Body Positive

This is a topic I’ve been rolling around in my brain for a bit now, but it never quite called to me.

But tonight it feels right.

I’ve never been content with my body, much less proud — save for a short period when I actually liked it back in my junior/senior years of high school. That’s two years out of 22. That’s less than 10% of my life that I was comfortable in my own skin.

Of course, I had finally dropped 70 pounds and aside from a little leftover pooch, I thought I looked good. I went from 190 pounds in 8th grade to 118 (at my lowest) in tenth grade.

I felt awesome.

Then I started working out, and I finally had muscle tone. I wore only tight-fitting clothing, so proud to show off my shape.

I distinctly remember the day that I first looked in the mirror and realized I had a waist.

Sure, I went from a D to an A cup, but it was a sacrifice worth making. You know, plus all the food I gave up (I ate so little I stopped getting my period — not that this was intentional; I have always loved food).

Honestly in some ways I miss my dieting days because if I indulged at Thanksgiving, I didn’t sweat it; I’d be back on my diet the next day. The weight would be lost.

When I stopped dieting, though, I started counting every calorie religiously. And I do mean every calorie. It became an obsession.

I put some of the weight back on, which was to be expected. But I could live with being 120-125 pounds.

I avoided the freshman 15, but my sophomore year was rather turbulent, plus I started dating, so I allowed myself five or so pounds of depressed/happy weight.

130 wasn’t so bad.

Eventually I met Dave. I was also introduced to beer. I put on 25 pounds in a year.

I hated myself. I was disgusted with myself. All that work, wasted.

So this past year I worked hard to lose that weight. 130 was my goal. 20 pounds seemed reasonable, at a rate of only two pounds a month (much easier than even the recommended limit of 1-2 pounds a week).

In September I stepped on the scale for the first time since I’d started dieting again. I had cut back on food (when I already didn’t eat much) and had ramped up the exercise.

Not a pound. I hadn’t budged. SERIOUSLY?

This started a multitude of doctor’s visits (three in a week, my lifetime record) and I had to endure bloodwork a few times to try to figure out what was wrong with me. The doctors at RPI just told me to see a dietitian. So I went to my doctor. They drew blood, but my thyroid levels were normal. They chalked it up to my bipolar. Unsatisfied, I made another appointment. They handed me off to an endocrinologist. They redid my thyroid levels as well as cortisol.

Normal. They wanted to pass me back to my doctor.

Fuck that.

Going against every instinct, I started eating more. Healthy stuff, obviously. But I thought maybe I wasn’t eating enough, so my body thought I was starving. I started eating breakfast, having a small meal when I got home, and tried not to let myself go hungry for too long.

My goal had been to eat less than 1000 calories a day, and now it was more.

I’m not sure whether I’ve made any progress, but now that I’ve started working out (again), I’m feeling better about myself.

Anyway, the point of this is that I’ve struggled with body image. I’m still struggling.

So I’m here to talk about that…but to also draw a line.

Because I support positive body image, but as with everything else, there’s a point where people take it too far.

But I’ll get to that.

Of course I have pictures.

This is my favorite.

Fats cats/dogs/other animals are cute, but chubby humans are not?

My fat cat Niles is adorable, but my pudge isn’t cute?

I asked Dave (and admitted he couldn’t answer honestly) whether he preferred a thin girl or a heavy one. He said you could be too skinny or too heavy, so in the middle. I replied that this wasn’t clear and he said he’d let me know when he found his ideal woman.

Then he said I fall in that range, he guesses.

But I’ve seen pictures of his exes. He goes for heavier girls.

In fact, anyone who’s ever expressed an interest in me (as of late) either seems to go for bigger women (based on their other choices of women) or explicitly says they prefer “curvier” women, which means I’m included in that category.

Not that I quite consider myself a BBW, but I’m certainly not thin, or even average (though perhaps with the right outfit I could pull off the illusion).

I’m in that unfortunate middle, where I have a belly, but I’m not big enough all around so as to be evenly chubby.

The upside is that I do have boobs and don’t need a push-up bra. (The downside, of course, is not only that I’m fat, but my boobs get in the way.)

But honestly, I’ll love a lean cat and a fat cat equally. In fact, fat cats are a little extra cute.

Why can’t it be the same with humans? Instead if a guy likes “bigger” girls, it’s a big deal. Like he’s weird/different/unique for that.

Oh Colbert. I’ve personally never worried about a thigh gap. I know my legs are strong, from dance/horseback riding/hiking, so even though I have a bit of inner thigh chub (and therefore deal with chub rub), I can live. I’m proud of my legs. Heaven help you if I get them wrapped around you. You’re done.

I can control a horse, a large animal, with just my legs (arms help to steer, but ultimately it’s leg power). Fear my legs.

Anyway, this made me smile.

On to some real stuff.

Woman Poses In Varying Pants Sizes To Make A Point About Body Image

I found this after I thought I was done with this post, so I’ll keep this brief. I’ll admit that I fall prey to this mindset as well; at my lowest weight I was a pants size three and a shirt size small (which is even more ambiguous than those mysterious numbers), and now I wear a large (mostly because now I like my tops very loose) but I still squeeze myself into a three, a five if I must. If I deviate from those “thin” sizes, which I did, then I am a fat piece of shit…which I’d like to think I’m actually not.

It’s ridiculous. My old jeans have loosened up over time (I wear them until they fall apart), companies use different size schemes (XS-XL; 0, 2, 4…; 1, 3, 5…), sizes change from style to style (and even color) within a company, companies define each size differently, and now they change their relative sizes over time! So holding our body image up to clothing size standards is just dumb and self-defeating. Pants from years ago that were a size 0 may still fit, but then today you go buy pants that are a size 6. You’re not necessarily fatter, and that size six may even fit tighter than that 0.

Just don’t worry about it.

Moving on.

Both of these were posted by the same guy (the second captioned “lol,” which wasn’t worth keeping to me).

I’ve also seen plenty of posts lamenting how women take picture from way above to hide their pudge.

Have men ever considered how they look? Just curious.

But seriously, maybe it’s not catfishing, but they know they’ll be rejected if they show their real selves. Which is pretty much online dating in a nutshell.

Google defines catfishing as to “fish for catfish.”

Oh, also to “lure (someone) into a relationship by means of a fictional online persona.”

Not photographing your gut isn’t quite pretending to be someone else. And if that’s really a game-changer for you, maybe you have more to think about than your date.

Also, when I online-dated, and if/when I ever do again, I would include a body shot — but they’re really inconvenient if you’re taking the picture yourself. But a body shot doesn’t necessarily tell you what my body looks like. It depends on what I’m wearing, how I’m posed, and so on.

I can appear trim, but when you get my clothes off, OMG I have a belly.

I’m not giving up wine to be thin. Sorry not sorry. Mostly (okay, all) not sorry.

I also hate when guys right off the bat ask for a body shot. I look up an image of someone actually doing a body shot and send it to them. Hey, it’s what they asked for. But that makes it abundantly clear that if you’re too “fat,” they don’t want to bother with you. They’re concerned about wasting their time on a secretly ugly person.

Also, there’s nothing wrong with that “reality.” Personally I prefer a chubby guy to a chiseled one. Ripped guys just make me feel inadequate, like I should be going to the gym.

I guess I’m just a sucker for a dad bod. A guy who’s too skinny is just a turn-off.

But he doesn’t have to be all muscle, either.

A “real” guy is what I want. One who eats fast food but who cares about his health.

Dave is that…kind of.

And damn, if you want a thin girl you’d better be in shape too.

This, of course, assumes that thin is good and not thin is, well, not. And that’s the crux of our image crisis. It’s so deeply ingrained into society that thin = attractive and fat = ugly.

And it’s not that being thin is equated with being attractive, but that being attractive is being thin. The former suggests that, while there may be other standards of beauty, being thin is a sure way to be labeled attractive. The latter implies that to be attractive, you must be thin. If you’re attractive, you’re thin.

Neither is good, but the second is much more destructive.

But this is the easy-to-see discrimination, the basis of the beauty standards issue. Naturally people react to this, which is all well and good, until they take it too far.

Then we have this reverse discrimination. So a “fat” person gets tired of being made out to be undesirable and unattractive. Fair enough. But then they start attacking thinner women, perhaps telling them they’re too thin or that they should be more like them (the heavier person) or some such thing.

So we’re right back to judging based on appearance — in this case, weight. It’s just flipped so that the formally “ugly” person is now telling the “pretty” person that they’re unattractive because they don’t look like the “fat” person. They’re doing what they hated being done to them.

Make sense?

I don’t object to this because it’s mean. Boo-fucking-hoo. Skinny people now deal with what fat people have for…forever? (Well, in medieval times fat people were the rich ones, and money is always attractive — plus being plump has been associated with fertility and whatnot, at least in art and devotions to deities.)

I don’t feel bad for a thin person because a “curvy” person says they’re too thin to be pretty. Because ultimately society is biased toward the thin, with pockets of people who like bigger people.

At least that’s how it seems.

I object because it’s hypocritical and inconsistent.

But let me elaborate on something I just mentioned: those who love those who have more to love are in the minority — or at least it feels this way.

And boy do they play to it.

And people eat it up.

Case in point: A while ago I liked a page on Facebook called “Hot Guys with Tattoos.” As the name suggests, it’s pictures of guys with tattoos. Muscular guys, because I guess that’s what people deem “hot.”

Personally I’ve never been one to label a guy hot. Attractive, good-looking, cute, causes-me-to-lose-the-ability-to-speak-or-act-normal, even handsome — sure. But not hot.

The only guys I ever found especially attractive on there had nice eyes, sweet smiles, and a sense of humor. The six packs and bulging arms and legs and other parts did nothing for me. The tattoos helped, but it was really all in the face (and personality, if applicable).

But I’ll return to this.

What I want to mention now is how the other day there was a thread going where a “hot” guy with tattoos (obviously) said he likes BBWs and asked to see pictures of them.

This resulted in these women thanking him and being all over him and — of course — posting selfies in which they try to look sexy. Key word try.

Basically they took pictures of their boobs, with part of their face squeezed in.

I’m not saying that a big girl can’t be sexy. But shoving your boobs into your front camera is definitely not.

I take issue with guys who make a big deal of liking, bigger, heavier, curvier girls. And I have talked to guys who told me they like “curvy” girls and don’t want “a bag of bones.” Which means I’m curvy, which means I’m lumped in with “big” girls.

But I wouldn’t consider myself curvy. Just pudgy. Again, I’d rather be thin or evenly curvy (well rounded?) — not just have a gut. And if there’s something I don’t like about me, I want to be able to change it.

Today I got half my hair dyed purple. I love my blonde hair, so I kept a top layer of it, but I also wanted purple. I wanted another piercing, so I got one. I want another tattoo, and I will get one.

But weight isn’t so easy to change, nor is it really a choice.

But it is one of those things that I don’t care for about myself (I mean, we all need some weight, but I don’t like my excess) because I have a certain way I’d like to look.

I’d also like double Ds, and I’m in much the same boat.

So as far as tattoos, piercings, hair, make up, and style go, I’m okay for now.

(Above I said tattoos were a choice, and weight was hard to change. While tattoos are indeed a choice, they’re not exactly easy to get rid of…kind of like weight. But I think the difference is that you choose to add a tattoo because it’s something you want and you know it’s permanent — unless you go for laser removal.)

But weight is another issue.

Anyway, I still can’t help but appreciate a guy who appreciates curves (or rather, roundness), because that means he appreciates my form.

But like I don’t want a guy who prides himself on being into thicker girls. I want a guy who just likes me for me.

Which Dave seems to, so I guess I’m good. It’s not about big or small; I’m just what he likes. Or rather, he just likes me and so he likes what I am.

Today on one of those dating apps I downloaded long ago (to find friends, which has not worked yet — but I’m not giving up!) and I’ve taken to scrolling through the “discuss” tab (it’s set up like Facebook and this is your “feed”) because it’s a goldmine.

A goldmine of desperation, insecurity, and low-self esteem, but still…

Oh, and don’t even get me started on some of the conversations I’ve had. One guy wanted to pay me for a sexual favor and another wanted me to turn him into a pair of fishnets to wear. I’m not kidding.

I thought perhaps it was a unique pick up line. I indulged.

I thought maybe he was testing me, or playing with me. Was I crazy enough to go along with it? Am I a deep, philosophical thinker? I continued to indulge…

…amd indulge…

…and indulge…

And then I started to get lost.

The rest of that is that it can’t be undone and he’s my fishnets forever. It was like eating an entire gallon of ice cream. You know you should walk away, but you can’t help it and then you’re at the bottom of the carton.

He continued to message me today but I didn’t have the energy to continue.

I also once had a guy who was a budding transexual ask how women use the bathroom. Do we sit? Do we just pull up after?

Anyway, I’m getting away from my point.

This feed is either scantily-clad skinny girls asking to be “rated,” heavier girls boasting their cleavage (or just a very close up picture of their face) asking to be “rated,” or people complaining about how they want a partner. Or people just complaining about people.

One girl posted her face and asked if people thought she was cute, “like would you kiss me?”

She had a round face, so guys jumped in saying that “REAL WOMEN HAVE CURVES” and of course she got 10/10s, 100/10s, and so on. Just like the skinny girls baring a ton of skin get.

This makes me think three things: the overzealous defense of curves feels forced, like it’s done out of guilt or is some weird affirmative action for bigger people; guys who drool over thin girls are seen as pigs (or conversely, normal), but guys who love a little chub are patted on the back like they’re heroes for loving something nobody else will (or, on the flip side, weird and having a fetish); and skinny or fat, they’re all insecure and are seeking attention and validation.

Which is why I never posted pictures.

But I posted pictures on Facebook of my hair and two guys said I was beautiful and it looked good, and Dave got annoyed and said I just wanted the attention.

No, I was just excited about my hair. It’s not my fault I’m just so beautiful.

*Hearty lol*

The “rating” bit is just sad; you’re allowing a bunch of random people to judge you and influence how you feel about yourself…based on a number system. Yes, most of the guys just throw out a ten (whether it’s sincere or out of pity I’m not sure), but some go ahead and drop 5s, 2s, and so on.

Girl, you are more than a number! (Just like your clothing size.) Guys too, but they don’t seem to do it as much.

But all these people asking to be rated reek of insecurity.

And then those that stroke their egos are probably just hoping to get laid.

But then I got this message, which I didn’t know what to make of:

Do I take it as a compliment that he doesn’t think I’m as heavy as I do? Or as an insult that I’m not heavy enough for him?

The point I’m trying to drive home, though, is that if a “big” girl drops a picture of herself and a guy doesn’t like it, he’s a shallow asshole. But if a guy does like it, then he’s awesome and special because he appreciates her curves. (Or to the shallow guys and thin girls, he’s just a chubby-chaser, which is weird. Why is fat a fetish but skin and bones isn’t?) Because a little more cushion for the pushin’ is supposed to be ugly and he sees the beauty in it.

It’s just weird to me.

The same way that people will vehemently applaud heavier women for being confident, because really, they shouldn’t be. Thin is the convention for beauty, so curvy girls are defying the odds, right? Bravo!

I ran my logic by Dave and he said it made sense, so I guess this is good enough.

But in case it isn’t: heavier women want to be included under the labels attractive, beautiful, sexy, etc. But to achieve that, they make a big deal of being bigger and are singled out for being “curvy.” It doesn’t make sense.

Now let me include an example of people complaining about people that amused me:

HOLD ON. I missed that “this dude is autistic” comment before. I don’t want to go on a tangent rant here but NO. JUST BECAUSE SOMEONE SAYS SOMETHING YOU DON’T LIKE MEANS YOU GET TO CALL NAMES — AND YOU SHOULDN’T BE CALLING SOMEONE AUTISTIC JUST BECAUSE THEY OFFENDED YOU BECAUSE ONE THAT’S STUPID AND TWO AUTISTIC ISN’T AN INSULT. MOSTLY AUTISTIC ISN’T AN INSULT. DUMBFUKCINGASSHOLE.

Sorry. I’ll save the real rant for another post, just like how an (actually) autistic guy mentioned he was looking for “disabled friendly” love and also mentioned he was bipolar, and someone asked if he was violent or unpredictable. It made me angry and sad at the same time (and no, that’s not a bipolar joke).

But that’s another post.

Here are some other comments:

Cue the personal insults and personal anecdotes of how “I’M not that way!”

But I like “Ur wrong not all of us r like Tht stupid.” Well, if your grammar is any indication…

There are so many people who either claim to be a country guy/girl or are looking for one, some with names like “Country Boy” or “Duramax Lover.” Like girl just because you wear camo doesn’t make you country, nor a truck person.

Indeed one such girl had this as a picture:

Let’s see: confederate flag — check. John Deere logo — check. Stars implying the American flag — check? Pink — check. Camo — check. Yep, you must be a true country girl.

I heartily doubt you own anything John Deere aside from a hat (or perhaps a sweatshirt), nor do you actually hunt. The confederate flag is not country, and pink should not be anywhere near camo because that’s dumb — but it showcases your girly side, right?

Oh, then there’s this:

It’s just so accurate. At least for the girls on this site.

I used to consider myself country, but not if this is what it means these days.

ANYWAY, moving on.

I wanted to know what piercings Piercing Pagoda did, and usually I don’t trust Yahoo, but I wasn’t getting any other helpful results. Then I saw this.

“I only weigh 84 lbs jealous?”

I don’t know, are you like 11 years old? If you’re any older (unless you’re very short), then no, I’m not jealous; I’m concerned.

I didn’t bother to click on it, but — without making this post any longer than it already is — this seems like an insecure question and a negative influence. Why do women (I get the vibe it’s a woman, based on the context) have to try to tear each other down when we already have men and the media polarizing us based on our body fat percentage?

I’d like to make a point, though, that men also face unfair body standards. On that same Facebook page for “hot” guys with tattoos, there’s a thinner guy who posts every so often and people tell him he needs to eat more and ask him not to take anything off and basically tell him he’s unattractive because he’s too thin and also doesn’t have much musculature.

Heavier guys don’t get much love either. Basically only ripped, mostly naked guys get attention. So like, models. Barely-clad models. Like, models requiring censure.

I realize the point of the page is to entertain (young single or bored older married) people, but like, this is an example of why guys feel pressured to be all muscles and feel inadequate if they’re not.

Hey, I’d put Dave on there because I find him very attractive, but (aside from him most likely not going for it) I don’t think it’d be well-received, because he’s not their idea of a “hot” guy.

But have you seen his eyes? Magical. His smile? Adorable. His beard? Lovely. His personality? Nevermind. He has tattoos! And piercings!

But he’s not a model who spends hours in the gym every week and only eats protein; he isn’t about to let his fun bits hang out for the sake of “likes.”

Nope.

But he wants to start working out (“wants to” being the key words) and is always talking about eating healthier to lose weight.

He doesn’t. But it implies pressure to be something else.

In fact I asked him what he thought an “attractive man” (to women, so as not to frighten him) might be and he “wouldn’t dignify it with a response.” I guess it was still too “gay” for him. So I asked if he felt any pressure as a man to look a certain way. He replied, “If I did, wouldn’t I have six-pack abs by now?”

So I reminded him how he’d wanted to work out and diet and also that this suggested an answer to my first question; so yes, men should have a six-pack and whatnot, and he feels he should have one except he’s “not concerned” with it. But I believe that given the choice, he’d have a six-pack.

So Dave is subject to standards as well.

Anyway, the way the page is structured suggests that only one kind of guy is “hot”: young, fit, lean, muscles, as little clothing as possible, tattoos (though “hot guys with tattoos” implies that there are indeed hot guys without them), willing to strip down for strangers…

These are not the guidelines for attractive men.

The point I want to make is that men also face these issues, even if we don’t talk about them.

Oh, and I saw this: All hail the rise of cat men, an antidote to toxic masculinity

Honestly I’m not sure what to think of even just the title. It seems to imply that one can’t be masculine and own a cat. So wouldn’t that implication further the stereotype of manly men not owning one of God’s great gifts?

I gave it a skim and basically it’s about guys liking cats — and that’s okay. You’re no less of a man.

I just happened to read this chunk: “The report also found Aussie cat men earn more, on average, than non-cat men; are 29 per cent less likely than the average man to believe ‘homosexuality is immoral’; and — contrary to popular misconceptions that cat owners are sad singletons — almost 70 per cent are married or in de facto relationships. And yet the ‘cat men’ phenomenon has not been extensively explored in scholarly research — until now.”

What?

Shall we review causation versus correlation? And I don’t think cat men need anymore “scholarly attention” than cat ladies do.

But this is how the post begins: “An online movement of men is shrugging off the stereotype that ‘cats are for girls’ and flaunting their affinity for kitties, writes Hayley Gleeson. And they’re giving others permission to embrace a gentler, more thoughtful kind of masculinity.”

I don’t think this requires an online movement. If a guy likes cats, he likes cats. If a woman likes dogs, that’s cool too.

It’s not like “cat men” are shunned.

But here’s another example of how “this is so okay and normal that we’re going to make a big deal about it and make sure you see why some people think it’s weird — but it’s not!”

That is weird to me.

But I won’t say anymore about that, other than I suppose men even feel pressured about what pets to own.

But for now I identify as a woman, and so I suppose I focus more heavily on women’s issues.

Let’s see, what do I want to talk about next?

How about “hair bias”?

This is an example of taking body image too far.

I actually clicked on this: Standards of Hair are a Form of Bias

It’s connected to Dove, which of course sells hair products, so…

Also, it laments how “height standards” are now also a “form of bias.”

Really?

And that’s literally it. It’s like a paragraph of text telling you go to Dove’s website. Marketing much? Just slap a hashtag on a “clever” slogan and boom — ad campaign.

I saw these comments on one of these posts…they’re common enough in my feed to be like…ads or something. Odd.

I have three more things I’d like to cover under body image and its treatment in media and society and whatnot.

First: anny lutwak explores the artifice in taking ‘natural’ photos of young women

I saw this awhile ago and…it just irked me. I mean, I hate modern art, and how anyone with a camera can be an “artist,” and how everyone is trying so damn hard to be edgy and make some earth shattering, preconceived notion discarding, bias breaking, establishment/tradition overthowing, society criticizing, political statement.

Pick up some damn charcoal and draw something that actually matters to you — and no, not the defeat of the patriarchy, the beauty of menstruation, or Trump and sexism (http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-12-14/photo-project-puts-trumps-quotes-on-female-bodies/8119630).

Draw something that means something deep in your soul, something that makes you happy, not angry. Put some effort into it instead of snapping a picture and applying a filter, maybe playing in photoshop.

I swear these look better in person. And Dave may make me angry, but at least I’m not trying to make a statement.

Why does everything have to be intense, outraged, taking some defiant stand? Why can’t art just be happy, peaceful, and relaxing anymore?

Because social justice warriors took it over.

These days, if you want art to be relaxing, you buy an adult coloring book. Color in all the mandalas you want, but I’ll choose my charcoal (or even working on a novel) any day.

Mini rant aside, just the title of the above link (okay, second above) nails three buzzwords: “artifice,” which sounds pretentious enough to garner and audience that wants to pretend its opinions are important; “natural,” which is as insidiously catchy as the plague, and “women,” which, come on…

It’s described as “The young photographer looks at the ways women’s problems are aestheticized and ignored.”

Ooh, another big artsy word.

Headlining this collection is a woman with, ahem, a few extra pounds wearing some kind of beaded bikini. Shit, I’d love to even look like her.

But I’m probably an asshole for saying that for some reason. Feminism?

This post says the “artist” is “using photography to explore female sexuality and the ever-complicated issues of how it can be expressed, and also muffled. Her new series, ‘Female Trouble,’ looks at the physical struggles that women face and the way that gendered issues such as domestic violence, sexual oppression, and body image can be covered up, aestheticized, and trivialized. Lutwak paints a black eye on one subject, and adorns a penis with sparkles on another. Some of her images show the gory and graphic realities of abuse, while in others, the effects are much less discernible. Here, the artist discusses the ways that the female experience is portrayed visually, and how women are regaining control over their own photographic representation.”

Sorry, as I was copying that section I saw as a suggested post “the art project challenging censorship with close-up genderless nipple shots.”

No. Cover all nipples. I hate nipples with a burning passion. Even the word makes me shudder. It is without doubt my least favorite word.

If you want to let it all hang out, fine, but keep it away from me. Also, absolutely no fucking close-ups. I need to go vomit now.

Anyway, this series features a woman with a bloody noise, a woman with a bruise on her thigh, a woman with a black eye smoking a cigarette, a woman in her underthings on a leash (isn’t that just kinky sex? I’m probably an asshole for saying that too), a woman laying in bed looking tired, a woman getting undressed, and a sparkly (and, may I add, well-groomed) penis — which is supposed to be “a sort of feminine objectification of the male body as a way of turning the male gaze in on itself. This collection of photos exists in a world for me where everything has a sort of aestheticized, classically feminine touch. There’s a stigma against this in the art world — feminine art is often seen as less valid, crafty, or kitschy even — so I wanted to play with that and use it in a way that’s hopefully empowering.”

Sometimes I feel like artsy people string words together and hope they sound profound. “Feminine objectification of the male body” and “turning the male gaze in on itself,” eh? Let me direct you to “Hot Guys with Tattoos” on Facebook (and I guarantee you, that’s not the only, or worst, one). And no man is about to become introspective because you glittered his genitals. Or worse, another man’s.

I showed Dave that image and he immediately looked away and was annoyed. I asked him if it made him turn his gaze in on himself. I must wonder whether he understood the question, but it was clear he wasn’t interested.

The audience for this gallery is women. Whether it was intended for men or not, men aren’t going to look at it. They don’t care.

Also, that guy is hella skinny. Is that supposed to be a statement too?

I could harp on this one link for a while, but I won’t.

You’re welcome.

Let’s talk about my alma mater’s proposed graded fitness testing, even though the Presidential Fitness Test has been done away with (apparently).

According to a petition on Change.org, “you get half credit for participating, and half credit for being in the healthy range.  So students who are not physically fit can receive at most a grade of 90% in PE” (https://www.change.org/p/guilderland-high-school-stop-or-reform-humiliating-and-degrading-fitness-testing-in-guilderland-high-school).

Now, a 90 in PE isn’t devastating, though I did usually rely on it as an easy A+.

But to be graded on my fitness level? Not cool.

But first let me share one of my peer’s opinions. We graduated the same year. He’s now a fitness coach.


Whether you care about your health and decide to make (and carry through) a lifestyle change is dependent upon the individual. I realized I needed to do something in 8th grade when I saw I was ten pounds away from 200. It had nothing to do with gym class.

A very overweight student can not give a single shit about their health. Or maybe they’re fine with who they are, or are trying to be healthier but haven’t reached their goal, and this will only stress them out.

Believe me, even at my peak, I dreaded The Mile. I’ve run a mile under ten minutes twice in my life. I’ve run two miles straight once. I’m just not made for it.

I can walk like it’s nobody’s business though. Not even kidding. As I said, my legs are strong and I could walk forever.

But I could never jump my height, as short a distance as that may be, and I sucked at push-ups (and people used to say I touched the floor when my gut just hung so low that it brushed it). I could do all 50 curl-ups though.

Some people could be told the same thing my friend was and wouldn’t care. It’s up to the person.

I agree with most every point he made except that they should be graded on their fitness. That’s just not fair.

I lost weight over a few years. Should I have been penalized for those years when I hadn’t yet lost enough weight?

And I’m overweight now. Should I receive some kind of punishment?

Hell, after high school most kids don’t give another thought to the various metrics of fitness testing. Not in the same ways. They’re personal goals, not goals set by someone else.

I want to be this weight. I want to be able to do this many pull ups. Whatever. After they’re not forced to do it, it’s once again up to the individual.

Let’s not make high school any more stressful than it has to be.

Because it’s the last time most of us enjoy life and we don’t even realize how good we had it in those days before college and real life.

And one last thing.

The title of this is “‘Fat Femme’ Jessamyn Stanley on Defying Yoga Stereotypes.”

I’m glad even yoga has stereotypes and we have to define them and fight them by making a big deal out of defying them.

Jessamyn couldn’t have just done her yoga thing without her gimmick being a “fat femme”?

That’s what bothers me. Being “fat” is now a gimmick. I’M FAT AND DEFYING THE ODDS! LOVE ME AND WORSHIP ME!

“Yoga instructor, body activist, and self described “fat femme” talks about strength, going against yoga stereotypes, and the power of doing you.” This is the description of the video.

For the love of the motherfucking monkeys — stop making a big deal out of being fat if you want to be treated like everyone else — the thin people. Just stop.

It’s like…your neighbor mentioned you didn’t do anything for Christmas lights last year, so this year to compensate you string enough damn lights to light a small town, and then everyone is annoyed because you’re blinding the shit out of them. No. You don’t want that.

If you like being curvy, then own that shit. But don’t plaster it all over everything. And this goes for anything. Gay? Transgender? Have a kid at the ripe old age of 17? I’m happy that you’re happy and confident — but I don’t need to hear about it everyday or have it shoved down my throat.

I hate to use that phrase because I feel like a lot of bigots use it, but if I, who accepts you whether you’re gay, straight, circle, black, white, green, transgender, transexual, transspecies, fat, thin, elliptical — whatever — am tired of hearing about it, maybe — maybe —  you’re making too big a deal of it.

Cool, a heavier person does yoga. I don’t think yoga has a weight limit…?

And I understand there are stereotypes, but yoga stereotypes? And is body activist really a title now?

Am I an activist for scientists/cat people/blondes/truck owners/Dodge people/women/biologists/coupled ladies/somewhat fat people because I do me and give no shits as to what other people think?

Do I get my own Youtube channel for that? Or do I need a Twitter? Is Facebook sufficient?

I’m just not sure how I go about claiming fame for being myself and not caring what other people think.

Instagram? Reddit? Someone please help me. For real.

Could I be the next president if I’m on social media and give exactly zero fucks? Go ahead, count them, all none of them.

So my overarching point is one: to give precisely zero shits about what people think of you — you’re beautiful as is; two, if you want to be accepted, stop making such a big deal of things — get noticed, but being pushy (or shovey) will turn people away; men face image issues too; modern art sucks; body image isn’t everything…

But my bottom line is this: no matter who you are or what you can do, be proud of it. Own it. Be happy.

Just don’t overdo it and be annoying.

Moderation.

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Advice

As I was driving into RPI today, I started pondering all the terrible life advice I’ve been given over the years.

See, instead of shower thoughts, I have car thoughts.

I generated quite a list, lots of things I’ve probably now forgotten, but I couldn’t help but share whatever I do remember.

Mostly for the humor factor, but also for the don’t-do-this factor.

Normal people would probably post a list of good advice they’ve gotten, to share it with others. But perhaps I’ll share this to demonstrate that all advice you get is not useful.

I’ve divided it into categories.

  • Relationships

Have Some Wine

I forget exactly what I meant by this, but I imagine the context was when my third boyfriend invited me back to his dorm on our first date. I met some of his friends, then we went to his room, where he offered me wine. It was already late and I had to drive home, but it had been a while since I’d had wine and he was insistent, so I agreed.

Which meant that I had to sit around his dorm until I felt my one glass had worn off and I was sober to drive home.

I’ve been drinking for almost four years and never have I driven after drinking — except for this one time but it was one glass and I waited at least an hour. My friends have invited me out for drinks and my reaction is always either to decline or just drink water because I still had to get home. I literally only drink if I’m within walking distance of my house. Or is Dave is driving (but I don’t like when he drives after drinking either — largely because the most he can get through these days is half a beer; two beers is surely a lot for him; he’s also bragged about driving after drinking or while high, and how he’s gone to work drunk).

So to waste time we had somewhat sexy time, he asked if I wanted to be exclusive and I said yes. We last maybe a week and a half.

So the good advice here is not to accept a drink if you don’t want to wait to sober up (so as to avoid drinking and driving), and also not to make big decisions (like whether or not to be in a relationship) after drinking.

Stay with Him

I’ve been told many times to stay with a guy, give it/him another chance, and so on — only to ultimately break up, or at least have things get worse.

This one is subjective, though; if you’ve had your first fight and you’re wondering whether to march on, it may be solid advice. If this is your 10th fight this week and your 1,000th in the two years you’ve been together and someone is just trying to be optimistic and make you feel better, you should be skeptical.

I think this one is meant with good intentions. Someone wants you to be happy, and figures working things out will be better than breaking up and starting over.

But staying with a guy isn’t always for the best.

Good advice: only you know your relationship. If you’re hoping for people to tell you to stay with him for an excuse, or you’re unsure about this advice, then maybe you shouldn’t stay with him.

Leave Him

I’ve never really regretted leaving a guy, but again, an outsider doesn’t know the ins and outs of your relationship. My mom has told me plenty of times to leave Dave, to take her money and get a motel for a few nights, to try to get an apartment with my brother…she decides I should leave and she’s gung-ho on this for quite a bit.

