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Mother Of The Year

My parents and I don’t exactly see eye to eye on much.  My relationship with my father has improved over the years, but my mother refuses to make any effort to reconcile with me and seems content in acting as if she does not have a daughter.  Unfortunately for me, I don’t have the luxury of severing ties completely, as they have grandparent visitation rights to see my nearly eight year old son.  This is generally not an issue, as most visits are local ones with just my father, but two or three times a year, my son goes down to Georgia to visit with them both for an extended time.  Recently, they had their two week summer visit in Georgia and my son came back with quite a few stories.

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The first story was one I’ve heard before.  My mother has been telling my boy that I am going to hell.  My mother was never big into church until my little brother got very religious and started playing drums in the church band.  Since then, she began reading religious texts and talking about God quite frequently.  A few Christmases ago, she sent me a letter with a bit of scripture and notes describing what a terrible person I am.  It was something she also did before I moved away; highlighted bible verses with notes on why those words meant I was a bad person.  It was something I just had to get used to and learn to ignore.

My son recently let me know about her now telling him that his mother will be going to hell.  In his words, “Grammy said that you’re going to the bad place downstairs because you’re not a nice person.”  I shouldn’t have been shocked, but I was.  For a grown woman to tell this to an impressionable child simply blew my mind.  This is the same woman who gave me all my baby photos and memorabilia about a year ago with a note about how she didn’t “need this stuff” anymore, so I definitely get that she despises me, but I could not believe that she stooped so low as to bring my child into this.  This resulted in a very uncomfortable conversation with my boy.

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Thankfully he understands (I think) that she is talking nonsense.  My mother-in-law is very religious and by comparing her to my mother, my boy was able to see that no one who believes in God should be talking in that way.  He was able to see the difference between a loving person and one who is just confused and bitter.  I hope that he truly does get it and isn’t walking about thinking that his own mother is doomed to burn for all eternity.  At this point, he is old enough to see that she isn’t the nicest person in the world and he has expressed freely that he doesn’t enjoy his time with her; he prefers visits with just my father where he doesn’t have to listen to poisonous words about his parents.

This morning, my boy let me in on a bit more of what my mother says when I’m not around.  According to him, my mother says that I “stole him from her while she was at work” when he was a baby.  It’s pretty damn difficult for me to steal my own child, but I know that she is referring to the time when I decided to leave Georgia in order to begin a life with my husband in Indiana.  We packed up my belongings and hit the road while my mother was at work in order to avoid her interference.  The stealing part is odd, as both my parents knew about my husband and my plans and knew exactly where I was headed.  They simply didn’t like it.

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I didn’t leave them behind due to some selfish reason or out of spite.  I left because my son and I needed to be in a healthy environment so we could flourish.  I needed to get my child away from the woman who tried multiple times to get my son to call HER mother instead of me.  The woman who physically abused me and might do the same to my son.  The woman who fights with poisonous words as she seeks to make others as miserable as she is.  The woman who refuses to take medication to fix whatever is mentally wrong with her as she falsely accuses me of being bipolar.  My life has been fantastic since leaving and she hates that.

I don’t consider myself to be a bad person, especially not in the way my own mother views me.  Yes, I’m an atheist, but I’m not trying to mold my son into a godless person as well.  He believes in God and likes the idea that we go to heaven when we die, and I don’t try to break that belief, I simply tell him about all the various things that people choose to believe in so he can make his own decision.  I’m not on drugs or drinking to excess, wasting my life away on substance abuse.  I sure as hell am not bipolar and “off my medication” as she claims.  I’m not damaging my son, who is at the top of his class, incredibly curious and eager to learn, and one of the sweetest kids you will ever meet.  I’m not the best mom, but I’m a damn good one and my son knows it and loves me for it.

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Every child needs to choose their own path once they reach adulthood, and there is a pretty good chance that the path won’t be one that the parents imagined.  And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.  If my mom had her way, I’d be married to this little shrimp of a guy (because his parents are rich as all get out), living in Georgia as a housewife and raising two or three children, going to the salon weekly, and prancing around town like a little princess with my gorgeous children and my wealthy husband.  The fact that I passed up Mr. Money Bags in favor of a man I love who doesn’t make six figures is incredibly confusing to her.  The improvements I’ve made in my life mean nothing to her because I didn’t do things her way.

