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?

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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.

cancer
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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Can I Get an Amen?

So I couldn’t decide which of two posts to write; one was about science and religion, and the other was about people being assholes because everyone else is one. Dave suggested I flip a coin, but I didn’t have a coin, plus I have something way better — an app called “Cat or Sloth,” which is basically flipping a coin but with two things I like very much (so really it’s a win-win).

Cat, naturally, was the asshole post, while sloth was science and religion.

Slothy won three out of three times.

And I couldn’t say no to slothy.

So here we are, discussing science and religion and why the two can’t just get along. At least be civil, guys.

As you may know, I am a woman of science as well as a woman of faith (and for the purposes of this post, I may/will use faith and religion interchangeably even though I feel they connote different things), and I believe that it’s not an either-or situation. The two don’t necessarily have to be at odds. In fact, a scientific mind and faith can peacefully coexist in the same individual.

Case in point: me.

Now, I’m not everyone’s definition of scientific or religious, but still…it can happen at least in some form.

So I suppose that’s what I’m going to be talking about here, kind of. Well, maybe I’ll be acting as a mediator or an advocate.

In the science versus religion debate, it often seems that religion gets the condescending end of the stick. And their reply to atheism’s* taunts is usually something along the lines of “I know you are but what am I?” or “I’m rubber, you’re glue…” or some other equivalent to those gradeschool-esque responses to bullying.

*Because, let’s be real, when I say “science” I mean those people who laud science — and rightly so — but have to put down religion…who tend to be atheists. You can love science (and even not be religious) without putting down religion.

I’m not saying I’m defending religion — or rather, all its claims — I’m more standing up for it and its believers. They don’t deserve to be belittled merely for believing in something that others don’t…if it’s not hurting anyone.

But don’t worry, I stand up for science (against religion) later.

So to start off (this is going to be a meme- and picture-heavy post — I seem to like this way of writing posts), let’s look at some posts about religion.

FB_IMG_1466606551234Might I mention that when a “Muslim” does something like kill 49 people (And inure 53 more) at a gay nightclub, so many of us (myself included) jump to say “Well clearly he didn’t represent all Muslims,” or “Obviously he wasn’t a true, practicing Muslim if he did something like that.” So why do we assume that all Christians hate gay people or will tell non-Christians they’re going to hell?

No, I don’t use language like “the Almighty King” — my relationship with God is much more casual — but I do feel that I was put on this earth to help and love others. Not hate and persecute them.

Oh, and also do some awesome science stuff. (I’m doing a shitty job of loving and helping, but that’s beside the point.)

I feel odd using this argument in support of a group I consider myself a part of, but really, a few “intense” Christians don’t mean we’re all that way.

Hell, I’m Catholic — and Catholicism, according to Dave, is evil and too concerned with rules compared to “Christianity,” which doesn’t care what you do and you should just “come to church when you can” with a god who can’t do anything.

I’m pretty sure describes no Christian denomination.

Maybe that’s agnosticism? I don’t know.

The point is, I’m Catholic — the “strict” Christian religion**, I guess — and I’m not avidly for every rule we have. Even my grandmother (this is two generations of evil Catholic ago, mind you) has no problem with gay people and such — nor science, by the way.

**Yes, some people will say it’s not technically Christian but we still believe in God and Jesus, so for my purposes, it is.

Hell, I was telling Dave about a teacher I once had and I mentioned his boyfriend and Dave goes, “He’s gay?” like it’s a big deal. Um, who the fuck cares? Not this Catholic. Maybe a certain “Christian?”

Anyway, all Christians (and, gasp, Catholics) can’t be painted in one broad stroke. We’re not all the same. But I would think and hope that that’s common sense.

Okay, so let’s move on.

FB_IMG_1466733145454Let me just say that historically, men had the power and women didn’t, so you can’t blame me.

I’m kidding.

First, as I just said above, not all Christians are the same as the ones who make the laws. And the ones making the laws, ironically, are probably only pretending to be that religious to win over our votes.

So again, let’s not act like we’re all the same. I believe in Jesus — does that mean I’m for slavery or against marriage equality? No, dumbass.

And second, as much as I hate to say this, religious believers do get bullied.

In the non-religious (i.e. atheist?) and scientific communities, religious views are often not just shot down, but ridiculed.

Okay, maybe not so much with real, respectable scientists, but still…because we don’t have proof, automatically we’re idiots?

I’m not. I know that for sure.

We can have opposing views or I can believe in something you don’t and still get along. You can respect my opinion and respect me. Like how I respect my brother’s choice of atheism and still respect Dave as a person even though he likes the confederate flag.

But to continue…

FB_IMG_1466732837280And so we enter the posts meant simply to insult religion. For no purpose. Only to insult, just because.

I’m sorry, why do we have laws against murder? Do areligious (is that perhaps a better term?) people need laws and punishments to tell them that murder is wrong?

At least religion gives you something to work toward other than staying out of jail.

I don’t care whether Heaven is real; at least I have something to work for. If Heaven isn’t real, then guess what? I’m dead anyway and it doesn’t matter. Because I’m dead.

If believing in Heaven makes me be good so I can end up there, are you really going to complain? Just let it go.

No, I don’t need religion to tell me how not to be a shitty person. But there are also laws and punishment to dissuade me from being a piece of shit. I could easily say to an atheist, “Oh, so you need laws to tell you how to behave?”

Atheists aren’t morally superior or anything because they don’t need a god to tell them what not to do; they still have laws because all people suck.

Perhaps they don’t “need” someone to tell them not to sleep around or lie or be nice to their parents. But neither do I; STDs aren’t on my bucket list, I’m too bad at lying to do it, I’d get caught cheating — it’s just my luck — and I might need to borrow money from my parents again one day, so…it’s common sense.

And, of course, I’d feel bad about these things. Maybe I would anyway, but we can’t deny the influence of laws and societal norms…which, last time I checked, atheists were also susceptible to.

Let’s get to religion and science.

FB_IMG_1466733043303Gee, I wonder why I said religious folk tend to be bullied. Now, I’m sure when this person said “religion,” they really meant to imply Christianity. The only time you hear about Islam in a negative sense is when someone is claiming that all Muslims are terrorists. So what are Christians? Bigots, obviously. But Jews? How can we demonize them? Ha, they’re Jews; they don’t need to be demonized.

(Kidding. I love Jewish people. Some of my favorite people are Jewish.)

Religion and progress aren’t mutually exclusive. I mean, the Catholic mass is no longer in Latin, so…that’s a win.

Seriously though, not every church-goer is a fire and brimstone Bible-thumper. I bet you could ask some priests and even they wouldn’t tell you that a gay person or non-Christian is going to hell.

It’s not like it really comes up — at least not in the homily. When our priest talks to us, it’s usually about being a good person, being closer to God, repenting…all positive stuff. Nothing about who to hate.

Though I won’t say that some Catholics don’t seem to live by the motto: “I’m a good Catholic; I hate all the right people!” (I’m sure the same could be said of Christianity in general.)

But it’s not like being progressive and religious are at odds.

It might just be a generational thing, guys. People my age who believe in God are way more open-minded than our parents, grandparents, whatever. Have you considered that maybe there’s a confounding variable here? It looks like religion = stubborn, traditional bigot. But maybe age has something to do with it, and previous generations just happened to worship differently. Does that make sense?

It’s correlation, not causation. Duh.

Moreover, “progress” doesn’t necessarily mean or have to mean moving further toward secularism. (And really, secularism, not science, is the opposite of religion.) Society and science can progress without alienating or phasing religion out. Again, it’s not choose-one-or-the-other.

We can make scientific (and social) progress without leaving religion behind.

FB_IMG_1466732857395Good Heavens, it’s faith, so of course there’s no proof. That would be the point of faith, honey. Yes, yes, the un-religious love to latch on to this bit but seriously, if we could prove our religious beliefs then we’d call it science. It’s called faith, they’re called beliefs.

You can’t know anything for certain (even scientific facts — because they could always be disproved). Faith demands a little more of us than science when it comes to drawing conclusions. Nope, we don’t have “proof.” Cool. We know that. We’ve accepted that. That’s why we still believe. Science is hard because you have to work for your evidence. Religion is hard because there’s no proof.

Also, if you knew a damn thing about science you’d know you didn’t have — nor could you find — proof. There is no “proving” in science. Seriously. That’s like Science 101.

Some people are okay with not having proof for something that helps them get through life. Some people can’t handle that. They’re called atheists.

Note: for science, you do need proof or else you could end up telling someone that drinking bleach will help clean out their GI tract. Or, for something more relatable, you might tell them that drinking only juice will “cleanse” them. In the case of religion, what harm will believing do?

Another note: Yes, religion can cause harm when people take it too literally or whatever — but as I covered above, these people aren’t really doing Gods’ Will if it hurts others. When I say it does no harm, I mean the majority of the time, with average people.

