly here: “[T]hat illusion of respect, is not why I am a veteran. Not so a man should be forced to show respect he doesn’t feel. That’s called slavery and I have no respect for that at all. If Americans want this man to respect America, then first they must respect him. If America wants the world’s respect, it must be worthy of respect. America must be worthy of respect. Torture, rendition, indefinite detention, unarmed black men shot down in the street every day, poverty, inequality, voter suppression, racism, bigotry in every form, obstructionism, blind patriotism, NONE of those things are worthy of respect from anybody — least of all an American.”

Words from a veteran, someone we can and should respect.

Anyway, it is Kaepernick’s right to not stand. You’re demonizing him for acting on his rights. Our country is nearing the point where we make someone into a traitor against America for not expressing and using their rights as we see fit. (I use “we” loosely, of course, because I think this is all so stupid.)

It is not an act of treason to remain silent and not stand for the National Anthem. Again, I doubt most Americans know the name, much less the words. Denying someone their rights by forcing them to act as you please (or else face the consequences) does much more go against what America supposedly stands for.

And it’s not like Kaepernick was making a dumb protest, like he doesn’t get paid enough. If anything, we should thank him for maybe raising a bit more awareness for issues we’re all too happy to ignore.

Oh, wait, we’re still ignoring them because we’d rather tear down someone who dared to speak up? Yeah, America is stupid.

I think it’s funny that people get all upset when someone’s idea of freedom of speech is different than theirs, so not only do they attack them, but they act like they’re the victims. Guess what? Just because they don’t agree with you doesn’t mean they’re wrong. They can contradict you or disagree or even tell you you’re incorrect (whether you are or not) and they’re still protected because it’s still freedom of speech. I’m not sure why this is so difficult for some people to comprehend. Yes, you can say whatever you want, but people are also free to respond as they please.

But please, tell me what Kaepernick did wrong. How is he anti-America? Why should he be fired? Because he cares about what’s going on in this country? Because he stood up for something we’d rather not talk about? Because he’s simply not breathing and bleeding ‘Murica? Because the media jumped on him and played to peoples’ fear and gave them the bad guy du jour?

Ah, I think I’m onto something there.

What really scares me is that people actually believe the shit that Fischer spouts. People like Dave’s mom. People I’m close to.

People actually hate and fear Muslims because, well, they’re Muslim. People are so dumb as to be swayed by the (poor) logic of Fischer’s post.

I’ll quote this paragraph again, because to me it’s the most troubling one of the entire post: “There is also some evidence that Kaepernick has turned away from Christianity and embraced Islam. He has an Islamic girlfriend, and has sent Ramadan greetings out on his social media accounts. Islam is virulently anti-American, as exemplified by the rhetoric and behavior of the Nation of Islam. It’s entirely possible that Kaepernick’s mind and heart have been poisoned by the dark energy coming from Islam and the anti-police Black Lives Matter movement.”

It’s not just wrong (“Islam is virulently anti-American”), it’s fear mongering. Islam is a religion, which shouldn’t be tied to politics. Yes, religious beliefs influence politics, but Islam is a neutral entity, like Christianity or Judaism. Islam is about a lifestyle that is pleasing to Allah, not which countries to hate. Sure, America’s values aren’t in line with Islam’s, but many Muslims still live here without issue. The great majority of Muslims just want to practice in peace. If they do want to reform America, it’s only as much as a Christian (like the true kind, not the Christian-only-in-label kind). You could just as easily say that Christianity is anti-American, but so many of us are Christians and that’s okay. Christianity is okay, Islam is not. Why, exactly?

Maybe because many Christians don’t actually care? Or it’s harder to tell that we’re Christian by appearance, unless we wear a cross. (Or we Catholics wear a Crucifix.)

And it infuriates me that he not only connotes having a Muslim girlfriend and being aware of Muslim holidays (like Ramadan, the holy month, which seems akin to the high holy days of the Catholic church, or of Judaism) with being Muslim, but goes on to imply that this is somehow bad, wrong, or anti-American. Being Muslim is not anti-American. Being Muslim is not a bad thing. Muslims are not to be feared. But things like Fischer’s post create a culture of fear. He called Muslim’s influence “dark energy,” for Heaven’s sake! Oh, plus the Black Lives Matter movement. Because, you know, black people are doing just fine and we just want to make police into the enemy.

Nah brah.

As I’ve said before (in Which Rights are Right?), I’m not a fan of group rights, but human rights. Still, both black people and police officers need protection from being demonized. It’s not a mass scheme to make police look bad and black people look good. Again, it really concerns me that Fischer is so against the idea that black people might actually be victims of police violence.

This whole issue just frustrates me to the point that I want to say fuck it, I’m done with this post and don’t want to hear about Kaepernick again. The masses are dumb shits and I’m better than them because I have a brain and use it.

But I can’t.

I asked Dave what he thought of all this and he said he’s seen vets saying they didn’t fight for “pricks like Kaepernick” and whatnot. (I’m going based off what he said.)

Really, now you choose who you fight for? You fight for America and everyone in it. For their right to speak or not.

Apparently even our vets don’t get it (not all of them). This is why I’m so fed up with this country and can’t respect it. Other countries laugh at us. I don’t have that luxury because unfortunately I live here.

Apparently veterans don’t even get that he doesn’t have to stand up. It not that he disrespects or doesn’t appreciate what you’ve done. In fact, he’s showing that appreciation by acting on his rights.

But I won’t harp on this because I don’t have anything to cite for it.

But maybe read this: The Conservative Outrage At Colin Kaepernick Is Incredibly Hypocritical

However, I do agree that a lot of shit is just used to divide us, as Dave said.

But he just said something else that irks me. He was talking about some guy posing with an American flag into pictures that were banned from Instagram. I said I doubt it. I see a lot of things shared on Facebook about various “patriotic” posts or pictures that were banned, and I can conceive literally no reason for them to be banned. I think they just claim they were “banned” and ask for shares to protest this horrible injustice…just to get shares. Holy shit, if the American flag is more offensive than the confederate flag, I give up. If you’re going to bitch about one, bitch about the confederate flag, which is all over the place.

I don’t think any of that is actually banned. They just want people to get angry and share them to get attention. They just want people angry. Because angry people seems to be the only real weapon America has these days. At least on social media, which is a good part of America. It’s an ever growing undercurrent to society, like that sneaky rip tide at the beach. It’s dangerous and you can drown in it.

It’s just dumb. Stop sharing shit like that.

Oh, it’s stupid? Sorry, keep forgetting that most of America is too. It’s rough being intelligent and educated when so many aren’t.

People are so quick to jump on an argument without being informed or taking the time to think.

Kaepernick didn’t stand for the National Anthem. Automatically BAD. Not because he stood up for something he believes in, not because he put his right to good use, but because he didn’t blindly and happily support ‘MERICA.

Have you seen the outrage over some player who KNELT instead of STOOD for the national anthem? Um, I think kneeling shows more respect — oh, and you can see guys on their phones behind him.

I just can’t take it. I have my limits with stupidity.

While I hate to agree with Dave, he’s right; we like America divided. (Okay, he didn’t say that; I extrapolated from what he said about people trying to keep us divided.)

Agreement is boring. We want conflict. We seek conflict to have something to be angry about…instead of addressing that dissatisfaction in our own lives. No, let’s attack a random athlete.

Why worry about the things that actually matter? Those things are hard.

Because we have to. America needs to stop being bottle-fed by the media and actually start thinking for themselves, thinking critically. If you can’t think (critically) for yourself, then you’re an idiot in my book…which is most of America. There is a theme here.

It’s not that fucking hard. But America doesn’t want to try. It wants to be perfect as-is. YOU’RE NOT. TRY HARDER. HOLY SHIT.

People scare me. America scares me. We’re so happy being narrow-minded, unconcerned and stupid that uneducated is okay, even lauded and fear wins out.

No. Don’t be a fucking idiot. To be smart all you have to do is being willing (and able) to learn, and to think critically.

Give it a shot. Seriously.

I consider myself a conservative, but also not stupid. The two shouldn’t be mutually exclusive. Anyway, I support Kaepernick, because he’s not wrong in expressing his rights, and I’m all about rights, border-lining on Libertarian.

To stand or not to stand…is up to the individual. America should try to understand (and correct) the reason, rather than silence it.

But America is stupid, and stupidity is dangerous.

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Texting Etiquette

This is my last post before I start orientation (although it’ll likely be posted long after I’ve actually started at RPI with the way things are going). You’d think I’d write something about starting a new chapter or how I already miss Siena (with a list of things I miss) or how my therapist says I have a problem with change even though I disagree, but no. I’ll save that for after I’ve gotten settled in.

I can’t decide on what to write about; I have lots of ideas and half-started drafts, but none of them capture my interest. I’d write on some, but they’re mostly variations on a theme in this blog. Which is okay, but I feel like I’ve written on them in recent posts. I don’t want to bore you or seem like I’m harping. Dave hates it when I do that. I don’t care whether he doesn’t like it, but I want y’all to like me.

Whatever. I’m resorting to cat-or-sloth on this one.

Cat, of course, has to do with being an asshole, and cat won.

So here we go: texting etiquette, because I’ll be damned, we need some guidelines.

Of course, this will extend beyond texting.

Give Confirmation

This applies to email, too. I hate it if I text someone, especially making plans or offering to meet at a certain time, and I get nothing back. Please don’t leave me hanging. Sure, maybe I should just take your lack of protest in the affirmative, but I hate to make that assumption.

I also hate it when I email a professor on Wednesday morning about a homework assignment due Friday and don’t hear back until Thursday afternoon. I know you checked your email at least once. At least let me know you’ve seen my email.

In light of this, I’ve vowed that when I’m a professor I’m going to check email often, and even if a student asks a question I can’t answer at the moment, I’m going to reply to let them know I’ve seen their email and will give them a time frame for when I’ll reply…which will be in a timely manner.

Update: I’ve gotten a number of emails as a TA already and I’ve always replied within the hour, usually within half an hour.

Don’t Take Five Years to Reply

Seriously. Especially if I see you on your phone when we’re together (I’ll get to that later).

Like am I that unimportant to you? Especially if you texted me two minutes ago and I replied one minute ago. And then it’s hours before you reply? Did my quick reply scare you so much you fainted? Or you threw your phone on the ground and smashed it to bits, then had to go get a new one before you replied?

Bloody hell.

If I don’t really want to carry on a conversation, I won’t reply immediately, so they don’t think I’m right on my phone. If I want to phase out a conversation, I’ll start replying farther and farther apart, so they don’t think I’m on my phone constantly (I also won’t appear on Facebook; see below).

Yes, the beauty of texting is that you don’t have to reply. I use that to my advantage when dating and suddenly have to cut off contact with a bunch of guys because I’ve settled on one. (Okay, I use a slow fade with some, but not if we’ve only been texting/messaging a day; see more on online dating below.)

But if we’re friends, holy hell, reply to me!

If I’ve Texted You and You Haven’t Replied, Don’t be on Facebook

Even worse, don’t like my posts! (I have friends that do this.) Yes, super-sleuth that I am, I will check to see if you’ve been on Facebook since I texted (or Facebook messaged) you.* I think it’s safe to assume that many people have Facebook on their phone, especially in my generation.

*That’s mostly reserved for Dave. though. Other times I just happen to notice and make the connection.

And then I see that yes, you have been on Facebook. Again, I’m 99% certain you’ve been on your phone in the two hours (or two days) since I contacted you. And I’m pretty sure you use Facebook on your phone (if not Facebook, then some other social media thing which involves using your phone), which means you’ve seen that I contacted you.

With Facebook messenger it’s really easy to tell if someone is ignoring you.

What troubles me is that my so-called friends ignore me.

Don’t be on Your Phone when We’re Together

I suppose long-term couples are a bit different, plus friends who see each other a lot, or close family. But there are still some lines to be drawn.

I still find it rude when Dave texts, or worse, takes phone calls while we’re out having dinner. Hell, once he took a phone call (from his one friend I do not like, for good reason) before we were going to have, ahem, we-time. That certainly killed the mood (yet he didn’t understand what was wrong).

He used to be on his phone all the time with his friends, even during our dates (or he’d somehow invite them along), which irked me. That’s died down, thankfully.

But I’ll be engrossed in Facebook these days just because I know it annoys him to be ignored.

My mom (or grandparents) never had an issue with me listening to music in the car. To me, that’s a sign that I’m comfortable with you. Dave throws a bitch fit if I dare do this, yet he won’t listen to my music with me, so…

I use my phone sparingly around my grandparents, for example. Unless I have a photo or video to show them. I try not to be on it too much.

When out with my bestie (whom I don’t get to see often), we both refrain from phone use, save for a couple times when our SO texts. (She’s terrible at texting, or so she claims, but she seems okay with it when we’re together.) If anything, I text more than she does because Dave is very insecure about us going out together because he for some reason thinks we’re going to get drunk and I’m going to bring home a new boyfriend.

He’s been there anytime we’ve drank together. But he even gets jealous if I text even one friend too much with him.

Anyway…I ignored lots of calls from my mom, plus calls and texts from others, on my first date with Dave. It’s not that hard to put the phone aside.

Hell, I won’t even blatantly text in front of professors I respect, whether or not we’re in class.

So whether or not you text in front of someone depends on your comfort and respect level, but in general, if it’s excessive I’m going to label it “not cool.”

Don’t Suddenly Drop Off if You Usually Text A Lot

Maybe it has to do with my past, but I hate it when someone I text a lot during the day suddenly goes off the grid and doesn’t contact me once all day.

For some this would cause them to worry something had happened to them, but for me it sends me into a panic that something is going to happen to me.

For clarification, my last ex (who was unstable and violent) usually texted me many times a day and complained if I didn’t text right back; the one day he didn’t contact me once I was sick to my stomach with stress and knew something was wrong. When he finally came home, a violent and terrifying break-up ensued.

I asked Dave why he thought I hated when he didn’t text all day.

“You think I died?”

“No.”

Apparently I’d never told him about that one night. I thought I did.

Sure, he’s told me he’s going to Stewart’s (which should be no more than a 20-minute round trip) and forty minutes later he texts me asking what I want at Stewart’s (not only had I been worried, but I wondered WTF he was doing), and I was somewhat worried about him, but suddenly dropping contact for a day could also make someone wonder what they did to piss you off.

If you’re trying to “give them space” (Dave), then let them know before you just stop texting and we’re left wondering if you backed over your phone six times and got a new one with a new number just because you didn’t want to talk to us.

Give Updates

In this same vein, give a person updates if they’re waiting on you. Whether you’re stuck in traffic or something you expected to be quick took way longer than anticipated, if someone is waiting on you (or might worry about you), let them know what’s up.

When we were first dating, Dave texted me that he was going to be a bit late to pick me up and was all worried that I’d be mad. I appreciated it and wasn’t upset in the least. If anything, it gave me more time to agonize over my appearance.

Now, he can say he’ll be home at two and won’t be home until four with no notice. When we had plans. Sometimes time-sensitive. Not okay.

Show some respect and let people know what your status is if they’re depending on you.

No Caps Lock

It’s so annoying to read posts, comments, or texts in all caps…save for some cases when someone has a hard time seeing tiny letters or in the case of my uncle Mike, who always texted in all caps. BRING HOME SOME BOOM BOOMS is one I remember vividly. He was asking me to bring home fireworks from New Hampshire. But that’s Mike, and that’s a special case.

In general, I reserve all caps for emphasis, if italics won’t work. ALL CAPS JUST GETS WEIRD TO READ AFTER A WHILE. IT’S LIKE YOU’RE CONSTANTLY YELLING. YOU DEFINITELY JUST READ THIS AS IF I WERE YELLING AT YOU. I KNOW I DID WHEN I PROOFED THIS.

“LOL” Means “I’m Lightening This Up and I’m Likely Uncomfortable”

So guilty of this. I’ve dated a lot of guys that were super nice, but I just wasn’t into them.

Him: “We should totally hang out again!”

Me: “Yeah, like everyday lol”

Or I employed “lol” liberally when I was trying to phase a guy out.

Him: “So when are you free this week?”

Me: “Not at all. So much homework lol.”

Or I use it when I’m uncertain of what you mean.

Them: “I just don’t get people.”

Me: “Lol yeah…”

Or when I’m uncertain what to say.

Them: “Miss you so much!”

Me: “Hopefully I’ll see you soon lol”

Or, in the case of Dave:

Him: “Love you, miss you, hope you miss me too”

Me: “Lol”

Savage. It’s so accurate and that’s what’s funny. Literal lol.

But seriously, if someone uses “lol,” think about it. I sometimes use it when I’m amused (context should help; if nothing actually funny has happened, that’s not a good sign). If I actually lol, I tell them I literally loled.

Throw a Friend a Like

If I see my close, actual, real life friend updated their profile picture or posted something, I’ll usually like it. I like to think they’ll do the same for me.

Or, if I see they’ve liked a lot of my stuff lately, I’ll like their stuff (which Dave hates because it means I like a guy with a rival beard’s profile picture).

Hell, I assume anyone who likes this blog has to be a pretty good friend. I doubt anyone else reads it.

This blog has made me even more insecure.

If they’re a good friend, you should throw them a “like” automatically. If they’re a middle-ground friend and they have zero-to-six-likes, throw them a “like.”

That’s by my standards though. Seven likes is an okay post for me. It’s nothing compared to some of my friends, whose “okay” post gleans 70 likes, but still…give your friends a confidence boost when they need one.

Proof Read

Lately Dave has sent me a lot of texts with “ducking” or “hitching” in them. As you can see below.
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And then there was this, when I was trying to decide which kitten to keep.

Screenshot_2016-05-09-14-21-07

Like how hard is it to take an extra second to proof-read what you’re sending? If I somehow send an auto-correct, I right away send a follow-up to actually correct it. No hesitation. Even with Dave, who could probably interpret it.

I take the time to read over my text, or Facebook message, or email (especially if it’s important), because I care about sounding smart and looking good. It shows care and effort. Respect.

Check Your Recipient

I’ve only texted the wrong person once or twice in my entire life. Because I’m anal about making sure I text the right party.

If I’m texting (or even emailing) sensitive material, I triple-check the recipient.

Once I was texting a male colleague about an assignment at the same time I was texting my now-ex (the same one as above) and I accidentally texted him something about the assignment and he started freaking out about me texting some other guy. Really?

But now if I’m texting something benign, I double check. If it’s not so innocent, I triple (or quadruple) check. Because “Dave” and “Dave’s Mom” used to show up simultaneously when I searched for “Dave” in my phone. I switched her to “Mom K” some time ago, but still…

I still have to triple check before I send emails to myself with pictures for this blog.

I’ve gotten a wrong number text or two in my time, and I was cool, but next time I’ll probably fuck with them.

Mind Your Tone

Tone doesn’t really translate well through any electronic medium, so you have to be careful. There is no tone electronically. It’s up to the recipient to apply the tone.

I use this to my advantage, but to many, it’s a severe disadvantage.

Consider how what you’re saying will be taken by your recipient.

I love a good ambiguous message, where the meaning of what you said is dependent upon the tone, which depends on your mood/your biases/their mood/their biases.

Love that shit.

It’s like if I texted Dave saying “We still haven’t gone to dinner,” it could be like “Oh yeah, we never did that — we should.” Or “We still haven’t gone to dinner like you said.”

I suppose that might be cleared up with context. But a hearty “whatever” will often do the trick. Or, depending on the situation, an “okay” when a longer or more enthusiastic reply might be expected.

“Ok” means I’m annoyed. “K” means I’m pissed.

potassium

Or, even worse, when my grandfather leaves a voicemail: “It’s Papa. Call me back.” Like WTF? Did someone die or are you inviting me to dinner? Is Gramma in the hospital or do you need a hand with some yardwork? I am 99.9999% certain he does this on purpose. Gramma does it too.

No Drunk Texting

Drunk texts are just the worst. You think you’re clever or funny or whatever, when really you’re just annoying as hell. I mean, maybe it’s amusing if you’re really making an ass out of yourself, but in my experience, it’s like “Imma just throw my phone in the toilet and get a new number.” Then again, I’ve only really dealt with dumb drunk guys asking for threesomes and telling me they checked out other girls, then crying because they love me so much and I’m the best thing that ever happened to them.

Oh, and I’ve been cheated on because my ex was drinking. Maybe I just don’t like or trust guys drinking if I’m not there with them.

Anyway, I may text while I drink, but I proof it like four times (those Grammar-Nazi habits die hard) before I send it and when I get too drunk, I just stop texting.

I realize the point (okay, a major attraction) of getting drunk is doing things you normally wouldn’t — and probably shouldn’t — and will likely later regret.

But screenshots are forever…especially if the recipient is me, who has it backed up in three places before you’ve even started your next drink. By the time you sober up, I’ll have shared it with my friends and we’ll all be laughing at you.

Okay, I’ll have decided to break up with you. That’s more accurate.

Avoid Group Messages

I understand that sometimes it’s a necessary evil. Maybe you’re collaborating on a project or trying to make plans with a group.

But for Heaven’s sake, if you need to ask me and someone else the same question, take the extra second of effort and text us separately. The more people involved, the greater the offense. Even if I want to be a part of this conversation, I don’t want my phone blown up when the other 100 people you’ve made a part of this reply nonstop for a bit.

Okay, maybe it’s only three other people, but it sounds like 100 when my phone is going off every two seconds.

Just don’t do it, unless it’s absolutely necessary.

Don’t Facebook Message Me

That is, if you have my number, or there’s no reason for you not to have my number and text me.

Maybe this is a personal thing; the more names I have in my phone, the more important I feel. So when you won’t give me the satisfaction of adding you as a contact, it irks me. And makes me feel insignificant.

Texting to Talk

It’s not that this bothers me, or that you should or should not do it. I’m just bad at/awkward about it. Literally the only person I text just to chat with throughout the day is Dave. My friends contact me if they have some crisis (I’m like a first responder); otherwise we might text for a few hours at most every couple weeks talking/venting about whatever.

Surprisingly, there are some people I’d actually like to have ongoing conversations with. But they don’t seem to want it with me (see “Don’t Take Five Years to Respond”).

Yet at the same time, maybe because I don’t experience it in my everyday life, I’m like, “Do people really text just to talk? Or is it mostly because they want or need something?” Like what would I even talk about with other people? Dave and I can blather on about most anything and it needn’t flow logically. Do people have that with other people?

What’s wrong with me? (After my first day of orientation, I’m seriously wondering why I’m so lacking in social skills, which will probably be an upcoming post).

Anyway, this is something I just don’t understand.

No Spam Texting

For me, guys that are interested in me (but I’m not interested in them) tend to spam text me. Like they just text me many times with a row without any reply from me.

As I once wrote (and maybe quoted here?): how desperate are you if you chase someone like this after one night of mediocre conversation? I am not that interesting. I’m not even that nice. I’m not even a very good person. And I sure as hell am not so drop-dead stunningly gorgeous that you just can’t let me go.

Also this (and the caps were because I was yelling in my head):

MEN (AND EVERYONE ELSE): IF SOMEONE DOES NOT RESPOND TO YOUR TEXT, THERE IS PROBABLY A REASON. NOW, IT MAY BE THAT YOU HAVE THE WRONG NUMBER OR THEIR PHONE ISN’T WORKING – AND THESE EXUCSES DON’T EVEN APPLY TO ONLINE CHATTING – BUT IT MAY BE SIMPLY BECAUSE THEY ARE BUSY! THEY HAVE LIVES! AND YOU CAN BET THAT, IF YOU KEEP SENDING ONE TEXT AFTER ANOTHER, THEIR REASON WILL BE THAT YOU’RE JUST TOO FUCKING ANNOYING. SPAMMING SOMEONE WITH TEXTS DOES NOT MAKE THEM REPSOND; IN FACT, IT HAS THE OPPOSITE EFFECT. IT MAKES YOU SEEM NEEDY AND LIKE YOU DON’T HAVE A LIFE. IF YOU TEXT THEM AND THEY’RE BUSY, THEY’LL SEE IT LATER. IF THEY DO SEE IT AND DON’T RESPOND, WELL…THAT’S YOUR PROBLEM, NOT THEIRS.

