Sunday, May 25, 2014

The Confines of Small Town Life

Being in a town of 297 people in the middle of the deep, rural South means the Internet is often a lifeline.

I live in the Bible Belt. The style is modern Redneck chique. If I don’t want a camo dress featuring the RealTree logo or some kind of Jesus reference, I have to shop online (or travel).

If I want to find a specialty food item or vitamin, I go to the Internet.

Bras? Internet.

Music? Oh yeah definitely Internet. There will be no Jason Aldean in this motherfucking house, no songs about sexy tractors or honky tonk badonka donks, no whiny tunes about dogs or songs referencing baby’s blue jeans. No.

Movies? Internet. I think online sources are pretty much a staple for everyone when it comes to movies.

Current events? Let’s just say I’m not going to depend on the local news outlets for anything major. I mean, it’s news here if a squirrel makes a nest in someone’s attic. So, I go to the Internet for that as well.

I also research for information, arrange travel, keep track of the weather, and pay bills online. Almost everything I do even down to the recipes for the cleaners I make is connected to the Internet in some form or fashion.

It is the ability to socialize and maintain friendships that has become the most important aspect of all my time online, though, even as much as I use it for daily tasks. So many people get on their soapboxes about how much time we spend online or on our phones and like to complain that people never really get out into the world and spend time with one another, and, in a way, I get that. But, when you live in a place like I do, it’s pretty fucking hard to get out in the world and meet people you connect with that you can stand to be around for more than 10 minutes. I don’t have a salt life or a river life sticker on the back of a too-big truck I drive to make up for my small personality. I don’t believe in Jesus. I don’t watch football (or any other sport). I don’t hunt, and I don’t worship America. I don’t go mudbogging (euphemistically or realistically), and I don’t listen to country music. In fact, if anything, I’m the opposite of all the things that seem to be essential to fitting into this local Southern culture.

If it weren’t for the Internet I think I would go insane from isolation especially since social media has even become essential to meeting like-minded others in the area for me to hang out with when I can stand being outside of my own house (ha).

Coming from someone who is part of the partnership of masterminds behind a site like DoucheArt, it may be hard to believe, but quite honestly I have met some of my closest friends online…some of the most caring, good-hearted people I know are those I connected with on the Internet. There are some people I have been in contact with for years that I know solely on an online basis and despite the distance between us physically, I consider them no less friends than those people I can actually get a hug from on a bad day.

Friendship can come in many forms and while I do have friends I can actually hang out with in person without traveling hundreds or thousands of miles (or across an ocean), the Internet has afforded me an opportunity to connect with so many more people on just a deep a level as those I can see on a regular basis, and I’m quite thankful for that. In my hardest times, it is often someone I’ve met online that I feel most comfortable actually turning to when I need to vent, and I try my best to be there for them that way too. It’s been people I’ve met online who’ve reached out the last year when I’ve been out of work to help me financially and to try to help me build my confidence in myself back up after so many turned-down applications. We joke and share experiences and ask about one another’s days. I get concerned about their family problems or sick relatives. There’s a true connection there in spite of the miles between us and the “sterile” way of communicating with typed words in black and white.

People tend to get amazed by the fact that I live in such a small town and ask me how I can stand it, and the answer is simple, the boundaries of the town do not limit my ability to interact with people from all over, of all cultures, with any myriad of beliefs. My ability to connect to others is only as limited as I make it and thankfully by being open to meeting people and befriending people online, those limits are small.

Even at my poorest, I am rich. Even when things were going to shit all around me here, I have still been lucky.

High-fucking-five, Internet. High-fucking-five.

This post, as every Sunday, is part of Sunday Confessions with someone I am very thankful to call a friend--Hot Ash over at More than Cheese and Beer. Stop over and read her confession as well as all the other bloggers who linked up. 


