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Category Archives: Family

Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!  I hope you’re all so busy with friends and family that you’re reading this days after the fact.  My husband is cooking up a delicious dairy-free feast to accommodate my annoying and untimely new food allergy, my mother-in-law will be visiting and bringing goodies of her own, and I get 4 blissful days off of work.  I’m also too broke to even think about shopping on Friday, but even with unlimited funds, I wouldn’t be going anywhere.

The first Black Friday I ever worked was at Shoe Carnival where I worked a 6am to 10pm shift and watched people behave like animals.  I saw two women get into a fist fight over a pair of shoes while their kids watched.  I witnessed the worst of people in a concentrated form, and it was terrifying.  These days, a 6am opening is lame compared to the stores who open as early as 2pm on Thanksgiving Day to give shoppers early access to sales.  It’s a horrible thing.

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Supply and demand keeps stores stretching further and further into Thanksgiving.  Midnight worked for a while, but even that wasn’t enough, so now, retail employees across the country find themselves having an early dinner (or skipping it altogether) so they can go to work and appease the crazies who have nothing better to do than map out a strategy to hit as many stores as possible in 24 hours so they can maybe save a couple hundred dollars.

I do most of my Christmas shopping online at this point because I see no point in going to stand in line at Target at 4am to maybe get a good deal on a flat screen sold to me buy some guy who would rather be at home playing Xbox while slowly slipping into a turkey-induced food coma.  There are places that definitely need to be open on Thanksgiving; you need gas stations, law enforcement, some type of food services (grocery, fast food, or otherwise), health care, and so on.  We do not need to have TJ Maxx, GameStop, Best Buy, Walmart, or other businesses who sell things no one really NEEDS on Thanksgiving.  Let those employees have a day off.  They’re going to suffer enough on Friday, why can’t we let them take Turkey Day off?

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If we stop giving in to the pressure and stay home on Thanksgiving, stores will stop with these insane hours and stupid sales.  Even if you don’t care at all about Thanksgiving, you should care about having a day off from the real world.  A day where everything can go quiet and you can focus on being with loved ones, being with yourself, or just taking some quality time for your favorite activity.  If you honestly can’t control yourself (or can’t stand your family) and HAVE to go shopping before you start convulsing, go online shopping.  Lock yourself in a room and go bid-happy on eBay.  Find something to do that doesn’t involve making retail employees leave their house so you can get $5 off a new jacket.

Today is either a wonderful day to spend with family or the perfect day to sleep until 4pm.  Either way, it’s a day we all deserve to take advantage of and stay away from the harsh neon lights of the Super Stores down the street.  Stop being a mindless retail puppet, lured from your home by the promise of 50% off Playstation games.  The only alarms you set should be food prep related, and the only reason to get out of sweatpants should be to change into a pair of even stretchier sweatpants.  And if you do choose to ignore me because the deals at Sears are just TOO good to pass up, try not to be a cunt to those who are skipping their holiday just so you can buy a weed wacker and electric drill.

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Boobs

Yesterday, a random woman on Twitter felt the need to educate me on my hypocrisy regarding breastfeeding in public.  According to her, moms should be allowed to do it wherever and however they see fit.  This stemmed from a comment I made earlier in the day on Twitter.  It was not directed at her or hashtagged, so I assume she was just bored and searching for people to annoy.

What I said was “This whole right to breastfeed in public thing drives me nuts thanks to moms who have no respect for others & think they’re entitled.  Yes, you should be able to breastfeed in public, but YES you should cover up your jugs & not be an obnoxious twat about it.”  This was in reaction to a news story about mothers who harassed a business owner after he had requested a mother cover herself in his restaurant while breastfeeding.  The mother in question, according to all accounts, made no effort to hide her bare breast in full view of the patrons.

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There is a big difference between a mother trying to feed her child and a woman using her child to make a point to whoever happens to be watching.  Just because you are still breastfeeding your child doesn’t mean you are entitled to be disrespectful to others.  Having your breast fully exposed in public, especially in places with a captive audience such as a restaurant, is not okay.  I’m not suggesting moms go hide in the restrooms or in their cars to breastfeed, but I do feel they should make an effort to cover up.

My sister-in-law used one of those massive tent-like covers that completely masked everything.  I’ve seen other moms carefully use a blanket to hide certain areas so you can tell what is going on but it’s not in your face.  My issue is with the women who feel that breastfeeding is something that needs to be announced to the world.  A child should not be used as part of some twisted statement.  Even if a business owner wrongly shoos you away while you rightfully feed your child, you should have enough decency to not react by turning your child into a tool for revenge.