I know I’ve quoted that before.

Anyway, as I said above, if I don’t respond, I’m most likely busy, in rare cases my phone is dead, or I actually don’t want to talk to you. However, none of these are reasons to keep texting me. If I haven’t seen your text already and ignored it, then I have yet to see it, and I will reply.

Hell, I hesitate to text even more than twice in a row, whether it’s autocorrect or I forgot something. If I look at my phone and see four or more texts from you, I’m like what the fuck.

But like really, one text will suffice. If it’s more than a day, another to check up is acceptable. More than that, and I’m either ignoring you or you need to try another method of contacting me. The status of our relationship will tell you which.

No Chain Texts

Maybe these were fun in middle school? That text like “If you don’t do this by midnight you’ll have bad luck for seven years” or “Do this and you’ll get kissed by your crush tomorrow” and of course, you always have to send to like ten other people. Some just tell you to pass it on with no benefit to you.

Like I’ve had seven years of bad luck in two years and Dave tries to kiss me and I fight him off.

It’s not that I feel obligated to pass it on; I’m more like, “You’re my age and you still buy into these things?”

No Texting, then Immediately Calling

An extension of this is calling my home phone, getting no answer, then immediately calling my cell. (You know, when I last had a home phone two years ago.)

If the situation is really desperate — well, go for the phone first. If you get voicemail, send a text. Maybe try calling again. I get that calling is more immediate than a text could be.

But then why text, then call? Are you that impatient for a reply? Then just call first, and text as a follow-up if you don’t get me.

And when people used to call my cell (and I didn’t answer) then two seconds later call my home phone, it just annoyed me.

Leave a Damn Voicemail

I HATE it when people call me and don’t leave a voicemail. How am I supposed to to know whether to care or not?

Clearly it wasn’t important enough to warrant a voicemail…but it was important enough to earn a phone call.

If you feel the need to call me rather than send a text, at least leave a message. Seriously. Or else I’m likely to think it was a butt-dial and never return your call.

Read Receipts

I hate these, yet I’m tempted to do it when I email a professor and want to know if they’ve seen my email (as mentioned above). However, in my experience you choose when to acknowledge you’ve read the email (which I never did because it was asking me to work extra hours).

Also, I feel like it makes you super pretentious and obnoxious, like you’re so important that you have to know if your email has been read. Like when you can pay to use a dating site for “advanced” features like knowing who’s looked at your profile or if someone read your message.

No, be average and wonder like the rest of us.

Online Dating

I’m thinking I may make this a post in itself, because, well, it’s a scary world.

Actually, many of the above points roll into this one. Don’t repeatedly message me, don’t suddenly drop off if we’ve been talking a while with no explanation, don’t stalk me, don’t harass me…I suppose it’s unavoidable to be on (and I know you’re on) if you haven’t replied because the point is to peruse people — but if we’ve been chatting a lot, it might be kind of rude.

Oh, and when I don’t reply or I’m not interested or I try to let you down, don’t freak out on me.

Again, this one is a bit complex to be one point on a list.

No Breaking Up Over Text

BIG no-no.

But, of course, it happened to me. While I was at work. That was a rough day.

To me it just shows complete disrespect, but also immaturity. Like you didn’t even care enough to do it to my face, and you really didn’t give a shit if you decided it’d be okay to do while I was at work, when I couldn’t really react.

I’d only ever do that to someone if I really hated them and wanted them to suffer…but then I’d also want to do it in person to fully relish their misery.

Also, I don’t think Dave would even believe it if I broke up with him over text. He won’t believe it in any form, but especially text because it’s so scummy.

But I think it’s rooted in immaturity. Like you can’t handle the idea of breaking up with me in person because it might get messy. But it’s a break-up. You want out so badly you’re ready to end it. The price you pay is the awkwardness and discomfort of having that conversation.

Yes, I once broke up with a guy on the phone. My plan had been to at least Skype, but it just kind of happened. And I was only going to do it via Skype because I didn’t want to drive to his college just to break up with him and have it get weird. To make a trip solely to break up with someone seems…odd to me.

So, if circumstances permit, have a little decency and break up in person, and NEVER over text.

 

So there we have it. Texting (okay, social media and electronic communication) etiquette. I feel like these things should be common sense, but apparently not, since I had to write this post.

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What Men Don’t Understand About Women

This here post was kind of inspired by an argument Dave and I had.

As the title may have given away, this post is about things men don’t get about women. I came to most of these conclusions based on our interactions, but Dave reaffirmed that “periods and the way we think” summed it up. “Moods and emotions” were added. I’m sure that’s all covered here.

So here we go.

PMS

Let’s get the obvious out of the way (and by that I mean the next few things). Guys clearly don’t get PMS, as evidenced by the question, “Are you PMSing?” No, the person asking me if I’m PMSing has me pissed.

Dave routinely forgets that PMS is coming up or that I’m PMSing. When I eventually suggest it for a reason as to why I’m cramping or cranky, it’s like a light bulb goes on.

To them it’s a convenient catch-all excuse. Or it’s just us women being overly emotional for some strange reason. Maybe a full moon?

No, it’s more that you’re touching my boobs and it feels like you’re stabbing them and I feel like a jiggling walrus and I’m tired and everything you say is stupid.

The fact of the matter is that you don’t have to understand PMS (but imagine being deprived of sleep for a week, pumped with salt tablets and not allowed to drink, having every touch to your man-boobs feel like a nut-tap, and crying like someone’s just died over a picture of a kitten because it’s just so cute)…just don’t make it worse.

Periods

The natural next step.

Guys act like it’s so horrifying and awful. I asked Dave if he thought periods were “awful and horrifying” and he said “Yeah, probably…better you than me dealing with it.”

I’m not entirely sure what the big deal is. I asked Dave and he said “it seems like it would be painful…a shit ton of blood…I don’t know.”

I mean, cramps aren’t a ray of sunshine, but otherwise it’s not that bad, at least for me. Do I enjoy bleeding for six days? Not really. But tampons are a wonderful thing.

I asked Dave why guy are weird about buying tampons. He didn’t know; he’s not.

One day I’m going to make a point of asking him to pick some up whether I need them or not.

But seriously, it’s not like we don’t deal with some “gross” bodily functions of men. (Like honestly, being poked in the back every night? No thanks.)

Oh, and an important PSA to men: women can get pregnant while on their periods. Apparently this is a point of some confusion for men. I’ve had a number of boyfriends/male friends who try to tell me that I can’t get pregnant during my period. Nope, still possible. I’m less fertile, sure, but I still have viable eggs seeking sperm.

The only time during my fertile years that I can’t get pregnant is when I’m already pregnant.

Thank goodness.

The Importance of Foreplay

Men, imagine it’s five below and you go out and start your car. Do you let it warm up for a good ten minutes, or do you just go?

As I’ve learned from Dave, it’s better to let your car warm up for a bit before driving…even in the summer if you haven’t driven it in a little while. Let that oil run for a bit.

It’s the same with women. Start us up and get us running for a bit before, uh, driving us. I will be much more, ahem, receptive if you put time and effort into getting me warmed up.

I know men are ready to go in an instant (or maybe two instants), but women aren’t ready to receive your “gift” quite as quickly.

(And I didn’t put “gift” in quotes to be coy; sometimes it’s debatable whether it’s a gift or not.)

We don’t ask for foreplay to torture you or to put off sex as long as possible. We ask for it because maybe we’d like to enjoy sex too. At the very least, not grit our teeth in discomfort or worse, pain.

Sexyfuntime

In this same vein (then it changes, I promise), men seem insulted that their ramrod isn’t enough. But needing “extra” stimulation isn’t all that odd.

(And those quotations mean it really isn’t odd, not that they/we require something weird or odd.)

Yes, men are — in practice — much simpler than women, but really women aren’t that complicated. Rub us, stroke us — it’s just more specific than a man requires. That’s all. Can you listen to directions?

Oh, you can’t?

Maybe that’s the issue.

Here’s an interesting link that even taught me something about myself: How a 3D clitoris will help teach French schoolchildren about sex. If I can learn from this, then surely men can too.

Related is the issue of orgasms. I only mention this because I watched a video earlier today by AsapSCIENCE on the issue (they also have one on Childbirth Vs Getting Kicked in the Balls in case you’re weird like me and want to know).

I’m going to maintain it’s a quality over quantity thing.

I’d do a section on childbirth but I’ve not yet had that pleasure, so I’m not going to try to write about it…except that my mom once thought she was in labor but it was just dehydration cramps, and I’ve been told that labor feels like bad menstrual cramps, and I’ve had both dehydration and menstrual cramps, so…if a guy asks what it feels like, just kick him in the balls. It may not be accurate but I’d get a laugh out of it.

Makeup (and Our Morning Routines in General)

I don’t really do makeup, but I do spend 15-20 minutes doing what I call “fixing my face,” which is basically just taming my eyebrows, doing hygiene-related things (which is just vague enough to sound weird), and trying to get a brush through my hair. So really the difference between male and female here is that, while Dave can roll out of bed, throw anything on, and be ready to go, I require some time to find clothes and make myself presentable. Usually I’m ready to walk out the door in half an hour or less…if I don’t eat.

But why do we bother when we supposedly look just as good without makeup? When men don’t even see a difference?

Hell, my brother’s ideal woman is a “classic” woman: brown hair, average height, no tattoos, no piercings unless they’re in the ear (lobe, I presume), and no makeup.

So why take the time if men don’t really care?

I’m going to guess that it has to do with insecurity. When I was a new teenager, I wore foundation, blush, lipgloss, eyeshadow, eyeliner, mascara…I think maybe I was hoping to distract from my fatness by making my face “pretty.” When I had acne, I used foundation to try to cover it. Eventually I was down to just mascara because I thought I looked boyish without it. Now I’m just too lazy to spend that extra two minutes (unless I know I’m going to be in photos and want my eyes to stand out a hair more). These days I spend the most time on my eyebrows, because I hate them the most. (But they are real, not drawn on.)

Let me explain it like this: let’s say you have a truck with a decent amount of rust (and if you live in New York, then you do). This is the case with my truck. I’ve bought fender flares to cover some of it, and I plan to truckbed coat the section below the body lines to cover the majority of the rest. I want my truck to look good, but I can’t fix the rust, so I’m covering it up (and hopefully preventing more).

So the same applies with faces and makeup: if you can’t fix it, cover it.

Hair Supplies (and How Much We Pay for Haircuts)

Honestly, I’ve been amazed by my best friend’s collection of hair stuff. It’s like a store in her room. Even my cousin’s makeup stash is…impressive?

I admit I own lots of lotions, body sprays, and scrubs and such.

I think it’s because women are expected to exude, well, femininity. And how better to do that than by luscious locks, smelling nice, and having touchable skin?

Maybe we’re selling out. (Though I only grudgingly shave twice a year. Okay, a bit more often.) But I take pride in my long hair and it makes me feel good to take care of it. I only use men’s 2-in-1 shampoo,* but I don’t need a lot of frills to keep my hair healthy.

*This started when one day I ran out and Dave said I could use his, plus it’s cheaper, and my hair still smells girly despite the manly scent. It must be magic.

But if it makes us feel good about ourselves, are you really going to complain?

Oh, and I wish my haircut cost $10 instead of $50 (tip included). But I’m a girl and have long hair, so…I pay the price.

That is some bullshit!

Matching

I’m not above wearing camo with plaid, or either one of them with tye-dye. It’s happened before and will happen again.

I abide by a few fashion rules, like no brown and black, no spots and stripes, no beige beasts…but I know that if I’m going to break fashion rules, I might as well destroy them.

Hence tye-dye shirt with camo shorts.

But when I want to match, I can. And sometimes I just feel the need to match, especially with lingerie. Dave doesn’t get it, because according to him “it looks best when it’s not on me,” but I match meine Unterwäsche because, well, it gives me a sense of peace, even if no one else knows. It’s pretty much the same reason I love my knee-high socks; no, nobody even knows I have them on, but it makes me happy to know that I do.

Matching is just a thing with us. Maybe because society tells us we have to look nice to attract men. Like you. And to us, matching is looking nice.

Why Certain Things are Tasteless and/or Unacceptable

I never thought I’d be this girlfriend, but when Dave’s beaters are more holes than fabric, I have to speak up. I’ve bought him beaters and socks because he won’t and I get tired of seeing his dirty, holey, disgusting clothes.

I also ensure the sheets are washed from time to time, and urge him to wash up before going to visit my grandparents.

I haven’t told him to redecorate (yet, though that Red Sox picture should go), nor have I gone so far as to tell him to sit instead of stand in the bathroom (I know a woman who did this and somehow enforced it), but bit-by-bit, ever so subtly, I bend him to my will.

I think again it comes down to what society has told us women should be: neat, clean, at our best and on our best behavior at all times…

But it may also have to do with the fact that we, like anyone, like to look good. Not just physically, but in public. Men get lucky in that women, like cats, engage in a lot of self-grooming. And if you’re with a woman who doesn’t care to wash her hair, wears ratty clothes, and so on, you probably don’t want to take her in public. Hell, you’d probably never be with a woman like this. Because you want to look good.

But the public’s opinion of you is more important than your lover’s opinion. Believe me, Dave shares everything from pimples to when he’s experiencing GI upset (my family’s term for diarrhea). For some reason, when he gets home, the walls go down. Boundaries do not exist. Dave will gladly use the bathroom with me in it, but I try to avoid it.

Anyway, I think women prefer to maintain some mystery at home, which translates into a favorable public impression, which involves critiquing things like your neck beard. And somehow, for us, even your ratty beaters affect your, and therefore our, presence in public.

No, it’s not shallow; we know you’re a prize; that’s why we’re with you. We just want everyone else to know (and see) what a prize you are, so they can know how well we did.

Okay, maybe it’s a bit shallow.

But ultimately it’s a compliment to you, right?

What Women Find Attractive

I saw something recently (I think it was in Cosmo) that showed men that women find attractive, men that men find attractive, and those few whom we both find attractive.

I tried to ask Dave what men he found attractive and he had some sort of mini-panic attack and said none and stuck to it.

I don’t get what the issue is (because there’s nothing wrong with being gay).

As a woman in a heterosexual relationship, I can claim other women are attractive and it doesn’t mean I’m attracted to them. I’ve seen plenty of beautiful women and wished I had their looks, but they don’t turn me on. I’m confident enough in my sexuality to say such things.

Anyway, because Dave has been watching American Grit, I asked him if he thought John Cena “looked good.” He said he’s jacked but has a weird head…and that’s all I was getting.

So my point is, men find jacked guys attractive, and so of course they aspire to be jacked. Because they think that’s what women want.

But what do women really want? Well, if you have a beard (and maybe glasses) and don’t have a six-pack (and are open to wearing a kilt), then you’re attractive in my book. As I’m sure I’ve said before, think Seth Rogen.

Oh, also be smart. I love that shit.

Yes, I think Zac Efron and Ryan Reynolds are good looking fellows, but it’s really, actually, honestly their faces that get me. Not their bodies. Of course their faces (and bodies) don’t compare to Dave’s. But if I were asked specifically about celebrities, they would be the winners. And Seth Rogen.

I actually had the chance to date a guy who looked like Seth Rogen (also named Dave, who worked at RPI), and yet I went with my Dave. Clearly my Dave is more attractive.

Women don’t necessarily want jacked. Every woman is different. And I’m sure many are happy with perfectly average guys.

I know I’m not the only one who goes for a Seth Rogen type. Just saying.

So I’m willing to bet that a lot of guys are wrong about what type of guy a woman is attracted to.

On this same note, while it may not be something men don’t get, it’s definitely a difference: men have a harder time admitting other men are visually pleasing than women do lauding another woman’s aesthetic appeal.

Are men fundamentally less secure in their sexual orientation? So much so that they can’t even give a guy props for looking good?

Calling Her Fat

Being told I’m fat (“because I drink wine like a sieve”) and being told I don’t turn him on anymore are both things I’ve been told.

It hurt. A lot.

To a woman, calling her fat = she’s unattractive by society’s standards = she’s ugly  by society’s standards = she’s ugly by your standards = you’re not attracted to her = you don’t want to have sex with her anymore = you’re going to break up with her. Oh, and then she’s too ugly for anyone else.

It’s scarring. Telling her she doesn’t turn you on anymore cuts to the chase, but may be even worse because you hated her so much that you didn’t even bother trying to “save” her ego by saying she just gained weight (note “gained weight” as opposed to “fat”); no, she’s so hideous that she can’t even coax the weakest reaction from your loins anymore.

If you have an issue with your woman’s image, either grow a pair and leave her, or grow a pair and (gently) communicate what’s putting you off. Don’t just say we turn you off or worse, walk away with no explanation.

No, we may not change, but we’ll know that (or why) you were such a dick and we’ll look out for that in the future.

Also, if you call her fat or tell her she doesn’t turn you on and in her most divine mercy she decides to keep your sorry ass, you’d better make her feel like a fucking queen and let her know just how much she drives you wild — so wild you can barely contain yourself around her.

The Way We Think

This may be the most challenging one to discuss.

My first boyfriend once told me men’s brains are like boxes, and women’s are like spaghetti.

Accurate, in a way.

Yes, to me everything is connected.

That thing you said to me just now reminds me of that insult from 32 days ago at 6:33 PM, which, come to think about it, sounds an awful lot like what you said in argument number 212 which you said you’d never say again! Oh and your behavior on six different occasions supports it, especially from April 17th, June 22nd, and September 6th. Just TRY to defend yourself or talk your way out of this one!

Or, another example: I need to buy cat food, which reminds me we’re low on cat litter as well, and I need to clean the litter boxes even though you said you would just like that time you said you’d do the dishes and didn’t — which reminds me, I need to buy dish soap and a sponge. I’m still annoyed that that sponge scratched up my truck so badly. Weren’t you supposed to help me find a way to buff that out? You always forget. You said we’d go to dinner last week and we never did. Hell, I gave you a six month anniversary gift and you never gave me one. It’s over a year later! I need to start thinking about Christmas gift ideas. Ugh my bank account is already in pain. But what would he want? He still hasn’t used the dart board I got him last year. What did he even get me? I hate the holidays.

If I had to guess what men think like, I’d basically compartmentalize all that…and probably leave a lot out:

I need to buy cat food. Oh, and we’re low on cat litter as well. I think we need something else. Hand soap? Maybe? I also need to clean the litter boxes before she starts nagging. Oh, and I need to help her with her truck before I have to hear about that, too. Shit, I promised her dinner as well. Maybe she’ll forget? With all the money I’ve spent on dinner I could’ve done so much to my truck.

Women may overburden themselves with so many tangential thoughts, but without some of those connections, things would be forgotten. Also, a lot of our thinking is tied to emotion (because strong emotion makes things memorable). I’m not saying we’re irrational; I can be logical to a fault. But I think men tend to separate thoughts from associated emotions. Emotion connects things. Remove the emotion, and you can sort things neatly into boxes.

Bottom line: emotion = spaghetti.

Multitasking

Just tonight Dave and I had a “discussion” in which he criticized women for overthinking everything, but then said that’s just what we do. I replied that men don’t think at all…which is why women have to overthink. He disagreed.

But I believe the way we think (and even overthink) has to do with our ability to multitask. If everything wasn’t interconnected and our thoughts weren’t divided between 20 things at once, we wouldn’t be able to juggle doing 20 things at once.

Subtlety

I can drop 20 hints in a day and Dave still won’t have any idea what I want or am trying to say. Women want to be subtle so as not to be seen as nagging. We think if we causally mention something or give you clues, maybe it’ll act as a subliminal message and you guys will somehow magically come to the conclusion yourselves.

Yes, I have successfully “planted seeds” with guys, but that mostly involves me mentioning something only once, in such a persuasive and innocuous way, that it’ll worm its way into his brain and sprout days or weeks later as his own idea. I just have to cross my fingers and hope it works.

Venting Versus “Fixing”

I once dated an engineer. At the same time, I was going through some really tough stuff at home (like my mom going to prison and dealing with my grandparents trying to control me). I would try to talk to him about what was bothering me (he told me to tell him about what was going on with me because he “read that’s what girls like.” Gee, thanks…), but instead of just listening and being supportive, he’d try to tell me how to stand up to my grandparents. I remember specifically one incident when my grandmother, after my grandfather had been badgering me to ask for more hours at work, went in and talked to my supervisor herself. I was livid. I was so mad I went home and called her to “ask” her about it. She said he came up to her and started talking about it…which smelled like bullshit to me.

Quotes from my journal that day:

“Ben called and I was talking about Gramma’s bullshit earlier and he just doesn’t understand why it pissed me off so much. He doesn’t see what was wrong about what she did. It’s so frustrating when someone hasn’t been in your situation and yet tries to give you advice. And it’s even worse when they suggest that you’re overreacting or aren’t reacting appropriately. Like I said, I don’t want to be fixed. I just want someone to listen and I don’t want to be told it can’t really be that bad. It is. Stop telling me it’s not. Sometimes I feel like I should just keep my complaints about them to myself (venting only to you [my mom], someone who understands), but then he asks me how I am, what’s going on with me, what’s wrong, and so on, and expects me to complain. But when I do, he tells me it’s not really that bad. Also, I don’t want to have to censor myself.”

And:

“When I said Gramma had just lied to me, Ben was like, well old people have a different perspective on things. He said maybe Tony [my supervisor] said hi to her so they started talking. I told him Tony said Gramma approached him. Also, for Gramma to say that Tony struck up a conversation is odd because Tony doesn’t know she’s my grandmother. So why would he suddenly start talking to her about me? Think your lies through, people! I’m sorry. I know this is stupid but it really irritates me. It bugs me what Gramma did and it irks me that Ben seems to think I’m being too hard on them. No one but you will ever know what I’m going through so I should stop trying to explain it to them.”

While looking for that I also found this:

“I was talking to Ben and he was going through my schedule with me and trying to suggest ways for me to get more sleep, have more time, etc. Guys like to fix things – but it doesn’t help for him to tell me “maybe less TV time” because I’m up until midnight most nights. I get done with schoolwork around ten and I want to write and relax for a bit, you know? (Also, he skyped with me until after midnight last night.) And he didn’t seem to understand why I get up so early, but you know I like a leisurely morning. I told him I get chores done and do my prayers. I appreciate that he wants to help and that he’s taking the practical guy (and engineer) approach to this, but it actually just stressed me more because it started to sound like a lecture. I have my routine and it’s not changing. It’s after nine right now and I still need to walk Milo and then I’m going to watch TV for an hour while I have ice cream and then I’ll easily spend half an hour or more writing. I deserve this time to myself, right? I work hard all day long and then I want to unwind and it pisses me off when people write off the importance of “‘me-time’.”

Yeah, don’t dismiss my me-time. I used to have a bowl of ice cream literally every night while I watched TV/browsed the interwebs/wrote. It was my time to decompress.

Anyway, I thought maybe it was an engineer thing, always wanting to “fix” problems, but I’ve realized since then that it’s just a guy thing. Maybe it makes them feel useful?

But really, often a woman just wants to vent. She wants validation, not a solution. She wants you to hold her after a rough day at work, not tell her to stand up to her boss. She wants you to nod when she complains about her dumb colleague, not explain how she should handle it. She wants you to tell her she’s right and that her friend was inconsiderate for canceling last minute or not returning a text — again! — not explain away her actions. We’re strong, smart people. We can figure things out ourselves. We can take care of ourselves.

Still not sure whether we really want your help? Here’s a hint: if we want it, we’ll ask for it.

What We Do with Our Friends

This is kind of that same vein. For some reason Dave is convinced that whenever my one bestie and I decide to hang out, that we’re going to go to a bar, hit on guys and be hit on, and get shitfaced.

We’ve never done this. Ever. The one time we did go to a bar, Dave was with us.

He’s also convinced that all we do (and all I talk about with her) is bashing him. No, we have lives, thanks. My existence is more than my relationship with you. Shocking, I know.

However, when we do talk about the men in our life, and even when it’s negative, it’s not what you think.

As I said above, we like to vent. Just vent. Not seek advice. My bestie has confirmed this.

All I want is for my friend to agree that you were an asshole, or acknowledge that I’m rightfully upset…basically validate me so I know I’m not just overreacting (because we get told so often by men that we are).

