Why Unconditional Friendship Is A Manipulation Tool Bad Friends Use Against You

24 02 2014

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So I’ve got a friend who has been living in a literal hell for the past few months. Why, you  may ask, is he living in hell? Well, I’ll tell you! He made the egregious mistake of believing that everyone has some good in them. He ignored his better judgment and agreed to room with somebody that he should have instead run from at his most rapid pace. A person whom has not had a steady job or a productive moment in the 5 months they have lived together. In order to protect their anonymity, and so that the delusional and imbalanced roomie doesn’t find some crackpot way to sue me for liable, I will call my friend Liam, the roomie Tyler and the roomie’s insipid boyfriend Kurtis.  Are you following? Good, let’s just dive right in, shall we?

Liam and Tyler dated for like, a hot minute. I met Tyler out one night and honestly liked him a lot. He was funny and charming and we had a great time. Not long after that, Liam informed me that he and Tyler had broken up because of Tyler’s immaturity and affinity for tantrums. They still hung out as friends and stuff, so I really never thought too much of it. After Liam’s then-current living situation started to fall apart, he decided to start looking for a new place, with the intent of having Tyler as his roommate. Also, never thought twice about it because I hadn’t really heard much about him since that night we all hung out. I did ask Liam, however, if he thought it was a good idea to move in with an ex. He assured me all was well.

Not long after Tyler and Liam moved in together, Liam told me he thought he had made a mistake. Tyler’s fits were becoming far more intense and borderline violent. He was emotionally charged, and clearly still in love with Liam, and his anger and rage were exacerbated by his almost constant intake of alcohol. His fits started turning into violent outbursts, with Liam as the target. If Liam flirted with another guy, if he LOOKED at another guy, basically if Liam did anything that Tyler found to be distasteful, Tyler would use Liam as his punching bag. I’ve received several calls from Liam telling me that he had to flee his apartment to get away from Tyler’s fists. An apartment that Liam has been paying for solely, and HE was the one that had to leave. Life’s a  bitch, ain’t it?

And yet, because Liam is a great guy, and WAAAAYYYYYYY too nice, he continued to offer Tyler safe harbor. Even when Tyler was served an eviction, Liam acquiesced and gave him thirty days to vacate, not wanting to render Tyler homeless. Now, if you ask Tyler about the situation; well, actually, don’t. Because not only is he a violent, batshit crazy sociopath with severe abandonment issues; he is also a pathological liar. Even if you have hard evidence to disprove his inane ramblings, he will continue to lie to the point where I truly believe that he thinks what’s he spouting is the truth.

More recently, Tyler scored himself a man. Something that Liam and I both puzzled over; but Tyler’s powers of manipulation know no bounds and poor Kurtis is his latest victim. When it all first started, Liam was really excited about it. He thought Kurtis may prove to be just the distraction Tyler needed. He said Kurtis was as nice as could be, and he thought he was going to be really good for Tyler. And for a while, maybe he was. He seemed to be pretty neutral in this nasty battle between roommates and rational and reasonable enough to realize that Tyler was usually at fault. Until a few days ago, that is.

Liam got Tyler evicted from their shared apartment. In fact, the landlord issued a ten-day eviction as he knew that, not only was Tyler destructing the property, he had brought a dog into the space, which was strictly forbidden. And even though Liam lies about ALL of these things, there is evidence coming out of our ears that proves our allegations are true. I even have some messages from Tyler where he admits to physically assaulting Liam. After begging Liam to give him more time, Liam gave in and decided to give him a month, conditioned upon terms that were agreed upon by both parties.

It’s not even a week later, and Tyler has violated every single one of those terms. He leaves his dog unattended for hours to shit all over their apartment with no love or affection. In my opinion, people who abuse and neglect animals are the worst sort of scum. And apparently, Tyler did not appreciate the fact that Liam decided to paint over Tyler’s hideous teal walls. He told him it was tacky and that only his tacky friends would like. When Liam put that on facebook, and that he wasn’t looking forward to inevitably being roused from his slumber by the belligerent alcoholics stumbling through his door at 3 am (which, by the way, one of the terms was that Tyler would not drink or be drunk around Liam. See how that lasted, did ya?), Tyler and Kurtis decided that this was online bullying. Even though he named no one, and is not even friends with them on facebook. But hey, who needs good sense when you’ve got psychosis and bluster, amiright?