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Feeding your child does not make you special.  Providing the most basic of needs doesn’t make you better than anyone else or entitled to receive all sorts of special treatment at the expense of others.  Why should I have to hide my son’s eyes because some woman decides to whip out her breast at Applebee’s?  Why can’t she have respect for those around her and do it discreetly?  Why am I wrong for wanting mothers to make an attempt to not flash their milk jugs to the world?

I’m not a prude, but I’m also not okay with seeing random tits everywhere.  The “it’s natural” argument is lost on me, as a lot of things are “natural” but shouldn’t be blatantly done/performed in public.  If your true goal is to feed your baby in the best possible way, then do it.  But when your breastfeeding becomes not only an inappropriate public display, but a tool to shame mothers who choose formula and a tool to harass businesses, you’ve crossed a line.  Your baby is not a prop.

29th April 2014 PHOTO CREDIT SHOULD READ: MATTHEW PAGE Sports Direct Clumber Street, Nottingham.  Mums held a protest at Sports Direct after a woman was asked to leave the shop for breastfeeding her child.

I suppose I was called a hypocrite by random Twitter lady because I support breastfeeding in public, but I don’t support certain ways it is done.  What needs to exist is a mutual respect for each other by mothers and business owners/patrons/etc.  Mothers need to make an effort to cover so we’re not seeing nipples galore and everyone else needs to be understanding about the fact that babies need to eat on their schedule, not anyone else’s.  Moms should not be forced to hide in a dirty public restroom to breastfeed and I should not have to see nipples and giant engorged bare breasts while shopping at Target.  It’s give and take on both sides.

According to my new Twitter BFF, covering hinders lactation.  So because a small percentage of babies don’t like any type of cover whatsoever, all mothers should be able to skip using it?  I have yet to hear a good argument as to why I shouldn’t demand a bit of modesty from nursing moms.  I have yet to hear a rational reason why this angry group of breastfeeding mothers insists that frontal exposure is not only necessary to properly breastfeed, but is something the rest of us should simply deal with.  I have yet to hear a good reason why breastfeeding has to be an odd political statement instead of an act of providing nourishment to a baby.

Breastfeeding alone does not make you more woman or more mother than anyone else.  You might be the loudest person in the room but volume has nothing to do with your value.  If you want to be a good mother, be a good mother.  If you want to be respected when you feed your child in public, do so in a way that doesn’t also make you a public nuisance.  If you just want to get your knockers out and yell at passerby, no one is going to respect you or listen to a damn thing you say.  There is a way to make this whole thing a nonissue, once people get off their soapboxes, quit using babies as protest signs, stop shaming mothers, and start acting like decent human beings.

Boom

So much has happened over the past few months.  In August, I lost my job working as a contractor for the Army National Guard, thanks to some shady behavior by a bitter coworker.  No more riding to work with my husband, no more cushy job that I was grossly overpaid for, and no more paycheck.  I’m not ashamed to say that I completely panicked.  My husband and I had just put down quite a bit of money to get a home built, and this was a serious blow.  It took nearly a month for me to find a new job, and when I did, I had to settle for almost half of what I had been making.  But at least I had a job.

unemployment-job-work-110414The nice thing about my new job was that it was only a couple of miles from our apartment, plus the hours allowed me the perfect amount of time to drop our boy off at school.  The downside was that I was stuck driving my mom-in-law’s Suzuki, which was on its last leg.  The thing hates the cold, won’t run if it’s a drop under half a tank of gas, and rattles if you go over 40 mph.  But it ran.  So I worked, collected my meager check, tried to get used to not having PTO or paid holidays, and drove my husband crazy.  We emptied out our savings, went crazy selling things at yard sales, and somehow were able to pay our overpriced rent, plus finish saving up for our down payment on our home, which was getting built quicker than we imagined.

On October 27th, we closed on our new home, and it was a fantastic feeling.  Moving only a couple of miles down the road should have made it easy, but even with five days to complete the move and get out of our apartment, we cut it close.  It might have been easier if we had been open with what we were doing, but we decided to keep things under wraps until the house was officially ours.  The weekend after we were settled in, we had a wedding to attend, and the weekend after, a baby shower.  I was exhausted, but happy to be in our new home and able to spend time with people I don’t nearly see often enough.

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Things were going well, but trying to get used to a smaller paycheck wasn’t easy.  Things got worse when it began getting cold outside and the Suzuki decided that it was fun to take ten minutes to start whenever it was 30 degrees or below.  It was time to get a new car.  That I couldn’t afford.  We found someone who could work with me and would accept the Suzuki as a trade-in, but I still had to come up with cash to put down, plus deal with a higher monthly payment than I was happy with.  But it was either this or nothing.  Without picture perfect credit, I wouldn’t get a monthly payment I could live with.  So I signed the papers and got a “new” car.  The next day, the Suzuki caught fire, so I felt slightly better about my decision to upgrade.