Sunday, May 18, 2014

I Want to LOL Your Face, Assholes

There's a fine line between an annoyance--a pet peeve--and something that pisses you off. At least that's the way it is for me. If we were talking about the latter I could climb on my pile of soapboxes and go on all day long about ignorance, sexism, institutional racism, classism, our system (capitalistic oligarchy that it is), biased judicial system, ignorance (doubly so, eh?), and more. By the time I was done, in all honestly, your ears might be bleeding or at least you'd walk away dizzy with facts, ideas, thoughts...or you may be in a full rage from the cognitive dissonance your're railing against.

Either way, being passionate about issues to the point that lack of understanding of those issues can drive you to anger is not exactly the same as a pet peeve.

There are plenty of things I could discuss in terms of pet peeves as well--using text speak in regular every day conversations, not knowing the difference between your and you're (not making a typo...really not knowing the fucking difference), calling me pet names especially from someone I don't know well (hun makes me want to vomit)...

But, perhaps the top of the list is the gross overuse of LOL.

Text conversation:

Me: My roommate accidentally killed our cat today moving the couch. 

"Friend": Really? lol how did that happen?


Seriously? You don't know what to say so you automatically go to "lol?" My cat died and all you got is fucking "lol." Well, that's the end of that friendship.

Dating site message: 

Id luv 2 entertain u all nite long, baby lol

So, do you really want to entertain me or is this a joke? What are we laughing about here besides the fact that you actually just sent me that message? On top of that...this is like so many pet peeves in one. Do you want to make my fucking brain implode?

Facebook Chat: 

Friend: hey, hru 2day? lol

Me: I'm fine. How are you?

Friend: good. wyd? lol

Me: *ignore*

Are you really laughing every time you send a message? Are you high? Is there some joke implied that I'm not getting here? Do you know what English is? Do you even have a fully formed brain?

I just really don't understand the appeal of the whole lol thing to begin with especially in conjunction with anything and everything. I swear to fictional baby jesus that if I told someone I had brain cancer I would get "that sucks lol" as a response. It's like automatic for some people now matter what the topic and it really just makes my skin crawl.

 If you are not really laughing out loud, don't use it or I will LOL your face, and I can promise you it won't end well.

This has been part of Sunday Confessions with More than Cheese and Beer. The prompt, of course, was pet peeves. Check our her page for the rest of the bloggers who linked up today!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

All the Memories

It's time for Sunday Confessions with More than Cheese and Beer! Today, in honor of Mother's Day, the prompt is Motherhood.

Motherhood embodies so many things including the aggravation I feel as I sit here listening to my 8 year old talking out loud to himself nonstop about whatever game he is playing.

He honestly does not even know he’s doing it. That’s the fucker of it. When I ask him if he absolutely HAS to give color commentary for every move he makes on the game he looks at me as if I’ve finally lost my mind and need a trip to the mental hospital. He also says, “I wasn’t” despite having been recorded doing this on numerous occasions. Sigh.

We’re like the odd couple, he and I. I’m extremely introverted and I tend to enjoy a clean working space, organization, and attention to the details. He, on the other hand, is a wild, chaotic tornado of talking destruction. In my living room right now, he has shoes, a drink from hours earlier, a bottle of rug cleaner out that he used to clean up a spill on the floor, headphones, drawings on notebook paper, and his WiiU remote where he is watching TV from his room in the living room where I am trying to write. We get a long about as well as the odd couple some days when I want his things out of the living room and a few minutes of peace while we hang out, but it all works out. I love him, the Oscar to my Felix. (Though, I’d like to point out that I’m not quite as anal retentive as Felix though perhaps my need to defend myself says otherwise. ha).

I think the best thing about being a mother may be the memories, though. There are the loving ones like that moment when he was just a month or so old when we were laying in bed together early in the morning and he smiled for the first time at the sound of my voice. The first kisses, the first hugs, the first “wub you” are all wonderful things to recall. There are the proud ones—the first time he scooted across the floor, the first word followed by many other words to the point that his pediatrician was shocked into silence at his 6 month checkup (and he hasn’t shut up since), his first steps, the first time he read to me, and the many times he has been awarded for grades at school. The even prouder moments from his seemingly total immersion into geek culture have been quite fun. I watched his jaw drop in shock when the words “Luke, I am your father” floated across the air to his tiny ear drums for the first time and my heart swelled.

