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Memorial Day is not ‘happy’

This isn’t the first time I’ve written about Memorial Day and it’s meaning. I wrote this eight years ago. And I posted the screenshot below on Facebook six years ago.

But I keep seeing people post “HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY!” and talk about big parties and Memorial Day celebrations. And, like…just no. No. NO!

There isn’t anything happy about this holiday. We’ve really lost the meaning of what this day is honoring. It’s called Memorial Day because the people we are “celebrating” aren’t alive anymore. This is a day that is painful for a great many people. Families and individuals alike.

For many people your bbq is a reminder that if they held one, a loved one would be missing. A mother, a father, a brother, a sister, aunt, uncle, cousin, husband, wife, friend, battle buddy, neighbor. It’s a day we should take to reflect on exactly what these people gave their lives for. Are we honoring their memories and sacrifice? Are we becoming better as a nation? As a society? As a person?

The families of these people have made a hard sacrifice. Being part of a military family is hard. The worry and stress are always there. And I’m just a #MilSis. I can’t imagine being a mil spouse to someone who is deployed. The worry must be agonizing. And Memorial Day must be an excruciating reminder to the family left behind.

So, let’s do better. Let’s honor the ultimate sacrifice they’ve made, and their families live with every day, and strive to be better; to focus less on what divides us and more on what we have in common. It’s okay to disagree on how to fix things, but let’s at least agree on what’s broken. And then find common ground on workable solutions. And advance those solutions so we can heal what’s fractured. Let’s take a page from the Aaron Burr book of advice and “talk less.” But, perhaps let’s ignore the advice of settling things with a duel?

The best thing we can do to honor their memory and sacrifice is to be willing to listen to uncomfortable information just because it doesn’t match our own experience. We are hurting as a nation, but we can heal. We just have to be willing to give as much of ourselves as the people we are honoring did.

This is just my face

It never ceases to amaze me how people feel compelled, obligated and entitled to say things to you. And often times, the more rude or unnecessary the comment, the more compelled the person is to tell you.

I am especially baffled with this as it relates to how someone looks. 

I have a new baby; he’s amazing. But, he’s a baby. So he’s a lot of work. And I’m not complaining. I (mostly) knew what I was getting into when I became a mom; sleepless nights. Long days filled with unpleasant moments that turn into even longer nights. And repeat for infinity. But that’s alright; he is totally worth it. 

But, can we please stop telling parents “you look tired.”? 

This happened last week at the grocery store. My husband and I were picking up stuff for a party we were hosting at our home. It was cool and rainy, so I decided to wear the baby into the store. Keep him safe and dry. We finished our shopping and while we were cashing out the clerk looks at me and baby, then turns to my husband and says “she looks tired.” 

What?! 

My husband responded with “I’m sorry?” And the clerk repeats herself, “I said ‘she looks tired.'” 😡😡😡😡

Excuse me? SHE is standing right here. You can address her directly. 

Why do we think it’s okay to comment on someone’s appearance? Why? Because here’s the thing: I didn’t actually feel tired. I felt good. I got a decent amount of sleep the night before, the baby slept well, and I was actually feeling pretty good about myself. For the first time in months. 

That comment? Immediate gut punch and ego-blow. Because now I’m only thinking about what an ogre I must actually be and how on earth could I have thought I looked alright? 

What actually upsets me more is that the comment, while about me specifically, wasn’t even directed to me. Even though I was standing right there. Instead, it was said to my husband. Twice. 

“She looks tired.” 

Well, sister, I AM tired.

• I’m tired of people thinking they are entitled to comment on my appearance.

• I’m tired of people thinking they need to comment on my appearance.

• And I’m tired of people not seeing anything wrong with doing so. 

It’s so incredibly rude. And inconsiderate. And unnecessary. And unwanted. 

Because, no. I’m NOT tired. This is just my face. 

This is just my natural resting face. #SorryNotSorry #RBF


Je suis … fatigué

Police-involved killings of black civilians (more to come on that in a later post), an ambush on police officers and now the attack in Nice, France.

This about sums up my feelings on all the hatred and violence going on in the world. #JeSuisSickOfThisShit

#BlackLivesMatter

This morning I woke up to a happy, healthy son. Well, maybe not so happy. He needed a diaper change and little man does NOT like being wet. But, overall, I have a happy, healthy son. Something I am thankful for every single day. 

I worried every day of my pregnancy that he might not be healthy. Not because I was a high risk pregnancy, or because disease runs in our families, but because there is so much that can go astray. So I worried. And now that he is here and healthy, I am grateful. 

The news over the last two days however has me thankful for something else, though. 

