Jana Says

Living life from cover to cover

Tag Archive: random

Smash the patriarchy. Stop the bullshit.

Before we get started, I just want to say that I had intended to start this post with some sort of definition of “smash the patriarchy” that was better than what I could come up with. So I Googled it. Pro tip: Don’t do that. It will send you into a rage you didn’t think possible because some of the definitions and opinions floating around are exactly why this phrase needs to exist. 

Okay. Confession time. I’ve never really considered myself a feminist. I mean, I didn’t NOT consider myself one but I never put myself in the same category as the women out there campaigning and championing women’s rights. I mostly kept my thoughts and feelings to myself, even though I’m a raging liberal with a need to see justice and fairness and equality. I didn’t find it necessary to speak up or out or engage with people who are so blind as to see why equality and diversity are essential or have overt misogynistic or homophobic or racist tendencies (mostly because I hate confrontation but also because sometimes it’s easier to smile, nod, and walk away than engage. You know who you can have a conversation with and with whom you cannot).

But now I’m raising a daughter in the Trump era and my God, I just cannot keep my mouth shut anymore. 

Because I refuse to have her believe she can’t do anything she wants or be anything she wants or look anyway she wants simply because someone else told her it’s not ladylike or, the even more demeaning, “girls don’t do that”. Oh, really? Says who? I certainly didn’t tell her that. So who the fuck are you to say it? (And what the fuck is “ladylike” anyway? It’s a bullshit term that needs to go.)

Because I refuse to have believe her body doesn’t belong to her. And it’s bullshit that this country is passing laws that takes her autonomy away. 

Because I refuse to have her believe she has to be ashamed of who she loves, whomever that may be in the future. And it’s bullshit that gay marriage is still up for debate. Or that it’s even called gay marriage. Why can’t it just be marriage?

Because I refuse to to have her believe that she can’t change the world if she wants to. And it’s bullshit that people are still threatened by powerful women. Aren’t there countries in the word LED by women? (And hey there, RBG and Elizabeth Warren and Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama. I see you. My daughter sees you. And we thank you.)

Because I refuse to have her believe that our laws are purposefully designed against her and she has to fight for equality. And it’s bullshit that women still don’t receive the same pay and are told things like take off your engagement ring before a job interview (it’s true. I don’t even want to link to it because it’s so damn offensive on every level possible, including his response to criticism). WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK? 

Because I refuse to have her believe she doesn’t have choices. And it’s bullshit to think she’ll be scrutinized regardless of what she chooses. Women, this one’s on us, too. The mommy wars and mommy shaming and sanctimommies and career moms vs. SAHM and moms vs. non-moms needs to fucking stop. PRONTO. We need to support each other and stand up for one another. You don’t have to agree with someone’s choice, and it might not be what you would do for yourself, but you do have to respect it. All of these problems will persist like herpes if we can’t get it together and unite. 

I know that the ideals in this country run deep. It’s how things have operated for…well, basically forever. But we’ve changed our minds before. Women can vote now. There’s term limits on the presidency. Hell, prohibition existed and then a few years later, it didn’t. Because people realize that once worked no longer does. Or that some laws are just fucking stupid.

That’s where we stand now. 

What used to work in this country doesn’t work anymore. 

Now is the time to redefine old fashioned ideas, ideals, and vocabulary. 

Now is the time we smash the patriarchy.

Now is the time we stop the bullshit.

Smashing the patriarchy isn’t about violence or hating men. It’s about eliminating the double standards and nonsense laws and absurd standards placed on women (and minorities and any other disenfranchised groups). It’s about making the elite, white men given the enormous responsibility of creating our laws understand that different means just that. DIFFERENT.

It doesn’t mean bad or threatening or scary.

And different deserves respect, rights, and protection, too.

 

My Christmas not to-do list

December is a weird, expensive month for my family. Between Christmas and Hanukkah and the child’s birthday, all of our money goes away. We manage it the best we can but still. See you in January, cash, along with my sanity, organization, and clean(ish) house. 

That said, we do have some holiday traditions that, thankfully, are free or mostly free. Driving around to look at lights, decorating gingerbread houses (from a kit, usually purchased a Michael’s with a coupon. Please do not think I’m ambitious enough to make that shit from scratch), and watching The Muppets Christmas Carol. In fact, here’s our full list. It’s pretty much remained the same in the two years since I wrote it. 

But since I like balance, let’s talk about all the thing I do not do at Christmastime. 