But it’s not that easy. Five cats are hard to take with me, and cheap rent can be hard to find. Plus packing up and moving take effort. Hell, finding a place takes work.

There’s a very good chance that one day I may leave, but that day hasn’t come yet. It’s easy for someone not in your position to tell you what to do, especially if it’s to get out. It may even make sense to you, but that doesn’t mean it’s reasonable, practical, or feasible (which are mostly synonyms).

Indeed my therapist had many ideas about Dave and me, but while objectivity is great, subjectivity is sometimes important.

Good advice: Take time to honestly think about what you want, and weigh it with what you can achieve. I may want out, but I love my cats too much to give at least two of them up. That has a lot to do with my past, but your personal experiences are a significant factor. People can tell you to leave, sure, but only you know if it’s really right.

  • Sex

Birth Control Isn’t Worth It

At maybe 18, while still very religious, after a a dermatology appointment I was talking to my grandmother about how my dermatologist recommended birth control for my acne. I wanted to impress her with my Catholic-ness, so I told her how I declined because I didn’t want to be on birth control. She agreed and said I wouldn’t want to be on medication, hormones especially. It wasn’t worth it.

I did start taking the pill as a sophomore in college, for acne.

Boy do I not regret it.

I suppose it regulated my periods, but thankfully I’d been on it five months before I somewhat unexpectedly lost my virginity — and decided to keep having sex, like a bad Catholic — so I didn’t have to worry so much.

And I haven’t had to worry since then. Going on the pill to help my acne set me up for when I’d eventually start having sex.

Also, now my grandmother is pro-birth control…and still anti-abortion. I get it. I once had a priest say that before a couple goes to bed they should decide whether or not they want to have a baby, which was implicitly pro-contraception (and pro-life, obviously). Prevent a kid before you have to undo a kid.

I think maybe she objected to the hormones and unnecessary side effects, but not the idea of preventing pregnancy itself.

Good advice take home: get birth control if you can; don’t make yourself rely on the morning after pill or other less effective methods.

Masturbate with a Pen

I was in 10th grade, still very religious, still waiting until marriage to do anything related to my hoo-ha. I was afraid of a tampon at the time. My mom described me as skittish. I had a semi-friend (who’s now very religious, ironically) tell me I should try masturbating with a pen (at least) before my wedding night so it wouldn’t be a surprise. She was up to a bundle of pens. She had a nickname for the vibrator in her nightstand and had even masturbated with a carrot — she recounted how her mom found out (while driving?) and had to pull over crying.

Then, it scarred me. Now it makes me laugh.

I would never masturbate with a pen, a bundle of pens, or vegetables. Moreover, if I wanted to wait until marriage, I would wait. No cheating.

I guess my advice here is not to masturbate with random loosely phallic objects. Get yourself a real vibrator. Don’t do anything you don’t want to, though. If you’re going to feel bad about it after, don’t do it. If you’re just going to feel bad after it, maybe do it. (Like I feel bad sometimes after too much wine the night before. That doesn’t stop me from drinking next time.)

But seriously, hold true to your values. Only do what you want to do.

There’s Lots to do Before Sex

To quote my mom: “There’s plenty two people can do before they get around to having sex. Plenty.”

Aside from the creepy factor, this is only true up to a point. Sure, you can make out with, grope, finger, jerk off, and go down on people only just so much.

Not unlike sex, it’ll get old after a while.

I assume. I went from nothing sexual at all to guys who were all over me and demanding sex ASAP. I mean, sex got boring, so why wouldn’t all that can come before it (which rarely happens if sex is also on the table, in my experience)?

So almost-sex stuff can become boring, and actually so can sex. Nothing is exciting or satisfactory forever. There’s my good advice.

Sorry Mom.

  • Family

Move Out

I was told by a few people (my mom, my ex, my ex’s family maybe?) to move out of my grandparents’ house.

Which I did, because I deemed it necessary.

But then Matt and his family bitched that I wanted to move out and then into the apartment they’d been offering since we’d been together…

Moving out created a lot of stress. My grandparents going into my room when I wasn’t there, my grandparents making my aunt babysit me, trying to pack and move things out when nobody was looking, actually moving out, trusting my then-boyfriend…

Ultimately I don’t regret it one bit, but the execution could’ve been worlds smoother. Because Matt (and his brother) got involved at the last minute (even though they had plenty of warning).

Good advice: Do what you need to do to ensure your health; be persistent and don’t listen to others’ guilt trips. But go at your own pace. And once you know what’s right, don’t go back on it.

Go Back

Plenty of people have told me to go back to my grandparents as well. Ha! They say it couldn’t have been that bad, you want out so badly, etc.

They don’t know. I realize this is redundant. I care zero. This is important.

I refuse to go back to my grandparents. And, in the three years since I left, I’ve found a home, found a good job (via school at RPI), bought two vehicles, and have even started saving and paying back my undergrad student loans. And I’ve needed no money from them. I refuse to need money from them.

And with the way things are going, I won’t.

At times my therapist or friends told me to go back to them. Or even Dave, to be a dick. I will not. They don’t understand what it was like. For a long time, it wasn’t worth the financial security. Now that I’m secure on my own, it definitely isn’t worth it. I’d rather find a place that’ll accept five cats (with or without financial incentive — which I’m currently doing, but that’s another post).

So bottom line: again, people don’t know your situation; also don’t let people tell you what to do. You maybe very well figure it out and be fine on your own.

Then again, somehow I always magically land on my feet.

  • Life

Just Try Talking to Them

My therapist’s ever-brilliant advice. I was working with a group of people, including my then-best friend, and basically I had to do everything while they sat on their phones and then complained about how I did it (when I had the most experience with it), or they couldn’t do it/messed it up and I had to do/redo it for them. Oh, and then they’d all be asking me questions at once when they actually had to do something for themselves. Then they’d question my answers. Also they’d complain they were bored and had nothing to do. There was plenty to do. They’d take things I was using and reset timers I had going and would complain if they had to do actual work.

It drove me insane. It got so bad that I started getting snarky with even my best friend, telling her she’d know what was going on if she wasn’t on her phone, that her battery wouldn’t be dead if she wasn’t always snapchatting…odd that she could never text me (and has texted me only about twice since graduating).

Sometimes I just had to brush off the other two people because I already had enough of my own stuff going on.

Anyway, my therapist told me I should just talk to them about it instead of getting annoyed and staying silent (or being sassy).

It’s not that easy. What would I say? “Guys, get your shit together. I’m sick of babysitting you.” Really, there’s no nice way to tell people they’re pissing you off with their incompetence, and doing so will only create tension and bad blood.

So this is easy advice to give, but difficult to execute — well, that is. So really it’s useless advice. It’s cop-out BS advice. Better advice would be how to suck it up and deal with them. That’s practical advice.

My advice, which I’ll make the bottom line here, is to slowly assume enough responsibility that you eventually run the show and everyone would be lost without you…and so they mostly just sit on their phones and leave you be. It’s like obligate symbionts (and this would be a form of parasitism). And if you need them, they have no excuse not to help. (In fact I once asked my friend to do something for me and she was like, “Why? Do I have to?” and I replied that she was playing on her phone and I was busy doing something important.) It’s just easier. Not fair, but easier. And you know it’s done right.

Get Out Tonight

Another therapist advised me to move out of my apartment with Matt…in one night. That same night.

And it wasn’t a suggestion; he was telling me to.

So I did…in two nights. Which added so much stress to my situation. But I was forced out — not that I didn’t plan on going. I just planned on doing it with more control and tact. My mom and I are quite the fans of “controlled exits,” where we’re in control of every move, both ours and everyone else’s through various methods.

I had to call on an old flame (and cancel my first date with Dave) the first night and recruit my dad the second night.

It didn’t have to be done like that. Matt’s grandmother (who was a crazy bitch) drove by the first night and was lurking to ambush me and my dad the next night. Not what I wanted.

Bottom line: therapists aren’t always correct, nor do they offer good advice (see below). Also, a controlled exit is always infinitely more favorable than a hasty, impulsive one.

Try Section 8

Ah, more advice from therapy. Geez there’s a lot of this.

My second therapist suggested this (the same one who was cited in “just talk to them”). She thought I should be so desperate to get away from Dave that I go to literally the shittiest place I could find. You know, for cheap.

Thank goodness I didn’t. I stuck it out, started a good job, started saving, and now I can look for an apartment where I have less of a chance of getting stabbed or raped.

Again, this is that, “I’m not in your position nor have I experienced what you have but I know best and you HAVE to do this NOW” advice.

No, don’t take that.

Bottom line: don’t let anybody force you into doing anything, even if they’re a professional or “authority.” Don’t do anything on an impulse, either. I will drill this into you.

Cancel that Vet Appointment

I can thank Dave’s mom for this one, and for two of my cats. I had an appointment for Mittens to be fixed, but she insisted I could get it done cheaper through APF (even though I’d bought a coupon through Friends of Animals that ended up being wasted money). So, foolishly, I canceled. Saving money sounded good.

Storm ended up pregnant, and then we had Thunder and Lightning. I went from three cats to five (the other one is Niles).

And now I’m stressed out about finding an apartment with five cats.

Now, I don’t regret Thunder and Lightning for a second, but keeping them was one of my bigger mistakes, for the above reason. Never, not for a second, would I undo what happened though. I love them both dearly. For the longest time I was ready to adopt them out, then Dave said I could keep them.

So now I have to deal with the challenge of moving with five cats. But I would never wish Thunder and Lightning weren’t here.

But not getting Mittens fixed did add some stress to my life.

So, bottom line: get your pets fixed. If you ever want another cat (or dog), adopt from a shelter.

Give Them Up

This wasn’t originally a part of my list, but after that above point, I think it’s worth writing.

My grandparents forced me to give up two cats, a skink, and a bearded dragon when I moved in. I didn’t have much choice.

When I moved out of the apartment, I chose to give up my dog, cat, and rabbit.

I haven’t forgiven myself for that, nor will I. And this is why my only option is to find an apartment that will take all five cats. Or maybe leave two with Dave. But I will not adopt them out to strangers. I will not abandon pets again. That is literally my biggest stress with moving out. If it weren’t for my cats I’d have moved out by now.

Anyway, my first therapist was the one who basically insisted I give up my pets — for my safety. I understood why, but that didn’t make it any easier.

My second therapist was very much a cat lady, and understood why I was so torn up about leaving my pets in the hands of my rapist and why I didn’t want to leave my cats behind this time around.

But still, when push came to shove, I’m sure she’d tell me to get out and figure out pets later, i.e. find them other homes.

I can’t. I won’t. I will pay extra monthly or put more down in a deposit or guarantee I’ll pay for anything my cats destroy before I’ll leave any behind. (Also, how the hell does one choose? It’s like choosing a favorite kid.)

On Valentine’s Day, after much arguing and (me) crying, Dave told me his plan for getting an apartment was me getting rid of some cats, even if someone “babysat” them for me for a while.

I lost my shit. He told me I really am a crazy cat lady and I love them more than people and pretty much made me out to be bad and crazy because I’m intensely devoted to my cats. A good part of that is because of my past. Once was enough. I thought he understood.

And if he had to move out, he’d just send his dog down to his mom. How nice. I can’t do that.

That all led to me deciding to move out regardless. I’ll figure it out. I will offer Dave some sum of money he can’t refuse per month to take care of any cats I can’t take with me. I’ll demand pictures dated with a newspaper (or some such thing) to prove he still has them. Something. He told me tonight he doesn’t want anything to happen to the cats, and if everything (and then some) is paid for, then hopefully I can trust him to care for them. I know they’re in good hands (as long as he doesn’t adopt them out).

Anyway, and I mean to write a post on this (except I’ll end up crying), the bottom line is that pets are family; if you don’t see it this way, then don’t have pets. You can’t just abandon them. Even kids become independent. Pets don’t. They depend on you and love you their entire lives. They see you as their caregiver (I know they do because our roommate says the cats run away from him, yet they come to Dave and especially cuddle up with me). They look to you for affection and care, and then you hand them off to some stranger because they’ve become inconvenient? Fuck that. Pets are family. Love them like family. Treat them like family. If you have a choice, treat them like your kids. Take them with you. Don’t let anyone tell you that they’re not important and you can just leave them or adopt them out. If they’re important to you, that’s significant and can’t just be pushed aside. My cats are my therapy animals. As explained to Dave, cats have never hurt me, lied to me, fucked me over, betrayed me…literally the only time cats have made me cry is when I’ve had to leave them or when they passed on. Only when I have to part from them. All they do is love me and provide me with company and comfort.

So bottom bottom line: don’t be ashamed if your pets are important to you, and don’t let anyone tell you they shouldn’t be or what you have to do with them.

Don’t Get Your Nose Pierced

Matt once told me that if I got my nose pierced he’d “be so disappointed with me and wouldn’t talk to me for years.” Shit, if I’d gotten one then I might’ve not been raped.

Seriously though, don’t let anyone tell you what to do with your body. Whether it’s as minor as temporary hair color or as major as abortion, don’t. Your body, your choice. If you ask for an opinion, that’s different (but you don’t have to listen to it).

My brother or grandfather can criticize my colored hair, piercings, or tattoos all thy want but one, it’s already done and two, I don’t give a shit because it’s my body and I wanted it. Dave can tell me he’d like me to get hip tattoos or piercings (or Matt told me he wanted me to dye my hair black) and not only will I decline, but I will vehemently refuse because nobody is going to tell me how to look.

I got my nose pierced and I like it. Unfortunately, I’m not sure about my employability in my field if I get more facial piercings, so aside from my ear, I’m capped. Maybe a lip or eyebrow piercing, but certainly not both.

Tattoos are easier though; I keep mine to places I can hide if necessary.

In fact it’s been six months since my last one, so I’m due. I have a few ideas.

Anyway, the bottom line is that you should never let anyone else tell you what to do with your body; it’s yours and you should do as you please…but like, consider the implications of a face tattoo and whatnot.

Don’t Buy a Truck

I forget who exactly told me this one; it may have been Dave, because I don’t need one; it may have been Mom because she couldn’t help me pay for it and assumed it would be too much of a burden; it could’ve been the voice of my grandparents (in my head), because truck = bad (for some reason, perhaps it’s less safe?).

But someone, at some point, told me not to.

I did, and it is one of my great joys in life, up there with cats, wine…okay, cats and wine. Oh, and sleep. And food.

Never have I regretted my truck. It’s only broken down on me once (for a fuel pump) and hasn’t really given me trouble otherwise, save for a window regulator, which is ultimately non-essential. *Furiously knocks on wood*

Really, my truck has given me a lot of comfort; if my cavalier didn’t start, I had another vehicle. If my cobalt has some problem, I have my truck.

Aside from that, I enjoy working on my truck. It’s fun. It’s nice to sit up high and I like customizing it.

My truck is like my toy. No regrets.

Bottom line: have a “toy.” If you can afford it, have a vehicle that is “you.” Not just your commuter or beater, but your fun vehicle, the one you really take pride in. I guess more broadly this means to have something you really care about, that you don’t take shortcuts with. Have or do something that makes you feel good and confident. A hobby or some such thing.

  • Career

Don’t be a Psychiatrist

I got this bit from one of Dave’s customers (that he met detailing cars at a Chevy dealership) whose yard I’d just helped to rake and bag up.

He told me I shouldn’t be a psychiatrist because there was no money in it ( he was an expert because his wife was a psychology major) and I’d have to deal with people like him, whom the FBI hadn’t been able to break yet.

First of all, I could break a bitch like you with the way I am now.

Second, your wife is a pysch major, not a psychiatrist. Very different. Psychiatrists went to med school.

Third, why have the FBI had to deal with you? Like WTF is wrong with you/were you involved in?

Fourth, doctors certainly make money, and psychology is becoming more accepted everyday. So don’t act like it’s not a big deal.

Sure, psychology is my primary interest, but I ended up a bio person. (My ultimate goal right now is to study the gut biota of mentally ill people — especially bipolar, of course).

But I guarantee I know more about biology and mental illness — and prescriptions for it, as I’ll mention — than this guy’s wife does.

Bottom line: not all asshats who claim to know something (or who oppose something) are worth listening to. I may not have ended up going to med school, nor will I be a psychiatrist, but I’ll bet I have greater scientific literacy than med school students and I can tell you about psychology and biology. Being a doctor, aside from the crushing debt, would not have been a mistake. Still, I’m perfectly happy where I am, doing research at RPI. This path was definitely not a mistake.

  • Vehicles

Just Disconnect the Battery

A favorite in my family. Check engine light comes on and you need to pass inspection? Instead of actually fixing the problem, just disconnect the battery. reconnect it, and drive it around just enough so that the mechanic won’t realize what you did. This has been a regular thing recommended by a few people, most notably my dad and grandfather, but used and touted by my aunts and uncles.

Meanwhile I’m like, why not just get it fixed? I mean, if you’re in a pinch or don’t have the money at the moment, fine (but do get it fixed eventually). But like this is go-to advice for every situation. That’s like slapping a band-aid on a flesh wound instead of going to the hospital. It’s not going to get better on its own.

Bottom line: get your car problems fixed for real. Yes it costs money, but the longer you let it go, the more you could end up paying.

Put Water in the Radiator

More great advice. My brother’s car wasn’t being driven for the winter (because of some issue with his license, the insurance, or the registration — much like my car; see the next point) and so we were keeping it in the garage. But it had some leak or something in the radiator, so my mom decided to put water in it.

I asked Dave if this was actually bad advice, and he said it’s more unnecessary than bad because it was just sitting — also, we must’ve been really poor if we couldn’t cough up enough for some coolant.

On that note, let me branch out and say that my mom always tried to cheap out with vehicles (lots of things, but especially — or most majorly — vehicles). Don’t do that. Don’t try to jerry-rig or get by. When you have a 2+ ton hunk of metal with electrical and flammable bits you don’t really want to fuck around. At least I don’t. I want to nip all problems in the bud.

And so the bottom line here is really to address all problems had on and appropriately and sufficiently, with vehicles and in life.

Let it Sit Under Snow for Months

My car was allowed to sit under feet of snow for months, never being started. My insurance hadn’t been paid and my registration and license were suspended (unbeknownst to me) and so when I got pulled over for speeding (even though the cop was driving toward me, so I doubt the radar worked) I ended up arrested for a misdemeanor.

Anyway, my mom’s bright idea was to put my car out to pasture until it could be re-registered (it couldn’t be registered again for as long as it had been suspended, which was six months, and I was arrested in October) and in the meantime get a truck, which I’ll talk about next.

Also don’t do this. Cars need to be started every so often, especially in the cold. Cars need to warm up, keeping them above half a tank of gas is good, and perhaps even change to a thinner oil in the winter.

Bottom line: don’t neglect cars. Care for them. They’re not quite like pets because they’re not alive, but most people rely on them a hell of a lot more.

I Like a Big Ugly Truck

Those were my mom’s words as we brought home our rust bucket of a 2000 Ram 1500 (my first Dodge — cue emoji with heart eyes). She thought the rust added character. She didn’t mind that a part of the truck was sitting in the bed (the front driveshaft for 4-wheel drive), or that we had to duct-tape and bungee cord the passenger door shut. (It’s no wonder we only paid like $1000 for it.)

That truck lasted about two months before 1. a bounced check for the registration fee led to the registration — and once again my license — being suspended and 2. a piece fell off as my mom (also with suspended license) was driving me home from college (as she was on the run — this all resulted in her being arrested). We abandoned it on the spot.

Bottom line: don’t buy a piece of shit out of desperation or to be cheap, and certainly don’t gravitate toward pieces of shit because you think they look cute or charming or have character or something. You do not want rust (especially on a Dodge) and you want your vehicle in one piece when you buy it.

This Dealership Seems Trustworthy

Thanks Dave. When I bought my cobalt, Dave insisted the place seemed legitimate…and this resulted in me buying a car and getting buried in bullshit between the owner, DMV, and my insurance company. It took months, two temporary registrations, many phone calls, some bitching, and quite a bit of time to get my car registered…and for some reason it was registered for March, with my truck.

The dealership blamed my insurance, my insurance blamed the dealership, it was a shitshow.

So not all dealerships are trustworthy.

Bottom line: don’t trust Dave. Seriously though, don’t trust everyone, even if they seem okay on the first few impressions. That’s the best I have to offer.

Let Us Work on Your Car

More from Dave…and his bestie. They insisted I could let them work on my car to save me some money. All I needed was a new starter. They wired it wrong, and killed my alternator. So my battery was dying and Dave told me to pull into Advance. Dave and his friend tried to fix my alternator but to take the belt off (it was side-mounted) they unbolted my engine mounts…and dropped my engine. I ended up using their other friend’s AAA to get my car towed anyway and have professionals work on it.

Bottom line: don’t let wannabe rednecks/self-proclaimed car people work on your car. Take it to a mechanic. Pay the extra money for a job well done.

  • Legal

File Against Your Mother

My grandfather’s advice way back when, neglecting the fact that this would land my mom another 20 years in prison. He didn’t mention that and luckily I found out before I was pressured into making a decision I would heavily regret.

This is simple for a bottom line: consider the consequences of both doing and not doing something. If I hadn’t filed (which I didn’t), my credit report should’ve cleared up by 2016, which it seems to have. If I had filed, I’d be so wracked with guilt that…I don’t even know. So don’t let anyone pressure you.

File Against Your Mother (Again)

This time from my therapist, knowing my past and the consequences (as I suspect my grandfather did).

Once again I did not file, no matter how pissed I was at my mom. This is another example of people who don’t know you and haven’t been through what you have trying to tell you what to do or feel.

I didn’t have to file against my mom to keep going and succeed in life. As I’ve mentioned a few times now, I’m in grad school and paying back student loans and saving and my credit score is going up. I’m going to be okay.

And ultimately, I didn’t need to file against Mom.

Bottom line: everybody thinks it’s their way or the highway, but there are many paths to success. Your gut may not always be absolutely right, but at least think about your options. People can agree with you and/or your gut, but don’t let them be the reason you do or don’t do something.

Report Him

Once Matt started harassing Dave and my friends I knew I had to go to the police. Not that others hadn’t recommended I report him long before.

But reporting Matt added a lot of stress to my life. Uncomfortable interviews, questioning my every decision, being told I didn’t have an argument yet I might have to see him in court…

I was encouraged to report Matt by many, yet it was horrible and stressful and made me cry and I still never got any closure. I was supposed to hear back either way and never did. I assume they dismissed it, which hurts. A lot. More than showing up to testify against him would have.

Reporting caused a lot more hurt than just leaving it alone. Reporting was painful enough, and then realizing that he got away with it?

No wonder I’m an angry person.

This is a tricky one though. I would still encourage all victims to report it so we get a more realistic number for how often this happens and maybe it would become a bigger deal. Plus, when Matt inevitably fucks up again, at least there’s this report there.

At the same time, reporting is rough. Sexual assault is something you want to forget ever happened, yet you have to recount it numerous times to many strangers, defend your every decision, and still have them interrogate you.

Bottom line: report, but be aware that it will be a painful process for you. It’s not going to be some easy procedure. Also, get a rape kit done. It could make a hell of a lot of difference.

  • Medical and Therapy

It’s Just Ant Bites

I’ve learned that with doctors, the power of suggestion goes a long way. Eighth grade was a rough year; I fractured a bone in my foot, so I had a cast put on up to my knee, and then I got an infection in my toe that blossomed until it looked like I had a second toe. And it hurt like hell. I could barely fit into my shoes and had to limp.

Then one morning I woke up and smelled rotting apples. My infection had burst and the pus had leaked all over my bed. That’s a smell I’ll never forget.

Somehow, possibly by shaving, this spread to my non-casted leg. I can remember four specific places it popped up (based on the scarring), but it might have been more. The spots would swell up, itch, hurt — it felt like something was crawling underneath my skin. They would weep pus slowly, then all of a sudden they’d ooze, erupting like little pus-filled volcanoes if I pressed on the swollen skin around them.

I hope nobody was trying to eat while reading this.

I went to the doctor. I mentioned I’d been sitting outside for gym (I couldn’t do much with my cast, so I just sat on the outskirts and watched) and there were tiny red ants that would occasionally crawl on me. They concluded that my oozing sores were an allergic reaction to ant bites.

After more doctor’s visits, it turned out to be MRSA. This was during that big MRSA scare in the late 2000s.

So no, doctors, it was not ant bites.

Obviously I survived and, as mentioned, have scars. The most notable one actually left me with no feeling in the middle where the infection erupted from.

Bottom line: doctors aren’t always right. Also if you want a certain diagnosis, just suggest it. Your doctor will likely agree.

This point leads into my next.

Try This

Of course, with staph being resistant to antibiotics and whatnot, my doctors weren’t of much use. “Wash it every night with soap and warm water and let us know if it gets better.” Yeah, okay. This is the reason Hannaford brand lavender and chamomile soap reminds me of eighth grade, MRSA, and sadness.

Smell is the sense most strongly linked to memory, you know.

But that didn’t help, unsurprisingly. I was sent to a dermatologist. His suggestion was to try rubbing an acne medication on my leg each night, which I did.

It got better…miraculously, apparently, because when I went back for my follow-up he said, “I looked up that medication after you left and really it shouldn’t have worked!”

I’m glad I got to be your fucking guinea pig.

I beat MRSA by luck. Thanks, medical community.

My mom mentioned this dermatologist to my doctor’s office years later and they said they no longer associate with him. Hm…

Bottom line: doctors don’t always know what they’re talking about. Don’t trust them blindly.

You Have a Heart Murmur

Here we go again. I was told I had to get shots (which I still hate and start freaking out about, though not quite as much with my addiction to tattoos and whatnot), and then my doctor came in to listen to my heart. Lol. He said my heart was beating too fast and so he thought he heard some backflow, which would be a heart murmur. He wanted an EKG done.

If he’d come back five minutes after I got my shot, my heart would’ve sounded fine.

But no, I stressed for weeks until I had it done. When I got in there, my heart rate was 180.

I didn’t have a heart murmur.

My mom will still insist it was a money-making thing.

Bottom line (again): doctors can be dicks, and sometimes you should be more assertive.

The Only Way is Medication

And now I get into therapy. My therapist told me, after diagnosing me as bipolar, that “you’re not going to get better without medication, sweetie.”

First of all, don’t call me sweetie (or Shirley).

Second, I’ve never taken medication for any psychiatric issue and I’ve managed. It’s been over a year since I was diagnosed as depressed and over six months since I was diagnosed as bipolar.

And I’ve probably been bipolar for a while.

I’m not anti-medication, but for me, I worry about the side effects and my bipolar doesn’t really affect work or school. I can be “normal” in public.

So yes, I still experience my manic and depressive episodes, but by being very self-aware and maintaining euthymia I’m okay for the most part. I’ve considered medication many times, but just can’t do it.

Bottom line: don’t let a medical professional pressure you into doing something. Medication isn’t right for everyone.

You Should be Medicated

To expand on that, my therapist (a psychologist, not a psychiatrist, so she didn’t need med school or even any biology background) told me multiple times to think about medication, and even said that she didn’t know that much about the medication and I probably knew more than she did and she could refer me to a specialist in psychiatric drugs.

Ha.

If you’re going to tell me to take medication, then you’d better be damned informed on the medication you want me to take. Seriously.

This was the same woman who forgot for weeks on end to look up my symptoms in the DSM to diagnose me and couldn’t tell me the difference between bipolar I and II off the top of her head. I could’ve told her.

Bottom line: don’t trust therapists, either. Inform yourself (from reasonable sources).

  • Financial

You Shouldn’t Have to Defer Your Loans

My therapist also insisted that I shouldn’t have to actively let my loan lenders know that I was going to grad school; my loans would automatically be deferred. They’d just know.

It most certainly doesn’t work like that. I had to go to both my loan officers (or whatever they’re called) and let them know I was still in school full time.

Bottom line: don’t trust anyone; they don’t know.

Just Take Out Another Loan

I forget who told me this one. Maybe my mom?

I didn’t need another loan (I was already $45,000 in debt for school loans after undergrad), but it was recommended that I take out another federal loan (to cover remaining school expenses and help pay for a new car; I didn’t realize how much I’d be saving at that time).

So now I’m about $55,000 in debt. Yay.

But I did start paying off my undergraduate loans on my graduate salary. Yay. (That’s three times I’ve mentioned that. Can you tell I’m proud of myself?)

Bottom line: taking out another loan isn’t always the answer, especially if you don’t really need it and are already in debt. Had I not taken this loan I’d have waited a bit longer for a car and I’d have less in savings. But now I have like ten grand more in loans that I have to repay.

You’ll be Audited

My dad insisted that me and my brother would be audited if we filed our taxes with Turbotax. My brother called me and said it’s nice to rant and that my dad will never be convinced that a free program is better than the “perfect” human being he’s been going to for forever.

There’s been so much BS with my brother’s return. Dad had his guy prepare their returns but I suggested Nate try Turbotax; the tax guy has been claiming Nate’s financial aid as income, inflating that figure and getting him denied aid and making him owe taxes. Dad also complained on speaker phone that he wouldn’t be getting as much money back if he didn’t claim Nate as a dependent. Basically my dad has been fucking him out of money and I tried to stop it, so my dad makes me out to be wrong.

Nate also needs $1400 to finish paying his tuition (he was denied a loan because his income was — falsely — too high) and doing Turbotax would get him a return of $1700 instead of $140 with our dad’s guy.

So much bullshit.

Anyway, our dad threw out there that we’d be audited in a few years and he wanted to avoid that (I doubt he actually gives a shit) and so I was in a panic until I realized that Stafford loans (like mine) aren’t taxable income and I have been taxed on my teaching assistantship. So I’m fine. Also, shut the fuck up Dad.

Also, the last loan Nate got for 2016 was a Stafford loan and whatever he got back from that shouldn’t be taxable, but was claimed as such.

Our grandfather even agreed with my calculations and said he didn’t like Dad being involved. He added that Turbotax is basically the same as the program he uses and that Nate needs someone to help him out and that I’d done all I can. Papa agreed; I can’t be that wrong.

Bottom line: don’t always trust your parents or their “tax guys.” Do some research yourself, and don’t let anyone use scare tactics on you (like my dad does to my brother).

 

So that’s that. Here’s some advice that actually works:

Turn It Off, then Back On Again

This is ridiculously simple and yet reliable, whether it’s a phone, laptop, or car. Can’t send a text? Can’t connect to the wifi? Engine light coming on? Just turn everything off and try it again (but do get that light checked out). This is employed in college and beyond. No joke.

Plus it fixes most everything. That and duct tape.

You Don’t Have to Agree with the Church

I got this advice from two nuns. They said that they don’t agree with everything the Church says, but that’s no reason to quit being Catholic. This is some of the best advice I’ve been given. I disagree with lots of things the Church says, but I don’t stop being Catholic. This has give me lots of comfort over the years. I can be Catholic without being perfect, or agreeing with everything.

Do Your Best; It’s All You Can Do

This is my grandfather’s advice, given to me in tenth grade while I was writing a biography on him. He said that in any situation, do what you think is right given the information you have, and it’ll never be the wrong answer. You did the best you could with the information you had.

Okay, so that’s my interpretation.

But if you make a decision based on your best judgment and do what you think is best, how can you regret it? Even if it doesn’t work out, how can you regret it? You did what you thought was best.

I live life based on this advice.

I just hope that one day my advice will have as much of an impact on people.

So there we have it: lots of unadvice, and my hopefully wise tidbits.

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To Adult or Not to Adult

Dave was watching the news, eagerly awaiting the weather, and on came a segment about “Adulting Class.”

I died a little on the inside.

One, that there even is such a class, and two, that it was worthy of the news.

But I’m going to hold up right there and say this: while I find most things millennials do to be silly, I realize millennial-bashing posts are plentiful and if I come across as a youth-hating curmudgeon you might as well read any other blog.

See what kind of pressure I’m under?

And honestly, millennials describe an age group. It’s really a shameful sub-population within millennials that make the rest of us look bad.

Fair enough?

There’s a post; all the breeds of millennials. Perhaps next. Lately I seem to write about things in series.

Anyway, back to this adulting class. I guess it teaches things like doing taxes, other financial things, navigating relationships, how to run a house…you know, stuff our parents used to teach us.

Oh I’m totally going to come back to that.

In Googling what this school teaches I found a post lamenting its existence, much like the world resents its students: ‘Adulting’ School Founded to Teach Millennials How to Be Adults. This one calls millennials out in the title. Ooh…

Well, this link seems to have beaten me to the parent-blaming point, but it focuses more on how millennials came to be. I’ll still give my thoughts on that anyway.

