WWRWD? (What Would Robin Williams Do?)

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Unless you live under a rock, or are involved in a much more catastrophic, international crisis (like the one going on over in Iraq; yeah – hello – did people forget about that one?)…then, you are aware of a few certain tragedies that occurred over the last few days; most discussed being the deaths of Robin Williams by suicide, and that of Lauren Bacall of stroke.

Let’s be clear about something: the loss of any human life is, in and of itself, tragic. The loss, for any reason. Any. Reason.

But as the outpouring of sympathies, grief, and broader discussion about depression, mental illness, and suicidal tendencies overtook the world of social media as a result of Williams’ death, the conversation necessarily took a certain tone. A tone that was less about the loss and the future, and more about the moral.

Everyone, mental illness is real – get help.

Everyone, Robin Williams is smiling down on all of us.

Everyone, let’s imagine that a man who committed suicide is now laughing in heaven, because that’s totally what religious doctrine that suggests such a place exists says will happen to people who take their own lives.

I’m no atheist, and I’m also no Bible thumper. But if I know one thing, it’s that some, if not all, religions say people who commit suicide go to hell, or at the very least purgatory. So if you believe in heaven, you should be believing that Robin Williams is actually toasting on the devil’s pitchfork right about now.

Even Williams’ What Dreams May Come has the suicide victim stuck in the middle of hell.

These droves of pithy suicide and depression morals then turned into the haves and the have nots, the haves being those that felt their positivity and opinions on suicide were absolute truth; and the have nots being anyone who said anything the haves did not like.

It started with people talking about whether or not suicide is a choice, which it – by definition – is. (Arguably, it is the most personal choice, as the truest consequence is to no one but the decision-maker.) Calling it a choice pissed a lot of people off.

It continued with people railing on about whether or not suicide is ever justifiable. This is when the “suicide is so selfish” posters came on the scene; and when the know-it-alls of the world came out in droves to claim that suicide is an idiotic, narcissistic thing to do. (For the record: it is neither idiotic, nor selfish. Some of the most intelligent and selfless people I have ever known, or known of, have taken their own lives; Robin Williams is included in that group.)

Then Matt Walsh entered the room, and everyone lost their fucking minds.

For those of you unfamiliar with Matt Walsh, he is probably the most hated blogger on the Internet; so much so that his sometimes-controversial positions have garnered him the infamous title of “douche dick.”

People (mostly bloggers) hate this guy so hard for almost anything that comes out of his mouth, no matter how innocuous it may be. They post long diatribes about hating him on their Facebook and Twitter pages. Often. Then they get very dramatic at the end with “I just don’t want this guy to get more page links, I’m not going to link him…nope, not going to do it, I would feel terrible if he got page hits by my hand!!!!”

Because (1) none of us know how to use Google (apparently), and aren’t now intrigued enough by your psychobabble to go look his newest offense up; and, (2) we should all just blindly believe everything you say.

Absolutely everything, no questions asked.

Well, today I believed it, at least for a while. I believed that Matt Walsh probably made some callous remarks about Williams’ death, and it would just annoy me. I’ll admit to having read things he said that made me mad in the past; not all things he’s said, but definitely some. Still, I agree with more of what he says than probably anyone else on the Internet. I’d never get so crazy about my disagreements so as to talk publicly about him being a douche dick, or whatever the cliques are calling him these days. But we’ll leave it at: I’ve always had mixed feelings about him, so I figured there was at least some probability he’d said something out there.

So I ignored it and moved on with my day. I was busy, so you know…

But suicide is different. It’s very personal to me. It’s very visceral. It’s happened to two people very close to me, within the last two years; so the wounds from their deaths are still open and bleeding. Going about my day, therefore, still kept the question about what Matt Walsh said in the back of mind, just as the discussion of suicide and it’s consequences had been there since I heard of Williams’ death yesterday afternoon. Has pretty much always been there for the last two years.

Then I saw someone share a site called “What Matt Walsh Is Wrong About Today.” That was when I decided to actually read Walsh’s original post about Williams’ death. And as I toggled between the two – one calling Matt Walsh “a dick,” “callous,” “careless” and “ignorant;” the other a (seemingly) careful analysis of suicide and the discussion that needs to be had, I realized that there is a lot about suicide that people don’t seem to understand.

Even more they don’t understand about what Matt Walsh said.

(EVEN MORE about acting like adults. That a group of people have gotten together and made a website to single out someone they disagree with, or don’t like, says a lot about why bullying is so rampant in our culture.)

Without going into all the details of the Walsh controversy, it started with a tweet from Walsh, stating that “When we talk about depression we shouldn’t pawn the whole thing off on ‘chemical imbalances.’ It’s not just clinical. It’s spiritual.”