Right now, I’m not sure what my next course of action is in order to get her to stop trying to confuse my child and make him think his parents are terrible people.  Reasoning with this woman is next to impossible and due to her health issues, my father is reluctant to interfere and stress her out.  Going back to court is definitely an idea in order to get visitation reduced so that he has less time around her, but that is complicated and timely and sure as hell didn’t go my way the first go round.  I just know I’m going to have to do some serious thinking to solve this because I do not want my son caught in the middle and forced to listen to lies out of the mouth of a broken woman.

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Your Cheating Heart

A friend of mine recently ended a relationship, then learned that their ex had been unfaithful during their relationship.  I didn’t know my friend’s ex that well, having only met her once for dinner and a concert, and even then we didn’t speak to each other much, but the ex didn’t strike me as someone who would cheat.  My friend is one of the nicest people I know and it kills me to know that they had to go through that.  Even though the relationship was over when the news was revealed, the sting of being cheated on isn’t any less than it would be if it was revealed during the relationship.  Bottom line:  It sucks.

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The guy I had a serious relationship with prior to my husband ended up cheating on me twice.  It was during a time when we had to live apart due to financial hardships.  I found out he had slept with two waitresses I knew from a bar we frequented, and on one of those occasions where he was unfaithful, he ended up coming back to my bed almost immediately after doing the nasty with someone else.  To say I was devastated would be an understatement.  It was the only time I’ve truly been cheated on (to my knowledge) and it pained me for a long time afterward.  I tried to make it work but it eventually failed for more reasons than I can list.  The cheating was definitely high on the list of reasons I left though and is something no one should tolerate or have to experience.

One of the things that bothered me about my situation was that a mutual friend of ours had a front row seat to the cheating and didn’t say a word to me.  I was left blissfully ignorant until my ex got drunk one night and told me in an attempt to make me cry.  In retrospect, I can’t blame him for not telling me about the indiscretions.  Chances were that I wouldn’t have believed a word of it and would have just become angry at my friend.  It also was not the responsibility of my friend to break this news to me; he was an unwilling participant and just happened to be present during a date with my ex’s temporary new woman.  I was angry at my friend when I discovered that he knew, but I eventually came to my senses and quit blaming him (and the waitress) for something that wasn’t their doing.

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The reasons people cheat are generally the same across the board.  One person feels ignored or unfulfilled in part of their relationship and looks to fill the gaps with another person.  One person feels inadequate and desires a person to tell them they’re beautiful and worthwhile.  The sex isn’t what it used to be or the conversations have run stale.  The cheater is insecure and needs to seek out people who will cure their insecurities temporarily with loving words and sexual attraction.  One person gets afraid of commitment and rushes into the arms of another in order to find solace.  The cheater simply gets a kick out of playing two or more people without being found out.  There are many reasons, but none of them are any good.

Not every relationship is meant to go the distance and it’s perfectly normal and fine for feelings to change and for people to want to move on to bigger and better things.  It’s unfair to yourself and to your partner to stay in a relationship that isn’t making you both happy.  The solution is easy though; be honest and move on properly.  Maybe the two of you need a bit of time apart in order to learn to be strong together, maybe you’re a few years away from being ready for love, or maybe you both need to stop holding on to something that doesn’t work.  It’s better to break a heart through a breakup than break a heart through infidelity.  It’s easier to come back and salvage a relationship that had a clean break than salvage one that ended because you decided to sleep around with other people.

Jealousy

I’m angry at my friend’s ex for their actions, not only because my friend didn’t deserve it, but because it was completely unnecessary.  The ex could have easily asked for some time apart, expressed frustration with some part of the relationship, or just said “screw you, I’m done.”  It’s difficult to do, but I’m glad I chose to end things with my college boyfriend instead of cheating on him when he moved four hours away from me for work.  Hurting someone with a breakup is rough but it’s worlds better than hurting someone by sharing yourself with another person behind their back.  It’s the difference between being the one that got away and the dirty whore that wasted two years of someone’s life.