But here’s the gist of it: “In the last several years, there’s been growing alarm over the fact that many young people can no longer perform basic skills. In fact, one survey goes so far as to say that there are 20 basic skills – ranging from reading a map to baking bread – that are in danger of extinction in some of the developed parts of the world…this is becoming such a problem in the West that a couple of enterprising individuals created a business to pass these skills on to the next generation. Known as ‘The Adulting School,’ the business aims to teach young people how to handle basic financial matters, simple household management, and other things one needs to live a successful adult life….While it sounds humorous, it’s also rather tragic at the same time. How in the world did we end up with a generation of incapable adults?…The fact is, children-turned-adults should not have to be taking extra classes in order to learn the basic skills of life. They should already have learned many of them from their parents – and teachers – as they grew up. If we are going to once again raise a capable, responsible generation of children, do we need to first return to the idea that they are not the center of the universe, to be coddled and catered to at all costs?”

Oh, we got called coddled. Check that off on the list of typical insults directed at us.

While many of us may think, “Oh, isn’t that nice, a school to teach life skills” (which I’ll argue are not innate) and some of us go “Boo millennials for sucking at life,” I think, “Wow, those ingenious assholes. They saw a desperate, gullible market and exploited it.”

(I never said I wouldn’t pick on millennials.)

Again, it’s not instinct how to bake bread (I tried many times as a wee one going on my whim rather than by a recipe and got lumps of wet, largely inedible flour that I tried to get people to eat). Nor is everyone born knowing how to change a tire nor is reading a map always easy nor is cooking always intuitive.

You can’t really blame us for not being experts at everything — at life — especially without some sort of teacher. If not our parents, then at least a course in high school or even college. “Practical Life Skills,” we’ll call it. Which is somehow more acceptable than a school devoted to it.

Oh and also, the solution to millennial ineptitude is not how we’re parented; parents merely need to teach us shit.

My gramma taught me things like sewing, my mom covered cooking and baking — and how not to manage money, watching them both taught me about relationships (again, more what not to do), Papa tried to teach me how to haggle, Mom taught me how to care for animals, how to plan and organize (by way of camping trips), how to do many things in Microsoft Office, how to apply for and manage financial aid…I learned many habits from all of them — I even picked up things from Dave’s mom. School taught me math and English. Hell, I even outsourced some skills and enlisted Dave’s help in learning about vehicles and I give him credit for directing me to Turbotax to get my taxes done.

I am not without useful skills — and some skills that are useful to select people. I can cook without a recipe (which I think Dave can appreciate) and have some general common sense when it comes to baking (and can follow a recipe), I can mend and clean clothing, I can do taxes (and will be helping my brother), I can do FAFSA (and again will be helping my brother — he often ends up coming to me for help with financial matters), I can keep pets alive, I can usually answer general medical questions, I can explain science stuff like it’s nobody’s business (because it’s my business), I know how to get into grad school, Dave affirms that I know a decent amount about vehicles — enough so as to be helpful to someone, I can manage money, I can manage time…in sum, I can live.

I think perhaps one of my greatest gifts is, as Dave attests, the ability to always land on my feet, like a cat.

In two days (as of me editing this on February 24th), it will be three years since my mom was arrested.

Have you ever heard of A Series of Unfortunate Events? It was a popular book series when I was in grade school (so early 2000s — at least that’s when I thought it was a big deal), which was made into a terrible movie (I blame Jim Carrey as Count Olaf) and was recently made into a brilliant TV series with Neil Patrick Harris as Olaf and I just can’t get enough of it. It’s the perfect blend of nostalgia that my inner child (who until recently was presumed dead) can enjoy and dark humor that my bitter adult self can appreciate. Even if you never read the books, you should watch it. You’ll miss out on some of the references and allusions and foreshadowing, but you’ll still get the humor.

Anyway, this series follows three orphans who basically have shitty luck all the time. Like they never catch a break.

So the loose connection here is that for a while, that was my life. Nothing ever got better, only worse. Months of stress before my mom was arrested, her going on the run, her arrest, bullshit with my grandparents, moving in with them, intense but turbulent relationships with males (cheating, too annoying), another relationship with a supremely insecure guy, his dad passes away, moving out of my grandparents’ house (surprise!) and into an apartment with him, more stress, rape, therapy, moving onto my college campus in two days, being stalked and harassed, moving in with a guy three weeks later, his dad passes on maybe a month later, then someone he was very close to (like a grandfather) a week later, eventually quit therapy, then lots of bullshit for a long time, therapy again, then I’m diagnosed as depressed, cutting, lots of bullshit, lots of engagement bullshit and empty promises, I’m diagnosed bipolar, cutting, quit therapy again, plenty more bullshit, more empty promises, cutting, extra bullshit, finally sudden contentment and even — gasp — happiness with job, school, finances…everything but relationship, present.

Man my life is sad.

Where was I going with this?  I wasn’t sharing my life saga (again) for shits and giggles.

Oh yes, I always land on my feet. Every time, somehow, something works out for me.

Not the most adult thing, but incredibly useful.

On this note, my mom being arrested and taken from me is the main reason I’m the fledgling adult I am now. Her leaving forced me to learn how to manage on my own. Yes, even though she’d welcomed the idea of me living with her while I was in med school so I could build a nest egg, I would’ve contributed to rent, I was already paying for food and whatnot with my meager paycheck, I’d do my own laundry and make my own food…

Really it’d be what I’m doing now except I’d be living with my mom. So it’s not like she’d be coddling me.

But of course there would be the temptation to let her go shopping for me or let her drive me places (which I usually use Dave for now). And she could handle things like FAFSA.

Still, though, without her here (but not without aid from her or Dave), I’ve figured out taxes and FAFSA and vehicular care. I mean, I was vaguely aware that taxes needed to be filed, but not how to; or that cars needed oil changes, but not how often; or that vehicles should not be run on empty, but not that they should be kept above half a tank of gas for the best gas mileage (and in general for winter).

But still, at least I knew I had to file taxes and also inspect my car each year. Like how many other mundane, obvious things from adulthood was I missing?

Hopefully none as I’ve been independent for three years now.

So not all millennials are equally fucked.

I mean, a lot of us are fucked in ways like crushing student loan debt and inability to find the well-paying job we were told the degree that landed us in debt should secure for us.

I think that’s a relevant point too. We’re growing up in a different time than our parents. The economic and social climates are vastly different, so perhaps our struggle to be the adults our parents were at our age isn’t entirely our fault.

And honestly, thanks to our youth steeped in the internet and advancing technology, we do actually possess a useful and unique set of skills. Many millennials have been browsing the interwebs, whipping things up in various computer programs, streamlining nearly everything, reinventing social circles and interaction, and making a shit ton of things easier using technology for the majority of our lives.

Even more than that, we know how to use all this technology. I’ve walked professors through how to use Google Drive, I’ve schooled my aunt on basic social media tools, I’ve sat in agony as my grandfather takes 20 minutes to look up and find something that I could’ve been done reading in two minutes, I’ve listened to my grandmother brag(?) about how she actually used the internet (which she’s done maybe a handful of times in her life; she largely doesn’t use computers), I know multiple ways to solve a problem using technology. I know how to integrate technology wherever it’s needed.

One could argue that our reliance on technology is bad, and it is, but it’s getting to the point where it’s necessary to know how to use it. Like if technology fails then we’re fucked in many ways.

Last night my grandfather told me the last company to make VCRs stopped, so this past week he’s been converting VHS to DVD, and then saving them on his hard drive.

I argue for a balance of tech-savviness and an appreciation for life without tech.

But I think one credit to millennials is that we love to figure things out. My PI has often given my lab partner and me a goal, and let us loose to try to solve it. Sometimes we need some guidance, but overall we’ve figured out how to do a lot just by playing around and trying different things. In this context I mean he wants us to extract something useful from our data, and we have to figure out how to make a program do it. And it’s actually decently satisfying when we do instead of just being told (although it’s a hell of a lot more frustrating).

Also, I asked my mom if she remembered being proud of little things as she became an adult, like doing her taxes, buying a car, learning to make food, and so on.  She said, “I definitely remember big and little things that made me think…I’m a grown-up now. I think people actually do it all their lives in some way. It feels good to recognize your own accomplishments, even if they seem trivial to others.”

So I think every generation has secretly been proud of becoming “real” adults — we’re just louder about it. Which, I’ll admit, that one’s on us.

So we’re not the first ones to do this, we’re just the first to make a big deal out of it.

But like, are we?

Let me explain — by first quoting another link: Kindly Shut the Hell Up About “Adulting”

This is one of your cliched “I’m a millennial but also hate my own generation so let me rant to you why” posts.

“[T]he Daily Mail delighted in deriding people who used it to brag about things like having ice cream with their granola because they had run out of milk. Is the derision entirely unwarranted? Well, no, it’s not. ‘Adulting’ is a terrible fake word (that you will not find in the actual dictionary, for the record) that everyone should stop using. ‘Adulting’ implies that being an adult is not a necessary part of growing up, but rather a life choice you’re hesitant to fully buy into. It’s a singularly Millennial — especially female, at that — immaturity that reduces being a grown-up to a hobby. If nothing else you do makes you seem like a stereotypical Millennial living in an entitled fantasy land where actually growing up is, like your hobbies, optional, saying ‘adulting’ is sure to do just that…”

I was going to try to keep this as one chunk, but I knew I (or you) would forget what I/you read before I could even respond (or you could read my lovely responses).

First of all, she quotes adulting every fucking time it shows up, which is a pain to edit appropriately (a quote within a quote gets single quotations, not double).

Also, this first part is basically ranting about how millennials and their fads are just omg so horrible. Yep, we get it. Millennials (you included) suck.

“Many of us have been shielded from the full responsibilities of adulthood. Unlike our parents’ generation, nearly a third of us are not forced to pay rent or provide for ourselves immediately after college…Many of us don’t need to worry about going to the grocery store alone because our parents’ fridge is already stocked. We don’t have to think about paying the cable bill because our parents have it covered. Growing up may feel optional because, for many of us, it is…Though living at home has not stopped us from achieving things, hiding behind our extended adolescence only undermines our actual accomplishments…”

Also unlike our parents’ generation, many of us can’t afford to support ourselves, which is what I was getting at above. It’s not that we’re not forced to like they were, but more like we just can’t manage it (financially).

And I don’t think it’s so much optional as a la carte; we pick and choose which pieces of growing up we want to take on. You know, what we can do. Someone may not have the paycheck to pay rent, car insurance, health insurance, for gas, food, and so on, but they can chip in. They can do parts. They can start taking care of themselves as much as they can.

If your attitude is “I might as well mooch off my parents until they kick me out,” then yes, you are a piece of shit.

“Cara is smart and has a great career, but when she talks about making dinner like it’s her biggest accomplishment to date, she downplays all of her impressive achievements. The reality is that it’s easier to share, ‘Ate something that wasn’t Nutella for dinner tonight #adulting’ on social media than it is to share, ‘I kicked ass at work this week and have some awesome things about to happen in my career #adulting’…Women are rightfully wary of this kind of self-promotion, which perhaps explains why they are seemingly more likely to use ‘adulting.’ (A scan of Twitter or Instagram suggests that women rely on ‘adulting’ more than their male counterparts, though the social platforms do not track word usage by posters’ genders.)…”

Of course we make it about being women. I don’t avoid talking myself up because I’m a woman. I just hate talking about myself, and assume nobody really cares (because, I’ll be honest, I rarely care when people blather on about how great they are — people I love and whose success I’m invested in, sure, but not just anybody).

I brag about adulting as much as I brag about everything else in life…which is none. I mean, I did post that I got accepted into RPI a year ago. There’s that. Oh and I used to post my art class assignments.

And even if I did talk about adulting, it’s not because I’m too afraid to brag about my real accomplishments.

Also, I don’t trust a “scan of Twitter” for any relevant information. I don’t tweet because I have enough self-confidence as a kick-ass successful woman that I don’t have to tweet about every mundane thing and hope for retweets(?) and whatnot to boost my ego and determine my self-worth.

And hey, maybe it was an awesome dinner.

“Saying ‘adulting’ doesn’t only undermine our talents and make us sound entitled — it also affects our superiors’ perception of us…My boss is an older Millennial who gives me a lot of responsibility at work. She trusts me to manage our interns, make sure reports are sent out to higher-ups, and that her schedule is always up to date. I’m not going to look capable of any of those things if I act like going to the grocery store alone is ‘adulting,’ my biggest accomplishment yet. I want even more responsibility than I have now, and I’m not going to get there by acting like I need a pat on the back for brushing my teeth and showing up to work on time. Instead of devaluing ourselves and our generation, we need to know what’s worth celebrating and celebrate it. It’s great that I didn’t turn my white T-shirt pink when I did my own laundry, but that’s not the greatest thing I’ve done or will ever do as an adult. So, let’s retire #adulting, so we can actually start to act like adults.”

Got called entitled — check!

I don’t think your boss really gives a shit whether you adult or not, as long as you do your work. And I’d hope they’re not actively and regularly scrutinizing your social media* for whether or not you made dinner or ordered takeout or whether you adult (or use adult as a verb).

*I accidentally typed “asocial media” and thought, “Well isn’t that more accurate?” and I think it is, but that’s another post.

You’re just making it into a thing.

You know why I feel the way I do about these links and this whole adulting thing?

Because I have a fucking sense of humor. That’s it. I’ve used adulting in reference to myself, sure, but as a fucking joke. That’s all it is.

I’ve had a post planned that’s something along the lines of “gold stars for adults” and it would involve things like putting on real pants ( as opposed to sweatpants), filling your gas tank before it’s empty, not ordering takeout for the third day in a row…all tongue-in-cheek.

That’s what (I want to think) this whole adulting phenomenon is about. Millennials know we’re often ridiculed for being clueless and whatnot, so we decided to poke fun at ourselves, like “Haha I know I’m dumb, but look what I was able to accomplish even as a stupid millennial.”

That’s what I believe it is.

At least for some of us. Because I definitely didn’t think I’d end up defending millennials in this post.

And if you learn a new skill or learn to cook something new or even accomplish something relatively minor to others but a big deal to you, you should be proud of it. You should celebrate it.

I’ve had a few stressful weeks, but on Tuesday I buckled down and knocked out a ton of shit — actually, the end of everything I had to do. I celebrated with wine. No, I didn’t post on Facebook, but recognizing and rewarding yourself is important.

I made flavored vinegar for the first time today, I also made cupcakes (possibly for the first time?) and attempted fillings. That was a new thing I did. Actually I accomplished a lot today.

I’ve learned a lot about vehicles in the past two years. I’ve gotten good grades and gotten into grad school (and also succeeded there) for the past two years (and beyond).

Don’t let other people get you down.

But my original intent of this post was to tell people to stop making a big deal out of basic things. So how do I reconcile that and what I just said?

If you use adulting seriously, then you need to fucking stop. Like, if you hashtag it or reference it and you are actually proud of doing laundry, not eating ramen, remembering an oil change, etc., then yes, you are the problem here.

Basic shit like that is not to be celebrated. Not seriously.

I wouldn’t celebrate my awesome pipetting skills because that’s like bio 101 shit. I celebrate my superb execution of an experiment or my innovation or exciting results.

Hopefully you can see the difference.

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For Those Dirty *Liberals*

When I started this post, there were a few directions I saw it going. Perhaps I could talk about honesty, or something I read recently that was loosely related, even gender and sex.

But no. Tonight I’m going to settle some shit, because I’m getting really tired of certain people and their bullshit.

Hi, Trump supporters! Hello conservatives, hello opposition to the Women’s March, hello those who turn a blind eye to Trump’s rhetoric and ideology, claiming it won’t be so bad and we just have to wait and see — apparently you’re also ignorant of history. Hello to those who don’t care because it doesn’t affect them, to those who are ignorant of what’s really going on and what’s at stake in America currently.

America is a shitshow if I’ve ever seen one. (And I’ve seen a lot of shitshows go down.) We gave a toddler throwing a temper tantrum an entire country to settle him down, and this toddler then picked the worst people he could to fulfill various positions (it’s like it was intentional), we have women tearing down the women fighting for their rights, the National Park Service is suddenly a badass(?), scientists aren’t allowed to talk anymore, Trump supporters flip shit if you talk shit about their president and conveniently forget their less-than-friendly reactions to Obama, and basically we’ve taken ten steps backward (at least) while simultaneously making a leap toward a dictatorship (maybe we needed a running start).

Bloody hell.

Before I get into this anymore, let me give you what this post started as:

Take a look at all these, all posted by the same woman. Woman.

Except I’m going to discuss them one by one. I’ll let you know when her posts end.

Before I knew I’d be blogging tonight, and about this, I vented to my mom over email because the stupid was too much.

“[I]t amazes me how many anti-women (and pro-Trump) women there are on Facebook..Yesterday [this woman, that my mom and I both know] posted a picture complaining about women protesting for reproductive rights when women in other countries undergo genital mutilation and wouldn’t be allowed to speak out…First of all, just because other women don’t have all the freedoms we do means we shouldn’t fight to keep and expand our rights? That’s just dumbass reasoning. Men make more money, but women in other countries can’t even have jobs, so let’s not fight for equal pay. That’s how asinine that is.”

That’s basically my point here. Is it like one or the other — we can help them, or us, but not both? Somehow I doubt that — and I also doubt that American women would choose to help foreign women over themselves.

The thing is, people (women) who post things like this aren’t concerned about the oppressed women in other countries. They don’t care if those women are clothed, fed, housed, treated equally. They’re just annoyed that these damn liberals are protesting their new dictator leader Trump. They’re annoyed that women dare speak out against…what, again? Equal rights for women? Yes, how heinous.

Dumb bitches.

We’re not an embarrassment (well, electing Trump wasn’t exactly our best moment); we’re (kind of) a beacon for what life could be (you know, not perfect, but better — like your fantasies about that average-looking guy from work who listens to listens to NPR and enjoys crosswords; he’s better than your boring boyfriend who mostly plays video games and ignores you).

That was a lot of parentheses.

Also I’m sure you’d be “screaming” about your sexual health if men actually made a decision that negatively affected it. Sorry you’re past having kids. Maybe we’ll make pap screens illegal then? Vibrators, too. Condoms also. Only missionary from here on out. Let’s criminalize anything that has to do with sex — you’ll end up crying sooner or later.

Fucking dumbasses.

Sorry, I asked Dave for his opinion on this woman’s posts and I’m infuriated. Stay tuned.

To my mom: “[O]ne was of various scantily clad female celebrities and said something like ‘these are the women opposing Trump.'”

“Yet another was more celebrities and ‘If you think Trump is going to degrade women, you must be a special kind of stupid’ or some such thing. In the comments she defended his ‘Grab ’em by the pussy’ bit because it was ‘locker room talk’ so many years ago.”

I’m sorry, she said it actually happened in a locker room. No, it was defended as “locker room talk.” Let’s get it right. (That mistake there should undermine any “credibility” she had — and I use that word very loosely.)

Let me quote the rest of this email to my mom: “I was astounded at the stupidity.  And using women’s clothing (or stage acts) against them to say they can’t be upset by the treatment of women by society or men (like Trump) smacks of the argument that a woman ‘deserved’ rape or was asking for it because of what she was wearing. Like she was wearing a short skirt, what did you expect? These women are dancing provocatively; clearly Trump is not the problem because they’re asking for that attention. Perhaps it’s a stretch, but Trump can be the problem AND women falling just short of having sex on stage can be a problem.
Also, if Obama had said those things the world would’ve exploded or something. It’s not okay just because it was a long time ago or was said in secret. That’s a scary attitude to have; if I want something, I can just take it. Hm, sounds like rape to me. Sorry, I can’t believe the stupidity and ignorance of some people, especially women against other women for fighting for rights for all of us…?”

This wasn’t one I talked about in the email to my mom, but here:

I’m angry, some of my hair is purple, but I’m not dressed like a vagina. YOU’RE A FUCKING WOMAN HOW ARE YOU THIS IGNORANT. I don’t fucking get it and it fucking hurts. Like it actually hurts my brain.

Why are we judging on hair color now? Shall we also judge on tattoos (I know this woman prides herself on her many tattoos)?

It’s not even human dignity, but human rights. Believe me, I don’t like abortion, but like it’s her body and her choice. I’d never choose it for myself, and if my friend asked, I’d advise against it — but dammit, it’s our choice. No ovaries or uterus, no choice.

Let me post one more thing by this woman (for now):

Lol. Nah brah. You want to degrade the women with purple hair marching for your rights? Then fuck you, you’re a fat ugly bitch whose so fucked in the head that I can’t even begin to comprehend it. Fucking lose some weight, stop getting tattoos, put on some make up and be what our society wants you to — since you, like society, want outspoken women for women’s right silenced. Fuck you. You’re not beautiful the way you are. Ignorance and hate are ugly as fuck. You’re an infected pimple on the ass of America. That is you.

Don’t cry about it. That’s for those liberal bitches.

(I follow no particular party, so don’t start calling me a liberal or socialist or any bullshit. I like whoever’s not a fucking idiot. Maybe the more scientific choice.)

A few more things before I get to my angriest part.

Yeah, right-wing asshats, imagine that. Imagine how horrible and unAmerican she’d be.

I had a post that showed the posters from Obama’s election, but Facebook mysteriously deleted my post as well as my source post…

I am going to save this so that in four years I can compare and see how much worse things have gotten. Also these things are coming off of Obama’s presidency, so really we can attribute them to him, not Trump, assclowns.

Oh, here’s this:

Anyway, I showed Dave the first four pictures, the ones from my acquaintance, and his first reaction as “That’s bullshit.” I was pleasantly surprised. I’d thought he might actually come through for me on this one.

Then he continued:

“Oh but a lot of women were just there for the hell of it. (After my irritated response): Oh, you’re one of THOSE women. Women have high paying jobs and have many equal rights (I pointed out that we have very few rights secured by the constitution). Women can parade all they want, but women in other countries have less rights. Women are dressing up as vaginas? Geez. Those women didn’t even clean up after themselves. (I said we want equal rights and so men can clean up after us.) Oh, you’re one of them. If women want equal rights then they can clean up after themselves. You’re one of those stupid bitches who needs to be put in her place then shot. Actually, shot then put in her place. This whole march was all because bitches want abortions. That’s what the fight is about.”

I told him if he ever wants to have sex with me again then he can buy condoms.
He basically said we’re not having sex then. Fine; we’re going to pretend like I don’t have my pills. Then maybe he’ll realize why women’s rights are important and why they need to be protected.

Anyway, this actually infuriates me. Bloody fucking hell.
Unfuckingbelievable.

And of course, I’ll be the bitch in all of this, when I refuse sex without condoms and when I refuse sex, because, oh yeah, you give zero shits about me or my health or rights.

I’m the bitch when I’ve been the breadwinner for over two months, paying his rent for him, buying (and preparing) his food out of the kindness of my heart…fuck that shit.

He can ask one of his beloved friends for money.

Since spewing this bullshit, Dave keeps trying to be friendly, like nothing should be wrong.

Yeah, nothing…except you ignore or just don’t care about my experience or rights as a woman. I told my mom in that email that I might have to break up with him. Like how do you be with someone who treats your issues as a minor annoyance, like a mosquito bite when really they’re kind of a staph infection. Like that shit needs to be taken care of. (I’ve had MRSA, so I would know.)

But once again, I’ll be the bitch for being upset about what he said and the dumb cunt for being one of those women who support equal rights for women (and everyone, obviously). Well, he was the ignorant dumbass son of a bitch, so…I’ll gladly take it. I’m not in the wrong.

Okay, now you’re all caught up. So with all that setting the tone, it’s time we set some things straight.

I’m going full floofen.

First, basic things.

Women Don’t Have Equal Rights

I put Dave’s comments above on Facebook…and received much support and outrage. I hoped Dave would see. I wanted him to realize what an ass he sounded like (perhaps “ass” is too mild a word), I wanted him to see people other than myself getting angry over it (so I’m not just one bitch bitching), and I wanted to see whether he’d bitch at me to take it down (to which I would’ve replied that he could be an adult and stand by what he said) or not say anything — which was the case. There was no mention of it. I take this as meaning he knew it was wrong and didn’t even want any mention of it made.

He even said over text the next day — well, let me show you:

He also tried to blame the presentation of issues by the media and that everything is “being shown the wrong way,” but I countered that this was an excuse to defend Trump and ignore issues.

Anyway, later that night we got into a rather heated political debate (although I was political and he was personal) that inspired the rest of this post. During this “debate,” one of the many things he said was that women have equal rights.

We do not.

He insisted that women get jobs, are in positions of power, and can do and be anything they want — therefore, equal rights.

That’s not the same thing.

Women are not legally protected by the Constitution like men. We’ve been trying to change this for a while with the Equal Rights Amendment, but it’s still a no-go.  For more info see this: Wait, Women Don’t Have Equal Rights in the United States? It’s actually kind of a disconcerting thought: I don’t have equal rights in my own country?

Having constitutional protection is not the same as being able to get jobs — good jobs — or being “in power” (in both the Congress and Senate, women only hold about 20% of the seats — contrary to what Dave thinks; see http://www.cawp.rutgers.edu/current-numbers) or “doing anything we want.” He pointed out that being a woman didn’t keep me out of RPI.

Please don’t pretend that as an ignorant white male you understand the complexities of women’s (or anyone’s) issues in America.

Oh and he made the argument, in regard to the ERA, that we haven’t amended the Constitution in a long time (like many decades ago). I don’t know why this is an argument against getting it passed (or even an argument as to why it hasn’t been passed), but actually we added the 27th Amendment in 1992, the year he was born.

But I’m going to leave that there.

Take away point: women do not have equal rights, don’t talk about an issue if you’re ignorant, and certainly don’t pretend to understand it.

The Difference Between Discussion, Disagreement, Debate, and Argument

People really struggle with this one. It’s like when my brother used to say to my mom, “Stop yelling” or Dave to me, “Stop getting so upset, relax, no need to get angry…”

Talking loudly, or even at a normal tone is not yelling, even if someone is chastising you, saying something you don’t like, or insulting you.

If you don’t see the souls of the damned burning behind the hellfire in my eyes, I am not angry. If I’m not yelling at you, I’m relaxed. If I’m not talking to you, no need to tell me to calm down. I’m not even reacting, much less raising my voice. If I’m not showing any sign of being upset but am merely objecting to something you said (likely because of its sheer stupidity), don’t tell me to stop getting so upset.

Maybe they do this so we think we’re overreacting and back off. I don’t know.

But if I’m upset, I’m sure you’ll know. If I’m angry, there’s no way you won’t know.

So now for discussion, disagreement, debates, and arguments. I like to say that it take two to argue. For the sake of argument (ha, punny) I’ll say it takes two to debate.

I mean, the voices in my head debate and argue, so I suppose that counts as one? That’s another issue though. (I’m not even kidding about that.)

So if I merely disagree with something you say, you can let it slide or make into something more.

If you choose to make it into something more, it all depends on the amount of offense the participants take and the nature of the conversation. It’s about the respect, I suppose.

A discussion involves mutual respect and minimal offense. It’s more feeling each other out on an issue. You agree to disagree. To use dating as an example, this would be on a first date.

Disagreement sets in when someone tells you you’re wrong. Like they’re no longer playing nice. They’re being real. It doesn’t have to turn into a thing, but they’re making a point that their opinion differs from yours. This is cool if it’s on whether to listen to yodeling or metal or what truck make is better, but may become a barrier with bigger issues. For now you put your differences aside though. Maybe this happens a few dates in.

A debate gets more heated. There’s more at stake. You want to present the better argument to sway the other person. You’re respectful, but aren’t about to roll over, thereby giving up your position, either. This is perhaps best once you’re a couple. You’re more confident in your views of each other and aren’t afraid to let your passion show. (Though certainly not all debates are between acquaintances.)

An argument is when respect leaves and you’re out for blood. You’re right and they’re wrong and you don’t care to hear it any other way. Arguments are generally not constructive (usually it’s the reconciliation that is, in my experience). You’re not just headstrong, but determined to win. Personal attacks and judgments not related to the matter at hand may/probably will find their way in.

Are we clear now?

Take home point: discussions, disagreements, debates, and arguments are different things, and they differ based on the heat and the respect.

Oh also, opinions are a different beast and will be addressed later. Actually there are lots of directions this could go in, but I’ll talk about this instead:

There Are Problems in this Country

Also, Trump is not going to make America great again. If anything, he’s going to make it tear itself apart from the inside out.

If you’re one of the people who thinks everything is fine and Trump will only make things better, this post is meant precisely for you.

Not that any of you will read it unless I title it “What I have to say to dirty liberal socialists.” (Indeed I did do something close to this.)

He’s gotten rid of healthcare for many, decided to tax imports from Mexico to pay for the wall (read that carefully), decided to continue the pipeline projects (to export Canadian oil to China — explain that one to me), has moved to silence anyone who says anything contrary to his beliefs, has cut a bunch of government jobs (the hiring freeze), withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and signed to cut funding to women’s health services in other countries (http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/white-house/donald-trump-s-first-six-days-office-here-s-what-n712086). Just to name a few things.

I think literally only rich white males are unaffected by any of these.

I’m not saying some of these problems didn’t exist under Obama, but Trump sure as hell isn’t going to help and I have a strong (not unsubstantiated) feeling he’s going to make things worse. But Trump supporters act like Trump is a Godsend when I’m pretty sure he’s more the spawn of Satan.

But I do take solace in the fact that so many Trump supporters are actually going to get fucked by Trump and/or eventually realize that they got taken for a ride (see my next point).

It’s like some computer game where you’re put in charge and obviously you have no experience and just start doing shit because it sounds fun or cool or something and it doesn’t really matter what the long term consequences are because it’s just a game.

Except, oh yeah, it’s our country.

This is directed toward people like Dave who insist Trump hasn’t done anything so far, won’t do anything, and we should just give it time and wait and see.

At this rate, I don’t think we can afford to.

Perhaps one of the biggest problems is this:

Memes aside though, we really are in bad shape.

Take home point: Stop pretending everything is fine. It’s not.

Trump Voters Were Used

One of the best things I’ve seen since the election is some smug Trump voter going on about how Obamacare is finally being repealed and how he’ll be fine because he’s covered by the ACA. He insisted for a quite a while that they were different things…then presumably realized his massive error because he dropped off the internet.

And now Trump wants to tax imports from Mexico to pay for that wall everyone wanted so much…so we end up paying for it.

And now we’re continuing those pipelines…I just read that the Iowa pipeline has just leaked 140,000 gallons of diesel. Yep, solid plan Trumpy.

The sad part is that we’re all equally fucked and more than half of us didn’t even want this. The almost-half that did are now whining about it.

I could harp on this forever, but here are pictures instead.

‘Cause dem conservatives love to post old pictures of democrats with now evil foreign leaders.

That last one is my favorite. The Donald knew what he was doing; the voters had no idea.

Take Home Point: Y’all fucked up, and we can’t (easily) change it now. Thanks.

And lastly for the basics…

You Need to Have (Real) Facts

For anyone who was even remotely unclear on this, there is no such thing as an alternative fact. “Alternative facts” are known by most reasonably intelligent people (so I guess understandably not the Trump administration) as bullshit, horseshit, false, not accurate, not true, not valid in a debate…

Dave tried to tell me that his sources and my sources are different, so we can disagree on the facts.

Um, no, facts are facts, and bias doesn’t change the actual facts. Intelligent people can think critically about what’s being presented to them and see through the bias to the actual facts (or lack thereof).

I think he really just didn’t want to have to justify his version of the facts to me. Because I know better, and he knows that.

But this point isn’t even really about so-called alternative facts.

My problem discussing, debating, or even arguing with Dave is that he has no facts. He mindlessly parrots everything he reads or hears without any thought going into it, nor can he later cite anything he says. Even if I can’t think of a source off the top of my head (there’s a lot going on in there), I can look it up and verify what I said.

Dave, oddly enough, seems to be all about emotion and sensationalism and — which I’ll get to — personal attacks. His “arguments” are more whining about me contesting his point (or completely deconstructing it) and then insulting me…like this is unfair.

No, he’s welcome to do it to me. He can absolutely tell me why I’m wrong…but he can’t. Because I have facts and he has nothing. Then I’m the bad guy for tearing him apart and always having to be right.

No, it just happens to be that I’m always right, because I can back up my statements.

So if you’re going to get all up at arms because I disagree with you or if you try to tell me why you’re right and I’m wrong, you better have facts to back it up. Even if no resolution is reached, I’ll respect your argument.

Take home point: Bring the facts or don’t come at all.

Not Everything Can be Trusted

I kind of already went over this, but it’s worth going over again because the majority of America isn’t good at critical thinking.

All news sources are not equal.

Some people might read that and believe Plato actually said it, missing that it’s from Contrived Platitudes and failing to see the sarcasm or check out the page (where they’d see it’s sarcasm).

