Jana Says

Living life from cover to cover

Tag Archive: rants

Charlottesville

My blog is my safe space and I'm in no mood to argue with people on FB so if you wanted to know my thoughts on Charlottesville, well, here you go.

I don't need to recap in detail what happened in Charlottesville over the weekend. Everyone's already aware that a bunch of neo-Nazi white supremacist racist assholes protested in a "Unite the Right" gathering the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue. But let's be clear. That wasn't what they were doing.

And we all know it.

What happened wasn't about a statue or uniting a political party. No. It was about attempting to instill fear and oppression into groups that are already institutionally marginalized in this country. And it could have worked too if more people were ambivalent and didn't give a shit. But, surprise, motherfuckers! We've progressed to the point that overt Nazism and racism will be met with loud, outspoken opposition. LOVE TRUMPS HATE. Because if it doesn't, if we stay silent, we're aiding and abetting.

I could spend time commenting on 45's lack of condemnation and vague words and how ineffective he is in every capacity and how his subtle and blatant anti-Semitism and racism and xenophobia have emboldened and empowered the white supremacists but I'm not going to do that. He gets too much attention as it is. Rather, what I'm going to say is this.

If you want to be a racist, FINE. If you want to be anti-Semitic, FINE. If you want to spend your weekends spreading messages of hate and invoking the first amendment so you can do so, FINE. I can't stop you. But do not FOR ONE MINUTE expect that your words will not be met with resistance and that we will not do so with the same protections you covet despite your and your White House ally's attempts to silence us.

Because we will not be silenced.

We speak loud and clear and far.

There is no room in this country for that kind of hate. There simply isn't.

And we're going to keep reminding you.

In the name of Heather and everyone else who stood up to you and your hate in Charlottesville. We owe it to her and them.

The defense is WRONG!

In this month’s installment of someone on the internet was wrong so I fixed it: this chick who wrote a post with the delightful title 13 Reasons You Need to Give Your Child a Sibling

So you don’t have to read it, it was essentially a “poor me, woe is me because I grew up as an only child and how could my parents do that to me” bunch of bullshit. She comes across as nothing but a whiny spoiled little asshole with absolutely no concept of anything. 

As one of three siblings, the wife of an only child and the mother of an only child, I feel I’m well qualified to respond to her. 

So here we go. 

Dear girl who wrote the aforementioned piece of shit,

Clearly life has been unkind to you, being an only child and all, so I’m sorry that you’ve had to suffer but I really do take issues with roughly 98% of what you’ve written and I thought it would be a good idea to discuss it. For perspective and balance.

First, let’s address the title. Now I’m sure some editor and not you wrote it and it was done for attention/controversy purposes but GOOD FUCKING GOD. I NEED to give my child a sibling? REALLY?! Because the last time I checked, I needed to give her food and shelter and seasonally appropriate clothing and health care and an education and that’s basically it. Everything else, up to and especially including a sibling, is optional. NOT TO MENTION the fact that she’s not an only child to ruin her life. She’s an only child because I couldn’t give her a sibling. COULDN’T. As in, physically not possible. 

And I’m not the only one. There are plenty of parents who cannot, no matter how hard they try, give their kid a sibling. Then there are those who simply don’t want to. Not to spite the kid they have but for reasons that are none our business. So to imply that parents have an obligation to their child to give them a sibling, and to make them feel guilty or like a piece of shit because they can’t or won’t, is rude and wrong with a tinge of asshole.

Second, the whole laundry list of reasons you gave for wanting siblings is nothing but romanticized nonsensical drivel. Like, #1. There’s no one to blame for what YOU did? Are you fucking kidding me? YOU FUCKING DID IT. YOU take the blame. Just because you have a sibling doesn’t absolve you from the shit you actually do. And do you think your parents are so stupid that they couldn’t figure out who really did it? Oh, and also, sometimes you get blamed for what they did. For instance, when my little sister was 3 and drew all over the walls, do you know whose fault it was? MINE. Because I wasn’t watching her close enough. So there’s that. 

