Category: Society

Make A Difference Monday: Food Banks

A series highlighting charities and organizations close to our hearts.

It’s been difficult to figure out how to write about food banks. We all know what they are. We’ve all collected and donated canned foods, usually right around this time of year. We think about hunger the most when we’re gearing up for our huge feast day, Thanksgiving, a day where Americans celebrate abundance and fortune. We think about the wonderful things in our life and in our show of excess, we make a show of helping those who have less, then move on to Christmas lists and New Years’ Eve plans.

Hunger is weird, we all experience it daily but once we’re eating, promptly forget it. We say we’re starving constantly, starving when it’s been 3 hours since our last meal. We eat until we hurt, we throw away food because we have too much, we eat constantly, mindlessly. We reach for a snack at the very first twinge of emptiness. Most of us don’t really understand hunger as a condition, as a way of life; for us it’s only an inconvenience.
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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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Get Off Your Ass and VOTE

Tomorrow is Election Day. Here in Virginia, it’s a deal because we’re voting on a new Governor. I could really get into why you should vote for Terry McAuliffe because Ken Cuccinelli is batshit insane and more than a little evil with his stances on women, choice, sexual freedom, poverty, education, health care and immigration. I won’t get started on the certifiable mad man the Republicans chose to run for Lt. Governor. Or why it’s important for Mark Herring to become Attorney General. This isn’t a post about all of that, even though it very easily could be. This is just a simple request to vote.
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I’m Not Afraid of Getting Old Anymore

I’ve hit a kind of awkward phase in my life. I’m no longer in my twenties, but don’t really feel resigned to the mid-thirties yet. I have no idea where to shop for clothes, as everything seems to be designed either by pirate sex workers or ladies who favor the twin-set and slacks. I have no idea what slacks are. I still get visited by the acne fairy, but I’m starting to maybe get some wrinkles. It’s like adult puberty. It’s weird.

The Seventies Selfie

The Seventies Selfie, My Mom and Dad

I have a subscription to Real Simple magazine, and it feels like every ad page is devoted to some “Miracle Eye Lift” or “Sexy Chin Implants” or whatever is designed to make you feel/look/act younger. The radio (yes, I listen to the radio) is filled with ads for laser skin resurfacing and vein removal. TV commercials are as bad, if not worse. Everyone seems to act as if getting older is a shameful thing to avoid at all costs. I admit I’ve fallen into this trap. My twenties were a blurry, fun, exciting mess and comparatively, my thirties seem boring and lifeless. I used to think it would be fun to recapture the halcyon days of my youth… the ones that I see through the rosy tints of time and perspective. Lately, though, my feelings on aging have come around.

I used to be so afraid of getting older, which was ironic, since I lived like I would never see thirty. As I’ve gone into this new weird stage of my life, though, I’ve come to appreciate every day that I have. My mom died when she was about my age. I was incredibly young, and don’t remember too much of her anymore. I have a lot of pictures. I know she had more gray hair than I do, although at the rate I’m going, it won’t be too long before I catch up. I know she wore big eighties glasses, and dressed in that way the decade had that aged you twenty years with a single turtleneck. I know that she smiled a lot.

My Mom's Wedding annoucement photo

My Mom’s Wedding annoucement photo

I came to realize that there are a lot of things worse than aging, so I’m getting older for the both of us. Maybe she never got to deal with the wonders of crow’s feet or wrinkly hands. Maybe she agonized over face creams and vitamins and anti-aging face wash. She also never got to see me get married or meet her grandchildren. I’m doing all of the things she didn’t get to do, hopefully with the same amount of grace and style, and I realized I am totally fine with it.

Guest Post: Thinspiration

Today’s guest post comes from Dani, self-described as “Social justice extraordinaire. Americana mama. On any given day, you can find me on my couch, with my dog, or with my face in a book. I sing songs in the shower every day.”

Since I can remember, I have been at war with my body.

From the time my body became, I guess, WHAT it would be, I had a round belly and an ass that at times felt like I was carting around a cosmic pot o’ gold, and at other times, felt like I was transporting something the likes of a commercial dumpster. It just depended on who was looking at it and what I had to eat that day.