FB_IMG_1466733088675Okay, let me give you some examples here:

Say you have a friend who really believes he can sing well. He can’t, at all, but he doesn’t do it around you that much anyway. Are you going to insist to him that he can’t sing and make him feel bad for wanting to sing and thinking he can? No, because you’re not that much of a dick.

Or let’s say you have a friend who has a little extra padding and is trying to fit into a pair of jeans that are really too tight for her but she LOVES them. Are you going to be that guy who tells her she’s a fatass and can’t wear those jeans?

If their belief is not directly impacting you negatively, then leave it alone.

Like this is seriously what I don’t get about atheists — okay, I can understand why you don’t believe in God — but why do you have to shove your unbelief down the throats of believers (if they’re not doing the same to you)? Unless a religious person is actually harassing you for being gay or not believing or something, why do you have to attack us? We’re just minding our own business and you’re making it a point to tear us down.

Why? Does it bother you that much that we believe in something you don’t? Or can’t?

FB_IMG_1462557350456To continue in that same vein…I’d like to just say that it’s atheists, not science, that attack religion. It’s atheists under the guise of science. Does science care whether you believe in God or not? No. Atheists do. All science wants to do is find new and helpful things. Atheists have an agenda.

It’s funny; our priest pointed out that atheists actually do think about God all the time — about how He’s not real and all the ways He isn’t real. I’m sure some atheists spend more time thinking about God than some believers.

I understand if a religious person is fighting against stem cell research or something, but first of all, we can get stem cells from things other than human embryos (https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/03/040315071240.htm), and second, while I wouldn’t go into a field that contradicts my beliefs nor would I go out of my way to support it, I understand that certain things are beyond my control and they’re not my crusade to fight. I might not support it, but I’m not going to fight against it.

Anyway, so maybe this post is somewhat a religious response to atheists against religion, but still, they often veil it as “science.” Science is about making scientific advancements, not putting down a non-harmful group (anti-vaxxers and whatnot are another story — hell, the Christians who claim evolution never happened are another story — again I’m talking about your average believer).

And may I add, in regard to this picture, that nobody has a picture of the Big Bang…because no one was there. Showing an image of a computer simulation or of background cosmic radiation or whatever that guy posted on the bottom is not a picture of the Big Bang. (Also, it would’ve been nice if he explained what his rebuttal was.)

Science does not know or understand everything. We have models and animations, but we fill in a lot. We’re shown to be wrong all the time. That’s pretty much what science is: being wrong a lot (and being right every now and then).

You can’t technically prove a believer wrong, but the challenge in believing, as I said, is not having anything to base your beliefs on. It’s the doubt.

FB_IMG_1466732881133Okay, again, let’s be real: if you had an ounce of actual knowledge about religion (or, let’s say, Catholicism) you’d know that that repentance has to be real. A fucker can’t just go and kill or rape someone and say they’re sorry when really they don’t give a shit and still be forgiven. Would you forgive someone just because they said they’re sorry when you know they don’t mean it? No? Then why would God?

To quote Frasier: “Oh, he’s God, Roz! Have you read the Old Testament? He can be ruthless!”

I mean, I rely on God’s forgiveness more than I probably should, but I think He has His limits. Honestly, I’m not sure religion has God’s limits right at all.

Like if God saddled me with a mental illness that made me want to kill myself, and I did, would He really send me to hell when really it was His doing?

As I said in my last post (I’ll Be the Judge of That), I feel that when people get overly upset about something, they’re insecure in themselves. Probably in that area. So maybe atheists are insecure about their unbelief, so they compensate and make themselves feel better by unprovoked (or overly aggressive) attacks on believers? I don’t feel any need to randomly criticize atheists. Like I said, if you’re really confident in who you are or what you believe, you have no need to get upset when people oppose you. (This also goes for believers; letting them see they’re upsetting you is letting them win.)

FB_IMG_1466733115777

Let me say first that I understand that philosoraptor is meant to be amusing. I’m not taking this too seriously — it’s the context in which I found it, which was an atheist page on Facebook that seems to like to bash Christians…because apparently there’s nothing else to atheism and they have nothing better to do.

And again, if you had any knowledge of religion, other than what you assume, you’d know that Jesus descended to the dead to release those trapped in hell and made them free to go to Heaven. From that I’d learned, it was everyone in hell, but here is what I found on it: “the gates of heaven had remained closed, even to those who had lived righteous lives without mortal sin—men like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David. These holy men and women were imprisoned in Limbo of the Fathers. Christ’s descent, then, has always been understood as necessary to release the righteous dead and bring them into heaven” (http://catholicexchange.com/did-jesus-really-go-to-hell). Whether you believe or not, at least know what you’re trying to poke holes in. Get the story straight.

For simplicity, I’m also going to claim that Jews had Gehenna or Gan Eden. And Jesus was a Jew, so clearly there was a Heaven and “Hell” (Gehenna isn’t quite what we’d call hell, I guess) before Him. So not everyone who existed before Jesus went to hell.

Thanks for doing your research, guys. You’re true scientists.

FB_IMG_1465097696698For the love of the monkeys, someone was just trying to be nice and supportive. No need to be a dick. (Are all atheists dicks? Because this minority has me feeling like maybe they all are — oh, that’s unfair?)

And really, what are you going to say, atheists? “I don’t really care and even if I did, all I can do is offer to ‘be here’ for you even though I’ll usually be too busy or I won’t actually care.”

When someone sincerely offers to pray for you, they mean that they care and want things to get better for you, and although they may be powerless, they’re going to do what they can to hopefully make it better for you. There is zero need to be a dick about it.

Holy shit, would you rather they didn’t give a single fuck and instead gave you an insincere “Oh, that sucks.”

I asked Dave what he thought of the picture above (I read it to him) and he replied, “Makes sense.”

Um, supposedly he’s Mr. Christian, so…he thought it was me talking making fun of someone.

How the hell does that sound like me?

But I’m glad you agree that praying to God is about as effective as talking to my cat.

He just said “everyone is entitled to their own opinion.”

I asked, then why my opinion affects him so much and he said it just “keeps on rolling.” Whatever.

Anyway, this is another example of being a poking fun at religion just because you can. People want to and are trying to help. What the hell is wrong with you?

FB_IMG_1466733062487Okay, this one made me smile. In a recent post (We Need to Focus) I talked about how we need to take action on serious problems plaguing us. Now, this is true, and certainly NASA should be taking action to help astronauts in need, but for people who don’t have the means to physically (or “really”) help, they’re still trying to offer their support and love. Why is that so bad?

I mean, I honestly appreciate people who say they pray for me because I pray for other people. I think it helps to have someone else who cares enough to support your cause — because maybe that means you’re a good person.

Now, sometimes I do ponder whether prayer actually changes anything. If God has an ultimate plan and can do what He wants, why does prayer matter? He supposedly knows everything, so He must know what’s best for me and is therefore doing that. So why do my prayers matter? What are they going to change, if God is always correct?

I suppose God can decide on a different (no less right or wrong) course of action. I can let Him know how I feel. I can let Him know I believe enough to keep praying.

I asked Dave how many times he prays in a week (I learn a lot about him through this blog). He resisted, but eventually said a few, whatever that means. He also said he assumes he prays way less than me; he thinks I pray three times a day, at least.

I pray the Rosary everyday. That’s about it these days, though I do pray to God and go to the Tabernacle every so often. I suppose I end up praying to Mary more than God…but I do pray to God. More than many, I’m sure.

If I offer to pray for you, take it as a compliment. I care about you. Don’t use it as an opportunity to scoff at me for believing in something you can’t.

Screenshot_2016-04-20-22-56-25This is another post just insulting (or arguing against) religion.

And what evidence is there against God, really? I can’t prove He exists; can you prove He doesn’t?

When it comes to science, I am absolutely open-minded and willing to be wrong. That has nothing to do with my faith or religious beliefs. I can do all the research on C. elegans I want; that doesn’t mean there is or is not a god.

When it comes to my scientific career, I am more than happy to be wrong, because that means we’re one step closer to understanding something that could help others.

I can be open to being wrong scientifically and still be religious. Religion does not impede my science career. What evidence is there really to discredit religion? The Big Bang happened? Like really…my view is that God created science to be the way it is, to keep us guessing. It doesn’t hurt anybody; in fact, it provides us with jobs so we can figure this shit out.

Religion is not the same as being anti-science. Scientists kind of have to be willing to be wrong; if they can’t handle being wrong based on evidence, then they’re anti-science rather than religious. Again, religion is not the antithesis to science.