The responses to that tweet, both on the What Matt Walsh Is Wrong About Today site, as well as Twitter, are insane. As I read through some of them, I realized that people are so ignorant, uneducated, and closed-minded, it’s baffling. Baffling. Suddenly they all seem to completely deny that there is such a thing as non-clinical depression. Clinically, there is – it’s called situational depression (my 10 year old daughter suffers from this). There’s also a depression called “existential depression” which is related to existential (versus acute, situation, or clinical) anxiety (I suffer from this). This is the kind of fantastical ideas that the Existentialists and Shakespeare’s Hamlet talked about.

And it’s even more complicated, and there are even more classifications, than that.

Do you people see yet how complex depression and suicide can be?

There was nothing callous, incorrect, or horrible about Walsh’s tweet. In fact, it’s a discussion that needs to be had, because clearly people aren’t getting it. Because Robin Williams is one of millions that have taken their own lives, and will continue to, until people wake up and stop romanticizing these terrible and tragic emotional situations.

No one seemed to like Walsh’s elaboration on the point (in his lengthier blog post), because people responded in kind by calling him negative, insensitive, one-sided, and – again – a dick. They called his very thoughtful comments ignorant.

If anything, I think Walsh’s post was insightful; and in some ways comforting to know that someone – finally, anyone – understands that the depths and the hells of depression and suicide are so much more complex than just one thing; that it isn’t just about chemicals or illness or disease, but about choices, personal circumstances, and an understanding of the abyss that only the person committing the act of suicide could possibly have.

That these things have to be had in the conversation about suicide and moving forward to prevent them. That you can’t just chalk it up to a disease; that it may not always be simply negativity making the decision to take the pills or slit the wrists, or in the case of Williams, hang from the rafters. That you can’t just say “they’re in heaven now smiling on us, get help if you need it, moving on with my PTA meetings and other mundane bullshit that exists for everyone but those that have succumbed to nothingness.”

Because that’s what suicide really is, that no one wants to admit. It’s succumbing to nothingness. People don’t commit suicide because they want to shine down on us from fucking heaven. They succumb to nothingness because they want the dark, black, nothing of non-existence. They want life to stop, which makes the people referring to suicide’s afterlife sound like the only true idiots in the room.

At the end of Walsh’s post, he talks about joy, and it’s absolute necessity to life. He says

So this, for me, is always the most essential moral at the end of these kinds of sad, terrible stories: we are all meant for joy. We are all meant for love. We are all meant for life. And as long as we can still draw breath, there is joy and love to be found here. I believe that. If I didn’t, I would have left a long time ago.

Joy and love. There might not be much else for us on this Earth, but these are the only two things that matter anyway. These are the forces that brought the whole universe into being, and these are the forces that sustain it, and us, and all life.

I just don’t understand how someone can read that and call the guy a dick. Or a douche dick, or whatever they say about him. And it’s when I read that, and I toggled through even more posts about Matt Walsh and his terrible ways, that I began to wonder what Robin Williams would do. What anyone, really, who has committed suicide, or thought about committing suicide, would do. Would they call this guy names, and personally attack him for talking about these issues holistically and from the point of all sides?

Or would they act with compassion and understanding and the knowledge that only someone who has looked into the abyss could have?

 

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I watched Ricki Lake poop out a baby tonight…

…didn’t see that one coming, did you guys? To be fair, neither did I.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me first tell you all about how I got into the position to see Ricki Lake poop out the baby to begin with.

Today began like any other Saturday. Of course my husband was off work, so we milled around – bullshitting each other and pretending to enjoy each other’s company; until that got old, and I decided to get in the shower. I was also pretty suspicious because he kept complimenting me. It was like three times in under an hour, which is highly dubious; in fact, I’m still wondering what he did.

After my shower, my husband’s shower, and all the arguing about everyone needing to stop playing Barbies for five minutes and put their fucking toothbrushes into their fucking mouths, we were ready for the day. Which we weren’t entirely sure what to do with, still.

So we headed over to my father’s house to do the housecleaning for his open house tomorrow. I’m not talking about a fancy party kind of open house, where he serves those little cucumber sandwiches to high class kind of friends. I’m talking about the kind of open house you have for the sale of a home. You know: where tons of strangers traipse through your home, fuck everything up, break shit, leave doors open, and then try to low ball you with offers more insulting than “I’ll give you three crayons and this carton of milk.”

Anyway, so we did the housecleaning, then we were at a total loss of what to do with the day. So we went home – stopping at the grocery store (of course) to pick up stuff for me to make dinner with. Once home, we did what we always do when we don’t know what to do: watched movies.

We watched Dallas Buyer’s Club. That was phenomenal. Then we watched The Hunger Games – finally, after all this time postponing for me to read the book, only for me to never get around to reading the book because I don’t like reading that Young Adult shit anyway.

Then The Hunger Games came to a finish and it was still early. Too early to go to bed; too late to go anywhere or do anything. So we scrolled through our Netflix Que for something relatively quick. Which is when we happened upon it: Ricki Lake’s documentary The Business of Birth.

