My Child-Rearing Philosophy Is Simple.

Or is it?

I grapple with this myself on the regular.

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My philosophy as a parent in theory is really, and truly, very simple: don’t raise assholes. As I said, in theory this is easy. Raise good people. People that are kind. That care for others. That experience empathy. That know how to set healthy boundaries. That practice mindfulness. And so on…

Do all this by example. All of it. Let me be clear: ALL. OF. IT. You are not going to raise empathetic and kind people if you, yourself, are not empathetic and kind. You are not going to teach your kids about healthy boundaries and taking care of themselves if you, yourself, let people walk all over you, and let it affect your own physical and mental well-being.

But there is one area in not raising little terrorist assholes, who one day grow up to be the likes of Donald Trump or Ann Coulter – willing to stomp on anyone to get ahead, drop anything and anyone for the next best thing, all while spewing hateful words every single time they open their mouths…

…it’s in not letting other people raise assholes of your children either.

Without going into too many specifics, we are surrounded by a lot of people in our daily lives who have otherwise undesirable characteristics. Is that a nice enough way to say it? just-a-friendly-reminder-that-getting-shit-faced-is-not-always-the-key-to-having-a-good-time-5e363My husband and I are just very far on the opposite end of the spectrum from a lot of people we regularly encounter in that regard. We have high standards for the way we treat people, and as a result expect to be treated the same. We do not believe in getting shit-faced in front of the children, and we don’t have anything to do with gossip even when it’s just being spoken in our presence. Above all, we believe in being kind, understanding, honest, empathetic of other people’s feelings, and trustworthy.

Not everyone agrees with us on these things, though. Look, not everyone agrees on the way to live their lives. And, people have different priorities.

At some point, though, my husband and I started to realize the profound effect being associated so regularly with people who do not share our values (again, a nice enough way of saying it? …you never know who is reading this blog…) – how much those people were affecting our ability to raise good kids.

We have a couple of people (again, the vaguery) that constantly promise things and then drop said promise for something better that comes up. Now I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes things come up – you get sick, your car breaks down… Sometimes it’s something innocuous – like we kind of-sort of have standing weekly plans together, but something came up one weekend and the kids got disappointed but the plans were never really set in stone so… But then other times, like in the most recent event, it’s “yes I will be at your tennis tournament that weekend” and then the very next day decided instead to go with friends and family to a casino to drink, gamble, and waterski.

Um…shitty…

We are very fortunate that this hasn’t – yet – taught our kids that it’s OK to make a commitment only to drop it if something better comes along. But what left me with a chill down my spine that I could just not shake this afternoon was when my daughter said “you know, I guess from now on I’ll just tell them I’ll do things with them only to cancel for something better too.”

My parenting philosophy to not raise assholes seemed so easy. Just be good, show them what it means to be good – even when it feels like a slow, agonizing death inside to do so (like not saying nasty things about other people in front of them); and it’ll all turn out well, right? Wrong. The impact of others, though -especially as they get older – seems to have more and more of a profound effect on them.

And now raising kids gets hard again.

It sounds like just a petty reaction, do unto others so if they flake on me for something better, I’ll do the same. Won’t become a long term habit, right? Feet, meet slippery slope – suddenly in front of my eyes flashed a day when my kids thought it was legitimately acceptable to tell someone that you’ll do something only to flake because someone asks you to go gambling and drinking, or water skiing, or whatever it is you were asked to do that seemed more fun.

I mean…that’s what other people do. It must be OK.

So now my husband and I are tasked with figuring out the next phase. The next phase of not raising assholes, which not only involves showing by our own examples, but making sure that the examples they are shown by others are in line with our own values as well.

Talking about how others act in a way that is undesirable is clearly not enough. So then how do you even go about surrounding yourself by the people you want your kids to grow up to be?

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I Don’t Shave My Crotch, and Other Assorted Coffee Time Conversation

I had coffee with a friend yesterday. Coffee is sort of a weird way to say it, though, because I actually don’t drink coffee. So what I had was this blended iced milk with vanilla in it; it was big and full of sugar and something like 600 calories – but who’s counting, because at least it wasn’t coffee – am I right?

