Jana Says

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Tag Archive: rants

Rants on parade

I had originally planned this post to be a rant about one specific topic but as I kept thinking (always a dangerous thing), I found more that I needed to rant about. So instead of one long rant, it’ll be some shorter rants about a few topics. 

#squadgoals, #relationshipgoals. I despise these hashtags, especially when they apply to celebrity ass kissing. It irks the shit out of me when we see a celebrity couple doing something that THE REST OF US ALREADY DO with our spouses/partners/friends/kids/general life and then we’re told by whatever trash website that that’s what we should aspire to be. And let’s not even discuss the guilt factor that comes into play that we don’t do those things. A) NO. They have access to privilege and resources that the rest of us don’t so OF COURSE it looks like they’re way more awesome than we are. B) Why do I want to be something that I’m not. I’m nothing like Taylor Swift and her friends or Judd Apatow and his friends so why do I need to model my friendships after what they do? Why isn’t being how I am good enough? I guess it’s not enough to have fucked up body images as a result of our obsessive celebrity culture. Now we have fucked up relationship images, too. 

squadgoals

Grain free chocolate chip cookies. I made these over the weekend. WHY YOU HAVE TO BE SO GOOD? No joke, my family ate like a full dozen (or more) in 2 days. Yes, we’re pigs. Yes, we’re fine with it. 

Calling books “The next Gone Girl“. Stop it. Stop it right now. No book will be the next Gone Girl because Gone Girl was its own book and I read it and I don’t want to read a book that’s the same. A book can be a thriller and mystery and fucked up without being labeled as “the next something”. Also, why can’t we just let the GG phenomenon be its own thing? Why can’t we just enjoy what it was without always looking for its successor?Because by doing that, you’re setting the next book up to fail. It’ll be measured against one singular standard rather than its own merits and that’s not fair to the book or author.

The idea of success as a limited resource. I have always been the type of person who supports friends, family, and coworkers. I try to connect people where I can, collaborate when possible, be a cheerleader for others’ aspirations, and provide help and assistance. I don’t feel that someone else’s success means that there’s none left for me. I believe that there’s room for everyone to be successful and meet their goals and I don’t necessarily view someone doing the same thing as me (like having a blog or podcast or acquiring books or whatever) as competition. Everyone relates and connects differently to others and maybe someone who isn’t a good fit for me is a good fit for you and vice versa. And if we help each other along, don’t we both become more successful? Isn’t that the point? Success isn’t like bread before a snowstorm, in limited quantity and available to the first buyers. There’s plenty to go around, it never runs out, and there’s more than enough for everyone to get a share regardless of when you show up.flower
10PM start times. I don’t watch much TV but I do watch some and I guess it has to do with the nature of what I like to watch but why must all the shows I like start at 10PM? It’s really fucking annoying. Even if I hate commercials, sometimes a girl just wants to watch a show live and not have to go to bed at midnight because of it, you know?

I’m 38 but close enough.

Kesha. What. The. Fuck. I had only been casually following what she’s been dealing with but then when I heard that the court supported Sony and that producer and have kept her legally bound to the man who (allegedly) abused her, I was appalled. Disgusted. Confused. How have we gotten to the point where the safety of women, and by extension, anyone, is less important than a contract? It reminds me too much of what the Duggars did to their children and now, it’s being supported and upheld by a court as okay. It’s not. It never will be. 

My dog, Barkley. No matter where I sit or lay down, that dog must be digging his paws into me. I love him, I really do, but good Lord, is it hard to sleep with 4 paws pressing on your spine.

The fact that I had to name this post after the Rage Against the Machine song “Bulls on Parade” Mostly because it’s been stuck in my head for days. #earworm #atleastitsnotpopmusic

I also wanted to rant about the girl who got fired from Yelp after posting a letter online to the Yelp CEO that she was too poor to afford groceries and rent but I feel like there’s more to that story than we’ve been told and something about the situation isn’t sitting right with me but this topic could be its own post and this one is long enough already. I’d love to hear your thoughts on that if you have some, though.

What are you ranting about?

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Content creation vs. content consumption

Over the last few days, the idea of content creation versus content consumption has popped up all over my Facebook feed. From people wondering how to balance the two to people espousing the benefits of one over the other, it seems to be a popular topic of conversation for some reason. And as both of creator and consumer of content, I have thoughts. 

Which I’m going to share with you. 

You’re welcome. 

