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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Censorship

Banned Books Week is here, and has inspired my daily internet browsing a new focus. I've spent the last several hours reading about banned/challenged books and why people feel them to be inappropriate. The writer and American in me are both outraged.

Now, before I continue, I do want to make a quick disclaimer. OBVIOUSLY there are books, movies, shows, and music out there that contain things that are not suited for some people, whether due to age/maturity, beliefs, or any other reason. As a parent, I'm quick to remove things from my child's life if I feel they are inappropriate for him. That's my job as a parent. It is NOT the job of the government to decide what I or anyone else can handle.

The idea of censorship is absolutely ridiculous. Yes, schools do have the responsibility to screen all materials within their walls to ensure they are age appropriate, but that means only that 1st graders should not be reading The Scarlet Letter, and 12th graders should not be reading Dr. Seuss.

I do not understand how people don't realize that banning books actually promotes the ideologies within those books. If you ban a book for, say, racial content, then someone who get their hands on said book will read it and assume there must be some kind of truth to those ideas, for why else would we try to hide it? There is nothing racist about a book that takes place in the 1920s (Such as Mark Twain's "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn) referring to an African-American as a "colored" person. It's historically accurate.

By the same reasoning, banning of the book "Fahrenheit 451", in which books are outlawed and firemen will burn any home found to contain books, only promotes the idea that we should remove all things that dissent from that which is socially acceptable. All that which is not pure fact is to be disregarded, imagination is smothered. What is the purpose of banning this book? I firmly believe that banning it only encourages the idea that there is some truth to be found within the text.

Isn't the purpose of the rating scales created for movies, music, and video games to warn us that there may be content unsuited for certain people? If you have young children, and see a movie come out that's rated PG-13, would you not at least screen it before letting your children watch it? Most parents will say yes, they would. Why? Because there may be sexuality, violence, gore, nudity, or any other manner of things that a young child is not ready to be exposed to. As a parent, it's our DUTY to do such. This is not censorship. This is merely providing a safe environment for our children. When my son, and any other children I may have, are old enough and mature enough to make such decisions for himself/themselves, I will strongly encourage them to do so.

I look back at how my parents raised me. They were strict. Ratings of movies were firmly regarded as being the "rule" UNLESS my parents had seen the movie already and decided that my siblings and I were mature enough to watch it without negative effect. That is how I intend to raise my children. And once they are old enough that I can allow them to watch movies without concern for their mental well-being, I will also allow them to read whatever they desire. Why? Because a person who is old enough to watch a movie about (for instance) a serial killer without nightmares, mature enough to keep fiction separate from reality, is also old enough and mature enough to close a book or turn off a movie if they find the content ill-suited for themselves.

I am a very open-minded person. I do not see the world as polar; black and white. There is much in-between, and I am rarely phased by anything I see or read in the world of fiction. However, occasionally, I do stumble upon a book that disturbs me in some way. I cease reading it, and find something more suited to myself. However, I do not by any means condemn others who read it, or feel that books should be removed from shelves just because I didn't like them. What on earth, or in the Constitution, gives me that right? I don't have that right. I have control over my own home, what goes on inside it, and even that right I do not fully exercise. Why? Because I am not the only adult living in this house, and as long as the others in my home respect my wish that my child not yet be exposed to certain things, I do not have the right to control another adult's viewing/reading/listening habits. I'm lucky enough to live only with people who share the ideals about what is age appropriate for my 18 month old, so there have been no issues. Everyone is happy to go into another room, or record something to watch after 730, when my son is in bed and it's no longer an issue.

This is America. The land of the free. Let's start acting like it people.


Friday, August 31, 2012

Pregnancy Dreams vs Parenting Realities

When I was pregnant, I, like most soon-to-be moms, had this idealistic plan of how I would raise my child. 16 months into it, I've failed miserably at achieving those goals, but I still think I am a pretty damn good mother.