As a contingent worker for my company, I am not afforded the same benefits and perks as our full time employees.  The fact that this place is fantastic definitely helps, but the pay just won’t work for the long term.  Goes without saying, I did a virtual backflip when my boss asked me if I was interested in going full time.  I did a few more after she told me that my interview went well and they wanted to make me an offer.  I about passed out when she told me the salary offer.  As of January 5th, I will be a full time employee with benefits and a beautiful paycheck, and I could not be happier.

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My husband always says things have a way of working out.  They always work out for us, and he reminds me of that fact quite a bit.  I lost my job.  My car caught fire.  But I got into a new car loan that works to build my credit; the company specializes in doing just that.  I got a new job that I absolutely love and that is close to home.  My husband and I finally got a house that we adore.  And, thankfully, I got an offer for full time employment that solves my financial issues.  It doesn’t come in time to have a normal Christmas, but we’re working around it and hitting the casino instead (our boy is with his grandparents, thanks to a court order, so he will miss our first Christmas in the house).  Things have been hectic as all hell, but I’m so grateful that they are coming together beautifully.  I have everything I need to have the best Christmas ever.  My husband, my pup dog, my boy returning home soon, a beautiful house, a car that isn’t on fire, and a kick ass job that will come with amazing pay in 2015.  I’m a lucky lady.

I QUIT

I am still recovering from one of the worst weekends I have ever had.  I had to hit Walmart on Friday after work to get drinks, breakfast, dog treats, and a couple of books for my child in order to prepare for 8+ hours in the car on Saturday.  My mother-in-law is moving to Ohio, right down the street from her mom, so she’ll be able to take care of her in her golden years.  When I stopped by my mom-in-law’s house, she was frantic.  There were boxes everywhere, her moving truck was partially loaded with even more boxes, furniture was upended and leaning against walls, and she looked as if she hadn’t slept in days.  She gave me some food to take home, as she unplugged her fridge to take it with her and couldn’t keep the cold items.  I ran home to drop off our groceries and ended up coming right back to help load the truck.  My husband, coming off of a 50 hour work week, came straight from work to help load the truck.  We spent about two hours there until we ran out of room to put things.

My mom-in-law’s friend J came to help, and by help I mean she stood around watching.  At one point J rinsed off a bunch of cups and threw the wet glassware into a large garbage bag.  At another point, she was dragging a wet rag across the counters over and over again.  To call her useless would be a compliment.  Her husband L arrived eventually to help my husband with the fridge and other large items.  My son ate some leftover pizza while we worked, packed, and got rained on.  When we were finally finished, I took off to grab some Chinese food and my husband and boy went home to see to the dog and get into comfortable clothes.  After eating, we went about getting as much ready as possible for the road trip the next day and went to sleep around 10:30pm.

Saturday morning, my alarm sounded at 4:30am.  My husband was already in the shower, so I got up and got our dog’s food ready.  We all had breakfast, picking from the goodies I purchased the day before, in order to cut down on the number of stops we’d have to make between home and mom-in-law’s new house.  I also packed my son’s lunch bag with a ton of goodies and had quite a few drinks and snacks for myself and the husband.  We arrived at mom-in-law’s at 6am, only to see J and L still loading things up.  After some groggy hellos, we hit the road at 6:30am.

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At 8am, after making some great time, my mom-in-law calls my husband to say that they are going to stop at Steak N Shake for a sit-down breakfast.  This is ridiculous.  I’ve been on many trips with my mom-in-law to Ohio and when we stop for food, we do it via drive-thru before leaving our hometown.  No doubt in my mind, J has talked her into halting our entire trip to go eat.  I decided to go in with them because my boy wanted a milkshake, and my husband waited with our dog by the car.  We were there for 30 minutes, 28 of which I spent being horribly embarrassed because the adults I was with decided to treat our poor waitress like complete shit.  “What kind of restaurant doesn’t have biscuits?!?” (the truck was delayed)  “OUR Steak N Shake doesn’t treat their customers like this.”  “Should have expected this kind of bad service in Ohio.”  “Why isn’t there butter on my toast?  Who doesn’t butter their toast??” (there was plenty of butter).  This went on the whole time, and our waitress was not only very pleasant, she was quick and efficient and did a fantastic job.  I left all the $1s I had on the table as a way to make up for everyone acting like an ass.  I wish I could have left more.