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  • Employ The Elf on the Shelf. First of all, it’s fucking creepy. Second of all, I’m way too lazy to remember to move the thing. Third, why am I going to make messes and projects that I’m going to have to clean up? 
  • Drink from Starbucks red cups. I hate Starbucks coffee. It’s disgusting. I’m not a fan of their hot chocolate either. And why am I going to pay $9 for a cup of hot tea simply because it’s in a red cup? Or spend 48 minutes in line waiting to spend $9 on tea in a red cup? I’m not. So I drink my candy cane tea from my Muppets mug instead and I don’t even have to leave my house. See also: eggnog. Why does it exist?
  • Send holiday cards. This is one of those “one day I’ll do it” things and finally I realized that no fucking way is it ever going to happen because I’m too forgetful and I lose addresses and like with the creeper Elf, lazy. I’m sorry, friends. I love you but no cards from me. 
  • Watch Love Actually. Confession: I’ve never seen it. I’m not really sure I care to. Don’t even know where to find it if I did want to watch it. See also: all the other Hallmark/Lifetime type Christmas movies. 
  • Wear holiday manicures. The closest I’ll come is some sparkly red nail polish I have. But snowmen or Santa hats or whatever the hell else ambitious people get painted on their nails? No and no.
  • Listen to Christmas music. This where it gets tricky. While I LOATHE most Christmas music, some of the nontraditional songs are pretty fun. My husband, however, enjoys all the songs so we compromise. I made a playlist mixed with both types and we listen to it on only two days: gingerbread house day and Christmas day. 
  • Attend an ugly sweater party. This implies that I’m going to attend a party and I’m 100% confident that is not going to happen. 
  • Have a cookie baking day. I make 3 ingredient microwave fudge and one type of cookie. It takes 20 minutes. That’s all I’m willing to spend. Besides, I work from home and I shouldn’t be left alone with peanut butter fudge and the husband works with 5 other people and last year, all the stuff I sent to his work got thrown away so fuck them. 
  • Encourage my child to wake up at 5AM to open presents. Mama needs her sleep. Don’t mess with that. 

I’m sure there more things that I don’t do and I’m sure I’ll think of it later. That’s pretty much the story of this time of year. 

How about you guys? Is there anything you don’t or won’t do around the holidays?

 

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The importance of being honest

If you’ve spent any time around these parts, you know that one trait I cannot stand is lying. I have a zero tolerance policy for it. If you say you’re going to do something, do it. If you’ve done something, admit it. I might be angry at the action or lack of but I’ll be even angrier if you lie to me about it. I find lying to be one of the most contemptible, reprehensible behaviors and, if you lie to me, we’re essentially done. I already have major trust issues; I don’t need them confirmed with lies (in fact, being lied to is precisely WHY I have trust issues but that’s another topic).

But I get that sometimes a lie might be necessary or not entirely mean spirited. For instance, your weight on your driver’s license (why is this even still a thing?). Telling a 6 year old that Santa is real. Or pretending you’re going to a nice dinner when it’s really a surprise party. Shit like that. I can let those types of lies pass. 

However, there’s a whole list of lies I cannot. Here’s a sample:

  • Seeing someone with food in their teeth and say no if they ask. Especially if that person is me. If I ask and I do, let me know. I don’t want to walk around like that. See also: tags sticking out of clothes, toilet paper on shoe
  • Breaking or losing something I’ve lent you and then pretending like nothing happened. Just tell me. I won’t be mad. I promise. 
  • If you’re angry with me. I cannot stand passive aggressive behavior and if I’ve done something to upset or anger you, please tell me so we can work it out. We’re adults. 
  • Telling me I look good in an outfit if I, in fact, do not. Trust when I say you can’t be harsher on me then I am on myself. 
  • Continuing to work or maintain a relationship with me when you no longer want to but instead of saying something, you just disappear or forget to get back to me or something else shady. Just own up to your feelings. I can take it. Ghosting is the ultimate insult. 
  • Making promises you don’t keep. 
  • Pretending to be something or someone you’re not. 

Even more than the things you should always be honest with me about is one key thing you need to be honest with yourself about. And that thing is being honest about what you want from, well, life in general. What are your goals? What do you see your life looking like 5, 10, 20 years from now? What’s important to you? You have to admit those things, sans fear of judgement, because it’s your life. You need to do you. And you can’t fret about upsetting or displeasing someone else, even if that person is a parent or spouse. You need to prioritize your happiness and enjoyment. 

If you’re worried it’s too late, it’s not. You can always, ALWAYS start over. 

I know because I’m right there with you.

I recently found a picture of 24 year old me. She was so full of everything–confidence and hope and promise and believed in herself and her goals. Then I look at a picture of 39 year old me and holy shit, have I let younger me down. I have not fulfilled any of the promises I made her. 

I am a liar.

I hate that about me.

I will tell you, it makes me insanely uncomfortable to admit certain things to myself (never mind out loud). It’s that whole “deep down in places you don’t talk about at parties” part of myself that I’m scared of. I’m scared to stop lying and start owning what I know is my truth. But I know that the only way anything will change is if I do that. 

Being honest is fucking scary, y’all. 

But if we’re not honest, then we’re liars. 

And liars are assholes. 

Let’s not be assholes. 

 

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Post-election words for my daughter

Last night, my country elected a racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, socially regressive demagogue and his homophobic running mate into the 2 highest offices possible. I haven’t fully comprehended quite how it happened, although, if I’m being completely honest, I kind of do. And it makes me incredibly sad.

