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Monday, March 28, 2016

All the Things I Never Told You

Life is weird.  Humaning is hard.  Relationships are - well, we make relationships far more complicated than they have to be.  Not just romantic ones, either - all relationships.

I challenge you to think  back to when you were a child.  When it was totally okay to be absolutely smitten with someone and everyone thought all the random crap that spewed from your mouth was adorable.  Before it was embarrassing to profess your feelings - or anything, for that matter - to the entire world.

 Why is everyone telling you that new haircut is great?  It looks like what I did in my Pull-Up an hour ago.  Grown ups are dumb.

There's a lot to be said for tact.  I employ it often when I don't relish the idea of being punched in the face or I realize I need my job to pay bills.  But where along the line did "use your words carefully" turn into "FOR THE LOVE OF GOD AND ALL THAT IS HOLY, DON'T YOU DARE LET OUT HOW YOU ACTUALLY FEEL!"?

Somewhere, somehow, feelings became obscene and compliments became uncomfortable.  Physical contact became offensive and admiration became "weird."  It wasn't that big of a deal for any of us during the throes of puberty, when each of us was in complete hormonal turmoil and we were years from deciphering who we were as people - but as adults, what gives?

Why can't I tell a random stranger that they have a beautiful smile without being looked at like a serial killer?  Why can't I tell my friends I love them without feeling like I just made a sloppy, creepy pass at them?  And speaking of passes, why can't I be flattered when a man or another woman hits on me, even though I'm not interested and politely tell them so?

Nope, not even "drunk bi-curious," but a-thank ya.

I get it, laying everything out there and wearing our hearts on our sleeves makes us vulnerable.  I've got to be one of the most socially awkward people in the world, especially with people I don't know well.  I also hate to feel weak and vulnerable, so yup, I have some pretty extensive walls up myself.

There's something deeply terrifying about the thought of rejection, especially from people you care about or think highly of.

And fear is why we hold back an "I love you," why we hesitate to offer a hug when someone is upset, why we let all those moments pass by where we're talking to someone and can't get over just how f*cking amazing that person is and how happy we are to have them in our lives.

But you know what's worse?  The thought that you could lose someone tomorrow and they would never know how you feel about them.  How amazing you think they are.  How you always think about them when a certain song comes on or hear a certain joke or see something you know they would love.

You had me at hun-nay.

The truth is, I'm a little bit in love with every person close to me.  Not romantically, not sexually, just in awe of certain aspects of those people that I wish I was brave enough to be or that I find especially interesting or inspirational.  I have a niece who can create the most beautiful photographs from the most mundane-seeming things.  I have another niece who had a baby at a very young age and who has proven all the doubts and worries wrong by being a pretty amazing mother.  I have yet another niece who started out as a nephew, and was able to bring her true self out into the world and find more love and support than she thought was possible.

I know far too many amazing people to list here, but suffice to say that I know people who have overcome some of the most horrible obstacles in life that I can imagine, and yet here they are.  Like a freakin' boss, living and conquering and sh*t.  Abuse survivors, recovered and recovering addicts, single parents, people who have dealt with the harshest instances of racism, bigotry, and outright hatred, people with visible and invisible illness... all of these people are beyond amazing to me.

Beat that, Stan Lee.

...but it's a lot easier to say that here than it is to say those things to someone's face.  We hesitate, not because the sentiment isn't genuine, but because we don't know how to broach it and we don't know how they'll react.  There are some things that just seem off limits, no matter how close we are to someone.

So if you've read this far, I have a confession.  A real one this time, not some corny joke I can hide behind.  I'm f*cked up, guys.  Like, deeply, emotionally damaged.  And I'm not trying to say that my life's horrible or that I've been through things worse than anyone else - I guess what I'm trying to get at is that I have a soft spot for damaged people because I'm damaged.  Hell, we're ALL damaged in some way.  Why is it not okay to acknowledge that?

I was scrolling through my feed on Facebook around 2 days after the anniversary of my Dad's passing and came across this:

This f*cking wrecked me, guys.

Side note - can we just acknowledge how freaking adorable Kelly Clarkson is?  It doesn't matter what she's singing or where she is or what she's wearing, I just want to like, kidnap her and lock her in my basement and make her my bff who sings everything to me.  Wanna go to Denny's?  Sing me that beautiful Grand Slam menu, darlin.  (Just kidding Kelly, I totally don't have a basement.)

If you've never come across my Mirror & Hourglass posts, my Dad was, technically speaking, my "step" dad.  He was actually my biological father's brother (cue "I'm my own cousin" jokes, ba-dum-chhh), and he and my mom met when I was two at my paternal grandmother's house.