After breakfast, we let everyone else go ahead and popped by a gas station for coffee and to cool down.  Since the moving truck can’t go very fast, we were able to catch up to everyone after about 30 minutes.  Finally, after what felt like forever, we were parked and ready to begin unloading.  We were expecting to arrive and find my sister-in-law and her husband, three guys from the local church, and my husband’s cousin and her husband.  We arrived to find my husband’s grandmother and some random old lady whose name was not worth learning.  I’ll call her Waste Of Space.  The moving truck finally gets backed into the driveway and we get to work.

My husband, my mom-in-law, and myself are the only people worth a damn when it comes to unloading this truck.  J is doing a whole lot of standing around, making jokes about how she doesn’t have to move the fridge or any heavy furniture, and making me wonder why the hell she bothered coming in the first place.  Waste Of Space insists on not only standing right at the end of the moving truck ramp in everyone’s way, but reading boxes to me as if I’m an illiterate fool who doesn’t understand how to move a box from point A and place it in spot B.  When she’s not blocking the ramp, she’s busy standing on the basement stairs, holding our her scrawny arms to “help” while people are already navigating down the stairway.  I find myself secretly hoping she has narcolepsy and passes out somewhere.

The stress of the move finally gets to my mom-in-law and she starts getting snippy.  Totally understandable when you’re dealing with people moving your life out of a truck and into your new home, but it rubbed my husband the wrong way and he let her know.  Mom-in-law overreacted about us moving boxes because she failed to communicate that the boxes were now meant to go to a second garage.  He didn’t yell, didn’t scream or cuss, just got snippy right back.  That was it.  Typical mother and adult child interaction, tame by most standards.  J apparently thought it was the worst thing ever, so she texted my sister-in-law “Jamie and your mom are already into it.  Didn’t take long!”  Little did her brilliant mind realize that she replied to a mass text.  I got that text, and so did my husband.

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Once he saw that, he went over to the second garage where boxes were now being unloaded, walked in and said “Who sent this text?”  J, with a smirk on her face, said that it was her.  My husband, acting a lot calmer than I probably would have, was in the process of calling out this woman for her immature behavior when L chimed in from the truck, saying “you don’t talk to my wife like that!  Asshole!”  At that point, my husband laughed and announced that we were leaving.  I followed behind, fighting the urge to get in L’s face as he yelled insults at my husband from the safety of the moving truck.  Idiot.

I don’t know what kind of friend J is meant to be to my mom-in-law, or what kind of friend L is to her either, but no friends of mine are going to talk trash about my kid and remain my friend.  My husband assured his mother that he wasn’t mad at her, but also wasn’t going to hang around and be disrespected by some idiots (my word, not his).  He told her that she needs new friends.  And with that, we began the four-hour drive back home.  We were only there for 90 minutes before people started acting like idiots.  Total waste of a Saturday, but at least we were able to unload the beds and most of the furniture.  The mystery church guys and my sister and brother-in-law could handle the rest, if they ever decided to show up.  We were done.

On Sunday, my husband received a text from his mom saying that J was sorry.  Maybe I’m petty, but I don’t think anyone should have to accept a second-hand apology.  Be an adult.  If you’re sorry, be direct with the person you offended.  Otherwise, don’t say anything at all.  She wasn’t sorry.  L wasn’t sorry.  I should have known what kind of people they were when I saw how they treated that poor waitress.  I’m glad to be rid of them, and I’m making sure that my son is never around my mom-in-law if J or L also plan on being around.

To top off our kick-ass Saturday, our washing machine crapped out on Sunday.  It flooded our kitchen, which was a delight to clean up.  The dryer is also acting up.  And no, we don’t have extra cash lying around to replace it because of so many other things we have going on right now.  We had soaking wet towels everywhere.  The plan to borrow my mom-in-law’s washer and dryer failed because she decided to randomly come home early.  A candle got knocked over, getting wax all over the carpet, bookshelf, collectibles, TV, and my husband’s hair.  I’m amazed that nothing caught fire.  And to top it off, I don’t get Columbus day off like everyone else in my house, so I was up way too damn early again, in the office, dealing with new temp staff that are too stupid to really exist.  Plus I got stuck in the rain during a fire drill at work and was wet all day long.  I’m mentally and physically drained.  I quit.

Farewell

I am absolutely horrible at dealing with death.  Having a person here one day and gone the next is something I’ll never quite get used to.  It doesn’t help that I’m slightly terrified by dead bodies and act like a royal idiot every rare instance I am in a funeral home.  When it comes to properly dealing with death, I am completely clueless.  I cry randomly when it makes no sense, but remain dry-eyed in moments I should be in tears.  I never know what to say or do or how to act.  I almost prefer to be notified via text message so I can deal with things in my own way without embarrassing myself or offending anyone.

