Jana Says

Living life from cover to cover

Tag Archive: opinions

Weekly six-pack, 2017, v26

Thank you all so much for your thoughts and comments on Dobie. I miss him so hard and am slowly easing back into normal life or whatever normal looks like now. We do plan to get another dog but it’s off the table until I return from Dallas which is actually better for all of us, Barkley included. And as far as rejoining the blogging world. I’m getting there.

In the meantime, here’s what my life looked like this week when I wasn’t crying.

Reading.American Fire by Monica Hesse. I planned to start Caroline but this one called me instead. Haven’t bothered to look at NetGalley or get anything from the library. Three year anniversary for Show Us Your Books is Tuesday and that means giveaway and prizes!

Watching. American Vandal. It’s a Netflix parody of true crime docs but it’s incredibly hilarious and well done and definitely stands on its own merit. I also started The Disappearance of Maura Murray. Fascinating shit, that case.

Listening. I’m trying to get into some new serial (not Serial) type podcasts and I found Small Town Horror which is okay but not my favorite. I have a couple of others that I’m looking forward to but if you know of any in the vein of Homecoming or Alice Isn’t Dead, send them my way, please.

Eating. Um, well, really nothing beyond basic sustenance. I don’t eat when I’m grieving (although I binge when I’m stressed) so I’ve been on a steady diet of coffee, cheese, and tortilla chips. If you have any recipes that might help bring back my appetite, please also send them my way. If they can be adapted into gluten free, all the better.

Raging. Watching the events in Las Vegas and the horror show of 45’s trip to Puerto Rico and the new abortion ban that passed the House and the lack of vote to reauthorize CHIP and now 9 million kids are uninsured unfold when you’re in a fog makes it hard to really process all that you’re seeing. Where I want to see red, and believe me I do, I just feel helpless instead. I CANNOT handle what the orange menace is doing to this country and to see people like Pitbull and Bethenny Frankel and Mark Cuban and Ricky Martin and others step in overwhelms me to the point of crying even more. And then there’s the Second Amendment. I’ve never really expressed my opinion on this in any forum but here goes. I have absolutely ZERO problem with the amendment itself. I have no problem with people owning guns for their own safety, protection, or simple amusement. You feel that you need a conceal and carry permit, have the fuck at it. There are thousands and thousands of responsible, normal gun owners in this country and it is their right to do so. HOWEVER. We have a serious fucking problem with mass shootings. We have a serious fucking problem with access to assault rifles and unhinged lunatics who procure them and the accessories needed to turn them into even bigger weapons of mass destruction. We have a serious fucking problems with gun control laws and regulations and an even more serious problem with the gun lobby. People are too afraid to lose a donor than to stand up and protect the rights of concert goers, movie goers, club goers, church goers, women attending exercise classes, people going to work, and KIDS WHO DID NOTHING ELSE BUT GO TO SCHOOL. Freedom of assembly is in the First Amendment and we have a raging problem of the power of the Second usurping the freedom guaranteed in the First.  Gun control and regulation is not taking away the right to own guns. It is limiting access to people who shouldn’t have them in the first place and adapting our laws to match the evolution of the weapons and accessories. Assault rifles in their current form weren’t a thing in the 1780s when the Constitution was written and I’m confident the Founding Fathers would be just fine with some modifications. We should all be. THE TIME TO TALK ABOUT IT WAS IN 1999 BUT NOW WILL DO, TOO. JUST HAVE THE FUCKING DISCUSSION.

Deciding. To run a bunch of 5Ks next year. I hate running but Dobie loved it and because of his heart, he never could do it as much as he wanted so for the next year, my husband and I are going to honor him by running when we can and in races that support causes we believe in.

I try to end these with something funny so

Have a great weekend! Wish me luck as I’m going shopping. I hate shopping.

Unpopular opinons

Every fall since 2011 I’ve attended a blogger conference. At this conference, one of the sponsors routinely provides cookies. These cookies are white chocolate covered Oreos coated in purple sprinkles and stamped with the sponsor’s logo. Most attendees refer to them as blogger crack. I refer to them as disgusting. 