First thing I decided while pregnant, was that I was going to have a natural birth and there was no way I'd have a c-section at all unless absolutely medically necessary. Well, I ended up getting induced, and when my labor failed to progress from that I did have a c-section. I regret that choice, but you live and you learn, and my son came out a happy and healthy 8lbs 15oz, so maybe my c-section wasn't such a bad thing. There's always next time.

I also said I would nurse exclusively for the first year, and follow the pediatrician's recommendations to a T. Well, I nursed exclusively for 3 months, and introduced solids at 3 months rather than the recommended 6 months, and my son stopped nursing entirely at 6 months.

I swore my child would never eat fast food, but you know, sometimes we're out and about and the kid needs to eat something. Now I'm more about moderation. He occasionally has McDonald's, or a few bites of some Twizzlers, but that's okay because far more often he has baked chicken and broccoli or something of that nature.

I was also anti-television for my son. I never wanted him to watch television, let alone that "awful" children's programming that now passes as educational. However as a single mother, there are times when I really need to get things done around the house, and if that means letting him watch Cookie Monster or Elmo, so be it. He could be watching far worse and I need to provide him a clean and safe home to live in.

I swore I would never yell at my child, curse in front of him, or display any sort of behavior I didn't want him to emulate. But you know what? Accidents happen. I still feel horrible when I snap at him for having a tantrum, or let a "shit" slip out when I drop something, but I think overall it's the love and attention and affection he gets that while shape him into a man. Everyone slips sometimes, and while it's not ok to take my frustrations out on my son, it IS ok to let him know he's been bad and that I'm not pleased with his behavior.

Parenting is a learning process. My son is in the stage of transitioning from baby to child. He's learning so many things every day. Starting to talk, learning what he likes and dislikes, and developing a personality that is annoyingly similar to my own. However, he's not the only one who's learning. I'm learning from him every day. He's taught me patience. He's taught me how to control my emotions. He's taught me to find wonder in the littlest of things. As long as we keep learning from each other, and he's safe and loved, I can't beat myself up for not being quite as "perfect" as I thought I would be.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

You Can't Help Who You Love

I was browsing through my documents on my computer, trying to find an old story I'd written when I cam across this. It's dated from April 2012. I thought I'd share it with you all.


I'm really sick of people justifying staying in unhealthy relationships with the phrase "you can't help who you love". I've been in bad relationships, and I'm here to tell you that this is bull.

Love isn't the fire and passion movies like The Notebook make it out to be. It's much more than that. And while it's true you can't help who you're attracted to, you can most certainly help who you love. Love is a choice.

Love comes AFTER the honeymoon stage of a relationship. Love is what happens AFTER the obsessive "can't stop thinking about you, have to be with you all the time" part. Love is when you wake up one day, and you look at that person for who they REALLY are. The idealism is gone. You see their flaws. You see everything. You weigh out the things you love about a person and the things that drive you absolutely insane. Then you make a decision. This can go one of two ways.

You can take the pros and cons, and think "This person treats me like an angel. It bugs the crap out of me that they leave the cap off the toothpaste, but that's something I can live with, because the flaws I see are frivolous." That's when you make the decision to love them. Or it may go something more like this: "This person is a complete jerk to me most of the time. He/she is mean, condescending, and will only do something nice for me if it also benefits them. But they're really attractive and I hate being alone."

THAT IS NOT LOVE!

Love is also not the burning passion 24/7 that Hollywood describes. Love is waking up in the morning and just being happy that, for better or worse, you have THIS PARTICULAR PERSON in your life. Love is accepting the flaws and loving that person for their quirks, not in spite of them. Love is challenging each other every single day to be a better person. Love is a feeling of fulfillment and content. Let's look at some quotes about love, shall we?

The first is a Biblical reference from 1st Corinthians 13:4-7:
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does dishonor other, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."

No where in there does it say "Love gets cheated on, beaten, and abused but deals with it". It says that love is GOOD, even when times are not.