Here’s the difference: I vent to my friend and she tells me I deserve better and I agree. But she’s not going to judge me when I don’t leave Dave.

Dave’s friend once, out of the blue, told him to “ditch the bitch” and go south (me being the bitch, obviously). One, Dave wasn’t even complaining — he had just told him I was going to RPI on a full ride with a job. Two, you don’t just randomly bitch about your “best friend’s” girlfriend. Three, you don’t randomly tell him to leave her. Four, you don’t call her a bitch.

Five, Dave, you don’t let him talk about me like that!

Female friends know it’s not their place. If they feel really strongly, they’ll find a way to communicate it without being a dick. And if they speak up, it’s because you were already upset and probably want to feel better about how much you’re pissed at him right now.

When my best friend started seeing a guy I had misgivings about, given the situation, I gave her a gentle warning, saying I hoped she didn’t get hurt and maybe even saying what I would do, not what she should do.

Women get that we just seek validation, not solutions. Men think we want to be “fixed.”

Being Independent

Still going with the same idea, I feel that some men expect women to be very dependent, always wanting a man’s support or company, when women are happy to be independent. As I said, we’re strong and smart…and don’t need a male counterpart.

Women don’t need men. I mean, if we want kids, ultimately we require a male’s donation, but we don’t need a man to get by.

Let me also note that I realize some men would rather be with a woman over a man. I’m not ignoring y’all, but this post is about what men don’t understand about women. You’re females. Hopefully you understand us. You got this.

I’m mostly with Dave for a best friend. Someone I can tell anything to. Someone I can let see me at my worst. Someone I don’t have to fear judgment with. Yes, I have this with my besties, but with an SO it goes farther. Dave sees me at my day-to-day self.

Yes, it’s nice to share a bed so we can cuddle and whatnot, but that’s more of a benefit.

The only problem is that I have to train him to respond like a female.

Shopping

For the longest time, I hated shopping. At the very least, I had little to no interest in it. Yes, after my horseback riding lessons my mom would take us to Crossgates to wander around, but it was mostly for Nate to get a pretzel and )maybe for me to get a smoothie?). As we got older, Nate hated being brought along on clothes-shopping-oriented trips to the mall.

But as I got older I realized that taking a friend along was fun. So began the phenomenon of shopping-and-bonding.

If asked (by a male for certain, and possibly by a female) whether or not he enjoys going shopping with me, Dave would probably say no. However, for our second date we went Black Friday shopping (he bought me jeans), he’s told me I need a new purse, he’s bought me Victoria’s Secret gift cards (and of course goes with me when I spend that), and he’s justified a lot of purchases I’ve made so I don’t feel guilty about spending on myself.

So despite his supposed aversion to shopping with me, he doesn’t really seem to mind it that much. (I’m pretty sure he secretly loves the domesticity of grocery shopping.) I mean, he bitches every time I go into this one shoe store (my aunt keeps giving me gift cards to it even though I can never find anything I like), groans when I go into Old Navy or Forever 21 (to try to spend gift cards) and hates when I head for JC Penney because he knows I’ll “look at a lot and not like any of it”…but he’s okay with Victoria’s Secret (go figure).

Yet recently he actually led me into Bath & Body Works…which he usually hates.

The point here is that men either actually hate shopping with their female counterparts or, probably to reassert their masculinity to themselves (and all males around them), roll eyes and voice complaints about being dragged along for shopping when they really don’t mind it or even — gasp — like it. The long-suffering boyfriend is a well-known stereotype.

And why is this? I’m going to hazard a guess that guys just don’t get shopping. Yes, they’ll grudgingly run to the supermarket when they run out of food and when every pair of pants is too holey for church (get it?), maybe they’ll make a trip to get a new pair or two…if their girlfriend or mom doesn’t do it for them first. (Dave only buys jeans on Black Friday, so…once a year.)

But with women, shopping is a freaking event. It’s a thing we actually plan to do with our female friends. It’s a bonding experience…perhaps like guys playing video games? (I admit, that’s one thing I, and I’m sure other women, don’t get about guys: the gaming obsession.)

But for women it is a chance to stroll and chat and accomplish something — plus they’re there for input (or moral support when you suddenly feel like a fatass).

Like I said above, women aren’t afraid to compliment other women, plus we trust our besties to be honest when something just isn’t working on us. I’m pretty sure Dave would be uncomfortable shopping with a guy friend and sending him selfies asking how these jeans made his ass look.

However, when Dave and I shop, I hope he appreciates my input on what would look good on him (if anything, I tuck it away as a gift idea…there I am connecting everything).

Plus it’s a reason for women to vent about body image issues and reassure each other. Sure, I could bring up how I feel like an elephant and I could share clothes over a meal, but it’s more relevant (and necessary for support) during clothes shopping.

Plus I’m pretty sure guys don’t care about shoes. Dave just needs one pair of reliable boots and he’s good. I mean, I really only need a pair of flip-flops and a pair of boots and I’m good, but I have a huge collection of other shoes I rarely wear…because I liked them.

Anyway, maybe our obsession with shopping — again — has something to do with the pressure to look good. The media puts a lot of pressure on women to look good, but I don’t feel that men are as heavily targeted. And if you thin about it, most clothing stores are geared toward women, with a minimal men’s section. We’re raised to shop. We’re bred into this.

So while men are content to wear their small selection of holey jeans, ratty T-shirts, and (one pair of) years-old shoes, women feel like they have to have a large wardrobe so they can always dress their best and impress others.

I have lots of clothes. But I only wear a few outfits because I’m too damn lazy. I feel like I’m an outlier or an exception to lots of things here, but I still get it on some level.

Anyway, I feel that it’s the opposite of nature. In nature, males are all flashy and fancy and colorful to attract females, who are usually dull and boring. With humans, females are supposed to be all dressed up and flaunting it while males…apply minimal effort.

I’d like to note, in case I’m pissing anyone off, that I’m going based on hetero males and females, because this post is about things men don’t understand about women, and I’m getting my info from my relationships. And yes, there are well-dressed straight guys, but I’m with — sigh — Dave, so that’s what I know. And I’ve gone through periods where men’s clothes were the shit — they still are because they have nice, deep pockets, but the shorts are too long and the pants are too baggy for me now…even though I’m about to cave and buy men’s camo pants because I hate skinny jeans and that’s all women have for camo. Anyway, I’ve been through my not-caring phase and now, even though I don’t care a lot, I do care some about fashion.

Engagement

So I dared to ask Dave about this one — not in reference to me, of course — but why do guys feel so differently about getting engaged than girls? Yes, I realize not all women aspire to engagement and have their weddings planned before they’re ten (okay, I was 19 before I really started thinking about getting married) and can’t wait for the day they get engaged.

But I feel like many — enough — do that it’s still a subject of uncertainty for men.

Women tend to be like “OMG I want to get engaged!”

Despite what Dave thinks, I’m not like that. I’d rather never get married than marry the wrong person. He thinks I was pestering him about buying me a ring, but really I saw him spending money on lots of things for himself when he had told me he was saving for a ring, and I was hurt.

Anyway, his answer was that the wedding is really about the woman and it’s really up to her.

But after thinking about that, I realized that was about the wedding, not getting engaged. So I revised my question.

He said getting engaged is just more headache and stress and the man is “just like yeah fuck you” and the woman gets crazy about wedding planning. Because wedding planning starts right after engagement.

Not necessarily…anyway, it’s a good thing we probably won’t make it there…even though he thinks we will.

But again I’m going to guess that, for any women who hope to get married and have a family, getting engaged is an important step and event in her life. It’s not about the ring (although if you can drop $10,000 into your truck over two years you can buy me a decent ring — Dave said I was starting bullshit with this observation); it’s not about everyone else we know doing it (and no, its not really “everyone,” clearly); it’s not even about planning a wedding. I want to be engaged to feel even more confident in our relationship and to know that THIS is the guy I’m going to be with and I can quit looking or waiting and I’m getting my life underway. I like to have as many aspects of my future nailed down as I can.

Not that anything is really certain. Not that people don’t cheat and get divorced and whatnot, but still…I don’t want kids right now, but I could handle being engaged or even married.

And of course it’s a big deal to women…you don’t hear about that many women proposing to their man, now do you? (I mean, my aunt did suggest this to me, but I told her Dave was saving up — about a week before I found out he wasn’t saving up.) Women are supposed to just wait around for their man to decide their truck (or whatever it may be) isn’t that important for a bit and save up for a ring…and then wait for him to plan (and execute!) the proposal.

We women, if we want it done traditionally, have no control over the whole thing. And if we’re really traditional, then we have no idea he’s even planning on proposing. (Clearly Dave and I have discussed it, much to my chagrin.)

Can you blame us for being a bit antsy? We’re actually trusting you to pick out a ring we’ll like and relying on you to actually plan a proposal — and then go through with it!

I guess we just have little confidence in men to shop and spend (when we know they hate that), plan something (when we know they’re bad at that), and actually carry it out.

So you just need a bit of nudging.

Or we move on with our lives…

Bridezillas

I’ve never been a bride, but I’m a control freak, so maybe I can relate. It’s all about money and deadlines and so I suspect that micromanaging and focusing on the minutest of details might be a bride’s way of escaping from the stress of the larger issues.

Plus, nobody’s thrilled when things don’t go right…especially if you’re paying good money for them to, well, go right.

That’s all I have on that.

 

So you survived what I think men don’t get about women.

Here are some things that I, as a woman, still don’t get about women.

Taking Forever in the Shower

Maybe this is one I agree with men on. Maybe it’s because I camped so much as a young one, but I trained myself to be quick in the shower — under five minutes if I have to (this probably stems from unpleasant camp showers that gave five minutes of lukewarm water for a quarter).

Yes, I take a bit of time because I have a lot of hair to wash and women are required by society to shave most of their body. Still, I’m pretty sure I take less time than Dave, who maybe washes his ever disappearing hair.

I can make excuses to a point ladies, but really…

My aunt can take like an hour, plus another hour (it seems) for makeup. That’s incredible to me. Like should we call Guinness or what?

The Duck Face

Who the hell decided this was attractive? Do you think you look like you’re about to pucker up to kiss someone?

IMG_20160728_165410
This is the only acceptable duckface

I’ve seen my one cousin (plus many other Facebook friends) do the duckface and I just don’t get it.

I tried to take a selfie of me doing it and I just couldn’t. It just looks so stupid.

Fellow femmes: please, have a little self-respect and take good selfies! (And save the nudes for the guy you’re like 99.9% sure you’re going to marry.)

Rompers

Why does anyone think this is cute, much less sexy?

It’s like you sewed your shorts to your shirt, or you couldn’t decide whether you wanted to wear a dress or shorts.

On this note, women’s pants have like no pocket space. I wore men’s shorts for a long time and I loved all the pockets — deep pockets!

I just don’t get the romper trend…or the high-waisted pants/shorts trend. I’m pretty sure you would’ve once been embarrassed by your mom for wearing something like that.

Let’s just say I don’t get women and trends.

Talking in the Bathroom

For some reason, women think it’s totally cool to hold a conversation from the point you enter the bathroom until you leave.

The last thing I want while I’m sitting on a strange toilet is for someone beside me — or worse, a few stalls over — to try to talk to me. If I wanted social hour in the bathroom I’d figure out a urinal.

Women’s Restrooms

In the same vein, I’m always shocked by how dirty/messy/disgusting women’s restrooms are, especially compared to men’s (and I’ve used enough men’s rooms to know). Do we really spend that much more time in our assigned bathrooms to dirty them up so much more?

Supposedly we’re the neat and clean ones. I guess our restrooms pay the price for that facade?

Going Braless

I never understood why women hate their bras so much, or why they love going braless.

Braless translates into nightmare or probable-wardrobe-malfunction for me. I like everything securely held in place. Plus it’s just uncomfortable to have everything swinging freely. Even dresses/tops that really call for foregoing a bra leave me trying to figure out how I can discreetly wear a bra under them.

For years my cousin would be like, “Yeah I didn’t need to wear a bra today,” or “I didn’t want to wear a bra, so I didn’t.” And I’m just like, “I’ve been wearing one literally every day since fourth grade.” Literally. In the correct usage.

Suffice to say I could never be a hippie.

Nail Polish

This may seem like an odd last subject (yes, I said last), but maybe it epitomizes everything I don’t get about women (and probably a good chunk of what guys don’t get). I haven’t chosen to wear nail polish in years. Last year my bestie wanted to paint my nails, so I let her…but within hours it had chipped and I was peeling it off.

Don’t get me wrong; I enjoy manis and pedis, but nail polish just seems impractical to me.

Why would you either pay money or spend a chunk of time getting your nails done (I’ve known the struggle of using a bathroom with wet nail polish) when it’s just going to chip by the end of the day and look like absolute shit by the end of…day three? It’s been a while.

Many things women do just seem so impractical, unnecessary, inconvenient, and just odd…if I can’t understand them in their entirety…how can we expect men to understand us at all?

 

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The Lost Nine

Quick note: I started this in early August, so timeframes may seem off. 

It’s been a hell of a week. Actually, let me change that to: it’s been a hellweek.

First of all, with the end of July and the beginning of August happening, my stress levels about starting at RPI have increased daily. Then on Monday while I was driving home from RPI (to get my ID and parking permit), my engine started smoking on the Thruway and I had to be towed. The garage said it looked like I had mud in my coolant tank. I still haven’t heard what exactly is wrong with my car.

Update since I started this: I blew a head gasket, which is an $1800 fix, which isn’t worth it when the subframe is already badly rusted…so I need a new car.

But that’s not the worst of it.

I guess I’ll warn you here that this is going to be a heavy post. It’s not just serious, but actually sad and disturbing (at least to me). There’s a point to it though. Just bear with me.

In April my cat Storm had her first litter of kittens. Two teenie weenie bambinis that I named Thunder and Lightning and somehow got to keep.

She quickly got pregnant again (thanks to our other cats Niles and Mittens), and after about two months she looked like she was ready to explode. She was ginormous. But she was unusually distant and calm, even the night before. Dave and I hoped for only three or four kittens.

She had nine.

The entire experience was horrifying.

We woke up at six AM on July 27th to mewing, and I spotted a lone kitten crossing the room. I jumped out of bed and returned it to Storm, who was under the bed with two other kittens.

Dave and I tried to get back to sleep, but three kittens mewing right under us kept us up. (Warning: it’s about to get disturbing.) Around seven I heard my phone fall to the floor, so I figured it was Thunder or Lightning playing.

It was. Thunder was playing…with a dead kitten. He had its entire head in his mouth and I jumped out of bed again crying and yelling at him and eventually I threw him downstairs. Dave tried to calm me down but I was traumatized. He (and many others) tried to tell me it had been a stillbirth and so Storm had neglected it.

Apparently stillbirths are common. When I was a kid and my cat Ivy had her five litters, Mom always removed the ones that didn’t make it so Nate and I wouldn’t have to see, so I mistakenly thought it was a rare thing.

But I knew it was the calico I had seen moving around earlier that morning.

And I was mad at Thunder for doing it and mad at Storm for letting him.

Dave took care of (and by “took care of,” I mean buried) the one kitten when he left for work and I tried to get back to sleep, but the remaining kittens kept making noise and Storm wasn’t attending to them. It sounded like they were up in the bed, so around nine I gave up on sleep and went to find them for her. There were three more, which I put in a cat bed for her. I looked away for two seconds and a fourth had appeared. She immediately started cleaning it and all seemed well.

I went for a walk, and when I returned, she had moved them not under, but into the couch. So I had no idea if she had had any more.

We dared to let Thunder and Lightning upstairs, and they seemed okay. They went under the couch, as did Storm, but we kept hearing the kittens mew, so we knew they were at least alive.

I was still scarred from this morning, but we had four little ones left.

I woke up the next morning to another dead kitten on the floor. It had been dragged out of the couch. It was also silent in the room, even though Storm wasn’t up there. So I knew they weren’t quiet because they were feeding, and for all three to be sleeping at once for an extended period?

I took care of the one kitten and then brought Storm upstairs to see if I could get her to take care of her kittens. I tried to push her under the couch, but she just sniffed something and walked away. Fearing what I would see, I dared to look.

Another one. Its face was bloody. I couldn’t make myself touch another lifeless kitten, so I stayed out of our room until Dave got home. He took care of the one and then went searching in the couch for the other two…which were also dead.

I knew for a fact they all hadn’t been stillbirths, so either something was wrong with them or Storm wasn’t caring for them…perhaps because she knew something wasn’t right with them. But it didn’t really matter, I guess.

Of course I had been crying a lot the past few days, but at least it was over. Yes, I was upset that none had survived, but I wouldn’t have to wake up to another dead kitten.

The next morning I woke up and heard mewing. I was like, “What the hell?” And then I looked and saw another dead kitten right next to the bed. This time Lightning and even Niles were tossing it about, playing with the body.

This was definitely going to traumatize me. I saw so many things this past week that I’d give anything to unsee.

I went to rescue the one I heard mewing…and found another dead one. WHAT THE HELL WAS GOING ON. IT WAS NEVER FUCKING ENDING. I put Storm in a cat carrier with this one. I was going to make her care for this one.

Again I stayed out of our room because one dead kitten a day is my limit. Dave took care of the one kitten while I went out. Before I got home, another fucking dead kitten had found its way out from under the couch (needless to say, the couch is going).

So Storm had nine kittens, eight of which had died. It was a bloody nightmare for me.

But I had salvaged one, and dammit, this one was going to make it!

My aunt lent us a dog crate, some blankets, a water dish I could hook to the side of the crate (so the baby didn’t drown), and a very small litter box, as well as hooked me up with wet and dry food (she works at an animal shelter). This way I could leave Storm with the baby without feeling bad about her not having access to food/water/a litter box. And we named the kitten Butter/Survivor/Signum (my aunt liked Butter because of his color, Dave liked Survivor because he was the only one left, and I liked Signum because it means “sign” in Latin, like a sign from God that this little guy was special — plus it was a bit more subtle and less clumsy than “Survivor”).

At least we’d save one. And at least, I told Dave, I hadn’t yet had any nightmares about dead kittens. It’s the little things.

And so again, we felt that the hideous part of all this was behind us. We could breathe easy…except I was losing sleep over the eight that hadn’t survived and I went to bed anxious about what tomorrow would bring. Three mornings in a row of waking up to lifeless kittens will make you a little…apprehensive.

However, I was happy that I woke up to mewing for the next three mornings.

Monday (August 1st, day my car broke down) started just fine. Butter was crying loudly for Storm and she was responding and tending to him.

By evening, though, Storm seemed stressed and didn’t have any interest in Butter. I had been checking up on him every few minutes it seemed (and wondered how people take care of babies), and I noticed his cries had become softer, then turned into groans, then he eventually went silent. He was also moving around less, and his movements seemed slow. He just seemed weak.

I tried to get Storm to nurse him, but she complained any time I put her in the crate and wouldn’t sit still so he could. Thinking maybe she just didn’t like the crate, we booted the other cats downstairs and let her out and left the crate open (we had been keeping it shut so she wouldn’t move him anywhere weird and possibly forget about him). Dave kept telling me it would be fine and to keep my chin up.

But Storm just kept putting Butter in a corner and leaving him there. When I picked him up to move him back to the cat bed, he was cold. I had had a sinking feeling for a while, but this confirmed my fears.

I tried to make him nurse, and he was too weak to even suckle. And that, to me, was the final nail in the coffin (pardon the metaphor). If he was too weak to feed, then he wasn’t going to make it.

Around this point Dave began losing hope too. Still, he went and microwaved a sock to wrap Butter in, thinking if we warmed him up he might liven up.

His condition didn’t improve, and Storm seemed pretty much done with him. Dave and I were both crying on and off. I held Butter close and stroked his tiny head telling him he was okay over and over. I don’t know why; I’m sure his barely unfolded ears could hear yet and I knew he wasn’t okay and that he wasn’t going to be okay.

But what was I going to do? I knew he wasn’t going to make it. But was I supposed to tell him — tell myself — that he was going to die, probably before morning?

I didn’t want to go to bed. I was ready to stay up all night with him. I wasn’t about to set him down, acting like I was going to hope for the best when I knew the “best” meant he hopefully wouldn’t suffer as he died. How could I leave my little munchkin when I knew that these were his last hours and that I was the one honored with spending them with him?

I wasn’t about to set him down in the cat bed, turn out the lights, and snuggle down in my blankets while this innocent little kitten’s last little bit of life was drained from him. I couldn’t just let nature have its way while I slept, warm, well fed, and with someone to cuddle me.

Dave somehow convinced me that letting Storm take him downtairs might make some difference. Somehow it would revive him, give him back his voice, let him remind her that he needed her…and she would care for him and all would be okay.

So we brought the other cats upstairs and let her carry him down. She set him behind a chair and lay with him…for a few minutes. Then she was roaming around again.

But at least, I told myself, that if she was downstairs and I was upstairs, I wouldn’t know she wasn’t caring for him. Somehow that logic allowed me to eventually fall asleep…but with a very bad feeling.

The next morning Dave checked on Butter. He hadn’t made it. So we buried the last of the kittens.

In the nights following I was still anxious about going to bed, fearing I’d be in for another morbid surprise. (I’ve had a number of dreams involving the kittens over the past few nights.) Even though the kittens were gone, it was finally over, there was still a heavy, somber air hanging around.

It was hard to look at Storm, at Thunder and Lightning, at the cursed couch, at the now-empty crate. It was a few days before I could even think about cleaning it out and breaking it down.

It was hard to tell my aunt about it, because she was rooting for Butter as much as I was.

So now it’s been two weeks since the last kitten passed. It still bothers me to think about, but not to the point where I break down crying.

And to add to my sadness, this past Sunday our semi-feral cat, Paws, was hit by a motorcycle and died. He wasn’t technically mine, but Dave’s mom’s, but I had been feeding him since she left last November.

So we buried ten cats in about two weeks.

Coincidentally, Sunday, August 14th, was the one year anniversary of me bringing home Storm and Niles.

Anyway, so why am I telling you this sad story?

A couple reasons, actually. Since the first day of kittens, I’ve been trying to extract lessons, look for miracles, and make sense of it all.

As you all know, I have an addiction to cats and I’m also very much a pessimist. So this was incredibly hard for me, but I managed to sift through the shit and polish a few turds. I call them “small miracles.”

Storm is okay. She didn’t experience any complications during labor or birth, except for the fact that it took three days to empty herself of kittens. My baby girl is okay, and friendlier than she’s been in a while. While pregnant she was distant and was mostly found sleeping (it couldn’t have been easy carrying nine babies).

While I was devastated by what happened to the kittens, and I fought to save Butter, it’s not like I had a lot of time to establish a true bond with any of them — they never even got to see my face. However, I’ve had Storm over a year now and love her very much. I’d be even more heartbroken if something had happened to her during the pregnancy or delivery.

Also, this makes me appreciate Thunder and Lightning all the more. Really it makes me realize and appreciate how fragile life really is, especially in nature –and by that I mean basically in any species but humans, because we have so much medical intervention during pregnancy and childbirth. Well, I suppose our genus was here for quite a while before we got to this level of medicine and technology…

Anyway, it’s amazing that any of us (species) have made it. Thunder and Lightning were born just fine, Storm was a good mother to them, and they’re healthy, if not a bit mischievous.

It’s also amazing to look back at pictures from the day they were born, when they looked like little hairballs smaller than a mouse. Now they’re miniature “real” cats.

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From this…

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…to this…

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…to this

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This is Thunder
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And this is Lightning

So many emotions right now. Yes, this was mostly an excuse to post pictures of my cats.

As I was writing this, I read something that was basically a parent of a human complaining that furbabies are not a thing and pet owners need to stop calling themselves “parents.”

I’m not going to respond to this here…but I plan to in another post.

Speaking of appreciating life, which I meant in the sense of how fragile, complex, and amazing it is, we also shouldn’t take it for granted. Sunday Dave kept saying that he had taken Paws’s meows for granted, that he should have pet him more often. It’s easy to fall into the thinking that “They’re here today and they’ll be here tomorrow.” Well, maybe not. Enjoy every minute you have with someone (or a pet). You never know when they’ll be taken from you. No matter how busy you are, take time to appreciate others in your life.