Everyone deals with death in a different way, and lately I’ve had front row tickets to all the different ways we try to process the loss of life.  Some people blame themselves, even though in just about every instance, there was nothing they could have done to prevent whatever happened.  Some people blame the deceased, wondering why they couldn’t have done things differently so they could still be here.  Anger is a big one; we get angry at the family, at friends or coworkers, at ourselves, or at anything we perceive as not right or proper.  Others just withdraw into themselves, as if hiding will make the death something that was all a bad dream.

People have a funny way of coming together in times of tragedy.  Estranged family members are suddenly best of friends, hugging and crying and laughing together as they work through each day and try to heal.  Sometimes the change is a long lasting one, but more often than not, everyone goes back to ignoring each other within a month or two.  It’s a shame that the effects never seem to be long lasting ones, but I suppose it’s better than nothing at all.

Right now, I am dealing by avoiding as much as I possibly can.  From the get-go, people have been horrendously ugly with each other, even going as far as saying certain family members did not have the right to attend a viewing.  Some people seem concerned with who gets what, totally driven by money and objects while completely ignoring the fact that someone is gone from this world forever.  There are plots and theories and things being said that are better suited for an episode of CSI.  I simply cannot deal with it anymore.

Call me selfish if you will, but I decided to skip a memorial service earlier today.  I declined to go because I did not want to deal with someone who planned to block the door and not allow certain people inside (even though it’s a public service, so it wouldn’t have worked in the end).  I declined because I can’t listen to one more theory about what REALLY happened and who is REALLY responsible.  I declined because I find it disgusting how certain people are behaving when we should all be honoring someone’s life and remembering them fondly in death.

I am terrible at dealing with death.  But I’ve discovered that there are a lot of people who deal with it a hundred times worse than I ever have.  I’ve learned that in the end, the way you deal is not important.  What is important is that the memory of the one we lost is honored somehow.  Differences are put aside and we all treat each other like human beings for a while.  Death is a reminder of how short and fragile life is.  When someone dies, we shouldn’t waste time hating each other and acting like self-absorbed strangers.  That’s no way to live.  If I’ve learned one thing this past week, it is that I waste too much time on negativity.  I don’t want to do that anymore.  And when I die, I want the people I’ve left behind to get along, not argue over who gets what or blame each other for my passing.  Life is too short to be wasted on bullshit.

L Word Mississippi

I had a slight(ly huge) obsession with The Real L Word on Showtime.  Beautiful women whose lives were filled with drama, love and heartbreak, and truly wonderful personal journeys.  When the last season wrapped, I was happy to see two weddings but sad to see the series come to a close.  A couple of days ago, I saw a promo on Showtime for L Word Mississippi: Hate The Sin.  I missed the premiere, but made sure to record it the next time it was on.

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The title was a bit off-putting, but nothing could have prepared me for what I witnessed for the next 90 minutes.  I have experienced my fair share of discrimination.  As a multi-racial person, I’ve gotten the question “what are you” more times than I care to remember.  When I lived in Georgia, I came face to face with the KKK and was made to feel less than human in my high school.  I grew up knowing what homosexuality was due to a gay second cousin, so I never gave it a second thought, but was always disgusted with the challenges my LGBT friends would face.  Even today, I see their struggles and it gets to me.  Because I’m not sheltered at all, I didn’t expect to be as shocked as I was at the stories from Mississippi.

L Word Mississippi began with the clear message that it’s not okay to be gay.  There is no holding hands in public, no kissing your girlfriend at the market, and no being free to live and love as you choose.  The religious community in Mississippi is massive, and that is a major factor in why the struggle for these women is so great.  “Praying the gay away” is thought to be something you can do.  Even some of the women featured on this documentary pray to save their own souls from their so-called sinful lives.  They have found love, but due to the teachings of the church, believe that love to be wrong and want to be saved and find a man to love.

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Rene’s story had my jaw on the floor, especially after we were introduced to her son, Devin.  Rene spent her life dressing masculine and even stuffing a strap-on down her pants in order to feel more like a man.  She stopped and began trying to dress and act more feminine after finding Jesus a year earlier.  Her son came out as gay a few years ago and she blames herself completely.  I dare anyone to look at Rene and Devin and try to tell me that being gay is a choice and not simply the way you’re born.  It’s beyond painful to watch Rene deny who she is in order to appease the church and the community.  It’s worse when she tries to impose those twisted beliefs on her son, who is happy to be who he is.

