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Friday, February 26, 2016

Just Hand me the Flamethrower and Look Away

So here's something that probably too many people already know about me - my mother is a hoarder.

That's not an exaggeration, people.  I didn't know there was a term for it other than "what the hell could you possibly need 10,000 back issues of Knitting Weekly stacked fort-style precisely along the front of the couch when you don't even knit?" until about 3 years ago (thanks A & E!).


There may or may not be a couch under there.  Or a body.  
Or Darth Vader riding a unicorn.  The entry to Atlantis?  Who knows?


Full disclaimer:  I'm not a perfect housekeeper.  Not even close.  Also, I get that hoarding is a mental illness that is usually rooted in something deeply emotionally debilitating. 

The point of all this is that, because of my mother's hoarding, I bounce between OCD and a touch of hoarding impulses myself.  I'll hold onto shit that I know I probably won't ever need, just because I feel like as soon as I throw it away or get rid of it, I or someone else will need it.  But in my defense, I have no problems actually getting rid of things that have zero sentimental value if they've been sitting in my house collecting dust and taking up space forever. 

A miraculous thing happened way back when I was still with my girls' dad - our house burnt down. Now, before anyone gets all offended, the house fire itself was devastating, in that my daughter and I were in the house when it started and my daughter suffered a few burns.  All of her stuff was lost, all of our pictures, a lot of things that held sentimental value that couldn't be recovered or replaced.  But ultimately, my daughter was okay and that was all that mattered.   Stuff is just stuff, and I have yet to look back and really mourn anything that was actually lost in that house fire.

People around us were really amazing - donations poured in, in the form of vouchers, money, and basic things you kind of take for granted until you don't have them; toothbrushes and other toiletries, small appliances, socks and underwear.  Things that you're so used to just having that you don't really expect to need them but not have them.

When my husband and I split up several years ago, I was again in a very similar situation, starting basically from scratch.  And again, family and friends graciously stepped in and tried to make sure I had all those basic things, and then some.

But - and I'm not complaining here, just making a point - when people become generous, they become really generous.  As they're going through their things trying to find things they think someone might need, they come across odds and ends that have been shoved to the back of a closet or drawer, and they think, "I've never had a need for this, maybe they can use it.  After all, they don't have anything right now."  


Well, I know they don't have one of these, and this one's just been sitting in our basement causing shenanigans...


To be clear, I am truly grateful for every single thing that anyone ever gave me in my time of need.  I'm not looking the gift horse in the mouth or crap-talking peoples' generosity in the least.  The point I'm trying to make is, this is how it starts.

Clutter.  Well-meaning, generous as f*ck clutter.  

At the time of this writing, I have 37 coffee mugs.  37.  Just let that sink in.  I don't own a coffee shop.  I'm not a member of the most ridiculously populated book club ever.  What the f*ck will I ever need 37 coffee mugs for?  Some of them are tiny, like freaking Saki cups.  Who the hell only drinks two ounces of coffee at a time?  Are they dollhouse coffee mugs?  I don't own a dollhouse!  WHERE ARE ALL THESE RIDICULOUSLY TINY COFFEE MUGS COMING FROM???



This is an abomination and I demand an explanation.


Anywho, the point of this rant was actually more along the lines of the behavior of the people I cohabit with, not the amount of useless clutter in my house.  

Can someone please explain to me how trash and dirty laundry can find its way 2 feet from the trashcan or laundry basket, but not INTO the trashcan or laundry basket?  How is it easier to stack trash all Tetris-like on TOP of the can, when all one has to do is flip a lid and toss said trash INTO said can?  Or why it seems acceptable to leave one sheet of toilet paper on the roll when there are quite clearly 5 more full rolls two feet two the left in the cabinet?  Why are the crevices in my couch populated by chip bags and empty water bottles, and my shelves filled with sad, empty boxes?

Anyone?

I have this weird ritual where I wash laundry, fold it, and place it neatly into designated baskets to be put away.  No one seems to understand that, once the clean laundry is in the basket, the next step IS NOT to rifle through it until it's half in the living room floor and jumbled into a mass of now-wrinkled fabrics that my cats then deem their personal territory for sleepy-time.

....and this whole post is really just me procrastinating the inevitable chore of cleaning my house.

*sigh*



...Oh, NOW I get it!





Hate cleaning your house?  Well, I'm not going to do it for you, but we can procrastinate together on my Facebook page.

Monday, February 22, 2016

An Open Letter to America Regarding Rape Culture

Let me be clear, right from the get-go - this is a humor blog, but this post is not going to be funny.

This entire subject is far from f*cking funny.

I just recently heard about Kesha's lawsuit against her agent, alleging rape, verbal, mental, emotional abuse, and a whole slew of other accusations.  Let's pretend for a minute that it isn't already bullsh*t that, after being smacked in the face relentlessly with Bill Cosby's accusations of rape, Kesha's situation has barely surfaced in my news feeds. 