There was one more upside to this. Dave and I had been arguing a lot the past couple weeks, but this forced us to get our shit together and support each other. There’s nothing funny about dead kittens, but somehow we were able to make each other laugh even when we wanted to cry.

Like when Dave wanted to warm up a sock for Butter. He asked me, completely seriously, “Can you microwave a sock?” Like he thought something horrible might happen if he did. I burst out laughing because I couldn’t imagine why you wouldn’t be able to safely microwave a sock. As far as I know, socks are not a leading cause of microwave malfunctions.

So there was that. For a bit we put aside our issues and just had each others’ backs. And he even started casually mentioning us having kids.

So those were the happy gleanings. Here are the ones I’m still struggling with.

Life really is not fair. I mean, I can look at my own life and say it’s not fair, but I’m a 22-year-old human with higher cognitive functioning who knows I have flaws and who’s made mistakes and done wrong. But whatever did a newborn kitten, whose whole existence is sleep or crying out for Mamacat for milk, do to deserve the fate they got?

I’ve been trying to make sense of it, to figure out why.

My mom wrote this to me

“I am so sorry…I know what has happened to the kitten is more than sad. It’s traumatic and incredibly painful. It also causes a person to wonder why and think about life. April, I am really sorry.

When we were kids Gramma was so upset when things like that happened, and when I thought about it, it happened a lot. Katie had guinea pigs that had a litter with one very deformed baby an the parents killed the whole litter. There was more than one litter of mini bunnies where the mother just acted like the bunnies did not exist, and one litter where the parents just killed them all. I don’t get it. The important thing is that you don’t blame yourself.  You had no control.”

It made me cry, because it churned up all the questions and thoughts I was trying to suppress. It was bad enough that the kittens hadn’t made it, but then to add that question of “Why?”

Why? How is this fair? Why would God do that? They were innocent little kittens! They were too young to even cause trouble! It made me angry and sad at the same time.

I still haven’t made sense of it. I tell myself (and many others have told me) that Storm probably knew something we didn’t, she had to know something was wrong. She showed me she could be a good mother before. The whole pregnancy seemed odd.

But that doesn’t answer why it happened the way it did. Why bring nine kittens into the world just to have them all die?

It also pains me terribly to think of how Storm must have felt (I believe animals have feelings; if you disagree, keep it to yourself for now). She carried and delivered nine babies, and none of them made it. We could tell she was stressed near the end with Butter. How much did it hurt her to know something was wrong and that they wouldn’t even live to open their eyes?

Dave and I both noticed that after Butter died, Storm suddenly started treating Thunder and Lightning like she had when they were only weeks old. She’d claw at the door meowing loudly to be let up, and would then meow constantly as if searching for them. She’s been cleaning them a lot more and has even started nursing them.

We want her to dry up so we can get her fixed, but I decided it wouldn’t hurt to let her nurse for a bit, in case it helps her cope with the loss. I don’t know.

The other night she was in the room meowing and Dave said she was “looking for kittens that weren’t there.” He insists he meant Thunder and Lightning, but I took it as the nine she lost. It just made me cry. As my aunt said, we don’t know how much she’s hurting.

I just hope I can help comfort her.

And another unfortunate lesson, which my mom pointed out: I had no control.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned that I’m a control freak. I like to have a firm grasp on what’s going on, with nothing out of my hands.

Here I did feel like it was my fault, like I hadn’t done enough. But even when I tried to force Storm to bond with Butter and closed her in with him, I still couldn’t force her to nurse. I couldn’t be watching her 24/7 to make sure he was getting fed. Even if I went the route of bottle feeding him, feedings every two hours would have been difficult to manage.

There’s a reason I don’t have kids of my own yet. Not ready for that.

Rationally I tell myself there wasn’t anything more I could’ve done. I was trying my best, but I’m just one human. I can’t stand in nature’s way. What’s going to happen will happen. I’m not a fan of “it is what it is” if I have any control over the situation, but if I have no control, then I have to accept it…which is still hard. Emotionally I tell myself I should’ve done something sooner. I could’ve figured something out. It’s my fault. I didn’t try hard enough. If I had, they might have survived.

Irrational as it may sound, the lives of each of those tiny kittens meant as much to me as the lives of my other cats. No, I didn’t have the bond with them that I do with Mittens, Niles, Storm, Thunder, Lightning, or even Paws, but they were still living creatures. Their lives still meant something, even if only to me.

So in the midst of arguing over which color lives matter (interesting that we don’t hear much about that all of a sudden; give any issue two weeks in America and we stop caring), we really do need to stop and realize that all lives matter. No, it’s not a slight against any one group. I’m not saying all lives matter to trivialize the black community’s struggle.

I’m saying all lives matter because we should care about each and every life. We should appreciate all life. Be it your mom, your best friend, the cashier at the supermarket, the man ahead of you in line, your dog that you’ve had for ten years, or a newborn kitten, it’s all life, and it all matters.

So maybe that’s why the tragedy of these kittens hit me so hard. These innocent little kittens didn’t even get to open their eyes and experience the world. I had no attachment to them, no real stake in their survival, but they were living creatures and that was enough reason for me to care.

 

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Blaming Culture

This post’s topic was Dave’s choice. I had a list for him to pick from because I couldn’t make up my damn mind.

So here we go.

This was inspired by something I read the other day about us evil millennials: Despite The Hype, Fewer Millennials Are Having Sex Than Predecessors

This doesn’t actually have anything to do with this post, except that it used the term “hookup culture,” a term I’d heard many times before, and pretty much dismissed. (In fact, as the title suggests, we Millennials are having less sex, which calls into question exactly what this “hookup culture” is doing for us.)

But after writing about the Stanford rape case (Respect and Justice), which used the term “drinking culture,” I believe, and hearing so much about “rape culture,” well…maybe you can see the pattern?

No, it doesn’t have to do with partying or sex. It has to do with this “culture” bit.

(Ha, as I write this I’m listening to “Karma Chameleon” by Culture Club.)

Now I’m all for coining cute, clever, or simply apt phrases to describe a phenomenon…even if it’s the “phenomenon of depression” or “societal depression” (the only two examples of mine I could think of at the moment).

However, I also don’t like using a term in a blanket way so that it’s not exactly clear what you’re talking about, like “Science.” As I’ve lamented before, people toss around science as an entity, not a discipline. I do it because I’m a scientist, and realize (and appreciate) all the different fields under the label of “science.” I suppose it’s like using “Religion” to make a specific point when there are many different religions. Or “Society,” which I’m guilty of. But I mean the general public, like if you had a truly random sample of, say, 1000 people and the majority of them agreed on one point. The prevailing attitudes of people today.

Make sense?

So these “culture” terms don’t really sit all that well with me. To me it seems more like an empty buzzword than a useful phrase.

But I know how society (there it is again) loves its buzzwords. I don’t remember if I’ve said this before, but I had a physics professor at Siena who said at one point, “DNA” was a buzzword and shampoos were marketed as “containing DNA” like random DNA would somehow help your hair…?

Buzzwords are not a new thing. The term may be new, but the idea is not. (Actually the word “buzzword” came into being around 1965-70, according to dictionary.com, so it’s not all that new.)

Why does it seem empty to me? Well, it lacks any kind of connection. I mean, it takes responsibility out of the question.

Especially in cases like Brock Turner, who blamed “drinking culture” for his rape.

Even so, “rape culture” is all about blaming the victim, not the rapist (yes, people are claiming this is a problem — it is a problem). There is nothing even remotely cultured about rape.

Even “hookup culture” is basically blaming “the culture,” or the Zeitgeist, the popular attitude, the popular mechanism of societal functioning…to justify behavior.

“I slept with 20 guys in a month. I’m not a slut — it’s hookup culture!”

People are so damn sensitive now too that you can’t even say things like “slut” without some feminist screeching at you. That’s beyond the scope of this post though.

But tacking “culture” onto the end of something somehow magically makes it okay and acceptable…like Turner blaming “drinking culture.” No, just because you were drinking and everybody drinks doesn’t make it okay to rape someone!

That’s a major bandwagon argument.

If anything, we’re in a damn scapegoat culture, in which it’s widely accepted to blame your actions on some tenuous social construct.

No, take some responsibility for your actions. It’s your fault, not society’s. That’s all this “culture” business is.

Even rape culture, the only “culture” bit I can sympathize with, is really just the blaming of the victim and exonerating of the rapist, the criminal. When people cite rape culture, it’s like…cool, rape has its own culture now. Yes, rape culture is bad, but let’s just call the rapists out. “This is an example of rape culture!” No. “This is an example of a rapist getting away with no consequences.” Yes. That, to me, is more powerful. Instead of citing some popular phrase, let’s call it what it is.

We’re in a blaming culture. We’re always looking for someone to lay blame on.

If you see culture after something (other than, like, “this, the, that…”) it probably has to do with blaming some bad behavior on society’s attitude toward it.

Maybe this is an issue with societal trends — which culture-blaming itself is. Partying and getting drunk (or high), promiscuity and its results (be it STDs or miniature humans), rape gets you nothing-to-months while white collar crimes get you years…

So maybe the problem is that actions no longer have consequences. Perhaps that’s the overarching trend. Or rather, actions have consequences, but we can always blame them on something else.

So really — and this is what I was getting at the entire time — the real problem is a lack of accountability. That’s really what this “culture” thing is about. I’m sleeping around so much that you’d think I was playing some version of Pokemon go except with STDs? (Gotta catch ’em all!) It’s hookup culture, not an absence of values or using sex to fill some void. I’m partying and drinking so much that my grades suffer? It’s party culture, not the wrong priorities. I got drunk and got into a car accident? It’s drinking culture, not being just plain stupid and irresponsible. A rapist got away with nothing and we blamed the victim? It’s rape culture, not a massive problem with the legal system.

We are really good at blaming things and not taking responsibility, or even identifying the real problem. We’re far more happy to write it off and pin it on something as abstract as “culture.” Because, well, it’s culture. That’s just how it is. If you can’t tell another culture they’re wrong for the way they do things, how can you criticize our various “cultures”?

I admit that I can’t think of other types of “culture,” but I’m sure the phrase could easily be coined in many other settings. College culture? Redneck culture? Senior culture?

Maybe these sound ridiculous, but if you really think about it, blaming your behavior on drinking and everyone else drinking is just as dumb. Nobody can make you do anything (unless it’s a weird at-gunpoint situation), so trying to blame your actions on the fact that people drink and you also felt pressured to drink and succumbed to that pressure…

I just don’t get it.

Dave hates that I don’t sleep. Well, I do, but I sleep most naturally from the hours of two to eleven, or less if I have somewhere to be. Six hours is a good night’s sleep for me. And I manage on that. For days on end. (In fact, six hours or less is good, as is nine or more. But seven to eight hours? It kills me.) I could blame “college culture,” because many college students have odd sleeping schedules and/or work around getting no sleep, but really I know it’s not healthy and it’ll eventually catch up with me and I’ll crash…hard.

But I tend to blame being a college student. Why? It’s easier. It’s just how it is, he wouldn’t understand…

So I understand the tendency to blame…but nocturnal tendencies are a far more innocuous example than rape.

So why do we blame? Well, as I just said, it’s easier. Even with rape culture, it’s easier to point fingers at an attitude than actually amend the legal system.

Blaming is not only easy, but it shifts the blame from “me,” and as long as I’m not under fire, then I don’t really care what harm passing the buck does.

I’ve had a stressful day due to school or whatever. I take it out on Dave. I blame it on school (or whatever)-related stress. Oh, okay, no big deal then.

No, still an issue because my behavior is negatively affecting someone and I’m taking no responsibility for the fact that I’m being a bitch. I’m instead saying stress about school (or whatever) is the reason Dave now feels bad, not my behavior, which is the important intermediary, and the one to blame.

Hopefully this makes sense.

Or Dave is a dick to me, yet calls me a dick, and later tries to explain that it’s because he’s trying to cover up his feelings and he calls me a dick because he’s one so much. Okay, cool, but he’s still not taking responsibility for being mean to me. He’s just explaining why he acts like that toward me.

Culture talk is just blaming without pinpointing the actual issue…which usually has to do with the self. (Or, in the case of rape culture, a much larger entity.)

So I suppose the obvious answer here is for people to be accountable and take responsibility.

But that’s hard. It’s uncomfortable. People don’t like that.

Too damn bad! Grow up and realize that yes, things can be solely your fault. It’s because of your bad decision.

So let’s stop being a society of “culture” blamers, and spend a bit more time examining ourselves and our behavior and the reasons for it. Because I’m reasonably sure that whatever you did was your decision, not society’s.

And if it was somehow society’s choice, then maybe you should consider what an unfortunate pawn you are.

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House Rules

Two weeks ago my grandparents went to a wake for their 92-year-old neighbor. She had been on hospice for a few weeks, but was able to pass away at home as she had wanted. This past week another elderly neighbor had to go to the hospital and came home with an oxygen tank. It made me think of two things: one, I wonder how it make my grandparents feel; they’re not much younger. How does it feel when those near to you in age start passing away or their health starts to decline? Does it bother them? Scare them? Do they just try to ignore it and go about their lives like they’re still 30 and old age is far away?

The second thing was that if I had a loved one on hospice, I don’t think I’d be able to leave their side. I’d want to spend every last minute with them, squeeze every memory out of life with them that I could get. But then I realized that was silly; why wait until death looms around the corner to make the most of every second I have with someone? Just cherish your time together before their time starts to run short. Yes, I’d still be worrying every second, but I’d be able to still live my own life.

On the subject of death, I read recently that alcohol causes seven types of cancer (Alcohol is a direct cause of seven forms of cancer, finds study). Am I concerned? Well, “Prof Dame Sally Davies, the chief medical officer for England, caused a stir by warning women that drinking alcohol could cause breast cancer. She told a parliamentary hearing: ‘Do as I do when I reach for my glass of wine. Think: do I want the glass of wine or do I want to raise my own risk of breast cancer? I take a decision each time I have a glass.'”

If it were me, I’d be reaching for that glass. Everything is going to give me cancer. Everything can kill me. I’m going to die anyway. I might as well live it up until then.

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Sort of relevant…

Which is why, though I hate to admit it — like it actually pains me — I watch Big Brother. It’s a guilty pleasure. Like wine.

For those of you who don’t know what it is, a bunch of people are put in a house for a while and they compete for “safety” and they nominate each other to be voted out and they can veto the nominations and basically one person goes home each week and the last person standing gets $500,000.

Half a million just for putting up with others…and some good strategy.

Oh, and of course there’s three hours of Big Brother After Dark, which is live, unedited Big Brother…you pretty much just watch people live.

And if you want to pay for it, you can watch a 24-hour live feed online.

I didn’t have any idea what it was (in fact, for the longest time I confused it with Modern Family — I feel like I could get into that show) so Dave put it on for us one night and somehow we got hooked. And then he stumbled into After Dark, which I’m not so big on (because really, I don’t care about their day-to-day lives), but I can watch.

Really, the only reality shows I’ve ever liked are Hell’s Kitchen and Masterchef (I love Gordon Ramsay). But those aren’t just drama, but cooking. It’s a high pressure situation…and then you have clashing personalities for drama outside the kitchen (okay, it trickles into the kitchen).

Anyway, here’s a lighter post: life lessons learned from Big Brother. Yes, you can benefit from this even if you don’t watch.

1. Trust No One

In Big Brother, trusting the wrong person can cost you $500,000. Okay, it just loses you an extra half-million. Still, the price and risk of trust are high. It’s like investing in very risky stock; you could make a lot or lose a lot.

The stakes aren’t always so high — or at least not so monetary — in real life, but the emotional cost of trusting the wrong person can be pretty steep (unless you trust your girlfriend to keep your affair a secret from your wife and she doesn’t and then you have to pay a lawyer). Everybody does it, but hopefully we learn from it.

We’ve all been betrayed, but before it happens again, hopefully we watch Big Brother (or read this blog) and realize we should dole out trust more judiciously.

2. People Will Turn on You

An extension of number one, people you thought you were friends with or could trust will turn on you, even unintentionally. They’ll hurt you in some way. Whether it’s simply ignoring your texts (or not visiting before they move away like they said they would) or cheating on you, people you think you can trust will prove you wrong.

Okay, so maybe they don’t abuse your trust, but ignore your friendship. Or whatever.

And I’m not saying it’s everyone.

On Big Brother, supposed “friends” will suddenly get spooked by a rumor or random suspicion and start turning the whole house against you. People you thought you were in an alliance with suddenly want you out and out of nowhere they have another alliance that seemingly includes everyone but you.

Not cool, guys.

3. Alliances Don’t Mean Anything

Another branch off the first two. If I were on Big Brother, my big issue would be these so-called “alliances” we’re forming. Because one, we’re all going to turn against each other anyway once our targets (the non-alliance members) are gone, and two, the alliance can (and does) turn against its own members and form more exclusive alliances.

So, I don’t know, if you have a group of friends (which I don’t, so I’m speculating), then there are probably dynamics in the group that you’re not privy to.

Bottom line: allies aren’t always what they seem (I’ve even been in labs and classes where there’s tension among “friends”). Often people don’t actually have your back, no matter what they say.

3. People Will Use You

On Big Brother, people are often put up as pawns for elimination. Like we really want Jozea to go home, so let’s use Paulie as a pawn because no one will vote him off, so it pretty much guarantees that Jozea goes home (until — surprise — there’s a third nominee).

And sometimes it stresses the person out because they wonder if they can trust the people putting them up and maybe it’s a backdoor and whatnot…

(A backdoor as I understand it is you don’t nominate the person, but wait to put them up after a veto or something so it’s not so obvious you want them gone.)

In real life people use you too — but that’s probably no surprise. Whether it’s for money, sex, revenge, a ride, a place to live, entertainment, or some other benefit. People don’t always have noble intentions.

On that note…

4. Intentions Aren’t Always Clear

And let’s add to this that people flip-flop. A lot. On the show, two people may appear friendly when one is gunning for the other to be gone all along…but then at the last minute decides someone else is more of a threat and suddenly will move mountains to get them out — but their original target is still on the back burner. You know, for next week.

Outside the house it’s much the same. Even in a more innocuous sense. Dave can say it’s his intent to mow the lawn, but that quickly changes and his priority becomes a nap. Or he can flip-flop every few weeks on whether he wants to do landscaping anymore, or what he thinks of a person.

I’m an indecisive person, but that’s more like “Do I want chardonnay or pinot grigio?” or “Do I want another tattoo or another piercing? What kind of tattoo would I want?” or “Do I really want this shirt?” It’s not like I’m making a decision and then recanting and making a contrary one, and it’s not often or regular, and it’s not on something big. Flip-flopping to me would be more like “I hate this person. No, they’re okay. Nope, they’re a dick. Nah, they’re actually not that bad.” It’s a tad more significant than whether to have a second bowl of popcorn and will flip every so often, unlike a smaller decision.

Anyway, people flip-flop…which doesn’t help that their intentions may not be all that clear.

5. People Don’t Mean What They Say

On the show, people pretend to be friends with those they’ll go on to degrade or hate on minute after. I’ve seen people be friendly with one person and then go back to their “alliance” and talk shit or repeat what was said in supposed confidence.

Or they seem to hate each other on the show but on After Dark they’re all friendly. That baffles me more than anything.

Unlike many people, I say what I mean and I mean what I say. If I say something in anger, it was meant to be said, the way it was said. As opposed to Dave, who says things he “doesn’t mean” just to piss me off.

This creates a lot of issues, because he doesn’t think I meant what I said and I believe he does mean what he said.

But really, who in their right mind lies just to piss someone off more? At least get something off your chest if you’re going to piss someone off.

Or else I’ll start thinking that I do no wrong…

6. First Impressions Don’t Matter

Honestly, I say it’s maybe third impressions that matter. If that.

Are they drunk? (My first interaction with Dave.) Are they staring at you the entire time? (Me on our first date — I thought he was really cute!) Are they awkward, or nervous, or offensive…

A first impression is rarely accurate, if you ask me. I’m sure I seemed normal (enough) on our first date, but many “impressions” later, Dave got to see the real me. (And unfortunately I saw the real him.)

Which is why interviews are terrible. Like I’m all nervous and serious — and that’s so not me.

Like Paul this season. At first I liked him; he was energetic and funny. Plus he had an awesome beard, piercings, and nice tattoos. (You can’t kill a girl for noticing a sweet beard and tattoos — Dave should be worried. Just kidding…?)

But then as I watched he was way too outspoken and kind of a dick.

But watching After Dark warmed me up again. He’s not so in-your-face all the time. He’s hooked on making muffins, for Heaven’s sake! So I’m okay with him.

Dave likes him — but maybe that’s a beard-and-tattoo-and-piercing camaraderie thing.

Anyway, it takes a long time to know a person well. Which is why I don’t make new friends and why I’ve settled with Dave; I don’t have to go through the getting-to-know-you stages again (which I kind of hate) and he just accepts I’m going to drink six glasses of wine and then eat every snack I can get my hands on and I get that he’s going to eat an entire box of mini tacos and then serenade me with flatulence for a while.

Love at it’s finest, I guess…

7. People Are Picking You Apart No Matter What

You can’t please everyone. Nobody on Big Brother is safe from criticism. And once they start picking you apart, you’re done for.

No matter where you go or what you do, you’re going to have critics. I hate to say it, but haters gonna hate. If you hate me then you don’t get me. If you got me, you’d love me. (Okay, like me. Alright, not hate me.) If you don’t hate me then you get me.

Do I care either way? No. I’ve been picked apart enough that I just don’t care. Not worth my time.

On an amusing note, when I was putting air in my truck tires, a woman pulled up next to me and said, “I think those guys in the garage have never seen a girl put air in her tires before.” I looked up and they were staring at me.

Still got it.

But seriously, people are always judging. You’re not living their life nor are they living yours. So keep doing what you’re doing. Someone will love you for it.

And then there will always be that person who has to criticize you.

8. People Look for the Worst

Goodness, they do.

And if someone doesn’t want to like you, they will find reasons.

People like to pick others apart and put them down to make them feel better about themselves…or to turn everyone else in the house against someone so they can get rid of a threat.

I mean, yes, when you’re stuck in a house with a number of strangers, you’re going to be able to find the worst more easily. It’ll make itself known.

Either way, people gravitate toward the negative. As I said in a recent post, people remember the negative over the positive. Being mean will stay with someone a lot longer than being nice. Years after the fact, are you going to remember the first date that brought you flowers or the one who “forgot” his wallet?

Even if you try to play nice and be innocent, people are either going to see through it or still find faults. Hell, people can be kind to a fault, right? I haven’t liked certain people on Big Brother from the beginning because their “niceness” seemed too artificial. So their negative is being fake.

You can’t win.

9. Your Past Will Be Used Against You

Some houseguests (ew, I’m even using the show’s vernacular) were brought back from previous seasons, and some are related to previous houseguests.

In the beginning, everyone wanted to get the oldies out first. The people who were related to formers were reluctant to divulge this for fear of being grouped with and hated like the oldies (none of whom have been kicked out so far).

It’s really no different from real life. People will use your past to judge you, and because of this, you don’t want to share your story. Which sucks, because you’re not you in the past necessarily, and your story is

+a part of you, not all of you.

But I guess one could also take away that sometimes your past makes you a winner. It makes you smarter. (Depending on the person — I’ll get to this later.)

10. Don’t Make Friends Too Easily

I must admit I’m terrible at making friends. I make it almost as awkward as dating. Like, is it weird to ask for their number? We’ve only known each other three weeks. Can I even call them my friend? Maybe I should wait another month. Maybe they don’t actually like me that much. I’ll keep trying too hard to be funny and interesting and conversational. Am I allowed to add them on Facebook? Is that weird? Now that I have their number, am I actually allowed to text them? How often? About what? Strictly work/school related stuff or just to chat? Do people text just to talk? (I only really text Dave to talk throughout the day.) What if I suggest meeting up sometime? Do they really like me that much? Like that? Like are we really friends? Do they even want another friend? Maybe we’ve just been coworkers/classmates this entire time and I’ve got this all wrong and they only wanted help with that one homework assignment three months ago. How do people become best friends?