I think my friend will be better off without their ex, but it’s still a shame that things weren’t handled properly so that at the very least they could have remained friends.  Thankfully, my friend is a strong and level-headed person who will get past this nonsense quickly and move on to someone who appreciates, loves and respects them.  The plus side to being cheated on is that it not only makes you a stronger person, it shows you the dirty side of love.  It’s a learning experience that allows you to avoid people of bad character in the future.  It discourages you from being a cheater yourself since you’ve been on the wrong end of it and know the damage it does.  It separates you from a person who didn’t deserve you and allows you to move on without guilt.  Cheaters may never learn, but that’s okay because the ones left in their wake end up shining like diamonds while the guilty parties stumble through the mud.

Love And Basketball

NBA player Jason Collins has decided to come out of the closet and announce that he is gay, something he describes as mind-boggling and something he hopes will encourage other closeted homosexuals to follow his lead and be open and honest with the world.  He is the first active professional athlete to do this, making his actions into a milestone for the LGBT community.  He says he did not set out to be a trailblazer but he is happy to have started a new conversation about homosexuality in our country.  He has received a lot of support from fellow athletes and definitely has people talking.

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It’s bizarre that in 2013, homosexuality still is not accepted in this country.  We are split right down the middle when it comes to gay marriage, we still have people insisting that being gay is a choice and not something one is born as, and we still see people become extremely uncomfortable and sometimes filled with rage at the sight of two men holding hands or two women having a romantic dinner.  We see people become angry when a woman dates another woman who has a more masculine appearance, asking why she doesn’t just date a guy if she’s going to date a woman we think looks like a guy herself.  We chastise men for being “sissies,” mocking behavior we think is flamboyant.  For some reason, society cannot come together and simply accept that being gay doesn’t mean a person is flawed.

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is a thing of the past for our military, something my favorite soldier at work is quite happy about, but it doesn’t mean that his struggle is over.  He still gets ribbed by colleagues who think if he just found the right woman, he would be “fixed.”  He’s even had a heart to heart with me where he considered trying to date women so his life would be easier.  Male soldiers are supposed to be macho and tough, something that most people don’t generally associate with being gay.  It’s the same for professional male athletes; they are tough alpha males who score the hottest models and who can have their way with whatever woman they wish.  These tough guys shouldn’t be gay because homosexuality doesn’t fit our view of what an athlete should be.

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I’ve heard a lot of people say that it’s not a big deal that Collins came out and that he should just shut up about it instead of being out there and trying to be some sort of hero.  I don’t see what he has done as an act of heroism though, I see it as no different from any public figure opening up about love or any other part of their personal life.  People like the Kardashians live their life like an open wound and it’s accepted, but a homosexual decides to be honest and that isn’t okay?  Collins isn’t dressing in rainbow-covered attire and dancing in the streets with men in speedos, he is simply making a personal statement and doing so in the hopes that his admission will move our society in a positive direction.  There is nothing to be upset about here.

Collins is right on the money by calling this mind-boggling.  As I write this, two of my coworkers are having a discussion about how this will negatively affect the team, the mood in the locker room, and the sport as a whole.  It’s mind-boggling that people still think that being a gay man means being sexually attracted to every single man they come across.  It’s mind-boggling that teammates could feel uncomfortable in a locker room with a gay man who has previously never done anything and probably will not do anything in the future to cause discomfort.  Sexual orientation is one piece among many that makes a person who they are.  It shouldn’t be the one defining piece and shouldn’t cause this much distress and outrage.

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I’ve been in a locker room with lesbians.  I’ve been in many restrooms in gay bars and clubs with lesbians.  I’ve been harassed and/or made to feel uncomfortable zero times.  The one time I’ve been harassed by a lesbian was while working at a shoe store.  There is no reason for alarm and no reason to think that a gay man can’t play a sport because his teammates won’t be able to handle the homosexual vibe in the locker room.  It’s not the gay person causing discomfort, it’s everyone else who won’t put aside their fears and who choose to focus on the fact that this man prefers the company of other men instead of women.  Yes, there are gay people out there who don’t know how to behave, but that can be said for straight folk as well.  The bad behavior of a few does not define everyone.