And since that time, Kurtis has made it his life’s mission to troll Liam nonstop. Which is what brings us to the title of this post. Kurtis posted a poorly written diatribe about his plight this morning, clearly aimed at Liam; in which he cries foul at Liam for pretending to be a friend while making Tyler look like a fool. I can assure you, Tyler needs ZERO help looking foolish. But in this diatribe he preaches unconditional friendship and how friendships always have to be cherished because, unlike family, we CHOOSE them. Of course, he’s right on this point. But unconditional is a bit much to ask of anyone, if you ask me.

Unconditional connotes that we should be exempt from our actions. Sometimes, love IS conditional, as in, if you repeatedly treat me like dirt, and do not reciprocate my generosity or my friendship, then what would be my motivation to stick around? Tyler has done nothing to nurture his friendship with Liam, and absolutely everything to quash it. He spews vitriol about him to anyone that will listen, he physically abuses him, he threatens him and harasses him, and now he’s manipulated Kurtis into trolling him on the internet. And yet, Liam is the bad guy for not just bending over and taking it? No, it doesn’t work that way. As with every relationship, friendship is a two-way street. You don’t get to just do and say whatever you want and expect for everything to be hunky dory. Does that mean that I don’t value my friendships? Absolutely not. I’ve got an incredible and solid group of friends that I WOULD die for and whom I DO love unconditionally; but it’s because they return the favor. Those who refused to be as good of a friend as I am are no longer my friends. As you get older, you realize that there is absolutely no point in hanging onto something that is meaningless. And that’s exactly what Tyler and Liam’s “friendship” turned into. Because Tyler wanted to rule with abuse, and Liam finally decided he was too good to stand for it. I applaud you, Liam. Now you just have to stay strong!

This entire situation makes me incredibly sad. Not only for my lovely friend Liam, but for Tyler and Kurtis. How pathetically miserable their existence must be to focus such an inordinate amount of time and energy on torturing another person. I also wonder how Kurtis feels about Tyler also still being in love with Liam, despite everything that has happened. It must sting to be somebody’s placeholder.

 

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The War On Women: It’s Real, Whether You Want To Acknowledge It Or Not

21 02 2014

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The War on Women, despite what conservatives will have you believe, is legitimate. Every single day, men make decisions about women, for women, regarding topics that they quite simply have no business even discussing, let alone drafting legislation on.

I think the major question is, “Why?” Why do these men feel that they know my body better than I do? Why do they feel that they have the right or the authority to tell me what I can and cannot do with my own body. Why is it that the Right spends all of their time and effort rallying AGAINST big Government, except for when it comes to who we can love and what I can do with MY body? Why is it that they are unable to see that they are the absolute worst kind of hypocrites?

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I saw something on Upworthy the other day about a segment on Fox News (shocking) where a panel comprised COMPLETELY of men discussed women’s healthcare. Now, I know the Fox News is the biggest farce since Milli Vanilli, but they hide behind the guise of legitimacy. How could even those idiots think that discussing such a hot button topic about women’s rights SANS AN ACTUAL WOMAN would be acceptable?! Sigh. That’s what I get for thinking Fox News does ANYTHING that makes good political sense, or any kind of sense, for that matter.

Have you heard about the Michigan Rape Insurance Bill that passed? No? Let me break it down for you real quick: Michigan passed a law requiring any victims of rape who get pregnant because of the assault to have purchased a SEPARATE insurance rider in order for an abortion to be covered by insurance. So, basically, Michigan is saying “Welp, sorry about your luck! Obviously you should have seen this attack coming, or maybe you shouldn’t have dressed so provocatively to warrant unwanted attention.” What is wrong with these people?!

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And sexism isn’t just present in the national media, it’s all around us, and me. My Dad is an enormous Peyton Manning fan, and also the most delusional man, like ever. When the Broncos were getting their asses handed to them during the Super Bowl, I tagged him in a Facebook message asking if he still thought Peyton was the best of all time, considering his proclivity for choking when it matters the most. He refused to lay any blame on Peyton, and told me I should “Stop talking football and stick to writing my stories.” Did I mention my Dad is the most delusional man alive? Because not only did he think that the Broncos’ loss was in NO WAY Peyton’s fault (I mean, seriously?), but he didn’t think his comment was sexist, at all. He didn’t think that telling me that I should stick with what I know (IE, not football since I’m a woman) and quit discussing man matters was misogynistic. And this from my own father!