Screenshot_2016-06-23-15-35-23Okay, I’ll admit that I’m totally into paranormal research. I’m not saying it needs to be funded by the NSF or NIH, but again, it’s not hurting anybody. Okay, so they collect data, look at their evidence, and make conclusions based on it. Sorry if their conclusions are that something you don’t believe in exists. I could liken your reaction to evolution-denying Christians. They can look at the evidence laid out, but they don’t believe in evolution, so it doesn’t exist.

And I’m just going to throw this out there: if “cool spots” (documented by temperature drops) coincide with other measurable changes in the environment, and all these things deviate from the norm, in a place where strange phenomena have reportedly occurred…why is it not reasonable to assume something is going on? No, a “draft” is not enough evidence to make a viable claim, but a collection of data?

And also, how else would you explain EVP? I mean, if you’re in a silent room taking a recording and when you play it back, you hear something — that’s not of note?

Just because you don’t like the possible conclusion doesn’t mean the data is bad.

Screenshot_2016-06-23-22-10-11Let me reroute here, though, and defend science (and I do mean science, not atheism) from (science-denying) religious folk.

Well, science need defending from any science-ignorant or science-denying person.

But this post is about religion and science.

So I went on Facebook and searched “Christians against science,” sure that there must be such a page. I found the above post, but not a page.

Like this post is so dumb and ignorant that I can’t believe someone (a lot of people probably) actually believe this. Like what is your definition of “good science”? Paranormal research? (That’s half kidding.)

And why is evolution “bad” science? Like seriously? Because you don’t agree with the conclusions? What do creationists even believe, anyway? That we actually came from Adam and Eve?

Nobody has been able to disprove evolution yet. And there’s plenty of evidence supporting it.

Those Christians who are by-the-(good)-book concern me. A lot. I don’t think the Bible is “a great work of fiction,” as I’ve heard atheists say, but I don’t think it’s all meant to be taken literally…

…though Catholics take the whole “Bread and Body” thing more literally than Protestant religions.

But like I’m pretty sure that evolution qualifies as science. I’d really love to know why it doesn’t.

But that’s the truth, huh? I thought Jesus was “the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6).

I just don’t get how someone can deny something with so much backing.

(And let me say again, all the science in the world doesn’t disprove something that can’t be proven. If you really take issue with this point, I must ask why.)

FB_IMG_1466734180268Here again we have the “bad science” bit. What is good and bad science? Is “good science” that which agrees with what you believe? I would think good science would be carefully thought out and executed experiments, no bias, no fudging numbers, and critical thinking about the results — and a willingness to be wrong. Bad science is just the opposite. It’s about how it’s conducted, not the subject.

Really, science doesn’t care what you believe. It’s just there to present the facts — the way it is.

And I’m a Catholic interpreting the evidence, and I’m sure I still disagree with you. Believing in God doesn’t stop me from interpreting evidence the same way as an atheist. I mean, I assume we’re talking about evidence and interpretations related to things like evolution and such. Or the Big Bang.

I think “Christians” must deny the evidence, because the “interpretation” of said evidence is so solid. Because the evidence is there.

FB_IMG_1466892924167I think this quote can be applied to religion. I think a lot of people feel that it’s science or religion, or that science is supposed to “solve” or disprove religion. If anything, religion makes me appreciate science all the more (or maybe it’s vice-versa); either way, God created a lot of really cool stuff. Stuff for science to figure out.

My belief in God doesn’t keep me from being scientific. I’m not judging others or trying to shove my religion down their throat.

I’m not attacking atheists, so they don’t need to attack me (my religious views). I’m secure enough in my belief not to be shaken or bothered.

And atheists are not the spokespeople for science. Let science speak for itself.

And there is no reason you can’t be religious and a person of science. They are not opposites.

I’ll say it one more time: science gives me a greater appreciation for God, and God has given me many questions to answer as a scientist.

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I’ll Be the Judge of That

In my last post (We Need to Focus), I talked about some truck stickers and such. It was so relevant to this post (which I was planning while I was writing that one) that I almost derailed that one to write about what I’m going to say here.

But I refrained.

However, allow me to quote some of my last post to set the scene for this one:

“I suppose another part of being a couple is (very grudgingly) putting up with some of your partner’s hobbies or interests or likes.

Like Dave’s fascination/obsession with the confederate flag.

As I once mentioned (in How to Spot a “Rebel”), Dave has a windshield sticker on his one truck with “Rebel” and confederate flags on either side of it. The other day I discovered he put one on the back window of his other truck, “American by Birth, Rebel by Choice” with a snake and the confederate flag.

I wanted to cringe. I asked him if he even knew what the snake symbolized and he said ‘something about ‘don’t tread on me” and I asked if he even knew who said that and he didn’t know. (I doubt he even knows what the phrase means.)

I don’t like the flag and I know more about its history than he does.

He just insisted it’s not racist; it’s about how the south ‘wanted to go off and do their own thing.’

They wanted to secede to keep slavery. That was ‘their own thing.’

Of course, I was just being a know-it-all bitch.

But like, now people think I support that no matter which truck he takes…Anyway, he said if he’s racist for supporting the confederate flag then I’m a Nazi for listening to German music. Not really the same at all, unless you really mean to equate everything German with Hitler. The confederate flag is a specific object — a specific symbol representing a specific time and specific values, which do have to do with slavery and racism. Just saying.

Anyway, this brings me to a semi-recent issue involving the flag [being flown during a Memorial Day parade]…Dave’s mom commented [on Facebook] something about freedom of speech…every time someone cries ‘freedom of speech!’ I just roll my eyes.

I asked Dave what he thought of the first amendment and, after some floundering he eventually realized this meant freedom of speech (among other things, of course)…if you aren’t even sure what amendment we’re talking about, go educate yourself first.

Freedom of speech means you can say what you want, but also that people are allowed to respond how they want. It goes both ways.

You praise the flag? Cool. I’m allowed to criticize it. FREEDOM OF SPEECH.

Anyway, I feel it shouldn’t be flown because the ‘Murican flag is the flag representing the entire country. (I’m not terribly patriotic, at least not compared to Dave, who seems to vomit AMERICA!) The confederate flag represents a part of the country and a time when part of the country wanted to leave and be its own country…to keep slavery.

Flying it on Memorial Day makes it about your values and whatnot instead of honoring those who’ve fallen for us. We are America; fly the American flag. Not the flag that represents a time when we were basically a divided nation. Like what the hell, man?

Dave, of course, supports the guy who flew it.

Probably only because he likes to pretend he belongs in the south.

Even my mom was like, ‘Liking the confederate flag doesn’t make you a rebel, nor does it make you a southerner.'”

Actually, just the other day my family (and Dave) were discussing how to dispose of bodies (this is entirely normal for us) and my aunt assumed that southerners would have the pigs required to do so — and then said she didn’t know why she’d assume this about the south. Dave chimed in, “We know how to get rid of a body.” Who is we? You’ve lived in upstate New York your entire life. Sit down. That just amused me very much and this seemed like a good opportunity to share it.

But anyway, the really ironic part (and the reason I included so much of the above quote) was that a week later he peeled the new confederate flag sticker off (because it was blocking his view) to put on a sticker that said: ‘MERICA. I was using ‘Murica above partially (mostly) mockingly.

I actually wanted to vomit a little. No, seriously. I was drinking iced coffee and started to gag when I looked out the window and saw it. It’s huge and red and takes up a good chunk of the window. When he said an “America” sticker, I thought he meant something with a flag and an eagle, not the phrase that people use to poke fun at the US.

(And he ended up also peeling that one off and put another on just like it, then got rid of that one for another one that was basically the same thing because they all kept bubbling — I said that was a sign.)

I mean, it’s a slight step up from the confederate flag, but…ugh. (I liked my “Money Well Wasted” sticker I got for his other truck. In my defense, he wanted that one.)

To be fair, I put “If you can’t Dodge it Ram it” on my Dodge Ram.  Dave said if he had a Ram he’d get “Dodge the father Ram the daughter.”

I asked just whose daughters he’d be ramming.

Anyway — there is a point here — I said something about how I wouldn’t ride in his truck with that sticker (which was kind of a joke) and it turned into an argument about how I’m always judging him for everything…though he can say things like how I should get out and “take my mental illness and find someplace else.”

So that’s no big deal. Okay then.

Because he was just saying that to piss me off.

Right…

So you can get all upset over me “judging” your truck but I’m supposed to let it slide that you take shots at my mental illness?

I don’t care whether you mean it or not; you know it’s a sensitive subject. And if you say it just to piss me off, then don’t be upset when it does in fact piss me off!

So this post is about judgement. I’ve had the same conversation with my brother twice about how people (in particular, pot smokers, for some reason) tend to do what they do as a protest against the law (to justify what they’re doing) and they liken themselves to Martin Luther King Jr. because it’s “civil disobedience.” They’re all mini-MLKs (these are his words, not mine) but really they just want to smoke pot — or whatever.