Some people might actually be wooed by this. But Trump is still running his businesses (into the ground, apparently; he leases his name to many places for the fame but isn’t allowed to make decisions because he’s fucked up so many times); he had more money to spend on his campaign than Dave and I (and our unlikely hypothetical children) will have in our lifetimes, he gave many (the majority, judging by the popular vote) deep anxiety about the future, while humiliating a disabled reporter and after having insulted Obama for years (you know, the birth certificate BS — which is probably the only reason I even knew who Trump was) and who attacked Muslims and liberals mercilessly, who’s been on record as being cool with sexual assault — and I doubt any of that was lies, because he loves to tweet so much…

I read Dave that picture and my response, hoping he might redeem himself, but he said it doesn’t fucking matter because there’s always two sides and it’s this way with any person. So he won’t confirm or deny, which usually means that he agrees with the worse option — the pro-Trump one.

Oh now Dave is complaining he doesn’t consent to being quoted. Well I can just, ahem, quote him by the dick and guys love that. He’ll let me do whatever I want because I’m a blogger.

Right? That’s how it works?

Anyway, you can’t believe everything you read or see. There is certainly bias — or, these days, people might not be allowed to say what they want.

I don’t even know what more to say about this. Take home point: just consider that it might not be the full truth, then search for the full truth.

The Past Does Matter

Somehow Dave and I got talking about the whole pussy-grabbing bit from Trump. He insisted that this was the past and it couldn’t be used against him now.

“What if you ran for president one day and years ago you said something racist on Facebook? Could they use that against you?”

I replied with an emphatic yes.

My lab partner today got talking about how it’ll be interesting to see politics when our generation is grown and if our past social media activity will be a factor in elections.

Yes. It will be.

I maintain that anything you say, you’re responsible for. You don’t get a free pass because it was so many years ago or you were younger. Sure, people can have changes of heart (as a grade-to-middleschooler, I thought gay marriage was bad — though I barely had any idea of what “gay” even was; I was vehemently against premarital sex and cohabitation, I was against drinking, and I used to be afraid of people with tattoos and piercings), but let’s be pessimists and assume that people ultimately don’t change — especially on certain issues, especially once they’re an adult.

And this seems especially relevant to an attitude of “If I want it, I can take it” or “I can do anything I want — especially if I’m a celebrity.” Dave can argue that it was long ago, but having that rapist attitude at any time should be a red flag.

I asked Dave’s opinion on whether this attitude was fine and he said I can’t just let anything go and that people, men, women, people all over the world say worse shit and to just stop.

I asked whether this meant it was just fine overall. He said I’m fucking going after him because I can and it’s getting old. Fucking stop. Stop putting anything he says in here.

Um, no. Again, if he can say it, he can stand by it.

Especially because he knows I was raped and yet will defend talk like this. That’s a deep and personal insult beyond the general insult that someone finds Trump’s talk okay.

I think this election is what finally proved to me that Dave and I don’t belong together. So thanks, Trump, for that one thing.

Fuck, at this point I’ll be so annoyingly political that I make Dave miserable (he already complained that I’m one of those feminists I hate so much — shit, I’m arguing for my own rights and that makes me a bad guy?).

Anyway, the past does matter, much to Dave’s chagrin. Things you say and do don’t just go away (a consistent argument for the two-plus years Dave and I have been together).

And let’s zoom out to a larger picture than an individual’s past. Like let’s take a look at history

And this:

And I’ll throw this one in for shits and giggles:

I’m sure many of us wondered how anyone ever let leaders like Hitler, Mussolini, or Lenin or Stalin rise to power. At least, those of us that opposed Trump did.

I watched a debate unfold (where else, on Facebook) about that fascism picture, posted by the first commenter below. The second commenter posted a 14-point deconstruction of it and why it’s not happening in America (especially focused on the fact that no one has been denied rights, particularly on the immigration freeze). Both did not vote for Trump, and both are intelligent people. I followed the whole thing and honestly agreed with each in some way.

I identify with the second commenter, who realized the facts weren’t quite straight, tried to present them objectively, and was irritated when someone just butted heads instead of discussing (though I wouldn’t have used the phrase “people like you” if I was trying to avoid argument).

Yet I get the first commenter (and poster) as well: while straight facts might not point to anything being wrong, he can tell something is not right here. Do immigrants (trying to get in) or people on visas have rights in the US? Not technically, because they’re not citizens. But surely it’s not right when a grad student can’t leave to visit family or go to a conference because she won’t be let back in. And then it’s so frustrating when people tell us to calm down when we know everything isn’t okay and they tell us that technically it’s not this way or that hasn’t yet happened. I understand being so exasperated when trying to get someone to understand that things are very wrong that you lose your shit and go the name-calling, sarcastic, insulting route. It’s not very becoming, no, but neither is stupidity.

Anyway, those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it, right? I think we’d do better to be a bit more wary of what’s going on. “It could never happen again, right?”

Wrong.

Oh I also heard today that Pence honored some white guy to kick off Black History Month and conservatives wants Jews removed from a Holocaust memorial because “other people died too.” As the post put it, they “all lives mattered” the Holocaust (http://www.cnn.com/2017/01/28/politics/white-house-holocaust-memorial-day/ — Dave didn’t believe me because “CNN is against Trump”…this is the kind of stupid I mean).

Take home point: The past matters and you can’t just do whatever the fuck you want and expect it not to matter later; also, history is actually kind of important. Like a lot.

Don’t Get Upset Just Because I Disagree with You

Once again Dave will be an example (again, inspired by that one argument but based on many arguments).

If I dare disagree with him (and these days, there’s little we agree on), he immediately goes on the defensive and starts firing out insults.

Like I’m going to disagree anyway, so what you think of my job or mom doesn’t affect that. But he immediately takes it to argument mode and makes it way bigger than it has to be — then blames me for making everything an argument and he can’t even have a conversation with me about these things…like he can with his friends.

Lots of things here. No reason to get hyper offended unless you know you’re dead wrong. I merely expressed a contrary opinion — you made it an argument. We can have a conversation, except you’re incapable. You can’t discuss anything without getting offended and your arguments are all unrelated and personal. And of course you prefer talking with your friends, all people who share your beliefs. How exciting and enriching.

Dissonance isn’t the end of the world, but how you treat it can be, at least for a relationship.

I can’t have an intelligent conversation or a satisfying debate with Dave. So I outsource to other people — and then Dave bitches that I’m talking to other people (including guys).

I have many points to make on this one point, though, so let me move on.

Take home point: Don’t take disagreement personally unless you want an argument. You’ll likely get one. Also don’t make it personal.

Don’t Reply to Disagreement or Debate with Personal Attacks

Unless you want an argument. If so, I’ll gladly let loose — but I don’t think you want that.

The other night I disagreed with Dave’s politics. I disagreed with his view of the Women’s March and even challenged his views on Trump’s perfection. Obviously I came armed with sources and facts.

He replied by telling me that my job had been handed to me, that I was only saving money because my mom was giving me money, that I have my mom’s opinion on men — that they’re to be hated and not to be trusted, that if his mom did to him what my mom did to me he’d disown her, that I’m a feminist even though I hate feminism, and so on.

I’d be saving money even without my mom’s contribution — and she’s helping me out because she put me $30,000 in debt before I even knew what a credit score was and I wouldn’t be living with Dave if she were still here — and my mom even said she doesn’t hate men and neither do I — just some are shitty. Dave doesn’t have the the balls to disown his mom and he hasn’t been through what I have, so he can’t tell me what to feel and what he would supposedly feel doesn’t matter. I can want equal rights without being a feminist.

You know, if women had equal rights then a woman president wouldn’t be a big deal.

Oh, but Dave likes to point out that Hillary is crooked and a criminal. I’ll bet he saw that on Facebook. What does he know about her, really? She’s unfit to be president but a reality TV star is fit? Trump isn’t a politician — I guess that means we should elect a scientist next (please)?

Basically he voted for Trump because he wasn’t Hillary, but that vote had lots of other implications.

Oh and Trump’s non-politician past should excuse his “locker room” talk. Yeah. Bullshit.

Anyway, to try to stay focused here (unlike some people), ad hominem attacks are not an appropriate response to someone contesting a statement you made. It just shows that you’re insecure in your argument — that you don’t really have an argument. You can’t back up what you said, so instead you get offended that someone would even dare question you. Instead of defending yourself, you puff up to try to make yourself look bigger and scarier than you are and rely on intimidation until the threat passes.

Take home point: If you’re going to have a debate or even a discussion, have constructive responses that actually advance the conversation, not fifth-grade level retorts and nose thumbing.

Get Over Your Snowflake Syndrome

This was posted by a Trump supporter intended to put down liberals, but I think Trump people can’t handle the truth either.

Conservatives love to attack liberals for being sensitive and being snowflakes who are offended by everything and need safe spaces.

Guys, I’m Catholic, so if I don’t know hypocrisy when I see it then I’m failing at life. This is hypocrisy at its finest.

But that’s a separate point.

For how much they whine about people being hyper-sensitive, conservatives are the balls of society; the slightest flick and they experience seemingly excruciating pain. Like seriously, it’s like the tiniest criticism of Trump or their politics and they blow up like you fucked their sister and mother, called their wife a fat ugly whore, kicked their puppy, made their kids cry and punched them in the face unprovoked.

Conservative reactions, therefore, can be a lot of fun.

And then I found this:


I’m not saying that liberals aren’t sensitive nor that the younger ones don’t think they’re all special and important. But conservatives are just as bad because they also can’t take criticism and they make fun of liberals for the same thing.

Dave is obviously the first example that comes to mind. As I said above, if I make any point that’s contrary to what he wants to believe, he freaks out and gets angry with me like I’ve personally insulted him…when he’s the one who says politics don’t define who we are as people (except they do kind of reflect our values).

But then he also complains about liberals “like me” who cry about everything. The other day I was annoyed with him over something unrelated to politics and he came home and said, well, liberals like me were still crying about Trump winning and not Hillary. Like what does that have to do with anything?

You don’t get to bitch about liberals whining when you do a hell of a lot of it yourself.

I need to pause this here or else I’ll lump three points into one.

Take home point: Get over yourself. You’re not untouchable. Stop being so easily offended.

People Are Allowed to Mock You

Continuing in this same vein…this one is dedicated to Trump, though, who’s had more than enough Twitter meltdowns because someone poked fun at him (with good reason — thanks Alec Baldwin); to Trump, who’s seemingly set out to shut down any organization or person who contradicts what he says (or what he wants to believe).

I suppose it’s also for conservatives and Trump supporters on social media, who’s fragile world comes crashing down if someone mocks them or points out their fallacy (which is, of course, humorous to the anti-Trump people).

Aw, somebody didn’t like Ivanka so the conservatives got their nose out of joint. I’m sure Nordstrom will miss your business…

For people who are so into the second amendment, you’d think conservatives might also be familiar with the first amendment (I asked Dave if he could name five, and he admitted he couldn’t).

Coincidentally(?), for people who tout freedom of speech, you’d think they’d get it — and also know the first amendment.

Also you’d think they might find issue with rather than applaud Trump’s statement tweet that anyone burning should be jailed or at least have their citizenship revoked. In another post (not yet published) I talked about how burning the flag is protected as free speech (This Is Why It’s Legal to Burn the American Flag if you don’t believe me). So Trump wanted to take away free speech.

Which he seems to be doing in other forms anyway, but still…

Free speech includes mockery. If you can say something offensive and claim it’s freedom of speech, then I can make fun of you for your stupidity and it’s still free speech. People (conservatives) really seem to struggle with this.

I read something recently where an anti-vaxxer mother wanted to take legal action against a professor who “humiliated” her because she didn’t take her uneducated, anti-science bullshit.

Take home point: Nowhere does it say that people aren’t allowed to mock stupidity and ignorance — so people are allowed to mock you and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it.

What Hypocrisy Is

Because people don’t seem to get it.

Dictionary.com defines a hypocrite as: “noun 1. a person who pretends to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs, principles, etc., that he or she does not actually possess, especially person whose actions belie stated beliefs. 2. a person who feigns some desirable or publicly approved attitude, especially one whose private life, opinions, or statements belie his or her public statements.”

Basically, if you say/believe one thing but do another, or if you condemn others for saying/doing/believing something but say/do/believe it yourself.

Clear enough?

Conservatives seem to struggle with this. I’ve provided examples above but a fresh one is always fun.

Dave, again, has complained ad nauseum about Clinton supporters complaining about and protesting Trump’s election, signing petitions and desperately trying to change what happened. Dave’s friends feel the same way he does.

Then Cuomo managed to pass a law that makes it so that window tint causes you to fail inspection. Dave and his friends started bitching, signed petitions to repeal it, and are desperately trying to find ways around this law — including paying for tint in January after an inspection, then paying to have it peeled off and reapplied before and after their next inspection.

I’ve pointed this hypocrisy out to Dave numerous times — except he insists that this is far less important than an election, and I point out that yes, an election is far more important, yet he and his friends care more about pretending to be badasses than sentencing our country to eternal damnation.

Do you see the hypocrisy here? They’re doing exactly what liberals, Hillary-supporters and anti-Trump people did, but it’s okay because it’s for window tint, not the presidential election.

If I ever needed proof that Dave and his friends are stupid…

Take home point: Lots of people, called conservatives, are hypocrites and are not to be trusted or believed when it comes to policy issues.

If You Can’t be Supportive, Shut the Fuck Up

Oh, you’re so pissed off by the protesters that you need to protest them protesting (very likely for something that impacts you)? Do the world a favor and just shut the fuck up.

How have men solved issues for centuries? Fucking war. I can only think of a handful of peaceful protesters (Rosa Parks, MLK, and Ghandi come to mind), but I can name a shit ton of wars waged because someone was irked by someone else’s rule. Because of men.

So if women want to be violent, while it’s not best, don’t act like this is a new evil. Or, conversely, we have women criticizing the US Women’s March for bragging about being nonviolent (interesting how one side says it was violent and the other says it wasn’t) because women in other countries don’t even get to protest, much less peacefully.

I’m pretty sure US women bragged about being peaceful by US standards, not global standards.

Like really, we’re going to criticize women for protesting our rights because women in other countries have it worse, and then even object to the fact that we called our protests peaceful because other countries wouldn’t be able to do so peacefully?

People are making an effort to make change. Appreciate that instead of critiquing their methods.

Take home point: Support a cause or shut up; your negativity isn’t needed.

Don’t Contradict Yourself or Make it a No-Win Situation

The other night Dave told me that if I was so upset about women’s issues I  should go out and protest rather than complain to him (though I was complaining to him because clearly he’s ignorant and I wanted to educate him).

But he also told me that the protesters were stupid, demonizing them and criticizing me if I agreed with them.

Which totally makes sense, right?

My mind is like a filing cabinet. A really well organized one. So when you say something, I go through and compare it to all of my files. I rifle through everything to see if there are inconsistencies or contradictions. It’s not always instant (there are a lot of files in there — but I usually do pretty well), but this constant background fact-checking lets me call people out on lies or bullshit.

I do this all the time to Dave and he hates it. For example, in our political argument he told me that I got handed my job and my mom is handing me money and he’s said plenty of times that I don’t have to work for my money and I get paid to sit on my ass.

The other day we were talking about how my mom now wants to give my brother extra money (she already gives him enough to cover his expenses) because he’s going to be about $1400 short for his tuition — yet he’s always bragging about how he makes so much money and has so much saved. Dave said something like “But at least you work for your money.” I don’t remember exactly what he said, nor why he was making this point exactly, but he did say I work for my money. I asked him to repeat it that night and he told me to shut up a few times and then grudgingly repeated it. I asked him just now to reiterate what he said and he wouldn’t because he didn’t want it going in here and I had to ruin a “good thing” (him watching a movie) because I had to open my mouth.

The more defensive and pissed he gets, the more right I am about whatever is in question.

He’s told me that he’s confident in himself and happy the way he is and he wants to prove he didn’t need college, and then that he’s insecure because he didn’t go to college and I’m smarter than him. He complains about his friends and landscaping and then praises and talks up both. He wants to get married and talks about it all the time, then he’s not concerned with labels and I’m thinking about it too much. He has the money for a ring but isn’t proposing because we’re arguing, then we’re getting along but he doesn’t have the money. He bitches about me being a smartass, but then tells me he actually likes it about me.

This isn’t limited to Dave though. My grandfather once “knew” I got a letter from my mom because the mailman said he was “sorry,” so clearly the mailman saw the return address on my mom’s letter to me and knew my mom lived next door to my grandparents and had to express his condolences to them? A bit suspicious.

Papa checked my mail before I got home.

Oh, here’s a quote from my writing (an email to Mom) on another example: “I was stressed out about going downstairs today. Maybe it was intuition. Papa emerged and sat down at the table and said he needed to have a ‘brief, unpleasant conversation’ with me. Of course. On your birthday. Early in the morning. He told me I could go get my breakfast and sit down if I wanted. I declined. He said he ‘very reluctantly’ let me take Cumulonimbus [my bunny] with me when I moved. He said I had agreed to keep him clean and he had only been cleaned once so far that he knew of, and that Gramma had asked me to clean him and my room. (She never asked me to clean my room.) And I have cleaned my room many, many times. Papa said he was up here looking for my ring [that I’d lost days ago and already looked for with him] and he had to know what the smell was, so he went in my room and saw flies and that Cumulonimbus hadn’t been cleaned and that my room was a mess. He said he wasn’t asking, he was telling me to get it cleaned — and not sometime in the future, but now. Like today. I said while I’m staying here I’d like to think my room is my space and I’d like my privacy respected. He said it’s been well-respected but it’s his house and he won’t have it destroyed. Then he left. I sat through breakfast trying not to cry, my hands shaking so bad I couldn’t hold my spoon, and as soon as I got to my room I broke down crying. I am feeling sick, and for some time I thought I might throw up. This is not about being asked to keep my room clean. I am sure you understand this. This is about how now I feel like cutting myself…I can’t take it here anymore. I feel like cleaning my room and Cumulonimbus, and telling him, ‘My room is clean, the rabbit is clean, and I am moving out.’ Keep it direct and simple. I have finally, truly reached my breaking point. I don’t know why, but it’s been worse for about a week now, and it has come to a head today. I have to leave. If I have to stay here any longer (that is, without the intent of moving out before December), I don’t know how I will make it. I hate my life and myself so much. Please, be honest — but I hope you’ll tell me to get out because I hate it here and can’t do this anymore.”

I don’t intend to get derailed talking about my grandparents. But this experience was scarring for reasons I can’t quite describe and indeed it was the day I decided I was moving out — and I did, less than a month later.

The point here is that Papa didn’t need to go into my room because of any smell. There was no smell in the hallway. (Also why should it matter if my bedroom isn’t clean? It’s not like people were ever in there — except my grandparents to investigate…) Papa made that up because he was going into my room to check up on things.

I had proof that they were going into my room as I was packing to move out. I’d leave my boots or a water bottle behind the door; if I was the next one to open the door, I’d have to move them. I rarely moved them — they were already pushed out of the way. Once my closet door was open when I’d left it closed.

I’m not stupid. Dave thinks he can buy new tires and hubcaps (after telling me he was saving up for a ring) and I won’t notice — or find the receipt chilling in his truck. He thinks I won’t notice the new tailights he put in, or the receipt for his early inspection so he can “outsmart” that window tint law, or that he can give me conflicting accounts of what he did while I was gone and I won’t notice. You can’t slip shit by me. I can smell when he’s been over to other peoples’ houses because his beard smells like his friend’s vaping or woodsmoke.

Take home point (before this becomes a post of its own): don’t try to lie or twist facts. Don’t contradict yourself or make it so I’m wrong no matter what I do. I will sniff out your bullshit no problem.

Put Your Damn Ego Away

My grandmother said that Trump’s ego is a huge problem, and indeed it is, hence the Twitter meltdowns. Trump seems to operate as though he has something to prove and anyone who opposes him, even casually on social media, is a real threat to his image. No, not really. He’s a billionaire “celebrity” (I mean, it’s reality TV — our whole country’s future is now reality TV for the rest of the world: “Countdown to America’s Implosion”) who somehow found his way to be president. The fact that he lets relatively low-level opinions piss him off so much means that he’s insecure (and probably knows they have a point — see above).

But this is a general issue — people don’t want to be wrong. They don’t want to be questioned or contradicted. On some level I get this, but like, if you argue only in the interest of  your ego it’s going to get annoying, fast. Nobody cares about your ego but you. If you argue from an inflated ego, people are going to hate you, also fast.

In science, we give our papers to others to review and expect that they’ll critique them. I think that’s pretty standard in academia overall. As much as it hurts our egos, we want feedback and criticism so we can be better. Another reason we need a scientist as president.

If you think you can’t be wrong because of ego issues, then you’re going to be, at best, annoying as fuck, and, at worst, a horrible and dictatorial leader. Just saying.

I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before Trump comes for my blog.

You know what, even if you don’t want to admit it to me that I’m right and you’re wrong (Dave), then I hope you at least admit it to yourself.

But like really, be an adult and set your ego aside and have a real conversation, even debate with someone. When someone disagrees with you it’s not necessarily personal. Really it doesn’t get personal until you’re having an argument.

Sometimes entertaining contrasting views can open up your eyes and you’re thankful for the new information.

Take home point: I know your ego is important, but give it a damn rest. You might even learn something.

I Can Tell You You’re Wrong as Long as I’m Nice?

Dave actually told me during our argument that, if I’m nice about it, I can tell him he’s wrong, no problem.

Though he also told me that if I tell him I’m wrong (nicely) that he’ll just nod and smile — which isn’t what I want. I want a discussion and an actual acknowledgement that I have a point and am maybe actually right.

Still, for someone who says tone doesn’t matter (when he says things), often he takes into account my tone when I say things. (More contradiction for you.)

Anyway, Dave can be a dick to me for hours (or days) and if I get upset then I’m too sensitive. But if I make one dickish comment then he gets all bent out of shape.

Then again, I often tell him I mean what I say, when he often insists that he means almost nothing he says.

Still, this concept seems dumb. Do you mean you want me to respectfully tell you you’re wrong? Then respect me. Also, either way you’re wrong, so maybe put your ego away and deal with the fact that you’re wrong.

After Dave said this, now I like to smile and say in an upbeat voice that he’s being stupid. It’s like dogs, right? If I say it nicely they wag their tail, and if I say it harshly they look like they’re guilty?

Take home point: this is someone’s way of saying they’re too much of a bitch and you need to go easier on them because…just because.

Tearing People Apart

Dave likes to whine that I “tear him apart for everything.”

When really all I’m doing is telling him he’s wrong or telling him why and how he’s wrong.

So this goes closely with the last point.

It’s not my fault that he’s wrong so much, or that he doesn’t have an argument, or that my argument is better, or that I have no tolerance for stupidity…

Maybe this one is redundant, so I’ll keep it brief — here’s the take home point: I can tell you you’re wrong as often as I want. If you have no argument as to why you’re right, you’re wrong. I don’t have to tell you nicely. I’m not being mean or tearing you apart. I’m being honest.

Perfect segue!

I’m Being Honest, Not Mean

Dave also likes to tell me I’m being mean, and I often reply, “I’m not being mean, just being honest.” Or he tells me something I said hurts, and I say, “The truth hurts.”

It’s funny, though; the truth only hurts if the receiver of the truth bomb realizes on some level that it is the truth and they’re wrong — or they’re willing to accept what you have to say. If you tell a staunch anti-vaxxer that vaccines are safe and show them the evidence, it won’t hurt them because they’re so convinced they’re right and I’m a shill. But if I tell Dave his backrubs suck and he replies that this hurts his feelings, then he’s acknowledging I may have a point, and my point got to him.

So if someone says you’re being mean, you reached them, whether they’ll admit it or not.

Note: mean is not the same as ignorant, stupid, biased, etc. You don’t call somebody mean because they’re being ignorant of what should be obvious. I’ve never called a Trump-supporter mean — lots of other things, but not mean.

Getting away from politics for a moment, that above quote is dead-on-balls accurate in every facet of life.

I may have mentioned this (I’ll find out upon revision, if I ever get to it), but my nature is to be no-bullshit, straightforward, up front. I may tone it down if I feel it’s absolutely necessary, like when breaking up with a guy or something where emotional sensitivity is required, but I have precisely zero patience for bullshit and drama. I stay away from “friends” who cause or have too much drama, and when Dave’s friends get going with BS or drama and he doesn’t see it, I point it out to him unflinchingly (like how his friends don’t care to talk to him unless it’s an emergency, and even then he’s a back-up because someone else wasn’t available).

If you want, I’ll tell you exactly what I think. In fact, with my “friends” (like, my friends who seem to have time for everyone but me and only text me in times of crisis), I’ve decided to be honest. Like, “Yeah, you’re in this position because you kept fucking that guy you knew was bad news” or “If your fiance is such a dick then why are you marrying him?”

I’ve just stopped caring who I offend. If I find someone worth my time, I’ll take care to mince words more. Or I’ll communicate it, but not so bluntly.

And I suppose real friends will appreciate my candor.

Rest assured, if I have an issue with you, I’ll voice it somehow. If I like you, it’s genuine.

There are always select people I think of when writing things like that, and I hope they know who they are.

Anyway, I think someone who tells the truth unabashedly is a good thing. While many things about my brother irk me, I do appreciate his blunt honesty. He’s not going to spare my feelings…which makes those moments where he’s emotional with me even more valuable. I know he loves me and is there for me, no matter how much we butt heads (and I’ve bailed his ass out and helped him many times, so it’s mutual).

I mean, yes, there’s much to be said for tact, but honesty is ultimately important (I still want to write a post on it). I suppose a balance of delicacy and brute honesty is ideal…but strive for truth over feelings.

Sugar-coating implies care, but honesty connotes respect.

Take home point: don’t cry because someone was being honest; thank them. Blunt honesty isn’t mean. Just tactless.

Don’t Oversimplify

I just want to note that Amiri King is a disgusting piece of work that Dave watched for a long time on Facebook and my eyes rolled so far back into my head that I feared I may be permanently blind many times. He’s your basic right-wing, anti-women, anti-liberal silveRAYdo (no joke, that’s how he says it) driving ‘Murica loving asshat. So Dave, pretty much, but more popular and with an accent…and without an educated girlfriend (I assume, or else I pity her) to whip his ass into somewhat respectable shape.

Also, the connection to that image is that conservatives like Dave were calling me mean and telling me to be nicer when I tell them they’re wrong.

But let’s continue.

My anti-women female friend above posted this one (as well as a few more in this list):

Oy. One, times are different, and so is the motivation. This is talking about illegal immigrants, while I believe Trump is talking about any immigrants (from certain countries) entering the US (regardless of visa and whatnot — hence PhD’s not allowed to re-enter after a conference, for example).

These are different issues. Illegal aliens and immigration (and returning to the country you’re working or studying in) are different things, but typical ignorant conservatives lump them together.

But yes, dems (i.e. liberals) are evil because they care about others.

More posted by her:

Obviously she (and her kind) oversimplify and take things out of context, because:

  1. Zombies are obviously bad and would not be given rights, because they only serve to harm humans. Sure animals have rights but we still hunt them. So this is dumb…dumber than zombie fanatics (and this woman watches The Walking Dead).
  2. It’s not so simple as Trump saying something and a large group of people immediately and instinctively believing he feels the opposite way. We’re not talking about conservatives, after all. If Trump feels a certain way, he provides plenty of evidence (usually via tweets). Obviously you don’t understand the implications of Trump’s actions, nor do you understand basic logical flow. When someone (like Trump) makes lots of anti-Muslim comments and then stops immigration from predominately Muslim (but non business) countries, it says something. If he actually stopped immigration from terrorist countries (AKA our business partners) but not all Muslim countries, it would say something much different.
  3. If Obama had cured cancer, it wouldn’t count because he’s a socialist Muslim from Kenya. Just saying. Also, Trump would never cure cancer because SCIENCE = BAD (believe it or not, the EPA is part of evil science).
  4. This is another example of the dumbshits protesting…protesting? Except it’s from their couch because they won’t get off their asses to actually protest. It’s easy to be critical from the safety of your own home, asshats. Grow a pair and actually get out there.

Oh wait, your precious conservatives aren’t protesting? It’s not because you’re better or right; it’s because you don’t care enough and you’re too fucking lazy. You’d rather bitch on social media all day.

Quit criticizing protesters for actually doing something. You want to say something? Try having a voice rather than being a dumb bitch on Facebook.

Which is totally not what I’m doing, by the way.

Anybody can share a picture created by someone else. I use those pictures to create something larger, and my goal is to call out bullshit and educate people, not just put them down.

Okay, two more:

Muslim pirates. Again, this was long ago and obviously you’re not a Christian if you oppose immigrants and refugees so much.

And this one from a while ago:

Times have changed. If you’re too stupid to realize this then stay off the Facebook.

Also, let’s be honest, Catholics have done lots of questionable things. The Crusades, going after Galileo, and so on.

Actually Pope Francis just recently said that we should accept the big bang and evolution. Hooray! (I love this guy.)

I know I said history matters and also said “times were different,” but an intelligent person can tell the difference. I, as a Catholic, accept all people (except stupid ignorant ones). Hitler accepted few, and many Americans today accept fewer and fewer. I would never persecute someone based on religion or anything else (again, except the ignorant), but many people in America today would. And that scares me.

First, there’s an “Extremely Pissed Off RIGHT Wingers 2”???

One, are you worried your supporters can’t read and had to capitalize the “right” bit? And why did you tag yourself in your post?

Also, there’s a right wingers 2? Like was one not enough??? Bloody hell.

Why are you extremely pissed off? Do you think you’re any more pissed off than people on the left?

But let’s get to the actual message. That’s not what he said. We already had a vetting process in order. People did come over legally. Sure, people came illegally, but the economy (in some places) collapsed when illegal workers were sent away (http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/undocumented-workers-immigration-alabama).

What Trump said was that people from certain, non-business-partner-majority-Muslim countries couldn’t come in (or come back if they left). That’s quite a bit different.

 

 

It’s hard for me to understand posts like this because my mind isn’t so simplistic and black-and-white as the poster’s. I understand not all Muslims are evil and blocking non-threatening countries isn’t the answer.

But onto veterans…

We’ve had the money. We’ve had it for some time. Your hero Trump has had the money — for a long time. He could’ve helped vets for some time now — but instead he spent it on a campaign and wants to spend it on a wall.

Hell, Trump wants us to pay for a wall…when a good chunk of us enjoy Mexican food and don’t want a wall.

What’s most stupid, though, is that I’m sure Trump has the financial capability to build a wall if he wanted but he won’t pay for it.

On another note, he could certainly start a charity for homeless vets.

Anyway, the wall is stupid on his part but like, how much more stupid is it on his voters’ parts?

Lol.

Oh, and this. I hate these posts.

Nobody is offended by this. Like who the hell would be? Yet I see things like this shared over and over again in protest like they’re making some big important statement. Nah brah, it’s just about the shares. I guarantee it.

Also, *you’re. This is America. Speak (proper) English!

I’m kidding — I like cultural heterogeneity. But I’m not kidding that you should learn English grammar and spelling.

This was big for a while too — Trumpkins (just saw that term today) were all gung-ho on seeing a ton of celebrities leave the country after Trump won. Sigh. Do they not understand hyperbole? Overstatement? Exaggeration? (They should with all of Trump’s rhetoric. Or maybe their applause of his speech is a sign they don’t get it?) It didn’t mean they were actually going to do it, but it was an expression of how much they didn’t want Trump in charge. Kind of like how I throw my hands up in the air sometimes and say ayooo “I just CAN’T do data analysis anymore! If I look at ONE MORE microtubule I’m going to cry!” before returning to analyzing my data for another half hour. Again, Trump supporters should understand that people (like Trump) don’t always mean what they say. I hope.

But instead they want to be petty and antagonize people who get paid a lot more than they do and who live much nicer lives than they do. Yeah, who are the real losers here?

Yep, take a bad picture of Obama and slap some “facts” on there to make him look bad and conservatives will eat that shit up. It’s like there’s zero critical thought like, “Oh but there are also positives. This is obviously biased.”

Well of course there isn’t. If people could think critically I wouldn’t be writing this post and Trump wouldn’t be president.

But like what is the thought process here? “Yes, I hate Obama and these statements, of which I have no clue as to the veracity, support my preconceived and ill-informed beliefs, so automatically I agree and will discount any possibly positive thing done by Obama in the last eight years because obviously there was nothing and I’m going to share this because fuck liberals.”

Are people actually this stupid?

Can we stop them from breeding?

Speaking of which…

This is also obviously oversimplifying the issues.

Dave’s crazy uncle shared this one, and rather than get into a Facebook argument (see my next point), I shared it and blocked him from seeing it. I captioned it something like, “Okay men you try pregnancy and giving birth.”

Really. Yes, a baby is technically another body, but it’s attached to the mother and inside the mother and is mooching off the mother, kind of like a parasite.

And if you really want to get technical, if that baby is a female, then it is a woman’s body. An immature one, but one nonetheless.

