Friday, October 13, 2017

Me, The Weirdo

So this week's challenge is called use your words. We each get a set of 5-6 words and write our blogs using each word. No one knows who got what words until the big reveal today. Be sure to check out the links at the bottom for the rest.

My words are: massive, awesome, square, thing, contender. They were submitted by: 
https://www.southernbellecharm.com

Also I apologize for any foematting errors. I had to do this on my phone as the lap top is on the fritz. 

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I'm a massive square.

My typical weekend nights are usually spent in front of a sewing machine or with sewing needle in hand with the company of my dogs and cats and a little netflix. I'm not complaining. For the most part, I prefer it this way.

It seems the rest of the world has a bigger problem with it than I do.

I socialize with a few awesome people on occasion outside of family, but that list is pretty limited. What I find when I attempt to expand that group and open my life up to others is that I get tired of other people's petty bullshit or awkward no boundaries lifestyle pretty quickly.

I did it recently--opened up my heart and life to folks I really knew deep down I shouldn't have. History repeats itself and all that. I am far too lenient when it comes to giving people the benefit of the doubt and accepting an apology, and ultimately even though I am extremely introverted I still crave human connection. Here lately I've gotten the feeling I should just stick to the Internet, letters, and my usual group.

That's not to say it has all been bad... There were some fun wine-fueled nights, and I truly enjoy having brought someone back into my life that I can share music with (oh how rare that is). There is no better contender for a place in my life than a person capable of introducing me to music that gives me goosebumps. The way I listen, you're forever tied to that band or song, forever a part of my soundtrack.

But truth be told, I would trade a few fun nights for never having to deal with other people's drama 100 times over. I don't do lies or head games. I'm not the friend who tests people or wants to be tested. I don't need attention or to be the center of someone else's world. I don't get the Mean Girls mentality because I'd much rather build someone up than tear them down even though I am more than capable of both. I don't do celebrity gossip or tabloid trash. I want to talk politics not who is fucking around on who. I want to laugh because we speak in movie quotes not laugh at someone else's expense especially someone I don't even know. I don't need to be drunk or high or with my tongue down someone's throat to have a good time and would rather do any of those things in the privacy of my home. It's just how I am. And honestly if it comes down to it, I'd prefer to post 20 thousand vids or pics of my animals and look sad to the outside world than deal with one night of lies and manipulation to put up a smiling face group photo that folks are more inclined to see as "sane."

The thing about me is it takes a lot to pull me out of my own world. I can be sitting right across from you while you're engaged in conversation, but unless I'm needed or unless the topic grabs me, I'm not really there. I don't connect. I don't want to waste my time on idle chit chat. Get real. Be genuine. Be a decent fucking person who left the race, gender, and suicide jokes behind in the edgelord phase of your teens or leave me be.

What people who breeze in and out of my life don't understand, I suppose, is making fun of a person for being content in themselves and how they spend their time is exactly what makes me completely uninterested in their friendship in the first place.

In South Georgia and perhaps everywhere that eliminates a lot of folks, and I know that from the get go. So why do I bother opening things up in the first place?

I suppose you never know until you get there who makes it on the soundtrack and who doesn't.

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Friday, October 6, 2017

See You Next Tuesday

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 11 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

My “Secret Subject” is: You're chosen to create a new superhero. What's the name and powers, his or her arch enemies, and love interest? Are they from D.C. Comics or Marvel? What type of personality do they have?

It was submitted by: http://www.bookwormkitchen.com/

After reading this, I think you will understand this character would be neither D.C. nor Marvel. She's kind of her own thing. 

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"Sir?"

President Chezpuf, hunched and defeated like always when alone, turned his gaze from the television and faced his chief of staff, the 30th man to have the job in the last year, Steven Segal, as he walked through the doorway.

"I have the file you requested, Mr. President."

"That's DOCTOR PROFESSOR MISTER PRESIDENT TO YOU, STEFAN."

"Right, sir. My apologies. Here's the file."

Segal moved to sit the file in front of the president, but Chezpuf stopped him with a wave of his hand, "you know I don't read these things. My words are the best words. Tremendous, tremendous words. I'm not reading anyone else's words. Don't make me fire you on Twitter, Stephanie."

"Sir, I told you when you hired me I can't read too good."

"And you think I'm going to listen to this whole thing?"

"Well, sir, it's a pretty detailed report on this woman. I think all this information is probably stuff you need to know to put a stop to it."

"Oh I will put a stop to her. I have a plan, a huge, huge plan. It will be the best plan to...wait, what are we talking about again?"

"...the file, sir. On Thundercunt. You know the woman terrorizing our congressmen, the one we have no plan on how to stop?"

"We don't have a plan, Sherman? Sad! FAKE NEWS."

Steven shook his head slowly. He knew it was bad when he took the job...maybe not this bad.

"Sir? Do you want the file?"

"Just give me the highlights, Sean."

"This woman goes by the name of Thundercunt. Her real name is Jenna McGary. She's 38, no record. She voted...well, she voted for Clint..."

"LOCK HER UP. LOCK HER UP. What would she want to vote for that loser for? I won the election by the biggest margin in our history. I had the best turnouts, the biggest crowds. We won. Does she know that?"

"Well. Yes, sir, she knows that. From what anyone can tell your winning actually fueled a rage in her so strong that it has mutated her cells."

"I won. I don't think she understands. If it wasn't for those 3 million illegal votes, we would have gotten the popular vote. We won. Has anyone tweeted that to her? What a plan. A great plan. Let me get on that right now. What's her twitter? Put this one in the history books. Trump beats the first super villian."

"She doesn't have Twitter. And you should know, sir, that Twitter is calling her a hero."

"For what? We won. She must watch too much fake news."

"Because she's been changing the minds of a lot of our Congressmen on key conservative issues."

"Ol' Killary must have paid her. I love that name. It's tremendous. Killary."

"That's the thing, sir. She wasn't really a Clinton supporter. It's all in the report if you want to read it."

"Smithers, I told you I don't read the son of a bitching reports. I'm a busy man."

Chezpuf grabbed his phone and immediately tweeted out "ISO: new chief of staff. Must be able to read."

...
In a shadowy office on Capital Hill, Thundercunt was waiting for an opportunity to show herself. She knew Senator Zodiac was due to return from a "meeting" (ahem, a tryst with his mistress) any time. She passed the time reading the latest Post article about her.

"Thundercunt and Her Thunder Thighs of Doom Take Down Another Would-be Rapist with a Bright Future"

What a long ass title, she thinks. And a sad one. Bright future? Why should anyone give a shit about a rapist's future?! She feels the rage boiling up inside her again but keeps reading anyway.

"Police found another body in downtown Washington D.C. with an exploded head. Detectives were able to identify the man as 26 year old Jayonnaise Winchester. Winchester, a recent John Hopkins graduate, was about to begin his residency. Friends and family describe him as a bright young man who never met a stranger. His last Facebook update read, 'I. Love. Bitches.'

Witnesses say they walked into an alleyway after hearing a woman scream for help to find Mr. Winchester with his pants around his ankles holding a woman whose name has not been released to the press at this time against the wall. Before these two witnesses could intervene, both described a woman in a blood red and pink suit, a woman we have come to know as Thundercunt, running into the alley.

The witnesses state after pulling Mr. Winchester off the woman, she clapped her legs together near his head as in previous incidents emitting a concentrated sound wave or some kind of sonic boom, and his head exploded.

We will update the public as soon as more details are available."

She smiled to herself. When the system fails, you work outside it, right?

Just then the door opened. She held back despite the disgusting smirk on Senator Zodiac's face waiting until he closed the door and moved forward. He was too weak not to run if he saw her before she could block his path.

He crossed the office in complete security never once looking around to check things out. She waited until he was seated to approach.

"Congressman Zodiac, I don't believe we have had the pleasure of meeting face to face yet."

His head jerked up, and he let out a high pitched squeal not all that different from a frightened piglet. "I-i-i-it's you."