(I seriously cannot stand coffee.)

Anyway, so we were talking about I’m not sure what and then we started talking about other stuff, and somewhere in there she said “now don’t blog about this.”

So naturally I had to.

OK, but I won’t give any identifying characteristics (curly hair). Or what we were there for (crafting). Or what she drank (an Italian soda, also a non-coffee drink, which begs the question: why were we meeting for coffee and crafting when neither of us intended on drinking that horrific beverage?).

I will just say that we were having coffee (not really, I basically told you everything and also we weren’t drinking coffee) AND amidst all of that we were talking about how my ten year old is starting to grow boobs and I’m panicking about said boobs.

Because puberty is terrifying. As a mother, that is.

And we were talking about how neither of our mothers taught us much about femininity. Now my friend’s situation I cannot attest to, but my mother moved across the country when I was 10 years old to live 2,000 miles away from her daughter (that would be me) so that she could be available to shack up with a married man whenever he came around. Then when that fell through she stayed and I saw her over the summer and holidays – whenever my dad would force me to go.

When I got my first period, I happened to be visiting her, but she was too busy talking to her married boyfriend on the phone to help me deal. Otherwise, what I learned of femininity came from my wonderful and saintly aunt, and the occasional time that my dad took me with him to work and a female coworker would spend time talking to me.

Somehow that coffee time conversation turned into discussing the West Coast obsession (at least I hear it’s a West Coast thing, stemming from the porn industry) for women to go bald down there.

And somehow that turned me into saying way way WAY too loudly, in the middle of this coffee shop where I most certainly was not drinking coffee: “oh yeah, I don’t shave my crotch…never have, never will. What do I want to look like – a five year old girl?”

Now, maybe I don’t do that because I grew up with my dad, and was lucky to get out knowing how to put on pantyhose. Shaving anything was unchartered territory for me until my early 20s, and quite frankly shaving my pits and my legs is a miracle at this point.

But it also stems from my belief that only little girls have hairless netherworlds. Sorry, but it’s true. Ladies, you were born to have hair on your vaginas. There, I said it. But you all should accept it.

Before I wax too philosophical, though, let me stay on track. So I announced loudly to my local Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf (there I go with more details again) that I, in fact, do not shave my shit. I mean I was loud, and realized I had made an err when some young, clearly crotch-shaven, women at the table next to us looked over and snickered.

They were on Facebook on their computers, so I’m sure there’s a video or some shit of me yelling it for the world to hear just waiting to go viral right now.

Upon noticing this, I took a look around, as my friend and I continued to chat about all things not crotch-related (because we had already covered that territory). I took in the full scene at my local coffee shop and realized something:

People are really self-absorbed.

Each table contained someone or someones that all seemed self-absorbed. Someone came in trying to get her son in a wheelchair through the door, not a single person jumped up to help. Every which way you looked there were teenagers with headphone earbuds in, guys playing video games, and twenty-somethings checking their Facebook accounts excessively while ignoring each other talk.

The girls that clearly overheard my crotch hair proclamation took no less than 45 selfies.

All the while, it was loud and people were there, so you never would have known it was a room full of people that literally care about no one but themselves.

Now I’m not saying that when you go out for coffee on a Sunday, you’re supposed to engage the entire world and spend all your time meeting new people and helping out strangers.

But if the only thing that snaps you out of your self-awareness coma is some psychotic lady in yoga pants, drinking something other than coffee in a coffee shop, shouting as loudly as she can to her friend that she doesn’t shave off all her crotch hairs in the interest of not looking like a five year old …well maybe if that’s the only thing that makes you realize that others are out there, others exist, and others have things to say (clearly)…

…well maybe you need a reality check.

It’s a big world out there, people.

A lot of hairless and hairy crotches.

Put down your phones and your computers, take out your headphone earbuds, and look outside your bubble for something like twenty minutes the next time you’re at your local coffee shop.

Who knows what’ll happen. Moreover, who knows what you’ll hear.

 

I Like The Cold

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People always look at me like I’m a complete moron when I tell them that I like the cold. As in cold outside, you know: snow, sleet, wind chill.

