Category: Culture

Grasping for Gratitude

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I’ve been floundering trying to figure out my gratitude list. I think we’re all in agreement that 2016 has just been a complete shitshow of heartbreaking celebrity deaths, the rise of White Nationalism, terrorism and shootings, school bus accidents and personal struggles. I’ve spent most of this year in an anxiety spiral, bursting into tears at the drop of a hat, not sleeping and hoping that today isn’t the day I die from a ragestroke.

But I love Thanksgiving! I love cooking all of the foods. I love staying home on Thursday and maybe visiting family on Saturday. I even like going shopping on Friday. Most of all, I like reflecting on the year that has passed and finding my joys. It is an accounting we all do far too infrequently and that’s what makes this holiday special to me, even during terrible times. And in that spirit, here are the things that I’m grateful for right now.

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My Hope Is A Battle Cry

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There’s a growing sense of dread that’s come to sit on my shoulders. I know I’m not the only one. There’s an uneasiness that lives somewhere between my stomach and my heart, a churning ball of anxiety and rage and sorrow. There is an unshakeable tension between my shoulders and a slight tremor in my hands. I’m becoming terrified of our world, our country, our society.

I don’t have to spell it out. Your fear might not have the exact same triggers as mine, but it’s there in all of us right now. All of us who pay the slightest attention to the world outside. Like a old Maine fisherman, we’re sitting on our front porches, looking at the sky and muttering “Stahm’s a’ brewin’.”

Underneath all of that scary, there sits a tiny shred of hope, though. I can’t help my streak of optimism and I’m trying very hard to focus on it, nurture it now when it is needed most. My hope comes from seeing Bernie Sanders almost pull off the upset of the century and reminding Democrats what liberal is. My hope comes from watching crowds gather in solidarity around victims of violence. My hope comes from national outrage at reduced sentences for the affluent white male.  My hope is that more and more people are waking the fuck up. Continue reading

LEGO Dimensions: The Bane of My Existence

There are a lot of huge, terrible things in this world. Like, a lot a lot. I don’t have the energy or strength to discuss those right now. So I’m going to rant about something that isn’t truly important but has made my life a sort of living hell. And that thing is LEGO Dimensions,  or the worst video game in the world.

My oldest son is 14. Like most teens, he’s obsessed with video games. The autism might make this fixation a little more intense, but I’m sure a lot of parents can feel me on this. Video games for kids are terrible now. Not their content, but this new thing of buying a million add-ons for each game. There’s Disney Infinity and Skylanders. We have an extensive Amiibo collection, which, as far as I can tell, do absolutely nothing. You can unlock special suits and characters, but from what I can gather, you can also unlock those things just by playing the game. But, no, we need to spend $13 a pop for plastic figurines in a variety of characters and variations – Mario, Gold Mario, Fireball Mario, 32-bit Mario in classic colors, 32-bit Mario in modern colors, Mario with his arms in a slightly different postion. Seriously. It’s a load of bullshit. But Cal has always been a Mario freak and we indulge.

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Guest Post: Know Your Status

This guest writer has requested to remain anonymous. 

Today, I became a statistic.  What sort of statistic? I’m not entirely sure because I’m older than the typical age range according to the CDC.  What I am sure of: I tested positive for chlamydia.

The diagnosis didn’t come as a total surprise, which I’m sure my doctor could hear in my voice when she called before 8:30 in the morning.  That’s not to say it wasn’t a crushing blow to hear the news, because it was.  When you get that inkling that something might be wrong, you hope you’re just overthinking, so confirmation of the suspicion sucks.  The good news is that I decided to get tested.  The good news is that it’s something treatable.  The good news is that everything else came back negative.  The bad news is that it IS something, and there’s no denying it.