We need to treat the admission by Collins properly, which is to treat is as no big deal.  He took a step out of the shadows in order to grow as a person and to be happy.  He started a conversation that should be ended with acceptance and love.  His actions will hopefully show others that being gay isn’t something to be ashamed of and isn’t something people should be fearful of.  We need to rid ourselves of the stereotypical image of what a gay man or woman should be and accept the fact that gay people come in as wide a variety as straight people do.  We are way overdue to drop this terrible attitude towards the LGBT community.  None of us have the right to stand in the way of anyone’s happiness.  If someone’s happiness comes from loving the same gender, who are we to oppose?

V-Day

Happy Valentine’s Day!  Love is in the air, romantic plans are coming to fruition, couples get engaged or married, red roses sell out, and getting seated in a nice restaurant becomes quite the challenge without a reservation.  The single crowd plans various anti-love activities or sulks and proclaims it to be Single Awareness Day.  Some couples end their day wrapped in each other’s arms, others on opposite sides of the bed with one person severely let down from what the special day failed to bring.  For my husband and myself, this Valentine’s Day is simply Tuesday.

No, I’m not about to launch into one of those “every day is Valentine’s Day for us because we are SOOOO in love” stories.  I would love to personally punch every person out there who says that garbage.  I’m also not going to tell you tales of how Hallmark and various jewelry stores invented Valentine’s Day in order to make a sweet profit in February.  I simply don’t care about the 14th of February because it’s just a day among many that I share with my husband.  I’m one of those females that a lot of women think are strange; I don’t enjoy getting flowers and could care less about diamonds and fancy jewelry.  I don’t see the point in trying to eat out that night either and fight the crowds of cranky couples only to get a two-seater table near the kitchen or bathroom and be rushed through a meal so the table can be turned.  Leave me out of it.

The anti-Valentine crowd isn’t necessarily jaded or bitter as many people will assume.  I didn’t stop caring because of years of let downs or having my heart broken one too many times.  I’m not skipping festivities today because my husband lacks the ability to be romantic.  I’m not in a loveless marriage where we don’t care about expressing our feelings.  It simply just isn’t a holiday that is for me.  Being a holiday that isn’t important enough to grant us a day off from work, V-Day falls at inconvenient times during the week.  We can’t exactly have a romantic evening out when our six year old needs to be watched and up for school early the next day, nor can we plan a getaway that gives us ample time to get away during the work week.  It falls at an inconvenient time between both of our paychecks and it would be silly for us to empty our accounts of spending money just to appease the other person for no other reason than the calendar commands it.  For us, having date nights or kid-free nights over the weekend is more important than this so-called day of love.

Let me stop you before you insist I do something special at home to celebrate our love.  One of us, generally my husband, cooks just about every night for us and while a special and grand home-cooked meal sounds like a great Valentine’s treat, it’s just a ton of extra work on him that I don’t want to see him do in the middle of the week.  The one truly romantic movie we both love and have special memories of is one that we watch over Christmas; we’re not into mushy movies and won’t be forcing ourselves to watch any.  And as far as what happens in the bedroom… it’s not exactly something we exclusively reserve for holidays and is probably a lot better off without the cheap lingerie and cheesy $10 love song CD.

I’m not totally out of touch though; we are planning to get out this coming weekend and catch a movie, visit a restaurant we’ve never been to, and maybe indulge myself and do some aimless shopping.  If you’d like, you can call it a postponed Valentine’s, but my husband and I refer to it as WE HAVE NO KID THIS WEEKEND, LET’S GO OUT!!!!  I think one of the reasons he and I work so well together is that we don’t fall into the stereotypes of how a couple should act, including that you must participate in certain things and purchase certain items every February.  We’d rather save the cash for our upcoming concerts in March or plan a vacation in the spring.  Or maybe just go crazy one day and buy a ton of Xbox games and accessories.  There are enough holidays that put us under the obligation to drop wads of cash on loved ones (I’m looking at you, Christmas) so I’d rather not add Valentine’s Day to the mix and give myself a migraine due to cash related stress.