I get jealous when I see that there are blizzards going on somewhere in the world.

I live in California. Particularly, Southern California. We have one dial on the weather-o-meter and that’s about it: 70s and sunny. Sometimes we get fog. Occasionally it rains for a few days. Once in a while the winds blow and it hits 90; or the ocean blows in some high 60s.

High 60s. Anything below that and the city in which we live shuts down.

By contrast, I grew up in Chicago. Those of you that have been hanging around the blog for a while know how much I love the city and its suburbs. In the winter, and sometimes in the fall and spring, it is exceedingly cold in Chicago. Like cold-cold.

And I love it.

I guess maybe you don’t realize what it’s like to live in a place that has virtually no weather variation at all until you have. I’ve lived in Southern California now for almost 14 years and I can say without a doubt that it is beyond boring, mainly because of the weather. Yeah, it’s nice to not have to worry about things like closed-toed shoes or scarves and hats. Sure you have the ocean with the EPA’s estimation that thousands of people take a dump in that water every day while out surfing or swimming (related note: I do not ever go in the Pacific Ocean). Okay, you have the beaches you can go to any time of the year ….unless, of course, they’re closed because of all the hypodermic needles sticking out of the sand.

But there is no changing of the leaves really, especially not as dramatically as in the Midwest. You never have the excitement of jumping in a pile of freshly raked leaves; or by contrast the thrill of knowing that spring is just around the corner.

There will never be a first snow of the year for Southern Californians.

No, there will be first snow in the mountains that people will get in their cars and drive to, only after the snowing has already happened. And only for a little while before getting back in their cars and driving home to the 70s and sunny before nightfall.

You cannot get much more monotonous than that.

What I’m saying is that there are no changes of the seasons, which means there is none of the living that comes along with it. I equate living with having these experiences that are unique and exciting and different. Not monotony. Shoveling. Snow balls. Raking leaves. Seeing fresh flowers bloom. Feeling snow in your hair. Ice skating. Sledding in your back yard. Bundling up in a hat, scarf, and gloves for a football game. Hot chocolate when it isn’t actually hot out.

In 70s and sunny every day, there is not much room for exciting and different experiences when it comes to the weather. I find this ironic because in California we pride ourselves on organic-living, which should extend well beyond just the foods we eat into the way we live. And yet there is nothing organic at all about making fake snow at Disneyland or having to drive four hours in traffic to see orange, brown, and red leaves.

I don’t know, maybe it’s all in my head. I must be biased because I love Chicago and dislike California. I’m sure there is an entire conglomerate of blog followers, family, friends, and people that just like to hate me waiting to tell me how I am making no sense. I have rocks in my brains for liking cold weather, or I’ve just forgotten what a foot of snow feels like.

The bottom line, though, is that I’m home again, in suburban Chicago for the holiday. And I felt more alive as I stood in the snow yesterday afternoon than at any point in the last 14 years that I’ve lived in Southern California. I was cold. My fingers felt numb. But I could feel it, and I knew I was there because of it. There was nothing monotonous about it at all, and that is living.

STFU Fridays: All Hail Herr Nietzsche

For those of you that haven’t caught on yet, I went to graduate school in philosophy. Yes, I am one of those people. I think a lot. By a lot I mean all the time. I took a little too much to heart the lesson in humility from Socrates, though, so I really do believe I’m a dumbass (thanks a lot, jerk). But I also believe that my education was far superior to anyone else’s, even though it hasn’t gotten me anywhere. (The old philosophy student’s joke was: What is the first thing a Ph.D. in Philosophy asks on the job? Would you like fries with that?) And for five years or so, I’ve been in a perpetual existential crisis. What does it all mean and all that high-fallutin crap.

So I’ve been thinking a lot about Nietzsche lately. For those of you that have no idea who I am referring to: (1) you for real need to wake the fuck up; and (2) he was a German philologist, one of the fathers of modern philosophy, and the dude had a whack mustache. Your Movember ‘staches and wanna-be Fu Manchu hipster shit has all got nothing on Nietzsche’s facial hair.