As I approached my late twenties, and started dating the guy who is now my husband, I realized that I was uncomfortably rounded. My belly protruded quite nicely out in front of my body (I got asked if I was pregnant more than a few times), and my ass had grown in proportions I didn’t know were possible. So I started modifying some of my lifestyle choices, i.e. not drinking super sugary liquor drinks, beer, or sweetened, soy-milked coffee. I tried to limit the amount of trips I made to China Panda to get mock chicken nuggets and faux crab Rangoon, and I learned how to cook. I got my weight down from probably 165 to 155, and it has been there ever since.

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Being a Grown-Up Is Dumb Except When It Isn’t

Man. Being an adult is so fucking stupid sometimes. Bills. Slowing metabolism. Age-appropriate clothes. Hangovers. Not going to that show you wanted to go to because you got drunk 2 nights ago and now you’re tiiiiiiired. Yard work. All of that shit? SO DUMB. And when you’re a parent? Shit is even WORSE because you are expected to SET AN EXAMPLE. So that means you can’t punch that dude in the face who won’t shut up about his kid’s affinity for learning Japanese and love of organic kale chips. And you can’t call that woman a “fucking twatwaffle” at the top of your lungs just because you hate the way she runs that committee on the PTA (please note that EVERY SINGLE PERSON I’ve met on the PTA at my kid’s school has been VERY NICE and these are just EXAMPLES of what COULD BE.) Continue reading

Rage Against Everything

I’m getting my angry liberal/feminist on. If you think that might offend you, you’ve been warned. I also curse. A lot.

I think I’m fairly even-tempered. I don’t fight, I don’t get in yelling matches, I don’t break random objects in a fit of rage. When someone makes me upset, I try to tell them. If that doesn’t work, I’ll just ignore them. I believe in the anger management philosophy of walking away and settling down.

But that’s not cutting it right now. Today my anger has reached critical mass and is about to take everything out. I want to scream and then hulksmash everything. Once my deep, cold reserve of anger is tapped, get out of my way before I take it out on you.

Why so angry? Why today? Everything has just been building and now here I am. And, you know what? You should be really angry, too. We should all be spitting nails and blowing gaskets and losing our cool.

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An Apology To The Moms At The Bar

Dear Moms at the bar,

I want to apologize for all of the times I’ve rolled my eyes and snarked in your direction. For the times I’ve complained not quietly about your exuberance. For the times I’ve muttered for you all to grow the fuck up and act like you’ve left your house before. For the words said and implied, the haikus written, the faces made – I apologize deeply and sincerely.

There were times in my life when I went out drinking frequently. I had favorite bars, drinking buddies, high tolerance and disposable income. I’d go out and there’d be a mom group at the bar and I’d sigh in disgust that they were THE WORST. I’d make sure to sit far away from them, hoping they’d be ignorable.
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A different college education

I am a fanatical college football fan.  I have had a subscription to Sports Illustrated since I was in high school.  I LOVE to read about the human interested or behind the player/coach stories, but this last week there was one article that made me want to vomit.  Or go into a rage black out.  It is the 5 part story of Oklahoma State and how it’s recruiting is, to put it mildly,  less than ethical.  Of all of the parts to this story,  the one that angered me the most was the “sex” portion of the investigation. Which you can read here.  If you don’t know what I am talking about here is a little background.  There are past players and coaches that have anonymously said that when being recruited by Oklahoma State that they had sex with girls from the Orange Pride.  Continue reading

Guest Post: 9/11 Reflections

This guest post comes from Melissa, the first non-family member I called after the attacks. This was supposed to go up yesterday, sorry!

There are moments in life when you are able to look at something and say, no, this is definitely not right, this is not the way things are supposed to be. September 11, 2001 is one of those days. Tomorrow is the anniversary and it is always a hard day for me. 12 years ago I was obviously asleep in my college dorm room loving every minute of this fabulous life I had. And then, in a matter of moments, everything was different. And I knew, even then, that these were moments that everything went wrong.

The entire world changed in those moments. Lives of thousands of people were cut short, but there were countless other lives that were forever altered. People changed jobs, became activists, enlisted in the army, didn’t leave on a vacation… there were children that were never born because in a moment, mom or dad wasn’t there anymore. Or maybe they were, and love wasn’t strong enough to keep a marriage together. Or maybe you met someone, took a chance on love, because you just couldn’t hurt anymore. And your life is better because of that love. Maybe there is a beautiful blessed baby today in your life because things went so terribly wrong. How many paths were changed?
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