"Gosh, you are so smart. It's no wonder you're sitting here in this office, A congressman. And so ethical, too, what with you being fresh off a woman who isn't your wife who you want to deny birth control to even though I know for a fact you don't wear a condom on your little, and I do mean little, weekly sessions."

"Huhuhuhuhow...," he stammered but recovered quickly. "Get out of my fucking office, whore."

"Now is that any way to speak to a citizen of this great nation? A citizen who has a present for you?"

He tried to run, but she was too fast. One hand flew to her temple, the other low on her abdomen. With her social justice rage welling inside her cells, she pushed out with all her force hitting Senator Zodiac with her vagina-mind beam.

In almost an instant he was writhing on the floor, crying, pleading. "What did you do to me?"

"Oh that? I just sent you my gift--PMS, bloating, menstrual cramps, PCOS symptoms, and endometriosis pain. You don't have the right equipment, but until that wears off in about a month or so, you'll feel exactly what we feel. Every cramp, every stabbing pain, every migraine, i want you to remember birth control helps. Every time a doctor tells you its all in your head, think about the women you fuck over every time you vote. Think about the words preexisting condition. Think about it every time you vote. Or I'm coming back. Oh and by the way...your weekly visit? She's pregnant."

Thundercunt left him weeping on the floor begging for a hot water bottle and some Midol.


a little visual of TC my son and i worked on together

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Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts. Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out. See you there:

Baking In A Tornado http://www.bakinginatornado.com/2017/10/murder-by-text-secret-subject-swap.html

Cognitive Script https://cognitivescript.blogspot.com/2017/10/the-tired-worn-broken-aka-victorious.html

The Blogging 911 http://theblogging911.com/blog

The Lieber Family Blog http://www.thelieberfamily.com/2017/10/head-versus-heart.html

The Bergham Chronicles https://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com/2017/10/no-regerts-secretsubjectswap.html

Friday, September 15, 2017

Dancing in Gray



Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

My words are: piano, swap, square dance, pardon, self-improvement
They were submitted by: https://cognitivescript.blogspot.com/ 

__________________________________  


Unless you're new to Climaxed or my life in general it won't come as a shock that I've spent 10+ years writing inmates. I started in 2007 diving headfirst into it with a death row inmate who claimed innocence and had spent more than half his lifetime behind bars. It wasn't an easy start; it hasn't been an easy friendship, and it started me on a path volunteering my time that I never really thought I would be on...

Since the first letter was sealed and mailed, I've written a couple dozen people and have managed to help them, legally or emotionally, in whatever way I can manage. Unfortunately what I can manage isn't always enough to save lives from a capital punishment system I passionately disagree with.

It wasn't always that way for me, that passionate disagreement. When I first wrote, I had been a supporter of harsh prison terms and capital punishment. Still reeling from someone I loved dearly being murdered at just 20 years old a few years before this, it was a shock to my system to be introduced in letters to a rather normal guy hellbent on self-improvement, insisting on his innocence, and who had a tragic backstory that would rival those in Lifetime movie specials. I expected a villian, a Black Hat sort of fellow, who would confirm my belief in monsters.

I had a lot of self-improvement and growing up to do myself.

I had to learn and have learned through writing that the world isn't black or white, good or evil. You can be good and still do an evil thing under specific circumstances. You can be good and be at the wrong place at the wrong time and get sentenced for life without parole for a murder committed while you slept, completely unaware. You can be convicted and sentenced for a murder that never even happened wholly undeserving of that sentence but not be by any means what the average person would define as "good." I've met all those people in my time writing. I've pushed for media attention on a case that ultimately got overturned through the efforts of a high-powered probono law firm, and a man waiting to die for a crime that was never committed got to go home to his family. I've helped get a sentence commutation on a felony murder case that started out as life without and ended (so far) with 25 years. And I've written and befriended 3 people who were varying mixes of good and evil who were killed already by the state with my long-time off and on pen pal facing an execution date again in October. There have been wins and losses over the last decade, but I don't know that they really balance each out. The wins never give back the time lost, and the losses...well...the losses are not easy for me. There is such a mixture of emotion facing each one knowing even if the person gets a stay, he'll never get a pardon. 99% of the time this legal square dance will end in state-sanctioned murder, and while I'd never swap my life for theirs or (in most cases) support anything but a lengthy prison term, I still grieve. I still miss them. I still carry a little part of them with me. And I rage about the sociopolitical landscape we live in that demonizes mental illness and addiction and values the dollar over vulnerable populations.

If monsters do exist, we create them.

The morality of this, my writing letters, can also be difficult. I absolutely understand in clear terms what was done or not done and the preciousness of lives lost. I don't *just* sympathize with those I write like some Mistress of Mayhem collecting Murderer edition baseball cards. It takes time and talking and learning about the person to be able to sort through and reconcile what they did with who they have become behind bars. Sometimes I help that process along. Sometimes I am the needed stability that fosters change. Sometimes they help me understand myself more than I help them. And sometimes, sadly, I have to admit it's a lost cause and move on.

Learning to play the piano might have been an easier pasttime than providing support to inmates. As I face this upcoming october execution with a mix of trepidation, grief, and relief tinged with guilt over that relief I'm left evaluating who I am and what I do once again. I'm still grieving from an execution in July and jaded over how badly a man with severe mental illness was failed and all the lives it cost including his own. And here I am again, unsure of what the next few weeks will bring.

Is it worth it?

Mostly that answer is yes. I feel like I am helping people that society has otherwise forgotten. I know the support I give is invaluable and leads to change. I've seen angry, racist misogynists turn it around. I've seen the levels of violence in a subculture that requires violent reactions almost completely stop. I've seen hope grow in a once barren field of fucks to give. It's work and love and understanding and empathy. And it's not all one sided. But there are times when the weight of it is absolutely too much to carry without wondering if I'm absolutely batshit crazy for pushing on. There are times when I think maybe I can't handle the dance anymore, so I stop the music, change the playlist, and find a new way to move.

________________________________________



Baking In A Tornado http://www.bakinginatornado.com/2017/09/expectorant-expectant-use-your-words.html

Friday, September 8, 2017

You Want a Toe? I'll get you a toe...

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 10 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.
My secret subject is: Do you have an all-time favorite movie? One that you love no matter how many times you see it?

It was submitted by: Karen @ Baking In a Tornado. Her link and swap post can be found below my answer.

___________________________________________


I don’t know that I can tout myself as a film critic, but I do love visual stories as much as written ones. I have a list of favorite directors whose movies I will always see even if they don’t quite make it onto my favorites lists. I have favorite genres, favorite films, and lists of films based on arbitrary qualities like favorite films to watch when I’m sick or Top 5 favorite movies about the workplace/drugs/music/etc.

I like quantifying things. I do it with music, television, and books. I have fun making these lists, categorizing stories in this way. It adds a bit of depth to reflect on one particular aspect and how it affects the overall story good or bad, what it says about humanity in general or just the characters in the tale.

With films, I find it difficult to step away and disconnect from the emotions on screen, so most of my favorites aren’t tearjerkers. I want to feel those emotions, I do, but if a movie makes me sob, chances are, I’m only going to watch it the once at most. Life is tragic enough for me without falling in love with characters that will be ripped from me over and over and over again. And I’m not at all a fan of romances either. Love doesn’t work out the way it does in the movies, and I think it skews people’s expectations of how relationships are supposed to go. I know what I like and what I don’t like pretty well. I quantify those loves and hates based on whatever reasons I feel like at the time. 

But do I have a Greatest Of All Time selection, a goat, if you will—a film that transcends everything that calls to me every time it’s on, whenever I’m in a dark place and need a pick me up?

You bet your ass I do.

from my living room
The Big Lebowski came out in 1998 and was my first introduction to the Coen Brothers and really the first movie I remember Jeff Bridges from. That’s just, like, your opinion, man was my whole thing back in those days, and The Dude’s way of life, his abide lifestyle, has been an influence on the zen part of me that gives no shits what people think of me. Walter and his no chill having ass is that part of me that absolutely goes nuts on people about politics. The movie is quotable and quirky with strange drug fueled cut scenes and an amazing cast of actors and actresses that I have always and will always admire. It’s perfection.