Let me start by saying that I did enjoy the film. I thought it was very informative, and while a little too graphic and outdated for my tastes, it was – by and large – something that, at the very least, made me think. I like to think, so that’s good.

But I took issue with two things in particular.

Towards the end…

…the conclusion was made by an OB/Gyn, as well as the filmmakers and Ricki Lake, that if a woman does not experience the raw pain, intense emotion, natural induction of hormones, and vaginal-vaginal-out-the-vagina birth that she does not experience the bonding of motherhood, nor the love of being a mom.

To be clear: women who had to induce? Haven’t experienced the bonding and love of motherhood. Women who had caesarians? Haven’t experienced the bonding and love of motherhood.

If you are angry, you are with me.

And you should then be asking yourself: are you fucking kidding me? What kind of a horse’s ass opinion is that? The belief that a woman unable to birth naturally, or who chooses medical intervention (for whatever her reasons may be) DOES NOT EXPERIENCE THE LOVE OF MOTHERHOOD AND BONDING WITH HER BABY is the most horrendous, destructive, narrow-minded, and ignorant view of motherhood and, well, reality I may have ever heard.

Truly. Truly this infuriated me, which was unfortunate because (at least to me) it greatly discredited a lot of the other things said and discussed in the film. If they are that wrong about something so great as this, couldn’t they be wrong about a lot of the other things?

Documentaries always do this to me. They always fucking let me down like this.

…and documentaries always let me down in another way, which had to do with Ricki Lake’s vagina…

They show me more of something in particular than I really want to see. In this case, that thing in particular was Ricki Lake’s vagina.

Now I know what you are all thinking. If I watch a documentary about childbirth, I should expect to see at least something of women squeezing babies out of their v-holes. I get that, OK? It didn’t make me scream any less, or be any more horrified by all the nuances of childbirth I would like to keep in the deepest, darkest caverns of my brain – never to surface for fear of fainting. I just can’t take some of it, the majority of the time. (I can’t be the only mother that feels this way, right?)

Sorry if that bothers you. Maybe I too cannot experience the love and bonding of motherhood.

But what I really wasn’t expecting was to see Ricki Lake poop out her second baby in a bathtub with a bottle of Suave sitting on the shelf behind her. Nope, I really was not expecting that. Not one bit.

I feel so cold now. So very, very cold.

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The premise of the movie was essentially that home birth is better. I tend to disagree with this, mostly because of the fact that I’m a big, ol’ scaredy cat. I suppose if everything were in the woman’s favor, home birth is a perfectly safe and healthy option – with, of course, the help of an experienced midwife. Though at the very end of the film, the filmmaker went into labor (not Ricki Lake, thank God I’d had enough of that bullshit) and she had to rush to the hospital after all because her baby was breech. Long story short: the baby would have died had she naturally delivered at home. This raises some serious concerns that women face when deciding their birth plan, which I really don’t feel the film did even the slightest bit to address.

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I don’t know what all of your thoughts are on the topic, but I’ll just say when you’ve seen Ricki Lake squat a baby out of her vagina, with her bare boobs flopping all over the place, you just really start to see things a lot more skewed. Really, I don’t even know what to believe about anything after that.

Dear Friends and Family, I Apologize For My Crap Cooking

1795567_724115684753_1794814265_nYou guys remember last week I was whining and bitching about how hardly anyone ate my appetizers, which I stated on more than one occasion I would be making and bringing to put in my homemade football stadium appetizer tray that all the kiddies (and my husband) had requested? And after Christmas I was heartbroken because I baked cupcakes and only two of them were eaten, the rest sent with the grandparents to BINGO later in the week to give away to strangers?

…and you remember that time we had everyone over to our house to celebrate my daughter’s birthday and no one touched any of my pasta dishes I had spent about nine hours preparing by hand?

Or what about the time that my mom’s family had me prepare this big Mother’s Day meal for everyone, only for my cousins to bring in their own fucking food? Of course I use the phrase “their own fucking food” pretty loosely. They brought in Spaghetti-O’s and donuts.

Well, we’ve had another incident. I didn’t think there was going to be one, I mean I didn’t realize – after all of that – that the people hated my cooking so much. I mean to say that I didn’t accept it. Anyone else would have caught on a long time ago, but you know I’m a Stay At Home Mom. We don’t have much intelligence to work with (or so these people that don’t eat my cooking often tell me, or imply).

To the incident. In just about a month we’re going on a mandatory three-week vacation to Texas (mandatory because it’s to take my daughter to visit her biological father), so I’m trying to start weeding out some of the food items in the house. It’s also getting close to spring cleaning time, so when I saw I had a couple boxes of lasagna noodles, a gaggle of miscellaneous cheese, and a shit-ton of vegetables, I figured: why not, I’ll ask my mother-in-law to make some sauce and I’ll make everyone a nice, vegetarian lasagna.

