I’m Offended. Here’s Why You Should Care.

My birthday is coming up and the craziest thing has been happening: I’ve been telling people I’m turning a year older than I am actually turning. Either it’s the old age, or the fact that my husband just turned that age (he’s a year older than me). But I’ve been doing it.

The fact is: I was born in 1982, which makes me – what I like to call – a late stage millennial. I’m like an older millennial who can see some of the ridiculous shit us millennials are doing, all while doing it. And loving it.

Like avocado toast and blaming the financial problems we millennials face on the crippling behaviors of Baby Boomers. Or using mason jars for drink ware. Spending my time reading labels, and breastfeeding my kids well past two (and in public!).

There are also, though, a lot of millennial things I can’t get on board with.

Millennial men’s haircuts, I can’t stand. Right now my husband is sporting a hairstyle that makes him look less like a Nick-the-film-editor; and more like David, the wanna-be goth who wears black lipstick and works at my local Starbucks as a barista. (It’s awful, and sorry David – I hope you can forgive me.)

I also cannot do the whole MLM candles, essential oils, and workout programs thing. The thought of taking forty-five selfies of myself a day, and posting story after story on Instagram in which I just sit there and talk – all in an effort to sell something – is …undesirable to me. That isn’t to say there’s anything against people who do it (and in fact I find myself envious of the people that can take so many photos and videos of themselves while I have to take 537 shots before finding an angle that suits me).

It’s just not my jam.

The conflict I really have with myself as an older millennial is the being offended thing. It is so typical of me as a millennial to get offended by things to such the degree that I do. (And isn’t that just the mark of our era: to always find a reason to feel offense at something someone else said/did/posted?)

And yet… I completely get it (the being offended).

Yesterday someone’s post on Facebook so severely offended me that I told literally every person I talked to about it for the rest of the day.

Today I was at Target and found myself feeling offended no less than four times.

Then tonight I made the error of going online, and …well…

Basically, it happens a lot.

The thing is: if you spend any time scanning the comments sections of online, you’ll see that it is hot topic now to not only get offended by things, but also – on the flip side – call out anyone that takes anything personally. Honestly, it makes me a little sick (or maybe offended, how meta would that be?) to see how crass people can be about it.

I get it: some people have taken it way too far. Like over the edge of the cliff and halfway down the river in the ravine far.

But also, in other instances, I think a lot of people have missed the point.

Take today, for example. It’s April Fools day, and while there have been a myriad of dad jokes and corporate brands having a good time posting dumb shit on the Internet for us all to enjoy, there have also been some steadfast reminders going around about what is too far.

One of those things that goes beyond clever and turns into just, plain crass is the ever-predictable fake pregnancy announcement. What better way to fool your family and friends then by posting a faux memo for the entire world to see that you have a bun preparing itself to fly out your lady hole. Then on April 2nd you let the truth be known that your womb is, in fact, still childless, and everyone had a good laugh. Right?

No. Just no.

I guess if I’m in my 50s and everyone’s going through menopause, it has the potential to be silly. But I’m 36, almost 38 (scratch that, 37) and a fair number of people in my group of peers has lost a child, miscarried a pregnancy, or had a tremendously difficult time getting pregnant. And while those people may all have a sense of humor, I often wonder if for everyone that thinks it’s silly, there isn’t someone quietly hurting as a result of the insensitivity of the whole prank.

I’ve been saying this for years: fake a marriage, fake a gigantic Amazon delivery. One year we put candy melts on brussel sprouts and fooled my husband into thinking they were cake pops. Awesome!

But don’t fake a pregnancy.

The best equivalent I can think is going up to a friend whose Grandma died on March 31st, and saying “my grandma died – APRIL FOOLS SHE IS ALIVE!”

I’m not one to take life so seriously, but I know when the time for jokes is over and the time for compassion begins. It seems that others are starting to figure it out as well, because this time, I saw an article going around about this very topic: how not funny the April Fools pregnancy announcements can be to some people.

And as usual, the comments proved how awful humanity has become.

The comment that I read on one of the postings that stuck out the most for me summed up perfectly what is wrong with the our culture (or at least one of the things):

“When are people going to understand that it’s not my responsibility to worry about what everyone is offended by?”

Who the fuck said anything about being offended?

From there I got sucked down the comment hole, in which I read heinous reply after heinous reply, all from the likes of women named Candy and Monica, with big haired profile pictures and those stupid cause filters laid over the photographs, quite obviously meant to cover up their total and utter lack of humanity. Yeah you are really passionate about lupus, but don’t give a fuck about people’s feelings, Tiphani with a ‘ph.’