Now that I’ve gotten that all off my chest, let me honestly wish you all a Happy Valentine’s Day.  My plans aren’t necessarily the right ones or the best ones, but they are the ones that work for my husband and I.  Isn’t that what we should all strive for today, to make this day work for ourselves and our loved one, or just for yourself if you’re single?  If you expect flowers and dinner, don’t assume your dropped hints are enough to ensure it happens.  Don’t play the “oh, I don’t want a gift” game and then get angry when you don’t get a gift.  If you want to go to a fancy restaurant, be proactive and make reservations yourself.  Most important, don’t worry about what everyone else is doing.  The lady that shows up at work the next day with a fancy diamond necklace isn’t necessarily better loved than you, she may just have a husband that knows shiny things shut her up.  Also, not every flower delivery to the office is from the husband; some ladies out there are not above sending it to themselves to look good.  If today is meant to be about love, forget everyone else and concentrate on making it about the one you love, whether it’s your spouse, your kids, your pet, or just yourself.  And if all else fails, chocolate will be 50% off tomorrow.

Exposing Cheaters

When I was somewhere between my early and mid twenties, I was engaged to my middle school sweetheart.  We had been engaged for nearly two years when financial hardship struck and our living conditions went to hell.  I got a small room for rent and he took up residence in his bosses out of commission camper that sat behind the shop where he worked.  During this time, it was understood that although we were still engaged and committed, just living apart due to our financial situation.  We still saw each other almost daily and I had no reason to believe that anything was wrong.  Living on my own allowed me to save up some cash and I was able to get back into an apartment.  When I approached him about moving back in together, he had been drinking and admitted to me that he had slept with two different waitresses while we were living apart, one of which he actually dated for about a month.  I was devastated but attempted to forgive and forget, which is a challenge and which I highly recommend not trying.

I didn’t leave him because he cheated, but I can honestly say that if I were to strip away all the other things about him that were awful and simply make him an unfaithful boyfriend, I still would have left him.  The knowledge of your loved one betraying your trust and laying down with someone else isn’t something that can simply be shrugged off or erased from memory.  It’s something that’s right in front of you any time you look at that person.  It enters your mind when they touch you; did they touch him or her this way or did they kiss them the way they kiss me?  You start to doubt yourself; did I do something wrong or am I not good enough?  The trust is shattered; you’ll wonder who they are with when they leave the house, or if they were checking out the cashier at the store while you two shopped.  If you forgive and forget, you devalue yourself to some extend because you’re basically saying that it was okay for them to treat you like they did and go outside of your relationship.  If you’re with a certain type of person, they’ll abuse your forgiveness and use it as a green light to cheat on you again since they know you’re not going anywhere.

If you discover that your friend’s boy/girlfriend is cheating on them, what do you do?  My first instinct is always to let them know what’s going on, but I rarely ever do.  With my ex I mentioned above, I was told by a mutual friend that he brought another girl to a comedy club and went home with her afterward, bragging about his conquest the next day.  I didn’t believe it because my head was in the clouds and I thought he loved me.  As much as I’ve desire to help friends when I know they’re being cheated on, I’ve almost always held back because they simply don’t listen to me and I sometimes lose a friend.  It’s natural to want to trust the person you’re with over outside parties and it’s difficult to hear something that will negatively affect your relationship.  Unless you have rock solid evidence that you can put in front of them and make it impossible to deny, it’s not a good idea to intervene.  Even with proof, you risk your friend resenting you or ending the friendship out of fear that you will now be silently judging them and their relationship choices.

A couple ex-friends of my husband and I created a story about my husband’s infidelity at the end of the blow out that ended our friendship; it was their last-ditch effort to hurt myself and my husband.  One acted like an ass and broadcasted the tale over various websites, but the other acted as though she was trying to help by telling me.  She said she needed to share this with me because she cared and didn’t want me hurt.  Let’s pretend for a minute that my husband is a dirt bag and actually did the deed.  I wouldn’t have believed it at first if at all.  I also would have been angry at my friends for waiting two years to tell me about his tryst with another woman.  It also would have put a strain on the friendship they had with my husband and possibly become a reason for everyone going their separate ways.  Two years had gone past from his “affair” so what would the point be in telling me now?