I don't want to pull the race card here, I really don't - but how is it that Cosby's entire career has been shredded just on the basis of accusations - and I'll grant you, there are a lot of them - but Kesha's rich, white manager hasn't solicited so much as a second look, despite the clear look of devastation on Kesha's face when she was told that she'd have to uphold her end of her contract despite everything she alleges?

No, let's take a step back from that even, to the comments that have been thrown around.  Just like every other case of a woman stepping forward with accusations of rape or sexual assault, cue the slut-shaming.

Why didn't she report anything until now?  But, oh my God, look how she dresses!  Look how she presents herself!  She's probably slept with X amount of people - 

STOP.


This is not the face of a spoiled little rich girl who didn't get her way.  This is anguish.  This is the face of someone far too many of us can relate to, yet too many others have no shame in mocking.

Let me make this perfectly clear, and I'm not even specifically talking about Kesha anymore:  a woman could WILLINGLY hop on every sausage train that passes her way, but the second she says "no" and is forced into an act she is not WILLING to do, IT IS RAPE.  The second she becomes too inebriated or otherwise influenced to a point of not being totally cognizant of what's going on, IT IS RAPE. It doesn't matter if she initiated the act, when she says "no," that's the end of it.  No coercion, no guilt trips, no forceful continuance.  End of story.

"But, she's asking for it with the way she dresses."  NO.  If a man isn't in control of himself enough to admire the female form and then get on with his life, that's HIS fault, NOT HERS.  If a man doesn't understand the clear line between consent and force, that is HIS fault, NOT HERS.  It's true the other way around, as well - a man should be able to walk around wearing whatever the hell he damn well pleases without having to worry about being mauled and mounted, dehumanized and made to feel like a slab of beef.  It doesn't matter if someone dresses for attention - again, HUGE difference between attention and rape.  

I'm not man-hating here, I promise.  I know that there are plenty of females out there willing to throw out the "rape" card just because they didn't get their way - and believe me when I say that those women deserve their lives to be ripped apart in all the ways they just attempted to rip apart an innocent man's.  The way that they've just made it that much harder for someone who really has been victimized to get help.  

I also know that there are plenty of men out there who are total gentlemen and have pride in the respect they show women, men who never step out of line and still get the haughty responses to genuine compliments or the dirty looks for simply existing and possessing a penis.  

Also - can we please acknowledge the fact that men can be victims of rape as well?

People - let me put it to you this way:

Before you start shouting about "the way she dresses" and "what a ho, she probably deserved it," put your mother in that woman's place.  Your sister.  Your daughter.  Your wife.  Really stop and think, maybe even ask the women in your life the kind of crap they have to put up with as women, even if they're total saints and dress in the most modest ways imaginable.

Because it doesn't matter if she's in the nude or wearing a Hazmat suit - if men can tell she's a female, she's going to get hit on.  She's going to elicit hoots and hollers whether she's "asking for the attention" or not.  She's going to be treated as though she's stupid and inferior, and it won't matter what job she has, what her IQ is, whether she's married and faithful, whether she's an amazing mother or sister or friend, what kind of real beauty or talent she possesses - what she's like as a human being in general - all that's going to matter is how she fills out her clothes and whether someone thinks they have "a chance" with her or not.

And rape, friends, isn't exclusive to "loose" women, either.  Even if it was, we should still be rallying for that woman, not against her.  It isn't exclusive to just women, for that matter, or even to adults.  It has no preference for color or lifestyle or religious affiliation.  It can happen to ANYBODY.

And as far as reporting it?  Again, let me clarify this for you.  If you've never been a victim of rape, you have no way of understanding the psychological damage that happens as a result.  That's not even taking into account if the perpetrator was someone you know, in which case, there are a whole bunch of other issues that crop up.

Do you know what a rape kit is?  I can't even deal with going into all of the details here, so check out this link to find out what someone has to go through after reporting a rape.  

Then comes a forensic interview, in which a person has to recount, in as much detail as possible, the exact events of what just happened to a complete stranger.  Keep in mind that this will be the first of at least dozens of times that a victim will have to recount their own horrors to complete strangers, including doctors, police, lawyers - and eventually, in court in front of their own rapist.

For children, and even many adults, it's likely that the rapist threatened physical harm to them and/or their families if they spoke up.   Imagine how horrifying that must be, to be told by someone who just literally ripped your own power away to tell you that they would do the same again, or to the people you love.  

Often, you're told that no one would believe you anyway.  Take a look just at some of the message boards online, and you'll see how easy that one is to believe.