I don’t know that it’s the first movie that ever made me really understand what a film could be or mean, but it’s one of the first that fed the weirdest little part of me and become something obsession-worth. Pulp Fiction, Dazed and Confused, Where the Buffalo Roam/Fear and Loathing, Snatch, Pan’s Labyrinth, THE Labyrinth, A Life Aquatic, High Fidelity, No Country for Old Men… they feed my inner weirdo with an artistic flair that can’t be matched, but it’s The Dude who hits just the right spot every time. It doesn't matter where or when I see it playing, I always want to watch it through and recite the lines along with the actors. And sometimes if I just need to get my Lebowski fix, I'll pop in the DVD because of course I own it.

I’ll leave off with a few top 5 lists though. The Dude may be a kindred spirit, but his is certainly not the only story I love.

Top 5 Favorite Directors
--the Coens, David Fincher, Wes Anderson, Guy Ritchie, Tim Burton

Top 5 Favorite Sick Day movies

Ferris Beuller’s Day Off, The Breakfast Club, Home Alone, Elf, Scooby Doo on Zombie Island

Top 5 Will Ferrell Movies

Stepbrothers, Land of the Lost, Everything Must Go, Stranger Than Fiction, Elf (Superstar gets an honorable mention

Top 5 Bill Murray films
Rushmore, Ghostbusters, Kingpin, Broken Flowers, Groundhog Day

Top 5 dark and quirky

Beetlejuice, Addams Family, Rocky Horror, Young Frankenstein, The Nightmare Before Christmas

Top 5 80s Guilty Pleasures
Pretty in Pink, Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Weird Science, Uncle Buck

And here is evidence of my film obsessions from my living room




__________________________________________________________

Here are the links to the rest of this week's submissions:


Baking In A Tornado http://www.bakinginatornado.com/2017/09/film-this-secret-subject-swap.html

Cognitive Script https://cognitivescript.blogspot.com/2017/09/the-old-lady-shuffle.html

The Blogging 911 http://theblogging911.com/blog

The Lieber Family Blog http://www.thelieberfamily.com/2017/09/my-nobel-prize.html

The Bergham Chronicles http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com

Southern Belle Charm http://www.southernbellecharm.com

Bookworm in the Kitchen http://www.bookwormkitchen.com/

Never Ever Give Up Hope http://batteredhope.blogspot.com

Part-time Working Hockey Mom https://thethreegerbers.blogspot.com/2017/09/secret-subject-swap-big-spender.html

Friday, August 11, 2017

Spoonies



Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

My words are:

Camp ~ Heat ~ Dust ~ Chance ~ Mountain ~ Shopping

They were submitted by: http://dlt-lifeontheranch.blogspot.com/

_________________________________________________________

I have a chronic illness.

I've not really talked much about it publicly except a few mentions on facebook here and there, but the last year and a half has been tough physically following the year before being pretty tough mentally. I didn't quite expect my 30s to be so full of change. We're supposed to be more or less settled and maintaining by mid-adulthood, yeah? But I suppose that's the thing about life--rarely is it ever predictable.

Chronic fatigue syndrome is a new lifetime partner of mine. There won't be a day when I'm without it, so living with it instead of in spite of it is a necessity. It started with a virus, something I mistook for a normal sinus infection. But I've had a year and a half of a constant fever, swollen glands, extreme joint and muscle pains and fatigue that words fail to describe. Some days I have to absolutely focus on breathing because I barely have the energy to do it.

What the fuck are you supposed to do when breathing is a chore?

I have yet to really figure out a rhythm. I overdo it some days, A LOT of days, and pay for it the next. I don't know how to admit I can't do something. It's never been in me to say "can't" when it comes to something I want done. I don't know how to redefine my parameters. I've always been the kind of person who had a million things going on each day rather than barely managing to dust and get the shopping done. Every activity, even basic shit like brushing my teeth, is a mountain to climb especially in the peak heat of the South Georgia summer. Mentally I know there are days when I should camp out on the couch or in bed. I know I need to take breaks. I know my energy level is limited in ways I don't even understand yet. But it's a constant battle not to succumb to depression from having to give up and let the cfs win more days than not.


Every day I wake up there's a chance my battery will already be at 5 or 10%. On my best days, it's at 50. I'm getting better at recognizing how good or bad it will be when I wake up--it's more the admitting I need a day to recuperate part that I struggle with especially since it's not easy to get people to understand that this is more than being tired. It's more than needing to rest. Rest doesn't help. It's a real and serious condition that I have enough trouble understanding myself. A little support would be nice and certainly goes a long way to helping me feel okay with the fact that this is my life now and forever.

Someone I absolutely adore with cfs herself sent me a spoon necklace recently. Spoon Theory (link here) is an attempt at explaining to others what it's like to have one of the extreme fatigue disorders, and it's one of the best explanations I have seen. Think of your energy levels in spoonfuls. A person without a fatigue disorder has an unlimited amount of spoons--a person without one can rest and recharge. A person with chronic fatigue syndrome, for example, may only wake up with 12 spoonfuls. Every activity uses up a spoon. Taking a shower, getting dressed for the day, making breakfast...each activity, even those that seem insignificant, takes a spoon from your total. How do you manage to do everything that needs done for the day? Every single action must be weighed in terms of importance, and anything outside of those 12 spoons for the day borrows from the next creating an endless cycle of depletion until a person barely has the energy to breathe.

Every life comes with battles and complications along with the good. I've faced my fair share of trials already and always managed to come out on top. I hope this newest battle won't be an exception to that norm. I may not always have the energy to complete everything I want to get done, but I make up for it in personal strength.

CFS won't be the thing that bests me.



__________________________________________________

Baking In A Tornado http://www.bakinginatornado.com/2017/08/a-stinger-free-life-use-your-words.html

Cognitive Script https://cognitivescript.blogspot.com/2017/08/the-tragic-triangle-uyw.html

The Blogging 911 http://theblogging911.com/blog

On the Border https://dlt-lifeontheranch.blogspot.com/2017/08/from-over-there.html
The Bergham Chronicles http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com

Southern Belle Charm http://www.southernbellecharm.com

Bookworm in the Kitchen http://www.bookwormkitchen.com/

Part-time Working Hockey Mom https://thethreegerbers.blogspot.com/2017/08/use-your-words-memorial.html

Friday, August 4, 2017

Perfect Mediocrity

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 11 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts. 

My “Secret Subject” is:

If you were named a Nobel Peace Prize winner what would it be for?

It was submitted by: http://theblogging911.com/blog

_________________________________________


I am perfectly aware that unless Nobel prizes are suddenly given out for mediocrity, I won't be winning one. That's not to say I have zero confidence in my ability to do things well. I have a pretty well rounded skillset and tend to do alright at anything I put my mind to except being a social creature. I know what I can do just as well as I know my limitations, and a Nobel prize just isn't in the cards for me nor would I want to taint its meaning by celebrating my lackluster performance in any of the given categories.


If you were to play gifted student burnout bingo, I would just about hit every square. All throughout school my dad pushed me ridiculously hard to make the grade. If I brought home a perfect score on a test, he said he would be proud when it was 110 instead of a 100. When, with bonus questions, I did bring home 110s, he wanted 120s. It set me on a path of pushing myself to make the grade, obsessing over it. I didn't make a B on a report card until 8th grade, never made a C, and graduated with honors. It took a toll on my motivation and sense of self. Other aspects of my personality took a backseat to me being a brainiac, and I ended up dropping out of college (even though i started college as a high school junior) a couple credits before earning my associate in criminal justice. Burnout was a big factor in that. Growing up poor was a big aspect of it too. College, for me, was never going to be about opportunities and growth and new friendships--it was always going to mean more work for someone already completely and thoroughly exhausted that never really got to be a kid and debt.