It's a long story, really, but due to several really screwed up circumstances, I was the only child out of a total 13 between my parents that was actually raised by them.  I'm the one child of four born to my mother and biological father who wasn't adopted by someone else.

I had a good childhood; a loving home, two parents that loved me and supported me, more opportunities than many get even though we never really had a whole lot of money.  Still, the shadow of my siblings' absence hung like a silent, sullen ghost in the corners of every happy moment.  There were pictures on the walls of children I knew to be my siblings but never got to meet, and though I knew the situation as far as my young mind could understand, I also understood that asking questions meant making my mother cry.  Occasionally I would catch the sadness in her face when she was cheering me on at a field day or straightening my costume for a school play.  She couldn't hug me without choking back tears and all of my milestones had become markers for all the events she was missing in my siblings' lives.

It's getting raw in here, so to dampen the feels, here's a puppy.  D'awww.

I also had two older half sisters from my mother who lived with their father's family, and two step-brothers and two step-sisters from my dad who lived with their mothers, and I had never met any of them.  I knew all their names, I knew how old they all should be, but they were like fairy tale characters in my mind.  I knew they existed, somewhere, but all I had of them for me was an imaginary idea of who they could be and what they would be like.  For little girl me, they were imaginary friends, whom I had assigned personalities and quirks based on what I thought they might be.  

 As good as my childhood was, as hard as my mother tried, we were never a whole family.  As individuals we weren't whole people, because there was always an echo in that space where someone should be but isn't. 

I've read probably thousands of accounts from people who were adopted; how they wondered where they came from, whether there was someone out there who looked like them or shared their tastes and talents.  I could relate, even though I grew up with my birth mother, because I always wondered those things about my brothers and sisters.  I never commented, because I always felt like I was an intruder on this exclusive world of children who had been given or taken away for whatever reason.  I had no background to give comfort because I didn't know what living in a foster home was like, or how devastating it could feel to find out that the family you've known all your life shares no blood ties to you.  Why did I have the right to feel so lost, when I knew where I came from and had grown up with my mother in my life? 

The pain isn't the same, but it is there.  For a child growing up in a world that has been disassembled, where their parents are scrambling to hold the pieces together - I knew where I came from, but that world was incomplete and its players broken.   It was not the world it should have been, where there were  six or eight or ten seats at the dinner table instead of three.  There were no school photos that came in the mail or weekend visitations.  No sibling rivalry or late-night secret swapping.  There was only me, and figments of my imagination that didn't come close to the reality that should have been.


I don't even have a caption for this.  Sometimes you just need to look at a puppy.

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Facebook Releases New Emojis...

Oh, Facebook.

For a while now, we've all lamented the fact that there was only a "like" button on Facebook, which often times was just used as a way to acknowledge the existence of a post so our friends didn't get all butthurt that their life-altering musings weren't important enough to warrant a few seconds of our time.  If the post contained anything other than good news or witty thoughts, we felt obligated to clarify in the comments that we didn't "like" that Grandpa just passed away, but we're sending thoughts and prayers and metaphorical casseroles or whatever.

...but ain't nobody got time for that sh*t.

So, because we're lazy in the most literal sense of the term, we're demanding that Facebook expand the emoji options, to cover the most obvious and universal reactions to Facebook posts:

1.  The "Quit Attention-Whoring" emoji.  

Maybe just an eye-rolling smiley or a little caricature of Kanye West.  Yes.  We need this.  I didn't even realize how badly we needed this until just now.

You know you've gone too far when even Kanye is unimpressed by your 15th "tell me I'm pretty" post this week.

We all have that friend.  You know the one.  The one that either posts what they're doing every second of the day, or just constantly needs to be reassured that their right to occupy space is still valid.  "Like if you love me.  Ignore if you hate me."  "Rate me.  27 different ways."  "If I died tomorrow, would you cry?"  "If I was lost on a space station somewhere in the Zenon galaxy with only hours to live and a phone only half charged, would you still Snapchat me?"


2.  The "I'm Actually Seriously Re-evaluating my Friendship With You Both on Facebook and in the Real World Right Now" emoji.

There's something about the anonymity of being online that makes aaaalll the skeletons come parading out of peoples' closets.  Sometimes those skeletons are really, really scary and covered in decades worth of supremely undesirable characteristics. 

Like maybe your best friend from childhood suddenly declares their deep-seated racist beliefs.  Or that seemingly harmless, funny guy at work reveals that he likes to make lamp shades out of human skin in his spare time. Or your mother just confessed to only pretending to like bacon because she was worried what the world might think of her, but she's newly single and spunky and to hell with what everyone thinks, she's going to live her life her way now.

Nope, sorry Mom, I think that might just be the deal breaker.