How about #3. An older sibling would carve a path for you? Fuck off with that shit. I’m the oldest in my family. I had no one carving shit for me. I had to do that all on my own. And as for my sisters, I’m pretty confident they’re individuals who make up their own minds and pay no attention my choices. What did happen, however, is that my parents used me as a test subject and loosened the reins with each younger sibling and as for my sisters, I know they were compared to me at various points. So maybe as an only, you had it good not having to deal with this crap. Maybe you should thank your parents for that instead of bitching that you’ll be the one who has to bear the burden of sadness when your parents pass. LET ME TELL YOU. I am the spouse of an only child and when his parents go, I can assure you he will not have to bear the burden on his own. I only hope you have that, too. 

Or #6. There would never have been a dull moment in the house? Seriously? What are you smoking and can I have some because despite the fact that I grew up with siblings, there were dull moments aplenty. It’s called life and it’s not always exciting. One kid, 4 kids. Life still slows down and is boring at times. 

And #8. A sister being a partner in crime? Age proximity does not equal automatic close friendships and have you thought about siblings who are literally a decade or more apart in age (like in my own family)? There are so many variables that you haven’t thought about in your quest to concoct the perfect sibling relationships. Which, by the way, don’t exist. So when you say that siblings are tied to you forever, you sound ridiculous and ignorant because there are so many people who have no relationships with their siblings. Being related doesn’t mean you like each other. It’s not a mandate. 

I could go on and refute all of your points but I think you get it. Just in case you don’t, I’ll say this. I’m sorry you wished you had a sibling and your parents couldn’t or wouldn’t provide that to you. I’m sure they had their reasons and instead of sounding like a selfish, spoiled ingrate, maybe you should consider your parents’ perspective. Maybe even ask them. It’d sure be nice if you did.

But make no mistake, having a sibling isn’t the greatest thing in the world and there were countless times growing up I wished I was an only child. And now, having an only child (who loves it, by the way), I see validity in some of your points. Still doesn’t change the fact that she’s an only but I get where you’re coming from. I just hope, when she’s your age, she’s not as resentful and bitter as you are. 

Love,

Jana

P.S. Oh, and as for you complaining that adults had crappy imaginations? SO SORRY FOR YOUR LUCK. Adults aren’t there to appease your little mind. You should be thankful that people played with you. There are way too many kids who don’t get that, only child or not. 

 

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Affordable ways to destress

It’s time once again for a round of someone was wrong on the internet and I must fix it! This time it’s not about parenting or even politics (we’ll address that on Friday for a special version of my Friday six-pack) but rather a topic that’s near to me this month…money. You know. Because of the spending freeze

Anyway, I somehow came across this post about cheap ways to destress. I totally get his sentiment and the point he’s attempting to make but I’m not quite sure he understands what he’s saying. For instance, have you ever replaced a shower head? First of all, if you want one that’s halfway decent, it’s not going to be cheap (well, I mean, maybe it is depending on your definition of “cheap” which, admittedly, is pretty subjective) and also not fun to install. Especially if you’re short like I am. It winds up being the EXACT definition of stress rather than a way to destress. However, you know what IS a cheap way to destress? TAKING A SHOWER. Or a bath, if you’re into that. (I am not. Taking a bath is the equivalent of marinating in your own dirt. NO THANK YOU).

Or how about hiring someone to clean your house or apartment? Maybe as a one-off but on a regular basis that shit adds up. Same with subscription services and grocery delivery and massages and mani/pedis and pretty much everything on his list. Yes, as a temporary relief, these are great choices provided you have the extra money laying around to spend on these little luxuries. Unfortunately, a lot of people do not.

And, if I’m being honest, the list he gave shows his privilege.  Particularly the phrase “Enjoy the knowledge that your upgraded standard of living is actually saving you money.”  It’s such a loaded sentence I legit don’t even know where to begin picking it apart. I’m not even sure I want to for fear I won’t be able to stop. But I will say this: the danger of lists like this one is that it doesn’t advocate doing things you can afford; it merely advocates buying smaller things to prevent a larger, more expensive purchase. Some people might read it as justification to put a massage on a credit card or use money designated for savings to throw a party instead. That opens up a Pandora’s box of bad choices and financial missteps that can cause even more problems. 

Because upgrading your standard of living does not automatically mean a relief of stress. In many instances, and for many people, it actually brings more because one upgrade snowballs into two then into three and so on. And the little things can, after awhile, add up to the cost of the one item you were trying to avoid. It becomes self-defeating (and debt inducing). So, maybe, if you want the big thing, get the big thing and stay away from the little ones. It’s sort of like when you have a craving for a donut. You don’t want to eat the donut because, although delicious, donuts are calorie laden. So instead of eating the donut, you eat 45 other foods that leave you unsatisfied and still craving a donut and you’ve consumed about 34 times more calories than if you had just eaten the donut.