No, seriously. We don’t fuck around with this sort of thing.

And there are funny ones too like the time the boy revenge-peed in the cat’s bowl. There’s the time he told me at 3 not to antagonize him about learning his ABCs. And there’s the time upon waking up in the morning and being sick, he assured me that he would, in fact, be fine to go to daycare as he had only had one too many Yoo-hoos the night before…

For the rest of my life, the phrase “I’m alright, I’m alright…I just had one too many Yoo-hoos last night” will be forever in my brain.

That’s why the memories are so good and such an awesome part of being a Mom. The memories you share with your child and of your child are not like any of the others even concerning a partner. You may lovingly recall the moment your significant other spoke the words “I love you” but it pales in comparison to the moment your child first did so. There’s really nothing like the feelings that swell to the surface when you think back over the years or months with your wee one and a kaleidoscope of moments flutter and washs over you leaving you in awe of the life you brought into the world and horror at how fast the time has gone already. No other memories can really do that to you—fill you with love, pride, laughs, frustration, and woe (albeit a sort of good woe) all at once.

But, that’s motherhood. And despite never wanting another one for as long as I live (hahaha) I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

(Seriously, if I ever tell you I’m pregnant and happy about it, please know that aliens have taken over my body, and I give you permission to do whatever needs to be done to take them down.)

Sunday, May 4, 2014

I Don't Give a Damn 'Bout My Reputation (Sort of)

I have cultivated an online and sometimes real life persona that is perceived to be something a bit different from who I really am. This has become somewhat painfully obvious.

Online, people have a tendency to see me as a feminist robot with a multitude of passions who is not afraid to express an opinion (often backed by research and facts) and duke it out with anyone who doesn’t agree with that opinion. Assertive. Blunt. Somewhat Caustic. Determined. We could go down the alphabet pointing out adjectives that people have labeled me with and as well as some not-so-nice nouns like bitch and cunt and [gasp] feminazi. Here at home…well…emotionless has been used more than once along with those not so nice nouns.

Part of this is my own fault. I have problems letting my vulnerabilities show even with people I see in my everyday life. I hold my cards close and have trouble even giving a peek at what I may have in my hand. I’ve always been that way. I’m introverted. There’s no shame in that. But, it means the way I socialize can be fairly limited. I don’t hang out with “the girls” and go have fruity drinks with lots of laughs.

People see that and tend to judge. Why doesn’t she have friends? Maybe it’s because she’s such a bitch… And in that way, it’s out of my control and out of my hands because there are clues to the real me that can be seen if a person really pays attention instead of getting angry because I didn’t agree with whatever issue they decided to argue with me on… I mean, if you attempt fate by taking the bull by the horns, you really can’t get too pissed off when you get gored. But, people do, man…they really do. Most of the time when you come into a conversation prepared to “teach me a lesson” you’re the one who’s going to get schooled. (see, that’s why people think I’m a bitch right there…sigh). When you look at the big picture, though, I’m not exactly the cold-hearted, uncaring monster that people have made me out to be.

I care about big issues, and yes, I am passionate about those issues, but part of that comes from having a big heart. I could never write prisoners the way I do and not have one. It takes a committed, caring, empathetic person to be able to do what I do.

I have 17 animals I live with. Almost all of those are rescues. I felt the need to give these animals homes, and if I had the room, I would have more.

I cry when I read books especially when characters die. It’s often the same with movies especially older Disney cartoons. Fuck, I can’t even watch the Fox and the Hound without turning into a big pile of tears and snot.