My daughter, the champion badass that she is, tried to stay awake as long as possible, keeping hope alive that things would turn and she would go to bed in a world where Hillary was winning. She cried when it didn’t. And now it’s my job to explain to her that even though our country is on fire, it’ll all be okay. And not simply because we live in a state that just elected our first female black representative but because we live in a country that, despite the horrific outcome of last night’s election, has this:

  • People who will stand up to the bigotry and hatred and fight for what’s right
  • A system that allows us to be outspoken and critical of our government and people screaming their discontent as loud as they can
  • A generation of kids my daughter’s age who see what’s going on and who have parents that encourage them to get involved and who will do so because they want to do better than we did
  • A Constitution that protects basic rights and, despite the way it might appear, will continue to protect those rights
  • Resilience
  • An election cycle that will hopefully undo this shitshow in 4 years

Donald Trump might be our president-elect but he can’t control what goes on in our living rooms. He can’t stop me from teaching my daughter the value and importance of compassion and tolerance. He can’t stop me from teaching her that bullying is wrong and acceptance is right. He can’t stop me from teaching her that her vote matters, even in a country that makes her feel like it doesn’t. He can’t stop me from teaching her that “NO” is a complete sentence and no one has the right to touch her anywhere he wants simply because he thinks he can. He can’t stop me from teaching her that love is love. He can’t stop me from teaching her that she needs to educate herself and not fall prey to shiny, empty promises. He can’t stop me from teaching her that name calling and mockery are not a dignified way to get what what you want. He can’t stop me from teaching her to use her voice to express her discontent. He can’t stop me from teaching her that we’ve come too far as a country to turn back now. He can’t stop me from teaching her that yes, you need to respect the office of the president, but that he is #notmypresident. 

He is not reflective of our family’s values and beliefs. He is not reflective of my vision and hope for this country’s future. He is not reflective of my vote.

So, to my daughter, I also say: I’m sorry this country let you down. I’m sorry we showed that the 2nd amendment is more important than the 19th. I’m sorry we showed that the behavior you’re learning is unacceptable was just condoned and given incredible power. I’m sorry we didn’t do enough. I hope that my deepest fears about the results never come to fruition and that it’s rage and sadness rather than logic talking now. I hope that as far as racial and social progress go, we continue moving forward rather than backward. I hope that we don’t leave you an insurmountable mess to fix when you’re my age.  

But please don’t surrender to fear and know that we, and our country, will survive this. 

It will all be okay. 

In the words of Bob Marley, Every little thing gonna be alright. 

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You have my permission

You know what I’ve noticed? And it’s something I am guilty of, too. 

I’ve noticed that women, in general, often wait for permission to do…well, just about anything. We sit and wait for someone else’s opinions or approval before we make decisions because we’re afraid of the ramifications, whatever they may be.

I think this is bullshit.

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So, for all the women, even though you don’t need it, if it gives you strength and confidence, you have my permission:

To express any and all opinions you wish. Someone might disagree with you but go ahead and say them anyway. Stop worrying who you offend. People take offense to everything anyway.

To wear whatever the fuck you want. And to love your body exactly the way it is. Or want to improve it. But throw that self-loathing shit out the fucking window.

To not feel pressured or forced to explain, justify, or defend your choices and decisions. 

To have lofty goals and work like hell to achieve them.

To unapologetically say no to anything or anyone that makes you uncomfortable, unhappy, or you simply don’t want to do. It is not your obligation to people please or jeopardize your own comfort level to accommodate someone else.

To go back to work after you have a child. Or to stay home. No judgment here.

To leave a job, relationship, friendship, or any other situation that puts your health (physical and/or mental), safety, finances, and self-confidence at risk. If you’re afraid, there’s resources and support. Can’t find them? Reach out to me. I got your back.

To be outraged, regardless of political affiliation, that in 2016, we are still fighting the same battles for equal treatment we fought 100 plus years ago. No joke. It’s okay to be pissed about that.

To spend your money how you please. Travel, buy books, clothes, spoil your kids or pets, go back to school, start a business, save it all for retirement…whatever you choose. You earned it. You get to decide. 

To live with no regrets. Yes, there will be things you wish you hadn’t done or choices you had or hadn’t made but you can’t change it. You can only learn, make amends, and move on.

To be private. To keep yourself guarded and quiet and protective of yourself and your feelings and cautious of who you let in and not share everything. Social media is not a requirement. 

To do the opposite of everything in the above statement.

To watch, read, listen, or create any form of entertainment or art you want. 

To ask for help when you need it. And refuse it when you don’t.

To put yourself before your kids. Seriously. I cannot stress this enough. Yes, they require care and attention, especially if they’re young, but it is FINE AND NECESSARY to take care of you, too. In fact, sometimes, taking care of you first makes you a better parent. Breaks are crucial to reset and refocus. Doing so makes you a good parent, not a bad one (Note: this can be it’s own post).

To recognize that you are capable of accomplishing absolutely anything you set your mind to. It might take awhile and you might have setbacks but you are fierce and you got this shit.

To do whatever makes you happy. Nothing more, nothing less.

 

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