Anyway, I’m not advocating abortion, but I have to point out the faulty logic here. A woman is committed to growing this mini human for nine months. I’ve never been pregnant, but it doesn’t look or sound fun. (My aunt once said she liked being pregnant because it meant nine months without her period; I’ll take the monthly bleeding, thanks.) Furthermore, while the expecting mother may have a supportive man/partner by her side, many don’t, and so raising a child may be a financial or time or other burden that they can’t handle. It’s further irritating that a man isn’t tied to the child he created any longer than the act of procreation lasts, if you want to be pessimistic.

So in many ways, pregnancy, birth, and child-rearing are huge responsibilities and commitments for women, so taking them on should be a choice. The above argument is especially irritating because a man can hit-it-and-quit-it without having to really be involved or even present. I used to think the father should have a say, but that’s all it should be — a say. An opinion expressed. It’s ultimately the mother’s choice.

Is abortion fair to the baby, who didn’t ask to be conceived? Of course not. But that’s another issue.

It’s also unfair to force women to have children they didn’t necessarily want or can’t care for. Sure, there’s adoption, but the women still has to endure pregnancy and birth.

So yes, for the sake of argument, that baby is another human and is distinct from the mother, but for a long time (up to 18 years?) it’s a burden on the mother.

That may sound awful, but so was the argument in that post.

Take home point: don’t oversimplify issues; it may sound like a clever jab, but to any educated person it just makes you look ignorant and spiteful.

Why People Walk Away from Arguments

No, you didn’t “win.”

Here is me half the time with idiots:

And this is me the other half the time:

When (smart) people walk away from arguments, it’s because the stupid is too much and not worth their time. They have better things to do.

This, of course, leads the stupid person to think they won.

When stupid people walk away, it’s usually in a huff because they can no longer hold their own and would rather be seen as angry than defeated.

But they’re actually defeated.

But of course, everyone thinks they’re the “right” one in an argument. Or debate, whatever.

Debates in real life are one thing, but debates on Facebook can become all-consuming.

You have time to think before you reply. You can do “research.” You can post sources. Your friends can rally behind you with likes and supportive comments. You don’t have to deal with the person face to face. Most of all, though, it’s an argument on the internet, where everybody thinks they’re right and won’t stop until the world knows. There’s something unique about the fervor of an internet argument.

One community of people will read the comments and realize who actually has the better, more well-reasoned (and articulated) argument, the better researched position, and will agree that the other person is an assclown. Another community, though, will call the other person a socialist and walk away feeling smug that they put a liberal in their place.

The sad, and perhaps scary, thing about debates, particularly internet ones, is that neither side is ever going to budge. The ignorant argument will obviously never impress the educated one, and the educated one will never sway the ignorant one.

This means that there’s a large population of idiots out there who are never going to think for even a second that they’re wrong. Everybody else is just a dumb liberal.

The smartest people realize this and don’t even engage, or at least walk away to do better things with their lives. They don’t give up; they just don’t see the point. It’s not worth their valuable, smart-person time.

And honestly, that’s winning, at least in my book. You tried, but you really have research/a good job/actual responsibilities/a real life/nobler pursuits to get back to. You can do more with your time. You have more important things to do.

So let the dumbasses yell on Facebook. I guess. It’s annoying, sure, but I don’t think even pelting them with rocks with shut them up.

How do you know which side you’re on? Are you calling names or being called names? Are you arguing based off hear-say and personal anecdotes and things you just know are true, or are you drawing from reliable sources? Are you grasping at straws (or straw man arguments) and trying to loosely connect things that don’t really follow, or are you spotting and deconstructing logical fallacies?

If you said yes to the former is all those, you’re the idiot loser. Sorry not sorry. If you said yes to the latter, then you’re the smart one. Congrats.

Take home point: not all debates are worth your time, and walking away doesn’t mean you lost and they won. You’ll likely not win, but you’ll lose a whole lot of time.

Beware of Stupid in Large Groups

Just because a lot of dumbasses rally together doesn’t mean they’re right or even have a valid point.

It just means you have a lot of stupid concentrated in one place, or behind one issue.

But I’ll be damned if large groups of people can’t effect change. They changed our country from a somewhat-respectable nation into a laughing stock.

See, rallies and protests do work.

I don’t really have much more to say here except that a lot of support doesn’t make something right. And stupid is never right.

I guess that’s the take home point. Form your own, larger group of intelligence and beat their asses down.

All Opinions Are Not Equal

I saved this one for last because it bothers me a lot, if not the most.

I’ve seen a lot of posts on Facebook with things like “Bob and Sally” being friends even though their opinions differ, or how two people can see the same thing two different ways…

Those are basically my thoughts on that, but I can’t entirely let memes and pictures write my blog for me.Okay, that was the last one. It’s all me from here on out.

“Everyone is entitled to their own opinion” is a bullshit cop-out when someone doesn’t want to argue anymore. Sure, it may be true in some cases, but that doesn’t change what it is.

An “opinion”, as said above but I’m restating it here, is applicable in matters of moderate importance at most: what kind of music is best, where to eat, the nicest way to spend a weekend…

Sure, you can argue over these things, but ultimately it’s just an opinion and who the fuck cares.

Political, religious, and moral views are not opinions. They are forces that shape you and your life. An opinion may come from a habit, but your views create the habit.

Your religious outlook tells you to attend church every Sunday, and your morality tells you that you should visit your ailing grandparents regularly. So your opinion of what a Sunday should be is Church then brunch with your grandparents.

Your political style tells you that you need to be out there protesting, and your religious outlook tells you that gay marriage is bad and so is abortion. So your idea of an ideal Sunday is standing outside of Planned Parenthood and shouting at gay people.

Does that make sense?

Here’s another way to think about it: your opinions really affect only you; your views are what you communicate to others, whether through conversation, criticism, protest, and so on.

Example: My opinion is that pinot grigio and pinot noir are the best wines. Also my opinion: drinking helps me unwind. My religious view: I am ultimately going to be judged by God and so I should be a good person. Also getting drunk is bad (not that this really affects me much).

Or my opinion: Hiking is the best way to spend a nice summer day. My scientific/moral view: we need to protect the environment…so I can keep hiking.

Capiche?

Anyway, neither your views nor your opinion are necessarily right, nor do they have to be respected.

I always think it’s amusing when conservatives tear apart liberals, yet feel like their opinions are sacred and untouchable. No bitch, you’re as vulnerable as anyone else.

So nobody is safe.

So stop with this bullshit that you’re entitled to your opinion and it’s just a difference of opinion and I can’t judge you and there are multiple ways to see the same issue.

Nah brah.

As in math, there’s only one right answer — though perhaps there are many ways to get there. But ultimately, you’re either right or you’re wrong — and there’s no partial credit.

Your opinion is not necessarily as good or valuable as someone else’s. I’m not going to listen to the thoughts of a landscaper when I want to know if my scoping results mean what I think they mean or if something went wrong in my experiment.

When you think about it (and the key is that you have think), it makes sense that not all opinions carry equal weight.

Take home point: your opinion is not necessarily important, and opinions are not the same as views. Also, your views probably don’t matter to many people.

So there we have it, a bunch of things that needed to be laid out and settled. Maybe now we can get on with our lives and not be such fucking idiots?

Okay, the real last one.

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Real Dating Advice

With Valentine’s Day coming up (though except by some miracle this will be posted long after), I figured I’d write about relationships, inspired by a collection of things I’ve read lately.

Here I’d like to cover why you’re really single, how to really attract a man, how to really know if he likes you, and how to really keep him.

I’d cover how to understand a man, but that’s a post in itself.

Expect my usual sarcasm, hopefully mingled with a point you can actually take home.

And all of this is based on my experience and terrible advice posts on various sites. Trust me over them. I’d never lie to you, sweetheart.

Rule #1: Never trust anyone who calls you sweetheart. They’re probably calling everyone they’re seeing that.

Seriously(?) though:

Why You’re Really Single

This post was inspired by these three links: Why Are So Many Smart, Gorgeous Women Single? It’s Almost An Epidemic

Incredible Women Often Have The Worst Dating Lives — Here’s Why

The Dating Struggles Of Women Who Overthink Everything

I’m going to focus on the first two, because I think the third is a separate post.

Note: these links tended to focus on hetero relationships, and while many of their (and my) points talk about women attracting men, surely dating and mating aren’t all that different regardless of the combination of genders and sexualities. I mean…in broad concept and goal. Anyway…

The internet is at no loss of reasons perfectly awesome women haven’t found love yet. If you want all the validation high-fived right out of you, those are the types of things to read. If you want real answers, keep reading this.

Those first two links cite reasons like: WOMEN ARE BECOMING MORE EDUCATED, ACCOMPLISHED AND INDEPENDENT WHILE GUYS ARE GETTING CRAPPIER. WE WON’T PUT UP WITH BULLSH*T. OUR STANDARDS ARE HIGH AND THEY’LL STAY THAT WAY. OUR LIVES ARE ALREADY FULL — IF A GUY CAN’T ADD TO IT, HE’S NOT WORTH MAKING ROOM FOR. MANY OF US JUST AREN’T LOOKING FOR HUSBANDS ANYMORE. WE’RE BECOMING OUR OWN HUSBANDS. TOO MANY GUYS ARE INTIMIDATED BY STRONG WOMEN. THEY (women, from here on out) HAVE BUILT-IN A**HOLE REPELLENT. THEY’RE A LITTLE WEIRD. THEY’RE SUPER PICKY BECAUSE THEY KNOW THEIR WORTH. THEY’RE INTENSE. THEY HAVE REAL GOALS. THEY’RE WAY MORE MATURE THAN MOST. THEY LOVE THE HARDEST. THEY’RE ACTUALLY THE ONES THAT GUYS HAVE A HARD TIME FINDING.

I don’t write in all caps. You’re welcome.

Also these two posts have so much overlap they might as well be having simultaneous orgasms over how awesome single women are — and how they’re obviously unworthy according to/underrated by/ignored by single men.

Honestly, I didn’t even read the links, just searched the headers; otherwise this post would’ve been 10 times longer.

But I can give you a few reasons why you’re really still single:

You’re Ugly

If you’re troll-like, then men probably only have sex with you if they’re desperate; there’s no urge for regular sex. So you’re forever alone.

Sure, maybe you take this as being ugly on the inside. But that’s not how it’s meant. I address inner fugliness later.

Yes, it hurts, and all those fluffy BS posts you can find on Cosmo, Bolde, Glamour, and so on will deny this so hard they have an aneurysm, but I’m a fan of Occam’s razor; it’s not that the stars haven’t aligned and you missed your love connection because you were five minutes late to work today and maybe that guy on the bus was flirting but like you just need to work on yourself first but also your awesomeness scares weak men away. No. You might just be ugly.

You’re Crazy

I don’t mean crazy as in mentally ill — because with the right partners, we can find support and even healing for our issues (not that I’ve found that yet).

I mean crazy as in non-diagnosable desire to know where someone is at all times, extreme distrust, checking phones, demanding passwords, stalking, and so on.

(I suspect there probably is some diagnosis for this behavior though.)

When I’m manic, I’m all over where Dave is and for how long, with whom…when I’m depressed, I could not care less.

Anyway, if you’re not obviously actually mentally ill and are still freaking out about a guy’s whereabouts (especially if he’s not even your boyfriend yet), that’s a bit of a red flag.

If you want to see his phone or be handed passwords or otherwise test his loyalty or the “trust” you two have, you will send him running.

Let’s file clingy under crazy as well. Any behavior that’s not appropriate for the relationship you have, that he’s obviously uncomfortable with and yet you persist with, is clinginess, possibly craziness. This includes inappropriate displays of emotion or affection.

And so guys get out before they even get in deep with you.

You’re a Bitch

All women are bitches from time to time, and that is something a guy has to accept. It’s not unreasonable to be a demon when we PMS or bleed, but if you’re constantly caustic, that’s a problem. Your friends might think you’re just sarcastic, sassy and fierce and applaud this behavior because you’re totally an alpha — and I’m not telling you to be a beta — but being cutthroat all the time is going to wear on anybody. There’s being strong, smart, independent, kickass, and not taking shit, and then there’s putting others down, being mean, being short with people, walking all over them, manipulating them, intimidating them.

Know that difference. Men love the former, and probably couldn’t care less about the latter — especially if they’re the subject of your derision.

You’re Too Independent

As I mentioned above, independence is cool, but acting like you don’t need anyone else is off-putting.

I get it; I don’t want to have to need anyone. I don’t want to have to rely on anyone. I want to be independent and self-sufficient.

But that’s different than the attitude that you don’t need anybody in your life, you don’t need a man.

No, you don’t need a man, but acting like you don’t give a shit whether he’s there or not — or that you’d be perfectly fine without him, or would prefer if he wasn’t because he’s holding you back — are going to make him feel like, well, you don’t want him around.

Also, everybody needs other people in their life.

So stop alienating everyone.

You’re Lazy

Dating takes work. So do relationships. If you don’t want to look, decline every date in favor of solo Netflix and sweatpants, or don’t want to do your part to make things work, things are not going to work. Things will not even happen. Pretty simple.

Also, sex does take some effort, so if the thought of moderate physical exertion turns you off and you’d rather just cuddle up with a warm body while you sip tea and read a book, get a dog. Or a cat.

But don’t expect to bring home a human.

You’re Antisocial

Another fairly obvious one, I think. Yes, antisocial people can find love, but it’s harder. Similar to lazy people, you’d rather stay in than go out, even if you really want to go out. But meeting new people isn’t just inconvenient and annoying, but scary — like getting to know them.

I desperately want to make new friends, but my antisocial tendencies make me want to hide myself rather than put myself out there, decline invitations with an appreciative smile rather than take them up on their offer, and the idea of spending months or years to get to know someone well seems daunting.

The same goes for dating.

You’re Looking in the Wrong Places

If you’re looking for your next true love in bars or at parks approaching random guys, it’s not going to work. I mean, sometimes it does, but there are places to meet people and places not to.

Sure, I expected to make friends at RPI, but I didn’t see myself meeting my next flame (also there’s Dave). I was excited about my first job because I thought I might meet a guy; the only two men there were married. A therapist once suggested church to meet men. Ha.

Though there are a lot of creeps and sad people out there, online dating is, in my opinion, still a good place to meet people. You’re all on the same page, and, presuming honesty, you have a basic idea of what someone is about before you even talk.

Honestly I don’t even get how people meet in real life.

So if you’re looking in the wrong places, you’re going to find the wrong men. Or you’re not going to find any men.

You Put Yourself Out There as a Fuck Buddy

Similar to the above, if you act like you don’t care about labels in some effort to seem cool and carefree and attract a man, men are going to think you just want an active-cuddle buddy.

If you offer men straight sex without the strings, they will hop on it — figuratively and literally.

If you put yourself out there as wanting something more serious, you’ll attract the right people. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want.

So that’s that.

How do you really attract a man?

It depends on the setting.

In college? Maybe be super smart. At a bar? Bat your eyes?

I asked Dave how women attract men: “They flaunt their asses and boobs and talk.”

Basically what I was going to say. But I think — I hope — it’s important what you talk about. I think it’s a big bonus if a woman knows at least a little about stereotypically male* subjects, like vehicles, hunting, alcohol, gaming, sports, guns, and so on. You don’t need to be an expert, and certainly not in all of these, but casually dropping hints about your truck or hunting gear is a plus. Even if you’re relatively inexperienced on the subject, a willingness to learn is beneficial — because he can be your teacher.

*I know, I know, gender stereotypes. I’m sure I know more about vehicles than some guys do, while some guys know more about make up than I do. Because our world isn’t perfect, though, dating often relies on implied gender stereotypes, which we might as well exploit.

I think it’s also essential to be able to wow a guy with your knowledge — no matter what it’s in. For me, it’s science. Other things as well, like religion, grammar, cats — but those are less impressive/relatable. As long as he thinks you’re awesomely smart.

I mean, sure, you could talk about sex and I’m sure that would hook him too, but like, come on…

Also confidence, to sound like every cliched advice post ever.

How do you know if he really likes you?

I’ve learned that men are simple creatures. Like, really simple. My lab partner said that men are like dogs. To quote him, “If you say ‘Who took the trash out like a good boy?’ he’ll reply, ‘I did. Was it me? I did. I’m a good boy.’ And if you tell him he did something well, he’ll do it again. Men really are that simple.”

Solid advice, from a man.

So if a guy tells you he likes you, he does.

But if he doesn’t? Or hasn’t yet?

Does he want to spend time with you? Then he likes you. Does he playfully touch you, joke around with you, laugh with you, compliment you? He likes you.

This does sound like one of those dumb posts.

But I’m a firm believer that people don’t do or say things casually or unconsciously if they actually oppose it consciously. Like my PI would allude to me being in the lab permanently in casual conversation. Not thought out, not intentional, not dropping hints. It was like he just assumed it would be so.

And indeed he welcomed me into his lab.

Men are even more simple when it comes to dating, I think. If a guy doesn’t like you or want to spend more time with you, he won’t act like he does. He may try to spare your feelings, but he’s not going to spend time with you out of pity. If he wants to be with you, you’ll know.

Dave was introducing relationship talk on our second date, and kept saying, “I hope I’m not overstepping any boundaries by saying ‘relationship’ and I’m not trying to rush” and later he was talking about “us” and said he didn’t mean to cross any lines. I remember it clearly. We were wandering through Dick’s in Crossgates.

I was fine with it, because we were already acting like a couple and both wanted to be.

What a mistake.

I reminded him of this and he insisted he was watching TV and I was going to make him puke.

But he wanted to be together, and couldn’t help but talk about it and talk like we already were. Men pretty much give themselves away. If you can’t tell what he wants, he doesn’t want you.

Dave also now says he “just does things.” Which is also a reasonable explanation for male behavior. Doing things without thinking. It’s still based in the subconscious, but you can also factor in lack of reason and common sense.

Dave does and says most things without thinking. This results in lots of arguments.

It’s not an excuse, but at least it’s an explanation.

But also, it’s reinforcement that guys do things without thinking them to death. So if they throw an arm around you, they didn’t analyze it to death and decide it sent a satisfactory message; they just wanted to.

How to really keep a guy:

Dave had no advice on this.

My thoughts: move in with him right away before he knows what you’re really like, get him hooked, so then he’ll never break up with you or kick you out, and, if possible, pay his bills for a time so he realizes how much he needs you and how wonderful you are. Also adopt a bunch of cats that’ll make it hard for you to ever really go.

And cook and bake for him. Food is necessary for survival. (Sex is not.)

But realistically, give a shit. Keep things interesting. Keep listening, keep talking. Keep fighting. If things flatline, talk to him. Make sure he knows you care about reviving things (unless you don’t). And I’m not even talking just about sex. There’s conversation, doing things together, even cuddles.

I suppose the “secret” to keeping a guy is being open and aware of both your needs, whether you’re both happy, whether you can both be happy (given your expectations), and how to make each other happy. Whether this is conscious or unconscious doesn’t matter. What matters is that it happens.

Also supporting his aspirations and being there for him no matter what and all that warm fuzzy stuff.

So there we have it. A real, honest, hopefully practical and reasonable guide to men, dating, and relationships.

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15 Reasons to Hate the Holidays

I really wanted to write a post about the holidays, and I have one in the works, but then this occurred to me and I decided to go with it.

If you know me well (or read my post from last year, After the Season), you know that I hate the holidays.

And I mean the secular and Christian holidays ranging from Late November to January 1st, possibly stretching to February 14th. (Or in my case, March 23rd, my birthday.)

Because nobody cares about any other holidays.

Not like Easter or anything, the high holy days of the church year.

On that note, let me jump into the reasons to hate the holidays.

One, it would make you more like me. Obviously a plus.

I’m kidding.

1. They’re Exclusive

Not in the sense that they have a bouncer and if you’re not on the list, you don’t get in.

More like they don’t account for many major holidays of religions other than Christianity and secularists — you know, those who celebrate secular holidays.

“The holidays” means Thanksgiving, (Christmas Eve?), Christmas, New Year’s Eve, (New Year’s Day?), perhaps Valentine’s Day.

Really only three obvious holidays, yet they get all the attention.

There are so many other holidays throughout the year, but we only know about secular ones (Independence Day, Thanksgiving, maybe Martin Luther King Day, President’s Day) and easy Christian ones, i.e. Christmas.

Easter involves looking at your sins and repenting and doesn’t involve so many presents, so obviously it’s less popular.

So this “holiday season” is bullshit.

2. The Majority are Secular

Nothing against secular holidays. I enjoy an excuse for a day off as much as the next person. But warm fuzzy feelings for Christmas get extended to Thanksgiving and New Year’s, which are not religious holidays.

But the real offense is that Christmas has been made a secular holiday. NO. IF YOU’RE AN ATHEIST YOU DON’T GET TO CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS.

I won’t even say non-Christian because I believe it’s ultimately the same one way or another — but if you don’t believe in God, you don’t get to celebrate religious holidays. But so many do, like my brother, who quite enjoys Christmas, and it just reinforces how secularized Christmas has become.

I celebrate Christmas purely as a religious holiday. I buy gifts because I genuinely enjoy giving to others and seeing them happy (ideally). But I don’t need gifts or decorations or (ick) Christmas music to celebrate Christmas.

I asked Dave if he knew what we were celebrating at Christmas and he very unexcitedly told me Christ’s birth. At least he knew what it was.

But most people don’t care that it’s (what the Church says is) Jesus’s birthday.

The fact that so many people celebrate Christmas and yet don’t give a shit about the religious aspect really does bother me. Instead it’s a time where you have to see family, get to eat obscene amounts of food (second to Thanksgiving), and get presents.

That’s not what it’s about!

But that’s all that people care about. And it deeply troubles me.

It’s become about shopping. Hell-to-the-fucking-no.

3. Overindulgence

As I hinted at above, “the holidays” seem to be more about an excuse to overindulge than anything else.

Thanksgiving isn’t about giving thanks. It’s about stuffing your face as disgustingly full as you possibly can before passing out.

Christmas isn’t about Jesus being born. It’s about buying — and obviously more importantly, getting — as much stuff as you can. Plus eating a shit ton of food.

New Year’s isn’t about…what the hell is New Year’s about anyway? A new year. Big whoop. But we make it about partying, drinking, kissing, proposing, resolutions we’ll never keep…but I’ll get back to that.

Even Valentine’s Day isn’t about any of the St. Valentines (there were a few). It’s not about martyrdom, but couples and flowers and chocolate.

Completely commercial.

But we overindulge on fancy dinners and such, so…

Hopefully you get what I’m saying.

4. Nobody is Serious about their Resolutions

Has anyone ever been? Seriously? My resolution was to “get a boyfriend” years in a row. Never happened. Not that I didn’t try.

“Get published” was also on there a lot. Except for this blog (ha) it never happened.

I’m not sure if I ever bothered with “lose weight.” I just kind of start diets as soon as I realize I’m fat.

In fact, that’s how I go about all changes in my life. They happen when they need to. Or rather, they get attention when they’re due. Not after some arbitrary starting point.

Aside from how dumb it is to feel obligated to make some change, it makes it even dumber that nobody even sees them through.

Your diet will fizzle out, you’ll burn out on your new work out, your new “destressing” method with die on you, and instead of being a nicer person, you’ll be tearing apart your friend behind their back before you know it.

Last year my friend’s resolution was to have sex with someone other than her fiance. Um…I guess she did it, except he made out a lot better than she did.

Anyway, it’s just silly. Each day is a new day. You don’t need an entire new year to make a change.

Also just don’t stuff your face so much during November and December and you won’t need to resolve to lose weight.

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5. Working in Customer Service

I will likely (hopefully) never have to work in customer service again, but when I did, even at CVS, I hated Black Friday. I hated the whole holiday season.

The volume of customers skyrockets, first of all, especially before or on holidays. WHY DO YOU NEED TO BE IN CVS AT 10:00 CHRISTMAS MORNING? WHY DO YOU WAIT UNTIL NEW YEAR’S EVE TO PICK UP YOUR PRESCRIPTION?

It’s ridiculous.

I admit I went shopping the day before Thanksgiving and I felt guilty about it. I also went out for Black Friday shopping…and felt terrible about it — but I didn’t actually buy much; it’s mostly to people-watch and do something different rather than actually shop.

But at least I’m always nice to customer service people (unless they give me an attitude first) because I know it sucks.

Aside from the number of people you have to deal with, their mood generally plummets. They’re not happy that 2,487 other people waited until the last minute to buy something, just like them, and so they’re miserable about it and blame you, the cashier.

They’re unpleasant, impatient, and ready to fight you on prices and sales.

Customer service sucks anyway; during the holidays it’s hell.

So be nice to people working in customer service. Especially during the holidays. They’re not there to be shit on.

6. Christmas Music

GAH. I hate Christmas music so much.

Not Church-y Christmas music, but the shit you hear on the radio.

It’s all just terrible. The classics aren’t even that good or catchy. I just don’t get it.

And then there’s the renditions of the classics by contemporary artists, plus the “new” Christmas songs by contemporary artists.

Those are the worst. Why? The classics (are bad enough and) don’t need to be redone over and over again, nor do we need your version (or album of versions) of “Christmas” songs.

The exceptions are “The Christmas Can-Can” by Straight No Chaser and “Merry Christmas From the Family” by Montgomery Gentry.

Otherwise, it’s all just terrible. I don’t understand why entire radio stations are devoted to it.

7. Donations

I like money, and I need money. So I hate giving it away. Sure, I donate to worthy causes every so often and give to the church every now and then, but I need my money. I’m poor.

So I hate how this “season” preys upon the sudden and transient good nature of humans by asking them for money.

No matter where I go, someone has a bucket or a bell they’re ringing and as fiercely as I try to avoid eye contact they find me anyway and try to strike up an interaction, I rarely carry cash, so often I decline. Even when I do have cash (in small bills) on me, I awkwardly decline.

I’m sorry, if I’m going to give you my money simply because you asked, I want to know something about you and to know my money is going to something I care about.

It may be dumb, but I’d rather donate to take care of cats than a random charity…so here’s a story (that actually makes me cry) about how a cat sanctuary in Aleppo (which I’d known about previously) was bombed. A French organization manages its donation, but I haven’t yet figured out how to donate. Here are two links; the second contains a link to the organization.

New Onslaught Of Airstrikes In Aleppo Hit World-Famous Cat Sanctuary

No joke, I cry every time I read about it. Those poor cats. Cats…

A crowd-sourced animal sanctuary in east Aleppo teaches compassion: ‘To love the small, weak cats is to love everything’

I emailed them to ask how to donate. They got back to me and gave me this link: http://paypal@syriacharity.org

But I’m still not sure how one makes a paypal payment by email…I’ll figure it out.

Because I’m serious about this. Because they didn’t ask me to and also it’s for cats.

Cats have never been assholes to me. In fact, they help me deal with asshole humans.

Dave criticized me for donating to Syria when there are Americans in need (not that I see him donating). Oh well.

Anyway, I hate being asked for donations because most often I decline because most often I don’t care…or don’t have appropriate cash on me.

7. It’s Cold

I wanted to make a pun about hell freezing over and how the holidays are hell but it’s also cold (at least in North America), but it just didn’t make sense.

Anyway, at least in the northern hemisphere, it’s cold for the holidays. Aside from the lack of mosquitoes, the cold sucks. The holidays occur in the cold. Therefore, by association, the holidays suck. Well, it certainly detracts from the possibility of enjoying the holidays.

8. Gifts

I can’t deny that I rather enjoy getting gifts, and I honestly enjoy giving gifts even more…but I don’t enjoy buying gifts.

I also don’t enjoy wrapping gifts. Like it’s horrible.

And I don’t much care for being asked what I want.

Also I hate how it’s not acceptable to ask for money or bills being paid or buying my food for me as a gift. Because as an adult, these are the things I want — nay, need.

It also really kills me when someone gets me a gift — and they really tried and really think I’ll like it — and it’s not something I’m really excited about, never see myself using, or just…don’t…like.

Like my mom gave Dave a Christmas list to get for me using her pension money, and he let me in on two of her ideas to see if I really wanted them. One was towels with the Dodge logo on them, and the other was wine glasses.

It made me wonder what else was on her list, but he assured me I’d like all of it — aside from that one time he’d told me I’d hate all of it.

But I don’t really need a set of towels, and if we’re going to do a “Dodge” theme, there are other things I’d much prefer.

And I don’t need a set of wine glasses, because it’s not like I drink with anyone else. I have a mason jar I used to use, and a wine glass from the Apple and Wine Festival. I don’t know; I just don’t need them, nor would I even think of suggesting them as a gift.

Unfortunately my mom doesn’t know truck stuff, so she can’t do much there — plus I suspect Dave cornered that market for his gifts to me.

On that note, I also hate when I put a lot of thought and/or effort into a gift and the receiver is an ungrateful little asshole (ahem, Dave). At least I’ll pretend to like something and just feel bad about how I don’t appreciate it rather than make them feel bad about how I don’t appreciate it.

Except for Dave, because he really doesn’t try. I’ll have had his gifts planned for months, ordered weeks in advance, and ready to go, and he’ll struggle for ideas and pick something up on his way home. Yay…

(I also hate when people put no thought into things. He spares no expense on himself and his trucks, but for me he struggles to even think of ideas.)

He’s told me gifts that I put a good chunk of time into finding were a “nice gesture” and that I should return them to get something he liked better; he’s complained that I didn’t pay attention to what he wanted and didn’t get the right thing, he’s whined about having to go to a couple’s massage I paid for…

This year (like last year, I believe), I made a list throughout the year of things he specifically said he wanted or needed — if he got them for himself before then, fine. But I had a decent list.

For our anniversary, over a month before I had spent hours making apple pie moonshine, which Dave has been saying for our entire two years together he liked and wanted more of.

A few weeks before our anniversary he bought some from a store and said it was nothing like homemade, and he requested some from his friend a while ago and never got. I freaked out (internally) that he’d get it from him which would ruin my present, but suspected it wouldn’t happen, and it didn’t. He mentioned a few times that the “good” homemade kind has cinnamon sticks and apple chunks (and presumably, homemade moonshine). I used Everclear and no apple, so I was afraid it wouldn’t be up to par. So I gave him six quarts of homemade apple pie moonshine fearing it may not be exactly what he wanted so fuck me.

(I saved a quart for my brother and one for my aunt for Christmas, and one for my mom when she gets out.)

I was super excited to give it to him, but had a feeling he wouldn’t appreciate it.

But indeed he did like it and said I could sell it…but did ask how he’d add apple chunks to it. Really?

And, lastly, I hate how big a deal buying gifts is for the holidays. It should be about family (and perhaps God), not spending money on each other.

Hell, between our anniversary and Christmas, I’ll have spent about $450 on him in a month — and right now, I don’t even like him. Then I have my brother, grandparents, and the rest of my family, plus Dave’s mom. And I’ve spent a bit on myself (Bath & Body Works, new pants, upgraded phone — hooray for Black Friday deals).

But the holidays are less about family and more about the amount you spend on them…and others.

9. Shopping

A natural segue.

I hate it. I mean, I enjoy a shopping trip with friends, but not shopping on a mission. My mom’s Christmas list for me for my brother involves mostly running around to different places, while Dave’s list for me could be handled online — he’s running around anyway, but I much prefer online shopping.

I dislike having to run out, feeling pressured to get something, dealing with people, lines, and so on.

People are just miserable, because, well, see above: why it sucks to be in customer service.

But like the mall is packed, cashiers are so fucking done, people are pissy as hell  — and impatient — and deals only last so long.

Not fun in any way…unless you’re there to people watch.

10. Decorating

I used to like decorating, but it’s died on me over the years. Especially now, living with Dave, and I spend most of my time in our room. Trimming the tree seems pointless, in storage I could find my manger, but not my figurines — so why bother? — Dave insists on putting up tasteless blow-ups for outside (lighted raindeer are okay, but not a balloon of Santa coming out of an outhouse; thankfully I told him Wal-Mart didn’t have this one and he didn’t see it and believed me), nobody will enjoy my family’s decorations…

Until I can be in my own home with my family, I don’t think I’ll enjoy decorating. My mom will obviously appreciate our style and traditions, and the right guy will appreciate these and also want to make our own…however weird or “blended” they may be.

Dave is more about doing his own traditions while I’m about not doing mine until I see a reason to bother. It’s not about our traditions.

I’ve always disliked the holidays, or at least regarded them as normal days, but perhaps the reason I particularly detest the holidays now is that I don’t have my family’s traditions, nor do I even have, or care to have, new traditions with Dave.

Basically I want to get them over with because I have nothing or, like, negative nothing (you know, having a cold relationship while others have warm, fuzzy, happy ones) while others have positive things. Not only do I just not care, but it’s painful.

I like traditions, but having no one to share them with is sad, and being with those who don’t care about them is downright painful.

11. Family

Perhaps conversely, dealing with family around holidays isn’t always fun.