I’m 100% comfortable with my opinion and I stand by it and also, it’s just a number of unpopular opinions I have or popular things I don’t like. For instance:

Pumpkin spice anything. The only right way to consume a PSL is dump it right down the drain and when I was in Walmart a few weeks ago, I swear to you I was in pumpkin spice hell (which is different than the regular hell that is Walmart). It’s madness, and it needs to stop immediately because we all know pumpkin spice really isn’t that great. You can tell yourself it is but really? NO. Apple cinnamon, maple pecan, hell the smell of wet leaves is better than pumpkin spice. 

Game of Thrones.  I don’t have any fucks to give about it and I don’t care to find a fuck. See also: Harry Potter related anything, Gilmore GirlsThe Walking Dead, This Is Us, any prime time reality show.

Audiobooks. I don’t like them. They’re not reading for me. They’re listening to someone tell me a story. When I read, I want to actively engage and read. Not passively listen. 

Wedding hashtags.  I get that they’re for finding all social media pictures from a particular wedding but good fucking lord. They’re stupid and take vanity to a level I am incredibly uncomfortable with. How do I make them stop? See also: the word “bumpdate”. Sorry, preggo friends. I hate the word and I’d like to banish it. 

Punctuation abuse. Look, I know it’s trendy to put grammar in a corner and forget that it’s important and to just say what you want and blame autocorrect. But OMG it is important and I will totally and forever judge you if you can’t use a proper apostrophe or understand the difference between “where” and “wear”. Also, if you’re trying to make a political statement about how kneeling during “The Star Spangled Banner” is unpatriotic and it is riddled with grammatical and punctuation errors, I will not take you seriously at all and your opinions are invalidated in my eyes. If you’re going to be that impassioned, at least take the time to spell words correctly. 

Ed Sheeran. I think his music sucks. There. I said it. (Also I’m not a huge Beyonce fan. I think she has an obscene amount of talent but I don’t get the constant and incessant worship)

Scarves in fall. How about scarves never? Putting a scarf around my neck makes me feel like I’m being strangled and I want it removed pronto. I will not purposefully spend money on a scarf as an accessory. Hell, I don’t like to spend money on them as a necessity for the 4 days a winter when NOT wearing one means I’ll freeze. 

Craft beers and IPAs. EWWWWWW for days. I’ll take my stouts and porters and my vodka sodas when I don’t feel like tearing up my stomach. But most microbrews are horrible and I don’t understand the love they get. 

Wine. I don’t like that, either. Except moscato. I’ll drink that. 

To be fair, I’m not completely immune to the allure of popular things. There are several that I do enjoy: 80s and 90s nostalgia, Carpool Karaoke, How To Get Away with Murder, hating on Joe Buck (he really fucking sucks, though), wasting time taking BuzzFeed quizzes, red lipstick, Adele, yoga pants, and all the IG pictures of coffee and sunsets and dogs and cats. 

It’s a good balance for me. 

How about you guys? What are some unpopular opinions you have about popular things?

Thanks to Stephanie for the post idea

 

 

 

 

 

Make it stop

This blog post is part of the Suicide Prevention Awareness Month blog tour in partnership with Debt Drop. If you’re dealing with depression or suicidal thoughts, please know you’re not alone. And it might not seem like it now but it will get better. Maybe with medication, maybe with therapy, maybe with time, maybe with all three. But it will get better. And please, if you need help, reach out to someone. A professional, preferably. Especially if you’re thinking about suicide. You can find help at 1-800-273-8255 or via the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website: http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ or text HOME to 741741

Whether we realize it or not, all of our lives have been touched, at some point, by suicide. It might be personal, it might be professional, it might just be from hearing about Chester Bennington or Robin Williams in the news. But we all know someone who’s taken their life. And, more than anything, it’s hard to understand how or why someone would do that.

There is no simple answer. Depression is a complicated, shape shifting monster that fucks with your brain in any way it can and has no regard for race, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, age, or anything else (we can talk about statistics if you’d like but really, depression does not discriminate). It strips you of everything you love and feel one minute, makes you feel everything on steroids the next, and in between it gives you moments of respite. Like a dog, it’s always there, following you around, waiting to see what you do next. But unlike a dog, it never brings you joy or comfort. It mostly just pees in your bed and shits on your shoes.