At work I felt like a zombie walking, preoccupied with the thought of this sexually transmitted infection lurking inside of me.  I checked my phone non-stop for the text from the pharmacy saying my prescription was ready for pickup.  Saying I raced to the store would be an understatement.  I have never been so excited to pay for antibiotics and take the first dose in my life.  A week-long pill regimen for a lifetime of, “yes, I have been infected before.”  My brain has been racing with questions – did he give it to me?  Have I had it for years unknowingly and then gave it to him?  How did I let this happen?  How did he let this happen?  I don’t want to be accusatory; how will this conversation go? Continue reading

2 Days Late, but a Few Thoughts I Had on International Women’s Day

● Upon reading a brave young lady’s account of being sexually assaulted at a metal show,
I was reminded of the time I confessed to a past boyfriend my deep dark secret of being
assaulted myself. And how he called me a liar. Same boyfriend a few months later got
angry at me for yelling at one of his customers at the bar he worked at because the
customer grabbed my ass, and was equally handsy with other ladies at the same time.
● Taking a walk last night, I was hollered at by an SUV full of young men. Contrary to their
intentions, I was not flattered, only thankful I was on a busy street so if they tried to
physically assault me, at least I was in public and would maybe get help from passers by. Continue reading

Guest Post: Running While Female

This blog entry will actually be about putting your damn pants on, no matter what kind of pants they may be. Plenty of people wear pants, and more often than not, those pants are put on the same way by all kinds of different people.

I am a runner. When running, my pants (or shorts) of choice are primarily made of lycra and/or spandex. This is not an uncommon selection, no matter where your gender identity lies (which is on the female scale, for me). When I run, I don’t like to have loose fabric weighing me down or creating wind resistance. Minimalism in clothing is important in running, ranging from shorty shorts in the summer and tight pants in the winter. While I am nowhere near elite status, you will see this type of clothing amongst the most decorated runners.

When I run, I am disgusting. I sweat, I wheeze, I spit, I wipe my nose on my shirt. Any sort of “ladylike” manners get thrown out the proverbial window when I run, and I don’t care. I have a mission to complete. Over time, I have added another non-ladylike mannerism to my oh-so-appealing running persona – the middle finger.
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Feminist Friday: This Time Will Be the Last Time

You guys, I’ve missed you!! I’ve missed writing – life has been a giant can o’ crazy this year and PYDPO has been a casualty. I apologize. I’m hoping that things will be settling and I can get back to sharing way too much personal information with strangers on the internet very soon. There have been so many things I’ve wanted to discuss with y’all recently! But every time I’ve started to write about MRAs or #NotAllMen or Rihanna’s ass, the rage has overwhelmed me and I’ve had to stop. So today I’m going to ignore all of that shit and talk about something much more important: all of my gray hair.

I turned 33 this year. I’m in the middle age zone – I’m all settled with a partner and kids, I have a career, I long for home ownership, I worry about retirement and life insurance. While all of that makes me feel like an adult, what makes me feel old is my hair. Years of slathering on Water Babies to avoid sun poisoning coupled with lots of extra collagen has left me fairly wrinkle free so far, but my roots show my age. And what used to be one here or there has turned into the fact that I’m definitely, totally going gray.
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A Seriously Random List of Things on My Mind Today