Seemed nice enough, right?

We got there yesterday and I prepared the lasagna. It took about two hours to get together. Chopping, mixing, layering… Then I put it in the refrigerator and watched the rest of the Bulls game with my husband, while everyone took the dogs for a walk.

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Flash forward quite a few hours – pass over the dinner, which I thought was tasty; and the watching of figure skating on the Olympics – and we were getting in the car to head home. The minute the car door shut, my ten year old blurted out: “oh my gosh, Mommy… I want to tell you something, but I know it’s going to hurt your feelings. But I am supposed to not keep secrets, so here goes: while we were walking the dogs, Nick’s dad” [… that is my husband’s father she is referring to, my father-in-law …] “asked if you were using their sauce, then he said ‘well, at least that part will be good.'”

My husband looked like a deer in the headlights. I felt like I had been socked in the gut. That was a pretty mean thing to say, especially in front of little ears. Especially after I stood in their kitchen for two hours putting that crap lasagna together. And to say that the timing is bad is an understatement: this food-related insecurity, and “I can never do anything right by anyone,” has been building and building for some time, now. Remember the examples I started off with? That’s a microcosm of the incidences in which it seems as though everyone in our lives disapproves or dislikes literally everything that I do.

As I felt extremely hurt through the evening, and this morning; and realized how much I try to do these kinds of things so that people will like me, I decided that it’s time to issue everyone a formal letter of apology. And a promise.

Oh, I’m issuing a promise.

Here goes…

Dear Friends and Family,

I apologize for my crap cooking.

That appetizer you asked me to bring, only for it to be thrown in the trash. That time you came over to my house for dinner and drinks, only later admitted that you ate before you came. The fact that you flagrantly say – in front of us, regularly – that Chicagoans can’t cook, that I make certain things wrong, that you just prefer me to bring nothing…

I get it. My cooking sucks. My baking is probably awful, I wouldn’t know – I rarely eat it, for fear I’ll gain too much weight and that’ll give you all another thing to judge me for.

Obviously the people I live with have been having to choke down their three, square meals a day with a smile; all-the-while lamenting their unfortunate positions of having to swallow such tripe in the first place.

Quite clearly I don’t have taste buds either, because of the things I make that I do eat, I’ve always thought it tasted perfectly fine.

But, like I said: I get it. Just as I cannot get the majority of you to read my writing, I can’t get you to eat my deviled eggs or my caprese salads. When I suggested starting a cottage bakery, under the California Cottage Goods law, I saw you all cringe. Every, single one of you. I heard the pause as you said “…yeeah…” like you did when I asked if you read my blog. Or the surprised look on your faces when you hear I’ve written and published three books.

I get it so much that from now on, when you ask me to bring something I just won’t. Nope, I won’t be bringing an appetizer, or even a bag of potato chips. Nor a dessert. None of you will be invited into my home for meals anymore, either. You may be invited, but meals will not be served.

You may be thinking we could just order take-out when you grace us with your sophisticated palettes (what with all of your own cooking, most of which is akin to injecting myself with a syringe full of saturated fats and a hefty dose of Ex-Lax); but then I’d have to shell out more money that I’m still trying to recoup from all the thrown-away dishes of get-togethers-past. Nope, not a single cookie, cupcake, trifle, or apple pie will enter your doorway. No BLT bites will be offered, and certainly no BBQ with my homemade Chicago Steak and Chop sauce.

Consider this my whole-hearted apology. I can’t even imagine how insufferable this situation has been for all of you up until this point. Rest assured, you will all never have to tolerate such agony again.

This cook is hanging up her hat. The kitchen is closed.

Two New Years Resolutions I Will Be Making This Year (Even Though I Don’t Believe In New Years Resolutions)

I don’t believe in New Years Resolutions. Never have.

The crux of my argument is simple: if I want to be a better person in X area, I should just do it.

The new year is no more a new start than the morning is. It’s just time and my philosophy degree tells me that time is nothing more than an illusion. That may be too philosophical and pithy for most of you, though; and the truth is that I just don’t give a fuck about resolutions. Either I accept who I am or make better things when I realize I want to – not have to have some special day or social convention to con me into doing it.

I find New Years Resolutions to be so vain and self-aggrandizing sometimes too. They’re always about looks (I resolve to lose weight, take better care of my skin, wear skirts more often…); or narcissistic goals. I don’t mean that all goals are narcissistic or bad, I just mean that so many people I hear making goals for New Years Resolutions seem so self-centered and exalted about it. I read one on Facebook the other day that was the absolute worst: I resolve to have the most gorgeous children on the planet. Really? Because you and your husband aren’t exactly lookers – if you know what I mean – so maybe you should tone it down and just resolve to be good people.

I don’t know. That’s just me.

Off my soap box, I’m making not only ONE but TWO New Years Resolutions this year. Because I like hypocrisy and sounding like an idiot when I just lectured for paragraphs about why I don’t make resolutions.

