Category Archives: Ranting and Raving

Just Life, Ranting and Raving

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The past few weeks I’ve been exhausted. Like. EX.HAUST.ED. Like where I feel like I’m wearing a suit of weights and I cannot make it through the day without a nap. I have always had moments or days like this but never for a stretch this long. I have various other health concerns being checked out so I figured I’d have to bring this up to my doctor, too, and hope to god it’s not something deadly (mild hypochondria mayyyybe).

But then.

Earlier this week, I ran out of this super delicious iced coffee Starbucks sells in grocery stores now so I did my old standby of making an iced coffee out of a packet of Via. I felt great all day. I was so relieved to think the exhaustion might finally be clearing up. I even had the energy to run to the store to buy more iced coffee.

You know what’s coming right?

THIS STARBUCKS ICED COFFEE DOES NOT WORK. I REPEAT: THIS STARBUCKS ICED COFFEE DOES NOT WORK.

It doesn’t say it’s caffeine-free, but IT CLEARLY IS.

THIS STARBUCKS ICED COFFEE IS A DIRTY, DIRTY LIE.

I Googled but no one else online seems to be talking about this very serious problem. Of course, that could be because no one online seems to be talking about this coffee at all?

IDK WTF you did here, Starbucks, but I, for one, am personally hurt and I’ve lost some trust.

My lovely readers, spare yourself weeks worth of health-related anxiety and don’t buy this coffee even though it’s got a warm and rich, slightly nutty flavor. Sigh. What a loss.

Ranting and Raving, Social Justice

In this post I will yell and scream and use a lot of bad words while I rant about compassion.

compassion

So last week was terrible.

I kept wanting to write about the Ferguson shit, but I couldn’t find any words because I was so sad about the Robin Williams shit.

Things I found myself arguing about on Facebook:
~Whether suicide is selfish or cowardly.
~Whether Robin Williams “just didn’t try hard enough” to overcome depression.
~Whether white privilege exists or not.

And the thing is that I don’t really understand why any of these are arguments at all. Because people who struggle with depression have SAID WITH THEIR MOUTHS that you can’t just decide to be happy and then *poof* the depression goes away. So why are you still arguing about who tried harder? (Watch out, I feel some bad words coming on.) And, do you know how hard it must be to get to a place where you suddenly decide to not live anymore? Millions of years of evolution and your entire biology will do absolutely anything – including cutting off your own arm in certain cases – just to not die. So how can people still say it’s a selfish or cowardly thing knowing what desperation must have been present? (No, really, here comes the cussing.) And the white privilege thing is really pretty fucking clear. (THERE IT IS.) Even before we knew that Michael Brown had, in actual fact, been shot no less than six times from a distance, there was Eric Garner and two others.

Super embarrassing to admit: When I was an ignorant teenager being raised by a woman who later in her life would subscribe to multiple Bill O’Riley email lists I didn’t get the need for Affirmative Action. After all, my education taught me that Rosa Parks and Dr. King fixed the racism problem and now we all lived in a happy world where we could totally share the drinking fountains. (I had similar ignorant ideas about feminism. I KNOW.) But, honestly, how the hell would I ever have known that racism was still alive and well? I never had to live it.

So here is the big secret about how I learned about white privilege and feminism and depression:

I FUCKING LISTENED TO PEOPLE WHEN THEY TALKED.

It turns out – and this may shock you – people tend to share their feelings and thoughts and experiences. Sometimes they do this when asked, and sometimes they choose to start the conversation. But you have, to paraphrase Mark Twain, twice as many ears as you do mouths. SO FUCKING USE THEM OKAY.

There is no fucking way this earth is ever going to get better, there is no fucking way humans will ever stop being terrible unless we have fucking compassion. You already have everything you can possibly need to make the world better, you have the ability to fucking change shit, and all you have to do is fucking LISTEN TO PEOPLE WHEN THEY TELL YOU THINGS.

If someone you know says you are struggling with depression, you DON’T say, “Well, try harder!” Or “Have you tried being happy instead?” That shit shuts down the conversation and alienates people which, as it turns out, doesn’t really help depression. Weird, right? Instead try something like, “How can I help you?” And “I love you so much and you mean so much to me.”