Sometimes, JUST EAT THE FUCKING DONUT. It’ll be better for you in the long run. 

Now, I’m not saying run out and buy a new car if you can’t afford your rent but if you need a car to get to work so you can keep your apartment and the car is causing you stress and you’re spending more money in repairs than if you would just get a new car, then get a new to you car. Set a budget. Comparison shop. And get a new car. That will help destress your life. Maybe it’s not the cheapest way but have you ever dealt with car stress? It sucks and can absolutely impact your quality of life, particularly if you live somewhere (like I do) that doesn’t have reliable or accessible public transportation and you need to get around. 

I 100% guarantee that sometimes and in certain situation getting a new car eliminates stress more than a latte. 

That said, let’s bring it back around to his initial idea of cheap ways to destress which, as we’ve covered, are not necessarily cheap. I mentioned one alternative to his ideas: taking a bath or shower. 

Here are a few other ACTUALLY cheap ideas to destress: 

  1. READ. Obviously this is my first choice. 
  2. Get outside. Too cold to go out? Watch a sunrise or sunset or a snowfall or listen to the rain. Nature is relaxing. 
  3. Talk to someone who makes you laugh. I love my friends who make me laugh and somehow they know exactly when I need them. See also: catch up with someone you haven’t talked to in awhile. 
  4. Pet an animal. There’s all kinds of studies that show animals lower blood pressure and keep you calm and are good for your mental health. So, if you can (and you’re not afraid or allergic), pet a dog or cat or guinea pig or whatever. 
  5. Take a day off. Stop hustling, stop working, stop thinking, stop doing anything that is causing you stress. Disconnect from everything for a day and do whatever the fuck you want. 
  6. Nap.
  7. Make time for something that relaxes you that you rarely make the time to do. Knit, bake cookies, scrapbook, color, watch your favorite movie, play a board game, throw a football…whatever. The possibilities are endless.
  8. Get something to take care of. Specifically, a plant or fish or a hermit crab or something else cheap and small and easy to maintain. Maybe this is more for mental health (as in, having something to take care of gives you purpose and helps get you through the day) but it still works. 
  9. Light candles, drink coffee or tea, and sit still, without electronics, for 15 minutes.
  10. Listen to music. Music is cathartic. It allows you to feel all the emotions. You can have angry songs or dancing songs or songs that make you happy or sad songs. Music can match your mood and sometimes, it understands exactly what you need more than anything.

This is not a comprehensive list or all-inclusive or even original. It’s mostly common sense but I guess we all sometimes need a reminder that you don’t have to spend money to alleviate stress in your life. 

How do you guys destress?

 

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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.

 

Everything an experienced mom wants to say to the new mom pressuring people to have kids

I’m not ordinarily a fan of open letters but my panties were in such a huge bunch after reading this letter that I had to respond with one of my own. 

Dear Jessica,

I’m going to assume it’s okay to call you that even though we don’t know each other because you made so many assumptions about people you don’t know that we’ll start this by leveling the playing field. 

With that out of the way, I want to say, from one mom to another, congrats on your baby. Motherhood is a wild ride and I wish you only the best. 

Now let me say this–how fucking dare you pass judgement on anyone who doesn’t want to have kids. That is their business, not yours. How fucking dare you attempt, with your holier than thou attitude, invalidate all their reasons not to have kids. All of the reasons you sarcastically and condescendingly dismissed are legit, completely valid reasons to not have children. And you know what else is a completely valid reason? NOT FUCKING WANTING THEM. That’s it. That’s all that it is. If someone doesn’t want to have kids, that’s fine and it’s not for you to comment on. I’ve been a mom for 10 years now and if there’s one thing I learned it’s that someone else’s uterus is none of my fucking business. 

Also, I’m concerned why you care. Are you looking for mom friends? We can be friends. I’ll talk to you about all things motherhood. Are you looking for kudos that you’re a mom? Well, that you’re not going to get from me. Are you looking for content pieces that stir up controversy? To that I say, well done! Mission accomplished!