I promise none of these will make me a better person, though. Or hot and sexy. They also won’t make me the best at anything, except for possibly make me even more of a misanthropic asshole than I already am.

Okay, here goes:

Hang Out With Fewer Assholes

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I posted about this on my Facebook page the other day and I will be damned if I’m going to fail at this one.

I am just so sick and tired of hanging around assholes. Toxic waste of human beings that just drag me and my family down with drama and unpaid bills and bullshit absolutely no one on this planet has time for.

This resolution came about after my husband and I got stiffed for a whopping $200 at my kid’s birthday dinner with ice skating the week before her birthday. We made it very clear to everyone we invited: everyone pays their fair share of the bill, the tax, the tip. If you don’t want to do that, then you can come over to our house for a little BBQ on us on her actual birthday – the idea was to have a kid’s activity with pomp and circumstance with out having to shell out all the dough for the activities and the entertainment and the treat bags and such.

And yet somehow, we got stiffed by a few of the people that were there. Stiffed big – so big we had to cancel some of our out of town plans in January.

So after that, just one incident in a long line of incidences that we have absolutely had enough of, I am resolving to hang out with fewer assholes. Life is too short to spend it with a bag of dicks.

Eat More Cupcakes

I joke a lot about emotionally eating, but in reality I rarely eat anything. I pick all day and then only sometimes get enough calories to sustain the busy life of being a mom with a husband who works ALL. THE. TIME.

The problem is simple: I live in California and feel an enormous amount of guilt every time I put fork to mouth.

I hear people say something seemingly nice like “you look like you’ve lost weight!!” and hear “finally chucked some fat off that huge ass of yours, eh Heather?!”

I know what you are thinking: I’m clearly suffering from major body issues. Get over it, who isn’t?

I’m so tired of being hungry, though.

I’m even more tired of making food that I don’t eat. Constantly, I am cooking and baking for family parties or friend things; or just making food at home for my husband – who on some days consumes upwards of five, large meal servings. And I never eat the desserts I make. Ever. Like ever-ever.

Well that shit’s about to come to an end. Either I’m going to stop cooking for others, and since that won’t happen because I’m bored and also have a major guilt complex – I’ll be eating more.

Dressbarn, here I come. I’m eating more cupcakes.

Are you making New Years Resolutions this year? Like really bullshit and vague ones, like you do every year; or something really serious like “get a job and move out of my parents’ basement?” Chances are if you are, I think you’re a tool; but then you have permission to thing I’m a tool for making my two resolutions too.

lJOtm3antidepressants-2014-optimism-new-years-ecards-someecardsIn any event: Happy New Years Bitchees… after the clock strikes 12, I’ll have a really big surprise for you. I mean, not really 12… you know, I’ll probably be out by then, my New Years kiss will be my husband groping me in his sleep; I’ll roll out of bed like I usually do somewhere around 9 or 10. The surprise will be then. Can’t wait!

I Hate Gays Because FREE SPEECH; or, Why We Should All Get Over The Duck Dynasty Fad Already

HA!

Okay, first: I don’t hate gays. I love the gays. I love the straights too. I am a straight, I have a bagillion gay and lesbian friends. An old friend took his own life a few years back because of a depression stemming over his family’s rejection of his homosexuality. If my children ever come home and tell me they are gay, not a damn thing will change. I’m not going to tap dance around this for fear of losing followers: I believe in equality for the homosexual community in every way, shape, and form. People are people, regardless of what they do in the bedroom.

If you have a problem with that, you can get the fuck off my blog page. Now.

I’m Catholic. That means I’m a Christian, by virtue of the fact that the Catholics worship and try to follow the teachings of … wait for it … Christ. Christ (the bearded guy who died for all our sins – sins I can only assume did in fact include ancient-style homophobic hatred) preached one thing above all others: love.

Love, motherfuckers. LOVE.

Not judge. Not hate. Not make moral judgments for which you have limited moral understanding. Not claim that you could actually – in a million years – know with absolute certainty God’s agenda.

Love. That’s it.

So are we clear on these things before I go on? Okay, great.

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So this whole Phil Robertson-Duck Dynasty thing has got me super riled up. It didn’t start out that way. At first I didn’t care, because seriously I do not understand why in the actual fuck the world is so enamored with those long-bearded hillbillies. Then as the day wore on, I saw more and more people on Facebook and Twitter and all of the other areas of the Internets (which I am now convinced should really be called the “Everyone’s An Expert Soap Box”) claiming that this guy’s right to free speech was being violated because he was suspended from the show for making homophobic comments. Phil Robertson for President Facebook pages were popping up. Keep Calm and Boycott A&E shirts were being sold.

Put down your shot guns and slow your fucking roll, hillbillies!

My friend Ava over at Journey of Jordanna East said it perfectly: “One of the biggest problems with America is that Americans don’t actually know how their own country works. It’s so sad.”