Marilyn Monroe also had a firm grasp on the idea of love.
"I'm selfish, impatient, and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control, and at times hard to handle. But if you can't handle me at my worst, you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best."

Hmmm....see I take this to mean "I have bad days, and if you can't be there for me when I need you, then you don't get to be there ever." Have I made my point yet? Let's try one more.

"Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage." - Lao Tzu

Love makes you stronger. It makes you a better person. When you experience REAL love, you're not afraid to make mistakes now and then, because you know there's someone to catch you if you fall. When you experience REAL love, you're not afraid to express yourself, because you know you will always be accepted and appreciated.

If none of this speaks to you, if nothing I've said makes you think of a specific person who fits the bill, I'm sorry to say you're not really in love. If I HAVE made you think of someone, and you're sitting there thinking "I wish my relationship were even a little bit like that", I'm here to tell you GET OUT AND FIND SOMEONE WHO WILL TREAT YOU LIKE THIS.

I'm a single mother. I'm not sitting here preaching at you because I'm in some perfect relationship and think I know it all. Not even close. I don't have a significant other, because I refuse to settle for less than this ever again. I'm waiting for real love. I'm waiting for the sacrifice to be worth the gain. I challenge you to do the same.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Politics

I once wore I'd never get wrapped up in the stupidity of it all, never allow myself to be forced to vote for the lesser of two evils. But as I've matured of the last couple of years, I can't help but to allow myself to get swallowed up in certain issues. And I'm not talking about gay marriage and abortion, those are personal ethical issues and should not be a part of politics. I mean things like the back and forth over whether the Dems or the GOP is waging a "war on women". Let's look at the pure facts here for a moment:

The Democratic party has, since Obama's election, put into effect laws that provide equal pay for women and require health care coverage to include contraceptive methods for both medical and personal use. On the other hand some well known public supporters of the Democratic party have said some things about women that were less than tasteful, including using the "c" word in reference to Sarah Palin, and another instance of the word "slut" in reference to another public female figure (I forget who, I'm sorry)


The GOP is trying to put into effect laws that violate a woman's right to control her own body, including one which allows an employer to pull medical records and fire any employee that uses contraceptive methods for reasons nonmedical, and also forcing women who desire an abortion to have a transvaginal ultrasound and see the developing fetus before going on with the procedure.

Ok, time for my opinion now:

GOP is a fucking joke right now. I do not affiliate with any set political party, but I definitely feel some type of way about these new laws they are trying to pass.

For one, pulling an employee's medical records and using those as part of "terms of employment" is completely unethical and violates doctor-patient confidentiality. Whether or not you agree with the use of contraception for nonmedical purposes (which for those of you do who do not understand this concept, some forms of birth control have been shown to help improve certain hormone imbalances that create health problems for women therefore making it a true medication rather than merely pregnancy prevention), it has NOTHING TO DO with whether or not a person is qualified to perform a job.

As for the idea of forcing women to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound before abortion, let me make one thing clear. While I do not support abortion, I do not pretend to know what is right for another woman, and speaking from personal experience, TVUs are HIGHLY INVASIVE and can be PAINFUL and even TRAUMATIZING. Not to mention it fits the very definition of rape, which according to the World Health Organization is "physically forced or otherwise coerced penetration – even if slight – of the vulva or anus, using a penis, other body parts or an object". Even with informed consent and no coercion, both times I underwent TVUs I felt incredibly violated and would never have agreed to submitting to them were it not medically necessary to find the cause of the health issues I was having at the time. To force women to submit to this procedure is morally, ethically, politically, and humanely WRONG. I realize many of those words mean basically the same thing, but I need to make this point very clear.

When it boils down to it, speaking as a woman, I would rather be called a slut or even the "c" word than have to submit my medical records for a job, let alone be forced to submit to invasive and unnecessary medical procedures because someone ethically disagrees with a choice I make in regards to my own body.

