Daughter. A snapshot

Daughter.

You are not me. You are not your father.

You’re yourself, which is awesome, because I don’t think the world needs another me, and if you were like your dad, you’d both be too quiet to approach each other.

You’re 2 and want to do everything yourself, and fully believe in the power to evict other members off playground structures.

You believe in the power of attorney, except for you are always the attorney.

You like Tinkerbell, and request seeing your own doody in your diaper, unless it happens to be in the potty. Then you just want chocolate.

You are 25 lbs.

You are pale, wispy-blonde-haired, and green-eyed.

We lose your numerous dolls everywhere.

I have rescued more princesses and fairies, and other creatures in one month than any superhero could have done in his or her lifetime.

When you go to bed, you request songs, and sometimes when I sing them, like a person fiddling with a radio dial, you demand a different song.

You know the Beatles and Elvis. Elvis from Dad, Beatles from me.

A dangerous lady, you continued to jump out of your crib, so we threw you in a bed.

You wake me every morning. I hear your door creak, and then I hear mine squeak open.

“Mommy, it’s so nice of you to share your bed.”

Like I had a choice?

You sneak into the bed and lie down next to me.

You are big-bellied, skinny-legged and tiny-tushied out.

I’m supposed to run after you on the sidewalk, and you don’t want to hold my hand in the street.

That’s when I carry your stubborn ass after trying numerous times to get you to hold my hand.

You horde pretzels, and would forsake me for a smoothie.

“Yes officer, my mother just dealt drugs. Give me a smoothie. Thanks cop. Bye mom. Enjoy Jail.”

You want to do everything yourself, besides change your clothes.

“No, you want to do it, ” you tell me, stubbornly refusing the position until you realize I won’t give in.

I will never give in too much. If I do, you will have me working as your servant for the rest of your life, and I’m afraid dear, that I’m not a submissive, although you do have my heart daughter.

I just hope you always hold positive snapshots of me in your mind. Forgive me for when I am not at my shiny-happy-people mommying best.

Remember me as I remember you always each day.

Lovely and my own.

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Being Smart: Means Diddly-Squat

Hey there world.

There are a bunch of people here who think being educated is worth a lick of doody. I am sure my in-laws think my education is ridiculous, considering it is hard for me to find a full-time job worth daycare and student loan payments. In fact, I know they do.

I am a freelance writer, part-time teacher, and full on chocolate whore, which means I do filthy things for Godiva, Dove, and specialty chocolatiers, mainly begging. No oral.

Apparently, having spent a lot of time reading amazing books from authors like Achebe, Morrison, Dickers, Balzac,Ellison, Baldwin, etc really means I am employed to basically talk to people about literature, and when I mean talk to people about literature, I mean, I am forced to hear how shit novels are so awesome, and then proceed to say nothing about gender and Judith Butler.

Apparently being in gender classes, discussing feminist issues, and working on crafting fine pieces of literature basically means I am able to sit in a seminar style class and debate the role of the sex industry, yet I won’t get paid for anything, unless of course, I decide to work in the sex industry.

Being skilled is the name of the game. Everyone needs a trade! A skill!

I have skills.

I can write. Edit.

Brandish a dildo expertly and feel comfortable talking about the pros and cons. Dr. Ruth would be proud.

I can schmooze, multi-task—did you people know that not only did I finish an article, apply for a job, raise a child, lift weights, go food shopping, and make dinner, but I also found Tinkerbell and Princess Tiana today?. Tell me, what modern Prince Charming can do all that and save 2 princesses too, and a toddler’s heart from breaking?

Bitch, please.

I can charm people into doing things they subconsciously want to do, but fear. Arrange events and meetings. Navigate the Internet. Host a party, event, or television show barely sweating.

I can deliver humor, nuance, and kindness.

I can finish a project, organize my self and thoughts, deliver on time, be nice to people, and even do it in slightly high-heels.

I am qualified. I am not just some academic cast-off who only wants to discuss good literature with a bunch of people in a dungeon, although that does still appeal to me, especially if the dungeon master wears pleather or vinyl.

I am employable. I will find more freelance work if none of you full-time employers are man enough to take on a woman who rocked MTV, dealt with hecklers on stage, wrote and published memoir excerpts, sold people’s souls to the devils, and did  it all with a smile.