So, like in Kesha's case - you step forward, bring it all to light, only to be sent back to the very person who did it in the first place.  Now you face the humiliation of telling everyone what happened - repeatedly, plus the whole thing being thrown back into your face by your abuser, plus facing even harsher abuse because you dared to speak up.  And then, what are the odds of being able to step forward a second, or third time, after that?  Who's going to help you after you've been basically called a liar and thrown back into Hell by the very people who were supposed to help you?**

But that's all so easy, right?

And that, friends, is only the first step in a lifetime of healing.  But let me tell you, that first step is almost impossible to take alone, and it's even more impossible when you're being kicked in the gut every time you try to take it.

America - STOP.  Stop shaming the victim and start punishing the perpetrators.  Stop making excuses and start educating our children to respect each other and each person's rights to their own bodies.

Bottom line, THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR RAPE, no matter what you want to call it.



**If you have been the victim of rape or sexual assault, please reach out.  There are people and agencies out there who can help you - you DO NOT have to go through this alone, no matter what you may think or what anyone has told you.

National Sexual Assault Hotline  1.800.656.4673
National Sexual Violence Resource CenterNational Organization for Victim AssistanceNational Online Resource Center on Violence Against WomenMore Resources


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Why Being Offended is a Huge Waste of Time

Well.

I'm sure you've noticed that, suddenly, everyone's pissed off at everyone else for everything.  Small things, big things, things that don't personally pertain to them but they somehow have made themselves the center of a crusade that means and accomplishes nothing.

That about sums it up, right?  I'll bet some people are even pissed off at the title of this blog post.

Suck it.

You want to know why?

Let me begin by formally defining the term for you.  Dictionary.com says:

Offense:

noun

1.
a violation or breaking of a social or moral rule; transgression; sin.
2.
a transgression of the law; misdemeanor.
3.
a cause of transgression or wrong.
4.
something that offends or displeases.
5.
the act of offending or displeasing.
6.
the feeling of resentful displeasure caused:
to give offense.
7.
the act of attacking; attack or assault:
weapons of offense.
Okay guys, pay attention.  When you're offended (ie: that bitch said my haircut was awful), the context of offense here is something that offends or displeases (definitions 4 & 5).  You might have taken offense at the bitch's statement (definition 6).

Googled "offended."  Was not disappointed.


Had said bitch tried to hold you down and lop your hair off because they didn't like the cut, that would have been a violation or breaking of a social or moral rule (definitions 1, 2, or 3), or even possibly an attack or assault (definition 7); a criminal offense.  TOTALLY NOT THE SAME THING.

One could even say that they were offended by your awful haircut, but that even further illustrates how silly the idea of being offended is.

I can do this all day, people.

See, people have these things called opinions.

The beautiful thing about opinions is that there's no law that says yours has to match anyone else's. Or even make any damn sense.  And neither do anyone else's.

So, I could tell you that my opinion is that leggings are not freaking pants and that anyone who wears them without a shirt/dress long enough to cover their bottoms look like they forgot their pants altogether, and that opinion should profoundly affect absolutely no one.  Some of you might be nodding your head in agreement right now, while others might be scoffing at the screen with their pantylines shouting from their uncovered, be-legginged bottoms, but no one's life will ever be dramatically changed by that statement.  Don't like leggings?  Don't wear them.  Like wearing leggings?  Rock those suckers.  

See what I did there?

My offense at someone else's choices has absolutely no value in that person's life.  Conversely, I give approximately two rat turds about someone else's opinion about my choices.  So rather than waste my time fuming over someone's very vocal objections to my random bursts of songs-that-maybe-loosely-have-something-to-do-with-what-someone-just-said, I simply move along with my life.  I like randomly bursting into song, so who cares if not everyone appreciates that talent?  Not me.

It's not every day someone says, "I see a little silhouette-o of a man" in conversation, so you have to jump on that chance when it comes along.


A viable reaction to a small offense should be confined to the equivalent of two syllables:  Who cares?  That's dumb. {censored} you.  Piss off.  I disagree.

... and then life goes on.  See how easy that is?

Can't win 'em all.

Don't agree with gay marriage?  Don't marry a gay person.  Think Abercrombie & Fitch is a horrible place to shop because the troll that owns it thinks his merchandise is only fit for miniaturized modern-day Norse Gods?  Don't shop there.  Think Dunkin Donuts is an affront to pastry with their mutant abomination they call the "cronut?"  There's a freaking Krispy Kreme right around the corner, for cripes sakes, just walk the extra half black for your plain-glazed yeast donuts.  There's no need to picket and boycott because your deepest sensibilities are offended by the senseless creation of a hybrid pastry.

Don't like my singing?  Here, I brought ear plugs.

No one said we couldn't be considerate of other people's opinions, either.




You'll probably be disappointed to find out that there are no videos of my random singing on my Facebook page, but there's lots of other funny stuff.  And probably plenty to offend you if you're one of those people.




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