It is true that we have a freedom to speak what’s on our mind in this country. That is – essentially – the essence of the first amendment, though there are limitations. One of those limitations is that it truly is with regards to free speech on government matters. And it does not protect freedom of speech in areas like sedition or treason. I could continue, but this is a lot of technical mumbo-jumbo that’s deviating from the point. Did Phil Robertson have the right to make whatever homophobic, racial, or otherwise comments he wanted? Sure. Of course he did.

That right to say whatever he wanted, though, did not in any way, shape, or form protect him from the consequences of those hateful and hurtful words. That’s just not the way the constitution works.

People don’t seem to have gotten that, though. In fact, even when confronted with this logical discussion, and the basic facts of the constitution, people just seemed to be screaming louder and louder – FREE SPEECH FREE SPEECH. As if just saying that over and over again will refute any and all truth.

1504935_586891554731885_366015547_nAnd as the day wore on, it got worse. Suddenly the world of Twitter was discussing what everyone’s opinions about the first amendment and the definition of free speech is. I’m sorry, huh? Opinions? Interpretations? We aren’t talking about varying interpretations of the color of a person’s bowel movements here. We’re talking about an empirical and constitutionally upheld fact. Are you on the Supreme Court? Then all your fucking opinions are INVALID.

Here we have the reason why I think it’s about time we all get over the Duck Dynasty fad the nation has been enthralled in for years now: all this hillbilly TV has just further contributed to our collective stupidity. Instead of learning about things like the actual freedoms protected by the constitution, we slap ourselves down on the couch for six hours of television every, single night. We scream FREE SPEECH from behind the safety of our computers, all the while refusing to actually read about and understand what freedom of speech really is. And we do it not only behind the security of a computer screen, but under the sanctity of our religious views.

This is why so many people think religious people are ignorant anyway – because they choose ignorance over intelligence time and again, out of laziness and a general sense that saying something (FREE SPEECH!!!!!) over and over again will make it actually come true.

But it doesn’t make it true, no matter how many times you say it; and it doesn’t make Jesus love you, because Jesus does not love bigots. No matter how much the constitution guarantees their rights to proclaim that bigotry.

The thing that is so fascinating to me about the Phil Robertson/Duck Dynasty controversy is that people seem to be too chicken shit to actually say they want him to stay on the show because they hate the gays too. I mean some people are saying it, but more are just screaming that freedom of speech line and claiming Robertson had the right to speak “God’s plan.” Why all these smoke screens? Why not be real and say that you hate the gays too? That the thought of gay sex is icky to you and, therefore, Robertson can say and do whatever he wants?

Is it because of some fear that there may actually be consequences of you exercising your own free speech as well? But if you acknowledge that, then of course you’d have to accept A&E’s suspensions, which would then require you to acknowledge just how inherently wrong others in the world think your hate is.

I hate gays because FREE SPEECH? I love everyone just because.

STFU Fridays: Stop Judging Yourself

If I had a second middle name, it would be self-loathing. I hate myself probably more than I hate other people.

If you know anything about me, you know that’s a lot of hate.

I am constantly self-depricating to other people too, which I think is a defense mechanism because I know that secretly, in the annals of other people’s minds, I am being judged. At least where I live – in the trendiest and hipsterest community in all of Southern California – that’s just what we do. And it’s better that I be the one to highlight my malfunctions than someone else do it.

But in my heart there is the person that also doesn’t give a flying fuck. Not a singular fuck that flies. Because in that heart I know that it isn’t all about appearances and looks and set ups, so much as it is what’s inside.

So for this most glorious of Shut the Fuck Up Fridays, I would like to talk about no longer judging yourself (myself).

The Way You Look

Seriously. Shut the fuck up worrying about how big your butt looks already. And while you are at it, shut the fuck up about your hair too.

Every woman loves a compliment. You look pretty. Your hair is gorgeous today. You are more beautiful than the day I met you. And so on. Those things are vital to a healthy relationship – I am not by any means contending that they are anything other than necessary. Coming from the woman that never hears these things (and I mean that my husband has said the word “beautiful” once and “pretty” never in the entire time I have known him), really and truly we should all resolve to shut the fuck up and love ourselves. In spite of how other people think. And/or neglect to communicate.

It isn’t just about the feelings we have about the way we look, either; it’s about being comfortable. Recently I came to realize that all this happy horse shit about looking cute every day is for the birds.

For. The. Birds.

Since then, I’ve embraced my Stay At Home Mommedness and worn pajama pants and/or yoga pants and/or a bra tank top with a sweater, pretty much everywhere. I wore yoga pants out to breakfast with my husband’s grandparents. We went on vacation and 3/4 of what I took were lounge pants and comfy t-shirts. I’m thinking about wearing yogas to my daughter’s birthday party tomorrow. It’s just that life is way too short to spend the majority of it in front of the mirror. And if people don’t love you for your sloppy ponytail that you had to go with so you had time to – oh I don’t know – spend quality time with others, then they are probably not worth having in your life.