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I will be providing further tutorial on Herr Nietzsche after we discuss this week’s Shut the Fuck Up. For now, let’s leave it at: the dude was pretty rad.

Now I’m getting ready for my kid’s birthday party. It’s in about a week (seriously guys, if it weren’t for Shut the Fuck Up Fridays, I would have no concept of day or time). All I know right now is that it’s turned into the event of the goddamned century.

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There are going to be four little girls and a ton of adults there. It’s a tea party. Everyone is getting really dressed up. There will be crumpets. There will be doilies and tule. We will have three cakes and a cake table: a standing princess cake, a Cinderella’s carriage cake, and cupcakes.

And then yesterday we realized that the kids needed games to play. Duh, it’s a kid’s party. It isn’t just eat and go to them. So now we’re making games: pin the shoe on Cinderella, learn your tea party etiquette, and the coupe de grace of the event – the Cinderella pumpkin carriage piñata. (Which I am making.)

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So Herr Nietzsche.

Yesterday I had to get the rest of the supplies I needed to make the games, finish the piñata, and so on. My mom called and said that she had a coupon for 40% off the entire purchase at Michael’s, and while I did want to avoid my mother yesterday, I couldn’t pass up on the deal. As we walked around the store, though, picking out the things that I needed, looking at the Christmas stuff, navigating the holiday shoppers, and grabbing impulse buys along the way, my mom went into this little tirade about how the birthday party was “too nice.”

“You’re going to make people feel weird with everyone dressing up,” she said.

“What, a simple Vons cake isn’t enough for you people?” she whined.

“I think you guys are acting a little pretentious with all the decorating,” she griped.

After some hearty thinking, I realized that her problem is she is jealous. She isn’t in charge of the party. She isn’t even throwing it – it’s being held at my mother-in-law’s. My mother has nothing to wear. My mother would have just gotten a Vons cake – to hear that I am baking the carriage cake, a family friend is baking the standing princess cake, and my mother-in-law is baking the cupcakes was just the icing on her own cake of inadequacy.

Now let’s not get all “oh, you are leaving her out…” because you faithful blog followers know that my Trailer Trash Mom is unreliable, a drama queen, and a total flake. Up until yesterday she said she didn’t even think she would be coming to the party – and this was before she heard about all the pomp and circumstance that would be going on.

Nietzsche had this idea that people deemed what was right and wrong in the world by whether they were a master or a slave. Without getting into too much verbiage here, the people that get angry and resentful when something is nice, that find fault in things they cannot do, are the slaves. They see those that can as masters; as their oppressors. Nietzsche says that they have to cut down the masters so as to feel better about their own slave inadequacies. My mother’s slave mentality spews from her constantly. If she can’t afford a nice gift, well then gifts are over the top. If she doesn’t have time to throw the party, well then the party is pretentious and shouldn’t be done.

Basically, it’s about cutting people down so that you feel better about yourself. To this, I say: shut the fuck up.

Shut the fuck up with your bullshit that the cakes should be Vons cakes. Shut the fuck up with this “if I’m not in charge, it shouldn’t be happening.” Shut the fuck up with your underlying resentment over the fact that you squandered away all your money and can’t afford a nice gift. Shut the fuck up with all of it.

I’m sure you faithful blog followers all have a slave in your life; perhaps you just haven’t realized that their bullshit, narcissistic, weakling viewpoints were really just a matter of being jealous that they feel inadequate in one way or another. I think a lot of people call it “those that want people to be as miserable as them.” They are the people that need to make sure everyone knows how much they disapprove of things being nice. They are the people that need to make sure everyone understands that they think nice is wrong for some reason or another (excess, gluttony, whatever). They are the people that would rather not show up for a party because they think it is “too pretentious,” when in actuality they just need to cut others down to size to feel better about the fact that they – themselves – did not throw such a party.

They all need to take a lesson from Nietzsche and shut it right the fuck up.

* * *

Now for those of you that not only need to shut the fuck up, but need to wake the fuck up, here’s a nice little documentary on Nietzsche. It’s shorter than an episode of Dancing With the Stars. And while I know that you are going to be very busy right now pinning photos of cute DIY projects to your Pinterest, and uploading 7,000 photographs of your celebrity crush to your Facebook page, methinks you would all benefit from turning that shit off, shutting the fuck up, and watching this video right now.