When my dad was on his deathbed, I enrolled again, though, pushing to prove myself even harder. Full time student, new mom, wife, full time employee--I tried to do it all. I pushed and pushed even while my marriage fell apart (from a lack of support from him mostly) and earned my bachelor's as a single mom. It wasn't easy, but women are out there doing it every day. I'm not special for doing what needed to be done, and I certainly don't need an award for it. I am able to look back clearly now and see how burying myself in books kept me too busy to be anxious about my world crumbling or to pay attention to the world at large. It was a coping mechanism not a heroic effort.


Im hindsight, when I started grad school, my heart was never in it. It was just something I knew people expected of me. For a person like myself that has rebeled against social expectations my entire life, that could never quite fit into any box much less a traditional one, I don't know why I forced it. I had an idea about being able to help inmates, but the voluntary work I do on that front is more than I could have ever accomplished working for the system that imprisons them. I thought maybe people would take me more seriously if I went the proper course, fought within the system.


People take you seriously, though, when you're genuine and true to who you are. Dressing it up to get a job or a paycheck or a partner is always going to be seen as phony because that's exactly what it is. And when i realized that, I knew I was done. Finally. I won't ever stop learning, but I don't need my brain to be worth 200 grand to realize I have something to add to the world. And I'm getting okay with letting go of the idea that a degree determines worth and that I don't have to be defined by what I get paid to do.


I won't ever accomplish anything remotely worthy of a Nobel prize. Even if there were a sudden category for bucking social norms some person named Moonwillow with facial implants who feeds their cat a vegan diet, has their pubic hair tattooed on, and makes money by popping balloons with their ass cheeks on a livestream would certainly have me beat. And I would gladly let them have it.


I've made and continue to make my mark on this world my own way. And that's enough.

____________________________________




Baking In A Tornado http://www.bakinginatornado.com/2017/08/in-eye-perspective-secret-subject-swap.html

Cognitive Script https://cognitivescript.blogspot.com/2017/08/governmental-remote-location-sss.html

The Blogging 911 http://theblogging911.com/blog

The Lieber Family Blog http://www.thelieberfamily.com/2017/08/the-trials-and-tribulations-of-keeping.html

The Bergham Chronicles http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com

Simply Shannon http://shannonbutler.org

Southern Belle Charm http://www.southernbellecharm.com

Bookworm in the Kitchen http://www.bookwormkitchen.com/

Part-time Working Hockey Mom https://thethreegerbers.blogspot.com/2017/08/secret-subject-swap-social-media.html

Friday, July 14, 2017

Past, Present, and Fiction

Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

My words are: mudpie, sunshine, party, windchimes, wet. They were submitted by: http://Bakinginatornado.com

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I feel lost more often than ever before these days.

Politics and social issues have been something I poured myself into even when things in my own life were overwhelming (as they often are), but what exactly are you supposed to do when you’ve been bowled over by both?

A lot of people in my generation, folks around their late 20s to late 30s, turn to nostalgia to get them through. I don’t mean we pine for the days of mudpies on sunshine-filled afternoons in a diaper and nothing else while Mom’s windchimes twinkle out their soothing tune in the warm breeze, but we do tend to bury ourselves in the pop culture fandoms of our youth or at least act like kids with pop culture obsessions. I do it just as well and as thoroughly as anyone else when I can, but that’s also becoming problematic. One part of the problem is I’m also the kind of person who has to be doing, producing, or bettering themselves or those around them or I tend to slip into depression. Fictional worlds have always been so much easier to navigate than the one we live in now, but there’s so much in me screaming to help change the world, to leave a mark, to make this reality a better one for my child that I have always been almost obsessive about sociopolitical issues trying to at least reach others via social media about the topics that affect others the most.

But that aspect of our nation, even though it has always been hugely flawed and in need of change, has become a circus. And I don’t mean that in the Obama’s-gonna-take-our-guns hyperbolic way. I mean it in the every-other-civilized-nation-on-the-planet-is-laughing-at-us kind of way. We’re divided as a nation. We always have been split more or less along party lines, and those lines tend to divide how we view a presidency and creates the kind of panic that occurs when a Democrat takes office and gun sales go up just in case someone, somewhere takes guns from the average Joe for reasons unknown and unclear. But now we have a situation where there are some who can’t roll with a changing world and want things to be more “simple” like when women were more or less property and minorities weren’t asking for the things they deserve while the rest of us are fighting to exist or fighting for the right for ALL people to have the same rights and a level playing field. That fight becomes exhausting. People get burned out even in better conditions, but the 2016 election cycle and the following ridiculousness has been hugely destructive for a lot of people’s mental well-being.

On top of that, fictional worlds have become too close to reality. Dystopian futures in films and books no longer look like impossible nightmares. Even make-believe hits too close to home for comfort. The Handmaid’s Tale is an all too terrifying peak into the way capitalism abuses those who can do for those who can pay as well as what “traditional values” defined by religion can do to wreck a society and turn it into a terrifying extreme. Idiocracy with its look at an America lacking intelligence, focusing on brands, pushing capitalism over EVERYTHING, and having a celebrity President is just far too close to reality for most people. Corporations pushing their products to “save” the world lead to its impending destruction while the government plays along. Isn’t that where we are? We haven’t reached a point where our individuality is exactly punished as in 1984, but that dystopian landscape is still a little too close for comfort with Fake News being paraded by the President as a valid response to any criticism and so many folks blindly following that. And while dystopian science fiction doesn’t represent the only fandoms in the fictional universe, there’s no escaping commentary that relates in some form or fashion to the world we do live in…

My own personal life is a daily struggle with a chronic disease that leaves me exhausted and compromises my immune system. Sick, beyond exhausted, and often in pain are how I navigate my days, and it’s really no easier for other folks. This generation and the one after it are finding day to day life more difficult than generations before even while technology works to make everyday tasks easier. What we’ve lost in physical work to do things has been more than recovered in the difficulty paying for student loans, inability to buy a home or even save for the future, and a shrinking job market of positions that will actually cover the bills and not leave families absolutely wrecked.

The headlines scream out everyday: Trump Is Incompetent, The GOP Can’t Pass a Bill, Men Are Afraid of Strong Women, Water Is Wet and all you’ll find in the comments are memes and BUTHEREMAILS.

So where does a person turn when fiction is too close to reality, reality is to disturbing to deal with, and personal lives are increasingly harder to navigate?

I don’t really know the answer, so I’m treading water and trying to keep afloat one day at a time. It certainly helps to have a great support network online and in real life, but there’s not a lot of realities, fiction or otherwise, that I and people like me can bury themselves in even partially to help recover from the hard times of the present and attempt to form a positive outlook for the future.

One day at a time, one moment at a time is the best we can do. For now, the little things like puppy slobber, learning to sew (and succeeding), wine with friends, late nights with my favorite person, hot coffee, and sundried sheets are welcome distractions.

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Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:

Baking In A Tornado http://www.bakinginatornado.com/2017/07/bewildered-use-your-words.html

Cognitive Script https://cognitivescript.blogspot.com/2017/07/exuberant-vacation.html

The Blogging 911 http://theblogging911.com/blog

Sparkly Poetic Weirdo http://sparklyjenn.blogspot.com/

On the Border https://dlt-lifeontheranch.blogspot.com/2017/07/gone.html

The Bergham Chronicles http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com

Simply Shannon http://shannonbutler.org

Southern Belle Charm http://www.southernbellecharm.com

Bookworm in the Kitchen http://www.bookwormkitchen.com/2017/07/14/july-use-your-words-2/

Part-time Working Hockey Mom https://thethreegerbers.blogspot.com/2017/07/use-your-words-youth-festival-flooding.html

Friday, July 7, 2017

Two Words

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 13 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

My “Secret Subject” is:

Mad because of toothpaste and toilet seat lids? Think again.

You are volunteering for a women’s charity. Today one lady tells you about her exhaustion and frustration. She feels all the housework, social activities and kids care are on her shoulders, and all her husband ever does is hang out on the couch, play with his phone and expect her to take care of everything. What are you telling her?