The other relationships we get to see in this documentary are truly beautiful.  Cameron and Amber are such a loving couple, and lucky enough to have a support system in the Per2yon Family, but you can still see the pain on their faces.  The level of hatred and ignorance they have to face is beyond my understanding and I give them so much credit for being strong each and every day.  Sara, who is expecting a baby boy, struggles with not only being a lesbian and the stigma that is attached to that, but is dealing with her wife transitioning into becoming her husband.  BB, a former pastor, is trying to right the wrongs of her past by helping LGBTQ youth so they don’t feel lost, ostracized, and suicidal.  The “love the sinner, hate the sin” message is strong, but it’s clear that the actual feelings of the community is “hate the sin, shame the sinner.”

L WORD MISSISSIPPI: HATE THE SIN

I don’t want to elaborate any further because I want everyone to please look this documentary up and watch it.  Regardless of your beliefs or level of acceptance, please watch this with an open mind and heart.  I want you to be as shocked as I was that this type of hatred and ignorance is not only still incredibly present, but is so widespread.  I am grateful for all the women involved for sharing their stories and hope that as more people see L Word Mississippi, more people begin to realize that it’s not the LGBTQ community that needs to change.  It’s the rest of us.

Who We Love

Week after week, month after month, the post that consistently gets the most views on here is one I wrote about the pros and cons of same sex marriage.  It was written sarcastically, with the cons being silly things that people either speculate will happen (the sanctity of marriage will be destroyed) or things that are actually pros (same sex couples would earn the same rights and privileges as heterosexual married couples).  “Pros and cons of gay marriage” is the search term that directs the most people to my page as well, beating out every other topic I’ve ever covered.  While I’m happy that it’s on the minds of many, I have begun to worry a bit that there is a need to do research on the good and the bad that could come from legalizing same sex marriage across the board.

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Whenever I think about my own marriage, one thing that never comes to mind is the way other marriages are affecting my own.  The simple truth is that my marriage and everyone else’s are two separate and independent things.  Not once have I ever been positively or negatively affected by another person’s union.  My marriage becomes no less real when someone gets divorced for the 5th time or when two women say their vows under the moonlight.  My marriage is no less real when two loving men get married, nor is it less real when a woman marries a man for the sole purpose of getting her hands on his bank account.  I don’t care why two people choose to get married because not only is it none of my business, it just doesn’t affect my life, family, or personal happiness.

What does affect me is the sad fact that same sex marriage isn’t legal in this country as a whole, nor it is legal in many places around the world.  It affects me because unless things change, I will not be able to see some of my friends have weddings they deserve in the future.  They won’t be able to do so many things that I can easily do with my husband.  They are barred from these things because their union makes people uncomfortable.  It’s immoral in the eyes of many because the bible says so.  It’s feared because of outdated notions on what love and marriage are.  It’s wrong to so many people for reasons they don’t even understand.

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There is no reasons for a pros and cons debate when it comes to same sex marriage because there are no cons.  What, it makes you uncomfortable?  The woman popping her gum in the hallway at work this morning made me uncomfortable, so can we legally ban her from chewing gum in public?  It goes against your religious beliefs?  No one is forcing you to marry someone of the same gender or attend a gay wedding, so I’m unsure of how your beliefs are being affected.  Gay marriage will destroy the country?  Legal or not, women are loving women and men are loving men.  Nothing has been destroyed yet by that and it sure as hell won’t be destroyed if we just bite the bullet and let everyone get married.

While I do worry that the pros and cons are searched so often, I do hope that it’s being done because people are slowly coming to accept the fact that the right thing to do is to make marriage legal for all consenting adults, regardless of gender or preference.  Interracial marriage was once looked at as critically as same sex marriage is.  With the exception of a small group of idiots, we now look at the idea of making interracial unions illegal as silly.  In the future, the idea of same sex marriage being illegal will also be a ridiculous notion.  But how long do we have to wait to get to that point?  How long do we have to make couples wait before they are no longer made to feel as if their love is wrong?

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If you don’t support it, that’s your right.  Don’t go to certain weddings, alienate certain people, and do whatever makes you happy.  Post Facebook updates expressing your displeasure, write angry blogs, and leave comments on news sites.  But don’t think you have the right to control what others do with their lives.  Don’t think it’s okay for you to control who someone else marries and loves.  Don’t selfishly wonder how it’ll affect you if two men say their vows and the state recognizes that union.  The rights that leave you free to believe what you want, worship who you will, and say what you wish are the same rights that should allow any same sex adult couple to get married.  Stop wasting time searching for an easy reference pros and cons list and just let people live their lives.