Depression

I am hating myself right now, to the point of wanting to cry. I look in the mirror and am disgusted by how thin I am, I know it's not healthy. No matter what I do I can't gain any weight though. I'm literally afraid to eat healthy food because I feel like I need all the fat and carbs to keep from losing even more weight. The thought of becoming so thin I get sick keeps me awake at night because if I get sick, I can't take care of my son, and if I can't take care of my son I will have nothing. Then I get stressed, and I can't eat when I'm stressed or I puke...uggh

Saturday, March 17, 2012

I effing hate St. Paddy's Day now

I've never been huge on this holiday, I'm not Irish and I'm not a big drinker so it holds no real excitement for me.  People who know me have learned not to pinch me when I don't wear green because I will not hesitate to turn around and deck you. But as of today, I officially hate St. Paddy's Day.

It's Fatty first St. Paddy's, and we live on the parade route (hence the comment in previous post about bagpipes). I thought it would be fun to take him downstairs and watch the parade, the one child friendly activity on this holiday (and I secretly love parades!!). We have a Zem Zem Shrine Club where I live, and what's more entertaining than old men in tiny cars and motorcycles?

Well we went downstairs, and Fatty was loving it. It's a beautiful day so he didn't need a coat, and there were dogs everywhere (his favorite) and there were even some horses in the parade which caught his attention to the point of him almost squirming out of my arms to keep watching after they were past us. I was having fun watching all the little kids run around after candy, admiring how well behaved they were all being since none of them were fighting. There were even a group of young boys who were sharing their candy with a little girl nearby who was too small to beat out the bigger and faster kids. I'm actually tearing up a little writing this because it was so sweet, they didn't even know her, just walked over to her and handed her a bunch of candy without saying a word and went back to their parents. Ahh, the beauty of childhood innocence. Anywho

Shortly after the adorable candy sharing, disaster struck. A bunch of drunken idiots came stumbling up the street from a nearby bar. I'm ashamed to say I recognized them and they live in my building. Those ASSHOLES started pushing little kids out of the way to get the candy! WHO DOES THAT??? Not only is that wrong and unethical no matter which way you twist it, but it's the ONLY child friendly thing that happens on St. Paddy's day and they just HAD to ruin it?? I'm sorry, but honestly I don't care if it's a fucking holiday, there's no reason to be that drunk at 2pm anyway. It's stupid and immature, grow up. If you really NEED to be that drunk that early, STAY IN THE GODDAMN BAR! Or at least watch the parade from in front of the bar, almost every bar on the pub crawl is on or very close to the parade right, you could easily watch from there with all your asshole drunken buddies without disturbing those of us attempting to enjoy it with out children.

I hate St. Patrick's day.

Unhealthy slob

I feel so disgusting sometimes. Not like in a self conscious way, but just physically I feel icky a lot. I miss the way I felt when I ate healthy, exercised regularly, and drank tons of water. I want to get back to that. SO here is my plan.

I've already started using myfitnesspal.com to track my caloric intake. I'm starting to think I have some type of throid disorder, since I almost never feel hunger and no matter how much I eat I lose weight. Myfitnesspal at least helps me to make sure I take in enough calories/carbs/fat to maintain the weight I currently have (in theory anyway). I'm going to continue using this religiously and include my exercise so I can monitor how well I'm stick to my plan.

I'm going to start doing my P90X. I've been putting it off saying "I don't have time" but I definitely do have time, I'm just lazy and don't want to do it when I have the time.

I'm really going to stop smoking. For real. Like, once this pack is gone I'm done. I can't afford this, physically or financially. And I just feel dirty for doing it anymore.

I'm going to phase out soda with water. When I drink water I feel lively and refreshed. When I drink soda I feel flappy fat and lazy (bonus point to anyone who knows which Disney song that is from!)

Time to go, I hear bagpipes outside which means the parade is starting!