I’m thankful that my happy, healthy son is white*.

I’m thankful for that because it means that I don’t have to worry that he will be walking down the street and end up killed because of his skin color.

And as thankful as I am for that, I am angry.

I’m angry that my black friends and their kids don’t have the luxury of white skin. That they must be fearful everyday that they will be killed because their skin is brown or black. 

I’m angry that this is still happening. Again and again and again and again. That in 2016 this has happened 533** times. And it’s only July. 

I’m angry that white people don’t believe that white privelege exists (newsflash: it totally does). I’m angry that white people try to squash an issue they don’t understand by saying #AllLivesMatter. 

No fucking shit.

But trying to silence #BlackLivesMatter makes you part of the problem. Yes. All lives matter. But right now, at this time in our society, #BlackLivesMatter needs to be heard and spread. 

Because it’s black lives that are being taken at the hands of (predominately) white police officers. 

And over the next several weeks we will hear all about Alton Sterling’s past. His criminal record. We’ll hear about Philando Castile. About any poor choices he ever made in his life. 

The media will dig into every nook and cranny of their lives trying to paint whatever narrative they have already decided on. This is why I didn’t pursue journalism as a career. It’s disheartening. I know the extent of information left out of stories because I’ve done it. I’ve chosen which angle to take. And I don’t like it. 

Because the part of the story we won’t hear about is the officers who killed these men. We are unlikely to hear about their past. Probably won’t hear much about their job performance. Have they been investigated by internal affairs? Had complaints filed against them? We probably won’t know. 

And that makes me angry. And sad. 

I shouldn’t have to be scared for my black friends. Their kids. Their families. I shouldn’t have to worry about if they are going to make it home safely tonight. But I do. 

So, white friends, please, please, please stop with #AllLivesMatter because right now, #BlackLivesMatter is so very important.

#BLM

image gathered by Google search; found on storify.com


*My family is Native American, but our skin color is pretty light. We get the benefit of passing for white.

** In many of these instances the individual killed is white and/or the use of deadly force could be considered warranted as the person killed was armed and/or shot at the officer(s). The number used includes all officer involved shooting deaths as reported and collected by the Washington Post.

We Must Do Better

I don’t have the answer. Some magical solution. I am positive I don’t even have all of the information necessary to form a well-informed, rational and thought out arguement.

But I know that we must do better. We are failing…as a society, as a nation. Failing. 

And rather than have calm, rational, REAL meaningful conversations about gun control, responsible gun ownership and how to end these fucking senseless (and preventable) mass shootings, we are screaming at each other. Again.

Fighting the same fight. YOU CAN’T HAVE MY GUNS! GUNS DON’T KILL PEOPLE, PEOPLE DO! NO GUN HAS EVER DONE HARM ON ITS OWN!

BAN ALL GUNS! GUNS ARE EVIL AND HAVE NO PLACE IN OUR SOCIETY! WE ARE GUN OBSESSED!

I don’t have the answer. But we must do better. Because mothers and fathers just lost their children. Dozens of families are missing pieces of their hearts and souls.

And it’s crucially important that we don’t gloss over that the entire reason these people were slaughtered in a dance club is because they are gay.

BUT BEING GAY IS GROSS! BEING GAY IS A SIN! IT’S IN THE BIBLE!

Like, who fucking cares? If you’re that wonderful of a Christian, you’ll pray for them. Not judge them. You’ll love them anyway. You know, like Jesus did. Because if you are using your religious beliefs, or religion in general, to discriminate against a group of people, to view yourself as better than someone else, then you are doing religion wrong. And that’s not an opinion – that’s a fact.

Seriously, we must all do better. Tolerance is not enough. We must speak out about the injustices and inequalities that they gay community faces every single day. Just because you don’t see it, or don’t believe it happens doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. Because I assure you it is.

And just because you disagree doesn’t make you right.

You don’t have to agree with me. You can believe that everyone absolutely needs to have the ability to own an AK whatever, but that doesn’t mean you’re right. If I disagree with you, it doesn’t make me right, either.

But we MUST do better. Everyone’s lives literally depend on it.

Guest Writing: The Life Enthusiast

As many of you know, I occasionally guest write for my friends. 

This month, my friend Britt asked if I would contribute to her blog series, The Life  Enthusiast Chronicles. As this is one of my favorite things on the Internet, I was thrilled to be asked, and immediately agreed to be a part of it.

Each month, Britt asks a different writer she knows to answer the same question: what makes you enthusiastic about life?

So, head on over and check out my answer to the question. 