So yeah. That’s me. (So if I seem reluctant to talk/text/hang out, this is why.)

On the opposite end of the spectrum, there are the people who declare you a bestie when you’ve barely texted, never even hung out, and really only know each other in a classroom/workplace setting. (This has happened to me.)

I suppose I have lots of people who are somewhere between acquaintance and friend, a few friends, and then a couple people who are best friends. And the reasons they’re friends differ, if that makes sense. Like Dave is a best friend by default. I’m friends with some people because they consider me a friend or best friend (usually due to the things we talk about). But I usually let the other person take care of the label. Like one night I was hanging out with a friend (or maybe we were at work?) and she called me her best friend and I was like cool, I like that. I approve. Or my cousin said yeah, of course we’re friends. I accept that title.

Anyway, people who are desperate for friends (which one might think I am, since I have so few close friends) tend to make that leap into friendship, alliance, and deeming others trustworthy way more easily. Maybe way too easily?

I’ve watched many such friendships arise on Big Brother. I must wonder if it’s a product of the situation — but then these people are crying when their friend leaves. How do people establish meaningful friendships that quickly when for me it takes months?

Like if I trapped a bunch of people in an enclosed space with me over a period of time, would some of them eventually befriend me? (I actually once wrote a novel about this kind of scenario.)

Anyway, the people who make these hasty relationships usually end up regretting it, because those friends either leave them or turn against them. They’re not friends after all!

It’s the same in real life. Rushing into a friendship can mean you end up trying to relate to someone very different or even offensive to you, and then they want to hang out and you have to try to decline until you find a way out (I’ve found a slow fade works, or “the fizzle”). And then there’s the more difficult situation of  jumping into a relationship and then even further into commitment, like living together and adopting a bunch of cats, and then end up arguing constantly and questioning whether you have a future and then wishing you hadn’t adopted so many fucking cats and that you hadn’t moved so much shit in.

Rushing in any relationship is no good. I’ll leave it at that.

11. People Like to Pretend They’re Good at Reading People

It seems like everyone on Big Brother thinks they can read people like a book. Unlike me, they’ve probably never read a damn thing on the subject nor practiced on people.

I’ve watched many people on Big Brother claim they can read others, and I’ve watched many people claim they know the intentions of someone, or that they knew what they were all about, or that they knew exactly what was going on, and were dead wrong. I’ve also watched people lie, and it’s painfully bad.

People aren’t as good at reading people as they’d like to think. Unless you’ve actually done a bit of learning on the subject, you don’t know know all that much about reading people. It’s not just about whether they smile and seem to like you when they talk to you. There are much subtler signals.

Hell, knowing me for a year and a half hasn’t helped Dave understand me.

And I just laugh when people think they have someone pegged and it turns out that it’s the complete opposite.

12. Don’t Take Things Too Seriously

Of course I have things I take seriously in life. Like school, work, whatever. And then I have things I don’t take so seriously, like being perfect, myself…

In Big Brother, people take the game way too seriously. Like they break down crying because they could be evicted (when they’re just a pawn that no one cares about). Guys, it’s just a game. It’s not life or death. It’s not like if you’re evicted then you’re thrown into a volcano.

Don’t take life too seriously; nobody gets out alive. Could I die from my wine? Sure, but that’s not going to keep me from drinking it.

I could die every time I go out on the road — hell, anytime I go out in public.

I’m not going to lay in my deathbed years from now wishing I had had that glass of wine (even if I have all seven types of cancer) or done that fun thing. Because I’ll have done it. I’m not going to avoid fun now because of the potential repercussions — okay, within reason. Anything that will clearly cause harm or death I won’t do. But I’m not going to swear to never leave my bed so no harm can befall me (and what if a meteor strikes my house and happens to squish me?).

13. You Don’t Always Have Control

In other words, things happen that you don’t know about. As I’ve mentioned, in Big Brother, your “alliance” will meet without you and form a new group and plot to get rid of you.

When the whole house has turned against you, there’s really nothing you can do to save yourself (unless you win the veto — but you’re still pretty much the pariah until they do vote you off, next week).

Sometimes things are just out of your hands, whether it’s because people conspired against you without you (and really, why would they invite you? That would just be awkward) or because you have bad luck or whatever.

As much as I hate this expression (on which I’m planning an upcoming post), sometimes it applies: it is what it is. You just have to let it go and let it happen.

14. Tears Throw People Off

Between the nominations when Tiffany went up on the block, and when she got voted off in a later episode, she was seriously fucking with Da’ Vonne’s scheme. Because she cried a lot. She seemed unstable.

I feel that, in most situations, if you start crying, you’ll get your way. Or at least, people will stop trying to not give you your way.

I know I’m freaked out by tears. When people start crying I’m like “Bloody hell what do I do???”

Crying, in my experience, makes people more willing to do what you want (i.e. appease you) and less likely to do anything that might upset you. Add that to the advantages of perceived emotional instability, and you’ve got it made. But you have to play it just right. If people see you as a loose cannon to the point of being a threat, that’s probably not to your advantage. Seeming unstable is in your favor when people can’t get a good read on you.

You can be predictably unstable — that’s no good. You need to be unpredictably unstable (like, throw in a couple moments of having your shit together), which will give people pause. If you can keep them off balance and uncertain of your game, you can use that to your advantage. Nobody wants to mess around with an unstable person (because mentally and emotionally unstable people are scary, remember) and they definitely don’t want to upset you and/or make you cry. But hey, maybe you’re just an oddball and you’re really okay. Just kind of…out there.

15. History Repeats Itself

All of the returners, and those who had siblings play the game, talked a lot in the first episode (and maybe even after) about the mistakes they made before and how they wouldn’t make the same ones, like Da’ Vonne wasn’t going to open her mouth, Nicole wasn’t going to get involved with anybody, Tiffany wasn’t going to be as emotionally unstable as her sister…

And then they do the same things, make the same mistakes, behave in the same ways that they swore they wouldn’t.

Once a whatever-you-are, always a whatever-you-are. If you feel compelled to speak your mind, you always will. You’re not going to suddenly clam up. If you’re emotional, there’s no changing that. Maybe you could stop yourself from getting involved, but there’s always that thought that, “No, this time it’ll be different.”

If you’ve had a bad past, at least put it to good use. Learn from it. Even if you don’t change anything, you can be more aware.

Did the last time you got involved with someone on Big Brother end up with you being voted off? Yes? Is it a good idea to do it again? Probably not. Yes, it could be different this time around, but I doubt it. When half a million is at stake, why chance it?

Let’s think of it this way too: have you and your boyfriend argued almost constantly the entire time you’ve been together? Yes? Do you really think it’s going to stop or anything is going to change? Probably not. When your happiness is at stake, why stay together?

I proposed this to Dave and he said that there’s no money at stake, so it’s easier to change. Ah, no. If I had to change for a few weeks to get $500,000, it’d be easier than absentmindedly eating an entire bag of chips. I can be nice and friendly for a finite period of time. But as soon as I won I’d be back to being an antisocial asshole.

So basically, people don’t change.

16. Don’t Play Too Hard

Da’ Vonne comes to mind on this one, although I’m sure others have committed the same offense, though perhaps not as severely.

Da’ Vonne has basically played every angle, meaning every person, in the house. She’s conspired with one alliance, confided in another, connived with others…as well as lied, fucked people over, and spread secrets told in confidence.

Some of this is just playing the game. But then there’s playing it too hard, in which you just become a “snake,” which she claims to hate so much.

Playing too hard just ends up backfiring and blowing up in your face and ends up with you as the bad guy. Nobody wants to feel like they’ve been played, but when the whole house realizes they’ve been played by you? You become the number one target.

I suppose this translates to playing or using people in real life. You shouldn’t do it at all, but if you do it too much it’s going to cause you problems.

17. Great Plans Don’t Always Pan Out

Often in Big Brother, people — or one person — will have everything planned out; who they want out, who’s on their side, who will vote for the person they want to leave, who will win the veto or roadkill (in which they choose a third nominee)…they think it’s infallible.

And then it fails.

In life, plans don’t always work out. Even the best of plans go astray. Because people are unpredictable…as is life.

18. Vetoes Aren’t Absolute

I suppose by this I mean that promises mean nothing. (I realize some of these points may be hitting on the same theme.) Someone can completely undermine your decision. You nominate someone to go home, and someone else wins a competition and gets to secretly take down your person and put up their own.

Translated to real life: your voice often means nothing.

This is a pessimistic list.

19. Life is Unexpected

Kind of in the same vein as the two lessons above: little can be planned in life relative to everything that can’t be planned. You think you have a handle on things and life will throw you a curveball. Don’t ever get too comfortable.

20. Life is Funny

And by that I mean it’s funny for the viewers of Big Brother to watch the houseguests plot and scheme and whatnot only to have it either fall through or, better, blow up in their faces.

Or to watch them be completely wrong about a person.

Or, my favorite, to have a previously voted off houseguest return (it’s called “The Battle Back”).

It’s pretty much the lesson of not burning bridges because you may need to get back across or need the person on the other side at some point…or at the very least, you may have to deal with them again.

As my brother once told me after I moved out of my grandparents house and was ready to cut all ties with that side of my family, “You probably shouldn’t cut them completely out of your life. You may need them for money at some point.”

Apt advice, Nate. Thanks.

As it turns out, I didn’t cut ties and even gradually reestablished them, but I have not yet needed money from them. A year and ten months later and I’m still surviving on my own.

Anyway, life has a way of being funny like that…more of a facepalm (or worse) for you, but funny for whomever you’re telling the story to.

21. Drama is Unavoidable

It is. It just is. You put any two people together and eventually they’ll come to a subject on which they greatly disagree, or a trait in the other in which they can’t stand. No two humans are perfectly matched.

For each person you add to the situation, the drama goes up. Let’s say by a factor of three. For each stressor you add to that situation (like challenges or punishments), let’s say by a factor of two. So drama = (n0 + (n+1)…)^(nf+3) + (s0 + (s+1)…)^(sf+3).

(I wish I could have copied that from my equation in Word, but alas, it would not copy. I am a hopeless nerd.)

The bottom line is, there will be drama no matter where you go. No, it doesn’t have to be on the scale of high school drama, but every life has drama and combining lives is basically a recipe for disaster. To people looking for a drama-free girl/guy and relationship, there is no such thing. Even drama haters can have drama thrust upon them unwillingly (see: me) and again, two people are bound to have conflicts.

So…find someone with whom you can bear the drama.

22. Hindsight is 20-20

(I was going for a certain flow to these lessons, but I got really tired of renumbering them, so here are some random ones.)

I hate to use a cliche, but walking out of the Big Brother house, everyone can pinpoint what they did wrong: what they shouldn’t have let slip, how they just needed to win that challenge, how they shouldn’t have trusted that person…

Yes, we can all look at the past and say we should’ve known better. But when we’re looking at the future, we don’t know anything.

But as I said above, history repeats itself. Even people who look at their past and pick apart their decisions will make the same mistakes.

So hindsight is 20-20, but foresight needs prescription glasses. Badly.

23. Majority Rules

Sometimes, it doesn’t matter how right you are or how awful someone else is or how undeserving you are of an eviction; if the house has decided they’re against you, you’re pretty much done for.

Maybe you can rally a couple allies…but the power lies in the majority (safety in numbers and all that, right?) and the majority doesn’t like you.

Because they’re all whispering in the Head of Household’s (as well as everyone else’s) ear. And the HOH is the one who nominates you.

So also, be careful who you double cross or otherwise piss off.

Of course this applies in real life (I refuse to write IRL). There’s not only safety, but strength in numbers. If everyone hates you and you have no power, well, it sucks to be you. It’s hard to dig yourself out of that situation.

24. Not All Relationships Are Meant to Be

I’ve watched people be “friends” and talk about how they can trust each other, then one of them goes on to give intel that gets the other evicted. I’ve seen romances and bromances (a word I can barely use seriously — my 10th grade history teacher said in regard to this, “Bromance? No. Words have meanings!”) break up or go downhill fast, creating even more tension in an already rough situation.

Even friendships are tense, based on who’s aligned with whom and who knows what. And, as I said, after only a couple weeks together, I’ve watched people cry when their “best friend” goes home.

Guys. Chill out. They’re not dead.

Even in Hell’s Kitchen (which I proudly got Dave into), there was some huge deal when two “best friends” got into a spat and it went so far as to affect one guy’s cooking game…because he took a different woman to a reward.

Like I’m fairly certain you’re mostly friends for some circumstantial reason. Either you’ll get over it when you get back to your real life and friends, or you’ll work it out like real friends.

But still, whatever.

I just don’t get being upset over friends. Wine has never betrayed me.

So yeah, not all relationships are meant to be. Sometimes they just serve a purpose. It sounds terrible, but think of it this way a relationship really just means you have some interaction with someone. The guy at the wine store knows me by now; technically that’s a relationship. We relate to each other with some familiarity. The purpose of our relationship is for him to sell me wine and for me to give him money.

All relationships serve some purpose, even if you’re not benefiting. Good relationships, the ones that last, benefit both parties in a long-term and satisfying way.

Like my relationship with the guy at the wine store.

25. Stay Under the Radar

I started this post with maybe seven reasons. I ended up with 25. Really though, I started this post with one of the most essential life lessons: trust no one. People suck. They are not trustworthy.

Okay, maybe you found one in your bestie or spouse. But in general, people are not to be trusted. Trust me, I’m a person.

But I’m going to end with the other most essential life lesson, which basically dictates how I live my life (other than regarding most other humans with distrust): staying under the radar.

Don’t get yourself into trouble. Don’t even act out enough to land yourself on someone’s radar. Because then you’re priming yourself for trouble.

In Big Brother, not causing trouble or drama is the best strategy. James hasn’t even been discussed for elimination because he doesn’t bother anyone. He’s a prankster, maybe, but otherwise he’s either liked or neutral. He’s generally okay.

The same goes for real life. Don’t make yourself a target. Keep yourself from being a target.

Dave hates this about me, but I like rules followed. I follow rules. I have no problem with rules. You know why? Because following rules keeps me out of trouble. I like not being in trouble. Staying out of trouble is the end goal, and obeying rules lets me achieve it. The end justifies the means, right?

Dave, being a “rebel,” likes to flout rules. Seemingly minor things like having bonfires without a permit in an unapproved fireplace, rolling through stop signs, speeding (by a good amount) and so on.

He breaks them for the sake of breaking them, it seems. (Or because he knows it annoys me.)

Yes, I drove a car at 15 (in a school parking lot with my mom teaching me), I speed (by 5 mph), and I drank before I was legal (a wee bit at 19, mostly 20 when Dave bought me beer), but my offenses were/are so inconsequential that they’re under the radar. So are Dave’s, I guess, but the difference is that I do what I do for a reason other than trying to feel like a rebel.

(Jokes about Dave pretending to be a rebel are never going to die. Sorry Dave. Not really.)

My offenses are minor and I pretty much abide by the law (though technically it’s illegal to pull into your driveway rather than back in, and right now my car’s nose is facing the garage), so I stay under the radar.

Basically, don’t call attention to yourself. I don’t want any legal record, and even socially, judgment can do a lot of harm.

If you want an uncomplicated (read: simple — for Dave) life, then abide by rules, don’t try to get in trouble, and don’t tempt fate. Don’t attract attention…unless it’s purely positive (like my grandparents putting my graduation and RPI in the Altamont Enterprise for this week).

So there we have it. 25 life lessons from Big Brother. I never thought such a dumb show would be of such value.

Seriously though, I hope that maybe these were useful. Just remember: trust no one and stay under the radar.

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Give it a Like

Because I advertise this here blog through Facebook (because I do not tweet because I am not a bird nor do I care to get roped into any other social media devil), I decided to dedicate this post to Facebook.

There are so many things I could write about, but here I’m simply going to write about “Liking.”

More specifically, the thought process (for me) that goes into liking something.

There is one. It’s funny; my cousin says she isn’t sure about social media etiquette when it comes to liking things and whatnot — so clearly there is some kind of deliberation that must go on.

Let’s say I see a post that I enjoy. Before I hit that “Like” button (sharing is another issue), I consider a few things. Because someone might see that I liked it — which I think is a bit odd, but oh well.

Is the post funny/clever/making a good point/important?

If yes, continue on. If no, stop here.

If the post is factual in any way, is the information accurate/from a reliable source?

Checking the comments sometimes helps.

Is the grammar and spelling correct?

Because I don’t want to support something like “Bae gave me this perse, there the best!”

(Not that I would even like such a post based on content anyway.)

Even writing that pained me.

Next, what about the language?

I’m usually looser with this on likes than shares. I mean, I won’t like anything offensive to certain groups…I will, however, like offensive things about anti-vaxxers, anti-GMO people, and pro-Confederate flag people.

So I guess it’s also content on some level. Like am I offending based on someone’s sheer stupidity? Okay.

But I usually won’t share something with cursing, because what if (though I doubt it) someone who matters (i.e. has some power over my future) sees it? I’m not afraid to have an opinion, but I don’t want to seem crass. I am, but you know, professional in public…

Moving on…

Do I like the poster?

Liking shows support in some form. I have friends that I regularly like posts from just because they’re my friends. Especially profile pictures and the like.

I also consider, for non-real-friends, whether they already have 100 likes five minutes after they post. If so, I’m not adding to that ego boost.

Also, if someone liked my recent pictures or whatever, then I’m more inclined to like theirs.

Or even if the post is solid, if they have a history of posts I don’t like, then I won’t like it.

Or if I’m Facebook friends with someone but don’t actually care for them in real life, there will be no liking.

For sharing, the requirements on content and language and such are more stringent, like it has to be really high quality stuff (for Facebook), but the poster doesn’t matter as much.

Of course, this mental checklist is subconscious, mostly. I’m not so crazy that I sit and check off items one by one as I evaluate a post.

Then again, the really horrid (or really well-said) posts are saved to go in here. That part is more deliberate.

So whether you think about the Likes you dole out or go around liking posts with abandon, maybe consider giving this post a like. Hell, maybe even a share.

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Like a Magnet

Guess what everybody? It seems as though I don’t have depression after all.

I’m bipolar.

So once again I’m here to write about mental illness. (Cue collective sigh of sadness.)

I have a number of things I want to talk about here, so this may be a bit of a long one (it just gets better and better — I’ll try to make my next post more fun).

Let me first tell you about how I arrived at this diagnosis. Because it leads into the first thing I want to talk about.

Do keep in mind that when I first starting seeing my therapist, I brought up the concern of bipolar and she said we could “look into it,” which was a polite way of saying “whatever.” However, she diagnosed me with depression unofficially but with confidence on my first visit.

I believe I brought it up casually a couple times after, which were also dismissed. She didn’t see me as bipolar.

Recently (within the last six to eight weeks, I’d say), I started mentioning feeling angry, irritable. I believe I wrote in here that she finally used “bipolar” in reference to me — but she wasn’t saying I was bipolar. Just that anger could be a symptom.

Maybe six weeks ago (holy hell my summer is flying by) I started looking into why I could be so angry all of a sudden. I was convinced this would not be filed under depression symptoms. Of course bipolar was in the back of my mind, but the symptoms of borderline personality disorder (BPD) seemed to fit me way better. Like to a T…except for the impulsivity (which I would also lack for bipolar).

Also, bipolar is often misdiagnosed as depression and BPD and bipolar are often confused, because both involve mood swings and have some other symptoms in common.

I discussed the symptoms of BPD with Dave and more and more he agreed they described me. Through plenty of fights I started to see how crazy I could be (I finally got called psycho) — and it really bothered me (not that Dave is an innocent little angel, mind you). It bothered me enough to make me bring it up at my appointment a month ago.

Also keep in mind that I’ve been frustrated with therapy for quite some time. Because I feel like it’s not helping. Well, something other than depression at play would require a different kind of therapy to be effective, so…I hoped for a diagnosis and maybe we could start actually helping me.

I went in with a list of events and feelings or whatever that tipped me off that something more was wrong with me. It was three pages long.

I mentioned maybe three or four things on it. Because she didn’t seem that concerned with it.

I cried a lot — I’m not exactly forthcoming in therapy because I don’t want to sound actually crazy nor do I want her thinking I’m a bad person, nor do I want to be blamed for all my relationship issues. I’m not good at accepting fault or offering apologies (I just can’t be wrong — because I’m afraid it’ll be seen as weakness and then I’ll always be wrong or something).

So it was painful.

She told me she had another patient who was borderline — but it wasn’t her specialty so she had supervision before diagnosing this other person — but she didn’t see it in me. I didn’t present as borderline.

However, she told me she had been thinking lately that maybe I’m bipolar. Well thanks for fucking saying something. Like were you going to keep your mouth shut forever, or what?

Because she made clear that bipolar would require medication — an issue I’ll get to in a bit — so if the treatment is so different, why wouldn’t you maybe explore that with me? Instead of “treating” me for depression (i.e. asking me about my relationships with my mom and Dave and so on…not actually helpful stuff; see The Problem with Therapy) maybe you should be treating me for something else in a different way.

She also agreed with me when I said therapists must hate when patients self-diagnose (because “everyone has some symptoms of everything”), but if I hadn’t self-diagnosed and opened up this conversation, would you have continued to treat me for something when you wondered if I had something else? That’s like treating someone for an allergic reaction to ant bites when they actually have MRSA (that happened to me). NOT HELPFUL.

Hell, even detrimental to my health.

Anyway, she said she’d look more into the symptoms of each and told me to track my moods until our next appointment.

Then we talked about the usual; Mom, Dave, what I’m doing for “fun”…

Two weeks later I had another appointment. I could not sleep the night before. I’d been on edge the for a couple days. Therapy should not have me that anxious. But I expected her to either not have a diagnosis or to tell me I’m just depressed…and angry.

She asked me how I was doing and we bullshitted for a bit — but I finally had to nudge her into talking about this — saying I was stressed after last time and not having a diagnosis.

She told me she felt it was bipolar more than borderline and maybe I should talk to a specialist in psychotropic drugs (because I do not want to be on them) and they could confirm that it was a “legit diagnosis.” I asked if she would legitimately diagnose me as bipolar and she said she needed more information from me — yet gave me a lecture on medication and how “you won’t get better with out it, sweetie” and if I decided to try medication then I had to stay the course.

She also said it wasn’t all my fault with Dave and he had to work on things and we should do couples’ counseling if we want to work out.

She even asked if I wanted to be hospitalized for a few weeks before school started to evaluate me…”since I’ve been feeling suicidal.”

That’s nothing new! You’ve known that. And who the hell would be like, “Yes, you know what? I would like to be hospitalized — for the remainder of my summer. That’s just what I need right now.”

I declined.

She said maybe I wasn’t bipolar and maybe I was just reacting to emotional abuse. Then that’s bloody borderline! (As opposed to bipolar.) BPD reacts to environmental (and especially relationship) factors.

She did say — “to be honest” — that wasn’t her specialty. But just because BPD isn’t your specialty doesn’t mean that’s not what I have. I feel like she’s avoiding really exploring that because she doesn’t know much about it. She said we could continue to look at it but I doubt it, like bipolar before.

She asked about my past relationships and I didn’t know what to say. The whole session was mostly me trying to figure out what she wanted to know from her questions — and I’ll admit, I’m pretty good at faking bad or good; i.e. answering in a certain way to get a specific diagnosis — or none at all. (I also know how to beat the lie scale on the MMPI.)

She also proposed that I might be rapid cycling bipolar — but that means mood swings a couple times a year, not every fucking day. A couple times a day would be more BPD. (Plus BPD manifests mostly in relationships…and I don’t have problems at school or work.)

We also went over the DSM-5 symptoms of bipolar — I told her I knew most of them (all of them, actually — I could’ve told her), and they kind of fit…I told her I had wanted to be a psychiatrist and she told me if I wanted to be one I’d have to get over my aversion to medication and she also told me if I saw a specialist in psychotropic drugs that, as a “science girl,” I’d understand everything they said. Because it’s jut “a chemical imbalance in the brain.” I KNOW WHAT IT IS.