Sure. I am not your typical everyday employee, but for those of you job posters ranting about thinking outside of the box, it’s time you lifted your head from kissing the box, and metaphorically think outside of the narrow box in which you isolate potential employees.

Some of us are out there and willing to work, if only you wouldn’t be so narrow-minded.

I might even let you have a bite of my chocolate.

For those of you who think studying the arts is a waste of time, you may certainly be right-I would probably make a living more easily as a janitor, however, I like being happy, and doing something that comes naturally to me.

If you think otherwise, offer me a job as a mechanic and have fun walking home.

Offer me a job as a surgeon, and run fast when I accidentally start cutting the wrong things.

 

Love,

A woman with a liberal arts degree and an entertainment background–professional, not sexual you sick perverts.

Missing Our Fathers: A Generation of people long for the men they never had. Father’s Day Discussions

As I peruse Facebook today, I started to notice all the highly emotional content of my friends’ statuses. While I am sure there are a zillion deadbeat mothers, when it comes to social media and Mother’s Day, I don’t notice the same emptiness and longing, unless it is for a mother who has passed away. This isn’t to say that mothers are inherently better than fathers, but that there are a generation of people, notably female, who are longing for the fathers they never had.

Some people were completely abandoned by their dads, and others weren’t abandoned, but neglected–some notably so, and others in a more hidden, behind closed doors fashion.

Post after post, women–maybe because I am female I heard more “female” voices–cried out for the father they wish they had, or wish they knew. Some had other men step in to do the job, and others did not. Some women mourn for their children; their children suffer the lack of a father, which hurts the mom and kids.

Our generation–my generation, was home to a lot of fathers who felt that paying the bills and coming home were good measures of strong parenting. While clearly many of my friends and acquaintances could have only wished for a man to show up and pay those damn bills, a lot of women and men from my generation lacked play, compassion, and nurturing from the person they called Dad, Pops, Father, Daddy-o, or what have you.  Mothers filled the other needs, and fathers were financial providers and head of the house.

With the advent of women in the working world, these roles have altered, and while some argue that woman working has brought on higher divorce rates, etc, the coming generations, such as my daughter’s are truly blessed to have a whole new breed of Fathers.

Fathers today are more active and involved with their children—on the whole. Yes, there were good dads back in the day, and there are shit dads currently out there sharing their sperm, but in general, our culture has formed a different role and expectations for fathers in this day and age.

It isn’t enough to pay the bills and come home Dads and Husbands: we want you emotionally involved and invested. We want you to cook, clean, play, put on some makeup during dress up, and wipe a few dirty asses.

I would love to see what type of Father’s Day posts will crop up on the walls of my daughters’ future 20-40 year old female friends. I suspect that the dialogue on fatherhood will be much better.

Men get a bad rap in many ways. You never hear people dishing the dirt on crappy mothers on their day, but with fathers, we as a culture–both female and male, really seem to be hurting. The good fathers and men I suspect, feel a bit cheated by the reputation that is held against them. The single mothers and children who have been abandoned by these men, have left a hole,  insurmountable at times, that these mothers have to fill.

I know wonderful single fathers, and some of these men struggle, while the women lack clearly in every sense of the word, but our culture doesn’t have much of a dialogue for these single men. There is no narrative or culture of empathy for men who parent alone, without a present mother. I feel for these men highly, but I also know that the dialogue and culture of empathy written out for single mothers, is based on a myriad of factors.

We Mothers embody a generation of children. The expectations are always that we will be nurturing, present, and active. Now we also have the expectation to provide financially. For a single mother, she not only has to fulfill the maternal roles, but now she has to be the financial provider. She has to pay the bills, show up, and be super woman, which is what society expects of all mothers usually anyway. I am not stating that we should empathize more for single mothers than fathers, but that to remember how much we automatically expect from mothers is significantly different from what we expect from fathers. When a dad changes a diaper, we all applaud him for being such an awesome guy. When a mother works full-time and raises kids, we nod and say,”That’s what she’s supposed to do. She’s a mother.”

Additionally, women make less than men, so now you’ve got a single woman trying to raise kids on her own on less income than what a present father would have provided.