All hail Herr Nietzsche!

STFU Fridays, with our special guest: STFU Socrates

This morning I woke up and looked on Facebook, wasting time while trying to figure out (like usual) how exactly to get through the day. Much to my happiness, the “I fucking love science” page shared a quote that could not be anymore relevant and important, both to my day and us as a society:

This was Socrates’ mantra, and why he was called the wisest man on the Earth. He wasn’t wise because he was a great philosopher. Nor because he knew how to get into the pants of just about everyone in Ancient Athens, despite his garish appearance. He was the wisest man on Earth because when he was told this, he couldn’t believe it. Quite frankly, he told the Oracle at Delphi to shut the fuck up. (I always like to imagine Socrates saying “shut the fuck up, bitch – I ain’t no wise man!” with one of those ghetto, Jerry Springer snaps of the hand.) After that, he went out on a search to prove that he wasn’t the wisest by questioning everything he and others thought they knew (and in doing so, proved the Oracle’s statement absolutely correct).

What happened to Socrates you ask? He was put to death by those dumb motherfuckers who thought they knew everything for trying to prove that he, himself, did not know shit. Talk about ironic. This is the theme for our STFU Fridays, and I have three groups of people that deserve a resounding “shut the fuck up.”

STFU Socrates is joining us.

Hipsters

This weekend in Los Angeles, we’re having the second edition of Carmageddon. If you were around the news or LA last year, you know what this meant. A section of the 405 freeway was shut down, and despite the fact that there are a bagillion other routes people normally take anyway, as well as the fact that it was a goddamned weekend and wasn’t going to be a big deal, the city acted like it was the end of the fucking world. End. Of. The Fucking. World.

Hipsters everywhere came out of the woodwork, celebrating local and bike riding tandem. Yuppies organized a 405 shutdown tandem bike ride. I shit you not, everyone talked on the news about how great this was to re-embrace LA. It was a foodie’s wildest fantasy: what a great opportunity to stay put and eat locally grown organic produce!

Yay local! Yay tofu! Yay Pitchfork!

I’m not sure how shutting down a stretch of the freeway turned into the biggest convention of ugly pants-wearing hipsters ever, but it did. Coachella didn’t even compare. So earlier this month when I saw on the freeway the dreaded sign that Carmageddon 2 was upon us, I immediately prepared myself for more self-aggrandizing, pompous assholes to make their way into the limelight in their lime-colored sunglasses and wearing stretched out, oversized tank tops.

With their cool sense of irony and $99 “vintage” American Apparel hoodies, hipsters annoy me in such a way that I can’t even really describe accurately. It isn’t their ugly taste in clothing. It isn’t their lack of understanding of the term irony. It isn’t even their shitty taste in bubble-gum pop, pseudo-dance music played by morons with 12 inch ear gauges and barely more than a junior high education.

It’s their fucking arrogance.

Hipsters think they know everything. About everything. They have an understanding of music that you just don’t get. They have a taste in fashion that you would never understand. Your deep thoughts are mere blips on the stream of consciousness that is their deep, emotional, and ironic thinking.

I think if Socrates were alive today, he wouldn’t waste his time questioning hipsters. He’d just beat the shit out of  their neon orange skinny pants, bike riding through Carmageddon asses.

What do you have to say to the hipsters, Socrates?

Hypocrites

Hipsters are kind of hypocrites because they embrace cheap and vintage and local, and yet pay a big price in places that manufacture goods in Guadalajara for 5 cents an hour wages. But not all hypocrites are hipsters, so this is a different group. A different STFU.

A hypocrite is someone that quite literally says one thing and does another. A great example of hypocrites are people that go to church and preach fire and brimstone, then go home and drink a case of beer while beating their wives. Another great example of hypocrites are people that say they want a relationship with an honest person, but when the person is honest they call the person an asshole.

A hypocrite is someone that wants women to have equal rights and be treated with respect; yet, at the same time tells her she has to clear things with him first, or have no control over her own things.