My Past Is Not My Future

I have been DVRing the current season of VH1’s Couples Therapy (quit judging me) after hearing that Whitney and Sara from The Real L Word would be one of the featured celebrity couples.  I was sad to hear that The Real L Word would not be continuing on Showtime, but I’ll take seeing the pair on Vh1 over not seeing them at all.  This season features Jon Gosselin and Liz Jannetta, Ghostface Killah and Kelsey Nykole, Taylor Armstrong and John Bluher, and Farrah Abraham all by her lonesome.  But this isn’t about the couples.  It’s about one question that was posed to the couples that struck a nerve with me.

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In the second episode of this fourth season, the couples were asked to discuss their darkest moment(s) in their past or current relationships and reflect on how that relationship impacts them in the present day.  One of the key points that the therapists tried to drive home was that the past does not dictate the future, and that the past must be dealt with in order to ensure a positive and happy future.  The question got me thinking about the darkest moment I’ve had in a relationship.  I was engaged to my middle school sweetheart, J, after tracking him down and writing him a letter that resulted in me taking a week-long vacation so we could reconnect and him leaving his life behind in one state to start over with me in another.

J stole my identity, racking up thousands in credit card debt after he learned to perfectly forge my signature.  He once threw all my blankets and pillows out onto the damp lawn because he thought another man had been in the bed.  He beat on me repeatedly, once blacking my eye so badly that I couldn’t leave the house.  He was verbally abusive on top of the physical abuse, making me feel worthless.  He kicked down doors when I tried to hide from him.  He wasted all his money on car parts and alcohol, leaving me to pay rent and all the bills.  He cheated on me, no doubt more times than I’m aware of.  He isolated me.  After I finally grew a pair and left him, he continued this streak with other women (financial, verbal, and physical abuse, landing himself in jail on various felony charges, and likely still getting in trouble to this day).

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I’m not bitter about J whatsoever, and I no longer wish him a slow and painful death.  I don’t wish him well either; he’s a blip in my past and I don’t care what happens to him.  What I didn’t realize until watching that one episode was how that relationship still affects me to this day.  I wrongly assumed that getting over the jumpiness around my husband and not wanting to throw things against the wall during arguments meant that I was over the pain of my time with J.  I thought that getting to the point where I was past loving him, past hating him, and simply nothinged him meant that I was healed.  Damn, was I wrong.

I drive my husband crazy with my financial worries.  I stress about how much money I have left, what I have to pay, and I’ll extend that stress months out to things that haven’t even happened yet.  I do this when not once in the six years we’ve been together have we ever been in a place where we’ve been in a financial crisis.  I do it because of J.  I never stopped to think that even though he’s not on my mind, the damage still lingers and is the reason I never relax when it comes to cash.  It’s horribly unfair to my husband and our relationship and something I hope I can work on now that I’ve pinpointed the real problem.

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The most important thing that I realized after thinking about that relationship question was that, if I’m being 100% honest with myself, I really only have one legitimate complaint about my current relationship with my husband.  Minor annoyances (like his socks being left in random places) aside, the single thing I have an issue with that is a legit complaint is that my husband isn’t as emotional as I want him to be.  That’s it.  That one, tiny little thing, is the only real thing I have to complain about in my marriage.  Imagine how stupid I feel as I write this, knowing that I married someone so close to perfect that it hurts, and knowing that 95% of the trouble we face is because I am still damaged deep down and I have yet to fully let it go.

As far as exactly how to let it all go, I have no idea.  I think recognizing it is a fantastic first step though.  Acknowledging that it exists, telling myself that it doesn’t have to exist, and finding a way to make it exist no more.  Realizing that I’m in a safe place and don’t have to be on guard so much is a great feeling.  Even though I feel foolish for allowing things buried in the past to still affect my present, I know I’m not alone and I know it’s a common problem people have whether they know it or not.  I never thought that there were so many steps to let go of a past experience, but I’m thrilled to finally be able to take the last few.

New Year, New Stuff

2013 was a hell of a year.  As with every passing year, I am happy to close the book on this one and begin anew with 2014.  Even though it’s just a symbolic closing of one door and opening of another, I like to think that we can use it as a way to put the BS behind us and move forward into something positive.  There are things I am hoping to see more of in the new year, as well as quite a few things I am wishing into oblivion.  This is a very abbreviated list.

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Things I want more of in 2014…

Recently, I’ve not only been paid royalties for my Kindle ebooks (under a pen name), but I’ve also been making money with this blog.  With the ability to host ads, the new traffic, and the offers I’ve received, I was paid quite a nice amount just in December alone.  WordAds, hosted by WordPress, will hopefully pay me out next month.  Getting paid to write has always been a dream of mine, and it seems to finally be happening for me.  I want this to go to the next level in the new year.