Now don’t think I am pitying single moms–it’s the toughest job out there, to be a single parent, but most people I know don’t want pity–just empathy. I know amazing single moms that are so strong, and don’t feel a lick of sadness that Pops never shows up to be a dad, but it is reality that a single mom has some work cut out for her that a single dad may not have.

Please remember I am generalizing to some extent, and that obviously, a single mother who is a lawyer, is faring better than a single dad who is a grocer.

I think the Facebook and social media walls are all a “twitter” over fathers because it is also socially acceptable to speak of negligent dads. For my friends whose mothers have been disgustingly absent, it is a quiet topic. We expect mothers to be there. A negligent mother is horrifying, and crushes society’s hopes in so many ways. Think of all the horrific moms in the news in the past 10 years that we have absolutely hated without even knowing them because they were murderers, child abusers, and more. While we hated male/father absuers, killers, etc, we really felt our blood boil when as females and mothers, we saw abusive murdering moms on the news.

Our culture is invested in Mothers. We don’t shine a significant enough of a spotlight on them to really discuss the pains of those who didn’t have a mom to hug, or lean on.

It’s time to really evaluate what we ascribe to parents of both genders, and to reconceptualize what it means to parent. Men are weighed down by social mores as much as women; we just may feel it more because of the financial and societal sexism that still exists. I think we are getting closer to doing this on so many levels.

For all of you who are missing a father, loving your father, or appropriating a different man to call “daddy,” enjoy your day today. To all dads, whether you struggle to parent or find it the easiest and best job ever, enjoy today and keep on showing up and trying your best.

We need you. Today’s women and girls want you more than ever.

Turn Off the Voices: the static of trauma

I don’t like to make you all depressed, but sometimes I have to be plainly real and not funny.

Or at least funny, but very freaking honest.

I have had a very hard time lately shutting off the voices. I don’t mean schizophrenic voices or hallucinations. I haven’t had those since I last dropped acid in High School–did you ever see a Siamese cat turn into a pig?

I did. I got that distinct pleasure as a young blip of estrogen and other hormones with a few other amoeba-aged friends of mine.

I am talking about the voices from the past. The static of memories that run through your mind, like radio frequency. When I talk about trauma, I talk about sexual, physical, or mental traumas from the past. It could be a rape. The loss of a child or parent. Being beaten. Mugged. The trauma of war.

When people experience this–at least in my case, ( I’m not a psychologist so if you are reading this to get therapy, then we should both get some help pretty fast) the static of the event tends to be very loud in the brain. It is hard to separate the event from the rest of the day’s events: the pain or recurring memories just refuse to go away.

I had an event happen over the summer, and a few months post-event, it felt like everything I did or said was colored or tinged with the heartbreak, anger, and depression from what had happened. A happy day could be disrupted by a smell, word, or sight that reminded me of what happened. It felt like a monumental roadblock was put in front of me, and yet somehow, I had to find a way around it in order to function.

I had to stay chipper and upbeat for my daughter, as I didn’t want my feelings to start pouring onto her psyche, so to speak. Toddlers are very susceptible to the moods of their parents, as are all children, however, they lack the sophistication to express their sensitivity to their parents’ moods. It was a tough act. I did fairly well, and I can say that for the most part, I managed.

No one was hospitalized, and I didn’t require a white coat or padded room, although having intercourse in a padded room might be really fun, and easy on the knees, but that’s just a thought.

My issue is there are quite a few traumas that happen to be linked as they are either similar, or dealing with the same issue. For the most part, they are all in the very far past, so the “frequency” is quiet. I am not bogged down by the stress, pain, or various emotions those experiences had once made me feel. Most of these situations I have been able to write about in my memoir, and some of these chapters were published. Life has moved on, and so have I.

However, the past few months I have undergone a good deal of personal stress, and so I am finding the static of those experiences rearing their vicious heads.

It irritates me when people say, the past is the past. While this is certainly true–we all grow and move past the person we are even from yesterday–to me, this cliché doesn’t account for the fact that the past shapes who we are–and while it’s not impossible, it is rather hard to ditch like a filthy friend on the side of the road.