I feel like I am surrounded by hypocrites in my daily life. From my misogynistic husband that, indeed, got just as upset about my mentioning how much of a pig he is in my grocery blog as I thought he would; to my trailer trash mom, who complains when I don’t go to family parties but then dumps on every time I offer to host them at our home.

What infuriates me so much about hypocrites, though, isn’t just their hypocrisy; but really their arrogance paralleled to the arrogance of the hipster. The hypocrite knows better than you – that’s why he can be a hypocrite. The hypocrite just has a much better understanding of life and whatever he’s doing that makes him so hypocritical; and you are just too stupid to realize that it isn’t hypocrisy, but the right thing.

What do you have to say to hypocrites, Socrates?

Foodies

I’m really starting to dislike foodies. I don’t mean people that like to eat. I also don’t mean people that like to eat new things.

I mean these motherliving assholes that know more than everyone about food. EpicureansFood connoisseurs. Foodie fucks.

I talked a little bit about this in my Food Nazis STFU, but now I want to touch on these foodie assholes that think their feta don’t stink just as much as the next guy.

I’m talking about the foodie that won’t shut the hell up about the tannins in the wine. The foodie that sticks her large, fucking schnoz into the wine glass to smell the flavor and aroma, as if she really knows what the fuck she’s sniffing for. I’m talking about the foodie that sits there and comments on all the distinct spices that he can taste in a dish. I’m talking about the person that says “ha ha ha … oh, that’s precious and homey!” when you bring over a regular square cake with normal fucking frosting, instead of some berry-infused, fondant-covered plate of shit.

Again, just like hipsters; just like hypocrites – foodies think they fucking know everything. I was on a date once where I brought wine because the guy was cooking pasta. I brought white; a white that World Market said would go well with any pasta or other Italian dishes. I walked in and that motherfucker told me that it “technically” wasn’t the appropriate wine for pasta. I told that arrogant prick he should “technically” call World Market and tell them to change their pairing cards.

The Ancient Greeks were all about eating and drinking. Have any of you ever read Symposium? Those motherfuckers drank wine out of jugs. Jugs! They lived well into old age (for the most part) too, and they weren’t all as fucking arrogant as people are now. I cannot for the life of me imagine a bunch of guys standing around in the Agora sticking their noses into their dirty wine jugs and talking about tannins and shit.

So with that, I think STFU Socrates is the best person for the job on this week’s final STFU. What do you have to say to foodies, just like you did to the hipsters and the hypocrites, Socrates?

The B(itch)’s Cave

I’m sure most of you have heard the parable of the cave before. I often feel like this very simple story is what inspired me to go to graduate school in philosophy – that I had seen a glimpse of what many other “thinkers” before me had and was then shoved back into the cave, so I needed to search for the truth outside, whatever that may be. Possibly that was a pie in the sky dream that I had: to study philosophy, teach political philosophy, write books, and hide behind my ivory towers forever. Or maybe it was a realistic goal that I was going about the right way and no one had the right to tell me that it was wrong to want to do that, or to be so unsupportive – especially after I worked so hard to get to the point that I did. Whatever the case may be, I had yet to figure out until recently just what happened when I left graduate school. It wasn’t until I got out of the mire for a little bit and went on vacation to my sweet, home Chicago that I realized what I had done was constructed and allowed myself to be chained in my own cave again. Since returning, I feel like I have been stuck again in the B(itch)’s Cave.

I identify my ultimate unhappiness so much with my geographic location in California because for years I have been stuck here inside the B(itch)’s Cave. It seems to have been a cave built especially for me – possibly I was the one who built it. In it are all the people around me: my Trailer Trash Mom, her trailer trash family, Hello Kitty Toaster, and my husband’s family. My friends out here are not a part of the cave, though, which is probably why I rarely get to see them. In any event, I always say to my husband that all these petty annoyances in life would be manageable if only it weren’t for that B(itch)’s Cave we seem to be stuck in.