  • I can’t stop listening to Lana Del Ray. She makes me feel like I am in a movie in the best possible way. Haters gonna hate, and I don’t particularly give a flying fuck what anyone else has to say about her.
  • If you find yourself constantly apologizing for your shitty behavior, maybe you should quit behaving so shittily (is too a word, I just said so.)
  • My son used letters from his new Matchbox license plates to spell HAM GUY. That is not his name.
  • In related news, I am now referring to my son as HAM GUY.
  • My friend volunteered me to help out with my kid’s school’s annual fundraiser and I actually like it. Not feeling useless is pretty cool.
  • My other friend and I have serious plans to start a band. I don’t know when or where we’re going to practice, and it might just be her and me, but I’m totally into it.
  • Man, that Superbowl was fucking awful, right?
  • Unpopular opinion: Despite his charming dance moves and resemblance to a leprechaun, I cannot stand Bruno Mars. I’m not debating this with you. I get why you like him. That goddamn Locked Out of Heaven song is nails on a chalkboard to these ears.
  • I wish I could sit down with Ryan Murphy and talk to him about how to improve future seasons of American Horror Story. Coven was so close this season, but dropped the ball in SO MANY WAYS. (Clearly, Stevie Nicks was not the issue for me.)
  • That said, I LOVED THIS SEASON SO HARD. Myrtle Snow is my new spirit animal.
  • I really hate when I tell dudes I don’t like something, like a band, and they brush it off and tell me to try it again. Then I reiterate my researched opinion and my opinion is still ignored.
  • I want my son to listen to Beyonce’s Flawless. It is important for boys to start learning to get on the feminist level.
  • I got this amazing Maybelline Color Show glitter nail polish and I love it, except 2 days ago I painted them and it’s already coming off in huge chunks, littering my office carpet with disco ball nail polish flakes.
  • Last Wednesday I went out on a whim and had great conversation with lovely ladies who reminded me that I need to create more. Since the extent of my artistic abilities are stick figures and macaroni necklaces, I am making a commitment to writing more. And baking.
  • Related: My city is overflowing with amazing women. Now ya heard.
  • This quote right here, from another dear friend: “Patriarchy is exhausting.”
  • I love winter. Cold gets me motivated, and makes me love snuggling in my bed with books, tea, Netflix, and iTunes. It has also made me seriously consider getting a cat, which goes against both things I believe in. (Yeah, I just ended a sentence with a preposition. Deal with it.) I’m not going to get a cat. But a fluffy gray or black one named Myrtle Snow exists in my dreams.
  • Spring is just ahead which means fucking yardwork. I fucking hate yardwork. That’s it. No witticisms.
  • The next post I make won’t be so disjointed. Probably. But maybe it will. I don’t know. But I am going to make an effort to post more. The end!

Biblio-Files: Gothic Mysteries

One of my absolute favorite genres is the Gothic mystery. These books tend to be about crumbling mansions in the country, family secrets, ghosts and murder most foul. There’s usually a heroine of impeccable virtue who has had horrible luck and finds herself in an unpleasant situation. There’s a mother/aunt/caretaker who’s abused the poor heroine in some way, a dashing gentleman with a dark side, a mysterious benefactor, a trusted confidante, a doomed lover. There are journals and dying confessions and lies the heroine must sift through to discover the truth using her rational mind and courage cultivated from years of abuse or neglect. The novels are generally set in Victorian England, and if they aren’t, feel like they should be. These are the books you curl up with on a chilly, rainy day, a cup of tea (or coffee if you’re like me and can’t stand tea) next to you that goes cold because you’re too wrapped up in the mystery to remember to drink it. They are, simply, the best.
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Guest Post: I Won’t Apologize For Being Assaulted

Trigger Warning: Sexual Assault discussed frankly

Today’s guest post comes from the awesome Beth –  “a recovering scenster 30something stay at home wife and mom. I listen to the Descendents from the comfort of my suburban home while cooking barefoot and pregnant to Bikini Kills Rebel Girl. I may not have it all figured out but im constsntly searching for a balance.”

According to sexual assault statistics, “One in four college-age women report surviving rape or attempted rape since their fourteenth birthday.” This is a pretty well known fact and probably won’t come to any surprise as I’m sure you, a girlfriend/boyfriend, ex, sibling, parent, child, teacher, babysitter, or neighbor in your life has been a victim. What might surprise you is how sexual assault can really inconvenience other people. No, seriously. I mean, what a total bummer to have to know that a friend of yours was manhandled by someone else – it just makes you feel bad, ya know? Or what a total drag to be friends with that certain someone who has been accused of this, I mean… jeez. Give you a break right? It’s not like they did it to you. You weren’t even there and I could totally be lying.

Wait. What? Let me go back…

I totally bum people out because I happened to have been sexually assaulted by the singer of a band they like. Like REALLY like. I know, I know. I should have tried harder for a band just begging to be rejected and ridiculed so it wouldn’t ruin your iPod rotation but hey, then again, it really wasn’t my choice. But man, what a total inconvenience to poor you to know something bad about a band you love. Just ignore the facts, I mean it WAS a long time ago. It’s not like I can still remember I was wearing cargo camo shorts and a v-neck white Hanes t-shirt… an outfit TOTALLY putting off do-me vibes with my freshly shaved head and not shaved legs and…wait. Hmmm.

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