Shut the fuck up and stop worrying about looking like that perfect mom you see every time you go to the mall. You know her: she has cute jeans, sparkly TOMS, and the most amazing hair ever. That bitch has like two nannies and a professional cook at home to allow her to look so cute, and she cannot remember her children’s full names – so fuck her and be yourself.

The Things You Say

This is a fine line. A fine, motherfucking line we are walking here, people.

Sometimes the things that you say can and will alienate you from the entire universe. Or get you arrested. Or at the very least get you added onto the NSA’s top wire-tapping list.

But other times, you worry way too goddamned much about not hurting people’s feelings, or saying the right thing, or sounding eloquent, or whatever it is that you worry about – so instead you say NOTHING. Or you LIE.

Shut the fuck up with that bullshit, people. I say a lot of really raucous and blunt things. And I just don’t give a fuck anymore what people think about it.

My husband doesn’t ever come home and/or communicate with me? Of course I’m going to say that to my mother in law when we are chatting about the fact that he didn’t call me back for like four hours when we needed to ask him something while out Christmas shopping. Am I supposed to patsy around that for fear that she may think I’m a nasty person for “bad mouthing” my man?

I’m going to say something right now that you all are going to think is absolutely insane. This bitch is off her fucking rocker. Are you ready?

It isn’t bad mouthing if it’s true.

Stop judging yourself people for saying what you think, feeling what you want, and communicating what is on your mind. People will have way more respect for you in the end than they do for people that stay silent or walk on egg shells out of the big F (fear). Of course there is a way to communicate (for example, if your wife is looking rather portly lately, you should perhaps tread lightly), but I think you all get that we are talking about something much bigger here.

The Way Your Stuff Looks

Yeah, fuck you too Pinterest.

Since Pinterest and Instagram and the Internet, and a general sense of feeling like our lives have to be bigger, better, and more perfect than the next guy, it seems like the presentation of things has become more important than the things themselves.

For example, I wish I had a refund for every wedding I have attended where the food and the cake looked AMAZING, but tasted like utter dog shit. Dog shit rolled in bacon. Rotten bacon.

And kid’s parties are the worst. Maybe not the absolute worst, because baby showers, Thanksgiving, and Christmas seem to be following up at a close second. Or a dinner at home on your average Friday night. More and more, we are finding ourselves judging ourselves publicly viz a viz the Internets. By posting photos, or not posting photos just as we saw someone else post photos we think are way better than ours we have become the most judging, self-loathing people that compare our lives to others in ways that make even a sort-of Buddhist cringe.

Jus stop it already, people. All of your fucking gift baskets and cupcakes look awesome. I have a really hard time believing that you garnish your dinners with parsley on a typical Tuesday night – so quit uploading photos of you doing it, because we know it was just for show and because you judged yourself into doing it. And if the stuff you have doesn’t look amazing… if they are – GASP – just cupcakes with frosting slopped on, or bare walls without a gallery-style set of paintings… oh fucking well.

It’s time we all shut the fuck up and stop judging ourselves. I think we’ll all be much happier doing so. I know I will.

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6 Things No One Told You About Becoming a Stay At Home Mom

When I became a Stay At Home Mom, I quickly learned that most people have absolutely no idea what it really means to be a Stay At Home Mom. I don’t mean that they are missing something about how hard it is.

Well, some are. A lot are…

Some don’t have much respect for it either, which is another topic of conversation altogether.

What I really mean, though, is that the essence of a Stay At Home Mom – what it is really and truly like day in and day out, what it is reduced to – is just never truly clarified for you before you become one. I’m talking about the feelings of it, I’m talking about the actions that become commonplace – that soon define you. Sine qua non SAHM.

Above all, there are six things no one ever told me about becoming a Stay At Home Mom. Things that – above all the hiding in the closet to get a break, and having people assume you are a complete moron because you don’t have a high-powered career – I just wish I had known in advance. So I could have mentally prepared myself for them, you know?

Lucky for all of you, I’m going to do what no one did for me and give you that head’s up.

6Things

1. Fucking. Laundry. Never. Ends.

In the last two weeks, I have actually kept a count of how much dirty laundry our household produces. Right now – Friday of the second week – I have done twenty-four loads of laundry.

Twenty-four fucking loads of laundry.

Twenty-four. Fucking. Loads. OF LAUNDRY.

And I have six more of miscellaneous things sitting there by the washer, waiting for their turn.

The thing about being a Stay At Home Mom is that you notice when things are a little dirtier than you’d like them to be. You look for things to keep you busy sometimes, too; and you spend more time reading articles in the news while you eat breakfast and pick oatmeal out of your hair. What I’m saying is you have more time to be a little bit more paranoid and neurotic about germs and stuff. So you wash the blankets more frequently. The stuffed animals all get cleaned after a cold.