Sure, maybe you’ve missed a cousin or aunt, but in my case, I’m jealous of my cousins for looking better than me, being farther along in life than me (though that one is older), being happier in her relationship than me…I suppose I don’t miss my male cousins as much (all two of them), and I see my two aunts often, my four uncles I am/was never that close to — except for Mike, and to me his presence is always lacking.

At Thanksgiving, I heard my grandmother say (in reference to my cousin who had an MRI but was okay and my aunt saying it was dumb), “Well if Mike had gotten checked out he might still be alive now.”

It just made me sad. It bothered me a lot, actually.

Anyway, while my grandmother also instituted a no politics rule, you always have the people who bring it up, always have the person who pries too much (my one aunt once asked if my mom went to communion at church, especially since she was a divorced Catholic and whatnot), the ones you don’t talk to at all, the one you have little contact with yet try to be friendly, and so on. It’s a clusterfuck of interactions — and I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s like, “Hey, they’re never around and I always am, like a good niece/granddaughter/whatever, yet they get all the attention because they’re actually around a few times a year, when I’m around all the time — no fair”…but “they’re” always in the living room napping while I’m at the table joking with my aunts (my uncles cluster in the back room).

Or you’re trying to outbake each other. Every occasion I ask myself why I bother, when my one aunt makes a plethora of desserts that get way more attention than mine — but this year I had requests for my sweet potato pie and also I know it’s a healthier alternative to anything else there.

Or you have the person like my grandfather, who likes to try to detract from holidays by bringing up my mom or something stressful/unpleasant. He sets the stage for his bullshit leading up to the holiday, perhaps by asking to “talk” later in the day or, in the case of this Thanksgiving, the week before he mentioned he thinks about my mom all the time, asked if I talked to her, said he’d talk to her more but he doesn’t know what to say…and then, the pièce de résistance, he told me Gramma fell during the week, but she wouldn’t want anyone to know. He said all this knowing I’d go and tell Mom, and then she’d email him, which she did — cute how he can orchestrate these things without ever leaving his recliner. We know that he knows what he’s doing.

So on Thanksgiving he called me back to the back room and he had printed Mom’s email to him and had me read it. Why? Cool, I know that he knows I went and talked to Mom. But even better, now he knows I know he knows I talked to Mom after talking to him.

And I generally avoid talking about her with them. But like he just has to “play” with us…like we don’t see what he’s doing. It’s so pointless you might think it’s innocent (Dave insists he’s just getting older and is hoping to reconnect before it’s too late), but that’s just the point: he can manipulate us with the dumbest stuff, which just reinforces that he can control us, like we’re puppets.

For a while after my mom was arrested, I would dread what Papa would pull on each new holiday. Now it’s more of a nuisance, but still…

Anyway, while family can be nice and even fun, often it’s a lot of stress.

12. Another Year Gone

The whole holiday season, and in particular New Year’s Eve, really marks the passing of another year. And because New Year’s Resolutions are bullshit, these holidays don’t prep us for a new fun year full of positive change and self-growth. No. They just remind us of everything we didn’t get done this past year.

Let’s see, I got into RPI and diagnosed as bipolar and added two more cats to the collection. Plus I got a truck and a new car.

But my mom is still in prison and drives me crazy with her craziness and stresses me out from time to time, particularly over Christmas and gifts, I still don’t feel like I have a home, my grandparents still stress me out and try to manipulate me, I haven’t lost any weight (even though I’ve been trying all year), Dave and I are no better (and are perhaps even worse) than we were at this point last year, we still fight regularly or even more (and worse), we’re definitely no closer to getting engaged, he’s still jerking me around on the topic of engagement, and I still feel like he cares more about his truck(s) than me.

So much hasn’t changed. Do you really need to remind me how my life has largely gone nowhere in the past year?

So I’m a step closer to the career I want, and I suppose I could say I have a decent job and a good deal with RPI. I also own more cats than I did at this time last year, and that’s obviously a good thing. The truck is also good, but my car came at the cost of my beloved Ferdinand.

But I’m no closer to having a “home” (as opposed to a house) or having a family (i.e. getting engaged for the time being). I’m no closer to being at the weight I want, I still drink a lot of wine (not that I really wanted to cut back…), I’ve basically abandoned all hobbies but this blog and hiking (when I can)…

Whether or not this lack of change is my fault* or not, I don’t need to be reminded of it.

*I did try to lose weight and my doctors couldn’t figure out why, nor were they very helpful; Dave also doesn’t seem to care to fix anything with us nor move forward, and I can’t do all the work; bipolar may have affected my ambition to keep up with hobbies; a lot of other things beyond my control have to come together before I’ll ever have a home again…so, maybe not all my fault.

13. People

People around the holidays just suck. People like Dave* get super into the holiday spirit and are annoying as fuck. Like stop being so happy and altruistic; you’re miserable little bastards the rest of the year. Just keep doing that instead of being fake nice for a few months. Like Holden Caulfield, I can’t stand phony people.

Especially when they’re fake in a way that makes me want to vomit and also possibly slap them.

This post is meant for these people.

*While Dave does insist on playing Christmas music, the other night he admitted he’s just not in the spirit this year — he doesn’t even want a tree, but it would be my first year without one which makes me inexplicably sad. But it’s nice to see the non-cheery Dave I fell in love with two years ago (and consequently fell out of love with); I know that “being in the spirit” bit wouldn’t last.

14. People (Again)

On the flip side, people also become incredibly grouchy during the holidays. Scrooges, Grinches, whatever you want to call them — they’re the people who are horrible to customer service.

And then there’s the type of miserable person who’s selfish and will run you over to beat you to a Black Friday sale.

Me, I’m consistently misanthropic, always a delightful curmudgeon.

But for many people, holidays either bring out the painfully forced best or the absolute worst in people.

15. Stress

This may be a bit redundant, but the holidays come with stress. Cooking, shopping, dealing with people and family (not that family aren’t people), hideous music, and so on…the holidays just make life more stressful than it has to be. I know you all know what I mean. Nobody freaks out over Independence Day or Easter. It’s the holidays that make people crazy.

And this list is why I want none of it.

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Shots Fired


Please note that, like most of my posts, this was actually written some time ago.

I’ve had a long day. My truck’s brakes are grinding, my window regulator burned out on my driver’s side so I couldn’t open my window, some asshat backed out without looking in a parking lot and I had to stomp so hard on my brakes I heard a concerning noise in my front end, my truck started idling roughly…I had to wait 25 minutes for a flu shot on my way home from an endocrinologist appointment that left me annoyed that my primary latched on to me being bipolar and passed that along, so now the most pressing issue is me being bipolar instead of the fact that I gained substantial weight last year and haven’t lost a pound of it this year despite diet and exercise — oh, and now I think I probably have a tumor and am going to die…and now I can’t even download the images I wanted to use in this blog.

So right now, wine is the best thing that ever happened.

At least tomorrow I get to pick up my new car and I have a long weekend ahead of me.

Oh, and I quit therapy this week.

This blog was inspired by a Facebook post I saw this past week. A mother with maybe a toddler-aged kid shared a link and said she’d never gotten a flu shot, and now neither her nor her son would ever get one. (I hope you appreciate my punny title now.)

I had to click.

Here it is: If You Know Anyone That’s Thinking Of Getting A Flu Shot This Year, Show Them This

I knew it would be bullshit before I even looked at it, but oh well.

So the theme of this post, once again, is that people can be stupid and science is misunderstood and used to scare people. Basically, people are anti-science.

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Pretty much that.

Except maybe more than half.

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I have lots of pictures for this post. Buckle up.

But let me first discuss the link above. As usual, you probably don’t really need to read it because I’ll quote so heavily from it here.

Fair warning: I’m going to bitch about lack of citations often.

“The verdict is out on flu shots. Many medical experts now agree it is more important to protect yourself and your family from the flu vaccine than the flu itself. Every year the pharmaceutical industry, medical experts and the mainstream media work hard to convince us to get vaccinated against the flu. But we’re not being told the whole story. What we don’t hear, are cases about the adverse reactions or about the toxic chemicals being injected into us.”

Oye…what so-called “medical experts” did you ask? Homeopathic “doctors” (who might somehow benefit from your rejection of real medicine)?

I’m pretty sure you should still try to avoid the flu more than the vaccine. But I just have a degree in biology and am pursuing my PhD in biology. (I’m probably going to say that a lot too — I’m establishing ethos.)

“Pharmaceutical industry” and “mainstream media” are two warning keywords for me. Also, are these the same “medical experts” from the first sentence who don’t like vaccines?

Oh good, a bolded sentence for impact and a poorly-placed comma. It’s not even a comma splice! It’s just…an unnecessary comma. Maybe you meant to italicize “don’t”?

Sorry, incorrect comma usage bothers me greatly.

Ooh, toxic chemicals. Can you name even one? Also, do you know if it’s at a toxic level? Water can kill you in large enough amounts. Just saying…

Let me actually get to the reasons not to get vaccinated:

The flu shot actually makes you sick to begin with

Have you ever noticed how vaccinated children get sick almost immediately following a vaccination? This is because the flu virus is introduced into their bodies. So rather than immunize, the flu shot actually only sensitizes the body against the virus. And the fact that it causes individuals to get ill following a shot indicates immuno-suppression (i.e. lowering of the immunity).”

Yes, that’s how a vaccine works.

Allow me to quote the CDC on how a vaccine does its magical thing: “Vaccines help develop immunity by imitating an infection. This type of infection, however, does not cause illness, but it does cause the immune system to produce T-lymphocytes and antibodies. Sometimes, after getting a vaccine, the imitation infection can cause minor symptoms, such as fever. Such minor symptoms are normal and should be expected as the body builds immunity. Once the imitation infection goes away, the body is left with a supply of ‘memory’ T-lymphocytes, as well as B-lymphocytes that will remember how to fight that disease in the future” (https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/patient-ed/conversations/downloads/vacsafe-understand-color-office.pdf).

So yes, the vaccine is the virus, but a weakened version so the body can fight it. Yes, you may feel sick as your body’s immune system (which is pretty fucking amazing, if you ask me) fights it off so it’s ready for the real thing, should it encounter it. Trust me, a mild sickness after a flu shot is way better compared to actually getting the damn flu. (Dave agrees and he’s had the flu.)

Consider it an insurance policy. Yeah, it sucks to make payments (i.e. get a little sick), but you’re glad you have it when you rear-end someone or your house burns down (i.e. stumble across some poor soul with the flu).

And sensitizing the body (which I’m going to say means introducing it to the virus ahead of time and building an immune response; not sure what else it might mean here) is immunization. What the hell else would it be?

It doesn’t cause everyone to get sick, and even in those that it does, it’s not immunosuppression. You’re sick, not immuno-compromised.

That was just the first reason. What have I taken on?

Flu vaccines contain other dangerous ingredients such as mercury

The pharmaceutical industry, medical experts and the mainstream media are candid in telling us that flu vaccines contain strains of the flu virus. What they are less likely to reveal though is the long list of other ingredients that come with the vaccine. It is now a known fact that flu vaccines contain mercury, a heavy metal known to be hazardous for human health. Mercury toxicity can cause depression, memory loss, cardiovascular diseases, respiratory problems, ADD, oral health problems, digestive imbalances and other serious health issues.”

Lots of things have long lists of ingredients. Go check out your kitchen.

And shouldn’t mercury be safe? Because, you know, you can pronounce it.

It’s not like I’m injecting liquid mercury into my body. Also consider the amount and form. Oxygen is in water — yay! It’s also in carbon monoxide — boo!

And as I said above, the amount matters. Dark chocolate is good in moderation; a pound every day is not.

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You can’t believe everything you read on the internet…but you can believe this blog
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It’s all about perspective, I guess
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But…but…an apple a day keeps the doctor and his evil vaccines away…

Here’s what the CDC has to say on Mercury in vaccines: “Thimerosal is a vaccine additive, added to some vaccines to prevent germs (like bacteria and fungi) from growing in them. If germs grow in vaccines, they can cause illness—or even death” (http://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/concerns/thimerosal/faqs.html).

Of course, the logic that bacteria in your vaccine is worse than mercury presupposes that vaccines are a good thing.

Also, “You may have heard that thimerosal has mercury in it. Not all types of mercury are the same. Some types of mercury, like mercury in some kinds of fish, stay in the human body and can make people sick. Thimerosal is a different kind of mercury. It doesn’t stay in the body, and is unlikely to make us sick” (http://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/concerns/thimerosal/faqs.html).

Is the CDC an acceptable source for anti-vaxxers? I don’t know. Unfortunately I’m reasonable and don’t think everything (but nature, oddly enough) is trying to kill me.

It’s funny how non-science people are afraid of vaccines, GMOs, and so on — science, basically, while science people aren’t. Maybe because we live and breathe — and understand — science?

Point three!

“The flu shot can cause Alzheimer’s disease

Evidence now suggests that flu vaccines can cause Alzheimer’s disease. Research conducted by Dr. Hugh Fudenberg, a leading immunogeneticist, shows that those who consistently get the flu vaccine increase their risk of Alzheimer’s disease by 10 fold. He believes this is due to the toxic combination of aluminum and mercury in the vaccine. Additionally, introducing the flu virus to an elderly person (who with age will naturally have a weaker immune system) will only increase the chances of that individual becoming susceptible to more serious illness.”

First of all, there are different doses for different age groups. Like that’s that.

I googled Hugh Fudenburg and the one of the first results was Bill Maher: Antivaccination wingnut. After an excerpt from an interview, the author does a little digging on Maher’s sources, and sets us straight on Fudenberg. (Just read it.) So…consider who your sources are quoting. What exactly is he leading in regarding immunology or genetics? Quackery? Woo?

This link also balks at the assertion that the flu vaccine makes you ten times more likely to get Alzheimer’s.

Here, a quote:

“MAHER: I’m not into western medicine. That to me is a complete scare tactic. It just shows you, you can…

KING: You mean you don’t get a — you don’t get a flu shot?

MAHER: A flu shot is the worst thing you can do.

KING: Why?

MAHER: Because it’s got — it’s got mercury.

KING: It prevents flu.

MAHER: It doesn’t prevent. First of all, that’s…

KING: I haven’t had the flu in 25 years since I’ve been taking a flu shot.

MAHER: Well, I hate to tell you, Larry, but if you have a flu shot for more than five years in a row, there’s ten times the likelihood that you’ll get Alzheimer’s disease. I would stop getting your…

KING: What did you say?

MAHER: That went better in rehearsal but it was still good. Absolutely, no the defense against disease is to have a strong immune system. A flu shot just compromises your immune system.”

Way to quote a wacko, anti-vaxxers. Unfortunately there’s more good science supporting vaccines than shit science badmouthing it.

But y’all cherry-pick, don’t you?

Man, I was hoping I wouldn’t have to respond to all of these points, but it looks like I’m going to. Son of a bitch.

Can’t people just be smarter?

The very people pushing flu vaccinations are making billions of dollars each year

In August 1999, the Committee on Government Reform initiated an investigation into Federal vaccine policy. This investigation focused on possible conflicts of interest on the part of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The investigation concluded that many individuals serving on two key advisory committees had financial ties to the pharmaceutical companies that manufacture vaccines. Often, these individuals were granted waivers to fully participate in the discussions that led to recommendations on vaccine licensing and adding vaccines to the Childhood Immunization Schedule. This in itself creates serious doubt as to how effective flu vaccines really are.”

Financial ties doesn’t mean the vaccine is no good. I may be attending RPI, but I have to say apparently it’s a decent school. I didn’t think it was that great but everyone is impressed that I got in and got a full ride with a job, so…

So everyone with some investment isn’t necessarily evil.

Again, pharmaceutical scare tactics (maybe I’ll call them PST from now on) and also, I’d love to see your references for this.

Oh, and this:

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“Lack of real evidence that young children even benefit from flu shots

51 studies involving 260,000 children age 6 to 23 months established no evidence that the flu vaccine is any more effective than a placebo. Additionally, flu shots only protect against certain strains of the virus meaning that you can still easily get the flu if you come into contact with a different strain of virus.”

What is real evidence? Like, evidence? As compared to your non-evidence (like Wikipedia or conversations with your mom’s friend’s neighbor about this shit)? WERE ARE YOUR CITATIONS? I REFUSE TO BELIEVE YOU WITHOUT CITATIONS (AND REFERENCES). IF YOU’RE GOING TO ATTEMPT TO TALK SCIENCE, CITE SCIENCE. HOLY SHIT.

And yes, flu shots protect against the strain deemed threatening for this year. I learned in an immunology class that we look for the first cases of the flu and then make the vaccine based on those strains…so we know what we’re dealing with. The idea is that last years’ strains died out…because smart people got vaccinated or dumb people got sick and died (okay, that might be exaggeration). Yes, this year’s shot is for this year’s strain…because that’s the worrisome one.

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Makes you more susceptible to pneumonia and other contagious diseases

For someone with an already suppressed immune system, injecting strains of the flu virus can have devastating consequences. If your body is already working to fight off a virus or simply operating with low immunity, a vaccine injection could put your body in serious danger of contracting influenza with stronger symptoms, or even worse pneumonia and other contagious diseases.”

You wouldn’t be given a vaccine if you had a suppressed immune system. Being sick isn’t the same as having a suppressed immune system, as I said above.

Vascular disorders

Medical research shows flu shots are associated with an increased risk of vascular inflammation. Symptoms include fever, jaw pain, muscle aches, pain and stiffness in the neck, upper arms, shoulder and hips and headache.”

What medical research? Cite. It’ll probably be bullshit anyway, but cite it so I can be sure.

Children under the age of 1 are at risk

Children under 1 years of age are highly vulnerable to a neurotoxic breach of the delicate nerve center surrounding the brain and central nervous system. The first round of the flu vaccine is administered at age 6 months. A child under the age of 1 lacks sufficient protection to guard against premature damage to the blood barrier in the brain.”

Here’s another instance here citations would be great. As I said, there are different dosages for different ages. I’m not really sure where you got this blood-brain barrier stuff from. Please share. Because right now it sounds like you just threw random words together and hoped they came out coherent.

Increased risk of narcolepsy

There have been dozens of reported cases of children in 12 different countries who have developed narcolepsy (a chronic sleep disorder) after receiving the flu vaccine. The study, which took place between October 2009 and the December 2011, compared 3.3 million vaccinated Swedes with 2.5 million who were not vaccinated. The risk was found to be highest among the youngest people who took the vaccines. For those under the age of 21, the risk of contracting narcolepsy was three times higher.”

Sources. Or else you’re pulling this out of your ass. No, you’re so deep as to be in the duodenum.

Weakens immunological responses

There have been literally thousands of medical journal articles published that show injecting vaccines can lead to harmful immunological responses and a host of other infections. Moreover, weak immunological responses only decrease a person’s ability to fight the diseases that the vaccine was supposed to protect against in the first place.”

You used “literally,” so I stopped listening.

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Ah…I don’t think you know what “literally” means. Or what happened at Auschwitz.

Seriously though, people with suppressed immune systems won’t receive the vaccine anyway and I’ll bet that vaccines prevent a hell of a lot more infections than they cause.

Serious neurological disorders

Evidence now suggests that ingredients in flu vaccinations can actually cause serious neurological disorders. In 1976 a significant number of those who received the flu vaccine acquired Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS), a disorder characterized by permanent nerve damage and even paralysis. Flu vaccines can contain many harmful materials including detergent, mercury, formaldehyde, and strains of live flu virus.”

We already went over formaldehyde in vaccines.

Also, again, vaccines are strains of viruses. Good job, you got that through your thick skull. The viruses aren’t just live, though; they’re attenuated. That means they’re been made to be less virulent. They are weaker.

Oh, and what fucking evidence? You’re citing 1976! Surely there’s something more recent. Also, as I said above, consider the form and amount of these horrible chemicals.

Fucking dumbasses.

Allow me to dump some memes, because memes are their own language.

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That was a short dump.

I do have a plan for this blog. First let me discuss some of the comments on this person’s post. They’re in no particular order because, well, they don’t have to be.

antivax1

I’ll get back to the “money making scam” in a bit, but yes, it’s a different strain every year and they use the current year’s strain to make the vaccine. You can protect yourself from an “ever changing virus”…it’s called the flu vaccine.

Maybe people just don’t know how it works?

Even if last year’s wasn’t the right one, it’s not like you’re worse off for getting it. Now you’re ready when that strain strikes.

But I do have to say I love the last comment here. I tip my hat to you, sir. I’ll get to that later also.

antivax2

SHEEPLE ALERT. You know when someone throws around sheeple they’re not fucking around.

It’s also a signal not to take them seriously. Unless, of course, they’re using it satirically.

I just don’t get the selective acceptance and rejection. Measles vaccine okay, flu vaccine big no-no. Why? Because the flu varies year to year?

“Take vitamin C and zinc, drink lots of tea, carry hand sanitizer and get enough sleep. That’s how I avoid massive colds.”

But not the flu. Those things may help, but they’re no flu shot. I’m fairly certain you don’t have a degree in anything biology-related,* so maybe stop doling out medical advice.

*At least I study biology. I may not be a medical doctor, but I know how the body works.

antivax3

Um, no, a lot of people died from now-preventable diseases.

Source: http://vaccines.procon.org/view.additional-resource.php?resourceID=005964
Source: http://vaccines.procon.org/view.additional-resource.php?resourceID=005964

It’s a it blurry (but there’s a citation), but there were over 3,000 deaths from polio in a year. No, polio doesn’t seem like a big deal now, but that’s because people were afraid and dying didn’t sound too good, so they got their damn vaccinations and we’ve eradicated one type and drastically reduced the numbers of another (http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs114/en/). You take for granted what previous generations went through and like a spoiled little brat don’t appreciate what science has done for you. You can walk and, moreover, you’re not dead.

You’re fucking welcome.

“I refuse to get the flu shot. If I get it naturally then by all means I’ll accept that shit.”

First of all, you also don’t get how vaccines work. Second, you accept naturally getting the flu and feeling like shit, but preventing it is bad? What? Natural is better even if you get the flu??? Another issue I’ll talk about later.

Also, I asked my mom what she thought of vaccines, and here if her response:

“My opinion varies depending on the vaccination. Many vaccines have been well tested and I do believe they are beneficial…mumps, measles, chickenpox…I have issues with the flu vaccines that are manufactured each year for the strain they THINK MAY hit. Some of the vaccines…actually I believe it was a “preservative in them” that is suspected of being linked to autism and Alzheimer’s…but that was single dose vials not multidose. My issue is lack of testing because of time constraints. Generally I would stay away, but, heading off to college with thousands of other people, especially where being really sick for a week would be detrimental…I think it is worth the possible risk. Things like Guardasil…why? I mean it was not tested short or long term. I believe it was not an issue for young people not having sex…so why? So some vaccinations definitely…others yes depending…others a definite no.”

When I was younger, I received my vaccinations — I had to be held down, but I got them. The one my mom refused was the Guardasil vaccine. As she said above, it hadn’t been around long enough for her. She wanted to know it wouldn’t have any side effects years down the road. (Keep in mind this was probably ten years ago.I was informed just the other day that 22 is the age limit for receiving it.)

At the time, I was happy because it meant less shots and less needles.

I also didn’t think I’d be having sex before I was married, and HPV was sexually transmitted. If my boyfriend and I weren’t each others’ firsts, he could just be tested and we’d be cool. No need for a vaccine.

I don’t quite regret not getting that vaccine, and I understand my mom’s reasoning, but still…

Well, honestly, I’ve chanced it the past few years by not getting a flu shot, mostly because I abhor needles and the shot always makes my arm spasm into my hand and it’s just a weird and unpleasant feeling.

I wasn’t going to get one this year, but after reading that post and deciding to write this blog, I realized I kind of had to for credibility. I can’t tell you vaccines are safe and cool and then refuse to get one myself.

So I confronted my fear of needles (well, pain) and got a flu shot.

Here’s my proof:

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This happened. I got my flu shot. My arm hurts.

I got a flu shot to prove a point more than guard against the flu.

That’s how devoted I am to this blog and this point.

Anyway, my mom hit on one thing I’ll discuss briefly, which is autism and vaccines. The guy who published the study was proven wrong and banned from practicing medicine. I can’t quote this because it’s common knowledge to me, but I’m sure if you google it, you’ll find it.

But here are some links talking about how vaccines don’t cause autism: New Meta-analysis Confirms: No Association between Vaccines and Autism and Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism

Unfortunately, this one bit of bad science held on and a lot of people believed it.

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Even if this were the choice, dead or autistic, holy hell, I’d like my child to be alive. Autism isn’t the end of the world, as evidenced by my delightful brother. Nate may be socially awkward (like, worse than me), but he’s smart as hell. Sometimes I wish I could be as blunt (and remorseless) as him.

I used to hate how he made everything into a debate but I think now my brain could use it. Because Dave won’t debate with me.

Oh, and obviously you don’t “catch” autism. I think a lot of people know early on that their child is non-verbal, engages in hand-flapping, and so on. Your social five-year-old isn’t suddenly going to “come down” with autism because they got a vaccination.

Anyway, my mom is an intelligent person (my brother and I had to get it from somewhere), yet she’s still wary of the flu shot. (She said in a later email she did get it this year though.)

I guess it’s because it’s a different strain every year. I schooled her a bit — I couldn’t help it — about how they wait until it’s hit then make the vaccine.

I didn’t want to be a dick, but it’s hard being a science person when science is misunderstood.

People have turned science into fads:

FB_IMG_1459104667436fb_img_1475783755952 fb_img_1461721662231 fb_img_1461724530859I’ve used the first picture before, but even my doctor uncle is gluten free now. He does not have Celiac’s disease.

I tried a low carb diet and experienced bad GI upset, so that’s out for me. I’m pro-vaccines and antibiotics — as long as they’re not overused and creating an antibiotic-resistant strain.

And look, I’m still alive.

The cat litter one just makes me smile. If only I trusted my cats to shit outside without getting hit by a car.

And clearly that girl knows how to make money. Much like supermarkets.

Anyway, this isn’t really science. If you have Celiacs, then yes, avoid gluten. It’s like lactose intolerance, but somehow that didn’t catch on.

People are all too happy to latch onto fads, which may or may not be (most likely may not) be based on real science.

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And my favorite:

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So live it up. Have another glasss of wine.

I have a friend who once asked me if he could alkalize his body by drinking lemon juice or something. I’ve been searching for the text to screenshot it, but can’t find it. However, I found a lot of other pseudoscientific gems.

I couldn’t even figure out what the hell he meant because it made no sense to me. (This was before I knew trying to “alkalize” your body was thing.) I’m not sure why attempting to change your pH balance is a thing, except that someone (David Wolfe?) told you to.

physiological-ph-for-dummies1

Do people get bored with their normal lives and decide they need to shake it up a bit? Take up a hobby. Go on vacation. Adopt a cat. Don’t try to alter your body’s normal functioning.

It works the way it does for a reason.

Yes, your thyroid may not work like it should and so you take medication, but your blood should remain at a happy pH 7.4. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Okay?

I don’t even know how people get sucked into these things except that they don’t get science.

But like, why is the post on why not to get flu vaccines any better than this one about flu vaccine myths (i.e. pro flu shot)? 6 Flu Vaccine Myths

Among the myths: “You can get the flu, or a mild case of it, from the flu vaccine…The flu vaccine may not be safe for pregnant women or babies…Antibiotics can fight the flu if you get it…You don’t need to get the flu vaccine if you got it last year — the strains are basically the same…The flu vaccine contains thiomerosal, which may be harmful…Getting the flu can be a pain, but it’s not really a serious disease, so vaccination isn’t helpful.”

Is it because these points don’t agree with your preconceived notions, your pre-existing bias?

Yes, I’m a science person, so I’m biased toward science. I’m open to debate, but will hold strongly to previously-held views. (I could make a joke about how that’s more religion than science, but I won’t.) My “previously-held views” here are scientifically backed. I’m a science person. I speak the language of science. I know how science works. I know good science from bad science. I know woo from fact.

And I cling to to assertion that if your average person, even if they were anti-vaccine, anti-GMO, anti-[insert-scientific-thing-here], actually understood the science behind it, they wouldn’t be so against it, if at all.

The problem is that there’s so much misinformation, misunderstanding, and people profiting from spreading a fear of science.

Let me take David Wolfe as an example. People who don’t follow science pages on Facebook probably know him as someone who lauds a peaceful life in a cabin rather than a city life obsessed with the almighty dollar.

But he also peddles pure bullshit.

He said gravity is a toxin. It causes arthritis. Click this link and watch the video. I shit you not. It’s all bullshit, but he actually says gravity is a toxin at 3:46. (There’s some good crazy about static electricity in the beginning; I didn’t care to watch the rest): Guess Which Mammals Don’t Get Arthritis (Hint: Sleep Upside Down, No Pillows!)

GRAVITY IS NOT A TOXIN. We kind of need gravity. Alcohol is a toxin. Cigarette smoke is a toxin. David Wolfe is a toxin. Gravity is not.

Are we clear?

But people believe him. They believe that kind of batshit crazy (ha, punny).

That’s terrifying.

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The same friend I mentioned above believes microwaves cause cancer by irradiating your water, which affects your food. In ninth grade biology, someone asked if we could die standing in front of our microwave. The response was, “Yeah, if someone shoots you while you stand in front of it.”

He also went on about bad energies and needing positive anions and how vibrations from technology affect us and cause cancer…I only let him go on because I was enthralled by how ridiculous it was.

But when he started going after GMOs I had to correct him. Or at least try.

But why are people so heavily biased against science? I don’t get it.

Because they don’t understand it? I don’t understand men and I live with a man. I don’t understand all the intricacies of building a vehicle, yet I drive two. I don’t understand why my cats run around at three AM but that doesn’t stop me from loving them.

Just because you don’t understand something doesn’t mean it’s bad or should be avoided.

Except the anti-science trend. I don’t understand that and it’s bad. There are limits.

People seem obsessed with natural shit these days.

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There is likely nothing you’ll encounter in your lifetime that’s chemical free. There are very few exceptions.

We need to stop hating on science and those who pursue it. Like it or not, we know better than you.

I can tell Dave the same point ten times, but if he hears it from someone else, they’re right. Or if I point out a biological inaccuracy in a show or movie (or when he quotes something from a show or movie), I’m wrong and the movie is right.

He does the latter to annoy me (telling me that I just have a BS in biology and I’m just going for my PhD in biology), but I think a lot of people share this attitude.

But for some reason this natural, organic trend caught on like wildfire. And it doesn’t help that companies and stores accommodate it. They devote aisles to it, brag about how they’re natural or organic — or non-GMO…I make a point of not buying things that claim they’re non-GMO. It breaks my heart that Doritos betrayed me. Stop catering to bored 40-something-year-old mothers who need to feel superior and start catering to scientists, because we and our vaccines are the reason you’re not dead from a preventable disease.

Just saying, we’ve contributed a lot more than 40-ish mothers. All they did was add humans to the world, and we’d be better off with less people.

Hell, maybe I should delete this post and let some people avoid vaccines and suffer the consequences…

Natural isn’t better. Nature is constantly trying to kill you. It’s natural selection. Selection. Like, you’re supposed to fight to survive. If you want to fight for your life against a disease rather than get a vaccine, cool. You’re a dumbass. Clearly you shouldn’t reproduce anyway.

Naturally we’d live to maybe 30 or so, eat a lot of red meat, and pretty much base our lives around finding food and perhaps reproducing (okay, so that last one wouldn’t be so different).

Oh, and not dying. Talk about goals.

Believe me, I wouldn’t want to live the way other animals were intended to.

We’re lucky we live so comfortably that we can worry about hormones in our food and whether the farmer used pesticides.

And to the people who do (particularly the ones who get all self-righteous over it): get over yourselves. Aw, you don’t eat animals or anything Monsanto might have touched. You’re not superior to me because of that. You’re just more pretentious and annoying, and rightly so, you pay more to be that way.

Maybe we should label GMO food so I know to buy those brands.

Sorry, for a predator humans are surprisingly herdlike, and for that I hate them (among many reasons).

Let me also point out that “science” isn’t trying to make money off you. In the comments I discussed above, someone said that the flu shot was a “money making scam.” While talking with my mom about my endocrine woes, she told me I should stop going if I felt I was getting the run-around and it was just about making money.

I suspect that most people going into a medical field are in it to help people…because that large paycheck is going to go to paying med school loans for a long time.

I went into a biological field hoping to discover something awesome that will help people…just without the human contact.

So it’s likely fueled by a desire to help people directly, or it’s fueled by a desire to help people indirectly.

It’s not about money.

Let me repost that image from above:

big-pharma-illuminati

To people who think we have the cure to cancer and we’re just sitting on it because we’d rather make money: are you fucking kidding me? We’d at least use it on kids with cancer because they could still possibly become intelligent adults, unlike you. We probably wouldn’t use our secret anti-cancer powers on you, because you’re dumb and you wouldn’t believe us anyway and you’d probably think we poisoned that as well. See above for how natural selection would select against dumbasses.