First, let’s talk about the thought that creating content is better than consuming it. It’s more satisfying, more fulfilling…whatever word you want to use to imply that it’s better to make your own stuff than to purchase, watch, read, listen to someone else’s. And on some level, I agree. There is something extremely gratifying about writing a blog post or short story or song and pushing it out into the world. The whole “I did it!” element fills you with confidence and pride and amazement that something creative can come from your brain and hands. And if other people like it, that’s even better! 

That’s where the problem comes in. What if other people don’t like it? What if no one reads or listens? What if it just falls into the void? And how much effort should you put in to making sure it gets to an audience? If no one consumes it, should you keep creating it just for personal satisfaction?

That’s a lot of stress, especially for something that you might just be doing for fun. And if you’re doing it for fun, then by all means, give zero fucks about what people think and keep on keepin’ on. But if you’re doing it for another purpose–to build a business or platform or get noticed or whatever–and no one cares about it or notices it, is the effort and time you’re spending truly worth it just for that fleeting moment of pride? And if it’s not, do you quit or keep doing it just for fun (I say keep doing it for fun but it’s definitely a debatable opinion)? 

See? There’s lots of questions to consider that make the whole “it’s better to create than consume” mantra not so straightforward. 

And, underlying all of that is the assumption that consuming content is inherently bad. It’s not. Yes, if you start using social media as an actual barometer for your life or you spend all your time on Pinterest or Lifehacker, trying to replicate every single idea, recipe, or life hack you come across, it’s a problem but reading books or blogs? Watching movies or TV shows or documentaries? Listening to music? NONE OF THAT IS BAD. There’s a reason people are fighting to keep arts and music in school and that is because it makes our world beautiful. We need it in our lives–and not just what we produce, but what others produce because no matter what you can do, there’s someone who can do something different or better or groundbreaking and to shut yourself out from exposure to that can be damaging to you not only as a person but as a content creator. Haven’t you ever felt inspired by a painting or piece of music or photo or book to do something of your own? I have. So why refrain from consuming it?

Not only that, sometimes it’s just satisfying to sit back and watch what someone else has done and simply appreciate the talent and time and effort that went in to making it. For example, I know when I walked out of a Broadway showing of “American Idiot” a few years ago, I was in awe of the entire production, songs and sets and singing and orchestra and costumes and lighting…all of it. I felt satisfied as a consumer of that art.

I think it’s totally fine to consume content and be content with what you’ve seen (or read or listened to) without having to feel an obligation to create. 

It’s about balance. 

Which leads to my next point. 

How much should you be creating versus consuming? There’s no right answer to this, unfortunately. It’s about making time for all of it in your life if that’s what you want. I know plenty of people who are simply consumers. There’s nothing wrong with that, just like there’s nothing wrong with what you like to watch or listen to (despite all the people telling you that reality shows or awards show or talk shows are shit and trash and ruining your brain. While it might have some element of truth, if mindless nonsense is what you enjoy, DO NOT LET ANYONE MAKE YOU FEEL BAD ABOUT IT). Some people do not feel compelled to put their talents into the world. And we have no business telling them that they’re wrong for making that choice 

But for those of us who do like to create as well as consume, the best suggestion I can give you is to simply figure out whatever kind of schedule you can. Pick and choose what you watch or use your DVR to catch up on the weekends and use weeknights after work to work on your project. Or work on them while you’re watching TV. That’s okay, too. If you don’t like to work at night, see what you can do on your lunch break or in the morning or while dinner is in the oven. Set aside a block of time on Saturday or Tuesday nights and put all your focus on your creation into those hours. 

The same goes for what you’re creating. Maybe only work on one project at a time. Don’t overwhelm yourself with projects. If you have too many ideas, keep a list. Check them off one at a time. Find a collaborator to help if need be. 

I could go on but for your sake I’ll stop with my summary point. Which is that it doesn’t have to be an all or nothing situation. You can create, you can consume. There’s time for it all, if you make the time, and both are equally, if differently, satisfying.

Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. 

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P.S. There are dozens of posts and articles debating this topic. One of the ones that resonated the most for me was this one from Medium, which explores how to mindfully consume content. It’s an important point.

Stuff, things, things, stuff

 It’s been awhile so let’s link up with Kristin and Joey today. 

Kristin's Knook
 

Yesterday was lady doctor day. I treated myself to a s’mores frappuccino when I was done because that’s totally what you do after you go to the lady doctor. It’s also what you do for no reason at all because those things are delicious.