When I was working, I didn’t even know that people washed stuffed animals. Now someone sneezes more than twice and everything is in the washer. Maybe I’m a hypochondriac, or have terrible OCD. Is the hand-washing disorder next for me?

But in all seriousness, when you are a Stay At Home Mom, you usually don’t do one big bout of laundry, you know like once a week. Laundry day and so forth. You just keep doing it as it comes up, so eventually it feels like it never ends. Ever.

Because it doesn’t.

2. The only way to keep things together is to run a tight ship.

I have recently realized that when people say you should let go and let others help; allow more sleepovers with the grandparents or let the babysitter take the reigns on homework once in a while … well, those people are full of shit.

A total recipe for disaster in your household is to let go of your status as Stay At Home Mom – slash – Prison Warden.

Recently, I let go of the reigns to try and get some more “me time” and all hell broke loose. It was like the state of nature in my home. The laundry wasn’t getting done every day. Meals were consistent of crap thrown together or through a drive thru. No one was following the rules – like brushing their teeth, washing their hands, doing their homework before TV.

And what happened? My kid fell while camping with the in-laws and got a mild concussion, then she got food poisoning, then she went to the dentist and came in with an unexpected cavity. And did I mention she admitted that all the times the babysitter had her doing her homework she was allowed to skip reading time? For years I have kept everything in our house in tip-top condition. Let go a little bit to have six hours a week to myself and everything goes to hell.

Rules

Now I don’t know how Working Moms keep everything together, having to rely on daycare, spouses, and family to help. I sometimes think that maybe they don’t have to because they aren’t in it all the time. But because Stay At Home Moms never get that 8 hour with society-time, running a tight ship and keeping shit under control is absolutely essential.

3. Absolutely nothing will ever be just yours.

At least once a week I wake to find that my daughter has helped herself to my expensive lipstick. Usually it’s smeared all over her face ala the makeup stylings of 1990s Courtney Love.

Almost always the lipstick is destroyed.

When you are a Stay At Home Mom, you don’t have a work place that you can hide your nice NARS lip gloss, or keep your adorable pink Martha Stewart calendar book from little hands drawing all over the inside of it.

And for this reason…

4. You will envy your Working Mom friends.

While I will probably never go back to work in an office, at a desk, again (hear that one, honey?), I envy my Working Mom friends. Big time.

They have that desk or that work locker, where they can keep their most prized and cherished possessions – to never be touched by anyone but themselves. Like lip gloss and hair barrettes. And Twix bars.

They have 10 minute breaks to sit in a break room and read. They have lunch hours. Sure, some of them use lunch hours to run errands or volunteer at their kids’ school. But some use it to sit down and be quiet.

They have quiet.

I’m not saying they have it better, or I have it better. I’m not saying anyone’s plight is worse, either. I’m just saying the grass is always greener, and in some instances my yard is dead as shit and my Working Moms, well their yards are lush and beautiful and glorious. And full of non-destroyed lipstick.

5. That whole thing about yoga pants and being unkempt is not just a joke.

I live in California, so often I see Stay At Home Moms out and about town looking very cute. I’m talking adorable tops. I’m talking expensive CK jeans. I’m talking sparkly TOMS.

Yesterday I wore regular pants for an hour and forty-five minutes. That was a bit much for me.

People joke about yoga pants or not wearing makeup, and you think it’s silly and – oh my friends are Stay At Home Moms but surely they don’t really look that unkempt all the time! They are just joshing me!

When you’re schlepping groceries in the house, juggling everybody’s shit because they are too lazy to carry it themselves, vacuuming, cooking a bagillion meals, scrubbing oatmeal out of your hair and fingerpaint off the kitchen floor … there just ain’t no time to be fancy.

YogaPants

6. The world outside your home will start to seem very odd, very soon.

It didn’t take long before I started to look at life before becoming a Stay At Home Mom as entirely bizarre. Some of the way my life was before didn’t even make sense.

I always hear my father and his retired friends talk about how they don’t know how they got anything done when they worked. The same goes for a Stay At Home Mom. How did all this laundry get done before? How were meals on the table every night? How did I have the time to actually do my hair, when I’m home all the time now and sloppy pony tail complete with dried oatmeal is my normal 30-second go-to? And why are all these people so dressed up anyway, it’s just the grocery store!

Moreover, you start to love it, and that is perhaps the weirdest feeling anyone could ever experience.

If I were to make a word cloud of all the words that best describe being a Stay At Home Mom, it would be the most confusing, fucked up word cloud ever – including phrases like ‘completely isolating’ and ‘euphoric chocolate hidden in the bathroom.’ But it would also include phrases like ‘greatest job in the world’ and ‘wouldn’t trade this for anything in the world.’ I guess it’s like the old you have to experience it to understand what I mean.

At least now you’ve all been warned.