They make it into a cause. He’s also pointed out that many people take issue with King’s quote “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character” (http://www.cbsnews.com/news/mlks-content-of-character-quote-inspires-debate/).

My brother is very intelligent (runs in the family I guess), and so he and I have some educated conversations about science, politics, philosophy, and whatnot. I have great respect for his book smarts…just not his common sense. (I’m certain he has little to no respect for me though.)

I also don’t get many other opportunities to talk about such things. (Dave just complains if I try to talk smart stuff with him.)

Anyway, Nate was telling me about how some people are now debating what “the content of their character” means.

And since Dave is complaining that I judge him on everything (and apparently “hating” on things is different), I thought I’d discuss judgment here.

Contrary to what Dave thinks, I don’t judge everything he says or does. Sometimes I just dislike or disapprove, or disagree. As I told him today, if I’m not allowed to have an opinion that disagrees with or is contrary to what he thinks then please, let me know. If that’s judging him, alert me.

Not that I’ll do anything, but at least I’ll know.

So I can do it again.

But seriously, if I can’t express an opinion on something he does without being called a dick, well…whatever. He says a lot of things about me being in school and not working a full time job (because, you know, he works two jobs and works 13 hours a day in the hot sun — that’s your choice, Dave; my choice is to work in an air conditioned lab) and whatnot. I get a lot of shit about me having a truck, like how I have no reason for it and just “wanted to be a part of the club.” Again, dear, I liked trucks long before I met you and was riding in and driving trucks long before you. Meeting you just made me feel like I couldn’t wait another five years to get behind the wheel of one again. Plus my cavalier may not pass inspection next year.

He even criticized me for “hating” his window tint and tinted tail lights on his Kia because they were illegal and now I want to do the same to my truck. No, tint does look good; I was more commenting on how you were most likely compensating and also how you pride yourself on being a country boy yet had your “sports car” coup with tinted windows and tail lights and your after market subs. It contradicted your sacred “redneck” image.

IMG_20160617_221438
That’s me, working on my truck

I mean, my 2500 compensates for my short stature. At least when I drive my truck I can feel tall.

Other than that, I don’t feel any need to compensate.

Though I can see how many guys might feel the need to compensate for being, ahem, short. With lifted trucks. Or even long-bed extended-cab trucks.

(Which is what I have, but…again, I’m only 5’4″. Also, it’s not really compensation if you’re conscious of it, technically speaking.)

I promised myself after seeing Dave struggle to park his long truck so many times that I would get a reasonably-sized truck…but I ended up with what he had.

Enough about trucks though.

I guess what I’m really here to settle is what is actually considered judging, when is it acceptable to judge, and why some people seem to be hyper sensitive to it.

Like I said, Dave says there’s a difference between judging and hating. And I judge him for everything — when I don’t. I don’t have the energy or desire. And sometimes I’m just expressing an opinion.

So when is it making an observation, having an opinion, dislike, disapproval, disagreement, hating, or judging?

(I believe that’s in order of offensiveness.)

Let me give some examples:

I can make an observation that Dave has eaten three slices of pizza followed by one-and-a-half slices of cake, not to mention handfuls of cookies. Is this an insult? No. Am I telling him to change something? I am not. Do I even care what he’s eaten? Not until I have to listen to him wine about a stomach ache. Do I find whatever I’m mentioning worthy of note? Yes, which is why I’m pointing it out. Does it necessarily mean anything? No, not really.

I have an opinion on not going to college. Do I judge or hate on people who don’t? No. Do I still feel strongly one way? Yes. Do I say so? Sure, in the right company. Are there caveats? Of course; at least try it, and I’m going to encourage my kids to, but if it’s not for them I won’t force it. Do I have reasons? Obviously; college at least gives more opportunities.

I dislike Dave’s support of the confederate flag. Can I change it? No. Is it a deal breaker? No. Will I continue to let him know I don’t like it? Of course.

I disapprove of Dave texting and driving. Should it change? Well, I’d say yes (for safety’s sake). Is it worth trying to change? Yes. Will it change? Doubt it. Am I going to leave him over it? No. Am I going to keep making comments on it? You bet I am.

I disagree with Dave that the confederate flag is not about racism and that showcasing it make hims a rebel and that he’s a rebel. Will I continue to argue my point hoping that he’ll see the light? Yes. Will he come around? Probably not (though this may depend on the issue). Am I going to stand my ground? Always. Am I going to feel strongly about and feel compelled to speak up against things with which I disagree? Yep.

I asked Dave for his distinction between hating and judging, since it is his phrasing, but he couldn’t come up with anything. But I’ll give you my idea of it.

I hate on some of Dave’s truck stickers (save for the one I bought him). Am I going to make my distaste known? Yes. Will it get me anywhere? No, but at least I said something. Do they make me think twice about going places with him? Yes. Do I secretly hope he’ll get rid of them? Yas.

I judge Dave for being so concerned with labels and his image. (I had to reach to come up with one for judging, actually.) Why? I think it’s dumb. Do I voice it? Sometimes. Does it bother me? Only when it comes up. Do I want to change it? Eh…well, yes (again, depends on the issue). Is it going to change? I doubt it. Is it a game changer? Depends on the situation, I guess. It generally has the potential to.

Another example of judging would be if Dave adamantly supported Trump. Like seriously loved him. That might be an issue because of the kinds of things Trump says (and therefore Dave would agree with) — but mere disagreement on politics would not be the end of us.

Making an observation or pointing something out is just that — it’s neutral. If it’s not, then it falls under one of the categories below.

Having a contrary opinion is certainly not the same as judging. I have lots of opinions, as does everyone, but often they don’t hugely negatively impact our interactions and relationships. I dislike many things, but if it’s mere dislike, then it’s not a deal-breaker. If anything, it means you aren’t a carbon copy of someone else. Diversity is good! Griping about how Dave has way too many pillows on the bed (isn’t that usually a complaint of men?) is not the end of us.

Disapproval is a slightly different beast, though I would think it most often comes from a place of concern. Like my grandparents disapproving of my tattoos (okay, maybe that’s hating). I’m sure they’re just worried about my employability and, moreover, my future. Like I mostly disapprove of things that could hurt someone or are illegal. That doesn’t mean you can’t or don’t love the person doing it. Like how I disapprove of smoking but my uncle Mike smoked — until he pretty much quit cold turkey because he “didn’t like how it made him feel” — but I kept my mouth shut…disapproval may also mean it’s really not your place to speak.

Disagreement can cause a bit more friction. I dislike (or rather, don’t like) and disapprove of many things my friends do, but we manage just fine. But when you go so far as to disagree, well…it’s like how my brother is an atheist and I firmly believe in God. We very much disagree on this point, and so bringing it up gets us nowhere. Yes, I can respect his point of view (as I think he can respect mine), but he’ll never sway me and I’ll never agree with him. I tend to save outright disagreement with the more important issues. And I usually don’t hang around with people with whom I disagree on really important things. Yes, Dave and I disagree on things, but not anything on the list of deal-breakers for me. Like we disagree on what “good” music is — he likes “country” and I like German rock — but we can work around that. I think.

Hating on something is like dislike stepped up beyond disagreement. I suppose this would include those things that couples have to grudgingly accept about each other. Does hating on something your partner loves spell doom for your relationship? Not necessarily, though it may be a point of contention. Dave frequently hates on my cats, yet he’s the one who’s curated them for me. I resent how he gladly spends lots on his trucks, but doesn’t reciprocate agreed-upon gifts on anniversaries or his birthday gifts fall very flat.

Dave (finally) weighed in on the whole hating versus judging issue. Better late than never, I guess. He said that hating lets you move on and judging is worse and drags you along. I’ll get to this in a second.

I guess I’d suppose that judging someone would mean you’re so fundamentally different that you can’t reconcile your differences. I feel like if you’re judging your partner on serious issues then that’s kind of a red flag — it may end up being a big deal, or you may find a way to work with it. Again, I really only judge stupidity. Like I was trying to come up with Dave-themed examples above, but some were difficult.

But any judgment usually isn’t great for a relationship. As Dave said, it is something you get hung up on, and while hating may be a snag, it’s not like you crawled through barbed wire.

I suppose my definition of judging, then, really depends on its impact on your relationship. I may hate on some things Dave does that I deem stupid, but ultimately they won’t make it on my list of reasons we break up. It’s like a venial (minor) sin; you won’t go to hell if you don’t repent of it (or rather, I won’t leave him because of it). Things warranting judgment are like mortal sins; if you don’t repent (or change them, I guess), then apparently you go to hell (or break up). Anyway, judgment tends to set up inequalities; the judge looks down on the judged. They are superior in some way. That’s not healthy.

I honestly don’t look down on Dave for anything, as much as he insists I do — but if I did, I’d either try to change it or leave him. Or we’d just argue a lot over it.

We argue a lot over many things, but they fall under lesser categories listed here.