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Hey there, turtle. You can kindly go away now.

Yesterday was also do battle with a turtle day because OF COURSE there was a turtle on the outside of my fence when I got home from the doctor. Big son of bitch, too. This living in the country thing gets less and less appealing every day. It’s why I never leave the house. Not because I don’t want to deal with people (which I don’t) but because nature can go fuck itself.

And the icing on the shitcake that was yesterday? My car needs 4 new tires. FOUR. We thought it was just 2 and had budgeted for that. But now we need 4. And my car, which is already overdue for the registration renewal, didn’t pass inspection and thus, we could not renew the registration. DMV gave us 10 days to fix the problem. Awesome. 

Reader poll–anyone use melatonin to help them sleep? I have terrible sleeping issues and I’ve heard it helps. But I’m curious about anyone’s personal experience with it, good or bad.

I cannot believe my daughter’s last day of second grade is next week. I swear, we just had meet the teacher night last month. I have got to figure out a way to slow down time. 

Speaking of school ending, my daughter’s summer homework came home last week. It’s only a reading log and then a small assignment, so I’m not overly annoyed with the fact that she has to do it. But I am a tad bit concerned that the school is still recommending picture books for third graders. Shouldn’t they have moved past those by now? Am I overreacting?

While at my in-laws’ house this past weekend, I had creme brulee flavored coffee. You guys. I do drink coffee now (which is weird) but I’m extremely picky about what I do drink because I still loathe most flavors but this stuff was AMAZING. If you can find some of it near you, get it. CupUP_Capsules_CB_web_large

Current events rant: I had a whole post written about the Duggar family but I didn’t post it for various reasons. What I will say is this: I am disgusted and appalled by Josh’s actions, TLC’s blatant disregard for knowledge I am 100% confident they had (not to mention its current silence and inaction, but I guess that makes sense when you’re talking about a cash cow), the homeschool curriculum and organizations the family affiliates with, the number of politicians siding with the family, and the fact that the records have been destroyed. Josh is a vile human being, filled with an unnecessary level of hatred I will never comprehend, and learning about his actions in the context of his beliefs makes me loathe him even more. But I am done trying to make sense of the parents’ course of action after they found out. Not because I support their choices. Not even close. Covering it up was wrong, and showed a complete lack of care and consideration for their daughters and the other victims. But they are so indoctrinated and enmeshed in a cult culture that handles sex abuse in an entirely fucked up manner that, in their minds, they did the right thing. And, much like I had to do with my clients, trying to understand their thought process in the context of my values will only give me a headache. Nothing in that culture, or the Duggar mindset, will change unless they are removed from it and comprehend just how utterly wrong it is. There’s also this–I get that people want to bring them down. I do. They are hypocritical hate mongers with an entirely too big platform on which to spew their vicious rhetoric. Their behavior is reprehensible and, despite the pretty, smiling, color coordinated package they’re wrapped in, you cannot hide the fact that, once they open their mouths away from the cameras, they are repugnant. But bringing them down at the expense of the victims is also reprehensible and I wonder how much thought was given to them when In Touch decided to released the redacted police report (like people couldn’t figure it out). I cannot even imagine what those girls are going through right now and my heart breaks for them. Oh, and did anyone else catch in the police report that they discipline their kids using a rod? Maybe we need to talk about that, too. /rant

And because I need to end on something less serious, this truth:

Let's ignore the word "romantic" because really? And let's focus on the hilarious truth instead.

Let’s ignore the word “romantic” because really? And let’s focus on the hilarious truth instead.

What are some things going on with you?

 

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Gimme an S-T-O-P

Disclaimer: Today, we rant. This is a long, imageless post about an issue that’s been bothering me for awhile. For those without the patience to trudge through it, the summary is this: I’m sick of the malicious bitchy dense cheerleader trope, why I’m tired of it, and why I think it needs to disappear. 

I recently read some great articles about a particular movie trope, the manic pixie dream girl. The originator of the name has renounced the creation of the term, stating that it’s been misinterpreted to represent all women in movies who are quirky, cheerful and exist solely to liven up the lives of their male love interest. But the fact remains that those characters exist, whether we like it or not. Movie and TV execs aren’t going to let the trope fade away because it’s great entertainment. 

I have much to say about that topic but today’s post isn’t about that. It’s about another trope that’s existed in entertainment for as long as I can remember and, contrary to the manic pixie dream girl, this one is as mean spirited and cruel as the characters it inhibits. And that trope is the one of shallow vindictive dumb cheerleader. 