If you are the cheater, what do you do?  Let’s assume it happened one time and was a mistake that you are regretful for.  You slipped up one time and have no intentions of ever letting it happen again.  The person you cheated with is also willing to let it go and never speak of it or to you again.  Do you tell your spouse or boy/girlfriend?  Personally, I would be eaten alive by the guilt and would either have to confess it all to him or leave him for good.  But that’s me; some people would view their one time as a mistake that isn’t that big of a deal.  They could choose not to tell their loved one because it’s over and done with, or perhaps they do tell them and expect forgiveness since it was only a single slip up.  I’m torn on this one.  I would want to know and I’d want it to come from the lips of my husband.  I wouldn’t forgive him and wouldn’t be able to stay with him and it would break my heart, but I can’t be with a cheater and wouldn’t want to live in ignorance with a man who disrespected me enough to bump uglies with another woman behind my back.  That being said, I’ve heard people say they wouldn’t want to know if something happened or they would forgive as long as it was just once.  Although those are not choices I’d personally make, I can definitely see the logic in them.

It differs for me when dealing with a serial cheater. Maybe you have a mistress or maybe you have a couple of guys you’ve been stringing along, but long-term cheaters deserve to be exposed.  I will reluctantly write off one time as a mistake, but repeating it is just dirty.  The cheater is making a fool out of their partner every time they step outside the relationship.  I don’t believe this type of cheater would be the one to cough up a voluntary confessions of their deeds but I do believe that they should.  There are plenty of people in this world willing to have a casual roll in the hay; if you don’t want to stick with one person or can’t do so without cheating, stay single!  If you’re getting off from the risk of getting caught, go find public kid-free places to have sex.  I’d be more comfortable in a world where I occasionally glimpse a naked couple hiding in the bushes than a world where husbands are bringing home herpes and wives are banging the trainer at the gym while the kids are at school.

I have a zero tolerance policy for cheaters and I wish it was shared by more people in this world.  I’d miss Joey Greco for a bit, but overall it would restore a bit of my faith in humanity.  Cheating is a selfish activity that can easily be eliminated.  Stay single and let people you date know that you’re seeking a casual encounter and are also going elsewhere.  Enter a relationship and stay in an open status, with the two of you free to go see other people.  There is absolutely no excuse for making a commitment to another person and betraying them.  If you’re unhappy or if something is missing, end it and move forward.  Don’t drag someone down and emotionally beat them just because you can’t keep your pants anywhere but around your ankles.  Have some pride and respect.

Girl Fight

My husband and I had a few errands to run on Saturday and we hit the road mid-afternoon after our son’s nap to get an early dinner in and get things out of the way so we could enjoy our evening.  We went to our new favorite Chinese restaurant, Teppanyaki Grill & Buffet, and then headed to Disc Replay, Best Buy, Halloween World, and Party City.  Not the most important errands in the world, but we promised our boy that we’d do a few things for him since he behaved in school all week.  On our first stop, my husband noticed a woman looking me up and down in the parking lot, glaring at me as if I killed her parents.  It happened multiple times during our stops from various females, my husband either pointed it out to me or I glanced up in time to catch an icy stare.

Let me clarify a few things:  I consider myself cute but in no way am deluded enough to think I’m supermodel material or drop-dead gorgeous.  I don’t dress like a stripper; on Saturday I was wearing jeans and a black tank top that covered everything it needed to, zero cleavage to be seen.  I wasn’t checking out the boyfriends/husbands of the women who I apparently angered; my husband noticed the woman with her husband giving me the look of death before I spotted either of them.  I wasn’t being loud or obnoxious or flashy.  I can’t think of a single solitary reason anyone should have reason to attempt to murder me with their eyes.

Women like that (most of you) give women like me a bad name.  Before you accuse me of sitting tall on my high horse, let me say that I have been that other kind of woman in my life.  I’ve given the pretty girl a hateful glare when she catches the eye of my boyfriend.  I’ve judged the chick in a miniskirt and tube top who is getting the attention of all the men around.  I’ve hated on the female friends of my significant others simply because they were female and they represented competition, real or imagined.  As I grew up and became more secure in myself, I realized how petty and foolish my behavior was and promptly knocked it off.  There’s always going to be someone around that makes me look like a troll in comparison and unless I feel like dropping a few grand on some surgeries, there’s nothing I can do about it.  My husband doesn’t have a wandering eye and I’m happy with the way I look, so there isn’t any reason for me to waste time being jealous or hating on other women.