It was submitted by: http://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch/ 

oh boy was I the right person for this one 

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I am fairly certain if any woman comes to me describing a scenario in which their partner is pulling less than 50% of the labor, both physical and emotional, my brain will be in such a swirl of variations of the word fuck that I will at least be momentarily speechless trying to sort through to find just the right iteration for the extreme fuckery going down at their house

Two more words will probably filter through the f bombs.

Dump. Him.

To me, nothing else really needs to be said, but it’s a much more complex issue than those two words make it seem.

For the longest time, marriage was more or less a business arrangement. Wealthier people arranged marriages that benefited each family. Kings and queens rarely loved one another taking a spouse that would create a needed relationship with another kingdom/country or arranging marriages for their children which would do the same. Average folks needed one person to work and one person to tend to the home and children, and in the vast majority of societies, the responsibilities were split with men working outside farming, or, after industrialization, outside the home and women tending the home. It made sense with women needing time to recover after children and being responsible for breastfeeding children. Women’s labor was never as valued as men’s nor were women treated as equals. But that proved to be a mistake in wars that sent increasing numbers of men off to fight and in need of a larger labor force to supply demand for both soldiers abroad and civilians at home. It was women that worked the factories to meet those needs—the same women still at home taking care of everything that needed doing. Women have fought for the right to vote, the right to own property and work, to study whatever they chose wherever they chose to do it, to exist in this world as more than homemakers and objects to be owned and used. The idea of equality between genders has caused a lot of bloodshed with women powering through anyway knowing how worthy we were of those rights.

We’re still fighting for the ability to exist in spaces without being paid less, to get where we need to go without being hounded on the street, to be believed instead of seen as hysterical, to be partners not caretakers for our partners, and to be appreciated for everything we do, and this situation is still far too common in families today. Women are doing 40% more of the household chores, are less likely to be able to engage in sports or hobbies on any given day, and spend twice as much time physically caring for children on any given day. And, at least in American, most people still feel like that’s the way it should be regardless of who works and how much. Even if both partners are working full time, even though more and more women are the breadwinners for their families, people still generally believe that chores, children, and emotional labor belongs almost solely to women. But why?

Splitting household chores is one of the top factors in whether a couple rates their marriage or relationship a happy one or not. Top 3. More than half of people rate splitting chores as very important to succeeding in a relationship. The less balance there is when it comes to responsibilities the more problematic a person might rate their marriage.

Women run households. They make budgets, plan meals, notice the things the family needs, make schedules, learn, delegate. Women are almost always working to better their households or at least maintain them far more than their male counterparts *even when household chores are evenly split.

I would tell this woman that she does even more than either of them realize, and that if she wants her marriage to work long-term, if she can still envision her happily ever after with this person through the haze of resentment and stress this imbalance has caused, then the first step is counseling. They’re in a pattern, a cycle of sorts. They’re locked in, and it won’t be easy to break through it without help to deconstruct the pattern and take out the parts that don’t work anymore. Simply delegating chores more often without discussing why they’re locked in this pattern in the first place could create more resentment on his side and is honestly where the “nag” trope comes in for women—asking repeatedly for the help they need while their male counterparts feel entitled to more free time and freedom from the workload.

I would absolutely tell her everything she is feeling is valid, that there is absolutely no reason why she should shoulder the brunt of the work while her husband lounges even if he is the sole income earner. Sure, that means the workload is trickier to evenly divide, but that division should still be equal. Child care should always be equal. The emotional, invisible labor should be equal.

And if he refuses counseling?

Boy, bye.

Fucking dump him.

Here are some resources on some of these issues:

http://time.com/2895235/men-housework-women/

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-37941191

https://www.theatlantic.com/sexes/archive/2013/03/the-difference-between-a-happy-marriage-and-miserable-one-chores/273615/

http://time.com/money/4561314/women-work-home-gender-gap/

http://www.aauw.org/research/the-simple-truth-about-the-gender-pay-gap/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/psyched-in-san-francisco/why-women-are-tired-the-p_b_9619732.html

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Here are the rest of the submissions. Enjoy!

Baking In A Tornado http://www.bakinginatornado.com/2017/07/secret-obligation-secret-subject-swap.html

Cognitive Script https://cognitivescript.blogspot.com/

The Blogging 911 http://theblogging911.com/blog

The Lieber Family Blog http://thelieberfamily.com

The Bergham Chronicles http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com

Simply Shannon http://shannonbutler.org

Southern Belle Charm http://www.southernbellecharm.com

Never Ever Give Up Hope http://batteredhope.blogspot.com

The Angrivated Mom http://www.angrivatedmom.wordpress.com/

Not That Sarah Michelle http://notthatsarahmichelle.blogspot.com

Bookworm in the Kitchen http://www.bookwormkitchen.com/

Part-time Working Hockey Mom http://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch/

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Food and Life


All people are emotional eaters to some extent. We eat to celebrate new beginnings, to lament break ups, to get over one of the many hiccups of life. We bring food to families who have lost a loved one and eat together to rejoice in the coming birth of a little one. Dinners with new lovers, brunches with friends to relax on lazy Sundays, and power lunches with the boss to work on that ever increasing network are all par for the course for human beings, social creatures that we are. Even alone, we tie food to emotion. Late night Netflix-and-stress-eat sessions and binging to cure boredom are just as intricately woven into our relationships with food as our social eating. Food has come to represent a kaleidoscope of emotions, of life itself.

It’s no different for me. Candy is usually my go-to when I’m feeling a little down. A gummy bear has never let me down, and taffy is a close friend of mine. But comfort food is something else entirely. To need comfort is to be more than a little down. It’s not just a stressful day with the kids or a bad day on the job or a fight with a partner. To reach for comfort food is a bad week, a bad month, a bad year…it’s wanting to feel alive in a way that the day to day routine tends to dampen. When you reach for food in comfort, you want the combination of flavors on your tongue and the fullness of your belly to take you home, to let you time travel, or maybe to let you remember that life doesn’t have to be all aches and pains. Finding the goodness in the world isn’t ever as simple as eating a crab cake, but fuck if that crab cake doesn’t help remind you that in little moments life can be spectacular.

For me, it’s more than eating, though. To find comfort in food, it has to be something I get in the kitchen and make myself--a recipe of my own perfected over time or even something I’m trying for the first time that brings together just the right combination of textures and flavors. I love to cook, to create, to take an idea I’ve found online, in a show, or in a book and make it mine. Cheesecakes are my go-to dessert specialty, and I fucking excel at it. There’s absolutely no reason for me to even pretend to be modest about it either. Haha. But, those aren’t necessarily what I would consider comfort food. Something savory that is a little on the simple side and definitely has a more than healthy portion of carbs and cheese aligns more closely with what I would call comforting, and the first thing I think of when I hear the phrase or feel the need for something particular to soothe my rough spots is shepherd’s pie.

Typically sheperd’s pie is some kind of veggie mixed with ground beef and mashed potatoes. And when my mom fixed it for my brother and I as kids, it was ground beef, mashed potatoes, and cheese on top. But, of course, like everything else, I do things a little differently. We rarely eat beef around here, but it works with this recipe as does ground turkey or ground chicken if you prefer. The key is to use what you love when it comes to both the meat, the type of potato, and the style of cheese, but the goal is to create an umami bomb in your mouth which is what this recipe does 110%.

What you’ll need:

1 rotisserie chicken preferably garlic butter but any will work as will 2 lbs of ground beef, turkey, or chicken.

1 can cream of mushroom

About a cup and ½ of mushrooms (this can be skipped and still be delicious)

1 can of French onion soup

5 lb bag of red potatoes

1 block of extra sharp cheddar (adding some havarti to this is also so good and colby jack also makes a good sub)

2 cloves of garlic or a heaping teaspoon of minced garlic (what I use)

Onion powder

Rosemary

Worcestershire sauce

Salt and pepper

1 tbsp butter

1 large can or 2 small cans of French style green beans (or any canned or frozen vegetable)

I have picky eaters at my house, but fresh onions and peppers are also a good addition if you don’t have to worry about that.