I’m not a TV or movie historian, and while I love watching shows and movies, I don’t know enough to tell you when the stereotype originated but I can tell you it’s been around since I can remember. It never bothered me before but now, as an adult and the parent of a cheerleader, I’m more tuned in to how they’re portrayed. 

And that portrayal is just disgusting. 

To start, there’s the group dynamic. Like other groups of friends on TV or in movies, there’s always stock characters. For this one, there’s always a beautiful, bitchy head cheerleader and her almost as pretty flunkies who are absolutely incapable of thinking for themselves and do everything they’re told to do, except for the one who’s definitely brainy but only useful to help formulate diabolical plans. Anyone who dares to speak out or disobey the captain is ostracized until she has to pull some horribly evil prank on someone the head cheerleader likes even less which she does because hurting someone else is better than being isolated. And make sure you’re not friends with anyone outside the squad! That’s cause for an automatic black ball. 

Next, they’re almost always mean. Downright cruel. They’re master manipulators, specifically the cheerleader in charge, always able to get the adults to believe them as the victim, when in actuality, they’re the ones pulling vicious pranks, breaking up relationships, excluding others, and bringing classmates to tears. And, in congruence with that, they’re completely superficial, rude, and demeaning. Yes, in most cases, they ultimately get theirs in the end, but the next episode, it’s back to the same old bullshit. 

Not only are they mean but almost every single one of them, save for the head cheerleader, is cartoonishly dumb. As in, can’t count to 10 or tie her shoes or differentiate between right and left. She’s incapable of doing well in school or even thinking for herself, which is why she so desperately needs the head cheerleader to tell her what to do and why she’s so susceptible, like adults, to being manipulated. There’s no depth to her AT ALL, she’s completely shallow, and has absolutely no goals for herself. She’s shown as content being a flunky except for the one very special episode where she realizes what head cheerleader is doing to her and seeks solace in the really not so bad “regular” kids. 

And this may be me being a bit nitpicky, but honestly, why are they always, ALWAYS in their uniforms? Do people think that cheerleaders honestly walk around all the time in those polyester shirts and skirts? That they are so in love with the fact that they’re cheerleaders that they can’t ever wear anything else? That they have nothing else going for them so they have to perpetually show off being a cheerleader? 

(This is where I’d like to write about body image and the perception that cheerleading is not a sport but those two topics are each a post of their own so I’m going to say this–do not use what you see at NFL games or on TV as a barometer. The “cheering” that the NFL or TV cheerleaders do is not at all indicative of actual competitive cheerleading nor is their appearance. I have been to my fair share of cheer competitions the last few years and I can tell you, the body types run the gamut. Which is awesome.)

You might be wondering why I let this bother me so much. It’s just entertainment, after all. And it’s a valid point. But as the mother of a young cheerleader, I find this portrayal damaging not only to my child’s self-esteem but also her peer’s perception of her and her perception of herself. 

I don’t want her thinking she’s better than anyone who doesn’t cheer. Because she’s not. Cheerleading is an activity, it’s not a personality or social status or intelligence barometer or achievement or anything other than a sport. It doesn’t make her above (or below, because, let’s face it, there are plenty of negative things said about cheerleaders) anyone. Being a cheerleader doesn’t give her a free pass to bully, manipulate, and ridicule. Watching these shows, she might start to feel like wearing a bow and skirt means she’s entitled to say or do things other kids aren’t.  And if she sees it enough, she might start to believe there’s a truth to it. 

The same with intelligence. When I was in Disney, cheerleading Worlds were taking place. We struck up a conversation with one of the girls and her mother and, while I forget what the girl said, it prompted her mother to question it and the girl to reply  “I’m not supposed to be smart. I’m a cheerleader.” Joke or not, I can’t imagine where she got that from. Based on my experience, cheerleaders are no more or less intelligent than anyone else but you’d never know it if you used these shows (and movies and books. Let’s not forget about them) as your frame of reference. Why must they be shown as vapid idiots who can’t form a coherent sentence? Okay, I get that it’s for comedic relief, but it’s so prevalent that there comes a point it stops being funny.

We’ve reached that point.

Now, I will admit there’s a certain arrogance that some cheerleaders carry around. But it’s no different than the arrogance displayed by other athletes or members of other clubs. Kids are allowed, and we should encourage them, to be proud of whatever they choose to do whether it’s drama or band or soccer or FFA or cheerleading. That pride helps build self-confidence. My child should never tell me that she feels like when she watches the shows she likes that they’re are making fun of her. 