Ladies, I don’t understand why this behavior continues after high school and college days are behind us.  It’s self-destructive and perpetuates the stereotype of females being catty and spiteful without reason.  What happened to me on Saturday was small, but still unnecessary and extremely silly.  What can the Party City cashier possibly gain from glaring at me like I was robbing the store?  Women talk about each other in a cruel manner when apart but plaster on a fake smile when together.  Groups laugh at the expense of an unfortunate female they spot in a crowd, mocking her hair or clothes or anything they manage to find wrong with her.  Men are judged as too good for the girl they are with.  It’s disgusting.

In no way do I suggest you become a saint and be nice to all people you encounter; while it would be nice, it’s unrealistic and a bit boring, plus it would put E!’s fashion police out of jobs.  What I am suggesting is to tone down the bitchy behavior.  Not every chick you see is out to get you in some way or carrying themselves in a certain manner with the intent of ticking you off.  You look like a total idiot when you give sideways glances at the gorgeous blond in the tight black dress simply because she looks hot.  Your boyfriend/husband is probably going to give her a glance because that’s what guys do.  It’s not her fault.  If he’s staring, slap him upside the head later, but otherwise just let it be.  Hell, try telling your man you think she looks great and see how he reacts.  I guarantee the reaction is preferable over what you’ll get by whispering to him that she’s a skank.

Being a girl is hard enough without adding petty bullshit to the pile of things we have to deal with.  We can’t be expected to be taken seriously by the opposite sex if we aren’t able to be in the same room with other females without causing drama.  Friendships of value will be hard to come by if you can’t quit mocking every other female who rubs you the wrong way; no one wants to hang around with the girl who always has a problem with someone else.  Let the negativity go before it consumes you and turns you into a bitter old lady who has no friends outside of her cats.  Nothing is sexier on a woman (or man) than confidence.  Don’t waste time envying what the other woman has when you can spend your days being damn proud of what you’ve got.

The View From Where You Stand

When Casey Anthony was found not guilty of murdering her daughter Caylee, my heart skipped a beat and I immediately felt angry.  When it was announced that she was found not guilty of even manslaughter and child neglect, I was enraged.  Casey did a great job of portraying herself as a selfish woman who was not prepared to raise a child and who was not quite ready to grow up and accept the responsibilities of adulthood.  The media overwhelmed the public with all the juicy details of Casey’s private life; incriminating photos, rumors from friends, facts from family members and employers.  Casey easily became one of the most hated women in this country.

After the verdict was handed down and Casey was to become a free woman, the collective rage of the public was palpable.  People needed someone to blame.  The court found Casey to be blameless in the eyes of the law, save for lying to law enforcement, and we had been blaming her all along anyway.  The natural scapegoats were the jurors assigned to this trial.  People were outraged that this group of 12 let a murderer walk away after killing a child.  How could they come to such a decision when it was obvious to US that she killed her baby?  These people truly were clueless, heartless bastards.

Jurors have been banned from restaurants, insulted and threatened online, and shunned by family members. One woman quit her job and moved out of Florida because she was afraid for her life.  Nearly every day I check the news websites, there is a story on a juror and the hardships they now face for being associated with this trial.  The hatred and anger that should be reserved for other parties has now landed solely on the shoulders of these jurors.

Personally, I was outraged at the verdict and initially couldn’t understand why she was acquitted of murder and not charged with manslaughter or neglect.  That being said, it’s understandable that Casey was allowed to walk free.  An anonymous juror told People Magazine that the vote to convict Casey of lying to the police was easily 12-0, while the vote to convict her of murder went from 10-2 to acquit to all voting for acquittal after 30 minutes.  The manslaughter charge went from a split decision, to 11-1 to acquit, and finally to 12-0 to acquit in what was called a very difficult decision.  Every single juror interview I have read or seen has included a variation of the statement “I wish we could have convicted her, but the evidence just wasn’t there.”  That may sound like a cop-out to many of us who have had full internet and TV access throughout the trial, but it makes perfect sense to the sequestered jury who had to go solely off of the evidence provided by the prosecution and the defense.  Every single one of those jurors could have thought Casey was a murdering cold-hearted sorry excuse for a parent, but that doesn’t mean a damn thing when it comes time to handing down a verdict.  The only thing that matters is what was presented to them in court, and what was presented was a very weak case by the prosecution.