Milk, cream, or sour cream for mashing potatoes

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F

To prepare, peel your potatoes and add them to a large pot of water. Add 2 chicken bouillon cubes to the water or use half and half broth and water. You can also add extra garlic to the water. Turn the potatoes on high heat and boil until basically falling apart.

Grate the entire block of cheese (or used shredded if that’s easier).

Add your butter to a large pan on medium heat. When pan is coated well, add mushrooms and garlic to sautee.

Before mushrooms are done add onion powder, rosemary, Worcestershire, salt and pepper to taste. Begin pulling chicken from bones and adding to the mushrooms. Add your green beans Sautee until mushrooms are done, the green beans are getting soft, and flavors are mixed well. If you’re using ground beef, turkey, or chicken you will need to strain the grease from the meat. With rotisserie chicken, this isn’t necessary. (if you are using fresh onions and peppers you would add them in this step)

Add the entire can of cream of mushroom (fat free can be used without affecting the flavor). Add French onion soup to taste (I add the whole thing) and turn heat down to low.

Mash your potatoes. I aways use butter and milk like my mom did, but this is a personal preference. Do whatever works for you. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Coat the bottom of a large clear glass pan with the chicken and vegetable mixture. Add a layer of potatoes on top of this.

Put the pan in the oven and heat until your potatoes are getting stiff. You don’t want them browning just yet, but close. It takes not quite 10 minutes in my oven, but I’m terrible about remembering to preheat and my oven is wonky. Everyone’s is different right?

Add your cheese and put it back in the oven until melted and enjoy.

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This is part of Sunday Confessions hosted by the gorgeous More Than Cheese and Beer. Sunday Confessions is a weekly blog challenge. We get a simple prompt and each post our take on it on Sunday (or during the week if need be). There's no need to sign up early. Just join in the fun by linking up below! Thanks for reading. Oh and this week our prompt was Comfort Food. 

Friday, June 16, 2017

First Date Jitters

Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

My words are: cats, candy, turkey, aquarium, rose, coins. 

They were submitted by: http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com/

Short fiction! Though it's not out of the realm of possibility. I just wanted to write something sweet instead of the dark fiction I tend to go for. Got to flex those creative wings.

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I stand in front of the aquarium, more nervous than I think I have ever been in my entire life, waiting for Jean. My anxiousness manifests as pacing and knuckle popping. Occasionally, I realize how intense I must look and force myself to still, reaching my hand in my pocket to rub the two coins together I brought. They’re ordinary, these coins, but not at the same time. I mean, I could spend them. But I also spent hours and hours and more hours perfecting a few coin tricks with them from a book I found at the thrift shop 2 blocks from my apartment.

Yeah, yeah…I’m the kind of girl (woman?) who thinks a few coin tricks are more romantic than a rose or a bouquet of wild flowers. Flowers die, but magic is eternal or some shit. Plus, it’s effort, right?

That’s what I’ve been telling myself over these hours spent practicing until I have calluses in a few places anyway.

I also brought pull n peel cherry Twizzlers as a backup in my bag. At the very least, I know this girl loves candy, and she did mention once these are her favorite. If I can’t impress her with my amateur magic hour (I don’t even have a top hat for fuck’s sake), then I can at least win her over with a sugar rush and attention to detail.

And, yes, I have daydreamed about eating a string of Twizzler Lady-and-the-Tramp style with her. Because I am, admittedly, a little bit of a creep. That touch of creepiness isn’t why I’m so nervous, though. I’m not THAT big a creep. Truthfully, there is a part of me that thinks she will, of course, be disappointed with who I am really versus who I am online or in text or on the phone. I’m better in writing, I think. At least at first.

We met on a dating site. I was mostly there as a joke. I’m fresh out of a long term relationship with a guy that was better off my friend than my partner, and even though the split was amicable, it was hard. And it’s difficult to face this change. I didn’t want to be with another man, not now, and I’m so far out of practice flirting with women I feel like some sort of alien wearing a human suit whenever I attempt to approach them. Plus, we all know how those things go—dating sites--especially when you list that you’re interested in men and women. At some point you feel like adding a neon ticker across your profile that reads “NO I DON’T WANT TO BE PART OF YOUR THREESOME EVEN IF YOU INSIST YOUR GIRLFRIEND IS REALLY INTERESTED IN ONE.” We both know she’s not, and more than likely, you’re just testing the waters to see what kind of bite you get.

I had a little blurb on my profile about being a cat and dog person meaning I am probably the most loyal asshole you could ever meet, and that’s how we bonded—lots of shared stories about the dumb shit our cats have done. Then it was sharing pics of our pets via text, late night conversations about politics and movies. I never had one of those moments where I had to ask her “you haven’t seen THAT?!?!” which, for me, is usually the way 90% of my crushes go, and, if I’m being wholly honest, the way quite a bit of them ended too.

Nick Hornby had it right—it is, at least early on, more about what you like than what you’re like.

But I like what she likes and what she’s like which is 2 for 2, and I am definitely pretty smitten.

She’s late, but I expected that. Both of us are chronically late for nearly everything, but I couldn’t stand being in the house any longer, and actually made it here on time. I know who I’m looking for. We exchanged a lot of photos of ourselves, seen each other’s social media stuff. But I still feel her before I notice her in the crowd of people walking my way. Something gripped me and made me look her way, catching her eyes.

My heart leaps to my throat, and for a moment I’m sure I will run, but then she smiles.

I melt. Completely.

She makes her way over to me with a small backpack in tow.

“I packed a picnic if you want to walk a few blocks to that new park after we’re done here, “ she says. “I made a turkey and cheese on wheat with a little mustard and fuck the mayo for you.”

She’s perfect.

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Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:

Baking In A Tornado http://www.bakinginatornado.com/2017/06/i-got-gyped-use-your-words.html

Spatulas on Parade http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com/2017/06/chocolate-flourless-gluten-free-mug.html

The Blogging 911 http://theblogging911.com

On the Border http://dlt-lifeontheranch.blogspot.com/2017/06/barbeque-and-spirits.html

The Bergham Chronicles http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com

Simply Shannon http://shannonbutler.org

Southern Belle Charm http://www.southernbellecharm.com

Part-time Working Hockey Mom http://thethreegerbers.blogspot.com/2017/06/use-your-words-cherry-storm.html

Friday, June 9, 2017

Oh What A Day

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 11 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

My “Secret Subject” is:

Inspired by Seinfeld's "Festivus", create your own holiday. How would you celebrate it and get others to join in?

It was submitted by: http://shannonbutler.org

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I have a friend who is pretty religious. He’s Muslim. I’m not. Actually, I’m not religious at all. I hesitate to use “atheist,” but that hesitation is mostly because of the fuckery associated with the label more so than it not actually applying to my fundamental beliefs. This friend knows this about me and has taken great pains to try to change it. I don’t seek out the debate, but I find myself always trying to defend why I believe what I do, and what is most irritating is that I often end up feeling like this person doesn’t buy that I have ever learned a thing about religion or that I even believe what I say I do. To him, it seems that this belief system I have is more akin to me being a rebellious teenager raging at her daddy and yelling “I hate you!” every time she doesn’t get her way. I’m not resentful over the life I’ve had because it hasn’t been easy, and I’m not the kind of person who makes unfounded decisions based on emotion alone. He, the friend, knows that about me when it comes to anything else, but in this context, about a creator, he just can’t wrap his head around my lack of religion. I despise not being heard. I don’t mind explaining how I arrived at this point and what I do believe, but if I tell you this is who I am, don’t tell me you know me better than I know myself.

BUT, I get it in a way. I do. He loves me, and he doesn’t want my soul to suffer for eternity due to what he believes is a rash decision I made because I was abused as a kid. His intention is good, but that really doesn’t change how frustrating and fucking annoying it is to constantly have to defend my ability to be systematic and rational. It doesn’t change the fact that I would much rather people accept me as I am unless I somehow demonstrate that I want or need to change. And it doesn’t change the fact that I somehow have to prove I have thoroughly researched religion in order to be understood by someone (or many someones throughout my life) who was handed their belief system from birth and never questioned it.

