Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Reasons & Ruminations

When tragedies occur, it’s in our nature to want a reason. WHY did this happen? HOW could it have been prevented? WHO is to blame? WHAT can we do to stop it from happening again?

If we can identify a cause, we can bury the uncomfortable truth that we have much less control that we’d like to think. Lately, however, the reaction to tragedy has been to scramble frantically onto our soapbox of choice and explain it all away.

Too many guns! Not enough guns! Homophobia! Homosexuality! Muslims! Christians! Trump! Obama! Illegal immigration! Race! Police brutality! Processed food! Vaccines! Abortions! Global warming!

We live in a world where bad things - terrible, horrifying, gut-wrenching things - happen every single day. And instead of coming together, we let them drive a wedge even deeper into what is an already dangerously divided society. We pick and choose “reasons” for these atrocities and use them to bludgeon anyone who disagrees.

As I’ve watched and cried and raged over recent events like the Orlando mass shooting (and the deafening silence of so many who claim to "love"), the death of Christina Grimmie, the “sentencing” of Brock Turner, our joke of an election process, our corrupt government, the transgender bathroom brouhaha, and all the other pain and suffering and injustice and ridiculousness that is happening every moment, I can’t help but wonder what I was thinking to bring children into such a fucked up world. 

How the hell do I explain to them we live in a society where someone thought he had the right to murder 49 innocent people because they were different than him? And how do I explain that instead of reacting with shock and grief and horror, many flew right by logic and straight to their keyboards, desperate to prove they know WHY it happened and HOW it can be prevented?

For now, I’ll shield them. But as they grow, I hope to teach them sometimes there is no reason except that evil runs rampant in our world. I hope to teach them to react with compassion, to feel grief, and to recognize the immeasurable value of a human life no matter how different that life is from their own.

I certainly can’t pretend to know why awful events occur. But I can do my very small part by raising good, compassionate people who know how to spread love and light and peace. That is my fight. Living my humanity, recognizing the beauty and fragility and preciousness of life, and teaching my kids to do the same.


For the families and friends of the victims of these tragedies, our hearts grieve with you. May your loved ones be honored by our commitment to choose love over hate every day.
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Thursday, December 31, 2015

Resolution Makeover



I am a resolution addict.  I love the rush that comes with the midnight countdown. THIS IS THE YEAR, I think. This time I'll do all the things I didn't do last year ... or the year before that. 

Since fourth grade, I've created lists of adventures to have, foods to try, places to go, and changes to make. Over the years, Become a spy and Discover unicorns have changed to standard basic adult-y things. Save $1,000. Lose weight. Don't stab anyone with a fork. It's a part of growing up, of course, but I've noticed my goals have morphed from things I want to do because life is supposed to be fun and lovely and exciting to things I feel like I have to do because I hate the way I am. Basically, every resolution I've made in the past ten years could be summed up as "Stop being a fucking loser." Not exactly healthy, especially when mixed with mental illness.
So THIS year, I'm examining the underlying motives for every goal I make. Guilt-based, self hate-based, "should"-based, all the things I resolve to do because I don't want people to judge me, all the resolutions that stem from the idea I'm somehow not good enough just the way I am - ALL OF THOSE - are getting canned.

ONE WOMAN'S STUNNING MAKEOVER! 
From this ...


To this!


If you haven't seen either of those movies, sorry. I don't do relevant very well. Also, you should probably resolve to watch more oldish children's movies.

As a completely hypothetical example, say I can't button my pre-pregnancy skinny jeans without damaging internal organs. Instead of Workout nineteen times a week and Subsist on kale, I'm resolving to GIVE IT UP AND BUY BIGGER PANTS, ALREADY and Substitute a candy bar for an apple twice a week.

Small, measurable, specific. Not completely impossible (which is, you know, kinda important.) I'm not setting myself up for failure, I'm not contributing to low self-esteem and feelings of failure, and I don't have to eat fucking kale. WIN.



In 2016, be the awesome person you already are. HAPPY NEW YEAR! <3
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Tuesday, December 15, 2015

God Made Dirt. Satan Made Legos.

I'm a clean freak by design. I love order and labels and pretty much everything at The Container Store. Messes make me twitchy. Dirt gums up my mental processes. I have uttered the phrase, "Put your clothes in the goddamn hamper or so help me GOD" at least a thousand times.

Which means almost every single day for the past four and a half years, I've looked around my house  and silently WTF-ed.



Does it shock you? Disgust you? Make you wonder what the hell I do all day? (That'd be a "yes" for me.) Maybe you just feel relief that you're not the only one who can't see your floor. (I see you and send you a virtual hug, fellow parent.)

This is life. Every single day. MESS. For me, it's one of the hardest parts of parenting (the other three, in case you're wondering, are not knowing what the hell I'm doing, not being able to protect my kids from pain, and Legos. MOTHER FURCKING LEGOS.) I pick up twice a day, deep clean at least once a week, and "mini-clean" every two or three days. If anything, I clean too much when I should be spending time with my kids and family or doing something I enjoy ... or bathing. #guilt

But no matter what I do (or don't do), IT DOESN'T EVEN MATTER. In the space of an hour dirt, germs, Hot Wheels, Barbie shoes, half eaten bagels, paper giblets, crayons, discarded clothing, mother furcking Legos, puzzle pieces, odd gooey blobs and various suspicious brown stains magically appear. All. Over. The. House.

Because kids? FREAKING MESSY.


Are there ways to deal with it? Sure. And they mostly suck.

For instance, I could police my kids every second and scream PUT IT AWAY a thousand times ... and completely stifle their imagination. (Done this.)

I could follow them around picking up their messes like a fucking cleaning fairy and make them think fucking cleaning fairies do indeed exist. (Also done this.)

I could plant their butts in front of the TV for ten hours at a time. (Maybe not a full ten hours, but this has happened, too.)

I could get overwhelmed, sink into my depression cloud and live in utter filth. (One of my favorite non-coping mechanisms.)

Or I could find a balance. Of course that would require figuring out how to temper my own virulent reaction to messes and what other people think of those messes. 

I could not base my sense of self worth on the relative sparkliness of my windows ... because seriously, how sad is that?

 I could accept that my carpet is stained and my walls are dirty and my heart is full and my hands are busy doing the important work of raising good people.

I can and will keep doing everything humanly possible to keep us afloat in a sea of Fisher Price crap, but it's going to be messy again in approximately two minutes.

So, if you happen to come over and you can't see the floor (because that would mean I duct taped the children to the wall and that's like, illegal or something), don't be scared! Grab a cup of coffee (and maybe a shovel) and join in the joyful chaos of our lives.

 (And please pry the Windex bottle from my cold clean freak fingers.)
P.S. Just realized I could also hire a maid. I better go dig up all that gold buried in the backyard. Ha.
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