Despite the fact that we were all ultimately cheated out of a grand finale to the Jerry Springer-esque Mother’s Day brawl that my Trailer Trash Mom was organizing, that whole ordeal was just another one of my mother’s typical dramatics. In many ways, my husband’s family is similarly as dramatic and dysfunctional as my mother and hers. I am sure I chose my husband because subconsciously I could tell these people were all alike – and while the drama is always at a fever pitch, I do know how to handle it. For those of you unaware, Hello Kitty Toaster is my sister in law, and the woman whose pseudo-Italian food I need three doses of Pepto Bismol to stomach is my mother-in-law. (No, Hello Kitty Toaster does not read, and while my mother-in-law is an email subscriber, I’m fairly certain she stopped reading these a long time ago … if not, oh well.) So I am sure all of you faithful blog followers can imagine that the real chains keeping this B(itch) down are the ongoing dramatics of these factions. As my mother’s drama phases out, the in-law’s drama phases in.

Anyone surprised that this has now occurred?

Yesterday my husband came home from work, acting particularly depressed. There are usually about three reasons why this would be, the first two of which I ran through as he ate dinner. “Did something happen at work?” No. “You’re mad I bought a new set of sheets, aren’t you?” No. There was only one other possibility: “you heard from one of your parents, didn’t you?” Yeppers.

Without going into all of the unnecessary and pathetic details of it all, my husband has not communicated with his family for a few months now – since sometime before Christmas. He did this of his own accord because he was tired of the ups and downs, and the dramatic roller coaster ride that is a relationship with his family. Before I met him, he kept his family at an emotional distance for the reason of avoiding their dramatics. One time very early on I asked why he was so cold around his parents and he said that if he showed any emotion he would get sucked into his mother’s emotional tirades – that is what we are dealing with here. Flashing back to now, I never told him to stop calling them. I never implied that he should do anything except for stop standing by while his mother verbally thrashed us over email because we didn’t do something she wanted. While I was willing to go head first into the hillbilly brawl my mother was working her way up to over Mother’s Day, my husband is quite the opposite by wanting to just run away from it all with regards to his family. So run is exactly what he did.

He didn’t call his mother on Mother’s Day, though, which was apparently the final straw for them. I’m not sure why they thought he was going to – he hasn’t called on any other significant day in the last few months, they emailed him and said he was “cruel and mean” for not contacting them about a month ago, and they sent him cards for his birthday and to invite us to his grandparent’s anniversary as if nothing was going on, while ignoring the kid’s birthday as well as my 30th.

What my husband then admitted to me, though, is that his father had called him and left a message last week demanding that he call his mother. In it, his dad blamed me for all of their family problems. His dad made it clear that they all believe I don’t let my husband go to their home to visit. He had saved the voicemail and played it for me last night; every time his dad said my name it made me cringe more and more. In the meanest and most malicious point, his father said that my husband needed to call his mother “to let her know you are still her son, regardless of what Heather has to do or say about it.”

This morning when I woke up, I felt as though I had been publicly flogged.

There is absolutely no reason for the people in my mother’s or my husband’s family to act towards me the way that they do. I am a good person. I have worked very hard for what I have. I know what is right in many instances, and when I don’t I am not afraid to admit it. I try very hard to take care of the people that I love most and that are most important to me. I do not gossip (except for on this blog, which is done in more of an hilarious way than anything) and I refuse to let injustice go on just for the sake of keeping the peace. My husband last night asked me if I had proof now that the world hates me, since he seems to think I believe that. I don’t believe the world hates me at all, though, with the exception of course of this world within my cave. I’m not sure why and quite frankly I no longer care.

When I got up this morning and felt as though I had been emotionally beaten to a bloody pulp, I decided that this nonsense will not be tolerated anymore. Much in the way I went into my Trailer Trash Mom’s Mother’s Day Mayhem expecting a battle, I fully expect this new chapter in the saga of the B(itch)’s Cave to be just as ugly. The bottom line is that I know I am a good person who deserves a lot more than what I have right now. All of us should stand firm in knowing that about ourselves. Letting others make us question ourselves such as my mother’s and my husband’s families have in recent years since I left graduate school is one of the worst things I could have ever done for myself. I can only hope you faithful blog followers do not let others do this to you.