Any job is ultimately about money, but if we’re working to better your health, maybe we have an investment that runs deeper than a paycheck.

When I’m doing research for a living, I’m likely going to be funded by NIH or NSF or something like that. They want good science. They won’t fund me if my science isn’t good. And it’s hard to do science without funding.

Why is everyone so convinced that doctors/researchers are only concerned with money? Like we’ll publish or practice anything to make a dollar? It doesn’t work like that.

Yes, we may have issues with our healthcare system (but unfortunately the dichotomy is not helping everyone or…socialism), but I don’t think your primary is evil just because the system is bad. Your physician doesn’t go into work each day wondering how they can make the biggest buck, nor how much they can make you and/or your insurance pay.

But common sense isn’t everyone’s strong suit.

Like this:

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What answer were you looking for? I mean, I know what you were looking for, but did you really expect a professional to tell you vaccines were bad when all the other medical professionals tell you the same thing? Did you think he would be an exception? That’s the only reason I can imagine you even asked him.

And no, you don’t know more about vaccines than someone with a PhD. With a bachelor’s in biology I know more than you about vaccines. After taking a single college immunology course, I knew more than you do about vaccines.

Just because he didn’t validate your previously held beliefs doesn’t mean he’s wrong. It’s not like you were testing him — does he know the “right” answer? No, you were asking him for his opinion because you wanted to take it as fact…except you didn’t like what he said.

Like this person actually thinks they’re smarter (i.e. more educated) than someone with a PhD (in a relevant field) just because the PhD holder didn’t tell them what they wanted to hear. That’s scary.

People just don’t like to be told things that contradict their beliefs.

Let me take a moment to summarize an old post (Can I Get an Amen?): my religious beliefs don’t impede my science career and I don’t think science is the antithesis of religion. Science tells us about life and nature, but can’t really prove or disprove religion’s claims. You can give me all the data you want and it’s not going to tell me about whether or not God exists. However, it can tell me whether or not a vaccine is safe. It can tell me about whether GMOs are safe. Because vaccines and GMOs are science. Religion is not.

But people get as fired up over GMOs and vaccines as they do religion:

antivax-threat

Let me respond to this with a meme:

escalation

Seriously though, you’re going to “literally” get all up at arms (get it?) about vaccines?

And we definitely don’t need a Facebook page called “Health Thugs.”

Let’s face it, you, a 40-something-year-old mom driving a minivan who follows Natural News too closely is not going to shoot up the League of Vaccine Enforcers. You’re not as badass as you like to think; with your strictly organic, non-GMO, gluten-free, vegan diet. If the apocalypse was suddenly upon us, scavengers who will eat anything (like me) would survive and you’d be the first to go. You also would not have been selected for. You go against all our evolutionary success.

Also, for everyone who’s all organic and shit, please tell me you don’t dare touch alcohol or anything with refined sugar in it. Go big or go home.

On another note, it concerns me that anti-vaxxers are so intense as to imply the use of guns against vaccinations.

Forced vaccinations are for the health of your child, because clearly you can’t be trusted. You’re so crazy as to threaten violence against vaccinations.

If you’re this against vaccinations, don’t have children.

If I were a doctor, I would definitely refuse to see unvaccinated patients and would school any parents that tried to tell me they didn’t want their kids vaccinated.

It’s not fair to make them pay for your stupidity.

Let me make just one more related point. Yes, you’re almost to the end.

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When I talk about doing research, I actually did respectable research. No, I didn’t take the issue up in the lab, but I do my best to look for reputable sources and I don’t cherry-pick.

But as science person, I know how to do research and what’s good research.

When your average person does “research,” Wikipedia, forums, and non-scientific (more personal experience) blogs get picked…because those are the only things that support their anti-science claims.

Yes, my blog is personal, but when I talk science, I mean it. I would never disrespect science.

A personal anecdote or an uncontrolled, undocumented home experiment don’t constitute science, and they can’t be used to argue against science. It’s like pitting your fifth-grade little league team against an MLB team, or racing your go-kart against a Viper.

But with science it’s not just that it’s not fair; it just can’t compare.

So stop claiming you “did you research.” Because I’ve done better research.

fb_img_1464521409630 Pretty much. Like I’d love to deconstruct every poor anti-science argument, but a lot of people would hate me.

So I’ll settle for this: please don’t fear science because you don’t understand it,\ or because someone tells you to. Consider where they’re coming from and consult a scientist. Trust me, we’re more concerned about good science than money.

Science isn’t here to hurt; it’s here to help.

cap
You made Cap swear!

 

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A Case Study

Perhaps you remember my post Why America Scares Me, in which I discussed the Kaepernick nonsense. However, even writing a nice long vent like that didn’t keep me from getting irritated every time I saw someone (like Dave’s mom or Dave’s uncle — I think) posting about it or about disrespecting the country or whatever. Their virulent Islamophobic posts have irked me for some time — even angered me — but I politely kept my mouth shut. Attacking them would get me nowhere. It’d be better to just let them say what they wish rather than get into a war with ignorance.

Dave tried to tell me that technically it’s against the law not to stand for the National Anthem. I replied that it’s also technically against the law to text and drive, to open a beer while driving, or to speed (all of which he’s done or does). Also, compelling people to stand doesn’t sound like freedom and ‘Murica to me. (See below for more on this.)

Anyway, I hate ignorance and stupidity, but you can’t reason with it.

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Well, logic and reason may be lacking, but they make up for it with blind passion

But when I found this post (below), I had to share it. I can’t describe the feeling of satisfaction it brought me.

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It still makes me smile with complete satisfaction

I try not to be too controversial on social media; I’m not looking for an argument. I like to make people laugh (and think). But I couldn’t pass this up. It was too perfect and allowed me to say it without actually saying it.

I knew Dave’s Mom and uncle would see it (let’s call him Steve; I’m not really going to talk about Dave’s mom much), but I didn’t care. Maybe, maybe it would make them think about their unwavering allegiance to the confederacy and how stupid their overreaction to Kaepernick was.

There is a certain genre of people that annoy the hell out of me. They’re the uber-American, yet pro confederate flag, hyper-sensitive to “disrespect”, anti-Muslim — anti anyone different, really — prone to mass generalizations and fear mongering, cherry-picking, non-critically thinking people. Basically the people I wrote about in the above link: uneducated America.

A little background on Steve: he believes in a new world order and if you don’t believe in Jesus, you probably won’t be saved. He actually believes that the apocalypse is happening…soon. He’s a Trump supporter, self-described conservative and, oddly enough, supports pot. He also “liked” Black Lives Splatter on Facebook (I don’t even care to see if it means what I think it does). Oh, and of course he has a fear of socialism and liberals.

Even Dave says he’s “out there.”

Here are a few examples of the type of stuff he’d post…some of which he actually did, and some which just seems right up his ally:

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I mean, if white people weren’t keeping slaves in the first place, they wouldn’t have needed to die…and a lot of white people died to keep slavery…

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Everybody does, dumbass. That includes you.

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There’s your pro gun rights bit. And no, not just a shotgun, but an AR-15 (or what have you). Why not?

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Because, you know, Obama is evil.

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And so is Hillary. I also like that super subtle Kool-aid comment. Who drinks Kool-aid out of a mug? Or is it a teacup?

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Paranoia and distrust of the government? Check.

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No comment needed.

Oh, and this is funny: he posted something that says: “Education is not the learning of facts…it’s rather the training of the mind to think.” I suppose he’s never tried this.

Why am I telling you this? Why should you care?

Because he replied to my post.

Here is a prime example of why America scares me.

john1

Steve is the one calling me an ass. Dave’s mom is the one calling me an idiot. Yeah, his mom is calling me an idiot.

I was going to let it go, or just say thanks and move on, but I was having a bit of a bad day thanks to the medical profession and I was just so tired of IIS (intolerance, ignorance, and stupidity) that I couldn’t. As I told Dave later, if it weren’t for all of the stupid posts and the anti-Islam ones, I would’ve let it go. But I’d had my fill and had to at least speak up. I knew I wouldn’t stop them, but I had to at least tell them that they’re suffering from a disease called, well, IIS.

john2

My full response is below. The point of the PhD bit is that I’m neither ignorant or stupid. I’m damn intelligent and have worked to get where I am.

It’s under the American flag that my mom got a longer prison sentence for mail fraud than Turner did for raping an unconscious woman behind a dumpster, that a veteran caught with pot gets 30 years (or life in some cases). That’s cool with you though? America is still the awesomest?

I was going to point out that I’m not a liberal, but I knew it wouldn’t do any good. In fact, after all this I changed my political views from conservative (which would’ve connoted me with this bullshit) to Not a Fucking Idiot. Because I’m not and I go with whomever isn’t a fucking idiot.

Who do I think I am? Someone with an ounce (or a few gallons) more intelligence than you. Someone who doesn’t have the black and white reasoning of a child.

john3

I was trying so hard to be civil. Name-calling and personal insults would get me nowhere and undermine my argument as a rational, intelligent person.

But I don’t have to be civil here in this blog.

john4

Again, far from a Democrat. Ooh, unpatriotic, the worst insult you could think of. Oh wait, that’s a socialist. We don’t have law and order and respect now, so…

I know I’m smart, thanks. I have no idea of what? Cool, I’ve had family in the military too. My nephew and cousin are both in it now and I really wish they weren’t. In fact, my cousin just re-enlisted and I think it was the stupidest decision he could’ve made. Instead of fueling a stupid war, go to college. Do anything else. (Thankfully my brother would technically be denied because he has autism.)

And there, calling me a socialist because I don’t support the confederate flag and don’t eat, breathe, and shit America, because I support the freedom to not stand for the Anthem. Because I disagree with you. That’s what this really comes down to…but I’ll get into that later.

I sleep under a fucking confederate flag. I live with it and see it everyday. I still think it’s fucking stupid because YOU DON’T LIVE IN THE CONFEDERACY AND BASICALLY YOU’RE SAYING YOU HATE THE COUNTRY THE WAY IT IS AND WANT TO ATTEMPT TO SECEDE AGAIN.

I have a feeling he’s the kind of person who would make fun of me for actually being in counseling.

Yes, your behavior is absolutely disgusting.

I say this below, but yes, we don’t worry about rapists getting off easily. Obviously. But you care more about a fucking athlete or a fucking flag than you do a woman getting raped and getting no justice (and even justice won’t stop the flashbacks, guilt, and pain).

I’m glad you’re more concerned about a piece of material than a human being. Dave has an old flag in the garage that’s technically touching the ground. Is hanging a flag and using it as decoration disrespectful? Damn, he’s disrespecting the confederacy too.

john5
Note, I have no problem with Mexicans or Germans, just making a point — well, antagonizing a bit

I do actually want to learn Russian, but I should brush up on Spanish and solidify my German first. I know someone with a Russian accent and it’s just wonderful.

I’m proud of my entire response, but the “socialist is the insult of choice for people like you” and “I’m not, but nothing will ever convince you of that” bits make me happy. They imply that he, and those like him, default to calling disagreeable (i.e. educated?) people socialists and that I know he’s irrational.

And again, the US has way more important issues to fix than an athlete (or many) not standing for the Anthem. Like how rape is no big deal. But Steve is a man who hasn’t been raped, nor has anyone he’s close to been raped. So that doesn’t matter. But he’s personally affected by Kaepernick. Somehow.

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Again, I have so many pictures I found to add in here. These two just speak to how ass-backwards our (I mean their) priorities are.

john6

He posted a link about how the Besty Ross flag was claimed to be a symbol of hate. Dave’s Mom had shared this earlier in the day, and I didn’t care to read it then because I knew it was stupid.

And actually, it’s Doctor, not Miz. Ignorance actually leads to conversations like these, and people like you. I know for a fact I’m not ignorant.

Also, when I say “people,” I mean you. You like to be angry. Like many uneducated people.

I also hoped the “child” thing would make him stop, because I didn’t really care to continue this. Not that I was “losing,” but I was reaching my limit for stupidity.

john7

Sorry, which part of that was a fact? You shared a link. It came from a damn opinion section, for Heaven’s sake! And yes, we are having a debate (I hate to call it an argument because then I lose credibility).

I think some people read titles and just go ahead and post it. If they actually read a lot of what they shared, they’d realize it’s dumb or much more complicated than a clever one-liner. But actually reading something goes along with not being dumb, and even if they read it, if they lack critical reading skills, they still might share it.

Anyway, I kid you not, this was the entirety of the post. (School District: Betsy Ross flag is symbol of hate) Yes, you can click for the actual column that was discussed here, but this is the post he actually shared:

“A Michigan school district called the historic “Betsy Ross” flag a symbol of hate and profusely apologized after students displayed the flag at a recent high school football game.

‘To wave a historical version of our flag, that to some symbolizes exclusion and hate, injects hostility and confusion to an event where no one intended to do so,’ wrote Forest Hills Public Schools Superintendent Daniel Behm in a letter to parents.

The controversy surrounding the 13-star flag erupted on Sept. 9th during a football game between predominantly white Forest Hills Central High School and predominantly black Ottawa Hills High School, MLive reports.

Forest Hills students not only waved a “Betsy Ross” flag, but they also displayed a Donald Trump banner (behavior guaranteed to get you labeled deplorable).

To continue reading Todd’s column, click here.

My favorite part of this short thing is: “To wave a historical version of our flag, that to some symbolizes exclusion and hate, injects hostility and confusion to an event where no one intended to do so.” Um, the confederate flag is the same fucking thing! But that’s okay for some reason…?

Also, I left the link in there so you can read the column and realize it’s basically another ‘MURICA person bitching about anyone who doesn’t share his beliefs. It’s not written professionally or anything. (“Supt. Daniel Behr is a pinhead.” Solid reasoning.)

The difference with this blog is that, well, I value intelligence and critical thinking and I’m okay with being wrong if you have good evidence. Had Steve made one decent point instead of resorting to name-calling and ad hominem attacks and the like, I could’ve at least respectfully accepted his difference in opinion. My brother is a staunch atheist and opponent to me in many ways and even we can debate and/or discuss respectfully differences in religious opinion. I respect well-crafted arguments and arguments backed by evidence. (Most of the time if Dave quotes some random, questionable “fact,” I ask where he read it. That usually clears up whether I should believe it.)

john8

I knew I’d won when he said I’d made no sense. Either my highbrow comments were too much for him or he knew I made good points and had to act like I didn’t and he couldn’t even reply.

know I made sense. My mom got it. Dave got it. My friends got it. Uneducated America might be perplexed by my logic but smart people get it. That’s all it takes.

I have a good dose of common sense and I’ve had an unfortunately high dose of reality. Sorry you quit at high school (not a jab; he actually did); I’m smart and ambitious enough to go for better. Clearly you don’t understand how much work college is, and especially going on to get your PhD. It not only takes intelligence but drive. I’m not going to forget the PhD because I’m smart enough to get it and also I want a better job than you ever dreamed of.

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I also want to note that it was very nice of one of my friends not only to like one of my responses, but to also comment at the bottom. See, I’m good, extremely intelligent, and reasonable. And I should keep doing what I’m doing.

“Anonymous” commenter, thank you very much. It really does mean a lot.

But, in case I didn’t drive it home before, let me drive home why these kinds of people scare me:

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The south will rise again, eh? So you want to secede again? Fuck it, I think the US would be better with you gone. Damn. Seriously, if you try to leave again, I say we let you go. (This was posted by one of Dave’s brother-in-law’s friend, by the way. I think I’ve woven my way into the wrong family.)

You want the south to rise again? Does that mean bringing back discrimination too? I was telling my mom about my Facebook war with Steve and not only was she amazed by how scary and stupid he was, but she also said he probably has a closet full of white sheets.

The confederate south is nothing to be proud of, and so I scratch my head at the people who laud the confederate flag. Those of you who call it the rebel flag clearly don’t get the historical connotation (Dave…). It’s not a rebel thing; it’s a discriminatory (and racist and slavery) thing.

I’m seriously tempted to buy an Irish or Italian flag to hang in the room. No, German. We’re both Irish. Dave is German, but he hates how I love German culture. German it is.

I got both. It’s worth $16.40 to piss off Dave.

But seriously, unless you fought for the confederacy and lost and are pissed about it, there’s no reason to have a confederate flag. Dave sees it as a rebel thing. No, stop it, you’re not a rebel because you live in the almost-country and sport the confederate flag. Calm down. (I wonder how many times I’ve said that in this blog.)

If you want another civil war, cool, keep flying it. The south won’t rise again; we kicked your ass once and will do it again — but if that’s not what you’re after (say, you live in New York like Dave), then put it away. Grow the fuck up and realize that being a “rebel” is not the end-all-be-all of life.

And then there’s this, by Dave’s mom:

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As I mentioned in my original Kaepernick post, a lot of people claim posts were banned by Facebook when really, there’s nothing offensive about them. They just want an image shared. Sure, there’s a confederate flag in this one, but even I wouldn’t demonize a guy paying his respects to a soldier.

What I do take issue with is the bullshit caption. The confederate flag is about honor and respect? Heritage not hate? Let me direct you to an older post so I don’t have to completely repeat myself: We Need to Focus. (In fact, even in this post I was talking about getting a German flag to piss Dave off.)

Basically, if you’re going to call the heritage card, you’re claiming heritage to those southerners who wanted to secede over slavery — because they wanted to keep it. So, Steve, I’ve done my reading up on history. I must wonder if you ever have.

Okay, so you found one picture of a guy with the flag (which looks suspiciously posed) kneeling at a grave. How about the pictures like the one above, about the south rising again and all the people claiming to be southern rebels because they have the flag somewhere?

And the confederacy was only “rebel” to the union, so if you think southerners are rebels and/or the confederate flag makes the rebel, then you’re identifying with the union.

Dave didn’t like this theory. He said he’s a “northern southerner” and likes the south because of “southern freedoms.” I didn’t realize that was a thing nor could he tell me what they are.

Anyway…the confederate flag is not about honor, respect, or heritage. Supporting it supports a time and place where slavery was cool and you were ready to make your own country to keep it.

While I’m here, I’ve been sitting on some confederate flag pictures and it’s time to dump them:

fb_img_1474743623122See the picture above about those ungrateful black people who haven’t yet thanked the kind white men that died for them.
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*Literally every confederate flag waver since the civil war era ended*

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Ha. Oh, and more on politics below:

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This actually made me smile because it’s funny. I’m neither for Trump nor Hillary, again, but like seriously? Trump wants to mark all Muslims (and I don’t even need to mention the historical issues with that), but Hillary despises and degrades Americans? Yes, she hates racists, homophobes, xenophobes, and Islamophobes — as do I. Because those racists, homophobes, xenophobes, and Islamophobes hate certain groups of people within our country. Oh, and Trump is one of them. As are many of his followers. How else could he have become a freaking presidential candidate? The irony here is great — but the fact that the poster misses it concerns me.

And of course this was one of Steve’s posts.

Some time later I found the following pictures:

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fb_img_1476208854955 fb_img_1474909988365Onward…

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First of all, *Hussein.

Steve shared this, as did Dave’s mom did. Okay, we didn’t forget.

“Muslims” does not mean all Muslims. People seem to have confused this. The people who attacked us were Muslim, but don’t represent all Muslims, like pedophile priests don’t represent all priests, and all Catholics don’t rep those who were involved in the Crusades.

Critical thinking. Actually, basic thinking — life is not “all or nothing.”

OBAMA IS NOT MUSLIM. How stupid can you be? Stop using his “Muslimness” as a scare tactic. He’s not fucking Muslim. Holy shit. Also I like how they included his middle name to further solidify his Muslimness. If his middle name were Alfred they wouldn’t have mentioned it. Ooh, Hussein, must be a link to Saddam.

What is “rampant?” And yes, we’re still allowing immigration.

Muslim does not equal bad. If you think so, you’re a dumbfuck. You are part of the uneducated America I loathe.

WE DIDN’T FUCKING FORGET. SORRY WE DIDN’T BURN EVERY FUCKING MUSLIM AT THE STAKE. YOU’RE SO STUPID IT FUCKING HURTS MY BRAIN.

I can’t take it anymore.

This post equates Muslims with 9/11 and terrorism. Like it just makes the assumption. It assumes Obama is Muslim. When your bigotry is so deeply-ingrained that it assumes Muslims are evil and is more concerned with using that against them rather than attempting to prove why they are, that is a serious problem.

Here’s another example:

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Well, first of all, let me address the whole standing for the pledge bit:

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I just used a picture to talk about a picture. Oye. Is that like inception or something?

The above (shared by Steve, no less) again implies there’s something inherently wrong with Islam that if it’s allowed, then we should be allowed to stand for the Pledge. Get what I mean? It’s like “If this atrocious thing is okay, then certainly we should be allowed to do this agreeable thing.”

This actually gets frustrating for me because I do consider myself smart (if I hadn’t mentioned that in the last two sentences) and yet I can’t understand these people. It makes literally no sense to me. I can explain it away as sheer unbridled stupidity, but whyHow did they get so ignorant? How, no matter how stupid, can this seem reasonable and okay?

Oh, and “What happened to America?” Oh no, we let Muslims live here. How could we let ourselves be tainted like this? And someone on the internet claims we can’t stand for the Pledge anymore — what happened to pride in America?

I don’t know, maybe stop fucking up so much and start being respectable?

I heard today (you know, when I actually wrote this many weeks ago) we had to apologize for bombing Syria and killing their troops because we meant to bomb the Islamic State (ISIS). Um, how is a “my bad” going to make up for fucking bombing someone when you had a treaty saying you wouldn’t? This is how wars get started.

fb_img_1473982159337This quote just supports what I’ve been saying. You can say what you want, but you’re also subject to my reaction. Because I can also say what I want. I’m not the bad guy for disagreeing and/or showing that you’re wrong.

Freedom of speech isn’t that you can say what you want and no one can disagree. People don’t seem to realize that.

Yes, I do keep quiet, but if you feel the need to comment on what I say, prepare for a debate you will not win.

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Really, this whole thing happened because I disagreed with someone who couldn’t handle that fact. I see lots of things I disagree with from people like Steve and Dave’s mom, but I don’t bother. Those who don’t want to be educated won’t be. Unfortunately I also love Dave’s Mom, so it’s hard for me to correct her (she did in fact call this a family feud, which I took to mean I was included under family) or my brother, for example — except my brother is far more willing to debate.

But I said something that someone didn’t agree with and it set off an argument with them. I’m pretty sure I made good points and made sense.

If you disagree with me, I ask for your evidence. I evaluate that before I evaluate you.

People who call you names or insult you because you simply don’t agree with them aren’t to be respected. Your attempts at respectable, civilized argument will be rejected.

Most of America is this way. But I ask for a source before I believe something.

Some people won’t believe you unless you fit a specific definition: conservative, Trump-supporter, Christian, and so on.

I’m not sure there was exactly a point to this post, except to illustrate the ignorance, intolerance and stupidity that scares me. And to highlight the difference between me and the subsect of America I so passionately can’t stand. I see something I don’t agree with, and I pick my battle. Reason won’t win with stupidity (well, it will, but stupidity won’t concede), and it knows that. However, stupidity sees something it doesn’t agree with, and has to attack it and thinks it can beat reason.

I made sense. There was nothing I said that was unclear. Stupidity just can’t make sense of facts or logic if it contradicts what it wants to keep believing.

I don’t really care to get into Facebook debates, but I’d had enough. Sometimes you just have to say something. You may know it’s pointless going in, but at least you tried. And others will see you tried.

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Love Online

As I mentioned in Texting EtiquetteI could write an entire post about online dating. This is that post.

I know this may appeal to a more narrow audience, whether you’ve found the One (for better or worse), you’d never do online dating, or you’re smart and just don’t care to date because you have cats instead. I encourage you to stay for the horror stories. I’ll also try to make a broader connection to life or love or the lazy world or the electronically-obsessed world. I’ll figure something out.

Let me start with this: Why I Quit Online Dating Forever & You Should Too

I disagree.

What we have here is another millennial who gave up something pretty common and is now claiming to be enlightened and telling us to give it up with her (see Women and Wine).

Let me quote the post:

“I’ve been trying to navigate online dating for several years now with honest intentions and I can tell you for certain, it’s changed dramatically — and not in a good way. Actual relationships are rare and drama and disappointment is plentiful. Online dating is mostly bullshit now. I’m five months sober from looking for love online, and here’s why I’ll never go back:
1. IT’S NOT AUTHENTIC ANYMORE.
Many users aren’t looking for anything real, and are mostly trying to kill their boredom or sexual urges. Hours are spent pointlessly swiping, messages go routinely unanswered and people take out their bitter feelings of their last relationship out on a complete stranger. Yay?”

I don’t know, every guy I’ve met online (that I met in person) was looking for something real. If anything, I’ve used it as a cure to boredom. Well, because I had an empty house after my mom was arrested and an empty apartment after things went to rapetown with Matt. I actually just enjoyed the conversation and illusion of company…and sanity.

“2. CONVERSATIONS ARE SO CLICHE.
If you’ve been online dating for a long ass time like I have, you’ll get to a point where the initial conversations bore you to tears, but you have to have them in an effort to get to know each other.”

It never killed me that much. It’s a necessary evil. The sooner you get through it, the better your odds are.

“3. I’M SICK OF THE UNWANTED SEX TALK.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a seemingly innocent conversation with a guy and he suddenly starts talking about my boobs or makes completely uncalled for sexual comments — or even worse, he sends an unsolicited dick pic.”

Surprise sexual conversations are not fun, and I’ve rarely had an unsolicited dick pic that I was happy about. I do have to agree with this one. That’s not to say that spontaneous flirtation is a bad thing. I was convinced for a long time that Dave wasn’t actually interested in me. Because the most flirty(?) thing he said for a while was that he could use my boobs as pillows. The fact that he acknowledged I had boobs shocked me.

“4. THE ODDS ARE THE SAME IN REAL LIFE.
I’ve been meeting just as many date-worthy men in real life since I disconnected. When I truly think about the logistics, I used to chat with numerous men before just one of them stood out enough to take the connection offline. Now that I’m not constantly distracted by Tinder notifications when I’m out and about, I actually get approached by men again. Nothing has been promising so far, but the number of opportunities in real life are just the same as anything I experienced online. It gives me hope for meeting the right person for me organically.”

Where are you meeting them??? I’ll get into this more in a but, but I never had men at my disposal. And yeah, nothing has been promising, so how is it that much better than online?

“5. SEARCHING FOR MR. RIGHT IN A LAZY WAY IS CONTRADICTING.
It’s actually pretty lazy to think that you can find your Prince Charming while sitting on your couch in tattered PJs with chip crumbs in your lap.”

No it’s not. It’s working smarter, not harder.

“6. IT DISCONNECTED ME FROM REAL LIFE.
Like I said, when I was constantly searching for love online, I would be out and about constantly distracted by my phone and all the dating apps I had…[Y]ou’d be surprised how many opportunities for connection are right under your nose everyday.”

I’m always distracted by my phone anyway (I have Pokemon to catch and hatch). I’ve tried connecting in the real world. Which is why I turned to online.

“7. I’M SICK OF COMPETING FOR AFFECTIONS IN A SHALLOW ONLINE WORLD.
I’ve dated plenty of men who are constantly keeping their options open and continuing to persue and even date other women they meet online even after months of us dating. It’s fucking painful and it happens all the time.”

I never really dealt with this. So I guess it doesn’t happen all the time.

Also *pursue

“8. I’M PERFECTLY CAPABLE OF DATING THE OLD FASHIONED WAY.
I can honestly say my life is a happier one without the constant and daily rejections, rude comments and anxieties that come with looking for love online. I might meet less men this way, but the ones I do meet feel meaningful right from the start and I’m confident that I’m still going to find love, even if I don’t look for it online.”

I’m not. Online love is no different than Facebook or any other social media beast.

How do they feel meaningful right from the start? And I thought the ods were the same, and now you say you meet more men online.

Let me share my “love” story though, as my right eye pulsates and swells from when Dave just accidentally elbowed me in the eye. I was just trying to grab his butt. I didn’t deserve this.

I had many crushes, from preschool to, well, now. As a high school freshman I finally found a guy who at least seemed to want to be friends with me. Literally the only time I’ve been “flirted” with in person is with this guy. He sat down next to me because I was talking about my goats.

Yeah.

Six months later I asked him out. Which to me was couplehood.

It took maybe a year and a half before we actually made it official. Like Facebook official.

It was another six months (I think?) before I tried to kiss him.

I was a freshman in college before we attempted making out, I think. It was a bit awkward, with my family being around, my dog watching us, both us of being inexperienced, and both of us wanting to wait until marriage for the fun stuff.

At the end of our freshman year we broke up. Still friends though.

I was single for seven months. The longest I’ve been single since I started dating. (I don’t count those middle school years of asking guys out…and being rejected, of course.)

I tried to flirt. I really did. I remember making flirty eye contact with one of the butchers at the Hannaford where my mom worked; she kept talking about trying to set us up.

My dad tried to set me up with a guy at his pigeon club. He was around my age, going to Albany College of Pharmacy. One night he happened to be at my dad’s, so my dad called me and I headed over.

He told my dad afterward that I was very pretty and seemed very nice, but his Jewish family was ready to arrange a marriage for him with a girl from Israel. I couldn’t compete.

I went into Michael’s everyday for at least a week, buying one item a day for my art class, claiming I wanted to use a coupon as much as possible. I just wanted to flirt with the cashier. I eventually asked him if he wanted to grab a coffee and he said he didn’t like coffee. I said we could grab a different beverage and he said he’d just been broken up with. Okay, sure…

Come up with a better let-down than “I don’t like coffee,” guy. Geez.

(I saw him recently with Dave and it was awkward for me, but I doubt he recognized me.)

I tried asking a guy out in the art class I was buying supplies for one by one. First it was just that his schedule was packed for now. Okay, let me know when it’s not.

He didn’t. I brought it up again. (Each time feeling like I might actually pass out from being so nervous.)

He said he was still too busy. I told him to let me know when he wasn’t, then.

He never did.

I’m sure I tried to flirt a lot more (hell, I hoped getting a job might help me meet men; they were all married). It was to no avail.

After seven months of singledom and not even so much as a successful flirtation, I decided to try the OkCupid app on my phone (I made this decision during church, no less). That same night I met my future boyfriend.

He told me he loved me on date two. On date three, we became a couple. A week in he cheated, three weeks in he stole my virginity before I was ready, then broke up with me days later, days after my mom was arrested. What a supportive boyfriend…

Whatever. I gave it another shot. I dated a guy with a baby on the way, plus a few others.

I dated a lot between my various boyfriends. Some weekends I had a different date every night (Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday). Sometimes I had to try to juggle two guys who wanted to go out the same night. Somehow they all managed to fall for me (even after only a date or two), and I had to break bad news to a lot of (foolishly) smitten guys.

My next boyfriend happened because my friend swiped right on Tinder. On our first date we decided we should be a couple.

Okay, whatever. Two days later he was telling me he loved me and wanted to marry me and we were choosing names for kids. I knew it was just infatuation, but either way it was a happy distraction from how much life at home sucked.

It lasted maybe a week and a half before he started getting on my nerves. After a drunk phone call asking for a threesome and telling me he was getting turned on by other girls (see Texting Etiquette, again), I decided it was time to end it.

A couple weeks later (like, two) I met Matt, the much-talked about ex. During the course of our six month relationship I moved into my grandparents’ house, where I had a curfew, which put some strain on us. My grandparents just put strain on us. They didn’t like Matt and he didn’t like them.

My relationship with Matt was fraught with arguments and most days I was annoyed with him, but my relationship with my grandparents was also worsening. So after five months living with them, I moved out and into an apartment with Matt.

I thought he was bad before, but he really smothered me there. But hey, I was adulting and away from my grandparents and making a home with someone I supposedly loved.

That is until he raped me and things got really bad, really fast.

I lasted about another week in the apartment, during which time I chatted with a bunch of guys, mostly to keep me sane when I was afraid to be there.

Of course I made dates with some. But I canceled most of them because I just wasn’t feeling it. One guy messaged me right before I was supposed to go meet him to watch a movie to ask if I had a problem with pot. I replied “Kind of” and never heard from him again.

I guess you could call it a “date” when I reconnected with the guy with the baby and he helped me move onto Siena’s campus for about two weeks. He said he felt like he owed me for going MIA many months ago, and he was happy to help me move (I got out in two nights). Unfortunately that was the same night my first date with Dave was scheduled, and I had to cancel. (Long after Dave was annoyed I canceled with him to be with another guy and he would’ve helped me. Not exactly the first impression I wanted to make.)

Dave gave me the benefit of the doubt and allowed me to reschedule. As I mentioned in that same post above, the guy who helped me move out called and texted me a few times during it.

But after that one date I was smitten. I was so dumb.

Again, two dates in we were a couple and on our third date (later that day we became a couple) Dave was telling me he loved me. A week or so later, I moved in.