Depression loves to kick you when you’re down, too. Just when you think you can’t feel worse, it ramps up. It tells you you’re worthless and no one cares about you and all the things we think people feel about us (and sometimes we feel about ourselves) in a loud voice that screams above all the others. Not only that, it says it constantly and on a loop. You cannot escape it and it eventually becomes fact. It’s irrational and irritating and shrill and bossy and sometimes so loud the only way to make it stop is to just stop being. When you get that low, the only way to stop the hurt is to not be here anymore.

Suicide isn’t a rational decision because depression isn’t rational. I wouldn’t even classify suicide as a decision or choice. It’s an action that’s forced upon you by a lying murderer because you can’t spend one more day feeling like you don’t matter and that no one cares. And when someone take their own life it’s not because they want to cause more hurt. Revenge or spite suicide isn’t a thing. Someone dies by suicide because dying is less painful than living.

If you’ve never experienced true clinical depression–and if you haven’t, I would never, ever wish it on you–it’s hard to wrap your brain around how someone can feel like that. After all, aren’t we just supposed to choose happy? Just wake up and put a smile on your face and take on the day? Fuck that. If you have a sick brain, you can’t choose it. Because trust when I say anyone with depression would choose happy over this shit any day.

It’s a horrible thing to think that someone feels so worthless that they truly believe the world is better without them in it. Which is why it’s up to us to make a concerted effort to understand depression. If you have a friend suffering (and, to be fair, you might not always know if someone is hurting. We are experts at hiding it so please don’t blame yourself if you aren’t or weren’t aware), call or text them. Let them know that they’re safe around you to be whatever they need to be that day. Let them know that you’re there for them when they’re ready. Be patient. Tell them they’re loved. Tell them something you like about them or recount a funny story. Reach out and keep reaching out even if they don’t respond. But more than anything, don’t give up on them. They need you.

For those of us fighting depression, we have a responsibility to educate. To help end the stigma and make it okay for people to talk about their mental illness. To stop hiding in shame. To tell our stories and provide comfort and hope to those who are suffering. To give them a comfortable place to talk without judgement.

And to anyone who is suffering, let me say this again:

If you are feeling like you literally cannot live anymore, please, PLEASE tell someone. Doesn’t have to be family or a close friend. Tell a random person on the internet. Text a random number. Email me or reach out to me on social media. But just tell someone. Because, despite what lies the depression is telling you right now, your life is important. You are a good person. You have gifts to share. You will find the place where you belong, with people who love you for who you are. You are more than your debt, your bankruptcy, your job loss, or whatever horrible situation you are in. I’d even be willing to bet that there are people right now who love you just as you are and don’t give a shit about the rest. You will survive whatever it is you’re going through.

Because.

Depression lies.

You are worth life.

8 things I’ve learned about losing weight

Over the last 11 months, I’ve lost a bunch of weight. I’m not comfortable disclosing the actual amount but it’s enough that I need all new everything and that people I see regularly, including the owner of my gym, notice. I mean, I don’t see it but apparently it’s there.

I’m not saying that to brag or show off or make you feel terrible about yourself. Because honestly, this was a decision I made for me and if you make a different one for you, that’s cool. I support whatever you want to do and whatever is best for you. But after the 80th or so time of my weight being alluded to in conversation (and the final time by a woman for whom I have a ton of respect), I was sick of comments. I needed to change something (aside: it is never, ever okay to comment on someone’s weight. No matter how self-deprecating you might be in your comment, even as a form of commiseration, you’d be better off shutting the fuck up. If you think you should say something, don’t. Just don’t. This applies also if a person is naturally skinny because there are people who want to weigh more and simply can’t).

So I did.