So many times I looked at her like “I’m not a fucking idiot.” Like talk down to me one more time. I’ll unleash my inner asshole on you. I don’t present as something? Let me present as a fucking smartass so maybe you get it.

Ergh.

Oh, and she seemed like she was grasping at straws to fit me into the bipolar mould. Like, did I participate in goal-directed activity? Ah…I mentioned wanting to get 10,000 steps each day (or at least 7,000 — I’m trying to lose weight) and she acted like that was some kind of obsession. She asked if I’m impulsive and I said that once I was ready to get a motel for the night over something minor (I didn’t end up going — and she had encouraged me to do so) and I like tattoos (I just got a new one this week! It’s a cat below my collarbone) but that requires me to make an appointment, go in and give her my idea, maybe leave a deposit (she knows me so she doesn’t make me), make another appointment, make sure I have enough cash, and then go to that appointment. Not exactly a spur-of-the-moment thing.

Anyway, we ended with her saying she’d look into it (wasn’t she supposed to do that these last two weeks?) and she’d probably come to a diagnosis next time because she “doesn’t like to diagnose unless she’s certain.” But “everything I said led her to believe even more that I’m bipolar.”

But like why the hell are you talking and encouraging medication if you’re still too uncertain to diagnose me??? WTF?

She told me to track my moods and I told her I had for the last two weeks — like she told me to! — and she said good, bring it in next time. GAH!

I can’t even remember the last time I felt anything other than angry, depressed, or numb. Yes, I can be “happy” for a bit, but I still know full well that I’ll be hating life within minutes of a specific event being over.

My therapist describes “normal” people experiencing “hills” with moods. Bipolar people experience mountains. Medications turns those mountains into hills.

Except I hear many people complaining about how it makes them numb.

But whatever, two more weeks. Two more weeks of me rolling with the punches of whatever I had, two more weeks of arguments, two more weeks of bad moods, two more weeks of logging those moods, two more weeks of wondering, two more weeks of not getting better.

I mean, maybe I gave in and realized I wouldn’t get any other diagnosis from her, but I started to see possibly bipolar symptoms. The most telling (I apologize for the TMI) was that I’ve had the libido of a teenage boy for the past six weeks or so, when usually I can’t be bothered. Add that to my much more frequent bad moods, anger, and almost constant irritability, well…

Oh, and not to mention how I had an attention span as short as my fuse and I was energetic as hell (like, cleaning and obsessively searching for a lost notebook and not being able to fall asleep until five AM — probably because of my racing thoughts)…maybe I could see it.

So I shared these things with her and we talked for a bit, more about medication — she said again that I’m a science girl, so I probably know more about the medications than she does, which may be why I’m resisting. It seems to be a thing with “science people.”

So HOLD UP. You acknowledge you know less about the medications than me, yet you’re the one pushing me to take them. Like I realize you’re not an M.D. and that medication is “required” for bipolar, but like seriously?

Anyway, she also asked whether my mom had ever seemed depressed and I said yes; my mom was suicidal throughout her teens and then again while married to my dad. My therapist added that her trouble with the law could be considered impulsive/reckless — not that everyone who breaks the law is bipolar, but along with other symptoms, and now me (that genetic link)…she wasn’t going to diagnose her, but it was something to think about.

I also wonder about my grandmother, but that’s another story.

However, she said she liked how I was handling it, like when I was angry and about to do something on an impulse I stepped back and told myself I didn’t need to do this and I could talk it out when Dave got home (we had plans and he was an hour-and-a-half to two hours late with no/poor communication and I was ready to go out by myself).

He didn’t really seem to care why I was upset, but at least I controlled myself.

Anyway, she turned to talking about Dave, Mom, RPI, and so on.

But after waiting six weeks for a diagnosis and being told she still needed to think about it and maybe next time…I had to ask again at the end: Do you think I’m bipolar?

She said yes, she does — but she still didn’t want to change it on my insurance forms until next time, because she still needed time to figure out whether I was bipolar I or II. (I can’t imagine I’m type I, but whatever. That’s the more severe one.)

But like you still have to “look into it”?

And she did not even mention the moods I was supposed to be tracking. So here they are — at least they had some purpose.

mood chartsA little up and down, wouldn’t you say?

Anyway, I have not been happy with the way my therapist has been handling this. Dave keeps telling me to find another one — but that involves starting over. He also insists I’m not bipolar because that requires medication, so I need a specialist. Well they’re expensive.

I also don’t see how I’ll even have time for therapy in grad school.

But let’s get to medication, briefly. You would think that I, an educated, science-minded, pro-drug and pro-vaccine person, would be all for medication.

But I hate taking even aspirin.

Because with medication comes side effects. Take lithium, a mood stabilizer, for example. (Why not just eat a battery?) Lithium requires bloodwork to be done every couple months. I hate getting blood drawn. I hate pain and needles…but I now have six tattoos. Go figure.

Another side effect is weight gain and also you can’t drink. Oh, and antidepressants make you more likely to commit suicide during the first weeks.

And then there’s the general complaint of feeling numb and not yourself.

But aside from things like that, there’s the whole idea that unless I’m drugged up, I’m intolerable. Me being myself is not okay; I need to be medicated to be “normal.” People will never see the real “me” and so I won’t ever know if they could handle the real me or even like the real me.

That’s the big reason.

I’m not saying I think I can somehow defy the research and beat the odds and get better without medication. You can’t cure bipolar. (Though depression can be cured…? Even though they’re both mood disorders…)

But I don’t want to drone on about drugs.

I want to talk about this video:

I had to pause this video like every five seconds to take notes on what I wanted to say.

Yeah, you do have people mad — because clearly you’ve never been depressed, yet you’re telling those with depression how to act, feel, and “cure” it. How can you question it? How can you question something of which you have no knowledge, the nature of which you’ve never experienced? It’s like me questioning an astronaut and telling them what space is really like, or me questioning Dave about being a man and insisting that he must actually have common sense.

And no, I’m not “protecting” my depression (okay, bipolar); I’m protecting myself — from idiots like you, who seem to believe I can think my way out of it. I defend depression because if I don’t, people will tell me that I just have to snap out of it, that “sunshine and playtime” will cure me, that depression is a cloud in a sky that will just blow away…I can’t let dumbasses like you think you’re right and try to tell me how to live or manage my illness. It’s like telling a person with Crohn’s disease that drinking more water will solve all their problems (actually happened to a friend of mine).

Also, “having a depression”?

I feel that this video is more for “normal” people who feel blue or down every now and then — not people who are actually depressed. For non-mentally-ill people, yes, moods and feelings come and go.

Also, how cute: “I’m the sky.” Yes, if it’s filled with thunderclouds. Or better yet, funnel clouds.

Anyway, for people with mood disorders such as depression and bipolar, the moods ARE the sky — which is why it’s a disorder. When a depressive (or manic) mood rolls in, that’s your life for a bit, it consumes you — or else depression wouldn’t mean you can’t get out of bed or mania wouldn’t mean you spend your life savings. (That’s more bipolar I.)

And for actual depression-sufferers, when depression comes, you do go with it. That’s why it’s depression and not just a bad mood.

And no, actually, I’m the experiencer (that’s a word now), I’m the sufferer of depression. The people who know me are the witnesses of depression — who can also be depressed.

And no, I don’t identify as depression (and why is it “I’m bipolar” versus “I have depression”?). It’s a part of me. It’s not me, but it affects me. It’s a major part of my life.

I do allow it to come and go because that’s all I can do. It’s depression. I don’t have control over it.

But still, it’s not me.

I showed Dave the video and read him my response and he maintains that this could help some people.

Yes, people who aren’t actually fucking depressed. You tell me that depression is a cloud in the sky of me and I’ll throat-punch you. My cloud in your fucking sky.

I want to talk more about bipolar in particular, but over the past few weeks I’ve been collecting posts from Facebook (before it became all Black/Blue/All lives matter and police violence and police kindness and Pokemon Go).

I realize these posts are meant to be amusing and whatnot. I’m not trying to be a stick in the mud (what a weird saying). And I know I hate it when people take something meant to be funny and rip it apart, but sometimes I see things that might actually hurt someone (unlike Disney movies — it’s a post in the works)…anyway, I see a difference. I’m sure I’ll hash that out as I work through these posts.

But at the risk of being pedantic, here are some posts that might not sit so well with (aware) mentally ill people.

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Like I get that this is supposed to be uplifting, but like the video above, it’s more for “normal” people. When I’m down, I don’t know if I’ll ever be happy again. In fact, I’m sure I won’t…which is why I get suicidal (plus feeling like a bad person). But if a depressed person reads this (and I’ve had plenty of experience being depressed), they might feel alienated or further “weird” because that’s not how it is for them.

I’ve mourned someone. That doesn’t last forever. Yes, I still get sad, but it’s not in the forefront of my mind, all the time. With depression, sadness is always there, and its presence is strong.

Everything heals to an extent. My body has scars — from stitches, MRSA, putting my tooth through my lip — my mind has scars from past relationships, from life; my soul has scars from losing people, whether by death or broken trust…not all wounds go away forever, with no reminder.

People remember the bad over the good. Unfortunately.

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But let’s lighten this up. I’ve always been emotional, angry, sad…I used to say I had a few breakdowns a year and allowed myself one meltdown a year (once it was on my birthday over a lost USB…I later found it, but I cried for days).

I was reassured when my friends in college touted how a good cry every now and then fixed everything; it was a necessity. I didn’t feel so strange.

That was before my life went to shit. I’ll get to this later.

Anyway, a lot of posts on Facebook make me think, “Well, that could be a disorder.” This is one of them. Most of these examples are. I suppose that’s what stands out to me about them, not so much that they’re offensive, but that they resonate with me because of my mental illness, when so many people act like this is the norm and is something to laugh about or, um, bond over?

If anything, there may be a lot of undiagnosed people if y’all identify so much with these things.

But yeah, if you’ve really been in a bad mood that long, I’d be concerned. I’d also see a therapist.

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I get like this sometimes.

But I’m also like, “I want cuddles — if you touch me I’ll punch you” or “I love you — now get the hell away from me.”

There really is no winning with me.

At least I can blame it on a mental illness. I feel like a lot of people are made to think this is only mildly unusual or just normal — so I guess that’s the theme in these posts.

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“Lol why is my car on fire?” I don’t think that would be my reaction to my cavalier in flames. Definitely not if my Ram were ablaze. My reaction would be more like, “Where is he? I’m going to key his truck, slit his tires, and put water* in his gas tank. Just in case. Oh and then maybe I’ll kill him.”

*I guess sugar doesn’t actually do anything. Just in case you were plotting revenge. I’d hate for that to fail you.

Anyway, I like how the stereotype is the crazy girlfriend (or ex). Most of my exes I haven’t bothered (in a negative way); I’m friendly with one, made peace with two, and (rightly) filed charges against one.

Yes, all people go off their best behavior after awhile. Yes, guys could be like “I wonder why she’s single?” But everyone kind of wonders that. I asked Dave if he wondered why I was single; he said yes. (Yet now he says things like I’m definitely no prize.)

I wondered how he could be single for so long.

Now I know.

But really, we’re not single because we’re insane. No, even those of us with mental illness aren’t single because we’re crazy. We’re single because we haven’t met the right person yet. And yes, that includes handling us at our worst.

Also, “she’s pretty and funny?” Where’s intelligence?

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I do this often, but then again, I’m bipolar…so I may actually be in the grips of a mood swing.

But that’s some serious resting bitch face (which I definitely have).

FB_IMG_1467256817907I get upset over a lot of little things…and to me that was indicative of a disorder. Then again, I don’t refer to myself or other women as females or hoes, no matter how we feel.
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It’s like “haha I’m moody…” which is what some people experience severely, and to others it’s nothing more than a laugh.

This promotes the stereotype that mentally ill people (or even regular yet emotional people) are unpredictable.

“Normal” people don’t need this, and mentally ill people definitely don’t. You’ll know what mood I’m in. I promise.

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There are a lot of posts like this. The “crazy, moody” girlfriend and the doting boyfriend.

Maybe they’re talking about PMS, which is a beast of its own. But it reinforces a stereotype that women are emotional and unstable.

Let me tell you, I can be so unemotional that it bothers Dave (and me, to an extent). I feel nothing.

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Speaking of PMS…this sounds more premenstrual dysphoric disorder, honestly. If I were making a diagnosis.

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Now, while this may be true many times, it ignores that fact that girlfriends may be upset over other things…like you.

And if I’m in a bad mood for really no perceivable reason, it may be my disorder. Food may help, but it’s not the cure, because hunger isn’t the cause.

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Sometimes I am overreacting, but that doesn’t mean my feelings aren’t valid.

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Yes, all the time, which told me something was wrong.

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That’s me on a daily basis…and there is no cure, because that sums up bipolar. I used to like stuff like this (posted by Dave’s sister, no less) but now I don’t. Because some people, like me, actually experience this kind of thing, and it’s nothing to poke fun at. It causes a lot of problems.

But whatever. Maybe I’m being too sensitive.

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There is actually a page called “Sexy Bipolar Broads,” from which this post is from (Dave’s sister shared it).

And I still can’t figure out if this is supposed to be a poem or what.

But now mental illness is a way to gain Facebook fame and likes. I’m glad people can be open about it, but do we really need to capitalize on it?

It’s like the few heavier actors/actresses in Hollywood — do you ever see them in serious roles? No, they’re like the goofy sidekick, the impossibly unattractive (minor) love interest — who’s gross because they’re fat — the bumbling whatever they’re playing…you never see them as the smart one, the serious SO, the respectable protagonist…

There’s this same dichotomy with mental illness, it seems. Either it’s not talked about or people make it their identity. There are only two roles for it, two ways to handle it.

Like you can own it, but don’t let it own you. Sure, I talk about mental illness here, but I’d like to think it’s an honest, hopefully intelligent discussion (maybe with some humor), not like “Fuck yeah bitches I have bipolar and I am CRAZY so don’t mess with me!”

That’s pretty much overcompensation.

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I do cry when I’m frustrated — but I only get to that point if I really feel like there’s nothing I can do to get something to work or someone to understand.

When I need to get away from you, then I’m trying not to kill you.

But if you’re that frustrated by the mere effort it takes not to kill someone, maybe you have a problem.

 

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Throwing around terms like “psycho” like it’s no big isn’t exactly helpful. I mean, I got called a psycho for the first time as of late and it didn’t feel good. It’s like calling a moody person bipolar (or, if you’re Dave, calling all women bipolar).

Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like using mental illness terms as insults or jokes — or even just colloquially — kind of stings.

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Again, pretty much me, except that “really sweet” is more like “akin to drinking vinegar” and “don’t mess with me” is better put as “I’ll fuck you up.” I’m on the more extreme end of things.

But I am an odd combination in many ways. I’m sure many people are, but mental illness throws a little vinegar in your brownies.

Actually, there is vinegar in red velvet brownies, so that wasn’t a good analogy.

I’m garlic in your coffee.

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Actually I can relate to this one. When I’m depressed it’s like I’m not even in here. I’m just a lifeless shell.

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This has nothing to do with mental illness (okay, maybe loosely) but it made me laugh. Like every time I look at it I laugh.

But that may be the wine.

This may/probably will appear in future posts. Maybe with my own cats.

But let’s get back to talking about me and my bipolar.

Because this is my blog.

Let me tell you what it’s like, first. I’ve described depression before, but adding the swings from depression to manic and back is different. (I’m guessing I’m ultradian bipolar, which means more than one cycle per day, I think. Maybe with mixed episodes. I’m complex.)

My moods/thoughts are like white noise — more specifically, there’s a device in paranormal research (called a Spirit Box) that cycles through radio frequencies so rapidly that you just pretty much just hear white noise. (Here’s an example — go to 1:00: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dtU3537sXTE).

So imagine my moods and emotions are those various stations being changed so quickly that all you get is the sound of static. I live in the static of my emotions (and not static as in unchanging — that’s definitely not me).

Dave likes to say he never knows what mood I’ll be in when he gets home. So I’m unpredictable. Bipolar moods don’t have to have a trigger.

But if I had to guess, this recent manic episode (maybe my first? I don’tthink I’ve ever been manic before) was set off by graduation and entering grad school soon.

It doesn’t cause me problems at work or school, only at home — which is part of why I don’t wan’t to be medicated; it’s not major enough that it’s impacting many facets of my life — just one.

Another way to describe bipolar, in my humble opinion, is Five Finger Death Punch’s Jekyll and Hyde, which is one of my favorite songs (and I once wrote a post about it. See Facing the Pain):

“There’s just so much Goddamned weight on my shoulders
All I’m trying to do is live my motherfucking life
Supposed to be happy, but I’m only getting colder
Wear a smile on my face, but there’s a demon inside…

If I wasn’t so deranged, could I ever face the pain?
If I ever were to change, would the song remain the same?”

Here’s the video in case you’re interested.

This is one of those songs I blast and go all out yelling when I go for drives. It helps.

Some other FFDP lyrics that have really gotten to me with this whole bipolar thing are from Menace:

“I’m tired of trying to please the world that spins around me
This time I’m doing it for me and me alone
I don’t need anyone, don’t think I ever did
Not trying to be selfish, just doing what I know…

I’ll fade the fuck away
Swear to God that I don’t care
(I swear to Christ)
I’ll die a lonely death cause I know that life ain’t fair
(It ain’t fair at all)
I can’t pretend that I am someone that I’m not
I live for me, myself
You can’t convince me that I’m wrong”

And that won’t be the last time I quote them in this post.

Moving on though, it’s interesting that Dave was very resistant to me being diagnosed as bipolar. He said it was because he thought I wanted to be diagnosed with BPD, because that didn’t require meds. Every time I discussed my symptoms with him he denied that they meant bipolar (and of course he denied that they had anything to do with him).

He insisted that bipolar was angry-happy, maybe angry-sad-contempt…based on his bipolar ex, I must assume.

How bad is his luck? Two bipolar girlfriends. We’ve somehow made it one-and-a-half years so far…and he’s told me he’ll propose in the “near-to-mid” future…whatever that means.

(Update: I found out yesterday that he was just saying that and was just too afraid to tell me he’s not ready and now’s not the time. So that was great. Definitely not helping my mood.)

But I received resistance when I told my mom, too. I didn’t tell her I was depressed until I told her I was bipolar and she was asking if I really thought I was and why and why my therapist thought so and she said I was as bipolar as anyone else…

I told her this is why I never told her I was depressed — I didn’t need to be told I wasn’t. I didn’t need to be told it was situational (which she did say) when it came on over a year since she was arrested, when just last summer I began feeling suicidal regularly…

But then she accepted that I was the same person she had always loved and nothing would change, and she started asking questions and reading up on bipolar…and then she started playing doctor, trying to tell me that taking vitamins and special lighting and so on would help. Oh, and diagnosing everyone (but herself).

Ultimately I’m glad I told her, because it’s another person in my corner, another person to talk to, and someone who’s been suicidal and has engaged in self-harm, at that.

Here’s a conversation we had today over email:

My mom: “I am concerned but I trust what you say about your cutting [that it’s non-suicidal self injury, not done with the intent to die and separate from feeling suicidal]. I don’t like it. It worries and scares me. I don’t really understand it. I do get the feeling pain instead of numbness. I guess I do understand because I have punched walls and broken fingers just to have the pain for weeks after…and enjoy [it]. I do worry about suicide because I know I seriously thought about it and worry that I did not go through with it because I am chicken. You are stronger than me. I worry that your strength could allow you to do something I could not…When a person seriously considers suicide, suicide is just a thing…a possibility…an option…an escape. Thinking about it, even attempting it is just a thing. It really is not shameful. It’s when you are exposed to the world to be judged that it becomes shameful and crazy. If a person reaches a point that they can share that information that is fine, but to have it thrown out there for everyone to judge without facts or understanding is mortifying. It’s enough to make a person want to carry the act out…I don’t know if a “normal person” can understand.”

And my response:

“Dave likes to tell me suicide is the easy way out and that all cutting, no matter what the intent, is bad. (He just said that he doesn’t believe taking the easy way out is me.) People who contemplate or commit suicide are seen as weak. Like they couldn’t handle life. It’s funny that you said you worry that I’m stronger than you, strong enough to actually go through with it. Anyway, I feel like mental illness is the result of a combination of things, but way too much stress is one of them. Not many people I know have been through what I have. The fact that I’m still here, even if slightly “damaged,” despite that fact that I want to die, shows strength, at least to me. But of course I would think that. I can want to die and choose not to. I experience moods so extreme and feelings so intense — but maybe that’s because I’m strong enough to. Some people could go into denial and bury it all deeply. I let myself deal with what’s happened. Maybe this sounds like a load of shit…If I weren’t the way I am, could I have even dealt with everything I’ve been through? As in, those “normal” people couldn’t handle my hideous past. GET ON MY LEVEL NORMAL PEOPLE…I think that people who’ve been through the wringer probably seem a little “off” because, well, they have to be…There are two types of people: those who go through hell and keep on going, and those who break down amid the flames. Your “uniqueness” (or quirkiness or craziness — or in my case, sheer insanity) is your scars. You’re a survivor, but you’ll always have those reminders. And sometimes, that hell is simply being depressed, or anxious, or what have you. And sometimes those scars are literal. So instead of stigmatizing those “deranged” people, maybe give them props for facing the pain. Instead of calling them weak, applaud their strength for continuing on every day. They have dealt with pain you will probably (fortunately) never know. No, mental illness and suicide are not shameful, though Dave acts like calling me mentally ill is an insult and hates cutting — because he doesn’t understand it. I think he even said something like, “If you told everyone you cut yourself, they’d say it was bad.” Yes, the people who’ve never been mentally ill wouldn’t understand it. It’s easy to judge what you don’t understand, I guess. No, I’m not ashamed of my mental illness but it doesn’t need to be public, just like the fact that I live with or have sex with Dave or that I’m on birth control. Dave doesn’t want our issues shared with a therapist; why would I want mine shared with the world?…And on a semi-related note, I’ve never told Dave (or anyone) what my half-sleeve symbolizes because I didn’t need his judgment or criticism, but it’s a skeleton — death — holding a rose because sometimes death seems beautiful and inviting. It symbolizes depression and how it feels.”

So while my mom may not get everything about it or me, at least she tries to understand and can listen without judging. Which brings me to my next point.

Bipolar is often talked about, but misunderstood. Like I said above, Dave claimed all women were bipolar. My mom claimed that if I was depressed, it was situational. I remember people claimed my seventh grade science teacher was bipolar (which I never saw) because she was “moody.”

Last night Dave tried to tell me that depression isn’t a disorder (even though it’s called major depressive disorder) and that bipolar isn’t a mental illness — that’s more autism (it’s not; autism is a developmental disorder) and I don’t have a mental illness and I’m not mentally ill and he’s not going to treat me like I am. Oh, and depression is more major than bipolar.

First, don’t act like autism is so horrible. Like any disorder, it presents its own challenges. But whether a mental disorder or an autism spectrum disorder, it’s not necessarily the end of the world nor does it mean you’re fucked or a bad person.

Second, don’t act like the term “mentally ill” or having a mental disorder or illness is insulting and you wouldn’t want to call me that. That would be the proper term. When you tell me I’m mentally fucked or fucked in the head, then you’re being an asshole.

Also, you’re no expert, clearly, so don’t tell me how bad my disorder is, comparatively or not.

So a little education goes a long way. And make up your mind; am I allowed to explain my reactions and feelings in terms of a disorder (which then I’m using my disorder as a scapegoat) or do I pretend I don’t have one (and then I can be told I’m just overreacting and to get over it)?

Kind of a shitty position to be put in.

It’s also really started to bug me to hear moody or emotional or someone who’s even just in a bad mood described as bipolar, much like how it bothers me how everyone is “depressed” just because they feel down for a day or two. As I’ve said before (try A Depressing Post or The Phenomenon of Depression), when people use mental illness terms in everyday situations, it takes away from the real meanings and makes it harder on those who actually have those things. Like I have a song on my phone called Schizophren (it’s in German; it means “schizophrenic”) and calls this person schizophrenic for a number of reasons…none of which are actually symptoms of schizophrenia, I’m pretty sure.