Another instance of this happened while I was at work. This one actually hit me like a ton of bricks, because the man I was conversing with is, by all accounts, an incredibly progressive and forward-thinking guy. He asked me what I thought about women in the work place. When I asked him to elucidate, he said that he had been having a conversation in the lunch room with some other female coworkers about the topic, and that it is his belief that women should not have to work and deal with the everyday stress that inevitably accompanies the workforce. The women in the lunchroom told him he was crazy, they would never depend upon a man to take care of them. And I get that argument completely,  but for me, it’s much more than that.

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I work because I LIKE to have a job. I want to feel productive and like I’m contributing. I like having something to do everyday. I’ve been working since I was 14, and I have no intention or desire to stop now. He countered me by saying that he believes a woman’s most important role is at home, taking care of house and kids and all that goes with it. That one really got me to rear my ugly head. Now bear with me, and try not to judge until you’ve read everything I have to say.

My children are my everything. While I do like to work, every single thing I do on a daily basis is ultimately for them. It’s why I’ve stuck with this incredibly stupid job for as long as I have. However, even if I was able to,  I STILL wouldn’t be a stay-at-home-mom. It’s not something that we could handle financially at this point, especially after Sean’s uncles’ despicable action concerning his job. I’m not going to get into in depth here,  it would require a completely different post. But suffice it to say that I’ve never personally witnessed family treating each other in such a terrible way as I have since Sean has started working for his family business. I BEGGED him not to take that job, but he thought it was what he needed to do. Since then, he’s regretted it every single day. Seriously, at this point, I never want to see his uncles again, that is truly how bad it is.

But I was not built to be a stay-at-home mom. It’s not who I am. I equal parts envy and puzzle over the moms who have that routine down. They get to witness every milestone and forge a bond with their children that I likely will not, because they are all that their kids know. But in the short spans of time that I was a SAHM, I thought I was going to snap. Cleaning, and cooking and laundry and chauffeuring, oh my. All I could think was: “I have to get back to work.” And I honestly think that because my kids have gone to sitters since their birth, they are far more adaptable than other kids. They are used to their lives being a bit of a whirlwind and of plans changing. Their worlds aren’t rocked when routines shift, and I am grateful for that.

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I explained this to my coworker, and told him that while my role as a mom and wife are the most important in my life, they are not the only ones I care to nurture. I WANT my girls to see that they can both be great moms and have good work lives. I want them to know that if they really work hard enough, they can accomplish anything. That it IS possible to have it all. And when I explained to this man that him telling me that I shouldn’t have to work just because I am a woman comes off as incredibly sexist, he attempted to explain himself further. Unfortunately, none of these explanations really disproved that theory! I don’t really think he’s a sexist guy, but this archaic view was just too much to go undisputed. Women are not delicate little flowers meant to be hidden away in the kitchen barefoot and pregnant. There is a reason women have the babies. It is because we can handle inordinate stress levels and cope far better than our male counterparts. It is literally in our DNA to be able to handle all of the things he thinks we shouldn’t have to.

So what’s the point of this post? Complacency. Women have come so far, it’s true. But we never should have had to fight this battle to begin with. We are not possessions, we are not playthings, we are not sexual objects here for just your pleasure. We make the world go round. Literally, YOU WOULD NOT BE HERE IF IT WEREN’T FOR US. Yes, yes; I know it takes two to make a baby. But the man gets his rocks off and then his job is done. It is up to us to grow you within our bodies. It is up to us to eat healthy and get enough sleep and take care of ourselves so that you may form into a human being. And as a man, this is something you will never experience. You will never know what it feels like to be kicked and punched from within. You will never know what it feels like to watch your belly distend to a seemingly impossible circumference with a human life. You will never know what that women feels like who got pregnant after a poor choice in one-night-stands who has to try and decide if she wants to be a single mom or not. The man can walk away, the woman cannot.

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So, to all you men out there: Before you open your mouths about women’s rights and healthcare and abortion, I want you to take a hand mirror, and go into a bathroom. Drop your pants and take a look at your privates. If there is no vagina there, then  keep your mouth shut. That Y chromosome doesn’t give you the right or authority to make decisions for all of us. If you don’t have the parts, then don’t offer your opinion. All it does is make you look like an even bigger jackass.

Until next time, peeps!!





Who Really Wins When Science Battles Faith?

5 02 2014

 

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Today, I wrote an article about Bill Nye The Science Guy coming to Northern Kentucky to participate in a debate with the founder of the Creation Museum, and co-founder of the Answers of Genesis ministry that supports the museum, Ken Ham. I wrote a piece about this, and it was clearly bias; as I find the idea of creationism absurd. I find it absurd that people want to completely ignore the science and believe that God really did create every living thing we see around us.

In fact, I started to discuss this with a good friend, who said that he believes it is far easier to believe that God created everything than to believe that one day monkeys just WERE men; or that we all were created from the sky spontaneously combusting. And therein lies the fundamental difference. For me, it’s like this: EVERYTHING is made of energy and matter. Inanimate things, plant things, people things, animals things; you get what I’m saying. We are all an ever-changing and mutating bundle of cells and energy. And so the idea that several forms of energy and matter colliding into each other and spawning an entirely different type of energy and matter resulting in the basis of life as we know it? That doesn’t seem at all far-fetched to me.

He also told me that he’s pretty sure no babies were conceived and born by combustion. Of course, on this point he is right, as far as I know. However, where we disagree is in the Godliness of the scenario. While it is true that when I had my children, a sense of something bigger washed over me, I never thought of it as God. When I was so terrified during Vivi’s birth, it wasn’t God that I prayed to. Instead I just said over and over in my mind: “Doctor I am entrusting you with the life of my precious baby, as well as my own. Please don’t fail me now.” When both of my angels were placed into my arm healthy and happy, I did not thank God. I thanked my own body, and the brilliant minds of the doctors that cared for us.

I do believe that by thanking only God for this miracle is insulting to the doctors who spent a decade learning how to do what they do. God didn’t GIVE them that knowledge, they worked their ever-loving asses off to put that MD behind their names. And God didn’t get me pregnant. Sean and I did that together, with our bodies. If God was there then he’s got explaining to do, because that’s creepy.

And so if two reasonable people with an above-average intelligence cannot find a common ground on the merits of science vs. faith, then what chance do we stand? Normally, differing opinions isn’t a big deal. But when it comes to this, it is an enormous deal. Because Creationists want us to teach Creationism, INSTEAD (or sometimes as well as) evolution. They want the science books changed. They want our children to be taught that modern-man frolicked with dinosaurs. This, I cannot pretend to tolerate.

So I suppose that just leaves one major question: Where do we go from here?





Tell Me About Your Faith

21 01 2014

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Recently,  I’ve found myself battling some internal struggles that I didn’t want to discuss with family and friends. For whatever reason, mostly due to the subject matter, I believe, I found myself reluctant to divulge these issues to the people in my life that I trusted the most. And, so, without some sort of release or insight from others, this turmoil is starting to weigh heavily on my psyche, my spirit. It’s bringing me down and making me short and snappy with those closest to me. It’s made me almost bitter and the people who deserve it the least are usually those that I end up unfairly lashing out at. That is not the person I am, and certainly not who I want to be. So I’ve been trying to explore other options for guidance and wisdom when I don’t feel comfortable bearing my soul to those around me.

I have a co-worker who has this aura of peace about him that emanates so fiercely from within him that it infects all of those lucky enough to be around him. He has this certainty about himself and his faith, and the confusing, messed up, cruel, beautiful, breathtaking, debilitating thing called life that we’re all struggling through; and he genuinely loves being able to help others find that same certainty. I kind of want him to be my life coach. I know that he, like all other humans, must suffer from life’s every day hiccups like the rest of us do. But it is how he copes with it that is so admirable. And that is why, on Friday, I asked him how it is that his faith offers him the ability to cope so well, and he took time out of his day to explain to me how he has gotten to this coveted point in his life. I honestly felt very fortunate to be given entry into the private sanctum of his life. I read enough fiction to know that his life could rival any Greek tragedy for worst lot. I don’t want to get into any details to secure his privacy, but suffice it to say that my paltry little personal issues paled in comparison to the trials and tribulations this man has faced in his life. And still he possesses this much poise and peace? That alone gave me some much-needed perspective.

After he wrote out his laundry list of tragedy, he told me that the only reason he can get out of bed in the morning is because of his faith. He accepts the trials and tragedy as God’s way of testing him; his strength, his perseverance, his determination, and of course, his faith. He believes that he was burdened with this seemingly unbearable loss because God thought he could handle it. That’s not to say that he didn’t suffer from a loss of faith in the eye of this tragic storm, as he assured me he did. But after he sought help, he found his way back to faith, and is a better man for it.

And therein lies the purpose of this post. The reason I reached out to this colleague is because I knew that God cultivated his contentment. He finds this peace because he has found God. But he also explained to me that, while he is a loyal and faithful son to his God, he does believe in Religion. He believes that as long as you love God and live your life well (helping others, treating all others as equal, and just all-around being a positive contribution as opposed to a negative one), that you are living a Godly life. He does not believe that you have to call yourself a Catholic, a Baptist, a Buddhist or a Muslim in order to live a good life. Basically, all of his values mirrored mine; and so I realized, we aren’t very different. While he attributes his outlook on God, I attribute it to my own clear mind and a Mother who engrained those values into my lifeblood.  But at the end of the day, if we’re reaching the same conclusions, then who cares what we label it?

So here’s what I want to know from YOU, my lovely readers. If you subscribe to a religion, or have strong faith in God, I want to know why. I want to know what comfort you gain from that belief alone. I want to know what you do in your darkest moments. Do you pray? Do you simply have a one-sided conversation with the sky? Do you read the bible? Do you think all of that is a load of crap and instead find escape through meditation? If you’re willing to share, I will be honored, and will read your well-thought out comments with an open mind.

But, please, I am not here to be converted. I am simply on a search. I am not asking you to try and preach to me or change my mind. I only want to know what it does for YOU, not what you think it can do for ME.





And Then She Was One…

17 01 2014

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One year ago today, at almost exactly this time, I found myself rousing from an unexpected nap on the couch. Sean had just come through the door with Sophia. My first words were “Why are you getting her home so late on a school night?” But my next words were slightly more disconcerting: “I do not feel well at all; I’m experiencing some pretty intense cramps.” I got up and went to the restroom and found that I was bleeding a little bit. Mind you, at this point I THOUGHT I was 33 weeks pregnant. I called my doctor and was told to just drink lots of fluids and get some rest, but that it was probably nothing.

And so I did just that. I went to bed and got up and went to work the next morning. I was still experiencing some pretty serious discomfort and just did not feel well in general; but I went about business as usual.

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It was about 2:45 PM, and I was working on a complaint at my desk. When I shifted in my seat, I had the sensation of leaking through a tampon. I decided to finish my task and then get up to use the restroom and see what was up. About five minutes later, I stood up to take said restroom break and got waaaay more than I had bargained for. As soon as I was in an upright position, I felt a gush of liquid. It is a sensation unlike any other I’ve ever felt. I let out a shocked and audible gasp, which prompted my desk mate into immediate action. She sprang out of her seat and got our boss, who immediately called an ambulance. My good friend (and on that day, my savior) Ben came right over and pulled me back from the precipice of panic that I was teetering on. As soon as I saw his face and heard his voice calming me, my heart rate slowed and my thoughts began to clear.

I called my doctors’ office and they told me to just wait for the ambulance to get me to Christ, and that one of my doctors would be waiting for me when I arrived. I called my mom, my mother-in-law and Sean and told them what had happened. I could hear panic and distress in each of their voices, but appreciated their attempt to sooth me. After all, we all assumed Vivi was going to be making her entrance 7 weeks early. A terrifying thought, to be sure.

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A gaggle of EMTs came up to the 5th floor where I worked and helped me to gather up my belongings and get to the elevator. My last words to my friends and colleagues were “BEN! Please make sure to dispose of my chair!” I had enough of my faculties left to realize that what had just happened was something that a cheap little office chair could never recover from. It had to go.

So I got down the elevator and was placed on the gurney, strapped in and rolled on up in the ambulance. And, let me just say, those vehicles CAN NOT be safe. Seriously. What if somebody has some sort of potentially fatal spinal injury? The way that thing rode could have easily jogged something out of place that could cause irrevocable damage. But I digress. When I got to Christ, I was teetering on panic again, as I was alone. I happened to see somebody that I used to work with at Kohl’s and she’ll never know what an angel she was to me that day. Just the blissful escape of small talk was enough to bring me back down to earth once more. Just as she had to say her goodbyes, Sean ran through the door, and for the first time since my water broke I took a big deep breath and relaxed, inasmuch as I could, at that point.

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They admitted me and took me into a room, where my doctor met me shortly after. He examined me and was concerned that, with the amount of fluid and blood I was still purging, I wasn’t further dilated. At that point I think I was like MAYBE 2 centimeters. He told me he believed that the placenta had detached, which could lead to distress for the baby. So a scheduled c-section was postponed and I was immediately prepped for surgery. My mom and Dad had shown up at this point, and Sean’s parents had arrived with Sophia. As they wheeled me back to the operating room to get the spinal, the faces of my family were the last that I saw, other than doctors. It was EXACTLY what I needed to keep my cool during what was turning out to be the most gut-wrenchingly terrifying moments of my life.

Your husband or partner does not get to be in the room with you while you’re getting a spinal or epidural, so you have to endure that lovely ten-inch needle being injected into your spine with no one to hold your hand but a sympathetic stranger. Don’t get me wrong, my nurses were phenomenal, and did an incredible job; but I needed a friendly face at the time. After I was sufficiently paralyzed, they brought Sean in. My doctor had scrubbed-in and got to work on me with severe expedience.

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Honestly, the entire thing at that point is a bit of a blur. I just kept chanting in my head over and over “Don’t pass out. Don’t pass out. You HAVE to stay awake, Dani. DO. NOT. PASS. OUT. Your baby girl is going to need you, keep your shit together.” After what seemed like hours, but was really only a matter of moments, later, Vivi was out and her cry was strong. They warned me that she could easily be under 4 pounds, but when they put her on the scale, she was a solid 6 pounds, 1 ounce and was 18 inches long. All signs pointed to her being healthy.

Sean let go of my hand to go and check on our sweet Vivi. He told me that she was perfect and was moving and crying and looked healthy and strong. But the nurses quickly cleaned her and hustled her out of the OR. Sean looked at me with pleading eyes, begging me to tell him what to do: Stay with me, or follow the strangers with our precious angel. I told him to go with the baby, never to let her out of his sight and to make sure there was somebody waiting for me in recovery to give me an update.

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After Vivi and Sean were gone and things quieted down a bit, I felt myself beginning to relax. My doctor was still working me, sewing me back up and whatnot, and I caught some snippets of the conversation. They were discussing how if they had waited any longer, I would have lost my uterus. The placenta had indeed detached and my doctor’s urgency was warranted. At that point, I blacked out.

I think my body had been such a ball of tension and anxiety that it just needed to shut down for a little while. When I came fully to, they were getting ready to roll me into the recovery suite. Sean was waiting for me there.

He told me that the nurses were concerned that Vivi wasn’t breathing on her own and it didn’t appear that she had started to produce her own surfactant, which would have aided her in breathing on her own. I was not allowed to go see her yet, not until I was able to walk on my own, which I was still unable to do, being that the spinal had not yet worn off. When I had been given a room and could finally walk, I made Sean wheel me to the Special Care Nursery immediately. We scrubbed and went in, and what I saw nearly broke me. My sweet baby was a mess of tubes and wires. She looked so tiny and vulnerable and lonely. I couldn’t believe that I was not allowed to hold my own baby; that she wasn’t given the comfort of  her mother’s touch, voice and scent in the first moments of her life like her big sister had. But the thing that struck me the most was the sheer beauty of her. I knew right away that those wires and tubes were precautionary, something the hospital had to do to cover their own backsides . My girl was strong, she was a fighter. She wasn’t going to let a few extra weeks in my belly stand between her and a fabulous life.

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By the next morning, her oxygen levels had increased greatly and she was breathing on her own. And finally, they put her in my arms. The connection was immediate. The moment she heard my voice I saw recognition in her eyes. She looked almost relieved to finally hear a familiar voice. We gave her a bottle, and she continued to improve every single day. Sophia met her and I literally felt my heart grow. No joke, call me the Grinch, that’s seriously what it feels like. A sense of expansion overwhelms you and then all of sudden, you just have more love to give and feel.

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Tomorrow marks one year since our sweet Vivi made her very dramatic entrance into this world, and it’s been the best year of my life. We knew we weren’t complete as a family yet, and who knows? Maybe we still aren’t. But Vivi brought our family to an entirely different level. She is sweet and silly; sharp and observant; beautiful and cuddly. I never laugh harder than when I watch her and Sophia together. They adore each other. Vivi’s face absolutely lights up when she sees her big sis walk into the room, and whips her head around to find her voice. Their mutual adoration makes my heart happy, and I hope to God it lasts.

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My sweet Vivi Lou, you truly are my sunshine. You lift me up and make me laugh. When I look at you and your sister, my faith in the future is restored. You two give me hope, and fill my heart and soul with pride and joy. Nothing has ever brought me more pleasure and fulfillment than being your Mommy.

I love you my precious little birthday angel.

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Thankfulnesss

2 12 2013

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Thanksgiving has come and gone, and it occurred to me today that, in the midst of the Holiday madness, I didn’t really get a chance to sit down and ponder what I’m thankful for. So, in true Dani fashion [i.e. late], I’m going to do that now, in list form.

* I am thankful for baby belly laughs, that start in their toes and come out of their mouths in the cutest guttural, raspy tones.

* I am thankful for my body, and its ability to make babies so well and thoroughly.

* I am thankful for the extra pounds on my frame. While I may not be skinny, I am well-fed; unlike so many others.

* I am thankful for my mind, and it’s uncanny ability to absorb endless amounts of useless knowledge.

* I am thankful for my job, for although it is far from my dream career; it allows me to put food on my table, a roof over our heads, and books on my Kindle (among other things).

* I am thankful for others’ brilliant minds, and for their willingness to share them with the masses. I’m looking at you authors, directors, musicians, actors, painters, etc.

* I am thankful for my husband and his ability to always see the sunny side of life. As a person who can fall deep into cynicism, this is a welcome and necessary balance.

* I am thankful for my ability to have perspective. So many of us focus on what we don’t have, instead of what we do. I know that I am one of the lucky ones.

* I am thankful for Sophia. Her health, her happiness, her beauty, her incredible mind, her sweet and nurturing nature, her mind-blowing comedic timing. The kid is my brightest shining star, and one half of my greatest masterpiece.

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* I am thankful for Vivi. Her health, her laugh, her inquisitive nature, her love of snuggling, her burgeoning personality, her deliciously ample thighs, and her unconditional and deep love for me. She is the other half of my greatest masterpiece.

vivster

* I am thankful for my happy marriage, and our commitment to ensure that it is always a happy one. We value each other over all other things, and that is how we will survive.

* I am thankful for a life that has been pretty damn superb so far. It has had its very fair share of trials, but it always bounces back in the end.

* I am thankful for sunsets. Sometimes, the best things in life really are free.

* I am thankful for technology and how it allows me to keep in touch with friends that have spread their wings and flown to all corners of the country.

* I am thankful for music and the ability to hear and sing.

* I am thankful for my voice and my ability to speak.

* I am thankful for family who can’t help but butt in, because they love me so much.

* I am thankful for strength and perseverance, and the ability to know that sometimes, it’s okay for me not to be the strong one. Why else do I have such a tall and sturdy man if not to lean on him when I need it most?

* I am thankful for friends who make me laugh and lift me up.

* I am thankful for memories and my ability to live and let live, and realize that regrets do nothing but bring you down.

* I am thankful for sweet little sisters who (for now) absolutely adore each other.

sissies

* And finally, I am thankful for each and every person who reads this. Because of you, I have stuck to my goals and decided to chase my dreams once more. You all inspire and enlighten me; thank you for that.

What about you? What are you thankful for during this hectic Holiday season?





Leftie Liberal Musings

9 10 2013

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“Opinions are like asses. Everybody’s got ’em, and they all smell.” This is a quote from my favorite teacher of my entire academic career. He busted it out frequently. Pretty much whenever somebody argued with him. Clearly, since I had him in the eighth grade, this quote stayed with me.

We are a nation of opinions. Everybody’s got some (even if they won’t admit it), and many are vocal about them. I am as guilty of this as anyone. But what makes these opinions different is something fundamental. A part of our essential self that we can very rarely change, even if we wanted to.

Perhaps the problem is not that we all have differing opinions, but that we refuse to listen to others explain their own and really delve into what forms these stances.

I’ve noticed something about myself. I bitch about other opinions that don’t mesh with my own. I rail against individuals who want to continuously award tax cuts to big businesses while cutting funding for medicaid and education. I vehemently denounce any who claim to be religious and moral and then persecute fellow humans for sexual orientation. But what about me?

Sometimes, it’s hard to remember that what I find to be absurd, archaic, immoral, ignorant, etc., may make perfect sense to another. My belief in legalizing gay marriage on the federal level seems unspeakably immoral to some. My belief that women in general are capable and reasonable enough to choose what they will and will not do to and with their own bodies gives the impression to some that I am ignorant and evil. The fact that I believe that we should offer assistance to our less fortunate bretheren, instead of constantly kicking them while they’re down, seems archaic. Soft. It makes me seem like an enabler.

I’m now going to explain why I boast my blue and lean to the left. I wonder… if I put it down in rational, concise terms; will it be easier for opposing outsiders to understand my psyche? I’ll never know unless I try.

I am not naive or unreasonable enough to believe that Democrats are angels. Far from it. We are a flawed people, just like any other. In my opinion, the only successful politician is a crooked one. Jaded, perhaps. But I don’t believe one person sits in a position of authority without selling at least a tiny sliver of their soul. As far as politicians go, being a Democrat can almost be reduced to the lesser of two evils. But those people that “represent us” are not the reason I am liberal. It’s the foundation of the party that allured me.

I don’t condone extremism; from any party. Those people who hurt others with their plight are lower on the totem pole than those committing the act, in my opinion. There are extremists on both sides. I understand this. Liberal assholes exist just as Conservative ones do. I am liberal because at the end of the day, I sleep easier knowing that I voted for a President who has been an outward supporter of gay rights. That, while my party may not be padding pockets, they are championing a fight for civil rights.

Do I like forking over a portion of my hard-earned money to people who have learned how to cheat the system and live-large while doing nothing? Fuck. No. It infuriates me. And, while it infuriates me that these people milk the nation this way, it makes me even madder that the government has allowed it to persist for so long. They are the body of power that have a) been elected by the people; b) implemented these failing programs; c) watched it happen, bitched about it, and did absolutely nothing. If you want to get mad; get mad at them! They have straight failed us, y’all.

But here’s the rub: when we deny the abusers, we deny the hard-working Americans who have suffered through, mostly, no fault of their own. And that I can’t resolve myself to accept. To me, it’s kind of along the lines of “It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer” (Blackstone’s formulation). We should not punish our displaced neighbors who can no longer afford their mortgage because our governing body can not get their shit together.

I believe that we should all have access to affordable, high-quality healthcare. I also believe that, if people were given a synopsis of the Affordable Care Act in laymen’s terms, there may be some who are swayed by its roots. It is flawed. But it could be perfected. If the government would work on it together. Below is, without a doubt, the best video I have seen about the Act. Check it out, with an open mind.

I believe that we should remember that we are a nation of immigrants, who fled a tyrant to seek freedom. And that those founders who fought for those rights should not be disgraced by taking steps backward, Progress is the future, stasis is not beneficial to anyone. We are an ever-evolving species. How can anyone expect our lifestyles, traditions, and standards to remain stagnant? So you have to “press 1 for English.” Who cares?! Does this minuscule requirement truly inconvenience you so much that you have to make legislation about it? I believe the American dream should be attainable for everyone, not just natural-born Americans. Also, make naturalization an easier goal to obtain.

I believe that my daughters should be given the opportunity to receive equal pay when they enter the workforce. Should they be qualified and experienced, and as capable as any man, I expect them to be compensated accordingly for it.

I believe we should stop gobbling up natural resources in a never-ending quest to build more identical dwellings. I think we’re good on the skyscrapers. Maybe we can start focusing on torrential October snow storms in Wyoming or something. You don’t like the phrase “global warming?” Fine. Don’t call it that. For that matter, call it whatever you want. As long as you recognize that the name of the problem is not, in fact, the problem. Let’s just focus on the fact that, pardon the dramatics, apocalyptic weather is upon us.

Oh, and guns? If you’re really THAT worried about your ability to obtain a firearm because of a background check…that probably means it’s better that you don’t have one.

Look, I could really go on and on about this. But it comes down to this: what I can and can not live with. When people claim that they are “socially liberal” but “fiscally conservative.” I internally seethe. Because to me, this means that believe they are forward enough to believe that people are equal…until it comes to their take-home pay. They refuse to call themselves “Republicans,” but they will never, not once, vote for a Democrat. I believe you can take that one to the bank. Why not just own it? You value material things more than humanity. That’s your choice; as well as your right.

I believe that we should protect the weak. I do not believe that we should punish, abuse, or exploit them. Counsel them. Help them reach their potential.

I don’t believe that the government should be allowed to shut down. I mean, really? Tantrums much? Republicans are lambasting Democrats for “pointing fingers.” Well. Here’s the thing. Don’t do stupid shit, and we won’t blame you for it. I’m sorry, but I can’t really see anything in favor of the righties on this one. The Affordable Care Act is law. Period. It went through the democratic process and was deemed legal, enforceable, and constitutional. And now you’re going to stomp your feet and refuse to turn on the lights because you LOST? Unacceptable. Period.

I guess you could say that, for me, it comes down to equality and compassion. I want us to value people more than things. I want every person to be given the opportunity to succeed. I want the under dog to win every now and then. We are a shining example of what underdogs can do. Nobody thought we would ever gain our freedom. England’s weapons, resources, and men were far more bountiful than ours. We fared pretty well then, I have a feeling we could do it again. If we could just get out of our own way.








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