This listening trick can work in literally every aspect of your life. Know someone who’s overweight? Listen to their feelings and experiences and help to end fat phobia! Know someone who’s trans? Listen to their feelings and experiences and help to end trans phobia! Know someone who’s a different religion than you are? Listen to their thoughts and experiences and help to bridge the massive gaps we have in religious and culture differences. Just shut up and listen! It’s amazing! It’s free! It’s revolutionary!

The word compassion just keeps coming up for me this week. Everything has been about people lacking compassion for other people. Compassion. Compassion. Compassion. Fucking focus on that shit right now okay? It will fix everything. Not right away, of course, because there are a shitload of other steps that need to be taken first, but fucking COMPASSION IS THE FIRST FUCKING STEP AND IT IS VITAL TO FUCKING EVERY SITUATION EVER.

Here are some good articles about the Ferguson shit and white privilege. Fucking listen, okay?

Explaining White Privilege to a Broke White Person.

Explaining white privilege with funny memes so you don’t have to word too much.

America is not for Black People (I kept being very confused about how people would show pictures of tanks in America with the caption that “this is not America” because, actually, it IS America. I mean. Very clearly it is. You mean that you don’t want it to be – which is also kinda shitty because what that’s really saying is “keep your mega violence in the Middle East so we can pretend MURRICA is totally radical, okay?”)

Things to Stop Being Distracted By When A Black Person Gets Murdered by Police (I was somewhat heartened when I saw these things being discussed more and more as the week went on. Some of you are listening. Go, you!)

Some people have suggested that we stop calling it “white privilege” because, I assume, it scares white people and makes them think they have to feel guilty for being born white. I mean. Whatever. I guess. I don’t really care if you call it something else, but I do think that white people should STFU, stop being whiny babies, and just take a moment to (say it with me!) LISTEN and understand what the phrase actually means. It’s really got nothing to do with YOU and everything to do with the SYSTEM. Which even our history books do not deny was built by white people. Here’s an article that puts it much more politely.

Stuff you can do to help:

Ten Things White People Can Do About Ferguson Besides Tweet

In addition to the link just above, if you need to actively do something, here’s a Tumblr post with some ideas.

AND THIS. This is a petition to the White House (which they have to look at since it’s reached the needed number of signatures) to have cameras worn by all law enforcement.

And listen. Just fucking listen. Have compassion and just fucking listen.

Ranting and Raving, Social Justice, This is a Woman

My rage is a day late cause misogyny makes me tired.

person person meh

Yesterday I was stricken with some mysterious fatigue. Probably it was my body’s intuition that the SCOTUS had done another horrible fuckass thing and I should just make a point to stay in bed and not try to join in the human race yesterday. But tiredness isn’t a clear enough language so I got up anyway, read the news, and then decided to go back to bed.

So that’s basically why I didn’t post yesterday.

But here are some thoughts I have after having read and maybe participated in discussions/debates on the topic on various friend’s Facebook pages. (Sorry, various friends. I really tried to limit myself as much as possible.)

1. People kept saying, “But people can CHOOSE not to work for these corporations!”
I think the people who said this are probably simply innocent and merely lacking the facts here. Obviously they have slept through the last 15 or so years and entirely missed the economic news. We should speak quietly and get them some coffee. Once they catch up, they’ll understand that people can’t just pick and choose which jobs they want. This isn’t the 1950’s anymore. Shit’s fucked, you guys. People stay unemployed for months and months or even years and then when they finally get a job they are gonna take it and not even care if birth control is covered because at that point the fact that they will be able to buy frivolous items such as “food” will take precedence. Anyone who says people should just work for those corporations that hold their own personal views (and by “personal views” I mean “provides basic human rights such as health care”) simply have no clue what the world actually is like. And good for them, I guess. Either they slept for the last decade and a half or they live in their own little protective bubble (or they don’t, but they hold views that go against their own personal lifestyle), but they just have no clue. Here’s a tip: grow some empathy. Think outside of your own brain for a moment and try to imagine how it is for people less privileged than you are.

2. People kept saying, “The government can’t just step in and tell a private corporation what to do!”
Except. That last I checked, the government enforces rules about making a job safe and possible for people with disabilities. And the government has rules set in place which don’t allow private companies to discriminate against people of other races, genders, or sexual orientations. So, dudes? The government does, in fact, butt in when it comes to protecting those who need it. You know. Except women.