Because she did tell me that. And it broke my heart.

If we’re trying to teach a culture of tolerance and acceptance, wouldn’t it be a good idea to stop portraying cheerleaders as shallow moronic vindictive assholes and instead start creating characters who have depth, are intelligent and compassionate? Wouldn’t it make sense to stop picking on or creating characters who are stereotypes simply because it’s easy? 

This trope is just as cruel and awful as the way cheerleaders are shown treating others. It’s damaging, it’s ugly, and it needs to change. Because the more these shows, which have more influence than most parents (myself included) would like to admit, perpetuate that stereotype, the harder it will be to make them go away. 

/rant

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P.S. I could have written this post about a number of stereotypes that get under my skin but I chose cheerleading because it’s personal. Let me be clear that I understand that many of the characters are hyperbole since it makes good TV. But it seriously wouldn’t hurt to dial it down a bit.

Despite what you think, you’re a good mom

Last week, I was standing in my front yard with my dogs when our neighbor’s dog wandered over to us. It was cold and I didn’t know how long she’d been outside so I picked her up (she knows me. We dogsit for her) and brought her home. Because it was only two houses down and I had no intention of going inside for a visit, I left the child inside, by herself for the whole 5 minutes I was gone. While talking to my neighbor, I let him know that the child was home by herself and I needed get back and also that “I’m a terrible mother for leaving her alone”.

That last comment has stuck with me since then. 

Because the truth of it is, I’m not a terrible mother. 

And neither are you. 

Despite what all the blogs and Pinterest and news stories and Facebook groups would have you believe. 

Motherhood has become this horrible competition filled with unattainable, arbitrary standards that leave even the most seemingly perfect mother filled with anxiety and feelings of inadequacy and also sometimes rage. I suppose there’s always been some sort of competition among mothers, and some animosity between working mothers and stay at home mothers, but with social media (or perhaps just our current societal culture), it’s become an all out war. 

It’s ridiculous. 

I’m over it. 

So I’m going to break some things down for you and clear up some all too common misconceptions we moms believe about ourselves. 

  • Whether you use cloth diapers or disposable, you are a good mother. 
  • Whether you cook from scratch every night or feed your kids takeout, you are a good mother. 
  • Whether your kids go to public school or private school or are homeschooled, you are a good mother. 
  • Whether you bottle fed or breast fed, you are a good mother
  • Whether you have a Pinterest worthy home or it’s in desperate need of a cleaning, you are a good mother. 
  • Whether you bake and do crafts and have endless ways to keep your children occupied or you let them watch TV, you are a good mother. 
  • Whether you have 10 kids or 1, you are a good mother. 
  • Whether you work part-time, full-time, have a nanny or stay home, you are a good mother. 
  • Whether you lost the baby weight immediately or you’ve hung on to a few extra pounds, you are a good mother.
  • Whether you look perfectly put together or have worn the same yoga pants for so many days in a row the elastic is starting to give, you are a good mother. 
  • Whether you’re strict or laid back, you are a good mother. 

 
I could go on. I won’t because the list would be more extensive than anyone would probably care to read so for the sake of brevity and also making you not hate me, I’ll stop there. 

Almost. 

Now. With that said, let me break down for you what makes a bad mother so that when you go to think you’re not enough, you can say “hey, self. Remember that list you read on that random blog post that detailed the qualities of a shitty parent? You don’t do that and while you’re frustrated and maybe not the best you can be today, you’re still a damn good mom!”

A bad parent (read: not you) does this:

  • Neglects her children, emotionally, physically, medically, educationally
  • Abuses her children, physically, emotionally
  • Consistently endangers her children’s safety (ex., bringing them on a drug deal)

 
Do you do any of that? I’m 100% confident you do not. 

Which means, contrary to what the internet might tell you, you’re doing just fine as a parent. 

Being a mom is so much more than how we look, what we feed our kids, and how beautiful our home is. 

Being a mom is about how you make your kids feel. 

And if they’re happy (most of the time because let’s face it, kids can be moody little shits), you’re doing just fine.

So give yourself a big hug and a Stuart Smalley affirmation and tell yourself you’re good enough, you’re smart enough, and damn it, you’re a good mother. Hell, you’re a great mother. The best one your kids have got.

 

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