If we are going to be angry, let’s get angry at the prosecution for not presenting a better case.  Even better, let’s be angry that a small child lost her life.  Let’s get mad over the fact that it took far too long for Caylee to be reported missing because no one seemed to care enough to speak up.  Let’s be angry that a murderer, whether it’s Casey or someone else, is walking free after committing such a vile act.  I truly hope that this case serves as a learning experience for the prosecuting team and that next time around, they are able to build a solid case that finds the guilty party guilty and provides proper punishment.  I also hope that people refocus a bit and stop blaming the jury for doing the only thing they could have done, handing down a not guilty verdict while knowing the public would hate them for it.  These people performed their civic duty to the best of their ability and don’t deserve this backlash of anger and hatred.  Let them move on.

Disposable Children

For the past couple of months, I’ve found myself caught up with the Casey Anthony trial.  For those not paying attention or who don’t care, she’s accused of killing her almost 3 year old daughter, Caylee.  She’s maintaining her innocence and tried to blame her daughter’s death on a fictional nanny and an accidental drowning in her parent’s swimming pool.  The trial has been going on for a while now and every day I’m at work I can’t help read nearly every news story I see about it.

From what I’ve read, I’m certain that she did kill her daughter and carelessly disposed of her body.  I believe the accusations that she did so because she felt her daughter was holding her back from leading a “normal” life, which is one thing the prosecution is trying to prove by showing her participation in hot body contests immediately after her daughter’s disappearance.  I believe it 100% because in a small way, I understand what Casey felt.

Obviously you don’t harm or kill your kid, or anyone for that matter, regardless of how bad you think your situation is.  That being said, if Casey felt trapped, I get it.  I was a single mom too and I remember feeling stressed out due to my parents and their judgmental attitude towards me and the things I wanted to do.  I get how she was frustrated by not being able to go out and party as she used to because she has a responsibility at home.  I get the depression a new mom feels, even to the point where some mothers want to throw their kid out a window to make it stop crying or to get some sleep.  It’s a bitch when you have a kid at a point in your life when you’re not yet ready to fully grow up.

Most people in that kind of situation, including myself, find ways to deal with it.  I sacrificed most of my nights out and instead invited people over so I could have time cutting up with friends while my son slept.  I had to quit going to 2 concerts a month and be very picky about which ones I wanted to attend.  Even if you have the greatest baby sitter in the world, you just can’t live like you used to once there’s a baby in the house.  It changes everything.

In Casey’s case, I think she felt overwhelmed and desperately wanted a way out.  Being one of the many who think she’s guilty, I have to wonder why in the hell she didn’t just have an abortion.  Even if you’re totally against abortion, you can’t tell me it would have been a worse option than killing a toddler by suffocating her and then dumping her in the woods.

I understand a lot of what Casey must have felt.  I sympathize with her.  I also hope that jury finds her guilty of first degree murder and whatever else they can tack on and I hope she received the maximum allowed sentence.  As a mom, you’re allowed to get pissed off and frustrated at your kids, you’re even allowed to imagine how great life would be without them.  But there’s a line, and it’s not even a thin line, more like a brick wall that you have to climb in order to get to the extremes of Casey and other parents who do this kind of thing.  There are plenty of opportunities to quit climbing and jump back down to sanity.  Once you’re over that wall, you’re lost to this world.

I wish I could end this with a brilliant solution, but I’m fully lost on this one.  My son has kept me up at night for weeks on end, stressed me out with bad behavior, frightened me with hospital visits, murdered my social life in a lot of ways, contributed to past weight gain, taken away a “normal” beginning to marriage, and has got me saying “potty” to adults.  He has pooped in the bathtub.  And peed on me.  He has the worse selective hearing in the world.  He uses up a huge chunk of my paycheck.  He spilled water on the bathroom floor one day and tried to clean it with a tablet you put in the toilet tank, which dyed the floor blue and took me an hour to clean up.  Honestly, he can be a pain in the ass.

Still, a hug from him speaks volumes, as does hearing his little voice tell me he loves me.  I look in his eyes and see a world of opportunity ahead of him.  Seeing him grow and develop new talents and quirks is amazing, I love the kid more than I can say.  Not even with a gun to my head could I ever harm that little boy.  Someone please explain to me why the fuck this world is so filled with people who can, because I just don’t get it.

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