I’m not having flashbacks really…the pretty colorful or ugly ones, but the voices of self-doubt, fear, and anger have become louder than I would like them to be. It sometimes feels as if I have regressed to those sad places when I am alone and away from others.

I have worked hard to turn down the frequency, and the static is barely audible, but I hear it.

I think I wrote this to really just share that while the past is the past, and we can move on from bad experiences, traumas, and heartaches and be a happy person, sometimes when our lives present stress, these past traumas come back because the associations are so strong, that it’s hard to disconnect from them.

It’s a process, and one that takes work. If anyone is going through the motions of trying to move forward from such an experience, I say, keep doing the work. It gets better. The static subsides, and while it may present itself during difficult times, you can move past it. This is not forever.

Go Eat Worms: Surefire Signs You have Low Self-Esteem

Sometimes in life, you need a few people to knock you down, otherwise you wouldn’t realize how worthless you are, right?

if you answered yes, you are the owner of Low Self-Esteem.

If you answered no, you are awesome, amazing, and probably really annoying.

Okay, I kid, but I want to help out the public, my friends, myself, and my readers decipher when they may be having a period or lifetime, or moment of Low Self-Esteem.

Clearly, there are real clinical signs I am sure, but reading that stuff is a drag and boring.

You’d rather hear from me and my expertise, no?

The First Sign you may have the self-esteem of a Gnat:

Sure, there may be some incredibly cocky and self-important Gnats, but usually, Gnats feel like little pests no one likes.

Hanging Out with Douchebags

Do you occasionally hang out or know someone close to you who is a real prick? Does this person constantly point out your flaws? Is this person certain that he or she is some bigshot everyone should worship? Does this person have access to numerous mirrors, clothes, sex, money, or any of the above? Does this person note your flaws casually, seriously, frequently, or empathetically?

If you answered yes, this cocky individual is trying to bring you down because he or she has decided that he’s the best, and knows best, so basically, be grateful for this person’s input.

If you tolerate this individual in most forms, you probably have low self-esteem. You probably fear that this person is right, and that yes, you are a screw up, no-good, filthy old bastard. People like this have a way of finding the Low Self-Esteem Individual– here after known as LSEI (sounds like some shitty boy band formed of 3 pubic hairs, and one acne mark)–incredibly easily. LSEI’s make Cocky people feel good about themselves because LSEI’s don’t object to being put down, and therefore, Cocky person feels awesome and can live another day admiring how “rad” he or she is, and polishing the mirror to reflect his or herself just a little better.

A sign you may feel you are less important than poo.

What did I do wrong?

Are you constantly wondering what you did wrong when a situation in your life goes awry? Do you wonder when you’re dumped, divorced, singled out, or treated poorly what you did to make this happen? Of course, there’s probably some legitimate reasons why you may have brought on or dealt with a tough situation that has to do with your own blame, but it’s not always your fault LSEI! Sometimes, the other person was a real jerk. Sometimes, you both were. It’s more productive to ask yourself how you contributed, and what you can gain from the situation. It’s helpful to consider what the situation did for you, as well as how to move on past it. Taking all the blame is not only a sign that you feel less than a piece of gum on a sneaker, but also keeps you from fully seeing a situation.

You’re not all that bad, kid.

Walking Away Silently

Do you find yourself coming away from a situation wishing you had said something, but didn’t?

Do you find yourself reenacting that moment when some little jerk said the rudest thing to you, and you just sat there and cried like you lost your puppy?

Are you unable to concentrate on anything else but that time in which you let someone treat you badly, without you saying a word?

It’s Low- Self Esteem.

In case anyone cares, I don’t charge much for my advice, and sometimes, I’ve lived and learned from an experience I talk about. I’m not an LSEI, or a pube or acne mark, however, I do doubt myself more than I should. I do walk away sometimes thinking, “Shit, why did I let that person get away with that?” “What could I have done differently?” I do sometimes let Douchebag people get away with crap.

It’s important to recognize when you’ve let someone get the best of you in life. Some jerks just rob people of worth, dignity, and happiness, and you have let them. You have let someone take away a bit of your sunshine, and it’s not easy to gain back. Don’t let them! Don’t let just anyone eat from your dish. It’s okay to act like a dog, and guard your dinner bowl.

Not everyone deserves to take a drink from your being.