That’s when it hit me: it’s super cool to make fun of millennials for always being overly sensitive to people’s sensitivities; and yet a lot of the time, what we are talking about are actual matters of human compassion.

The same woman who says it’s not her responsibility to worry about what others feel (because that’s what that comment is saying) is the same person that will drive by a homeless veteran and call him a drunk. It’s a weak viewpoint, weakened mostly by narcissism.

This is where things get dicey. Because you don’t want to be one of those people who’s just up in arms about everything. But also, you need to be compassionate towards others: even if it doesn’t affect you. And it’s dicey only because there’s a fine line between the two, one that is incumbent on all of us to walk along carefully.

So I’m pretty offended, obviously, about this whole issue. April Fools. Fake pregnancy announcements. Being offended. People saying people are offended too easily. Millennials.

And you should care for the same reason I do: the world of Candys, Monicas, and Tiphanis lacks the thing that makes us who we are. Our humanity.

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Let Me Tell You Just How Much I Want To Hear Your Pregnancy Complaints

I don’t.

163d41d3b961d3de983e1a4adcad67cbI don’t want to hear your pregnancy complaints.

I don’t want to hear about how you vomited six times because you smelled pineapple, which you used to love.

I don’t want to hear about your constipation.

I don’t want to hear about your spider veins.

I don’t want to hear about how you feel like an elephant. That you think you’re so fat. Yes, yes. You are so fat. Oh my God, you are like a beach ball. You are so huge. You can’t take this, I know. So big, so fat. Stick a fork in you, you’re done.

Nope – I don’t want to hear that shit. None of it.

I don’t want to hear about how the baby kicks – so precious and fluttery one minute, and so sharp and shocking another – keep you up at night.

I don’t want to hear about your indigestion. Or your insomnia. Or your mask of pregnancy. Or your hair during pregnancy. Or you prenatal gas. Or your swollen feet. Or the fact that your wedding ring doesn’t fit anymore. Or your painful boobs. Or your prenatal rhinitis.

None of it. I don’t want to hear any of it.

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I also don’t want to hear about how it took you one week and a bottle of gin to get pregnant.

I don’t want to hear about how it was a mistake.

I don’t want to hear about how you never wanted to have kids but – oh well – life has a way of messing with your plans.

I don’t want to hear your pithy responses to the fact that your unborn child was conceived during a one night stand.

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I think you should all know where I’m going at this point, which is that not everyone in this world is so lucky and fortunate – because believe you me, pregnancy is an absolute matter of chance and great, often unfair, fortune – to be blessed with the miracle of pregnancy.

I don’t mean to invalidate the plight of the ever-pregnant woman. It’s hard. It’s a labor; isn’t it called a labor of love? I’m sure that’s where they got the term labor and delivery, because nothing good comes without work. And if there is anything that ends in a lot of work, it’s a pregnancy.

But if for a moment through the bitching and the griping and the whining and the complaining and the pouting and the crying a pregnant woman put her hormones and feelings of insecurity behind for a nanosecond and considered that somewhere, somehow, she’s going to bitch and gripe and whine to someone that CANNOT get pregnant – no matter how hard she tries – …..well, that would seem a little self-centered and insensitive, now wouldn’t it?

Personally, I know a lot of women – more than I can count on two hands – who would consider it a complete and utter blessing to get nauseated at the sight of a formerly-loved snack.

That would consider prenatal constipation a thing to rejoice over.

That would relish in spider veins.

That would own the fat ass, the fat thighs, the gargantuan bowling ball of a belly, the eight chins, and the flabby arms of pregnancy. That would own that shit so hard you’d get sick of it.

That would thank her lucky stars for every single rib kick at two o’clock in the morning. That would honor the miracle of her pregnancy with a daily allotment of Tums. That would take the insomnia and the mask of pregnancy and the thinning hair and the prenatal gas and the swollen feet and the wedding ring that no longer fits and the painful boobs and the prenatal rhinitis – and all of it – and say “fuck it, this was a hard-fought battle and these things are a sign that in the end I was victorious.”

Victorious, because not every woman that gets pregnant did so easily.

It’s that plain and simple.

This month is Pregnancy Loss and Miscarriage Awareness month, and yet I hear hardly anyone talking about it. Instead, all I hear are a gaggle of friends and family members griping about their with-child bodies. In a feat that, yes, is difficult, they all seem to have forgotten that not everyone walks the same path.