Truth be told, it’s hard. So. Fucking. Hard. I’m not going to sugarcoat it for you (incidentally, one thing you learn through losing weight is that sugar is in everything. Every blessed thing). But when you commit to doing it, you learn some things:

  1. Social media will either inspire you or make you feel worse. There is no in between. You will either look at pictures of people who’ve lost tremendous amounts of weight and feel like you too can conquer your weight loss or you’ll feel like it’s insurmountable and you’ll never be successful. You’ll figure it out rather quickly, which is nice, and once you do, go with it. For me, I can’t look at it because I’m in the latter camp. It’s better for me to ignore. I have enough self-esteem issues.
  2. Speaking of social media, you are under no obligation to declare anything on any form of social media. You do not have to post weekly pictures or check-ins of your weight loss or mention on Facebook that you’re on a diet or anything of that nature. If it helps you be accountable, then go for it. But if you’re like me, you need to do it quietly and in your own world. We live in this weird world of oversharing and being public about every fucking thing and if you’re fairly private, you feel awkward sharing and that may have to do with…
  3. The fact that you are fucking ashamed and embarrassed. Because OMG, HOW DID I GET SO DAMN FAT? Well, you might not say those exact words but I definitely did. Sharing my weight loss progress on social media meant and means admitting publicly what I say to myself daily. And because I judge myself so harshly I assume that others will do the same.
  4. However, you’ll need to get over your shit because without a support network you will fail. Specifically, having people who encourage you even on your worst days will make all the difference. For you it might be a FB group or an online community or your spouse. For me, it was friends I made at the gym (and trust when I say I struggle making friends. I’m weird and awkward and self-conscious so making friends was a huge step for me). There are two women there, not counting some of the instructors, who have helped me through this whole process probably even more than they realize. Without them I might have quit months ago. Also…
  5. Find exercise and an eating plan you can live with. Eating low carb and running isn’t going to help you if you’re miserable every minute of every day or dread doing it. Counting calories and Zumba aren’t going to work if you hate them. There are tons of options for how to eat and how to exercise. Find what makes you happy and fits with your life because that is the only way to keep at it on the days you really really don’t want to. But remember that…
  6. It’s okay to take it easy for a day. Or even a week. Most people cannot be committed to perfect eating and exercising 100% of their days. So it’s fine for you to go off-plan for a day and feel like a normal person. Just don’t step on the scale for a few days afterwards because it will kill your motivation and self-esteem and you will berate yourself more than usual. Fine, that might be just me but feeling “normal” is sometimes the only way to sustain the long arduous process of losing weight.
  7. While we’re talking about the scale, it is also essential that you have nonscale victories. Sometimes the scale might not move but a pair of pants you couldn’t fit into 6 months ago are too loose or your rings will fall off or being able to run a 5K without stopping. You must celebrate those victories in some way. I don’t care if it’s with new makeup or a manicure or an IG post or a piece of cake. You must celebrate and acknowledge your progress. Your mental health through the process will thank you.
  8. And finally, accept that this is not an easy thing to do. It’s not a quick process at all. Basically, losing weight fucking sucks balls. Hard. You will want to quit on more days you want to keep going. Getting off the couch in the cold and rain to go to the gym is awful. Eating with no restrictions is fun; counting calories is not. Your self-image will take a beating one day and you’ll feel amazing the next. But. If it’s something you want for yourself–and, let’s be clear. You must want to do this for yourself and no one else–it is worth every agonizing day.

If you’re curious how I’ve lost weight, it’s simple. I use the app Lose It, eat mostly protein and veggies (with some exceptions. You can pry my cheese out of my cold, dead hands), and take a variety of exercise classes (boxing, Pilates, and BodyPump. I’ve also started running 3 days a week. I double up some days if I need to). That’s genuinely it. Nothing gimmicky, nothing tricky, nothing else.

Also. Who you are doesn’t change whether you’re thin or fat or somewhere in between. You will still be you and who you are is just fine. But if you want to change the packaging, I say go for it.

Let me be clear. I’m not at all qualified to tell you what you need to do to lose weight. You should consult a doctor or nutritionist or even a health blogger. I’m just a formerly fat lady who’s less fat now. And, if I may, I’m kind of proud of that.

P.S. Set your own goals. You know how much you want to weight or what your ideal clothing size is. Aim for that and don’t let anyone else dictate what it is. Unless it’s a doctor. Maybe listen to a doctor’s suggestion.