He talked marriage for a few months. He actually talked seriously about proposing a little after our six month anniversary. We adopted three cats before one year (which turned into five). We argued a hell of a lot for about a year and said some horrible, nasty things to each other, but now we’re heading toward two years at an alarming rate and when I just asked him if we were going to get married, he replied, “Well duh.”

So that’s my entire dating history. Most of it online.

Like all of it except for one guy.

Men don’t approach me in real life.* I’ve had a guy friend tell me he’s surprised that I haven’t had a lot of boyfriends (this was some time ago), a few boyfriends have been convinced guys were constantly flirting with me, and my brother was even shocked that I’d never been flirted with and said I must’ve been missing it. That was practically a compliment.

*The only person in recent years that I’ve had flirt with me that I met in real life is a woman with a fiance.

Despite my rocky track record — okay, my mostly negative track record — with online dating, I still like it, recommend it, and would do it again. Dave has said I should know better and he does, because you only get shit from online dating (and he’s angry when he says it, so it’s not like he’s kidding).

I like it because you have a pool of people at your fingertips, you know everyone is on the same page, and you have an idea of what they’re about before you meet.

Instead of actively searching for and pursuing one victim at a time, perhaps days, weeks, or even months apart, I can lazily hunt a pack of prey. As you can surmise, I like to cast a wide net. The chance of me reeling in anyone is pretty slim, so I toss out a lot of lines and see who bites.

So many fishing metaphors.

Unfortunately, I often got more guys replying than I ever expected. Which meant I might be talking to six guys at once — like, in one night. I had to start assigning different ringtones to different people so I’d know who was texting or messaging (and if I wanted to get back right away).

I blame my bipolar in part for the impulsivity. But also, I never even met some of these guys. Some I entertained mediocre conversation with for a day or two. Some proved they were really only after sex. Some I went on only one date with.

If there was any real emotional investment from either of us, I did my best not to be a dick about letting him down. Or I was good about responding.

Anyway, a big advantage to online dating is that you can scroll (or swipe) through a lot of guys, instead of looking for a potential mate for months.

You’ll also probably get a self-esteem boost when tons of guys (some of whom you also find attractive) tell you you’re hot, beautiful, etc. And for the guys with whom it doesn’t go well, hopefully you get a good story out of it.

Another major benefit is that you know what everyone you talk to is looking for. Does he only want a friend? (Which is like nobody.) Does he just want to sext? Does he want something casual? Is he in the market for a relationship — but not too serious? Does he want a long-term relationship? Marriage?

I asked Dave what his end game was in his online dating days and he said something long-term. I replied that two years was kind of long-term and he told me to get out then. Seriously though, he equates long-term with marriage (even though you could be together for decades and never get married). To him, they’re the same thing.

Marriage was my end goal too, though I didn’t advertise that, nor get my hopes up. Also, it very well may not work out. I went into my relationship with Matt wanting to get married, and he was planning on proposing only two months after we broke up.

There are sites for people looking to get married, though. I was on one of them.

But really, it’s nice to know that people are (hopefully) single and looking for something — and you know what they’re looking for.

And, perhaps most importantly, you have some idea of what people are about, It was important to me that a guy be Catholic (or later, as I relaxed my criteria, Christian, or at least has a religion), like the outdoors, be doing something with his life…yes, people can lie on their profile, but why bother?

I feel like you can learn something about someone even by the way they write their profile.

I don’t want to waste my time on a guy that’s atheist, has three kids and is only looking to date casually. I don’t want to bother with a gamer ten years older than me who only cares to get high and do cosplay. I don’t care to seriously date a landscaper who acts superior because he rarely drinks, whines about doing things on weekends, and cares more about his trucks than he does me.

Wait…

Again, people can lie on their profile and whatnot, but hopefully they don’t and it gives you some idea of what you’re dealing with.

I found Dave’s POF profile (even though I deleted mine months ago, and told him). I can’t figure out what about him first attracted me. I think it was literally that he said he was a Christian and that was it. Plus he was cute. (Note the past tense.) I should’ve known to run when two of his photos were of his car and a landscape.

But a person you met at a bar, or a friend set you up with, or you met through some kind of meet-cute? You have no idea what they’re about. At least online you can match yourself with people you see fit.

I do have to admit, however, that most of us dating online are damaged in one way or another. I, apparently, was too weird for real world dating (and was insecure and whatnot). As time went on, I’d also been cheated on, emotionally abused, and sexually assaulted. At this point, I’m also bipolar.

Dave has been cheated on twice.

Matt was cheated on. He had a host of other issues as well.

Other guys I dated or had relationships with had various disabilities or illnesses. Mental illness seems to be a big one.

Online dating is where broken people go to try to find love from other broken people.

Sometimes your “damage” compliments their brokenness and sometimes it doesn’t. And vice versa.

I think that’s why online dating gets a bad rap. It’s a lot of people who are hurting or have been hurt looking for someone who won’t hurt them. Hurting can be mental illness, physical disability, and so on. Hurt can be cheating, using them, whatever.

Not that people you’d meet in the real world don’t have dark spots in their past, but there seems to be a higher concentration of it online. My theory is that either these people have been rejected in real life (probably many times) because of a real or perceived issue, and so they think online will be better. More opportunities, plus the knowledge that others like you have probably flocked to the site. Or they just don’t feel good enough or confident for real world dating, and going online allows them to be themselves…or whatever version they choose to present.

I know my reason was that I couldn’t find love in the real world (after my first boyfriend). I wasn’t sure whether it was looks or personality; I assumed looks, but my personality wasn’t exactly…outgoing. Or charming. Or nice.

And that was before I earned my bipolar diagnosis.

Online I could give someone a sample of me and let them chat me up if they liked what they read (and saw).

Oddly enough, online guys told me I was attractive. So was it actually my personality that put guys off? But I flirted with and/or asked a lot of guys out before they ever really got to know anything about me.

I think another thing I like about online dating is that it’s easier to be yourself. I mean, I don’t go full-force right away — they need an adjustment period to my sense of humor and misanthropic tendencies — but the risk feels lower because if they don’t like me, I have ten other guys who’ve messaged me and yet more I haven’t even talked to, much less even viewed their profile. The stakes are lower. It provides a safe space for insecure people to venture out of their shell.

One more note on how we’re mostly damaged goods; there’s not necessarily anything wrong with this. My truck has rust and the front bumper is at a bit of an angle and it’s about five shades of black (plus blue) and it was even in a front-end accident (before I got it). I still love it and it’s been more loyal to me than any man. (I just furiously knocked on wood that Angus doesn’t suddenly fail me.)

However, with damage comes desperation.

Which is probably the other major reason most people are online. It’s not a self-confidence issue, but a boredom issue, or a lack-of-patience issue.

I’ll admit I was also on because I was desperate, but in the no-patience sense. Also I wanted to know if there was something so horribly wrong with me that no human male my age could possibly be interested in me.

Desperate guys (and girls, I suppose) are likely another big reason why online dating has a bad name.

People who are lonely, horny, seeking validation…they all get clingy, fast. Or, contrapuntally, they don’t dare open up emotionally (or dump their feelings on you), and instead are only sexual with you. Neither is ideal (unless you’re into that).

On a similar note, online dating taught me how needy guys can be. I mean, not only do most claim to love cuddling (which at this point in my life is needy and annoying), but they get all weird if you don’t respond to their messages or texts immediately and will get super attached after only one date.

Maybe that has to do with being insecure and desperate and damaged.

Surprisingly, a lot of guys say they’re happy to wait for sex, claiming that it isn’t that important. Unsurprisingly, they rarely mean this.

But I always figured women would be the ones who come off as needy and annoying and clingy. Unless I really like a guy, I don’t. And even then, I only seem clingy because I really like him and so I always want to talk to him and/or see him. It’s not like I latch on and make him a shrine in my room and he becomes my entire life.

But after only one date, or a few days of conversation? Yes, I was smitten with Dave and wanted to be with only him after one date, but he felt the same way. (Again, note that this is very past tense.)

Still, being damaged, desperate, and needy are all contributing factors to things going sour.

Going sour in the dating stages, anyway. The fact that Dave and I are wading through a pool of stagnant sludge is more related to long term relationships, not dating.

Ultimately it comes down to being clingy for whatever reason. (I feel like it’s easier to deal with those hyper-sexual people.) There’s a difference in interest, in expectations…after a night of mediocre online conversation, a few hours together, a couple days of on and off texting, some people get really attached, when I’m just not feeling it. They think things went well and are expecting another date, meanwhile I’m trying to figure out a way to let them down (or scrape them off the bottom of my shoe).

Despite the horror stories, the bad dates, the awkward conversations, the players, the missed connections, the clingy ones, the unavailable ones, the hurt, the disappointment, the sometimes short or nightmarish relationships, I still like online dating. I would still recommend it and try it again.

So would Dave.

Which probably says something about our relationship.

Seriously though, I’m in favor of it. Maybe because technology facilitates most everything in my generation (I wouldn’t tell my grandparents we met online until we were like married), maybe because I’m lazy, maybe because I have self-esteem issues, but it works for me.

All I’m doing is looking for love.

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I’m a Proud Pet Parent

Before I get into the meat of this post, I was on the Gweat and Tewwible Facebook last night and saw a video entitled “We Need More of This” with the text “It’s discipline, not child abuse” framing the video. It was about a boy who called the cops on his mom because she hit him with a belt for cutting class. The mother was afraid she was going to jail. The one cop yelled at the boy for calling the cops on his mother and said his own mother would’ve whooped his ass, then returned the belt to the woman and said “Hit him again.”

I was appalled. Like speechless. I showed it to Dave and he was like, “Eh” and didn’t seem the least bit concerned. He said a belt is a bit much, but spanking isn’t.

Something to consider before having kids with him, I guess.

First of all, hitting people is wrong. That’s kindergarten level stuff. But hitting a kid? Someone who can’t really fight back? And your own kid at that?

Let me tell you, you take a swing at me and I’m unleashing hell on you. I may not look scary, but I have a lot of built-up anger looking for a new home.

What I lack in muscle or size I make up for in fight.

- Mark Twain
– Mark Twain

Anyway, while I agree that discipline is necessary, whipping a kid with a belt is not. If that’s your only recourse as a parent, you suck as a parent. You probably shouldn’t have had a kid.

The kid says, “I have rights!” And when he tells the cop his friends told him that, he said he was being fed misinformation by them. Um, what?

My problem in general is that bad parents resort to inappropriate measures or are overly critical of society for teaching their kids wrong when the real issue is that they just suck at parenting. As I said in one post (Blaming Culture), people hate taking responsibility and love to blame everything but themselves.

Like if you’re mad at a movie for teaching your kids values you don’t agree with, maybe you should consider what a shitty job you must’ve done teaching them your values and also how to critically think.

Or if you have to fall back on physical threats to “lay down the law,” I’m pretty sure you’re doing something wrong. Surely there is a more effective way to enforce rules.

I’m sure some could criticize me for doling out parenting advice when I’m not a parent (of a human), but really it’s a critique of societal attitudes, not parenting per se.

Take me for example. My mom may not have been the best (due to the legal issues and fucking up my credit), but I’d be thrilled if I had the relationship with my future kids that I had with my mom.

There was really no discipline necessary. I mean, sure, when I was younger I got sent to my room, maybe grounded once? (I don’t think it was enforced.) But I was never hit.

And once I became a teenager, when some might need straightening out or might require harsh rules and punishments thrust upon them, I did not.

My mom has admitted her parenting style between me and my brother was very different. With Nate, she was mostly hands-off in an attempt to make him love her by not smothering him with rules. He could say whatever he wanted to her and she just took it…unless she suddenly erupted in fury.

I, on the other hand, was always close with her and didn’t require rules. However, if I ever dared to call her out (or once didn’t text for too long while out with my boyfriend) or even got close to acting like Nate did with her, it was a total meltdown. Nate envied me because Mom didn’t unleash her angry outbursts on me, but I envied him because if I took even a single misstep from my “perfect daughter” status, it was the end of the world.

Still, my mom and I had a respect dynamic going, so “rules” weren’t necessary. I respected my mom, so I wasn’t going to do anything she wouldn’t approve of, and she respected me and trusted me not to do anything “bad.”

The point is, whatever you may think of her parenting, that Nate and I turned out okay.

Hell, if it weren’t for her parenting, Nate would’ve been put in Wild Wood and would likely be nonverbal and flapping his hands instead of attending college and having held the same job for over a year now.

I do hope I can be as fierce as my mom was as a parent. Apparently (ha, punny) she was timid and shy like me until she had us, then found her voice. Hopefully I’ll do the same.

Nate may not be the most pleasant person, but he’s in school, has a job, and is very intelligent. It’s not like he’s drinking his life away drifting from job to job and is months behind on rent in a shitty apartment.

And friends (and regular readers) know that I’m now pursuing my PhD, am working as a teaching assistant, and am living on my own (well, not with my family; I live with people).

Were we ever hit? No. In fact, discipline was pretty loose in our house. But we’re okay. We’re functional adults. Mostly. I’m more of an adult than Nate, and I function in public.

Also, and this may because of outside factors, like Nate’s autism, my bipolar, my science background, or our propensity for lawyer-like debates, but he and I can think critically. We have enough common sense to evaluate a news source, pick apart an argument, or enjoy a movie for what it’s meant to be without getting caught up in the “underlying messages.” (Like I want to see Sausage Party, even though people are saying it’s racist. Cool, but I’m going to enjoy it for what it’s meant to be: a movie about a hotdog. Calm down.)

Update: we saw it a bit ago (this post has been waiting patiently to be proofed). It was…interesting. If you’ve ever wanted to see a food orgy, this movie is for you. Yes, you read that correctly.

But my mom is a smart person (despite her lapses in judgment/common sense when it comes to legal things), so I don’t doubt that she encouraged us to, well, be smart. Yes, I watched some “heinous” Disney movies, but I remember my mom telling me Walt Disney had an issue with women, which I then started to pick up on.

Either way, I grew up with a critical eye, which I happily blame on both nature and nurture.

Bottom line: hitting a kid is not necessary and you (and not movies or culture or whatever) are responsible for your child’s beliefs and behavior.

But let me get to what I really wanted to talk about here. (I heard that groan; yes, that was just a lead-in. But a relevant one.)

During the course of writing a previous post (The Lost Nine), I read something about how pet owners need to stop calling themselves parents. I googled this hoping to find the original thing I read, but unfortunately I found others. So here are three examples (the first is the original):

Mom Writes Open Letter To Dog Owners Who Call Themselves ‘Parents’

Pet Parents: Can We Stop Pretending It’s a Thing?

Dear Pet Moms, You Are Not A Mom

I consider myself a pet mom. No, I don’t equate this with my hoo-ha having spit out a small human. I’ll just state that here.

And now I’m going to respond to these posts.

From the first:

“‘[F]ur babies’ are just not a thing. Dogs…can switch homes and owners with relative ease as long as they continue to be well loved and cared for.”

Bitch, furbabies are fucking yes a thing. My cats are my children. Dave even calls them our children. Dave! They are a thing because I love them like family. If you were a true animal lover (which she claims to be), then you’d get it.

Okay, a pet can switch homes with “relative ease” (which I doubt). But for me, the owner? Pure hell. You have no idea. I’ve stayed in bad relationships for my pets (literally only because I wasn’t going to give them up again) and being forced to surrender pets when my mom went to prison or when my ex got violent was horrible and something I still have nightmares about and cry about to this day. I love my pets more than I love most people. I would sacrifice for my pets before I’d sacrifice for most people.

So I guess you’re just a shitty pet owner.

Probably a shitty parent, too.

“People are the masters of domestic creatures. Let’s not forget that animals will generally remain loyal no matter what their owners say or do. The same certainly can’t be said for children. The behavior, needs, and expectations of animals are also mostly unchanging. If only that were true for children.”

I don’t know…I’m pretty sure prolonged abuse will scar an animal no matter who adopts them next. And I’ve been emotionally abused by a few people and still (perhaps stupidly) remain loyal. Because they’re family. My mom fucked me over in a big way and I’m still loyal to her. I get annoyed with her, sure, but she’s my fucking mom.

And okay, the needs of kids change. That’s saying something. A kid eventually learns to feed themselves and they go on to get jobs and maybe help out with household costs (like I did with every paycheck — I paid for our groceries many weeks without expecting to be paid back, which my brother still doesn’t appreciate; he bitched for immediate repayment when our mom borrowed even $20 from him).

Pets depend on you for everything their entire lives. If I forget to feed my (indoor*) cats for a month, they won’t do so well. A ten-year-old kid? I’m sure they’ll scavenge something.

*I keep my cats indoors because we’re on a road with no speed limit, plus there are coyotes around us. Not risking my babies’ lives.

“The urge to commiserate with an actual parent of actual children regarding actual parenting responsibilities when you’re simply a pet owner? Well, it’s misguided at best. If I asked a neighbor to occasionally walk my crate-training toddler once a day while I was at work, protective services would be at my door before I could type neglect.”

Why are you crate-training your toddler?

Seriously though, okay, we get it: pets are not actual human offspring. Kind of an obvious distinction (unless you’re into some weird bestiality shit), but you seem determined to drill it into us. I’m in charge of an animal’s well-bring, just like you’re in charge of…an animal’s well-being. But your animal is more important, so I’m a piece of shit.

“Part of the problem here seems to be rooted in the ever more fluid definition of family. Love has so many shapes and I honor and value all of them, but pet owners who call themselves parents trivialize the very real, ever-changing lifetime commitment that parenting is.”

OMG, fluid definitions! How evil! Except that’s how most people define themselves these days. Gender-fluid is a big thing. Hell, are you going to tell adoptive parents they’re going along with some fluid definition of being a parent? No — or at least I hope not.

So really, you “honor and value” all these fluid definitions except the one that for some reason threatens your self-image (and it seems like most younger parents base their entire identity around being a parent; I’m sure you’re a much more complex specimen of life than that).

What, you can’t denounce gender-fluidity or sexual fluidity and still be accepted by your peers, but let’s make up a new form of fluidity because you’re either insecure in your role as a parent or your life is greatly lacking in some way and so you have to try to fill that void by tearing others down — or both?

That’s what really gets me about this, but I’ll get more into that in a bit.

First here are some differences she listed between owning a pet and being in charge of a kid. In case you couldn’t tell by the fur.

“1. My daughter ages one damn year at a time, not seven. She’s not gonna be a sweet, deaf old girl by 13.”

Okay, so the commitment is shorter for a pet owner, but I have five cats and Dave has a dog. I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t opt for six kids.

“2. Sure, leashes have been adopted by parents. Now, I’m not about that, but I get it. Either way, I certainly can’t leave my kid tied to a pole outside of a store until I’ve finished my business (although I certainly wish I could sometimes).”

…but you wish you could. Okay then. Also, I doubt you could leave a pet tied to a pole outside a store because someone would be calling the police or something.

“3. I can’t drop my daughter off somewhere and pay to have someone bathe her, and, even if I could, it would definitely be frowned upon.”

But I’m willing to bet you’ll pay a babysitter to watch your kid. Animals present difficulties a human might not. I’m sure my cat would react more negatively toward a bath than your kid. The challenge with pets is that they don’t understand us, nor can we explain what we’re doing or why. We don’t have a parent-child bond. They don’t necessarily trust me not to drown them.

“4. I can’t just keep her in the yard either. And I certainly can’t just leave her home with a wee-wee pad and a couple of bowls of food and water. Just forget about dropping her off at some kid hotel to be pampered and fed while I skip town for the weekend.”

Again, babysitters. Also, why even have a pet if you’re just going to keep it in the yard? And one of the reasons I love cats if that they’re independent. I can leave them with food and water and they’re cool. (Dogs will snarf all their food in five minutes and need to be walked.) And whenever I went on vacation, I would leave my pets with my grandparents, who actually cared for them.

“5. I can’t write a Facebook post that includes a cuddly photo and a description of all of her positive attributes, and then advertise that she is in need of a new home because she doesn’t fit in my new apartment.”

Well a good pet owner wouldn’t do this either (unless the circumstances are absolutely dire — again, my life has been so unstable that it would not be fair to bring a kid into it, so I haven’t had one).

Also, if your pet (or child) doesn’t fit into your apartment, you might really want to cut back on how much you’re feeding them.

“6. I can’t have her “fixed” to avoid unwanted early grandmahood.”

But adults can be “fixed” in one sense or another. I mostly had my cats fixed to stop them from marking their territory…a problem I don’t think you experience with humans.

“7. I can’t stick her in a small bag under the seat in front of me on an airplane.”

WHY WOULD YOU EVEN DO THAT TO AN ANIMAL?

“8. I can’t breed her pretty little self and sell the offspring for a mint!”

I thought black market babies were a thing? Seriously though, I’ve never tried to sell a kitten, they’re always free to a good home. Fancy purebreds, maybe. But, um, humans can sell eggs and sperm, so it’s not that far a cry. Yes, they’re adults, but there are still parallels between what humans do and what we do to animals.

“9. Clothes, shoes, underwear, socks, and so much more — it’s all required when parenting a child, and must be replaced with often alarming frequency.”

You can dress a cat. And a dog (my dog was a number of things for Halloween, including a hotdog). Just saying. No, we don’t have to clothe them, but…I’ll get to my main point at the end of this list.

“10. All of that ‘role model’ stuff and the need to lead by example? It’s no joke. The weight of shaping the next Michelle Obama or Mae Jemison is all on me now.”

I play an active role in teaching my kittens how to hunt. Sometimes by acting as prey. But really, if being a (good) role model is a defining characteristic of being a human parent, then a lot of people aren’t actually parents. Or they need to step up their game.

“11. Dealing with other parents is nothing like hanging out with friends at the local dog park. Nothing.

Both sound terrible to me because they both involve other humans. ‘Nough said.

“12. Puberty. Enough said. Fingers crossed I come through that with at least some of my marbles.”

I don’t think either my brother or I were bad during puberty. Maybe my mom had to shell out more money for lady products and dermatologist appointments, but…

“13. That $60,000 plus per year that parents need to come up with to somehow, someway send their kids to college? Try sleeping at night with that weight on your shoulders.”

Raise a smart kid and they’ll get scholarships and grants. There you go. Okay, cool, you spend more on kids than pets. You (presumably) chose to get pregnant…or you chose not to have safe sex.

“14. I will get to be a grandma. I will get to keep being challenged and held accountable for everything I say, do, and believe. She will make sure of it.”

I’m a gramma to two kittens. They challenge me everyday.

“15. Silver lining: It will be my turn to harass her when I get old.”

Laser pointers. Cats. That is all.

“Anyone else totally fed up with animal owners comparing themselves to parents? Weigh in below in the comments!”

Really? You’re fed up with us?

Don’t you have anything better to do with your lives?

Like maybe take care of your kids?

From the second link:

“Petsmart spent $105 million on media aimed at Pet Parents in 2013. That’s a drop in the litter box compared to the $56 billion the pet industry took in that same year. That’s billion with a “B.” For $56 billion, marketers will say anything, push any button they feel gets fanatical Pet Parents to shell out cash for doggie FitBits and gourmet cat food.”

Let me say that my cats are growing up like I did: with enough to be happy, but not too much. I don’t spoil them (I can’t afford to), but they get Christmas presents and, more importantly, a ton of love.

“Pet Parent is a relatively new term people with pets, mostly dogs and cats, call themselves. They didn’t like “owner,” that was too oppressive; it set the wrong tone for their relationship with their animal companions. They tried guardian on for size, custodian, keeper… before they landed on Pet Parent.”

I didn’t really put that much thought into it. I love them and care for them. But the author addresses that later…

“But can you really be a parent to a dog? Can you really be a cat’s mommy or daddy? By the loosest definition, I guess. Although if you check with Webster, both parent and child have to be human and there’s some begetting involved. Pet Parents will argue they adopted their dog or cat and plenty of people adopt children, they’ll say. They probably purchased their Fur Kid, like an owner would, but okay…”

Hell, if Dave and I could conceive kittens, I would. This isn’t biologically possible, so Storm is my surrogate. I believe we still consider human females who used surrogates to be mothers. People do adopt children. They’re just as much parents as the couple who conceived their own. And I did not purchase any of my cats. In fact, Mittens was going to a shelter if we didn’t take him, so I saved him.

“I guess it comes down to what it means to be a parent. Is it simply feeding this other being, caring for it, taking it for a checkup once in a while? Loving it? I don’t doubt Pet Parents love their little Sparky or Snowball. They care for them, feed them, play with them at the park. Maybe they feel like they couldn’t live without them. So by those criteria, if I feed my Ford F-150 gas and oil, wash it, take it out for joyrides, protect it from scratches and dents… If I can’t live without it, am I a Truck Parent? I really love my Häagen-Dazs chocolate chip cookie dough. We have a special relationship, the two of us. I care for it, like any Dessert Parent would, make sure to keep it nice and cold. And, in return, it comforts me and snuggles with me when I’m sad. Can you be a Merlot Parent? A High-Heeled Pump Parent?”

Now you’re just being a dick. I mean, I do name my vehicles and actually do get emotionally attached (I want to cry that my cavalier has reached the end of his life). But vehicles and food aren’t living things with feelings. I feel like this is a bit of a reductionist argument.

My only real question is why you went with a Ford.

“When I got older and got married, I had children, four of them. I’ve raised both and I can tell you, raising children is much, much harder. Sure, they’ll both stick their head in the toilet if you give them half a chance. But you raise children. You care for pets.”

But a lot of people do a shitty job of raising their kids, so a lot of people are missing this memo. How about, instead of attacking pet parents, you go after those parents raising ill-mannered humans? My cats are better behaved than most people. Maybe the people who can’t handle kids should try pets first.

“When pet owners claim the title of Parent it really belittles what I do, what millions of women and men do.”

Well, there’s a reason we preface it with “pet.” I wouldn’t have the audacity to call myself a parent. I’m a pet parent. Difference. Words have meanings.

“Sorry, but your pooch will never go out on his own, find some nice bitch, settle down, and make you a grandparent. They won’t grow up to be president or any productive member of society. Like a millennial living in the basement, your dog will always be dependent on you. And maybe that’s the attraction of Pet Parenthood.”

I think Mittens would be a better president than Trump…or Clinton. Seriously. Oh, and a shot at millennials. How original. Yes, pets are dependent all their lives, as I said, whereas children can be used for labor probably by the age of ten and will resent you by 13, and not need you by 20-ish.

“It seemed harmless at first. Aw, Pet Parents, isn’t that cute? But I think it’s kind of gone too far. Owning a dog isn’t anywhere near the same level of commitment as having children. We need to stop pretending it is.”

I’m not pretending it is. Your sensitivity on the issue makes me question where you think you’ve failed either in life or as a parent.

From the third link:

“I am a mom now. As in real humans with real dependency on me. So when I’m trolling Instagram and I see you posting pictures of your pet, which you’ve given both a middle and last name, napping on your lap with the hashtag #momlife I need to break the news to you. The minute you used those words you surrendered your ‘Totally Sane And Not A Crazy Cat Lady’ card to claim maternity status of an animal.”

My cats do depend on me, for food, water, and clean litterboxes (actually they depend on Dave for that one). Only one cat ever has had a middle name, because Nate wanted to name her “Ape,” and I wanted to name her “Ivy” and I won. She was a cuddlebeast.

And, I’m sorry, what’s wrong with being a bit insane and a cray cat lady? I gladly (proudly!) claim that status. It hasn’t yet held me back in life.

“Because pets are not kids. You are not a mom if you have pets. You are a pet owner.”

Whatever you need to tell yourself to get to sleep at night.

“It is a modern trend that we crossed the line from ‘animal lover’ and ‘pet owner’ into ‘pet mom’ with ‘fur babies’. The Pet Moms have allowed for a new lucrative market of clothing, strollers, spas, exercise equipment and even entertainment for their four legged family members. I can see how the jump is quickly made when you are elevating your pet to human status, using all your maternal instincts to nurture them and spending all your time and money to give them the best.  However, pets weren’t ‘kids’ forty years ago and they still aren’t today.”

I’ll point it out again: “pet” and “fur” act as qualifiers here. We’re not calling ourselves parents or moms. We’re acknowledging we’re pet parents and they’re our fur babies.

And I’m not treating my pets like humans or pretending they are. They are cats, and I don’t wish for them to be anything else. Why ruin perfection?

“In some ways having a pet is like having a kid. Sure, sometimes we put our kids in pens, throw some snacks at them and yell one-word commands while they feign obedience. I’ll admit that sometimes my kid’s ‘tricks’ are rewarded with treats. I’d be lying if I said I never played fetch with a toddler. But I can’t strap my kids to a run in the backyard and leave them a dish of water and food for the day. I can’t feed my children the same thing for every meal of every day without a pint-sized mutiny. I can’t have full blown happy hour on the porch while my kids lounge in the kiddie pool contently gnawing on a bone. I can’t put them on a leash in public places and rub their nose in accidents, at least not without some major questioning of my parental abilities. Even if I would like to do some of these things, a pet may be treated as a surrogate child but a child can never be treated as the opposite. Simply because the two are not the same.”

Again we have a human parent saying they’d like to treat their kid like an animal. Am I the only one slightly concerned about this?

And I know they’re not the same. The fur, teeth, and meowing are a tip-off.

“Pets don’t come with curfew enforcement, mending tiny broken hearts and tutoring homework.”

I don’t know; Storm seemed pretty upset after losing nine kittens. I felt like it was part of my job to try to console her. Again, I believe animals feel. Carrying, delivering, and then losing nine babies can’t be easy. For a while it seemed like she was looking for them to care for, and has substituted the kittens from her first litter. She could very well have been hurting and couldn’t communicate it clearly.

Hell, vets have it harder than doctors because their patients can’t tell the what’s wrong.

“However, unless your ovaries grow fur, and you sprout a tail Rover is not your child.”

Ovaries should not grow fur in any species. That’s not a thing.

 

Okay, so we’ve come to the end of my quotes.

There is a theme here, which I kind of mentioned above.

First of all, I’m not claiming, nor even pretending to be a real human parent. I am a pet parent, hence the “pet” in front of “parent.” I get that there is a clear difference between women who squeezed out a human, or adopted a mini-human. Kudos. You’re doing what I can’t right now, but want to one day.

I feel like most of these people insulted by pet owners calling themselves parents or comparing themselves to parents are insecure in some respect. Otherwise they could just let us be.

But no, they have to make us into an enemy that they can fight.

Because we’re obviously being super evil, saying we’re parents of pets when it’s clear we’re not talking about kids* and just have…pets. Heinous!

*Unless you refer to your children as pets. I could see how they might be confused with animals.

The thing that bugs me most about people denouncing the idea of pet parents does not have to do with me taking offense. People don’t like it? Cool. Dave hates my fact-spouting, but that doesn’t stop me from doing it.

What bothers me, and may be yet another theme in my blog, is that it feels like these people are looking for something to be upset about. Yes, sometimes after a while something will wear on me. As I’ve mentioned a few times in this blog, it irks me when people use “Science” as some flat, catch-all entity when they have no scientific background. Like saying “Science says drinking wine every day helps you live to 100” (if only…sigh…). Like do the research people.

But do I write posts attacking people for doing it? No. I may make note of it, but it’s a very minor point compared to the actual topic I’m discussing.

But like, what? Is raising your kids not fulfilling enough, so you need to pick apart other people for not being parents like you?

(And what if a human parent also owns pets and also refers to themselves as a pet parent? Is that as contemptible?)

People just seem to have this instinct/urge/need to tear others down and ruin their happiness, thereby increasing their own (somehow). And especially in this example, the anti-pet-parent people seem very self-congratulatory. It doesn’t suffice to say you’re a parent, but a long-suffering champion (who would seemingly like to treat your child like a pet).

I don’t doubt that parenting is hard (which is why Tri-estarylla is my best friend), but it’s not like pet owners are actually equating having a pet with having a kid, or else they’d just call themselves parents. That I could see as being an insult, even rude.

But why do you feel the need to ruin someone’s fun? Maybe someone is too old to have children, so they adopt a pet to be a “mommy” again. Or they’re not ready for kids yet (like Dave and I), so they adopt pets as practice or pre-gaming (I was going to say a test but I’m sure someone would criticize that). I’m not saying keeping a pet alive qualifies you or means you’re ready for kids, but if you can’t even keep a goldfish alive, maybe you should hold off on children.

Are you going to go after people who adopted their child(ren) for not specifying they’re adoptive parents? Because they’re not biological parents, which would be assumed when you call yourself a parent?

People who have to look for things to criticize probably have nothing better to do, which means their lives are probably sad and pathetic. If you look hard enough, you can find something to complain about. I could complain that Dave calls me “beautiful” like it’s my name because that shouldn’t be my most important trait. Maybe try “intelligent one”?

So I think it’s either insecurity or boredom that causes people to pick things apart. Maybe they should find a hobby.

Or adopt a pet. Because kittens are cuter than babies anyway.

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