I am sure that we will have another dramatic, hillbilly-esque saga for you faithful blog followers to roll around on the floor laughing over soon enough. I, myself, laughed harder during the episodic stories of my Trailer Trash Mom than I think I have ever laughed before. For those of you that came today looking for a laugh, I apologize sincerely for the seriousness of my cave story. Life is way too short to be so serious and living in the doldrums of a dark and dismal cave. We are all good people of our own right, unless we blame our problems on those that have done nothing wrong. I know I let myself be chained into this cave, which I probably built of my own accord without even realizing it. For today, we are less than happy and silly, but tomorrow we move out into the open, out of this cave of nonsense.

When Does God Say to Go F*** Yourself?

Today I was talking with someone over a friend’s posting on Facebook about the Duggar family, who has made the news again after announcing the pregnancy of their twentieth child.  Without going into all of the details of the discussion (which I will blog on at a later time, the Duggar family that is), in the end the person with whom I was inevitably debating took the conversation a turn for the worse:  she cited God’s plan.

If you’re like me, you can’t really have an intelligent conversation if someone is going to talk about God’s plan, unless (of course) you do so in a purely academic light; most importantly, with background detail from the Bible and exegetical analysis of what you are claiming to be truth about God.  This person with whom I was debating, though, didn’t do any of that – she simply said “I have a hard time believing that God would create a world where we will run out of fresh, drinking water.”  When I questioned, though, that she believes God will not allow the planet to run out of fresh, drinking water, although will allow other horrific things to happen (such as cancer and natural disasters), she said those are from human negligence.  At this point, I gracefully bowed out of the conversation and bit my tongue for the sake of my own blood pressure and my own friend’s peace on Facebook (I don’t even know how she knew this person that was discussing it with me on the post).

In the end, anyone that will invoke God’s plan as an argument against something completely unrelated to God or religion is already questionable on the intelligence front.  But things really go awry when that person makes stupid and asinine comments, such as that cancer is a matter of human negligence.  To be clear, she said “it is because we have free will that people get cancer … negligence of their bodies.”  Looking at some of the young children I have known with cancer, or looking at some of the earliest cancer cases in world history predating even Christ or carcinogens; looking at cancer in the womb, or even looking at the appearance of cancer in animals that could in no way have caused such a disease to happen:  I have to simply ask where (exactly) the head of such a person is located that would say such a wholly retarded thing as “it is because we have free will.”

Here’s why at the end of days these pompous assholes will be told by God to go f*** themselves:  they make completely jerk-faced judgments without all of the information; they use God as an excuse for making their point; and, they try to imply that they are God-like by saying they know God’s agenda.

There are a lot of really horrible things in this world:  cancer, disease, famine, natural disasters, Republicans.  (I’m sorry … not necessarily the Republicans, I just thought it sounded funny.)  And it is true that amidst all of that crap, it is really easy to ask whether there is a God to begin with. In the end, from a purely logical standpoint, none of us can ever even know if some almighty guy in the sky exists, so why act like a dick and speak for this unknowable being?  I got news for all the Bible-thumping judgers out there (that are, incidentally, only reading the parts of the Bible they want to read):  if there is, in fact, a guy up there in the sky, acting like some pompous asshole about things you don’t even seem to understand is exactly why you’ll be told to go f*** yourself when you try to waltz your pompous ass into heaven.

Have a little humility, and (more over) a little compassion.  Don’t invoke God’s plan as an argument about something completely unrelated.  Like many of us “reformed Catholics,” I don’t know what is out there beyond this world we know on Earth:  God, some other being, or nothing.  But if there is one thing I do know, it’s that in all religions of the world (monotheistic, polytheistic, or atheistic), there is one unifying theme:  don’t judge others before judging yourself.  There is so much wrapped up in that idea.  Most importantly in my little debate over the Duggars and their +18 population growth ratio, is that before speaking on things you think you know, you should probably consider all the facts.  Judge others and God (or whatever is out there) may just judge you in the same vain.  The last thing you want to hear when you hit those pearly white gates, paradise full of virgins and palm trees, or whatever your heaven may be is to go fuck yourself.  That would really suck.