But seriously, it really shouldn’t matter to you if someone has a child or not. It is a huge responsibility and if someone doesn’t want to make that choice, it’s really not your place to push it on them. If anything, it’ll just make people hate you. I’m pretty sure that’s the last thing you want or need right now. Being a mom is hard enough without you isolating your friends or getting hate mail from strangers on the internet. And let me be clear–I do not hate you. I don’t hate someone I don’t know (usually. There are some exceptions). I do, however, take issue with most of what you wrote and I feel compelled to address it not only on my behalf but on behalf of my friends who are childfree by choice and those who are without children for other circumstances (and, if there’s any doubt I stand in solidarity with my childfree friends, you should check out these promises I made to them a few years back).

You mention that people with children are less selfish and more aware of other children and more concerned with the future. I don’t even know where to start with that. Do you know many parents? Because I do. And I can tell you that I know parents who are 100 times more selfish and less concerned for the future than a good number of my childfree (childless is a rude word, by the way) friends. I have friends who volunteer and raise money and advocate and participate in activities that work to secure a better country, world, and yes, future, for OUR kids. They don’t have to do that. But they do. And I know parents who do absolutely nothing except rely on the actions of people like my friends to protect their kids. 

Interesting, right? 

Also, not having a biological child doesn’t mean you have no kids in your life. Those same friends I mentioned above? Almost all of them are aunts and uncles, and some are stepparents, to kids related by blood and by choice. They show up to birthday parties and recitals and babysit and do all the things parents do. Sometimes they even do them when the parents can’t (or won’t. But we won’t discuss that). They are role models and positive influences and affect the daily lives of these kids. They appreciate baby giggles and toddler cuddles and getting school pictures and all that jazz. And, believe it or not, they are aware of the plight of all children  and want to see them live in a peaceful world as well.

Being a parent does not give you a monopoly or exclusive rights to awareness, empathy, and sympathy. 

You mention leaving a legacy as part of that sympathy so let’s address it next. I agree with you that having a kid gives you an irreplaceable legacy. But why do you assume that nonparents can’t leave one? Look at Dolly Parton. She didn’t have kids and I can assure you that what she’s done for her industry and for her hometown and yes, kids, will live on way after she’s gone. We are all connected to the future and we all want to leave behind something better than what we were given. Not just parents. 

Okay. Moving on to happiness. This topic is so broad that I could probably devote an entire website to it but rather than do that, I want to tell you this–being a parent doesn’t make you more or less happy than your friends who aren’t. It makes you differently happy. I don’t care what. “research” says. You cannot compare the two. There is a different joy that comes with seeing your kid walk for the first time than going to that amazing new restaurant. There is a different pleasure you derive from seeing your kid perform than seeing your favorite band. There is a different happiness you get from having your kid see Cinderella’s castle in person than hopping that last minute flight to London. I could go on but you seem smart so I won’t. But let me be clear–different does not mean less. It simply means different. And that is absolutely fine. 

One final thing. I agree with you that parenting changes your perspective on the world. Being a parent means that you have to think about and focus on events and situations and make choices not only based on how they affect you but how they affect that tiny person you’re responsible for. It’s a lot of fucking pressure. It certainly isn’t fun most days, particularly those grueling newborn days. But it’s rewarding and wonderful and challenging and crazy and interesting and a choice I’m so glad I made. I believe you feel the same way. HOWEVER. It’s not for you to peer pressure someone else into doing it because parenthood is the best choice you made. It’s wrong. And offensive.

Before I sign off, I want to give you this pro parenting tip: Just because you’re a parent doesn’t mean you lose yourself. Being “mom” doesn’t mean you cease being “Jessica”. It’s important now, more than ever, to make sure you stay connected to your friends, family, and hobbies. Especially since your husband is overseas and you live far away from family, it’s crucial to do what you can to stay active and engaged with others. Bring your daughter along! Trust when I say that most people don’t mind if your daughter comes to lunch or to a Netflix binge. Yes, you might have to pause for a diaper change or a feeding but if it’s a true friend, they won’t care. And those are the people you’re going to need the most. But if your attitude towards them is the same one you portray in that letter, they’ll leave you. I guarantee it.

So, that’s it. I hope, if anything, you’ve learned that passing judgement on someone else’s reproductive choices is bullshit. Doing so deepens the divide and really, it accomplishes nothing. You need to be happy with your choice and let others be happy with theirs. 

Love,

Jana

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