More and more states are taking steps to make marriage an equal right for both gay and straight couples.  Two consenting adults in love should be allowed to marry, and thankfully more states are recognizing that and doing something about it.  There’s still a way to go, but I hope to see this continue on into the new year, and keep on going until the entire country makes the change.  I want my child to enter adulthood in a different world than the one I entered into.

My husband and I have been taking a lot of mini-vacations lately.  Whether it’s staying overnight in Indianapolis or leaving the state for a day or two, we seem to have entered a somewhat adventurous state, eager to explore new areas and experience new things.  It’s been incredibly fun and rewarding, and I want us to be able to continue on and explore many new places together.

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You know how any idiot can get YouTube famous?  Now with apps like Vine, shows like Tosh.O, and other outlets, people can get their 15 minutes of fame pretty damn easily.  But keeping it is a whole other story.  The desire to hold on to the little bit of fame has forced people to get creative.  Acting stupid on camera will get you noticed, but then what?  You either make something happen or you fade away.  I’ve seen some incredibly clever things on YouTube, Vine, Pheed, etc. lately and I love the efforts people are making.

Most restaurants have been on point as far as listing their calorie counts for their various dishes.  I absolutely love this.  It allows me to plan my outings and avoid dishes that contain a days worth of calories on a single plate.  I do hope that this trend continues and goes to the next level to list calories in mixed drinks (I know it’s not possible for everything, but I’ve seen it done and I think consumers deserve it).

Did you see the series finale of Breaking Bad?  I’m not going to ruin it for you if you haven’t, but if you have, you know how amazing it was and how the powers behind that show truly stepped up their game to give the audience something spectacular.  They put the work in and it paid off more than anyone could have expected.  We need more of that:  quality television shows put together painstakingly by brilliant minds and performed by brilliant actors.

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Things I want less of in 2014…

There seems to be a new diet pill, trend, or trick every couple of weeks.  Exciting new herbs and extracts, weird machines, body wraps, and god knows what else, all promising to burn fat like magic.  There is no magic, obviously.  I want less “easy fix” nonsense and more research.  I know that certain vitamins and herbs CAN help with weight loss.  I want information on what works and the truth on how effective it is.  No more “results not typical” in fine print.  Be honest about your products.

Miley Cyrus.  Just everything Miley.  I’m bored with her antics, tired of seeing her lick household items while gyrating in a barely there outfit, and simply over the desperate cries for attention.  What’s wrong with being noticed because you’re a talented musician?  Any idiot can flash their ass to a camera, and I’m done seeing Miley’s.

The final book in the Twilight series was made into two movies.  The Hobbit is somehow being stretched into three.  I believe the Hunger Games movies will also break the final book into two films.  Having read The Hobbit and all of the Twilight, I feel confident in saying that dragging them out into multiple films was not necessary.  Yes, they are out to make money, but I prefer quality over quantity.  I’m sure I’m not the only one who’d rather see one amazing movie instead of two or three drawn out films.

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Not everyone will get along with and accept everyone else in their community.  We butt heads, disagree, and dislike people for no good reason.  Unfortunately, with the internet being at our fingertips 24/7, people can disagree with a wider variety of others, plus they can spread their ignorance like wildfire.  I hate that stupid people can hide behind the anonymity of online postings and tear down others for no reason.  Sometimes it’s better to keep quiet, and I hope they can learn to do just that.

I hate stupid questions.  Hate them with a passion.  I hate being asked the same stupid question over and over again by a person expecting a different answer if they annoy me enough.  Don’t ask me if my boss is in the shitter (news flash:  he doesn’t tell me when he’s going there and I wouldn’t want to know anyway), don’t ask me to find a single person in a building of thousands (I don’t have a directory, no matter how many times you ask), and don’t ask me things that even a five year old would be ashamed to put into words.

I’m not sure when it started, but we are currently deep into a very bad habit of shortening names and words into silly abbreviations.  Whether it’s to sound hip or to report on news stories quicker, it seems like anything that can be abbreviated will be.  (Kanye West + Kim Kardashian = Kimye)  (National Geographic’s television channel = NatGeo)  (Robert Pattinson = RPatz)  It’s lazy and annoying.  Please stop.

Merry Christmas!!

Right now, I’m powering through some work so I can get out of this office and back to my family.  My husband has some delicious Omaha Steaks on the menu for this evening, our boy is anxious to watch a Christmas movie or two, and I’m ready to settle in for the evening with a glass of wine and a blanket.  I hope everyone has a safe and wonderful Christmas!

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