3. People kept saying, “Birth control isn’t a basic human right!”
Well, aside from the whole Catch-22 attitude wherein women are forced to not have birth control, not have abortions, not have health care to support them through their pregnancies, and not have financial help for a child they weren’t ready for. I don’t know if that kind of birth control is a basic human right, but I’m willing to argue that sex is.

The bottom line here is that their science is bad. At BEST they grossly misunderstand how these contraceptives work. Preventing an ovary from releasing an egg is not, in fact, the same thing as abortion by any means. The fact that the Supreme Court backed up this pseudoscience bullshit is, at the very minimum, absolutely terrifying.

3a. Someone even said, “Health care is a privilege, not a right! People should make the choice to find a job that provides them health care!”
This is the part of the day where I just zoomed right off the plane, way out into outer space. Because if health care is a privilege you are LITERALLY saying that only rich people should be able to be healthy. You are, IN ACTUALITY, saying that poor people should just all die. I mean. You didn’t even bother to pretend very hard that you don’t feel that way. You very clearly feel that way. And you know who very clearly did not feel that way? JESUS.

3b. People kept saying, “But Hobby Lobby is still providing most birth control, just not these ones they don’t believe in!”
But you know what? That doesn’t mean they aren’t blocking birth control. Cause they are. It may not be every kind of birth control, but some women need specific kinds which may be one of those banned. What it comes down to is that a woman and her DOCTOR, not her EMPLOYER, should be the ones to decide what contraceptive a woman needs.

4. People kept saying, “But these forms of birth control cause abortions!”
OK. Let’s talk about the morning after pill. That form of birth control does NOT end a pregnancy. It inhibits ovulation just like regular birth control pills do. Without ovulation, there is no pregnancy. It ONLY works if the woman takes it before she’s ovulated, otherwise it’s useless. The pill RU486 is the pill you are probably confusing the morning after pill with. RU486 is a pill that causes an abortion. But it is called a medical abortion, not a birth control pill.

Doctors have created a distinction between abortifacients and contraceptives. Contraceptives do not end a pregnancy – they prevent one. There is a distinction. And it’s a distinction that seems to be grossly misunderstood by the majority of people who claim to support Hobby Lobby, and in this case, the SCOTUS upheld this bad science which is fucking terrifying.

So. You made Jesus cry. And you made the rest of us turn into rocket ships in our rage. Hope you’re happy.

(I was going to draw you a picture of me, as a rocket, leaving the planet, but I’m bad at drawing and all my rockets just looked like dicks which, I think, is against the spirit of this post. Next time I leave the planet I’m leaving in a vulva-shaped ship.)

But here are the facts: This law doesn’t protect corporations from having to provide other medical care that they feel is against their religion. Companies run by Jehovah’s Witnesses are still forced to provide blood transfusions, Christian Scientists are still required to provide for vaccinations. If this was actually about protecting religion, this would cover all medical-related things that all religions avoid. But it doesn’t. Because it’s not about religion.

This law also continues to provide for such medically unnecessary things such as Viagra or a penis pump. It is literally only the things that apply to women that are included in this. Go ahead. Tell me how we don’t need feminism. Tell me how this isn’t misogynistic. Go ahead and tell me how women receive equal rights. Say it. I dare you. This is nothing but means to control women. Why the hell else would someone ever care what I do with my own body?

Ranting and Raving

What’s the opposite of me waving my cane and telling kids to get off my lawn?

You better believe I'm gonna take a selfie if I get eaten by a shark. That shit isn't gonna remember itself.

You better believe I’m gonna take a selfie if I get eaten by a shark. That shit isn’t gonna remember itself.

So I originally read this article a couple of weeks ago now and it was just one of a steady stream of articles I’ve come across recently that apply a hipster-level judgement to anyone participating in the year 2014. There’s your usual all purpose stop-using-the-internet message shared via internet, there’s this one commanding me to totes stop saying totes based entirely on my birthdate, there is just your general selfie hatred, and there’s that one I linked above condemning the newly christened “shelfie”. Here’s how they describe what a shelfie is: “It’s about gathering up ~significant~ objects and creating something that’s you.” What is this world coming to? Now people are creating still life shots that represent parts of their personalities or interests? Nooooooooo! *collapses dramatically from grief for the entirety of humanity*

Hey, judgey people? Don’t tell me what I can’t do. I mean. I make it a general life goal to never have anything in common with John Locke (from Lost, not the philosopher) (although maybe him, too) but in this case I can’t help myself. You say I can’t instagram my breakfast and suddenly I want to show you my same bowl of yogurt and granola every single morning.