I don’t care what someone believes as long as they’re a good person and are true to the core values of the religion. I’ve had friends of all beliefs, and I never try to force Richard Dawkins down their throat. What I want is the same respect.

I think a lot of misconception about other people’s beliefs, religion or otherwise, hinges on this idea people have that if someone is different than them, they’re an idiot, that they don't know what they're talking about and weren't taught better. Don’t get me wrong—I fully and perfectly understand that many beliefs are rooted firmly in ignorance and hatred, and I don’t mean those. But a lot of the time differences in beliefs don’t necessarily equate to differences in VALUES nor does it mean that anyone is an idiot in need of enlightenment.

Except Trump. Trump is definitely a fucking idiot.

Perhaps a national holiday giving people time off work to explore a belief system other than their own would help so many of us. Atheists already host an Ask an Atheist day which is a good step maybe, but the Internet affords a kind of free-for-all anonymity that ends up ruining every.fucking.thing. Workshops with panels of volunteers who want to talk about their beliefs, speeches, banquets, dinners, bake sales…there are so many ways this could happen that would open up the narrow culture most people tend to have.

Personally, I would be find with Get Your Head Out of Your Ass Day, but I highly doubt that would fly with the general public, and Coexistence Day is a little too flower-child to pass either Ask Me About My Religion day might work, and I’d be fine with it even without a religion.

And if that plan were to fall through, we can always attempt my real dream—Halloween for adults who dress up and trick or treat in friends’ neighborhoods asking for booze and a little weed depending on where you live. Sounds much better than the sad 10% candy tax I get off Evan’s haul each year.

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Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts. Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out. See you there:

Baking In A Tornado http://www.BakingInATornado.com

Spatulas on Parade http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com/

The Blogging 911 http://theblogging911.com

The Lieber Family Blog http://thelieberfamily.com

The Bergham Chronicles http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com

Bookworm in the Kitchen http://www.bookwormkitchen.com/

Simply Shannon http://shannonbutler.org

Southern Belle Charm http://www.southernbellecharm.com

Never Ever Give Up Hope http://batteredhope.blogspot.com

Part-time Working Hockey Mom http://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch

Climaxed http://climaxedtheblog.blogspot.com

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Taking It Back



I’m definitely what society at large would consider plus sized considering I fluctuate between a 12 and 16 depending on how well I’m doing at the time cutting calories down to nothing and doing some kind of exercise in between. It’s been that way since high school. It’s who I am, and it’s been a long, hard-fought war with accepting myself as is and with the fact that I’m never going to be thin. I have this shape and this body, and as long as I work actively to be healthy, I’m okay with it (most days…okay some days). I try, anyway.

But what the fuck is plus-sized anyway?

I’m fine with the terminology, I guess. It helps some people on their journey just like reclaiming the moniker “fat” has helped others while still different folks prefer to say they have fat and are not fat. I just don’t get what we’re actually trying to say with that particular phrase “plus-sized.”

Is it a normal body plus some extra?

An acceptable body plus some pounds?

Plus some extra fabric for our clothes?

Is our fat our plus one on our invites and R.S.V.P.’s?

Plus what exactly?

“Plus sized” has never exactly come with a positive connotation since fat people, women especially, are constantly shamed about even a few extra pounds by men whose egos are overinflated and whose constant struggle in life is calling women sluts who won’t give them what they think they are owed. The more people fight for the right to be respected no matter how much they weigh, a right to take up space and exist without being shamed for something that’s often out of their control, I can’t help wondering what exactly we’re adding on here when we say “plus.”

I. Am. Not. A. Human. Plus. My. Extra. Weight.

I am just a human being with all the complexities that comes with it including a little extra weight over society’s standard definition of “normal.”

I don’t bleed adipose cells.

I don’t have high blood pressure or high cholesterol, and it’s no one’s business if I did.

I’m an offense because I exist.

I deserve a space in this world.

So I might just reframe plus sized. I’m a human being plus some extra love, plus extra kindness, plus extra awareness.

I am woman plus fire.

I am feminist plus magic.

I am me plus a raging hard-on to topple the patriarchy.

I am everything your mama warned you about plus a caring, loving mother myself.

I am flawed in so many ways plus a little side of perfection.

I am enough plus a handful of sass and a nice ass. Rhymed intentionally.

I am the universe in one curvy, soft body—star stuff plus wit, sarcasm, and coffee.

Yes, I have fat, but I am not nor will I ever be a human plus your punching bag, verbal or otherwise.

Sit. The. Fuck. Down.



<3

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This was my 3rd time back with Sunday Confessions, a blog challenge hosted by More Than Cheese and Beer. The links to the other submissions can be found below. Feel free to join in--the link is open all week. Our prompt is "plus."

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Vigilante Heroin



Elizabeth shifted her purse from her left to her right shoulder and quietly slipped her right hand inside searching out the cold metal of the handgun she kept there. The weight of it in the bag was comforting, but once she felt the textured grips under her fingers, the world around her calmed.

She was hungry.

She only knew of one thing that would quell her appetite, and he was walking about a block ahead of her.

She had really been curious the first time she followed a man like this late at night, and it was a little unnerving how easily it could be done. She had yet to have any of these guys notice her until it was too late. It was so different than the world she knew as a woman walking with her keys between her fingers even in the daytime if she was at the bus stop for any length of time, having illegal pepper spray because getting in trouble for that was way better than the alternative for not having it… being hypervigilant, keeping covered, never walking anywhere with headphones on or with your nose buried in a book because taking focus from the world could end with death. And that night, the first night, she just wanted to know if the world worked the same for him after she sat in a coffee shop and watched him hassle the barista for her phone number then call her fat when she turned him down. She watched her devolve into a snotty, teary mess after he threw his coffee at her and stormed out. And she followed him. It wasn’t reasonable or rational or a good idea, but deep down, this rage she had never felt before welled up blasting out of her pores. She was angry at him, yes, but she was angrier at herself for being too afraid to step up and say anything.

And by the end of the night, she said a lot.

Back then she didn’t have a gun. That was a new thing. Back then it was just the illegal pepper spray and a rape whistle. At the time, it was enough, though. She followed the guy a few blocks into a parking garage with her pepper spray in hand, and just before he got into his truck (because of course it was a huge truck), she whistled at him from just beyond the tailgate. He turned, and she got him good right in the eyes. She doesn’t even remember now what she actually said to him as he rolled on the ground screaming, but she faintly remembers threatening his life if he so much as thought about doing to another woman the way he did that barista.

The anxiety she felt afterwards was indescribable. Would she get in trouble? Would he be able to track her down? What if the pepper spray hadn’t worked? What if she missed? What if he hurt her? Why did it feel so fucking good and make her feel so goddamned happy? What was wrong with her? She was a writhing mass of emotions that ate away at her like blowfly maggots.

After awhile she couldn’t get the rush out of her mind--that heady feeling from the sheer power and control she had. For the first time in her life, she felt like she had an inkling of what it might be like to be a dominatrix, but she was also getting justice or at least that’s the way she saw it. Vigilante justice, maybe, but it still made her feel good to do something and to fantasize about doing it again. Like some kind of feminist antihero. Like Deadpool but less angry.

So when she was out at a bar a few weeks later and saw a guy grab a girl’s crotch and yell “TRUMP THAT PUSSY” she did it again. He got kicked out of the bar, and she followed, sprayed him, and unleashed a torrent of obscenities about his behavior. It wasn’t long before she had another opportunity, and next thing she knew, it had been a year and she had left probably a half a dozen potential felony charges in her wake.

But the last couple months had been different. She’d been watching this guy up ahead of her for at least 6 months getting to know his habits. He was the boyfriend of her new coworker at the vet hospital. She’d never gone after someone she knew but this was different. She had seen Maven come in far too many times with bruises on her arms, her throat, with too many excuses for black eyes and swollen wrists. The girl was clumsy, sure, but that couldn’t explain the teary mornings, the fear in her eyes when someone raised a hand near her for any reason (and never to hit her, not at work). It couldn’t explain the excuses she gave when they all went out after work for drinks, and it damn sure didn’t give a reason for the times they worked late together when he, Stephen, would call screaming at her and accusing her of sleeping with the male employees.