Does that make sense? To one person, supporting the “wrong” presidential candidate or being too far left or right might breed enough hostility to warrant judgment and place strain on the relationship. To another, that may be a minor disagreement, but their lifestyle is a subject of contempt.

So the definition of “judgment” really depends on the people involved and the impact it has.

Now that I finally reached that conclusion, let me move on to the question of what’s okay to judge.

First and foremost, ask yourself this question: did they choose whatever you’re judging?

That takes sex, gender, sexual orientation, mental illness, mental disability, other illnesses, socioeconomic status, weight, being a victim of abuse or rape, and many other things out of the question.

The exception is stupidity. I believe many people have the capacity to be smart (or at least not dumb), but don’t bother.

I can’t tell you how many people ask me questions that I just google and give them the answer that the interwebs gave me. Like all I’m doing is searching your question and telling you what I find (assuming it’s not my expertise).

Is hearing it from me somehow more convincing, trustworthy, or comforting than looking it up yourself?

People can educate themselves. People who ignore evidence in favor of whatever they believed first are worthy of being judged. (Though this may get tricky with religion.)

Now, not everybody has the same capacity to learn. I get that. (As I said in Hello My Name Is, I feel intelligence is about the ability to learn easily.) Some people are just not as mentally blessed as others. I don’t see stupid as the antonym of intelligent; I see it as the antonym of educated (and educated can mean many things, not just book smart). When I say stupidity, I mean the kind that refuses to learn, the kind that revels in misinformation, bias, ignorance.

(Which includes homo- and Islamophobes and the like. Any anti-human-phobe really.)

People can absolutely control that. All is takes is an open mind and some unbiased information…and perhaps a skosh of effort.

Yes, I suppose there are exceptions — some mental illnesses can be overcome with lots of work — but having them in the first place wasn’t a choice — and some people choose to be their religion — but it’s not like they make the rules.

So I suppose the only judge-able things are stupidity and anything that hurts anyone else…which may fall under stupidity.

Now, for the part I’ve been looking forward to: why some people are hyper sensitive to perceived “judgment.”

Heaven forbid you “judge” some people. If you’re even suggesting that you don’t feel the same way they do, they call judgment and you’re the bad guy.

I mean, no, nobody likes it when people disagree with them (unless they’re disagreeing on the fact that you shouldn’t have another glass of wine or some such scenario) and it’s not usually fun to be with someone who dislikes your hobbies or disapproves of things you do — though you can use this to your advantage and steal their aux cord and blast your German music and enjoy their annoyance. (I think that’s the third time I’ve mentioned my music now. It must be a bigger issue than I thought.)

Those reactions are reasonable. Hell, having someone hate on you for something is certainly bothersome, but if they’re friends or family, then clearly they like you more than they hate your fashion sense, or your suddenly-even-more-awesome sense of humor is outweighed by your sudden belligerence when you drink.

But these things are not judgment. You can absolutely call someone out on judging you — but only if they actually are and you’re not just being overly sensitive.

Okay, I throw out the word “judge” when that’s not really the case…but it’s in response to Dave claiming judgment when I wasn’t judging, so I’m just speaking his language.

Does it feel like Dave judges me for not working long days full time in the hot sun doing labor? Yes. Very much so. But he’s also (very, very grudgingly) admitted that he actually looks up to me for doing college and he tells me all the time that I’m smart(er than him).

Like it’s been long and well established between us that I’m smart. (Not that he’s not.) So I know it’s not judgment, but it still irks me (at least in part because of the inconsistency).

Anyway, why are some people extra prone to accusing you of judging them?

Well, I think the obvious answer is that they’re insecure. Of course we’ll use my favorite example here. Dave not only insists I’m judging him, but also has to repeatedly assure me that he’s happy the way he is, he’s happy with his life, he can just enjoy simple things, he likes what he does, he’s happy with landscaping…

If you’re supposedly so confident in yourself, why do you need to defend yourself so fiercely? What does it matter what I think?

And so I feel this way toward anyone who gets super offended at so-called judgment. Why should what anyone thinks or says matter? If someone wants to judge me I say fuck ’em. I’m not about to change for someone else.

Yes, I get upset over comments about my depression — but that’s because I can’t control it. That’s actual judgment on something that shouldn’t be judged. I get upset about comments about abandoning pets (“like I did before”) because that was absolutely not by choice. If you’re so upset because someone is “judging” the way you dress, for example, then you can change that. There’s a difference.

So if you get way too upset and claim I’m judging you when I’m merely making an observation, expressing a difference in opinion, dislike, or disapprove of something you like or do, then you’re insecure about whatever I’m critiquing/observing. And you need to calm down.

Even Dave agreed, when questioned, that if someone gets overly upset about something or being told they’re wrong, it probably means they’re insecure about it.

So…I guess he doesn’t see that in himself.

Confidence doesn’t waver or buckle in the face of doubt; insecurity does. Confidence doesn’t need to defend; insecurity has to fight back against a threat.

I get upset over plenty of things, but there are certain things that I’m confident enough in that it doesn’t bother me, like my intelligence and my faith. You can tell me I’m wrong and I’ll let you say your piece, but it’s not really going to impact me.

I mean, I might write a blog post about it, but it otherwise just rolls off me, like water off a hydrophobic surface. There’s no mixing of the molecules there, just like your opinion isn’t getting inside my head.

I guess I’ll leave that there.

So there we have it; what judgment is, what can (or should) be judged, and why some people think everything is judgment.

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On Feminism

I must admit that I have some reservations about writing this post. I mean, I have 22 years experience as a woman, have learned how to tame boobs, how to operate a hoo-ha, and how to navigate hormones (okay, how to ride the waves). While a woman’s body should come with an instruction manual, sadly, it does not and we’re left to figure it out on our own. Which I’ve managed with some success.

But writing about feminism and such?

Well…how I don’t like feminism. That’s really what I’m here to write about.

Okay, I’m responding to two things I read, one about woman-shaming and one about feminism. (Actually, between “finishing” and publishing this post, I found more relevant links to include.) I was going to write a response to the former doing a men versus women kind of thing, then a lighter, funny post with the same idea, and then another post (eventually) responding to the feminism one.

But I think I can respond to both in one post. I’m up to it.

I’ll give you both links now.

PSA to The Odyssey: Feminism isn’t about hating men

This one is actually a response to a post written by a woman who was “over” feminism, and the author of this post refutes the original’s claim that men and women aren’t equal and all feminists just hate men.

8 Ways Men Don’t Realize They Are Subtly Shaming Women

This one basically lists ways men put down women that aren’t so obvious. (I give the eight ways later on.)

I’ll try to quote these as I discuss them, but I still suggest you take a gander for context and whatnot.

Okie dokie then. Let’s do this.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that I don’t like feminism…or any “group rights” kind of thing. The author of the first posts makes it clear three different ways that feminism is about equal rights for both sexes and men can be feminists, but the focus is always bringing women up to speed in the rights department — because we’re a bit behind.

I get that, but it still makes it about sex*, while some movements make it about gender, or orientation, or race…when we’re all humans, silly. Let’s focus on that common aspect and we’ll all be taken care of.

Also animals. Animals need rights too, but they’re not human.

But humans are animals.

*Occasionally I’ll use gender and sex interchangeably in this post, reflecting the language of the articles, although they’re not — but I’m not getting into any cis or trans stuff here.

And this first post has grammatical errors. Just saying. I realize my grammar is not always perfect, but that’s intentional. (It’s a stylistic thing.) And I try to do a decent proofing job and am horrified if I reread a published post and find there’s an error. I usually reread each post at least twice before publishing…then sometimes again right after.

I do have some respect for this author because her style is somewhat similar to mine, though.

But anyway…here’s a quote: “To recap: being a feminist just means that you want every human being to be treated in the same, fair manner and to receive equal rights regarding his/her/their presence in the political, economic and social systems.”

I agree. But why call it feminism and not, say, humanism? I know this is already a philosophical thing but it kind of applies here. You know, if we’re really concerned with all humans…a semantic issue, perhaps, but still…a small tweak like that might stop those horrid misconceptions that feminism is about women and women’s rights (and somehow against men and their rights… but if women and men can’t have rights at the same time, that certainly is a problem).

Here’s a quote from the original article (the highlighted part is a section the author of the response took issue with):

A real paragraph from the article

Okay, I do agree that we shouldn’t get all offended when a man offers to open a door or pay for dinner. Dave will sometimes get the door for me, and I get it for him. It’s just a nice gesture. Or he gets it or holds it for older people. Is that a slight against them? Is that ageism? Fuck no; he’s just being nice. I open and hold doors for women, men, anyone (sometimes for an awkward amount of time, since I went to Siena) just because.