But on a more cerebral level, every single one of these things is legitimately an interesting and relevant part of this world that I don’t want to lose.

I took part in the 7 Days project where we would meet quarterly for a week of self portraiture. It was fun, it was silly, and it was vitally important to my personal growth. Taking selfies taught me a lot about photography and I made new lifelong friends via the project. But the lessons I learned about myself were perhaps the most surprising aspect of what selfies are. Self portraiture taught me to see myself in a new way, it taught me to be photographed, it taught me to see beauty in a new manner entirely, and how to find it within myself. While I’m sure that there are people out there who take too many selfies take more selfies than you personally think they should, they may be learning these things, too. And these are good and important things to learn. You should try it.

But now there is this thing called “shelfies” which internet haters are hating on. And I just don’t get it. Like. Have you never been to a museum? Because like 90% of that is still life (percentages not verified by any source whatsoever) and I guarantee you those are nearly all staged. Do you think Edward Weston just happened across that sexy bell pepper out in the wild and grabbed a quick shot? Cause you’d be wrong. He staged it. And no one (except haters) talked shit about him taking pictures of bell peppers. Instead they put that shit in a book and called it art and now students have to study how awesome it is when they take beginning photography classes. It’s like when people say that fan fiction is “standing on the shoulders of giants”. Cause, in case you hadn’t noticed, much of literature is comprised of retellings or at the very least, allusions to older stories. Taking away the freedom to create the art that is inside us – in whatever form it comes in – is controlling and dampening and caging and wrong.

Language is constantly evolving. That’s what’s so awesome about language. You can post as many funny little images about how “irregardless” won’t ever be a word no matter how many times it’s used, but you could not literally be more wrong. (And I use that “literally” literally here.) If people use it, it’s a word. Period. That’s how words are born. That’s how words evolve. Admittedly, I enjoy the evolution of the world “literally” more than I enjoy the evolution of the word “irregardless” but I don’t deny that it exists as a word. There is a word that I picked up from some SNL character and it makes me giggle and I can feel it bubbling up from inside me, trying to become a permanent part of my vocabulary and I can’t hold it back much longer. So be prepared. I’m gonna start saying “tragesty”. (Admittedly, the frustrating part of evolving language is the autocorrect lag. No I do not mean travesty, Autocorrect.) But the point is that I am 36 and I can say “totes” or “adorbs” or “I’ll cut a bitch” and especially “feels” all I want. Because language is amazing. And I love watching it evolve. And I want to be a part of that. Finding new ways to communicate things is not a bad thing. It’s exciting! It is, in fact, totes exciting. And it gives me feels. So there. (See? Stubborn.)

In my creative writing class we had to do an exercise where we formulated a very short play. One person (whose writing I’ve always liked) wrote a scene between a grandfather and his grandson about how we should put down the phone and live life. And, sure. Sometimes we should. But I really wanted the grandson in this play to point out all the ways that technology is important to humanity, too. This slam poem has been making the rounds recently and I’ve tried to watch it on more than one occasion because I feel like it’s only fair if I give it a shot, but I can’t even get through it. I tried but my eyes rolled so far out of my head that I literally had to go to the ER (see: evolution of language). Again, I’m sure that there are times when this is advice that needs to be given. Sometimes people do get caught up in their technology and forget to pay enough attention to the world around them, myself included. But never forget how much that technology does to connect us. I am so different because of the internet. I’ve made friends who’ve taught me things, and taught me kindness, and taught me how to find out who I really am. Without those virtual connections I’d still be lost and scared and vastly more ignorant. Do not ever discount the importance of social media. Internet friends are still real friends.

But, even aside from all this, don’t judge people because judging people is shitty. End of story. You can try to open your mind and learn new things from the people you meet online, or from recently evolved language, or from selfies and shelfies – and I cannot recommend it enough! But even if you never do any of that, just don’t judge people. It doesn’t make them look worse, it only reflects on you. And, besides, as my friend Jen said in response to that Jezebel article, nothing will ever make me quit the internet.