This was different. This time it was personal.

Maven wouldn’t leave him. They had all talked to her about it last week, had an intervention of sorts. She was too scared to leave. She knew the chances he would hurt her seriously after she left were higher than staying. She had done her research… That’s the thing. She wasn’t stupid, and he hadn’t been this obvious when they got together. She turned a blind eye to the problems when they first happened because back then it was easy to make excuses. Tying their financial accounts together seemed like a logical step, and when he spent their money carelessly then chastised her for so much as buying a coffee, she chalked it up to depression. He’d get help and take medicine then get off it when he felt “fine.” Every time she caught him cheating or in a lie, there would be a honeymoon period that made her question everything. Things didn’t start at this point, in other words. They built slowly until Maven’s life was such a tangled mess she didn’t really have hope of ever getting out of it.

What other choice was there then?

Tonight, Maven would be free, and the world would finally shift in her favor no matter the cost.

Elizabeth was starving for the adrenaline rush, for the sense of good she felt afterwards, and as much as she wanted to pretend this was for Maven, she also, down deep, this had nothing to do with an altruistic need to save. She wanted blood.

Up ahead, Stephen ducked into the parking garage near his side chick’s place.

Showtime.

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This blog post was for Sunday Confessions, a weekly blog challenge hosted by More Than Cheese and Beer. The link up is below. Be sure to check out the other submissions!



Sunday, May 21, 2017

Not So Politically Charged



I’m the kind of person that often makes politics the center of my life. And by “often” I mean like political and sociopolitical issues are my life. But recently, I have had to take some steps back from a lot of what is going on in the United States. Part of me feels guilty for it, but part of me knows that going strong the way I have about other things has made me burned out.

I can’t say the last 8 years when my interests really grew were perfect. Obama wasn’t an infallible leader by any means. Sure he was charming and put forth bills and executive orders that aligned, if not fully mostly, with my core beliefs and values. When I was outraged at something that happened in this country, it usually wasn’t coupled with fear that this IS our country. I might have known that the issue wouldn’t be addressed the way it needed to be, that these things wouldn’t be fixed overnight, but I wasn’t terrified that we, as a people, were devolving, going backward, fucking time traveling back to a time when hate was worn like a uniform out in the open, brazenly, when it was something to be proud of…

All that changed this year when 45 was elected. Being a woman, not exactly a straight one, has put a lot of issues in the public eye that I thought we were moving past as a nation. I mean, who would have thought in 2017 rational people would be like, hmmm, maybe we should let literal Nazis have a platform to speak on college campuses, maybe we should engage them and sway them from actual genocide with, you know, internet infographics and arguments.

But here we are.

Here we are with a President who has given confidential information to another country not exactly known for being, you know, all about freedom and shit. But who cares because at least he doesn’t have a vagina? Amirite???!!?

BUT HER EMAILS, THOUGH. Her fucking emails!

Like seriously, Trump is under criminal investigation for obstruction of justice AS THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. And I don’t even think it’s the worst thing he’s done so far nor will it be the last investigation. If Trump is impeached or resigns or worse, what then? Pence? That might even be worse. He’s not as hotheaded, but unlike Trump he isn’t in it for the attention and the praise. He has an agenda, and I don’t think we have even half a clue how deep it goes.

So things have changed for me. Where I had room to be outraged, opinionated, and outspoken about big issues like police brutality, systemic racism, feminism, body acceptance under Obama, everything is so insane lately that I’m not sure where to even start. What the fuck do you even talk about these days? Which issue? Which bill? Which ineptitude? Which country he pissed off? Which attempt to cut off rights for people like me?

I don’t know how to keep up anymore, and I know this won’t last forever. Even now I see things here and there that I have to comment on or share, but for the most part, I am trying to live life and focus on self-care. I can’t avoid real life for long, and it’s a privilege to even be able to do so this long, but I needed this vacation from the madness.

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This little ranty thing was part of Sunday Confessions, a weekly blog challenge hosted by More Than Cheese and Beer who has taken a hiatus lately from blogging. I love these weekly challenges with just one word or phrase to twist into something fanciful. This week, the topic was Center. Thanks for reading and feel free to link up yourself with the rest of us below.



Friday, May 12, 2017

I've Got This

Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

My words are: blue line, stick, bad jibs, forward, barn burner, top shelf
They were submitted by: http://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch/

Fair warning, this is a tough subject and I didn't try to go easy on it. This is absolutely fiction in the way that this kind of thing happens way too often, but this exact thing didn't happen to me. Also, trigger warning: sexual assault. 
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I lean forward staring at the little white stick with its lavender-colored cap and will it to have the answer I want, need really. “Just one little blue line please, pretty please,” I whisper out loud in the bathroom. “Just one.”

The tears that have been precariously waiting to fall start flowing then with no holds barred. The room blurs making it impossible to read my future on the drugstore pregnancy test, an off-brand because ohmygodIcan’tevenaffordanEPT. I know without even being able to see the mirror across the room that this is a full on OITNB-Piper ugly cry with earthquake sobs and a flash flood of snot.

I’m not ready for this.

I can’t even handle being in my own skin these days. I can’t shower enough trying to get rid of every last skin cell he touched.” He” being the man who attacked me, the guy I met online who said I was the most beautiful creature he had ever met, that said all the right things. We’d even gone out once before, met in public just to be safe. His idea actually. But the second time, I went back to his place for a glass of wine after out public meet up, and next thing I know I was waking up naked in his bed the next morning.

I know without a doubt that I have no idea what to do with myself right now much less a baby from a night I can’t remember and sex I couldn’t possibly have agreed to…

That next morning after I woke up sore and dizzy, he acted like nothing happened. While I was still coming to the realization that SOMETHING definitely happened to my body, he called me sleepyhead and handed me a coffee. Before I could even run to the bathroom to check myself over, he leaned in to kiss me on the cheek making me gag. He giggled. The man actually giggled at my wretching and asked if I had always been such a lightweight when it comes to alcohol.

I am, was, his to use and also the butt of the joke.

So how am I supposed to make it through this when I can’t even figure out where I go from here? What if the kid is a boy with bad jibs like his…like…what if he doesn’t look like me and every day is a reminder of a night I can’t remember and don’t want to remember. Or what if it’s a girl and every single day I am terrified that she will be hit randomly with a fuzzy memory of a man on top of her, slapping her across the face and calling her a dirty slut? What if…what if I can’t go through with this and have to end it? How can I live with that for the rest of my life? But how can I live with it if I don’t? What if he asks for custody? For fucking visitation rights.

The timer on my phone dings letting me know it’s time to check this thing, my future. I splash water on my face hoping it will at least give me enough of a reprieve from the emotional rollercoaster I’m on for me to see. I grab a towel, dry my face, and search my eyes in the mirror.

I’ve got this.

I reach for the thing where I dropped it by the toilet, frantic and determined.

I’ve got this.

It’s just one line.

IT’SJUSTONELINE

One.

Blue.

Line.

I know sitting there on my knees in front of the toilet that I’m going to have an emotional breakdown. And I also know that I’m going to be fine, and I would have been fine no matter how many lines appeared on this fucking thing, but…BUT, I am also going to throw one hell of a barnburner tonight once I pull myself together. It might end up being just me, but that just means more top shelf liquor I don’t have to share.

I’ve got this.

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Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:

Baking In A Tornado http://www.bakinginatornado.com

Spatulas on Parade http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com/

The Blogging 911 http://theblogging911.com

On the Border http://dlt-lifeontheranch.blogspot.com/

Bookworm in the Kitchen http://www.bookwormkitchen.com/

The Bergham Chronicles http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com

Simply Shannon http://shannonbutler.org

Southern Belle Charm http://www.southernbellecharm.com

Confessions of a part-time working mom http://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch/