Category:

Personal

florida school shooting, gun control, alan feis, Nikolas Cruz, Parkland Florida, High School shooting

Yesterday, 17 unsuspecting students and adults, including Aaron Feis, were murdered in a South Florida school shooting massacre by 19 -year-old, Nikolas Cruz. Gun control failed us again. The gunman, Nikolas Cruz, 19, pulled the fire alarm shortly before 3 pm at his former high school, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. As the students and faculty exited the building, he started shooting at them like fish in a barrel. But that wasn’t enough for Nikolas, he followed the people running back inside for cover and targeted those huddled in classrooms hiding. Then, he blended in with the students exiting and evacuated the school. He was arrested later that day in Coral Springs.

They’re calling it the “Florida School Shooting” to differentiate it from the other recent school shootings because they happen so frequently now. This is how we measure life and death now, by geographical location. Quick somebody drop a pin so we know where to send the SWAT team next. I’m not being funny. I am utterly disgusted at how little life means to the people of this country. We’ve done nothing since Sandy Hook. Gun control is still the same shit show it ever was.

You know, the world makes fun of helicopter moms but we’re just being rational in an irrational world. How are we ever supposed to let our children go out into the world without worrying ourselves into an early grave? No wonder so many people homeschool now because at least there you can keep your child safe. Thank God for men like Aaron Feis.

Are you there God? Where were you on Ash Wednesday 2018 when 17 people were murdered by a disgruntled ex-student, Nikolas Cruz in the Florida School shooting? What makes a person hate the world so much that they want to kill anyone and everyone that is not as miserable as they are? Don’t tell me mental illness. It’s meanness. It’s calculated. It’s evil and its people killing people with guns because they can because everywhere you turn guns are readily available. If you can’t buy the gun you want, you can buy a gun and modify it. If they won’t sell you a gun because by some miracle your crazy ass is on a list, you can build it by buying parts on the Internet. Why is this not regulated?

Nikolas Cruz has been charged with 17 cases of premeditated murder. News at 11. It was said on one newscast so matter a factly that you would have thought they were talking about a baby monkey being born at the local zoo. What kind of world are we living in? Where is the outrage? Where are the grief-stricken parents of the living students with pitchforks and torches demanding that our government do something? I mean, of course without a whole lot of people make a whole lot of stink the government is not going to do shit because they got paid a whole lot of money not to.

Former classmates said they were not surprised at the identity of the suspected shooter. Cruz loved showing off guns, student Eddie Bonilla told CNN affiliate WFOR.

“We actually, a lot of kids threw jokes around Iike that, saying that he’s the one to shoot up the school, but it turns out everyone predicted it. It’s crazy,” Bonilla recalled.

Why did no one call the police on this kid? He was clearly exhibiting unstable behaviors.

Cruz had once been expelled from the high school over disciplinary problems, Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie said.

 

He purchased the gun legally. He passed the background check. At 18 you can buy an assault-style weapon but you have to be 21 to buy a handgun. Let that sink in for a minute.

I find it interesting that as they were interviewing former classmates of Nikolas Cruz they were saying things like yeah, sure, Nikolas was the guy most likely to shoot up the school. He had lots of guns. The faculty at one point forbid him from carrying a backpack because of the fear that something exactly like this might happen. Yet, here we are. It happened and instead of anyone stopping him, they all just shake their head and go, we knew he’d do something like this. What the f*ck?

“This has been a day where we’ve seen the worst of humanity. Tomorrow is gonna bring out the best in humanity as we come together to move forward from this unspeakable tragedy,” Runcie said.

This is supposed to be our consolation. Humanity is going to be “better” for a few days.Celebrities are going to tweet out their prayers and condolences. Regular people are going to feign outrage without actually ever doing anything about it becoming themselves willing parts of the problem. Yeah, like the days and weeks after Sandy Hook. Nothing has changed. There are more school shootings than ever. I mean, what are the statistics for the likelihood of your child getting shot or murdered at school these days?

What’s worse, our government makes sure that these weapons are available because it’s a “constitutional right”. So when it’s your kid, or your wife or your husband or mom or dad who gets shot in the face and murdered just living their life tell me how important the freedom to have guns really is. I dare you to. I wouldn’t stand too close to me when you did it.

I keep seeing images of the teacher with ashes on her head, the hero Aaron Feis and a girl with a mylar balloon. It was probably one of the best days of this teen girl’s high school life and now, it will always be one of the worst days of her life. It’s traumatic and I think it’s the worst kind of monster who attacks people at their most vulnerable. Why do these shooters never open fire where there are trained people ready to protect themselves? Because they are cowards and they are afraid. They want to exact horror by murdering innocent, unsuspecting people because then they have the upper hand. Better yet, be a real man, come pick a fight…hand-to-hand with someone your own size and get your ass kicked the way it deserves to be. But they won’t because they are cowards of the worst kind.

But you know who are the bigger cowards? The politicians who allow the NRA to buy their votes. They value money over human life. Worse still the parents who fight for the right to bear arms and then send their children into the world to be slaughtered by people with guns. If not for yourself, do it for your children. Unless we are going to train and start sending every student to school with a weapon to protect themselves or impose real gun control, then we need to all be sterilized because I’d rather not bring a child into this world than to bring one into this world to be murdered by an NRA enthusiast.

We live in a world where every drop off good bye could be “the goodbye”. I know this. You know this. We choose our words more carefully. We hold tighter. We coddle. We spoil because any minute could be the minute someone sprays the hallways of the elementary school with bullets and paints the walls red with the blood of babies… our babies..my babies and your babies. Anyone’s babies because that is the truly scary part, no one is safe. Not even the child of a parent who is a staunch supporter of the NRA because a gunman with a semi-automatic weapon doesn’t stop to ask.

How do you explain to a parent who’s lost everything that your right to bear arms trumps their child’s right to life?

It feels like I’ve written this piece a few hundred times before because I think I have. Why have I? Why does this keep happening? Why does our government stand by and do nothing but come up with sound bites and excuses? Why do we the people accept this? When is enough too much? When it’s our own child whose tiny body lays limp and lifeless in the quad? When it’s our child who cowers and hides for hours as some person with a gun plays a sick game of hide and seek where if you’re found… you’re dead? When it’s your child, who even if they’re lucky enough to survive they are damaged forever. They are not the same child you sent to school that morning and that child may not have died but they are never coming back.

Nikolas Cruz, Parkland Florida, High School shooting

We live in a world where our children have to think fast enough to put their backpacks full of books on before running for their lives just to try to avoid getting shot in the spine. They have to remember to bob and weave. They have to stay silent and stifle tears and terror while their friend a foot away is shot dead in front of them. They have to play dead and pray the shooter doesn’t issue a kill shot to the head “just to be sure”.

Do something!! Stop waiting for your government to figure it out. Demand that they do something to protect our children. When is enough ever going to be enough? How many children have to be slaughtered in the streets, how much blood has to be on our hands before we have the balls to stand united and demand that there be stricter gun control and regulations on parts being bought? We need to make it impossible for everyone to get guns. It shouldn’t be a right, it should be a privilege and if you don’t earn it, you don’t deserve it. If you are not mentally equipped and stable enough to own and trained to operate a weapon, you should not be able to purchase one.

I know gun advocates like to say they need guns to protect themselves from intruders and government. To you I say, 1 you are more likely to be shot with your own gun from an intruder and 2, no gun can protect you from a corrupt government.

But amidst all of this horror, remember the victims like Football coach Aaron Feis who died while using his body to shield three female students. He threw himself in the line of fire to spare them. He suffered a gunshot wound and died after being rushed into surgery. The thing is he shouldn’t have had to die.

“He died the same way he lived — he put himself second,” Lehtio, a student and football team member, said. “He was a very kind soul, a very nice man. He died a hero.”

 

Don’t let the Florida School shooting and the lives of Aaron Feis and the other 16 people who died yesterday have been in vain. Take action. Demand our government to change our current gun control legislation.

2 comments
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestLinkedinStumbleuponEmail
skinny, vanity, weight loss,

Have you ever looked at a scale and worried if you were skinny enough? Some days people disappoint me in ways that leave me flabbergasted. Insulting someone to their face while extolling the virtues of how great they themselves are. Wouldn’t time be better spent helping others rather than telling others how they could be better if they were more.like.you?

News alert: People know their shortcomings. You never have to tell them. Keep it to yourself. Telling an ugly person they’re ugly doesn’t help them not be ugly, it only makes them feel bad about not being attractive which they were already completely aware of…same goes for being rich, popular, thin and successful. Be who you are, enjoy your win and stop rubbing the loser’s nose in it. It’s petty, shady and just about the ugliest thing I’ve ever seen.

This is not a story about superficial looks. It’s the example I’m using because I used to be vain and shallow. The subject matter is known well to me.

I used to care, more than I should have if I was skinny enough.

Wasting time worrying about getting the perfect body,  was my sole purpose in my teens and 20’s to the exclusion of all else. I had a certain idea in mind of what happiness would look like and it all started with being 5’8” and a size zero. My happiness hinged on how skinny I looked; the size of my pants. I knew that if I could “achieve this” hard to reach goal, I could do anything and I would definitely be happy.  It was mathematically impossible not to be.

skinny, vanity, weight loss, are eating disorders genetic? , raising girls, tweens, eating disorder, bulimarexia, eating disorders, anorexia, weight

Skinny+tall= beautiful = happiness.

I knew I was smart. I was popular enough. All I needed was the “perfect” body and I would have it all. So, I went after it with all I had, like I did everything in those days. When I get an idea in my head, I get obsessed and so began my obsession. Restriction. Exercise. Expulsion. More restriction. Even more exercise. I was never growing passed my 5’7.5” (God’s way of keeping me humble) but I was going to get that perfect body if it killed me and it almost did.

READ ALSO: A Day in the life of a Girl with Eating Disorders

For 13 years on and off, for 8 years hardcore, I chased the unattainable because it was a moving target. Happiness is not a pant size. I know this because each time I reached my “ideal” weight, I realized I needed to be smaller. Just 5 more pounds, over and over again. I was never happy and always unsatisfied. To be honest, I was miserable because the goals never lived up to the expectations.

skinny, vanity, weight loss,

Then there is now. I’m a grown woman. I’ve finally realized that the most important thing is to be healthy, feel good in your own skin and not give a damn about what other’s think (much easier said than done ).

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve had some health issues, unexpected bumps in the road and I realized how stupid I was to be killing myself to be a certain weight. I am now at a point where, all I want is to be fully functioning, walking upright and to be healthy. That’s when it hit me that wanting to be “skinny”, obsessing over every workout and every piece of food I put into my mouth and trying to impress others with the way I look….that’s stupid. That is a luxury for vain people with nothing substantial to concern themselves with. I am happy for those people. I wish them continued health.

READ ALSO: Finally, I don’t Hate my Body

People starving in third world countries don’t obsess over thigh gaps. They are happy to have food in their bellies. People concerned with diabetes and high blood pressure worry about their diet for health reasons, to achieve maximum health not so that their asses look great in a pair of Lululemon. I think to each their own.

None of us know what others are going through. I’ve not lived your life and you’ve not lived mine. We come from different backgrounds, socioeconomic statuses and cultures and what is right for you might not be what is right for me.

I’d never tell you how to live your life, what to wear or not to wear or how to behave because I don’t know your perspective. Only you have lived your life, survived your circumstances or struggles. Your heartbreak, loss and what on the outside looks like negativity, not good enough or “wrong” could be so much better than the day before and could be the very best you have to offer at this time.

In the grand scheme of my life, worrying about being skinny or over weight is stupid unless it affects your health.

I try to consider this as I’ve spent time on both sides. The thing is I want to live my best life. Do my best and be my best me and that has nothing to do with you. Just as how you choose to live your best life has nothing to do with me. Still, I wish us all happiness and success, whatever that might look like to each and every one of us.

1 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestLinkedinStumbleuponEmail
dislocated elbow, broken bone, slip and fall

Have you ever felt like Samuel Jackson’s character Elijah Price in Unbreakable? I have; I do right now. A week ago today, in a fluke of epic proportions and yet another lesson in bad footwear, I lost my footing in a waterlogged yard and fell, not once but twice and something broke. Put it this way, on the second fall, I was pretty sure that if I had taken my coat off, I would have seen the bones in my arm completely out of their respective positions.

If you’ve been following along for the past couple of years, you know that I broke my leg at my sister’s wedding so severely that I had to have surgery to put my leg back together again. It’s what I affectionately refer to as my Humpty Dumpty Frankenstein leg.

A couple months later, I had to have a second surgery to remove 2 of the screws because all of the physical therapy in the world was not going to allow those screws to let me walk without a limp. It helped and I had an amazing surgeon through the entire ordeal so shout out to Dr. Beuchel who can perform surgical miracles and has the most pleasant bedside manner.

3 months later, my gallbladder decided it wanted in on the fun and I had 2 acute attacks in as many weeks. But since I was a week out from a Disney trip (the same trip I had cancelled the previous October due to the break) I went to Disney with a bum gallbladder and a restricted diet that nearly starved me to death and subsequent removal of a gallbladder that we found was not situated in the usual place. Thankfully, Disney is very accommodating to all diets but there were no Dole whips on that trip I did, however, find the soy shake at the Sci-Fi theater and the ratatouille at Be Our Guest to be uncannily delicious.

A year later, the swelling in my leg had finally gone down enough to remove the outer plate and screws from my leg. This was necessary because I was having pain wearing anything above a flat. I just had this surgery over Christmas break. It’s been feeling great, other than a little tenderness from the accompanying scope I had to remove all the built up excess scar tissue that was causing mobility issues. I was looking forward to going to Disney next month unencumbered. Then the unthinkable happened; a series of almost comedic if not almost deadly unfortunate events.

I went outside. The snow had all melted and I saw that Monday night’s storm had left a giant tree branch atop the girls’ trampoline. Afraid it might tear it, I got dressed went outside and tried to remove it from the netting. Let me explain, this is completely out of character for me. I usually leave all manual labor to the Big Guy because 1) I don’t particularly like it 2) I am accident prone and still, I did it anyway. The first mistake, going outside.

This was not well thought out. I still had my pajamas on. I threw on the first pair of comfy pants I found folded and pulled on my jacket and UGGS. Second mistake, UGGS. They are now in the flip-flop category of shoes that will never be worn again.

I went outside and saw that I could not move the log but instead of going in the house and accepting defeat, I soldiered on. I went to the front of the house to find something for leverage. Mistake number 3 and 4, not quitting and walking to the front of the house.

I spied a shovel by the front door and thought, hmm, this will work for leverage. I stepped off the front porch (next mistake) put my foot into the waterlogged, muddy yard and went down like a ton of bricks. When I went down, my first thought was, “OMG, the plate is out and this leg can break again. OMG, I broke the leg!!!”

I was at this point wailing like a baby and jumped up immediately. This was my 5th and fatal mistake because I immediately fell right back down, this time with my left arm outstretched searching for salvation but none was to be found.

I heard a pop and I knew, if I pulled off my jacket to look, the bone would be jutting out in the wrong direction. Covered in mud, I gingerly, while full on screaming and hyperventilating because at this point I might have been insane, pulled myself up to my feet. I was shaking uncontrollably and frightened. The pain was indescribable. I had to make it into the house without falling again but first I had to make it all the way to the back of the house, without losing my footing again because of course, the front door was locked. Instead of walking 50 feet in excruciating pain, I got to walk 500 feet.

dislocated elbow, broken bone, slip and fall

I made it, slipping and sliding and crying and screaming the entire way. It was around 9 in the morning so no one was around. I called my husband, who works on the other side of town, and told him to meet me at the hospital and I called my brother who lives a few blocks away and sobbed my way through telling him what had happened and asked for a ride to the ER.

By this time, I think my body was going into shock. I was shaking uncontrollably and feeling faint and vomity just like the time I broke my leg. Everything was hurting. I was just trying to get dressed and cleaned up before I couldn’t move at all. Swelling tends to do that to bone trauma.

Finally, we made it to the Emergency room where I had to wait for about ½ hour before they could get me back. After another 5 hours and several x-rays, they sent me home with a splint and the news that my arm was broke. However, they said they couldn’t see the break because of the swelling and they wouldn’t do an MRI. I had to follow up with my orthopedist. I left in pain and frustrated.

dislocated elbow, broken bone, slip and fall

Thursday, I saw the orthopedist. The verdict is that when I fell, I dislocated my elbow which, thankfully, went back into place on its own. While dislocating my elbow, the trauma from the impact and all the pushing and pulling taking place during the dislocation, I chipped part of my bone off. My doctor didn’t seem too worried about that. I, however, am concerned but thrilled that I don’t have to wear a cast to Disney this year or have surgery.

dislocated elbow, broken bone, slip and fall

I do have a horrific bruise and swelling to contend with today. I have about 3 months of recovery in front of me that includes another week or two of intense pain, a month of wearing a sling and a whole lot of physical therapy. But no cast or surgery, so I am thankful for the small wins.

Tomorrow, I’m going to buy some vitamin D and calcium because apparently, I am up for the role of Elijah Price in M.Night Shamalyns next installment in the series and I really don’t want to be.

The moral of the story kids? Beware life’s slick spots and make good footwear choices!

1 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestLinkedinStumbleuponEmail
Internet Showdown: Professional Sh*t Stirrer Versus Entitled Youtuber

Have you ever heard the names, Elle Darby or Paul Stenson? Me neither until today. Talk about an influencer’s nightmare, I’m not sure it gets too much worse than this. A British Youtuber, Elle Darby, had the “audacity” to privately email a hotel, the Charleville Lodge Hotel, and ask for accommodations in exchange for “exposure” of their property. The property owner, Paul Stenson, clapped back by not only refusing and ostracizing her but doing it publicly on the establishment’s social media channels.  Therein lies the snafu and now, in response to Influencer backlash, he has banned all influencers from his establishment.

Obviously, I am being facetious. If you have worked in this space for any amount of time, at least in the United States, you know this is a common practice. Not necessarily that all influencers cold pitch businesses to ask for product in exchange for promotion. That’s a bold move and to do that, you need to have some serious confidence and influence to back it up. Seasoned influencers know this. We also know if you don’t ask, it’s always a no but there is always a chance of a no and it does not feel good, even in private.

Just to put this in perspective, brands and PR firms have absolutely no qualms about reaching out to influencers on a daily basis and asking us to work for free, for “exposure” (I keep putting this in quotes because I find it simultaneously hilarious and insulting because I can’t feed my children “exposure” and if I am spending my time away from my family working on promoting a brand, I need to be compensated) or for product. I prefer cash because that’s how I pay my bills but if the product/event is something that I am interested in and the value is equivalent to what I charge for work, then I definitely do consider it. Everything is negotiable except for my opinion, which is honest and if not positive, I always give the brand the option to opt out of the post going live. You know, the whole if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all thing.

I’ve been pitched, in the early days, to write positive reviews on products without even being provided the product. Obviously, I didn’t do that because I can’t tell you about or promise a positive review on a product that I’ve never tried. Also, crafting a well-written post, editing photos, creating video and promoting on social media all takes time and effort. No one would expect a marketing executive or an advertising firm to work for free, why would you expect an influencer to work for free?

First, I think a couple things need to be defined in this space. Why does anyone care if I (an influencer) promote a brand? How do I influence anyone? Why does my opinion matter? For any of this to make sense, you have to understand what being an influencer means.

What is an influencer?

A Social Media Influencer is a user on social media who has established credibility in a specific industry. A social media influencer has access to a large audience and can persuade others by virtue of their authenticity and reach.

Why does this matter?

Using social media influencers in your marketing is the practice of building relationships with the people who can build relationships for you. Whether an influencer’s audience is small or large, an influencer can reach consumers via their blogs and social networks that your brand may not be able to.

You see while some influencers may have little influence, some have a huge influence. It’s about more than numbers, it’s about engagement, credibility and connecting with your audience. If an influencer has developed a following over time and that audience has become invested in that influencer’s life, they do care what that influencer has to say, in the same way they might value a friend’s opinion over a brand’s commercial. Of course, there has to be taken into consideration the influencer’s integrity. Are they going to give an unbiased review? That really depends on the influencer.

After years of influencers being approached by brands to work in exchange for hosting, attending events and product we know that this is common practice. It is not unreasonable or even rare for an influencer to make this ask in return. In fact, many venues/events have media inquiry pages with forms just for this sort of ask.

I am fully aware that it sounds sketchy and maybe even entitled when you randomly find out about this practice from a salacious story on the Internet about a ghastly influencer who dared ask for something like this. Pay your own way, you think. But that’s because the general population is not aware of these practices in the digital space. I can tell you, and any brand will agree, it is easier to get paid $20000 in product than it is to get paid $1000 in cash but sometimes you don’t want $20K worth of kidney beans or bras or baby toys. That has everything to do with budgets and write-offs for the companies.

Again, if you work in this space, you already know all of this but the average person does not. My brother still doesn’t understand how “the internet” pays me. I think he thinks checks fall from the sky out of thin air. I tried to explain it once but his eyes glazed over and I could see he was hearing the Charlie Brown “Wah wah wah wah” thing. So I gave up but not today, Satan.

Elle Darby, who I had no prior knowledge of before this story blew up was just trying to “live her best life” (Generation Z you make my chuckle) working with what her mama gave her. We influencers know that if a company isn’t willing or doesn’t have the budget to pay us so we can pay for those things we need to live, it’s perfectly acceptable to (what I call) work for food, or in this case a holiday. The end result is the same.

We promote their brand to our audience (which is usually their target audience because we do our research) and in exchange they provide us with a good or service that we would have bought with the money had they paid us. We’re the new pioneers. It’s called bartering. It was the original form of payment. Google it. I’m kidding…don’t Google it. I’m sure people paid for goods and service with rocks or some shit a long time ago in caveman days

The problem is the person who did the clapping back is a skilled shit stirrer. Elle Darby made one fatal mistake and that was of asking the wrong person, Paul Stenson. The wrong person got her email or rather since he is the owner, she should have googled him before she emailed and then she would have known better.

Don’t get me wrong, full disclosure, I went to his blog and Paul Stenson is funny AF and I quite enjoy the wit and honesty, with which he writes. He gives his truth and doesn’t give a flying flick what anyone else thinks, generally, I admire that quality in a human being. He doesn’t take himself too seriously and I think that may be why he was so annoyed by the Youtuber’s gall to ask for this hosting in exchange for her work. I don’t know for sure but his blog seems like a personal blog and maybe he doesn’t work as an influencer for his own blog. After all, he has owns The White Moose Cafe and Charleville Lodge that I’m assuming his salary is in cash money. Lucky bastard.

Here is where my problem stems from, the message Paul Stenson posted on FB along with his message (both below) were not coming from his personal account but from the business account which was very unprofessional. He could have simply replied with a, “No, thank you.” No harm, no foul.

Had Mr. Stenson did the same thing from his personal account, that would simply be his opinion but as he did it as a representative of the resort and released a private business email then proceeded to chastise Ms. Darby over standard practice on behalf of the establishment, reflects very poorly on his establishment. I don’t think he’s a bad person, I just think he did a social media f*ck up under his business account. He should have hashtagged that shit #hacked.

 

Paul Stenson, Elle Darby, Elly Darby, The White Moose Cafe, Charleville Lodge, Dublin, Ireland, influencer, social media influencer, ban

 

Dear Social Influencer (I know your name but apparently it’s not important to use names),

Thank you for your email looking for free accommodation in return for exposure. It takes a lot of balls to send an email like that, if not much self-respect and dignity. 

If I let you stay here in return for a feature in your video, who is going to pay the staff who look after you? Who is going to pay the housekeepers who clean your room? The waiters who serve you breakfast? The receptionist who checks you in? Who is going to pay for the light and heat you use during your stay? The laundering of your bed sheets? The water rates? Maybe I should tell my staff they will be featured in your video in lieu of receiving payment for work carried out while you’re in residence?

Lucky for us, we too have a significant social media following. We have 186k followers on our two Facebook pages, an estimated 80k on our Snapchat, 32k on Instagram and a paltry 12k on our Twitter, but Jesus Christ, I would never in a million years ask anyone for anything for free. I also blog a bit which as far as I’m aware is another way of saying “write stuff on the internet”. The above stats do not make me any better than anyone else or afford me the right to not pay for something everyone else has to pay for.

In future, I’d advise you to offer to pay your way like everyone else, and if the hotel in question believes your coverage will help them, maybe they’ll give you a complimentary upgrade to a suite. This would show more self-respect on your part and, let’s face it, it would be less embarrassing for you. Here is a little video I produced which you may learn from. (just Google it)

Best regards, 

Paul Stenson

P.S. The answer is no.

And Paul Stenson isn’t changing his mind anytime soon. Of course, now that I see this tweet, I feel a little skeptical about the entire situation. Was it all a media stunt for publicity? Maybe the two did collaborate, after all?

 

Paul Stenson, Elle Darby, Elly Darby, The White Moose Cafe, Charleville Lodge, Dublin, Ireland, influencer, social media influencer, ban

 

I do have to say, Ms. Darby’s “over 30” reference left a bad taste in my mouth too but let’s chalk it up to youth.

Either way, what are your thoughts on this situation who do you side with the Elle Darby or Paul Stenson?

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestLinkedinStumbleuponEmail
President Donald Trump, Trump deosn't want immigrants from shithole countries, Haiti, Africa, El Salvador

On Thursday, it was made pretty clear President Trump doesn’t want poor immigrants from “shithole” countries. His words, not mine. During a meeting in the Oval Office, while discussing with lawmakers the protection of immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and African countries as part of a bipartisan immigration deal, President Donald Trump made some disparaging remarks.

“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” Trump said.

My question is what actually constitutes  “shithole” countries to Donald Trump? How does one qualify as a “shithole”. What is a shithole? Is it the hole in an outhouse? How do you equate humans and countries to a hole in the ground in which people defecate? And just like that Trump doesn’t want poor immigrants from “shithole” countries.

President Trump then suggested immigrants from Norway would be preferable. He also said that he would be “open” to more immigrants from Asian countries because he feels that they could contribute and benefit the United States economically. That felt really old man racist to me but to be fair, he said it was about money.

In addition, president Trump singled out Haiti, telling lawmakers that immigrants from that country must be left out of any deal.

“Why do we need more Haitians?” Trump said, according to people in attendance of the meeting. “Take them out.”

In November, the Trump administration rescinded deportation protection granted to nearly 60,000 Haitians after the 2010 earthquake and told them to return home by July 2019.

Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

…but only if they’re from Norway and maybe Asia. We’d prefer you keep your “shithole” people from those “shithole” countries like El Salvador, Haiti and Africa to yourself.

I’d love to say that I’m surprised by these racist remarks President Trump has made but I’d be a liar if I said I was. He’s never pretended to be anything else. He built his campaign on the promise to “Make America Great Again” by building a wall and kicking people out. He’s been openly -ists against many groups of people. The man is not a people person. He is a businessman.

But let’s take a look at this whole “shithole” controversy. Does he mean countries with people of color, third world countries or anyone who is not what he considers good enough; wrong color, race, religion, sex, socio-economic status? He talks about people, human beings, like products; commodities.

In all honesty, I thought it was about race but the more he speaks, I think it may be something bigger. I think he doesn’t like anyone who is not part of elevating him and his agenda. Poor people reflect badly on our country. Why would we want to take in more homeless people who will only contribute to the already astronomical national debt? I think the bottom line is he is all about wealth and excess. I believe if he had his ideal America, it would be a country of beautiful, millionaires who believed the way he does. The working man is the back by which this great country has been built upon but to men like Trump, unfortunately, they are disposable.

There is no room for diversity in Trump’s America and that is what it is, or at least what he is trying to mold it into, “Trump’s America.”

Don’t be surprised that he is being exactly who he promised to be. Some of you voted him into office. Maybe this is your idea of a perfect America. It’s not mine. Maybe you are as disappointed and heartbroken as the rest of us.

In my America, the president is someone to look up to and emulate. He is held to a higher moral standard than the rest of us. He inspires us to be and do better. He is an orator who can move crowds to action of change. He gives us something to believe in. He puts us at ease when we are afraid of outside threats by promising to protect us and taking all the necessary step to ensure our safety. He puts the collective us above himself.

He is a human who respects humanity and strives for equality. He is educated and worldly. His job is to make America the greatest country in the world by making us economically strong, politically succinct, diplomatically beloved and our military respected and revered. He is firm but caring.

His character should be as close to beyond reproach as possible. No president is perfect but like a parent puts their child before themselves in an effort to care for them, this is the same duty of the president for his constituents. It’s not just a job, it’s a calling.  He is the surrogate father of a nation. There is no room for selfishness.

I get that president Trump is human and he has made mistakes. Mistakes the whole world is watching. Stumbling is expected but most of his worst moments are of his own doing. He doesn’t’ care what the world thinks about what he does. He holds himself above the rest of us. That is one of his biggest failures.

Belittling others and rejecting humans begging for help because he deems them to be from “shithole” countries speaks volumes about his character. He has no honor and no compassion for the refugees of the world seeking asylum and protection. Somehow, he seems to not care. I don’t know how someone can even make themselves not care when presented with a hungry, sad human being with no safe place to live. Money has more value to him than human life unless it is his own. This is just my humble opinion as I watch this situation unravel.

I don’t know if he is a bad person or if the power of his position has made him feel untouchable and therefore made him lose touch with reality. What I do know is that many of these actions he has taken, the damage is irreparable. America’s promised ascension towards greatness is being actively thwarted by an ego that has outgrown the man. It is up to every one of us to make better choices and work towards making America great again for all Americans. 

Isn’t it our moral obligation as human beings to help those less fortunate than ourselves?

 

 

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestLinkedinStumbleuponEmail
American Heart Association, Hands Only CPR

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post written in partnership with the Anthem Foundation, however, all opinions are my own.

Do you travel a lot? I do and I love it, however, I hate layovers. They always seem to be either too short, where I find myself running through the airport breathing like I’m having an asthma attack to make my flight or too long, where I feel like I’m sitting around wasting my time when all I want to do is get to my destination. I’m all about a good journey but sitting in an airport feels like wasting precious time.

Sure, short layovers make for a good YouTube video but it’s not exactly fun for the poor person running through O’Hare bobbing and weaving trying to make their connection. It’s not particularly healthy for some of us. We’re not all marathon runners, most of us are average middle-aged parents living in the land of the biggie-sized and the home of the sit around and binge watch all day. One time trying to make my connection to a flight to L.A., I was convinced that I was going to have a heart attack right there in the airport. By the time I got on my flight, I was doubled over out of breath and all red in the face.

Speaking of heart attacks and long layovers, did you know that now people can learn Hands-Only CPR through Anthem Foundation supported training kiosks in about five minutes while they wait for their flights in many U.S. airports?  I had no idea this was a thing. Pretty awesome, right?

Each year, more than 350,000 cardiac arrests occur outside the hospital, and about 20 percent occur in public places such as airports. Hands-Only CPR has been shown to be as effective as conventional CPR for cardiac arrest when it occurs in public, and CPR can double or triple a victim’s chance of survival.

The interactive kiosks are designed to train large numbers of people on this simple, lifesaving technique. Each Anthem Foundation- supported kiosk has a touch screen with a short video that provides an overview of Hands-Only CPR, followed by a practice session and a 30-second test. With the help of a practice mannequin or a rubber torso, the kiosk gives feedback about the depth and rate of compressions, as well as proper hand placement – factors that influence the effectiveness of CPR.

Travelers can also select Spanish from the kiosk’s main touchscreen. The Spanish language capability along with closed captioning in Spanish is available on all Anthem Foundation-supported kiosks at airports.

Hands-Only CPR has two steps, performed in this order: when you see a teen or adult suddenly collapse, call 911. Then, push hard and fast in the center of the chest until help arrives. Remember anyone can save a life.

I can’t think of a more productive way to spend my layover than learning how to save someone’s life. Just as I can’t think of a worse way to spend my layover than by standing around helplessly watching as someone else dies from a heart attack, maybe some poor out of shape mom, like me, who had to run through the airport to make her flight.

 

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestLinkedinStumbleuponEmail
Sandy Hook, Sandy Hook Elementary, Newtown Connecticut, Adam Lanza, Mass shooting, gun control

I woke up this morning, then, I remembered what today is the anniversary of the Sandy Hook shooting.  It’s 11 days before Christmas. It’s the third day of Hannukah. It’s also the 5-year anniversary of one of the most heinous mass shootings in the history of America. The day 26 innocent children and adults were brutally murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary.

My girls gleefully squeed this morning when reminding us that TODAY is the day that we adopted our puppy, Lola. She was a Christmas surprise for our girls in 2012 after a particularly hard year; we lost a baby, we lost our family dog and we moved away from everyone we ever knew. But, I know today is something else.

Five years ago today, a man murdered 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. On Dec. 14, 2012, a 20-year-old named Adam Lanza fired his Bushmaster rifle through the school’s locked front door and commenced a killing spree. At the time, it was the second deadliest mass shooting in US history. What seemed to shake the nation the most was the age of the victims, children who were just six and seven years old. On December 14, 2012, my daughters were 5 and 7-years-old. The Sandy Hook events shook me to my core.

Sandy Hook, Sandy Hook Elementary, Newtown Connecticut, Adam Lanza, Mass shooting, gun control

Today is December 14th. A day that changed the way I parent forever; a day that changed me. Today, on a morning just like this in the small town of Newtown, Connecticut, parents dropped their children off at Sandy Hook Elementary and kissed them goodbye like I did on that same morning in a sleepy town in Indiana.

You drive off, probably listening to Christmas music with your heart all full of that feeling of positivity and cheer we all feel at this time of year because it’s in the air. People are nicer, friendlier and generally, the world is just slightly better.

I remember dropping our girls off and the Big Guy and I took the day off to finish our Christmas shopping. In fact, we spent most of the day playing with a certain puppy and the rest was spent wistfully having lunch and laughing as we ducked in and out of stores thinking of how happy each this or that would make our daughters on Christmas morning. All the while, we counted ourselves lucky that our children were safe at school.

It wasn’t until the pick-up line that afternoon that we actually heard the horrific news of what happened to those 20 beautiful children and the 6 adults who tried to protect them and my heart broke as all of my faith in humanity drained slowly from my body, as I held it all together at pick-up. It wasn’t until after bedtime that night that I could fully digest the scope of what Adam Lanza did that day.

Lanza then entered a first-grade classroom where Lauren Rousseau, a substitute teacher, had herded her first grade students to the back of the room, and was trying to hide them in a bathroom, when Lanza forced his way into the classroom.[44] Rousseau, Rachel D’Avino (a behavioral therapist who had been employed for a week at the school to work with a special needs student), and fifteen students in Rousseau’s class were all killed. Fourteen of the children were dead at the scene; one injured child was taken to a hospital for treatment, but was later declared dead. Most of the teachers and students were found crowded together in the bathroom. A six-year-old girl, the sole survivor, was found by police in the classroom following the shooting.The surviving girl was hidden in one of the corners of the classroom’s bathroom during the shooting. The girl’s family pastor said that she survived the mass shooting by remaining still, and playing dead. When she reached her mother, she said, “Mommy, I’m okay, but all my friends are dead.” The child described the shooter as “a very angry man.A girl hiding in a bathroom with two teachers told police that she heard a boy in the classroom screaming, “Help me! I don’t want to be here!” to which Lanza responded, “Well, you’re here,” followed by more hammering sounds.

Lanza next went to another first-grade classroom nearby; at this point, there are conflicting reports about the order of events. According to some reports, the classroom’s teacher, Victoria Leigh Soto, had concealed some of the students in a closet or bathroom, and some of the other students were hiding under desks. Soto was walking back to the classroom door to lock it when Lanza entered the classroom. Lanza walked to the back of the classroom, saw the children under the desks, and shot them. First grader Jesse Lewis shouted at his classmates to run for safety, and several of them did. Lewis was looking at Lanza when Lanza fatally shot him. Another account, given by a surviving child’s father, said that Soto had moved the children to the back of the classroom, and that they were seated on the floor when Lanza entered. According to this account, neither Lanza nor any of the occupants of the classroom spoke. Lanza stared at the people on the floor, pointed the gun at a boy seated there, but did not fire at the boy, who ultimately survived. The boy got up and ran out of the classroom and was among the survivors.

Hartford Courant report said that six of the children who escaped did so when Lanza stopped shooting, either because his weapon jammed or he erred in reloading it. Earlier reports said that, as Lanza entered her classroom, Soto told him that the children were in the auditorium. When several of the children came out of their hiding places and tried to run for safety, Lanza fatally shot them. Soto put herself between her students and the shooter, who then fatally shot her. Anne Marie Murphy, the teacher’s aide who worked with special-needs students in Soto’s classroom, was found covering six-year-old Dylan Hockley, who also died. Soto and four children were found dead in the classroom, Soto near the north wall of the room with a set of keys nearby. One child was taken to the hospital, but was pronounced dead. Six surviving children from the class and a school bus driver took refuge at a nearby home. According to the official report released by the state’s attorney, nine children ran from Soto’s classroom and survived, while two children were found by police hiding in a class bathroom.[41]:14 In all, 11 children from Soto’s class survived. Five of Soto’s students were killed.[62]

I was mad. I was devastated for those who lost their lives but even more so for the parents and family members who, just like me, dropped their beloved everythings off at school that morning and that very night sat sobbing with empty arms. It was so unfair and so horrific that I almost couldn’t allow myself to believe it.

I’ve never been one to live my life in fear but that day and every single day since I’m afraid every time my children leave my arms. Every morning I send them to school, I pray God sends them back to me. Every time I hear a siren, I hold my breath and hope it’s not a shooting at their school; that a man with a gun having a bad day doesn’t decide to take his hatred for the world out on my children. His collateral damage will be my complete undoing.

I think often, almost daily, about the parents and children of Sandy Hook. I can’t imagine what the world must look like to them. I don’t know how they’ve survived these past 5 years. I’m assuming with a lump in their throat and a fight in their bellies.

I know they will never get justice because they will never get their tiny loved ones back and each passing year is a reminder of what should have been. I imagine this time of year has lost all of its glisten and glean for those families and in its place moroseness and sorrow has settled in. I wish there was a way to bring their children back to them but I know that is impossible. But what we can do is make their deaths not have been in vain.

We must continue to fight for stricter gun control laws. No one’s right to bear arms should outweigh a parent’s right to hold their child in their arms; to watch them grow up and spend a lifetime loving them.

My husband dropped our girls off at school this morning. I kissed and hugged them all just slightly longer than I should have this morning and I began to pray the moment they walked out the door. Please let them return to me. This is my daily prayer that I say with earnest but even more so on this morning, December 14th because I know there are the parents of 20 children whose hearts are being shattered all over again this morning.

So please, whatever you are doing this morning, wherever you are in the world, whoever you may be, stop and pray for those families who lost their children and those children and brave staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary who went to school on a day just like today, five years ago and never got to come home. Pray that those parents have the strength to continue carrying on and they can someday get some peace.

But don’t just pray, do something. Fight for the safety of our children. Stand up for better mental health coverage and stricter gun control. Make good choices and remember that while you are listening to your Christmas music, doing your last minute shopping at Target and drinking your latte, there’s a mother in Newtown sobbing uncontrollably; there’s a father whose loss has turned to bitterness and he doesn’t know how to fix it; there are a brother and sister who will never get to hear the laugh of their little brother again. There are gifts that never got opened and holiday celebrations that had to be repurposed into funerals.

I’m begging you, if you are weary from all of these mass shootings, tired of innocent children being nothing more than collateral damage to a system that continues to value an outdated right to bear arms over its children and tired of being constantly afraid that your children won’t come home because guns are too readily and easily accessible stand up and fight like your life depends on it ( because it might) for stricter gun control and legislation to regulate the purchase of parts to assemble semi-automatic weapons because even though we do have weak gun control laws in place for purchasing guns, there are none for buying the parts and assembling your own at home. Think about that for a moment and do something.

Whatever you do today, never forget the 26 innocent children and adults who went to school on a day like today and never got to come home because a sick man had easy access to guns and rained down devastation on the world. Hug your children tight.

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestLinkedinStumbleuponEmail
American Heart Association, Hands Only CPR

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post written in partnership with the Anthem Foundation, however, all opinions are my own.

Do you know CPR? If someone you loved were to collapse to the ground right in front of you, would you know how to appropriately administer CPR or Hands-Only CPR? I’m not sure that I would.

When I was a teenager, I learned how to give traditional CPR at the Red Cross when I was getting my license to be a lifeguard but I long forget the specifics.  When I was pregnant with Bella, again I took a class at the hospital to learn how to administer CPR but it’s been 12-years since then.

I don’t work in the medical field and (knock on wood) I haven’t had the misfortune to need to use CPR thus far but that doesn’t mean I won’t. I could. I’m sure many of us will, at some point in our life.

I’d hate to think that someone, anyone really, my husband, my children, my parents or even just a stranger on the street had a heart attack and died because I never took a refresher course and forgot how to administer CPR appropriately. I’m not sure that I could live with myself if I had to just stand there and couldn’t at least try.

Did you know that over 350 thousand Americans suffer out-of-hospital cardiac arrests every year, and about 90 percent die. That’s scary. But did you know that Hands-Only CPR, especially if performed immediately, can double or even triple a cardiac arrest victim’s chance of survival. However, less than half of people who suffer out-of-hospital cardiac arrest receive bystander CPR or Hands-Only CPR.

 

 

We don’t all need to be doctors but I think we all need to know how to administer basic Hands-Only CPR to at least give someone a shot at surviving until the paramedics arrived. That’s why The Anthem Foundation has awarded the American Heart Association a five-year, 7.8 million dollar grant to bring lifesaving Hands-Only CPR to 100 million Americans.

Hands-Only CPR has just two easy steps: one, If a teen or adult suddenly collapses, call 9-1-1; and two, Push hard and fast in the center of the chest until help arrives. Remember if you are called on to give Hands-Only CPR in an emergency, you will most likely be trying to save the life of someone you love: a child, a spouse, a parent or a friend. To learn more please visit www.heart.org/handsonlycpr and www.anthem.foundation.

If you want to learn Hands-Only CPR please check an American Heart Association video here.

1 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestLinkedinStumbleuponEmail
tattoo, memorial tattoo, inked, Crimson Knight Tattoo, Jose Cruz, miscarriage, loss tattoo

Today is November 24th and for the first time, in a long time, I don’t feel lost. For me, it’s an annual day of retrospection; of looking back at what could have been, what might have been and, honestly, what should have been. While many of you are coming out of your tryptophan coma this morning or maybe sleeping off the remnants of yesterday’s all night Black Friday power shopping, I’ll be marking time but I won’t be sad. Not today.

Today, I pause to remember. In the past that could have meant many different things. Some years, it involved pills or booze to numb the pain and a day in bed. Some years, it meant Netflix and sobbing or a welcomed distraction. Some years, I hardly remember at all. Some years, it felt like the anniversary of the end of the world. But none of it ever seemed real because, though my heart shattered from the pain of the reality my mind was never quite able to digest the loss of what my eyes never got to see, what my arms never got to hold and what my lips never got to kiss.

I never got to touch his cheek. Kiss his warm gooey forehead. I never got to smell his head or feel his heartbeat beating next to mine. I never got to feel him wiggle in my arms. I never even got to see his eyes fixed upon me suspended beyond all space and time like only a newborn child can do to his mother. I got nothing. I was cheated in the worst possible way.

I felt failure. I felt like I had a very vivid bad dream. The worst dream ever. The dream in which every possibility of happiness was on the horizon and just as quickly snatched away. I felt empty and sad and mad and angry. I wanted to punch the world and sob and be held and left alone, all at the same time. But I never had closure. I know now that I never will. There is no closure for this situation. It’s an open-ended question of what might have been.

Worse, I had nothing. In many ways, it feels like he only existed to me, like some cruel imaginary friend, a figment of my imagination conjured up just to break me down. It felt like to everyone else…everyone…he was nothing more than a glob of cells and he was gone before most knew he even existed. No harm, no foul. But there was. I was harmed. I was egregiously fouled. He was real, as real as my other 2 children are to me.

You know how I spent that first November 24, 2012? It was Thanksgiving, I hosted 40 people. It had been 6 months since my miscarriage. I had to go on living. But on that day, my heart was raw. I was vulnerable and my sanity was being held together by a stick of bubble gum and a tic tac. It wasn’t going to hold.

I just kept telling myself, you just have to make it through dinner. Then it happened. My 1-year-old nephew was running around my house when my someone (I’m not naming names because it was a total accidental foot in mouth moment) looked directly at me (on November 24, 2012), and said, “Don’t you miss the sound of little feet running around your house?” I was dumbstruck. I couldn’t speak, for if I did, all the tears that I’d been holding back for the past 6 months every time someone said something stupid, or I ran into a pregnant friend, or baby Center send me an alert would surely come pouring out and drown me dead right there on the spot.

I knew I needed something, more than fragility as a souvenir of my third child. I needed a way to move through this grief without losing my mind. I decided that I a permanent mark on my body that reflected the permanent mark on my soul. I didn’t want closure. I wanted something more but, at the time, I wasn’t even sure what that was.

After 5 years, I knew what I wanted and I knew I had to have it before November 24th (what should have been a birthday). I was compulsive in my pursuit. My brother, Jose Cruz, an established tattoo artist obliged my desperately grasping heart last Friday. I needed this like I need air to survive.

tattoo, memorial tattoo, inked, Crimson Knight Tattoo, Jose Cruz, miscarriage, loss tattoo

What was this life-altering body modification? It is a story, wrapped in a metaphor and held by my heart. They say a picture is worth a thousand words.

Explanation; the big bird is the Big Guy, the next bird is me, the third bird is our Gabs and the fourth bird on the branch of our family tree is our oldest, Bella. We are all looking in the direction of the tiny baby bird, that we never got to hold, as he flies away.

tattoo, memorial tattoo, inked, Crimson Knight Tattoo, Jose Cruz, miscarriage, loss tattoo

I wanted it all done in black silhouettes because sometimes our family feels like a shadow of its former self. We are not broken, but we are not whole without our baby bird. We remember. I remember every single day.

The baby bird is flying up towards a small heart within a heart. This is in reference to a line from my favorite E.E. Cummings poem I carry your heart with me; I carry it in my heart. It’s on my left arm so that they are always close to my heart.

tattoo, memorial tattoo, inked, Crimson Knight Tattoo, Jose Cruz, miscarriage, loss tattoo

[i carry your heart with me (i carry it in my heart]

BY E. E. CUMMINGS

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
i fear
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

Maybe you think this makes me sad. It doesn’t. In fact, it makes me immensely happy. I think it’s because for the first time ever, I can look down and see my entire family; all three of my children; my three little birds.

Maybe this makes me sound crazy? I honestly, don’t even care because it makes me feel whole again.

Through this tattoo, the baby who never lived outside of me lives on forever on my wrist surrounded by the family who loves and misses him. He was here. He is here, in my heart, forever and for always. I told my story without saying a word and maybe no one understands it but me, but that’s more than enough. The baby I lost was not a secret. I want the world to know he was here.

More importantly, I finally have something tangible, proof that I am the mother of three and not just two; even if it is only a tattoo of a portrait of silhouette birds.

24 comments
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestLinkedinStumbleuponEmail
an apology to men, sexual harassment, me too, #Metoo, sexual assault

Dear Men,

In light of the recent Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey situations, and so many others I am realizing that these men are not the exception. That’s not to say all men are bad. In fact, some men are amazing partners, brothers, fathers and role models but something is really wrong and I never realized it until all the #METOO stories began to flood my feeds. Fundamentally, as a society, we are collectively dropping the ball.

Honestly, that part wasn’t even completely surprising to me. I’m a woman and have been living with my vagina for my entire life. I’ve always suspected that all women have been victimized to one degree or another but I never realized that part of the problem is that men don’t have a clue of how their behavior affects women.

The misconception is that if we have not been dragged into some dark alley and been violently raped by a stranger, we are lucky. We have not been victimized. But that’s not true. Many of us have been victimized and brutalized over and over again for decades.

We’ve just learned that there is an acceptable amount of assault. We’ve learned to live with it. Don’t get me wrong, we are terrified. It has left us scarred. It has left us trembling and cowering. It has robbed us of trust and safety.

We walk fast to our cars at night. We will never be afforded the luxury of a slow stroll under the stars alone to think; not without a cost of safety. We run past large groups of men. We cringe when a man pushes into us on public transportation. Cat calls give us anxiety. We avert our eyes when strange men expose themselves to us. At the end of every date, we pray that we escape without being forced against our will to perform some sexual act that men seem to feel is owed to them as payment for eating dinner with us. We don’t leave our drinks unattended. We travel in packs for protection. But you know none of this because you don’t feel any of this. I never realized it until now. I’m sorry that men have no clue how hard it is to function in the world as a woman.

The Big Guy, my husband, the man I have been with for almost half of my life is a good man. By all accounts, he is a great man, husband, father, and partner. Just ask my mom. You see, he lives his life based on the simple act of being a good person; treating others as he would like to be treated and it works. He is a kind, giving, loving man but he doesn’t understand the female condition. He’s tried but our experiences walking around in the world are so vastly different that it’s like a caterpillar and an elephant trying to understand what the other one’s life is like. It is impossible. How did I find this out? We had a conversation.

I’ve been having a lot of conversations about what’s going on in the world at dinner a lot lately. I respect my husband’s opinion and he’s very intelligent so we can have reasonable debates about most things. But painfully, I’ve realized having an honest conversation with a middle-class white man about the female condition is like talking politics with a monkey. It’s not their fault, it’s just so out of their frame of reference. What a luxury it must be.

I’ve always known that men and women are different but fundamentally, we are all human beings. We are the same species and for whatever prejudices men have about the abilities of women or their place in society, they had to concede that we are all human beings, right? I was wrong.

They know we are human beings but they can’t relate to our experience because it is so fundamentally different from their own. I was talking to a group of men who normally agree with my beliefs and politics. These are educated, feminist men and still, I was surprised at how the conversation went.

We were talking about Weinstein, who we all agree is a monster. Then, we moved on to Spacey who I feel is a definite predator; a pedophile. The group I was speaking with did more listening and less speaking. I could feel myself losing them. Then, the Charlie Sheen third-party accusations came about. We weren’t there. We have no idea what happened because the alleged victim is dead, his mother says the accusations are false and the accused denies any of it happened. Then, a new accusation about Roman Polanski that is 50 years old came up.

This is when the men took it upon themselves to circle back to Weinstein. Then it came, “Why did these women all wait so long to come forward?” I could see doubt poking its ugly head in. I could see them taking offense to the audacity of these women. I could feel myself, the lone vagina owner having to go on the defensive and have a real talk about the female condition with them.

I assured them that I believed wholeheartedly that every single woman who says she has been assaulted and shared her #MeToo story is telling the truth. I do. Maybe it feels like women are all coming forward now and maybe they are but not because it’s popular. It’s because there is safety in numbers. There is the Internet and you can tell the world without having to be given the hairy eyeball by some man who doubts you and questions your part in all of it. What were you wearing? Were you drinking? Did you lead him on in any way?

But how do you know it’s not just for attention? Why all jump on the bandwagon now!

I could feel my head about to explode.  You see all of these seemingly educated, intelligent feminist men don’t know shit about living as a woman. But then again, how could they? I don’t know much about walking around in the world with a penis.

I explained to them that we women learn at a very early age that men have the power. It starts with our father; the head of the family. The provider and protector. And if you were raised in a macho Latino family like mine, you know early on that boys are prized above girls. Little girls are taught to be subservient to boys and boys are taught to take care of women, but they are also taught that they know what is best for girls. They don’t.

Then I explained that what they don’t understand is to women, the penis is a weapon, that can be used to hurt us. To defile us. To take from us. To humble us. To punish us. That’s why unsolicited dick pics from random men not only don’t excite us, they frighten us. It’s a threat.

I’m not saying women hate penises. In the right situation, when wanted, between two consenting adults, it can be magical and beautiful. It is the coming together of two as one, perfectly. It gives pleasure and life, literally.

The guys still look unconvinced. These women were grown adult women. They were strong enough to walk away. Especially in the case of Louis C.K. Why didn’t the women run screaming from the room? Why did they ever agree when asked?

I don’t know all the details but I think all women have been in some situation with a man where he has asked of her something so unbelievable that she is like, “Sure, whatever.” (because if she were to flee from the room at the thought of something so ridiculous she’d be labeled a hysterical woman who took everything entirely too seriously.) So, you say, “whatever” never expecting what follows next. I know if I was a fan or colleague of Louis C.K. and he asked if he could get naked and masturbate, I wouldn’t have taken him seriously. I would have thought it was a bit.

The men I was talking to still did not seem convinced. But I could see them rethinking some things so, I told them. I told them some of my truth. This was uncomfortable for me because these men included my husband and two of my brothers but if we don’t talk about it, it never changes. Even though we women have no part in our assaults, we feel shame that we were victimized. We feel like we should have known better because we are raised to not get raped, not get harassed and not get assaulted. Can’t we just teach our boys not to rape, harass and assault?

I told them of the time in college when I woke up in the middle of the night frozen in place to the horror of a guy I’d met earlier that night, a friend of a friend, on top of me kissing me and touching me while I slept. No, we had not gone to bed together. We happened to be staying with people in the same apartment. I pushed him off but I felt violated and I feel that I narrowly escaped being raped but in all honesty, I have no idea what he did before I woke up.

I saw my brothers cringe. They asked why didn’t I tell them. Well, one of them was 11 at the time and the other was 1-years-old. By 19, I had had men push themselves on me more times than I could count. The protocol was to escape the situation as unscathed as possible and be thankful things didn’t go worse.

Then, I told them about the time I was a teenager working at a department store and the loss prevention guys locked me in their soundproof office at the end of the night with the two of them. Then they proceeded to tell me how they enjoyed watching me on the cameras and laughed as they matter of factly told me that they could do whatever they wanted to me in that office and no one would ever hear me.

My husband asked why didn’t I report them. I was 18. They were who I was supposed to report these things to. One was an off-duty cop. Who was going to help me? I just had to stay clear and avoid them.

There are so many instances from little-nuanced things to full-on date rape antics that I have experienced, that most women experience, that our mothers had to survive, that our daughters will have to survive all because men don’t understand. This is not an excuse. This is a fact.

Yes, men know rape is rape but all the rest is murky for them. Between the forgiveness they are afforded because of the boys will be boys clause and the lack of respect they are taught for women and the lack of reverence for the female condition, we women have to appear as irrational, hysterical females jumping on bandwagons just to get the world to pay attention and reevaluate the whole damn system.

I’m sorry that you weren’t raised to truly understand how vulnerable it is to be a woman. I’m sorry we never realized that you didn’t know until now. But the jig is up. I’m putting it out here. MOMS and DADS the onus is on you. Starting with your newborn sons, teach them to do better and to be better to our girls.

How about this: no means no! No touching unless invited to do so and keep your creepy comments and dick pics to yourself. No shoulder massaging. No ass grabbing. No pushing your penises up against us when you’re standing behind us or rubbing it on us when the opportunity arises.No brushing your hands against our breasts. No disgusting comments about our mouths or what you’d like to do with our bodies. No drugging us. No having sex with us when we’re drinking or sleeping or incapacitated in any way that doesn’t allow us to give consent. How about treating us the way you’d like to be treated, with some dignity and respect?

Men, I am sorry that you feel like all the hysterical women of the Internet are on a witch hunt for sexual predators and you are uncomfortable and afraid that some woman from your past might accuse you of some wrongdoing but ask yourself, why are you worried? Why are you dismissive? Have you behaved questionably? Ask yourselves next time, would this be okay if it were happening to my mom, my sister, my girlfriend, my wife, or heaven forbid, your little girl? If the answer is no, then don’t do it.

1 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestLinkedinStumbleuponEmail

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More