P.P.S. When I say fat, it’s an adjective. It’s not a moral judgement. Fat does not mean bad or less than or whatever else we as a society use it to mean as a value or person’s worth.

Ramble on

Brace yourselves. It’s a Jana rant and ramble coming full speed ahead.

It’s been almost 2 weeks since my last post. Some of that is due to laziness, some of it is due to end-of-summer-let’s-cram-in-everything-possible madness, and some of it is due the absolute endless dumpster fire that is this country. My brain is on fire, my soul aches, my patience is gone, my blood is hot, and I continually feel every emotion possible EVERY SINGLE DAY. I’ve been trying to work out the words to explain my thoughts and feelings but each time I try, I come away in tears and have to stop. You guys. I’m Jewish. Never in my life have I been this scared to be a Jew in this country. Have I dealt with ignorance and idiots and a lack of understanding and been treated like a freak on display? Absolutely, yes, constantly and still to this day. And I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been told “you don’t look Jewish”. But that doesn’t matter. Because when I can watch the news and actually utter the phrase “I’ve never been so glad to have a non-Jewish sounding last name”, you know American anti-Semitism (yes, WordPress. It’s a real fucking word and the hyphen is supposed to be there. Stop with the red squiggly line yelling at me that I’m wrong) has reached a new level. Is it on par with the hate and vitriol other groups receive? Not in the least. I still have the comfort of white skin and I acknowledge that. But if something isn’t done, AND SOON, I don’t know how much longer I can say that. We’re all at risk in one way or another and if I’m being honest, arresting and charging the neo-Nazi featured on that VICE news segment isn’t going to help anything. It will fuel their already white hot hate fire. I’m not saying he should get away with anything; I’m just saying we need to brace ourselves for backlash. This isn’t a man who’s going to turn to his followers and say “do the right thing”. This is a man who’s going to turn to his followers and say “do the right thing”. 

We all know they have very different meanings. 

And the worst part is we have an unqualified man in a position of leadership who, instead of using that position to heal, uses it DAILY to divide and spread his hateful agenda. We all know this. And we all know why. He’s doing it because he aspires to be a fascist tyrant rather than a leader. He hurls insults and temper tantrums at anyone and everyone who doesn’t kiss his ass or even attempts to express slightly different opinion.  We all know that he wants to go to war because he wants his turn. He’s jealous of the praise and accolades heaped on Obama before, during, and after his presidency, and the man occupying that chair now can’t handle it. He wants it for himself, no matter how undeserving, and he’s obsessed with popularity rather than actually doing his fucking job. He doesn’t care how many people he has to hurt, harm, or isolate to get his way. He’s a spoiled petulant hateful child with anger issues, a lack of compassion and now, nuclear codes and the overt support of white supremacists with whom he sympathizes. 

Not sure which one is worse. 

While my anger continues to simmer, I have gotten to the point of oversaturation. I can’t stop consuming news and information because I need to know. I want to know. I HAVE TO KNOW what’s happening because my concern is that if I stop paying attention, I’ll miss something crucial. But it never ever fucking stops. We never get a rest or reprieve. Hell, even as I write this, we’re dealing with the fallout from his Arizona speech, the transgender military ban, and an active shooter in downtown Charlestown.  My brain cannot take one more detail or one more issues to be angry about but how do you stop when the world around you is burning down and while you might have a small platform, you still have a voice and a space to do something about it even if that something is vent so others don’t feel like they’re alone?

I guess, like an oversaturated towel, you wring yourself out, dry off a bit and get back to work. 

That’s pretty much where I am now. But I don’t know how to do that. Talking about the mundane, unimportant things like the fact that I ate probably the most delicious donut of my life last weekend feels like I’m neglecting what I should be talking about but at the same time, I can’t live in this cesspool all the time. It’s not healthy. I have to talk about other things. I have to maintain sanity because if I lose my shit, if I can’t stay informed and vigilant, I’m useless. 

I know I’ll figure it out. 

Eventually. 

And if you have any tips or suggestions, I’m all ears. 

P.S. Does anyone else have this go through their head every time 45 opens his mouth?