I have used money I really couldn’t afford to spend to donate to a worthy cause for a child or an animal because GODDAMN IT WHEN YOU POST THOSE STORIES AND PHOTOS…ALL THE FEELS, MAN. ALL THE FEELS….yeah.

When I do have extra money, I tend to surprise my friends with gifts or I like to anyway. I know money doesn’t buy friendship, but I love saying “hey, while I was out, I thought about you…”

When I worked in a pharmacy, I would actually go home and research conditions and medications and insurances and discount programs for various customers and call them from my own phone on my own dime and on my own time just to give them extra help when they needed it… It wasn’t for me, for my job, or because my boss asked me to. I did it because I cared about their well-being and wanted to help in any way possible.

I’m not trying to brag about who I am, but sometimes my cultivated reputation seems to get in the way of people really getting to know me for who I am. People seem to develop these ideas about a me that I often don’t recognize because I know examples like those I mentioned to be the truth, and I want people to see THAT version of me just as much as the one that will cut them to down in a debate. That’s the me that I know and the me I’m proud of—the balance between the badass and the softie. At times, it hurts to realize that someone I have thought was pretty cool really sees only the more obvious parts of my personality never bothering to notice what’s underneath all that.

At the end of the day, though, it’s not my fucking problem if people miss what’s easy to find with a little effort, so all I can do is continue to be me and not worry about my bad reputation. It does have its benefits…it certainly lets me know who’s worthy of my time.

This has been, as always, a part of Sunday Confessions with More than Cheese and Beer. The prompt was "cultivate." Check out hers and the other link ups from other bloggers today! 

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Just a Note (like old times)

I originally wrote this letter to Mat, my friend who was murdered, several years ago, but given that yesterday marked the 12th year since his death, I thought I would revamp it a bit and post it here.


I miss you.

I think I gave up on simply "getting over" that fact a long time ago. Time is said to heal our wounds, and in many ways, I suppose that is true even it if is a bit of a cliche. It has been 12 years since your death, and things are, admittedly, much easier to deal with than they used to be, but I'm far from over it.  12 years later, and you're on my mind here and there for a myriad of reasons. This time of year it is especially so...birthdays, holidays, and even random moments in my day, you're there. Any mention of soccer, you. I can't hear a RHCP song (especially Under the Bridge) without you popping into my head or P.O.T.U.S.A., for that matter (millions of peaches, peaches for me. millions of peaches, peaches for never gave me back that CD, fucker). Forget wrestling--can't watch it anymore because most of the time I did that with you (but, admittedly, I also grew out of that one). I can't hear a joke about phone boning without flashing a knowing grin and traveling back in time to late nights filled with desire and your voice. 

For this reason or that, you show up even now, 12 years after your death. I guess what I mean to say is that I carry you in my heart. Always have. And, thinking of everything that I've experienced in these 12 years...everything that has changed about the person I was versus the person I am always makes me a little melancholy knowing I will never know what kind of man you would be today.

I'm sorry you didn't get the chance to walk into a bar and buy a drink--legally. I'm sorry you never had the chance to grow out of things, to know the joy that comes from having a child (even an unexpected one) and hearing your little ones' first 'wuv you' directed your way or to burst with pride at their accomplishments as they grow older, to feel the awesome reward of getting your degree after busting your ass for it....there's so many things you still had left to do. I hate so much that your mom lost her husband and her child so unexpectedly just a few years apart, and I wish like hell you could have been the cool uncle to your nephews. You would have been, I'm sure. I wish life hadn't been ripped away from you so young, that you didn't have to die alone in that apartment, and I still hold out hope that you weren't aware of what was happening to you. If you had to go, let it have been as peaceful as possible.

I also, like anybody does in these instances, regret the many things I never said, realizing now, much too late, how fleeting life can be...

12 years later and there are times your memory still makes me smirk, often devilishly. There are times I miss you to the point of tears, and sometimes in the quiet of the night you appear in dreams so vivid I swear I could reach out and touch your face...

I love you.

always have