So the only time it’s okay to say you’re depressed or that someone is bipolar is when you’re actually depressed or they’re actually bipolar. Otherwise, you’re doing us a disservice. Again, educate yourselves. Just a bit.

Many people think of bipolar as just mood swings. Okay, but those “mood swings” affect so much more than how we feel. They affect our behavior and our thoughts. They make us difficult to deal with. They make us hard to love.

As my therapist said, to maybe explain Dave’s resistance to me being bipolar, a lot of people associate bipolar with being “crazy.” No, not quite the “crazy” connoted with hearing voices or seeing things (as in, let’s say, schizophrenia — though some severely bipolar people do have hallucinations and such), but that unpredictable, unstable brand of crazy.

Here’s a video demonstrating that psychotic kind of crazy, even though it’s just meant to be funny. It’s called Dusche (meaning “shower”), by Farin Urlaub. There are English subtitles.

Anyway, yes, some bipolar people experience psychosis (usually type I), but I feel like bipolar is more linked with the kind of crazy that results in unpredictable mood swings, emotional instability, impulsive behaviors, and extreme actions. It’s not a break from reality, but from reason. I think this may be where the crazy ex thing came from.

The thought of keying Dave’s precious trucks has crossed my mind a couple times. I’m not so bad as to do it, but certain things seem slightly more reasonable to me than most, I’m sure.

Hell, yesterday he told me he’s sick of my bipolar shit (funny how he suddenly accepted it) plus the whole not wanting to get engaged bit, and a few other pretty damn hurtful things, so I poured nail polish remover down his back. And I enjoyed it and don’t feel a bit bad about it. Considering the offense, I think he deserves more.

But my “insanity” lies more in the fact that only I understand the way I feel and why I feel that way and why I do what I do. Nobody else gets it and my rationale sometimes departs from the norm. Kind of what I was saying above.

But I’m also normal most of the time. Or at least I pull off normal.

I still have to wonder if having bipolar makes me a bad person, though. I mean, depression is hard on me, and I hate it. But mania isn’t so bad, if you ask me. I see benefits to it. Like I get my way a lot.

Depression just feels shitty. Mania is okay.

Either way, I’m either depressed and withdrawn and wanting to kill myself, or I’m manic and argumentative and irritable. I feel like no matter what, I’m a bad person. I’m either bad for being numb and wanting to kill myself or I’m bad or making others miserable by my presence and stampeding over others.

I can’t win.

And I get really tired of feeling this way. As I asked in my last post (Christianity’s Argument), does God saddling me with a mental illness basically mean that I’m going to have a harder time getting into Heaven? Like if my bipolar makes me be an asshole or the depression makes me want to kill myself, is that on me or God? Is that me or nature? My personality or an illness? I mean, while it’s not a personality disorder, it does affect me and who I am. It’s not all that I am, but it is a part. So am I just a shitty person, or an okay person with an illness that makes me a bad person?

Maybe it doesn’t matter, because the result is the same: I act like a bad person.

That wears on me.

I posed this question to Dave and he said it’s nature and my illness doesn’t make me a bad person. But he’ll complain that I’m an asshole, so…

Maybe this leads into this observation I’ve made; why is it “I have depression” versus “I’m bipolar”?

Like I only say “I’m depressed” if I’m in the middle of a depressive episode and the person knows I’m depressed. Even then, I’m more likely to say I’m in the middle of a depressive episode.

Why is depression a condition when bipolar is an identity? I think throughout this post I’ve said “I have bipolar” rather than “I’m bipolar,”but most people say they’re bipolar…when others say “I have depression.”

What’s the difference? Well, bipolar requires medication and can’t be cured, while depression doesn’t and apparently can be “cured.”

Depression could be from may factors but bipolar is a chemical imbalance in the brain.

Any way you put it, I’m fucked.

I just think it’s an interesting distinction we make, which reflects how we treat it as a society. “Oh, you’re depressed? That’s okay. Let me try to help” versus “You’re bipolar?” *takes a step away* “Well hopefully you get better.”

But it’s not all thunderstorms and graveyards. Sometimes it’s sunshine and flowers. My mom told me she read that bipolar is “the illness of geniuses,” and I’ve read that some therapists (and patients) consider it a blessing, due to the productivity, creativity, and energy of mania.

And as I’ve joked before, insanity is the price of genius.

Now, there isn’t exactly a lot of research confirming this (I don’t think there’s that much research on the subject), but I do see how some people would embrace the highs and miss them when medication evens them out.

I’ve been known to say I’m going to write one page of an essay and write like five, or finish it. Or I’m going to do a handful of homework problems and get on a roll and suddenly I’ve done all of them, plus the extra credit, and maybe started the next assignment. When I put my mind to it, I can achieve a lot. It’s just focusing on it for long enough to get into it that’s the challenge.

Also, I can be fierce, whether it’s holding my own in an argument, telling someone off, or being independent to a fault.

I guess the bottom line is that I can be passionate, whether that energy is directed toward a task or a person (or even a subject). This isn’t always a good thing, but usually there’s some benefit to me. Like I get cleaning done, I refuse to be treated badly, I get my way, I learn a lot…

It might just be a coincidence that I’m smart. (I know it seems like I brag about this a lot, but I really do think this is the only positive thing I have going for me. Nothing else. Maybe I can be funny…but usually at someone or something’s expense.)

I suppose this leads into the last thing I want to talk about. Yes, I said last. You’ve almost made it.

Almost.

So I said smart people are also a bit crazy. Well, maybe, if you consider that the pressure to be smart might make them crack. Like I’m not carbon; loads of pressure aren’t going to turn me into a diamond; it’s going to break me.

So there’s my loose connection to this final point: sometimes I feel like life broke me. I succumbed to the stress and life got to me and won and I ended up with a mental illness. Was I too weak?

Just before I started writing tonight I explained to Dave the Diathesis-Stress Model, which I’ve discussed before.

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It’s stress compared to genetic predisposition. Low stress and high predisposition, high stress and low disposition, and any combination in between, if just right, will result in a mental disorder.

Dave asked what I thought my stress threshold was. I replied that if my mom hadn’t gone to prison, if I hadn’t had to live with my grandparents, if I hadn’t had a slew of bad relationships (okay, one or two in particular), I don’t think I’d be this way right now.

I had a breaking point, and life pushed me to it.

Does that mean I’m broken? Does that mean I was too weak?

I don’t think I’m broken in the sense of I’m no good anymore. I got into RPI. With a full ride. And a job. I graduated from Siena summa cum laude. I’ve held jobs and done well at them. Clearly I’m not unfit for normal life.

Emotionally I may be broken. I may be impaired when it comes to trusting others and whatnot, but ultimately I’ve survived and even done well for myself in many respects (I mean, I have five cats, so clearly I’m living the dream).

I’m not broken beyond repair.

So was I too weak?

Let me quote Five Finger once more from Meet the Monster:

“It’s not that complicated and you ain’t gotta believe
They’ll put me down in a hole before I let you succeed
I’ve never been complacent, I can’t afford to be
I know you think you’re special but you ain’t nothin’…

Hope I’m on the list of people that you hate
It’s time you met the monster that you have helped create
Boo!You’ve pushed me one too many times
I’m sick of all of the fiction, we’re gonna settle it
You’ve pushed me one too many times
I’m sick of all of the shit, I’m gonna settle it!…

Well there’s nothing you can say to me now
And there’s nothing you can do to stop me
It’s hard not to be a menace to society
When half the population is happy on their knees…

‘Cause I can’t take it anymore
I refuse to live this way
It’s not that I don’t care enough, it’s not that I can’t see
It’s everything inside of me that won’t let me be you”

I so love this song. This is another I blast and channel Ivan Moody (the lead singer) for.

It’s one of my favorites. In fact, one day recently I broke down crying listening to this because I realized that all of the FFDP songs that really resonate with me are practically a cry for help from me.

But here’s what really gets me:

I can’t be complacent, or else I’ll be bullied for how I am and/or no one will ever understand…plus I hate being this way.

And Dave likes to play hero but he knows nothing and really isn’t all that helpful. In fact, he makes things worse.

To many things and many people in my life, this is me; the monster you’ve helped create . You pushed me and fucked me over one too many times and I finally fucking snapped. And now I’m looking to settle some things…

But no, there’s nothing you can say to me now. You’ve done your damage. I am what I am and there’s no stopping me.

And I can’t fucking take it anymore. I hate fucking being this way and to Dave, who says I’ve given up on getting better, you really think I want to be this way?

It’s not that I don’t care and not that I can’t see how shitty this is — believe me, I do. But I’m still trying to understand myself and change doesn’t come overnight.

Anyway, maybe life didn’t break me; maybe it made me snap. Or it just made me into what I am. The bottom line is that now I (and life) have to deal with the monster I’ve become.

I told Dave that some FFDP songs are practically written about me and have moved me to tears — and not just the sad ones.

Fuck it, I’m going to quote a few more.

Coming Down

“It’s caving in around me
What I thought was solid ground
I tried to look the other way
But I couldn’t turn around
It’s okay for you to hate me
For all the things I’ve done
I’ve made a few mistakes
But I’m not the only oneStep away from the ledge
I’m coming downI could never be
What you want me to
You pull me under
To save yourself
(Save yourself)
You will never see
What’s inside of me
I pull you under just to save myself

Was there ever any question
On how much I could take?
You kept feeding me your bullshit
Hoping I would break
Is there anybody out there?
Is there anyone who cares?
Is there anybody listening?
Will they hear my final prayers?”

Remember Everything

“It all went by so fast
I still can’t change the past
I always will remember everything
If we could start again,
Would that have changed the end?
We remember everything, everything.”

The Devil’s Own

“It’s because of you I’m broken
It’s because of you I’m dead inside
I never asked to be here
It’s because of you I’m godforsaken
I never wanted this
It’s because of you I’m dead inside

Fuck!
Father, bastard, I’m the Devil’s very own
Mother, know not, just who I’ve become
Father, hate me, for being all you’re not
Mother’s baby, I hate what I’ve become
I hate what I’ve become
I hate what I’ve become

It’s because of you I’m broken
It’s because of you I’m dead inside

Where did I go wrong? Who was I supposed to be?
No matter what I’ve done, you’ve always criticized me
What did I do wrong? What was I supposed to be?
When it’s said and done, will you remember me?”

Stranger than Fiction

“It’s stranger than fiction
How you’ve decayed
It must be so lonely
Lost within your ways
You’re born alone, you die alone
The rest is yours to fill the gap
The world goes on without you here
Adjust or just collapse
Is this what you wanted to be
Alone standing by yourself
Is this all you wanted to be
Or was that a cry for help
By yourself, by yourself, by yourself”

Anyway, sometimes I do feel like I “lost” at life, but I’m still here. I still have an opportunity to do important things, help others, perhaps to procreate (I just need to find a man)…life has beaten me down, but it hasn’t killed me.

Yet.

So let me wrap up (huzzah!). My therapist said that bipolar is only a label. Yes, but it’s a label with some weight. It’s a label that requires medication, a label I’ll never be cured of, a label that means my moods are far off-kilter…

It’s a label that affects much of my life, but still doesn’t define me. I’m more than bipolar.

I’m smart, a wino, and a crazy cat lady.

Seriously though, the title of this site may be “I’m not quirky, I’m crazy,” but being bipolar doesn’t make me crazy. I still won’t consider myself merely quirky, but me being crazy has nothing to do with me being bipolar.

I know I said a lot of things in this post, but if I had to sum it up in a sentence: mental illness is not what you think or expect; if you know someone with mental illness, then the best way to learn about it and understand them is to (respectfully) ask about it. Or, even shorter, educate yourselves.

If only I could’ve said that at the beginning.

Oh, and if you never got the title, I’m bipolar, like a magnet…which has two poles. Punny…

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I had to
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Christianity’s Argument

So recently I wrote a post (Can I Get an Amen?) in which I discussed religion and “science,” but I tended to talk about secularism/atheism/the areligious more than science, because these groups tend to speak under the guise of pure science.

While writing that I wrote an (admittedly drunk) email to my mom asking for her thoughts on the matter, since she’s the most religious person I know. (Sadly, that person is no longer myself.) She finally got all her thoughts down after I had finished it, and her response was so long that I thought I might as well devote an entire post to it.

Dave suggested I show it to Nate to hear his thoughts. I didn’t want to deal with that — I could only imagine his response. But then I got to thinking that my reply would probably be much like his — a lot like the atheist response.

Yet I still believe in God.

I suppose I blame it on my science background.

So let me preface my response to her response with this conversation with my brother:

Dave (to me): Remember to ask your grandparents later if they were at church yesterday.

Nate: Why?

I explained hadn’t seen them and thought it was odd that they weren’t at their usual mass, and knew they hadn’t been in a while; I was curious to see if they were back at it yet.

Nate: Oh, you still do that (i.e. go to church every week)?

Me: Yeah…

Dave: She hasn’t missed a week since seventh grade.

Nate: That’s…52 weeks a year for almost ten years…520 hours of your life.

Dave: Not to mention the other holy days she goes to.

Me: It’s been than spending 520 hours of my life doing drugs.

(Yep, that’s the best I could do.)

Nate: I suppose…

Me: There are worse ways to spend your time.

Nate: But remember, religion is the opiate of the masses. You don’t want to do opium, do you?

Me: It’s on my list of things to try.

(It’s not.)

Now, to him, spending 520 plus hours of my life attending mass was ludicrous. To me, it’s completely normal. It’s time well-spent. To him (and Marx), religion is a drug to make us feel good. To me, it’s a challenge with a reward. To him it’s a waste of time and to me it’s worth it.

Keep in mind that no matter what I say below, I still believe in God. Despite the arguments against and objections to the religious arguments, I still believe in God. It’s more the science and construction of the arguments that I take issue with, not necessarily the points being made.

And it’s not just my mom; I’ve heard these arguments made in the same form many times. Sometimes I feel like people hear a point made once and feel compelled to parrot it because they think it sounds good, even though they have no real knowledge nor the capacity to think of the point themselves.

Not talking about my mom, but say…Dave. He reads things about Hilary or Trump on Facebook (I see him reading them and/or he tells me) and then I hear him repeating the same point to someone else like it’s his original idea. No, someone put the thought in your head. At least I admit that I saw it on Facebook (or elsewhere).

On a completely unrelated-but-Dave-related note, I showed him this relevant-to-us meme:

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And he asked what the EU and UK were. He thought they were sexual innuendos.

Which makes me disinclined to take most of what he says seriously. So…moral of the story: don’t be caught being dumb and know what you’re talking about for real if you want to be taken seriously.

Which, I must admit, my mom knows what she’s talking about and she does use quotes (from the Bible) and she mentioned in a later email that she wished she could’ve cited other books she’d read. Respect.

One more thing before we begin:

FB_IMG_1467601755089Okay, now I’ll include her response (bolded) and my re-reponse — that’s a thing now. I’ll reply in sections for clarity.

And again, remember, I firmly believe in God. If anything, I’m critiquing arguments made my many Christians so that they find stronger ones.

Sorry this may be more than you asked, and you already posted your blog, but I enjoyed thinking about it.

I am not too big on religion…man-made rules dictating what I must do to stay on God’s good side and get into Heaven. This got the Jews in trouble…volumes of rules but no love…of God or fellow humans.

So far I agree. I’ve stopped identifying as “religious” and more as faithful or spiritual (as much as I once hated this — but I don’t mean it as lazy or ambiguous in regard to belief).

Jesus makes this point when he says the Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.  He makes the same point in the Good Samaritan story.  The priest and the Levite who walked past the beaten man and left him to die were adhering to religious rules.  The Samaritan who stopped broke his religious rules in favor of love.

Still agree. We actually just heard this in church last week. Love (and being a good person) are more important than rules. For example, I am for gay rights and marriage because I see them as my equals (how could I see them as anything else?), even though biologically they can’t make babies, which is what Catholicism demands of a couple. It’s love over doctrine. That’s why I don’t beat myself up too much over not following every rule. Hell, I once had a priest tell the congregation that you had to decide before going to bed whether to have a baby or not. I may have mentioned this before. Anyway, it sounded awfully pro-contraception — as opposed to abortion.

Religion is a lot of rules, and theoretically, if one is able to follow them all, they will be right with God and get into Heaven. This is impossible and not what God wants. We were given laws (via Moses) to reveal our sinful nature and to begin teaching us what God expects. It was God’s way of further introducing Himself…revealing more of Himself to man. We do not have to do anything to get into Heaven except accept Jesus as our Savior. Jesus already did what was needed to be done.

I like this very much, since I’m so far from perfect. As much as I like rules being followed, I suck at following God’s rules. I may not be all “Praise Jesus, for He is our Lord and Savior!” but I sure as hell believe He died and rose for me. So if truly believing in Jesus (and at least trying to be a good person) saves me, then cool.

So I think this is more God Vs Science than Religion Vs Science…at least for me. And, God is the father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

Okay. Still on board.

I honestly don’t see an issue with God AND Science.  God created all things.  He created man with intelligence. He created man with the capacity to grasp ‘science’ (and I would like to include historians, and archaeologists with scientists). 

Alright, still good…assuming you also acknowledge that God had many stages from bacteria to man…but man (okay, woman) ended up with intelligence. Mom is smart, so I’m guessing she’s no evolution denier. (Unless something major changed, I know she’s not.)

Science has done more to prove the existence of God, Jesus, and stories in the Bible than  disprove them.

I was with you up until this. I understand the view that science reveals so much awesome and mind-blowing stuff that, if you believe in God, you have to marvel at His creativity. But science does not prove the existence of God. It doesn’t necessarily disprove it; I think science is neutral is this respect.

Also, don’t call them stories; that implies they’re fictitious. Call them accounts, explanations, reports, records…but nothing you’d say when referencing a novel you just read. Just a diction tip. (Why does that sound dirty?)

People, places and events in the Bible have been verified.

This is when I begin to cringe, being religious yet scientific, knowing how this statement would be received by a scientific community coming from a religious person (arguing for God).

I googled the exact phrase above. The first many results were religious sources.

Eventually I came to one from the New York Times (and then the ones after it were religious). Here’s a quote from it:

“We will argue that the historical core of the Bible arose from clear political, social, and spiritual conditions and was shaped by the creativity and vision of extraordinary women and men. Much of what is commonly taken for granted as accurate history — the stories of the patriarchs, the Exodus, the conquest of Canaan, and even the saga of the glorious united monarchy of David and Solomon — are, rather, the creative expressions of a powerful religious reform movement that flourished in the kingdom of Judah in the Late Iron Age. Although these stories may have been based on certain historical kernels, they primarily reflect the ideology and the world-view of the writers. We will show how the narrative of the Bible was uniquely suited to further the religious reform and territorial ambitions of Judah during the momentous concluding decades of the seventh century BCE” (https://www.nytimes.com/books/first/f/finkelstein-bible.html).

Anyway, I don’t like to accept the “information” on religious sites when talking about the veracity of the Bible. Because of course they’re biased.

Yes, I’ve had history textbooks that talked about Jesus, but not in any divine context.

So I hesitate to accept religious claims that the Bible has been “verified.” It doesn’t mean I discount the Bible; I just don’t take everything literally.

Writers of the Gospels and epistles have been verified and their work has been dated. The Gospels have been accepted as eyewitness accounts and writing dates fall well within time-frames required to be considered historical accounts.

Another claim I can’t jump on board with. I believe it all happened…I just question the validity of such “verification.” The shroud of Turin was long-touted to be the very cloth Jesus was buried in…but then it was disproved (https://www.nytimes.com/books/first/f/finkelstein-bible.html). I can imagine the work had been dated — thanks to a college course entitled “Jesus, the Gospels, and Christian Origin” taught by a Jewish professor who found Jesus fascinating — but, as we learned, the Gospel writers all lived after Jesus…save for maybe John. We’re not sure about him. He might have been the “disciple whom Jesus loved.” That may have been an eyewitness account, but consider that he would have been at least in his seventies (I think — I guess people doubted he would die) by the time he was writing his Gospel, so…how good was his memory?

One of the Gospel writers (Mark) was a student of and really didn’t like Jesus’ disciple Peter…and Mark was the earliest Gospel. Still, he was getting his information after Jesus died. So it’s not exactly eyewitness. Maybe from Peter, but you’ve played telephone before, right?

One of the Gospel writers is also the least favorite because he doesn’t favor the rich (Luke, I think); and the gospel of Matthew also lends itself to musicals (see Godspell).

Anyway, I’m not convinced on how verified this all is.

Eye witnesses to Jesus’ death and His presence after resurrection have been verified.

Again, by whom? By people who already claimed to believe (i.e. have stake) in Him rising from the dead? I have trouble accepting written accounts supposedly “proving” Jesus’ resurrection.

Not that it didn’t happen, but…the extent to which it can be verified is unconvincing.

Events of the crucifixion story have been verified….earthquake, darkness on Earth.

Maybe these things were documented. Maybe there was consensus that at the time Jesus died, there was an earthquake and the sky got dark. Okay. But it’s not…exactly…conclusive.

Scientists agree that the odds of the universe and life randomly and spontaneously creating itself are so astronomical as to make them impossible. They agree there had to be a designer…a creator. Life is too organized to simply have happened. Can man do incredible tasks such as cloning? Yes, but he still started with life…he did not create it.

I almost feel bad about discrediting this claim…because I remember how disappointed I was when I learned about the science against the argument for intelligent design.

For a long time I felt humans were unique. How else could life as we know it happen unless a higher power was orchestrating it?

But then I learned about the multiverse, which means, in its most basic form, that we’re not the only universe out there (http://www.npr.org/2011/01/24/132932268/a-physicist-explains-why-parallel-universes-may-exist). And then there’s the Fermi Paradox, which (from what I learned in astronomy) means either we’re alone in our galaxy, interstellar travel is unlikely/hard (because they destroy themselves first or they don’t care), or we just haven’t met them yet. And it seems highly unlikely that we’re alone.

Of course I believe that God created the universe(s) and everything in it/them. But I’m not using my existence as an argument for God. If anything, it’s an argument for extremely good luck meeting the conditions necessary for life as complex as humans…and evolution.

However, as I said in Science-Minded: “My best friend (who’s Muslim) was watching a video that was supposed to be about Islam and science. I noted that some of it sounded like the argument for intelligent design (the universe could only be created by God because it’s so complex). I once subscribed to this, but have since realized other universes are possible. But I still feel (as the video suggested) that there is something to humans that can’t be transplanted. There’s something to life that’s unique. Where did the first living bacteria come from?”

So Mom does have a point that life is unique. Technically we can (and do) create it — you know, when we make babies. And we can do lots of things in a lab involving life. But we started with it. It’s not like we invented it.

But can we take a moment to thank those first bacteria that participated in recombination?

Did it take seven days or seven trillion years to create the universe? Who cares! “But beloved, do not forget this one thing, with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years is as one day” 2 Peter 3:8.

Actually it took about 14 billion years to get us to where we are now, complete with the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and every living creature which moves on the ground — and humans, which have dominion over all of it (Genesis 1:28).

I’ve also read, to play Devil’s advocate, that we can’t know if five days had gone by if God didn’t create day and night until the fifth day.

Anyway, no, I suppose that to someone like me, the exact times don’t matter, because ultimately I believe that God fired off the Big Bang and just a short 14 billion years later, here I am writing this here blog.

God is the author of life. Do I need to understand? No! Am I even capable of understanding?  Why limit God with my puny human mind? “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, says the Lord.  The heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts” Isaiah 55:8-9. Also Jesus tells John as he washes his feet, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this” John 13:7.

But God made us humans curious, so we do kind of want to know about life. Also, I kind of rely on that curiosity for my career, so…I do kind of need to understand.

We have many hypotheses and few laws in science. So we’re good at kind of, maybe understanding — but we’re also probably wrong. I’m not really limiting whatever God has in store for me to discover if I have an open mind and expect anything.

No, we’re not going to figure everything out, but in a way that’s good. And I have a list of questions for God when I get to Heaven.

On a related note, I always thought a good novel (or even short story) would be that everything in science has been figured out, except whether or not God exists. One guy finally gets the answer (somehow), and, well…I’m not sure how it ends.

Anyway, not being able to understand it all is no reason not to try to. Because it’s like how people say truth is stranger than fiction; scientific reality is way cooler than anything I can imagine.

Science is a gift God has given us…to do with it as we will.  Ideally we will choose to do His will.  That that choice is ours to make.  Science can make this life easier, more enjoyable, less painful, more fulfilled…but there is nothing science will give us or do for us that we will take with us to Heaven…or Hell as the case may be. God’s love, peace, joy is with us for eternity if we choose to accept it.

I agree that science is a gift. Choosing to do His Will may mean different things for different people. Actually, using science for good means very different things for everyone. For some, using science for good and doing God’s Will are opposites (for example, stem cell research or abortion). I don’t plan on doing anything immoral (in God’s eyes) with science. But it’s a weird gray area that challenges not only the religious but our general sense of ethics.

Also…I’d like to hope that discovering something awesome that helps a lot of people (high hopes here) either impresses God or means He found me worthy of discovering such a thing.

Enough on God and Science. On to Talking to God Vs your cat [in reference to a picture that likened praying to talking to your cat], the eternal value of an opinion, and the limitations we impose on God. While mankind learns and makes advances in science and technology, and the benefits of new knowledge are passed on to future generations to build on, the state of the individual seems to remain the same…lost…looking for the purpose of life.

Personally, I think the purpose of life is to be good so we get into Heaven…though that may contradict what my mom says about how all we have to do is accept Jesus as our Savior.

Sometimes I think my purpose is to make others feel better about their lives. I mean, they could be me. It could be worse.

I’m not sure that everyone worries about the meaning of life. I mean, if you’re an atheist you probably(?) think we’re here just because and our “purpose” is to live and die. I mean, without an afterlife, what does life really matter?

If I were an atheist I’d surely live a funner and more interesting life…not that I’m exactly living a holy life right now. But I could at least use words and phrases that take the Lord’s name in vain (I think this is literally the only commandment I can keep).

But I suppose it’s true that, despite the advancements of science, religion continues to survive (though it may be struggling) and people continue to look to a deity and afterlife for some kind of purpose and guidance. “Science” hasn’t killed God yet (and by science I do mean more the atheist proponents of science).

No matter how mankind advances, each new human is born into the world a sinner, looking for a purpose, looking for a God, even if that god turns out to be an idol…often resembling himself (hmmm).

I’m not entirely sure what she means by an idol resembling himself. My interpretation is that he finds that god is himself…so, atheism?

Man has always searched for a god. Does that innate search or desire not argue for the existence of God? If there is no God, no Heaven, then why not live for today….live for pleasure alone? Because even in the basest man there is a conscience, guilt, shame. If there is no God, where did these emotions come from and what purpose do they serve?

No, it really doesn’t argue for the existence of God. I can believe that most people/civilizations are scared of the concept of death and afraid of death itself, so they search for/come up with some solution, which is religion. I think I can say with some confidence that most people worry about death. (I mean, I don’t; it’s going to happen at some point and even if it hurts, I’m dying anyway — but I have my issues.)

You’re afraid of dying? Well hey, what if there’s something that comes after, like…an afterlife? Well if there’s an afterlife in which we’re spirits, then maybe there’s some higher power controlling this afterlife…

Wanting a purpose or fearing death is the reason for God, not proof of God. Regardless I believe — but this may be one of the most troubling issues for me.

And a lot of people do live for pleasure alone, faithful or not. Hell, if all we really have to do is accept God and Jesus to get into Heaven, then why not live however we want, relying on God’s forgiveness?

I think conscience, guilt, shame, etc. can be explained by societal laws and expectations. Women are shamed if they sleep around, there are punishments for murder, and so on. People are greatly shaped by society and conforming benefits them by keeping them out of trouble or saving them from ridicule.

Still, I feel like love is kind of unique. I mean, evoluntionarily speaking, all we should be concerned with is survival…and mating.

“Only 3 to 5 percent of the 5,000 species of mammals bond for life, including otters, beavers and wolves. When only primate species are considered, the rate is slightly higher 6 percent of the 300 primate species in the world, including gibbons, are considered monogamists” (http://www.livescience.com/32702-are-any-animals-monogamous.html). And lots of those “monogamous” couples have affairs…*cough cough* including humans *cough cough*.

Males should want to mate with as many females as possible to spread their genes and females, well, I suppose we should “want” to give birth to as many offspring as possible.

Yet we still (stupidly) partner up and get married…for “life.” I believe that marriage should last forever, but many don’t. Divorce is always their safety net. (Also, I’m only reproducing after I’ve met my life mate.)

Anyway, “love” is an oddball emotion, in an evolutionary sense. Love has nothing to do with it, according to biology, which seeks good genes and applauds environmental advantages.

As I used to say to my puggle, “Nature would not have selected for you.” Nevertheless, he was a good dog. A sweetheart.

Hell, I shouldn’t have kids with Dave, according to biology. I’d waste all my advantages on his disadvantages. Our offspring would be crushingly average.

Yet there’s a good chance that may happen anyway.

So love is an odd thing. It binds people unnaturally and brings together evolutionarily disadvantageous couples so they put dumb, weak, and/or ugly children into the world.

Let’s hear it for love!

Why with all of our knowledge; technological, scientific, medical advances is society still in the same pathetic state described throughout the Old and New testament? We live with the same fear, anxiety, and despair the Israelites did.

Because, religious or not, we’re all stressed about money and dying, to some extent. I mean, we live longer now, which is a plus, but then we have longer to worry about our income/quality of life, which is a minus. Hell, our parents and grandparents are living so long that we take them in and care for them in their old age now. Yes, I’ll gladly take care of my mom, since she once took care of me, but caring for your parents or grandparents is definitely added stress. (Not to be mean.)

We’re in the same pathetic state because we still have stresses. It’s not about whether we believe in God or not — though I would think those of us who believe in God might feel better about our challenges. So I don’t get how society now mirroring biblical Israel’s society is an argument for God.

Domestic violence, poverty, world hunger seem to make God’s claims of sovereignty seem foolish. God seems powerless. In spite of this appearance, God is supreme, and He calls us to be part of His kingdom and serve Him. He calls each of us to turn to Christ, admit our brokenness, and become a new creation, living for Jesus, not the world. This is growth we must make as individuals.  As individuals we must accept Jesus. We do not belong  to his kingdom on the beliefs of our fathers, friends or churches. Jesus is with us and in us. Even in our bleakest moments God is present. We do not face life alone (John 16:33). The ultimate source of power is God. The One who is, who was, and who is to come. The God that has been with us in the past will not forsake us now or in the future. Jesus has triumphed over death and made life possible now and in eternity.

I think this is one of the chief reasons people quit believing.  God seems powerless in light of all the tragedy in the world. Then again, maybe we’re the ones failing to bring about the change this “weakness” necessitates.

I do have to admit that I live for survival. My survival. God is a part of that, no doubt.

But I also believe that in my worst moments, God is still there. I know He won’t forsake me (until I land in hell). Still, life is rough and could make one question where God is.

Don’t believe all that mumbo-jumbo?  I guess everyone is in fact entitled to  their opinion. But to the believer in Christ I say…beware of cultural accommodation and the temptation to dismiss Jesus as mumbo-jumbo. Paul said in Romans 12:12, “How much compromise with non-Christian beliefs is acceptable? To what extent can we be part of the world without being conformed to the world?”

I also took some issue with this. First of all, I guess I’d define cultural accommodation as the welcoming of other views…which isn’t all that bad, even if they disagree with Christianity. And if you learn and accept, say, Judaism and start to agree with that faith’s tenets and end up converting, I’m not going to say it was a bad thing that you were open to it.

I understand the threat of secularism encroaching on the faithful. I see that kind of thing happening all the time, like when I’m the youngest one at a Holy Day (of Obligation) mass or when I’m the youngest one at Confession or mass by their own free will. My generation is certainly less religious (though I can’t speak to their spiritual state…well, my general feeling is that it’s not so great either). In fact, I feel particular respect for someone who gets their ashes or goes to confession. We’re a rare breed.

I guess where it gets a bit fuzzy here is the difference between cultural accommodation, compromising with non-Christian beliefs, and dismissing Jesus.

I’m going to hazard a guess that cultural accommodation here is meant that you accept the differences between your religious beliefs and secular society, even though that’s not what I’d call it. Maybe…secular acceptance? Anyway, it’s not like I’m going to go around telling people they’re heathens for having premarital sex, cohabiting before marriage, getting drunk, and so on. I can hope to be a positive influence on the people I know (ha), but I’m not going to try to fix every iniquity I see.

But I’m going to move on because this next chunk deals with the same issues.

Accepting beliefs and lifestyles of others can threaten the foundation of Christianity. Openness and acceptance can seriously degenerate into an attitude that no longer takes Jesus seriously. Cultural acceptance is hard to balance. It can result in rigid adherence to theology that becomes unloving.  It can also become so lax and accommodating that it loses its Christian values. Christianity could not have flourished without cultural  accommodation. At the same time it can tear Christianity apart.

Okay, honest question for you, Mom — two, actually: my lifestyle is clearly not that of a model Catholic. I drink, I take birth control, I’m living and sleeping with my boyfriend before marriage, I get jealous, I lie (just not well)…so have you not accepted my lifestyle or is it threatening the foundation of your beliefs?

(And I don’t mean this sarcastically; I often feel that my mom is biting her tongue when she hears about what I’ve been up to.)

The second question is that if you don’t really care for “religion,” which is about rules, then how can accepting the lifestyles and beliefs of others erode Christianity’s foundation? Worrying about the acceptance of others’ ways sounds like a preoccupation with the rules others are/n’t following.

I’m no perfect Catholic, but I take Jesus seriously. Also, I accept others’ beliefs and lifestyles, and that doesn’t affect me. I’m just worrying about me and what’s going to get me by…also what I think God really cares about. Yes, I suppose anyone can be like, “Nah, God wouldn’t really care about this,” but I’m not hurting anyone else. That’s how I judge my actions. Birth control doesn’t kill an existing baby, living with Dave doesn’t hurt anybody, drinking only hurts me…

Christians/Catholics seem to worry a lot about what’s going on with everyone else, and not so much on what’s going on in themselves. I don’t really care how religious you are (I mean, I’d hope you believe in God so we don’t argue about God or you don’t think I’m stupid for talking about God/Heaven); I just worry about myself and only care about you if you need something, if I can help you.

Yes, I think secularism is an issue because I think it threatens young believers from doing their thing. I think many people my age are afraid to be themselves and practice their religion because no one else is doing it.

Anyway, I don’t think cultural accommodation is the issue; I think it’s that people just don’t care about themselves. Christians care too much about others and not enough about themselves.

I say anyone who wants to take a chance on recreating God’s image or applying their own opinion to God, has an eternal death wish. One’s opinion does not change the nature of God!

So do I have eternal death wish because I don’t think God’s opinion is quite that which we find in the Bible? Like I’m truly not sure here.

And God can’t do anything??? [I told her what Dave said about God not being able to do anything.] He could send His only Son to humiliate Himself by becoming human; living with all of our human emotions and temptations.  Jesus being fully man, remained sinless in His obedience to our Father. He chose to suffer a ghastly, brutal death to save His creation…to save sinners whose place He took on the cross.  He hung there, bludgeoned, bleeding, unrecognizable. He choose to give his life to save ours. Then He rose from the dead. He offers forgiveness, salvation, eternal life in heaven.

Okay, not quite what I had in mind when I told Dave that God could do anything. I mean, yes, I believe He did all these things, but I more meant that He can help with any daily situation…anyway, I still believe that God can do anything, like cure me of whatever’s wrong with me…He just doesn’t. For some reason.

I also feel that if God started working big miracles or brought Jesus back, nobody would believe it. Jesus was persecuted in the New Testament? Imagine how much worse it’d be now. He’d be put in a mental institution.

Anyway, I still feel God can do anything, but He doesn’t, to make some point, I guess.

This is the kind of thing that makes me doubt, but the worst case scenario is that I’m dead, and if there’s no God, then it really doesn’t matter at that point.

“Surely, He hath born our grief, and carried our sorrows, yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our inequities, the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and with His stripes we are healed,” Isaiah 53:43. And notice that says we ARE healed, not we WERE healed.  We are healed…Jesus is at work in the world and our lives as much today as yesterday.

There’s really nothing here I can disagree with.

Does that sound like a God who is powerless or foolish?  If so, then count yourself among the many who have hardened their hearts…whose eyes do not see…whose ears do not hear.

Okay, I believe the above quote, but I have to admit that I can sympathize with those who say God is powerless…i.e. doesn’t exist. I see a lot of instances where God could act and doesn’t. I chalk it up to God having a greater plan, but I see how some conclude that God doesn’t care/exist.

At this point in this post, I do have to admit that the argument for God is kind of weak…but I still believe. I’m troubled, but I believe. Ultimately, I always believe.

I suppose that makes me one with a sort of hardened heart?

But again, the difference between me and an atheist is that I see a point in believing, in praying; that I don’t bat an eye at the thought of having spent 520+ hours of my life in church. (Really it’s a very small percentage of my life, like 0.2%.) I don’t see an argument against God. In fact, an atheist might use scientific facts and such as an argument against God, but I see it as a reason to thank God. Is God proving His existence to me? No. An atheist might say that means God doesn’t exist, but I’d say that means nothing. God doesn’t have to prove anything. That’s where faith comes in.

It’s a delightfully stubborn argument, yes. You can’t prove God doesn’t exist so He exists. But consider: you can’t prove God exists so He doesn’t exist. Why is the latter so much easier to accept?

Nate once said the burden of proof is on the prosecution, which I suppose would be believers. But why? Okay, we’re claiming God exists. But are atheists not also making the claim that He doesn’t? Okay, they can deny our claim but we can deny theirs. And ultimately, all the science in the world doesn’t really prove God doesn’t exist; it’s just a collection of facts. It’s like, in my last post, how someone argued that paranormal research is moot because nowhere has it been shown that the evidence they collect proves the existence of ghosts. A cold spot is just a cold spot.

So, what? Evolution is a real thing. Whatever. It doesn’t mean God doesn’t exist.

Bottom line, it’s a lot of chasing each others’ tails, if that makes sense. I’m not even sure if that’s an expression. But now it is.

“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are persisting, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached, to save those who believe. For Jews request a sign, Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified. For Jews a stumbling block, and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than man, and the weakness of God is stronger than man”  1 Corithinians :18-25.

Honestly, this to me reads like a lot of Bible-speak that is difficult to interpret. Ah, because it’s a quote. Okay then. That makes sense. I thought it was my mom talking.

But here we go.

Sparknotes version (as I see it): God’s wisdom is not the same as man’s wisdom, it makes our wisdom look foolish; people don’t/didn’t really know what God wants or means; some people wants signs or answers, but what you really want is Jesus, because that’s better than anything man can come up with.

How did I do, Mom?

But let’s get to her thoughts on this quote.

This is a God who is all-powerful. This is a God who is love. This is God the Creator…still creating. The provider…still providing. The Teacher…still teaching.

I’m not quite sure how the above quote makes these points, but okay. I mean, I believe all these things anyway.

However, while this is a respectable argument to make to a believer, who recognizes the value in the words of the Bible, it’s really a poor argument to someone who doubts or doesn’t believe at all. Especially if they’re looking to poke holes in your argument.

These last two quotes from my mom seem to be begging the question, which is a logical fallacy (if you know me, you know I love my logical fallacies; I should memorize them so I can call people out).

I looked the fallacies up, just to be sure, and here is the actual example for begging the question/circular logic (from http://www.logicalfallacies.info):

(1) The Bible affirms that it is inerrant.
(2) Whatever the Bible says is true.
Therefore:
(3) The Bible is inerrant.

To me it seems that using the Bible to argue for God’s omnipotence is a little biased. It’s just not a good argument.

I mean, if someone doesn’t believe in God or doesn’t believe in His power, quoting the Bible probably isn’t going to persuade them.

Now, I realize I could be accused of committing the burden of proof, fallacy, or tu quoque fallacies…but I’m not saying that either side has to prove their claims (because we can’t), I’m not saying that God doesn’t exist because the argument isn’t good, nor am I avoiding criticism by criticizing the criticizer (https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/). There are so many fallacies out there and every site has a different collection.

Anyway, the atheist discounts the Bible as a source, so…that’s not a good source. If I wanted to argue with Dave, maybe (but he’d give me some BS about how Christianity doesn’t care about what the Bible says).

Surprisingly, I asked him what he’d think if I used a quote from the Bible to argue something about God, and he told me I was entitled to my opinion. Because it was just a bunch of Christians (actually, Jews) writing their accounts…”the Bible is just a big fucking diary, really.” He said something about how it’s what I believe and I told him no, I don’t believe it’s what happened. I don’t take the Bible at face-value. He was shocked. I asked if he really believed in Adam and Eve over evolution and he just said that I’m not even a half-Catholic (because I don’t believe the Bible) and yet I go to church every week…I replied that I don’t take it literally and he said if you’re a Christian then it’s what happened.

Well, I’m Catholic, not Christian, so…

Anyway, I’m surprised. I’m not saying the Bible is fiction, but I wouldn’t say it’s a purely historical account.

The point here is that the Bible shouldn’t be used to argue religious points/conclusions suggested in the Bible, at least to an atheist. That’s like a communist quoting the Communist Manifesto to argue the merits of communism to a capitalist.

People don’t like to read the Bible but they like to quote it. God did not promise perfect lives. He did not say life would be easy if only we believe.  God made many promises…and fulfilled them…I challenge anyone to dispute that.

I do agree with that first line, no matter what the context. People misquote science all the time. They don’t understand it or really care, but if they find a tidbit that suits their purpose? QUOTE THAT SHIT.

I do realize that God never promised me a rose garden. In fact, there’s a lot in the Bible about believing being hard.

Maybe that’s where some people get tripped up. “This is hard! Why is it hard? Nobody said it’d be hard!”

(I so hope nobody read that sexually. If you didn’t, I bet you just re-read it.)

As for the promises that God fulfilled…I think that can be disputed. Like I’m not so confident in the proof that God has fulfilled His promises.

On another note, did you hear about the guy building the Ark based on the Bible’s dimensions? On one scientific page I have liked on Facebook people were pissed off that he would spread “ignorance” like that. Really? Calm down.

It’s really not hurting anyone. Get over yourselves. I’m sorry it insults your “scientific” (i.e. godless) view, but it’s not threatening the (actual) scientific community.

Jesus did tell us, “These things I have spoken to  you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” John 16:30.

I guess this is what most Christians have to believe or else they’ll get too beat down and discouraged.

AND…”I will never forsake or leave you…” Hebrews 13:15.
AND…”with men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible” Mark 10:27.
AND…”all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to his purpose” Romans 8:25.

Again, I believe all these things, but they’re not a good argument for a non-believer.

All in all, especially with prayer, we get out what we are willing to put forth.  Jesus worked many miracles but only when there was faith. He does not force himself on anyone. We will not be dragged in to Heaven kicking and screaming. How often before Jesus performs a miracle does he simply ask…Do you believe?

I hate to be this guy (or girl), but like…in the past two years I’ve been put through hell (like, relatively for on earth, maybe some first level of hell stuff); my mom has been taken from me and I don’t know when I’ll get her back, I had to move four times in a year, I’ve been cheated on, emotionally abused, in a bad relationship, raped, diagnosed as depressed, in another conflict-ridden relationship where I don’t ever feel as if I really have a home there and I often feel he hates me, made to feel like a horrible person, suicidal for a year now, and again diagnosed as bipolar. All that, and I’ve kept believing in God. I’ll say it once again: I’m no model Catholic, but I never stopped believing; I believe in God beyond a shadow of a doubt.

But I get angry at God because…what the fuck? I have fucking faith, so where is my miracle? Where the fuck is it? I believe, Jesus, so where’s my miracle? I keep praying, I keep going to church, I keep believing. WHERE’S MY MIRACLE?

I’m not afraid to get angry with God. I’m not afraid to demand. Because really, how much shit are You going to put me through before I see some reward, some end, some light in my tunnel?

SERIOUSLY GOD.

Healing the paralytic:   “…when He saw his faith…” Luke 5:20.
Woman healed:   …”your faith has made you well…”  Luke 8:48.
Girl restored:   “…do not be afraid, only believe…”Luke 8:50.
Blind man healed:   “…your faith has made you whole…”  Mark 18:42.
Centurion:   “…such great faith…” Matthew 8:10.

Jesus rebuked His disciples for lack of faith.
“…ye of little faith….”   Matthew 6:30.
“…why have you so little faith?”  Mark 4:40.
if you had the faith of a mustard seed…” Luke 17:6.

I must admit, “Ye of little faith, why did you doubt?” is one of my favorite Bible quotes. Because what’s the answer to that? (Like if Jesus actually asked you why you doubted Him.)

But my ultimate favorite quote is Matthew 6:24-34:

“No one can be the slave of two masters: he will either hate the first and love the second, or be attached to the first and despise the second. You cannot be the slave both of God and of money. That is why I am telling you not to worry about your life and what you are to eat, nor about your body and what you are to wear. Surely life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Look at the birds in the sky. They do not sow or reap or gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they are? Can any of you, however much you worry, add one single moment to your lifespan? And why worry about clothing? Think of the flowers growing in the fields; they never have to work or spin; yet I assure you that not even Solomon in all his royal robes was clothed like one of these. Now if that is how God clothes the wild flowers growing in the field which are there today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, will he not much more look after you, you who have so little faith? So do not worry; do not say, “What are we to eat? What are we to drink? What are we to wear?” It is the gentiles who set their hearts on all these things. Your heavenly Father knows you need them all. Set your hearts on his kingdom first, and on God’s saving justice, and all these other things will be given you as well. So do not worry about tomorrow: tomorrow will take care of itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.

What? Does the answer to all my problems lie in praying more? I thank God often, I pray often…I get nothing except surviving each day. I want more than survival. Most other people get more than survival and they don’t even believe, or if they do, they don’t even pray or go to church.

Praying without ceasing to me is being aware of Christ in my heart throughout the day. Being aware of His presence and guidance. Being thankful and grateful, adoring…when things are good…and more so when things seem overwhelming.

I thank God when things are good, but I pray to Him a lot when things suck and get nothing.

I suppose I’ll bring this up now: when a mental illness makes you treat others badly or makes you take actions likes attempting to kill yourself (or wanting to), and supposedly God made you this way, is it your fault (and your sin) that you do so?

Pretty much my main reason for not killing myself is that I’d go to hell, but I really can’t imagine God would send me to hell for something He saddled me with. If He gave me a mental condition that made me want to take my own life, how is it my fault?

So I think God is more lenient than we think. I truly believe that God would rather see us in Heaven (or at least Purgatory) than hell.

I’m not about to test this and kill myself, hoping to end up in Heaven, but I think God is more caring and sympathetic than even we know/think.

Breath prayers throughout the day work.  I love you Jesus.  Thank you for my children, You are my strength.  Help me through this.  Guide me.  I can’t do this without you.  A little prayer that can be uttered in a breath.

I actually do this anyway. This, aside from the Rosary, is my chief form of prayer. It’s an easy way to pray if you’re intimidated by longer, more dedicated prayer-time, plus it’s a good way to keep God on your mind, even if in the background.

I’ll close with with this. “Know that the Lord, He is God; It is He who made us, and not we ourselves” Psalms 100:3.

And I’ll close with the following:

FB_IMG_1467332991056I agree that questioning things is how we arrive at scientific progress. As I said above, I can also agree with the atheist’s argument that people fear death and so they invent something to comfort them. Death is unknown; let’s try to project knowledge onto it.

However, I don’t find myself trying to justify my belief in God and the afterlife. I just believe. I’m not scrambling for proof. I just have a quiet confidence that God exists. Can I explain it? Can I provide my evidence? No. Chalk it up to a gut feeling.

It’s not hurting you, it’s not interfering with my science career. I’ve said this in a few posts now.

But I think the theme in this post is that the Christian’s argument for God is weak. It’s just not a good argument, unless you already believe.

That doesn’t mean the argument against God is strong. That doesn’t mean science disproves God. Science is neutral on God’s existence.

All it means is that believing is hard, which we, the faithful, already knew.

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