I asked Dave why he often pays for dinner. He replied, “Why not?” Usually it’s his idea. If it’s my idea, I’m game to pay. On a first date, I’m ready to go Dutch (or if I made the date, pay in full). It’s not because “he’s the man.” It’s most likely because he knows I’ll bitch about paying, especially if dinner was his idea.

In fact, when I get any BS from him about “being the man,” I think it’s dumb.

Okay, so maybe this implies Dave has a sexist streak…but I benefit, so I’m going to go with it. (I know I’m going to catch flak about that from someone. Something in this post is guaranteed to piss someone off.) I asked Dave if he would say I’m strong, independent, don’t need a man…and he agreed. He’s said in the past that I’m independent to a fault. I’ve gone out to dinner alone. I do stuff alone. I’m cool with that. It’s not like he’s trying to impress me. Maybe just keep me around.

And if I have car trouble, I do call Dave — because he knows more than me about that. If he had a biological crisis, he’d call me, I’m sure. (In fact, since his mom left I’ve become the go-to for medical stuff and other practical things — I’ve removed lots of ticks and splinters and given diagnoses and advice.) It’s not because he’s a man; it’s because he has the knowledge. I can learn and am learning it too. Being a woman doesn’t hold me back.

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I like this.

I’d also like to note that today I saw a female friend of mine of Facebook asking for help because she had a flat tire. Okay, it did seem kind of damsel-in-distressy and maybe stereotypical for a woman to not know how to change a flat. But like it’s not okay; everyone should know basic things like that. Men should know how to cook, women should know how to care for a vehicle, and so on. I’d look down on a guy for not knowing how to operate a washing machine as much as I’d look down on a woman for not knowing she needed to get an oil change. Life skills really should transcend roles and sex (or gender).

Now, I know that citing personal experience and basically using anecdotal “evidence” really is not evidence at all (at least to me), but I’m sure if we all looked at our lives, we’d find lots of things people do that are just intended to be nice and twist them into something they’re not. Dave wants to take me to dinner — or is that just a ploy to get me into bed later? I baked him brownies or made mac and cheese (even though I’m not going to eat it) — I must be about to ask him for something. Maybe money?

No, I just like to cook. Well, bake, mostly. Just because this has historically been a “feminine” thing doesn’t mean I’m subscribing to an antiquated view of women’s roles or submitting to the patriarchy. I just wanna bake some damn brownies! And just because Dave is the vehicle guy doesn’t mean he’s trying to oppress me or keep me in my (inferior) place. He just knows a lot about vehicles — more than I currently know.

Let’s not take something innocuous and make it into something heinous. My point with the above examples is that one, if you look hard enough, you can find fault with anything, and two, I don’t think we need to do that, even if something does seem inherently sexist. Someone wants to do something nice? Let’s give them a round of applause and a gold star instead of criticism and reprimand.

Here’s one of those other links I found: Dressing the Part: Meet the Consultant Teaching Trans Women How to Be ‘Feminine’

Even without reading the post or watching the video, I’m sure you can get the gist of it from the title. My first reaction was, “How is this not considered sexist?” Here we are teaching trans women how to be feminine…when people are bitching that we’re holding women up to unfair or stupid standards of femininity.

Not that I care; if you want to be a woman, if you want to be a feminine woman, do whatever you want. Whatever makes you happy.

Of course, some people did get pissed off that she would dare “teach” a woman how to be feminine. But if I want to learn how to play the bagpipes, wouldn’t it help to have someone teach me? (I do want to learn this.) The people who did get riled up seemed to be more concerned about labels, gender and identity issues than feminism and sexism issues. So where are the feminists?

But back to this feminism post: men and women aren’t equal. I’m not writing a paper here, so I don’t have a full defense, but here are some ways I thought of in which we legitimately differ:

Parts. Simple enough. While I envy hermaphrodite C. elegans for not needing males, I am a mere human female and therefore require at least male sperm to create life. I don’t think I need a peer-reviewed article to back this one up. You hit Dave between the legs and he’s down for a bit. You hit me, and I’m like “WTF, was that?” and I walk away from it. (This has been tested, don’t worry.)

And in honors bio I remember being told that women don’t build muscle as well as men, like triceps (which is why women suck at push-ups). I will never have the same strength as a man. I just don’t build muscle the same way. Which brings me to…

Hormones: obviously we differ in hormones. But even how women peak in testosterone at night while men peak in the morning — ergo, differing sex drives (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-3060335/It-s-wonder-couples-want-sex-partner-magic-moment-passion-7-54am-m-11-21pm-women.html it actually pains me that I can’t find the research article for this; I hope you’ll forgive me). Women also fluctuate monthly (duh) while men do daily (http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=53725). I’m citing things I read long ago in regard to low sex drive, so I don’t know their exact sources. I sincerely apologize. I’m trying to find where I found them, but hopefully these sources will do.

And pain. I had heard that women experience more pain than men, yet have a higher tolerance for it. It turns out that we do report more pain than men, but we don’t seem to have a higher tolerance (though we still endure childbirth and no man ever has, so…I’m still not sure about that one). (https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/07/050705004113.htm) Anyway, women report more pain and we still deal with it.

Also — and I’m sorry for the seriousness — rape.

statistics

I apologize that this is so blurry. Here’s the link: http://www.statisticbrain.com/rape-statistics/

The average number of rape cases reported in the US annually: 89,000.

Percent of women who experienced attempted or completed rape: 16%.

Percent raped by “an intimate”: 28%.

Percent raped in “Perpetrator and victims shared home”: 10.1%. I was a part of all of these.

Percent of college rapes never reported: 95%. I was not part of that. Thankfully.

Women experience rape a lot more than men. So no, we’re not equal. Men and women may be equal, but women sure do get raped a lot more than men. And I’m tempted to hazard a guess that it’s by men more than women.

I’m not saying women are more delicate or weaker than men. I’m saying we’re different. Clearly.

I’m not blaming everything on men, nor am I saying that inequalities don’t exist. But the inequalities of concern are political, not physical or mental. So why get upset about the differences we can’t control? Direct that energy at the ones we can, the ones that are affecting our political equality.

And I’m not being “heteronormative.” I’m just speaking in a way many understand, despite its sexist undertones. Yep, I’m sure I can be attacked for this as well. I’m not against equality; I’m against getting all up-at-arms when it’s not necessary. I’m for not focusing on the small shit before the big issues. Let’s make women men’s equal legally before we start attacking people who use straight-language generally. Hell, I’m all for gay rights and am well-aware that a woman isn’t necessarily with anyone, especially a man, but I use heteronormative language because, well, it’s what most people are used to, I don’t want to seem like I’m trying too hard (because, really, covering every possible scenario between sexes and identities? Who are you trying to impress?), if they know me, they know I’m accepting, and if they’re confident in themselves, they don’t need the language of a bloody blog post to validate their way of life!

(Also, the “Dressing the Part” link had some people throwing around the word “heteronormative,” but again, not in a feminist context.)

And while we’re on the issue, yes, using “man” or “mankind” as a synonym for all humans seems sexist, but I’m too lazy and also don’t care enough to swap “he” for “s/he/he or she” (and “one” just sounds sounds way too formal at times) or “him” for “him or her.” (And, um, the male pronoun still comes first, so…) Male pronouns get my message across, and I trust not only males are considered when I do it. Unless you’re an idiot.

Interestingly, one priest at my church says in the Nicene Creed “for us men and our salvation,” while the other just says “for us and for our salvation.” And that’s the one that always seemed more traditional.

And, in response to the first author (“Tell me the last time a man was told not to ‘dress that way,’ before he went out to a party”), I tell Dave on a regular basis, party or not, that he shouldn’t go out looking that way.

He went to church last Sunday in a flag shirt, plaid shorts, and camo boots. Oye.

Camo and plaid is okay, but to add the flag on top of it? Nah brah.

To quote the first author again: “[A]s a self-proclaimed feminist, I do not hate men. And I cannot use my eighteen years of experiences to speak for (or against) the entire feminist movement. I cannot condone this author’s use of her view of men as ‘boneheads,’ (What is this claim even based on? I know plenty of men who I would never refer to as “bone-heads,”) to defend the idea that being a feminist is going overboard.”

Honey, you’re only 18 (or, you lead me to believe this). When I was 18, I was against tattoos, piercings (other than in the ear), and premarital sex. Within a year, two of those things had changed. Within two years, all of them.

Try going through college. You will surely change.

Try going through some real shit in life. A lot of things will change. Things you never expected to change. Things you never thought would change. Not that I expect you to suddenly think women are inferior to men or anything.

And as a self-proclaimed non-and-anti-feminist, I don’t hate men. (Or women.) And men are “bone-heads.” Actually, they’re assholes. Pricks. Whatever. (But, like, so are women. Anyway, the bone-head thing was true.)

You’ll learn that men are in fact very different from women. This claim is based on experience. Men are dumb. Maybe you haven’t had that experience yet, or haven’t had that much of it.