While you’re there, be sure to browse through the other posts and if you love Britt’s work as much as I do, buy one of her awesome novels! My personal favorite is Nola Fran Evie if you need a starting point. ☺️

You can buy her books on Amazon

Bringing Noise to the Silent Struggle

I haven’t posted much lately. Life has been….interesting. I’m not complaining, at least I’m trying not to, things have just been weird. Especially, lately.

You may not know this, but I am a guest contributor for my friend Nathan’s blog, NateTheWorld. Each month, Nathan sends out an email to his contributors asking for submissions and he provides writing prompts, in case any one needs inspiration. I don’t always send something in, especially if my own life is a crazy, hectic mess because finding time to do one. more. thing. just doesn’t seem possible.

But, this month one of the prompts was ‘my struggle’ and it spoke volumes to me. So I sat down and started writing. I sent my contribution over to him and he posted it. And then I started thinking about the struggle I wrote about and thought about how I was still struggling. Still dealing with it and what else could I do to lessen the burden?

So, I wrote another piece and posted it to my other blog. And really, I thought that would be it. That a few people would read either piece and maybe find comfort in my words, or at least have some light shed on a topic with which they are unfamiliar.

But that is not what happened. Not at all. What happened instead is I started receiving messages from people telling me that they were going through the same struggle. That they had a similar experience. That they, too, understood my pain and frustrations. It was……overwhelming. Amazing. Incredible.

Then, I decided that if I received such an amazing response from people I know, what could happen if people I didn’t know also heard my message? I reached out to another blogger/writer that I really like and asked him to read the piece, and if it made sense for his page, could he post it? AND HE DID! I couldn’t believe it; this person who doesn’t even know me, felt like what I wrote should be shared.

Of course, comments came in, and they didn’t all go my way, but that’s alright. Because at the end of the day, I know that thousands of people have read what I wrote, and perhaps they learned something they didn’t know beforehand.

Some of the comments said I was perhaps being a little too emotional or oversensitive to the topic at hand. Maybe. But that doesn’t make me wrong. Or make my point/opinion invalid.

Facebook2 Facebook3For the record, I DID donate those samples to my church. And I gave the coupons that I kept receiving to the Early Ed. center so they could go to parents who WANT them.

I'm not sure that expressing my opinion makes me selfish, but she's entitled to think that.

I’m not sure that expressing my opinion makes me selfish, but she’s entitled to think that.

I’m not sure that it’s the worst article ever, but again, she is entitled to think that.

Facebook6I’d also like to point out that I didn’t say anything about malice from the companies; I pointed out the short-sightedness of the campaigns. I also didn’t call for a boycott, just stated that I won’t be giving my money to them. As for questioning my struggle with infertility, that I took a little personally. She says that a year of not conceiving doesn’t count as infertile. Actually, it does. According to the Mayo Clinic’s website: “Infertility is defined as not being able to get pregnant despite having frequent, unprotected sex for at least a year for most people and six months in certain circumstances.”

My husband and I have been trying to start a family FOR A YEAR! That doesn’t seem like a long time, unless it’s something you really want and it doesn’t happen, over and over and over again.

Facebook7This woman commented several times, apparently I struck a nerve with her. Especially since she called my post a rant (it wasn’t). But, I am a long time reader because I haven’t ALWAYS been in this struggle, and because the guy is a good writer and the “hilarities of parenthood” crack me up. But, perhaps I’m not allowed to laugh at parenthood since I’m not part of the club? Who knows.

Not all of the comments were negative, though. Some of them were really nice and were from people who had experienced similar things or understood what my whole point was (that the program’s targeting is wrong because they don’t know who the person on the other end of the data they purchased really is. Being a woman that shops at Babies R Us doesn’t make me anymore a mother than eating a banana makes me a monkey).

Facebook5And some of the comments were just really nice and proved to me that what I had to say was at least heard AND UNDERSTOOD by some people – which is really my ultimate goal. To be understood. Isn’t that everyone’s goal?

Facebook1 Facebook8I did contact the companies that send those formula samples; I sent them my article. And one of them responded letting me know they removed me from their mailing list. Which I appreciate. But that’s not my point. They need to reevaluate the whole thing. I understand the purpose of the campaign. They want to sell a product. But, there might be a better way to target the correct people; I don’t have the answer to HOW to do that, but I’m sure they have really smart people working for them that can come up with the answer.

I let them know that I appreciated being removed, but that if this is happening to me, then it is happening to other women. And that’s the problem. They said they’ve given the information “to the appropriate department” so who knows if anything actually comes out of it. I really hope it does.

So, that’s the biggest thing that’s been going on in my life lately. Just bringing awareness to a silent struggle. One blog post at a time.