3.  The "What the f*ck did I just read/see?" emjoi.

Totally self-explanatory.

...but sometimes people need a gentle reminder that not all things should be shared with the world.  Or with anyone other than a licensed therapist.

4.  The "I like this post, but for the love of God, don't message/text/call me just because you see me online" emoji.  Also known as the "I'm Here but Busy" button.

Sometimes you're at work.  Some days you're just antisocial.  I can't be the only one who avoids certain people's posts because they will inevitably try to contact me as soon as I acknowledge them on Faceboook.  

5.  The "I literally lost IQ points reading/watching this" emoji.

The snozberries DO taste like snozberries!

To be fair, I appreciate dumb humor as much as anyone else.  So no, I'm not talking about lame puns or stupid things that people post to be ironic or make a point.  Something has to be really, really, mind-numbingly ignorant to actually incite my rage on behalf of my intellect.

Non-educated rants.  Racism, bigotry, closed-minded drivel.  People who think their opinion matters more than others' because they're pretty or wealthy or connected.  People who have found a platform to speak but apparently have no idea what is actually coming out of their face holes or keyboard strokes.  People who base entire opinions on hearsay and feelings rather than any actual logic, reason, or intelligent conclusions they came to on their own. 

Opinions are fine, guys, but holy righteous indignation, Batman - back it up with something valid.

6.  The "I totally agree, but there's no way in hell I'm sharing this because you write/spell/punctuate like a dyslexic 2nd grader" emoji. 

Again, in fairness, text lingo doesn't bother me.  You want to save a few seconds by dropping vowels and abbreviating, that's cool, I can usually navigate my way through that.  If you're just not an apt speller or writer, that's okay too.  Not everyone is.  Typos happen, all the time.  That I get, too.

But it takes longer than 10 seconds to translate two sentences into something coherent, we have a problem.  If you're making fun of people for misspellings and grammar errors, holy sh*tballs make sure that you're properly using "they're, their, and there."  Also, "you're" and "your."  You don't get to be a spelling/grammar Nazi and not know how to use the English language properly yourself.

7.  The "Trump" emoji.  

For those posts that are so ridiculous that they seem harmless and funny at first, but then people get super heated really fast for no reason and suddenly you find yourself gnoshing popcorn while being witness to WW3 on Facebook.

See this finger?  See it?  It smells like my next mail order bride and White Supremacy.

The Trump emoji would allow you to convey that you can already see how quickly things are going to escalate and you want no part of it.  Also known as the "I'm Taking a Break From Mankind for a While" and "F*ck This, I'm Moving to Canada" emojis.

8.  The "Fact Check" emoji.  

Maybe this one can auto-post a link to Snopes or something, with a friendly reminder that f*cking Wikipedia IS NOT a reliable source and that The Onion is a damned satire site meant for entertainment purposes only.  Read:  NOT REAL.

9.  The "Countdown" emjoi.

For those people that you like alright, but post stupid sh*t incessantly.  This would remind them that you value your friendship, but you'll only put up with so much shenanigans.  Three strikes, friend, that's what you get.  "Keep scrolling if you hate Jesus."  That's one.  "Trump for President!"  That should wipe you out right there, but I'll be fair and only count it as one.  So that's Two.

Tread lightly, friend.  Tread lightly.

10.  The "I Know You In Real Life and I'm Getting Pretty Sick of Your Sh*t" emoji.  

Mom told me I could become anything I wanted, so I became Wreck-It-Ralph.

This one would be for those people who like to tell the world how absolutely awesome they are at their job, parenting, and life in general, while forgetting that there are actual people on their friend's list who know their real day-to-day bullsh*t.

Look, it's kind of an unspoken rule that we only broadcast meaningful, preferably good things to the world.  This is a good thing.  No one needs - or wants - to know all the dark, dirty details of our lives.

But when I see you with your $200 hair cut and $75 manicure and name-brand clothes screaming profanities at your unbathed, poorly dressed kid at the store for being a f*cking brat and wanting breakfast at 4 o'clock in the afternoon and then run across your Facebook post about how haters gon' hate and your kid is your whole world and you're the best mom ever, it kind of makes me want to punch you in the face.

"Oh sigh, I'm the only person who ever does any work around here I should just quit so I can be appreciated," says the person who shows up a half an hour late every day and then spends 90% of their time on their phone.  

"I get so tired of being surrounded by uneducated Oompa Loompas and having to dumb myself down to get through my days," says the person who dropped out of high school in the 10th grade to fish and smoke weed and hasn't picked up a book since they had to clean their room when they were 10 or had a job, well, ever.

STOP.  IT.  You're not fooling anyone.  