Yes, I know in a recent post I said not to judge the majority on the minority, but even the majority of men can be as dumb as the minority at times. (It’s an all of them some of the time, some of them all of the time situation.) Let yourself fully experience men before you decide all of us women are wrong about them…and us.

Of course not all feminists are radicals. Anyone with an ounce of intelligence — okay, eight fluid ounces — knows that radicals are an exception (and the rest of them aren’t people you should concern yourself with anyway). Maybe you should more take issue with the media for only paying attention to the radicals, or maybe take issue with the radicals giving you such a bad name.

I am over feminism as well — in fact, I was never…above it? Anyway, I never considered myself a feminist and yet I still think women — and everyone — need equal rights. I also think we should direct our energy and voice at the government for our political and legal equality and at society for social equality rather than at each other, bitching at or about each other.

Yes, I realize I’m bitching about this person’s post.

And honey, you should relax. Not everyone is out to get you because you’re a woman or a feminist. And I feel that, when offended, people usually overreact or react very strongly when they’re insecure in themselves. I mean, I feel strongly about a few things, but not many. The point of this blog is to rant and whatnot, but in real life I wouldn’t waste my time on someone insulting me or spouting stupidity.

But let me move onto the other post. This one isn’t about feminism per se, but it’s still ultimately about women being victims and mistreated and whatnot.

I’ll just go in order.

  • Compliments That Come At The Expense Of Other Women

My driving instructor once said to me, “Hey, you’re pretty good — for a woman.” Yes, this qualifier was a bit offensive, but I smiled (honestly, not just to be polite). I’ve been dealt my fair-share of back-handed compliments. My mom always hated how country songs (though I assume other genres and even people commit the same offense) would say things like, “you’re so pretty that you don’t need make-up.” Like cool, I manage a certain level of acceptable beauty without covering most of my face. Awesome. But as I was getting at earlier, it’s just a fucking compliment. Just accept the damn thing and move on.

I mean, unless you’re me and use those qualifiers as an intended and clear insult, like if I said to Dave “You’re smart…for someone who didn’t go to college.”

I’ve never said or thought that, with or without qualifier.

I kid.

But when someone is trying to be nice, why pick it apart? The world needs more kindness. Let it be.

  • Concern Trolling

Okay, so I’ve had exes (and probably Dave) tell me I should dress one way or another, or tell me they didn’t like how I was dressed. My answer? Shut up. It’s my body and my clothes. I will combine the two as I see fit. Dave has told me that a taken girl shouldn’t be going out to bars (with a friend) or talking to her ex. Um…he could go out with his friends to one, so…it’s a trust thing in my eyes, not sexism. Or a control thing, in some cases, with some guys.

And this: “When men go out of their way to give unsolicited advice to women, they may be coming from a well-intentioned place, but the act itself suggests that they see women as needing protection, unable to make good choices, and incapable of knowing their own minds.”

As I’ve said before, men tend to be fixers. And it’s not just men who tend to give unsolicited advice. Like seriously. If anything, I think Dave is unable to make good choices. And he’s certainly not capable of knowing my mind better than me. Like I’ve said, it’s cute that he tries, but I’ve got that mostly figured out.

  • Slut-Shaming Strangers

Um…I do the same thing. I mean, I hate the whole “shaming” bit (see Shame on the Shamers) but still…Women dress and act according to the kind of attention they want. We’re not dumb. We know what we’re doing. Of course, I’m absolutely not saying that a woman is asking to be raped or assaulted (because who the fuck asks for that???). But asking for “unwanted” attention? Maybe. Or wanted attention.

It’s like how my one Facebook friend (mentioned in previous posts) two days ago uploaded a “sneak peek” of a photoshoot…a photo in which she’s naked, dirty, standing in water, and clutching her boobs. The caption was something vaguely sexual about getting dirty. Yesterday I saw the final image with thanks to her crew and how she normally wouldn’t have been comfortable with such a shoot…and again later with a quote when she made it her profile picture. Today she changed her profile picture to her in a corset.

And then she complains about “thirsty” guys. You are clearly asking for that attention. Do not complain when you get it. And don’t get upset if others judge you on your blatant cries for attention.

But then again, there was the time I was propositioned by a guy willing to give me $1000 for an hour. He started at $400, I believe. I declined repeatedly but had to ask if I looked like that kind of girl, if I looked that desperate. He said yes (probably just to irk me), because of the way I was dressed in my photos. Um, tank top, maybe shorts? Possibly a jacket at times? Sorry I don’t wear a turtleneck? I take these photos for Facebook and family, so clearly my intent is not to advertise. He ended up telling me I should’ve been aborted and I reported him. My photos were not cries for attention, and I certainly didn’t want that kind of attention. Some guys (and girls) are just dicks. Intentionally.

But slut-shaming is not always intentional, nor is it a man-only thing. Now, I get that women have a right to do what we want with our bodies. Of course. But when those same women are going to complain about the attention get (I’ve written about that) or end up pregnant or with an STD or whatever? Like you do you (and whoever else you want), but don’t complain about your lifestyle or make it out to be horrible…just like I can’t whine about monogamy when I choose it.

Some guys (and women) will applaud you for waiting until marriage and some will give you a high-five for every one-night-stand. Deal with your choices, and stand by them. Don’t be offended by judgment of them.

But infidelity…I can judge you on that. Because that’s hurting someone else.

  • Using Gendered Language To Describe What Is Good And Bad

Please. PLEASE. You can call someone a pussy for being weak or a bitch for being strong, or tell them to grow a pair or call them a dick. It goes both ways. Half the time I use these phrases. I gladly call myself a dick and Dave a bitch. I used to be offended by them, but grew the hell up and realized they’re just words. Words only have meaning if you give it to them. Dave calls me a bitch or a cunt? What the fuck ever. I know I’m not, unless bitch means “someone who’s right” or “someone who has a good point,” and then yes, I am a bitch. (Hint: once they see it doesn’t bother you, why should they keep saying it? Don’t give them the reaction they seek.)

Men get the same kind of shit: dick, prick, ball-less, eunuch (one of my favorites)…But only women are going to complain about it? Or only women get to acceptably complain about it? SEXIST.

I think these words (bitch, etc.) have come to mean something separate from the sex from which they’re derived. First of all, because I have a vagina, not a pussy, and a bitch is a female dog, right?; and second, because they’re used enough so that the meaning becomes detached from the source. I’ve realized that by now.

And I’m going to go out on a limb here, but (straight) guys tend to use “gay” as an insult, or take insult to being called it. (The funny part is, there’s nothing wrong with being gay.) Dave calls me a lesbian on the regular but I’m like whatever. If we’re going to get upset about sexist word usage, let’s get upset about this too. (Or, what? It doesn’t affect you so whatever?) Let’s be consistent. Thanks.

  • Speaking Over or Interrupting Women

From the post: “‘Manterrupting’ may be an awkward term, but it’s a real thing. Most men probably don’t even realize they’re doing it, but when they routinely interrupt or speak over the women around them, they’re sending the message that these women don’t have the right to speak — and even worse, that what they have to say is worthless.”

I read the article linked up there, and this was the first part of it:

“Manterrupting: Unnecessary interruption of a woman by a man.

Bropropriating: Taking a woman’s idea and taking credit for it.”

Oye.

I, for one, am not afraid to interrupt. In fact, I probably do it more than I should. Because I have something to say, dammit! I just happen to forget I’m a woman at times and say what needs to be said. I know what I have to say is important — probably more important than whatever was being said before me, or else I wouldn’t be speaking up.

Okay, so this doesn’t mean men don’t speak over women. Bastards. (Or is that sexist because you never hear about women being bastards?) We can do all the studies we want on this, but really, it’s not going to change anything. So women, just speak the fuck up! You can endure popping out a child; I’m sure you can make yourself heard at a board meeting. Or wherever. I do think that part of what bugs me is that many women, intentionally or not, pin the blame on men, when we should be actively trying to combat this. Let’s not tell men to stop interrupting us; let’s stop tolerating it. The same goes for many things in this list.

  • Acting Like Menstruation, Pregnancy, And Childbirth Are OMG SO HORRIFIC

Okay, they kind of are. I’ve never been pregnant or given birth, but I have a basic idea. They seem horrific to me, and I own a uterus.

Alright, maybe not horrific, but definitely unpleasant. I can’t drink while I’m pregnant! That’s already a living hell. And when my mom was having me, they messed up her epidural and she felt everything…including the C-section. A C-section already sounds awful, and I wouldn’t want a needle plunged into my spinal cord anyway, but after hearing about that? No fucking thank you.

And menstruation isn’t exactly all sunshine and flowers, either. If I were to describe a period to a guy, I’d probably be like “Have you seen Carrie? Think of the prom scene. No? How about The Shining‘s elevator blood scene. Still no? You know Niagara Falls? That, just with blood.” (It’s not quite that bad but it’d be fun to see his reaction.)

But still, I bleed for eight days. (Okay, it’s only about a quarter cup of blood total, but that stains all the other fluids, so…the more you know!) Cramps, headaches, feeling bloated, ready to shoot somebody over breathing too loud…it sucks. And I’m sure period sex isn’t the prettiest.

But, you know, women end up dealing with a lot of fluids from men, so…

But I guess my view is that blood is blood. If you can’t deal with my blood (menstrual or otherwise), then how will you deal with your kids’ blood when they scrape their knee or whatever?

But maybe some people are grossed out by blood no matter what. And if a guy’s manhood is so precious to him, maybe he doesn’t want it “defiled” by anything. If it’s that important to him though, then run.

I’m happy to say that my period has never been an issue with boyfriends. In fact, I could ask Dave to go get me tampons (so long as I specified what kind) and it’d be no big deal. (I asked and he said “well duh,” he’d do it.) My monthly function doesn’t weird him out a bit. (Then again, I’ve seen him do some pretty weird shit.)

I asked Dave if he was grossed out by it at all and he asked if he was supposed to be, we all bleed and it’s no big deal. Good boy.

Not that women need to go around detailing their periods to men or anyone else — I don’t care to know about anything else that goes on in the bathroom, so I certainly don’t care to hear the status of what appears to be a civil war being waged between your uterus and the rest of your body. But no woman should feel ashamed by her period. We don’t control it. When I was younger it used to mortify me, but now it’s like eh, whatever. If it’s pertinent, I’ll share. I mean, guys certainly seem proud of what their bodies do and have no qualms sharing it with us…

Funny(ish) story: A couple years ago my brother was arguing that the Church doesn’t like men wasting their sperm, but women waste an egg every month (unless, of course, they’re pregnant). I replied that you can’t stop a woman from having her period and my mom chimed in, “And you can’t stop a boy from masturbating.” Ah Mom…

But on the topic of not stopping the motion of the ocean…one seemingly minor thing that is kind of worth fighting for is to make our “feminine hygiene” products easier on the wallet. No woman chose to have a period (despite the benefit of getting to be a hormonal mini-Hulk and chalk it up to that time of month), and nobody enjoys spending money. Why make a necessity so damn expensive? (Relatively; it’s not like I’m buying a Ferrari every month.) I shouldn’t have to ration my tampons! I mean, yes, you can apparently make your own items but that’s a DIY I don’t care to get into.

It’s like having high gas prices. Nobody really wants to go without a vehicle, but we can hear our bank accounts begging for mercy every time we fill up.

  • Telling A Woman She’s Being Shrill Or Overemotional

Ha. I asked Dave if he thought I was overly emotional at times (including my depression) and he said no. Even hormones and mental illness don’t make me ‘overemotional.’ I feel like guys getting on women’s cases for being overly emotional is almost old-fashioned…except for PMS. And I think many women are happy for this excuse.

I know I am. Was I a bitch? Sorry, I’m PMSing. It’s hormones. I can’t control it…am I perpetuating a stereotype? Maybe. But it’s working for me!

Women, please, let’s not argue to the point of losing this excuse. I beg of you.

And in fact I’ve been with many men who were more emotional than me…and acknowledged it. Dave has even said that he was raised to have emotions and his mom raised him right. (To be fair, I used to be emotional.)

  • Shaming Men For Being ‘Feminine.’

Is being overly emotional bad? Yes, for both sexes. Do I tease Dave for crying? Yes. In part because I don’t know how to handle tears and in part because it’s usually not worthy of tears.

A man being in touch with his feelings? Damn, that’s sexy as hell. But not everything should turn on the waterworks (certainly not the series finale of Frasier, Dave). Guys can cry, but it’s more appropriate at some times than others, as it is for anyone. Believe me, I hate blaming my moodiness and teariness on PMS — not that this stops me from doing it. It’s a safety net, a catch-all excuse. Very convenient.

A man who can cry is a strong man. And we like that, right? (Or, shit, is that sexist?) Anyone who can cry and show emotion is strong…and sexy, I guess.

Anyway, showing emotion is good, and even preferable to those who hide it or suppress it. Sometimes I don’t show much emotion, but that’s the depression, and it usually occurs between lots of (sad) emotion and lots of (angry) emotion.

But I’ve seen plenty of men with emotion.

And, while we’re talking about men and unfair standards, let’s not forget that it’s not just women that have specific roles and values and ideas thrust upon them. Men are told to be ripped, the breadwinners, that they have to know cars, that they have to like action movies (as opposed to romance — I do tease Dave for liking romance movies because I just can’t stand them)…it’s not like women are suffering alone. Any group has its stereotypes and expectations. If we’re all shouting about our personal grievances with our “assigned” roles, it would get us nowhere because we’d all be shouting over each other and we’d never get through to anyone and we’d never make any progress.

Also, here I’d like to discuss another thing about “microsexism,” which is basically the same thing as “sneaky shaming,” which are both ultimately dumb. Good Heavens, I google “microsexism” to find the article, thinking there couldn’t be that many things with such a ridiculous word in the title, and I couldn’t even find the one I was looking for in a sea of links about microsexism and (sigh) “microagression” against women.

But here’s the one I wanted (I had to email it to myself from Facebook — oye): What Microsexism Is and How to Spot It

For those of you who won’t read it (I don’t blame you): “Microsexism is the subtle, almost subliminal stream of icky messages that women experience every day. You might even be tricked into thinking that some of them are cute or no biggie.”

Yeah, but if you have half a brain and attended school from grades two through — I don’t know — 12, you learned how to be a critical reader and thinker. Don’t believe everything you see and hear. Give it run through the ol’ noggin.

If you’re not a sheep, they are harmless.

I mean, here we have everything from political debate coverage to PSA campaigns about being a good father (by taking a few minutes to play with your kids); Buzzfeed collections about dads “crushing” marriage; marketing strategies, TV shows, parenting; the work place and entertainment…concluding with “Not sure if something is microsexist? Use what I call the “A Time to Kill” test. Change the gender and what happens? Anyone writing about wives who are crushing that marriage thing by going out for milk but returning with a 70-inch flat screen for themselves? Is Cliff from accounting wiping down the conference room table and wrapping up those bagels? Yeah, didn’t think so.”

I think going out for milk and coming home with a flat screen would be awesome (so long as I didn’t forget the milk). And why can’t Cliff from accounting wipe down the table and wrap up the bagels? Is Cliff a slacker? WTF Cliff? Be a freaking team player for once. Geez.

Maybe someone’s strength is party planning and they also happen to be a woman. Gasp. Or marketing differently to the sexes? That’s…a genius marketing ploy. Surely I’m not concerned about ball room in my jeans.

And getting upset about something that’s supposed to be humorous? Or complaining about something encouraging dads to take time to play with their kids? (I watched it; it’s not as heinous as the author would have you think.) Maybe it was meant to be a gentle way of saying “Life is busy, be sure to put aside time for your kids” because life is busy and playtime may be set on the back burner. And no, I don’t think this implies that this is all you need to do to be a good dad. At that point, you’re just looking for things to be upset about.

That’s all I feel like this sneaky and microsexism things is about. Yes, you can find sexist undertones if you look. But don’t you have anything better to do? And I thought I over-analyzed everything.

But to return to feminism, which seems to focus on injustices to women and ignores the issues men deal with — actually, let me stop right there. If feminism is really about gender equality, why aren’t we worried about the social pressures men face?And you can’t deny that when a movement seeks “gender equality” when the circumstances are that women are not political, legal, or social equals to men, because of laws and pressures created by men, it does tend to become women blaming men and women against men for their injustice. The reason we need any equality movement is because some group (historically, wealthy white males, I would say), created inequalities. So I kind of see how people arrive at the conclusion that feminism is about blaming and hating men.

But onto feminism’s other issues; there are some things that need to be addressed right away, and some that shouldn’t be at the forefront. The wage gap, rape culture, double standards, models conveying only a narrow definition of beauty most women will not live up to…these things are actually harmful. A guy being chivalrous, a man expressing concern ultimately over a woman’s safety, a man wanting to be able to care for his woman? Maybe offensive, if you look for it, but really not what we should be focusing on. What I’m saying, and again I expect someone to take issue with this, is pick your battles. Nitpicking at guys who pay for dinner or women who cook and clean is self-defeating. It takes focus away from the big issues and, moreover, portrays you as the kind of woman who is only out to attack — usually men, but also women who aren’t on board with feminism.

So again, my point is not that I have a bunch of personal examples proving the contrary, but that we shouldn’t spend our energy getting so upset over minor things when there are way more pressing issues out there.

Why not rally together and fight for basic human rights for everyone? Fight the laws, not the people.

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