What say you, dear readers?  Are there any other Facebook emojis you'd like to see and would totally wear out if you had them?

In the meantime, you can totally test out the new Facebook emojis on my Facebook Page.

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

The Spaghetti Rule

I joked a while back about seeing all these posts online where people were disappointed that liars' pants don't actually catch on fire, and I thought, "what a good reason to carry a lighter."

So while we disregard the fact that this is now the second post in a row that suggests I might be a pyromaniac (I'm not - that one time at work was mostly a joke and we were all freezing, ask anybody), I just want to bring this whole subject back up for discussion.

Full disclosure, sure, I lie sometimes.  We all do.  Even beyond the obligatory "oh, that haircut's not so bad," and, "no, those pants absolutely do not make you look like a sausage roll at all" to spare someone's feelings.

So no, dear readers, this isn't a long-winded lesson in morality, but more a deep-thoughts session where I expound on the thoughts rolling around in my own brain, if for no other reason than that I cannot stand to not know why people do the things they do.

If I were to guess where most lies come from, it isn't so much fear of consequence as fear of vulnerability.  You tell the customer who's screaming in your face about not selling him beer on a Sunday or whatever that for Christ's sakes you didn't write the law and he's being a total tool for taking it out on you, and you risk him firing back that you're an asshole for not being cool enough to bend the rules just this once, just for him, and shit man, he might actually have a good reason for being such a jerk - like maybe he just buried his dad and all he needs in the world right now is to sit back with a cold one on his dad's grave and cry - and then you will feel like an asshole.

Damn.  Now I want a beer.

Even if you're right.  Even if there's not a damned thing you can do about it.

Then there's this funny thing in relationships where we swallow all the small things, because - what's the point?  Then one day you break and you tell your spouse that they're an inconsiderate clod when they bark at you for forgetting to take the trash out, and suddenly you're hit square in the face with every. single. f*cked up thing you've ever done, some of them surely things that you didn't think were that big and/or that you've totally forgotten about and - holy sh*t.  I said that?  God, I'm an asshole.

...and then for a while you take every angry thing they can dish out because for some stupid reason, you think you deserve to be punished for everything you did.  Everything that went unaddressed.  Everything that was maybe brought up at some point but was ultimately pushed back and compartmentalized, because, who wants to deal with all that?  

Or you snap and say something horrible, and the person you snap at has no retort whatsoever - they just break down into unintelligible sobs and begin apologizing profusely.  Nobody want to be that asshole.

Or maybe nothing's said at all, until one day you wake up and you realize that you loathe the person you used to love most in the world, and at that point there's no going back.  Or, you answer the door and have divorce papers shoved in your face, while you're standing there legitimately not understanding what is going on or why.

Now that I think about it, I have been a bit of an assbutt lately.

Why do we do that to ourselves?

How hard is it to tell someone to pick up their own damned socks the first time, instead of silently gathering them up until the sight of the billionth sock 5 years down the road makes us want to suffocate them with their own foot stench marinated affronts to fabric?  Why do we pretend that all that obnoxious stuff isn't so bad, until it's so obnoxious that it destroys everything around it?

When I was a kid, my Dad put it to me this way (some poetic justices taken - but not many):

You go to a friend's house and they invite you to a spaghetti dinner. For whatever reason, you just don't feel like spaghetti right then.  Maybe you just had spaghetti the night before.  Maybe you're craving  tacos instead.  Maybe you've already made plans with someone else.  But, rather than risk hurting their feelings by just turning them down, you say, "oh, I can't, I hate spaghetti."  Which is dumb because spaghetti is delicious.  But whatever.

But, your friend, being a good friend, remembers from then on that you "hate" spaghetti.  So the next time you go to their house for dinner, they make sure it's not spaghetti.  So even if you really, really want spaghetti - too bad.  Tacos.  No spaghetti for you.

Then, later on, they catch you eating spaghetti.  "Hey, I thought you hated spaghetti!"  So you then either have to fess up to lying or pretend that whoever was cooking the spaghetti at their house is just a really awful spaghetti cook.  Which is mean.  Either way - AWKWARD.  And totally unnecessary.

It would have just been easier to be honest the first time, and told them, "Nah, I don't really feel like spaghetti tonight, maybe later."

Which is dumb, because spaghetti is delicious.  But whatever.

Side note:  this is how many of my life lessons were learned, if that makes anything clearer as far as my own ramblings go.

Anywho, I refer to this as the Spaghetti Rule:  just be honest the first time, and you'll never have to backtrack or lie more to get out of that first "little" lie.

Hey, tacos are awesome, but sometimes you just want some damn spaghetti.  

Do you really hate spaghetti and fail to find anything helpful in this blog post?  Post your complaints on my Facebook Page

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