Aunt Flo’s a-comin’ and all I got to show for it was this shitty blog post.

So I had a minor rant about periods on my Facebook page this morning, to which a male friend of mine replied by asking the ultimate male question, “are you okay?”

For a second that mildly irritable grouchiness women get when we’re asked this question crept up on me, but then I realized, what else could a guy possibly say?

For the past 50 years, feminists have made hormone fluctuations taboo to all discussion to such as extent that to this day, millions of women think there’s something wrong with them for experiencing them at all. In this environment, God help the male who lets on in the slightest that he can tell something is “off”. Better to be seen as dumb and harmless, asking stupid questions, than to risk a fight, right? b6e294aed0b343811248693a8d102bd1

Boom. Suddenly to me this little back and forth is like representative of what is wrong with so much of modern male/female interactions, and I felt like I had an opportunity to really illuminate some of the dark unpleasantness surrounding this issue.

Well that depends on who you ask:

The hippies who only eat organic would say this is all monsanto’s fault and if I ate a gluten free diet I’d never feel this way, but then suggest some essential oils to relieve my common monthly ailments.

The Paleo crossfit cultists would also blame monsanto and gluten, but also tell me burpees are the answer.

A doctor would deny monsanto and gluten are in any way a problem, threaten to drop me as a patient for asking about them, and then prescribe me five separate medications with 30 common side effects each and schedule me another appointment in two weeks to give me more pills for the side effects of the first pills that still aren’t helping anything.

3rd wave feminists would have already burned an effigy of you that wears a sign reading “rapist shitlord” for daring to ask me that question.

Quiverfull wives with their braided hair and jean jumpers wouldn’t have heard you, having already sequestered themselves in the “Hut of Shame” for the next ten days to avoid tainting their families with their womanly evil (and to catch up on the mending).

Business professional women would have pink slipped you, claiming a bad economy, in retaliation for reminding them they are, in fact, women at all.

Mommy Bloggers would cry soft tears as they write a soul searching 800 words about how their “time of the month” impacted their ability to fill the lives of their “littles” with happiness and sunshine.

And I’m over here way over answering this question because hormone fluctuations make me mouthy.

I’m fine. Wanting to commit mass murder and then cry about it is a perfectly normal part of the feminine experience. It’s like working out too hard so you’re so sore you can’t really move, and shooting up test so you’re crying for no reason in the locker room afterwards, but all rolled into one. With chocolate.

Yeehaw

Did I add anything at all to modern relations between the sexes? That’s not up for me to say. I’m too busy gorging on my kids’ Halloween candy in a vain attempt to quell my murderous rage and/or ease the swelling in my feet to care. Somebody bring me some tacos.

Away From Nod

I see the average human life as a fixed point moving through time, like a car. I see most attempts to “reconnect with our ancestors” as an attempt to make our car look and feel to us in a manner we consider more authentic, more real. I think this drive comes from feeling out of place, usually described as a sense of being “born in the wrong time”. But it’s not being born in the wrong time. I think it’s feeling disconnected from the other people around us, especially with those who are supposed to be closest to us. A sense of alienation from our families, turned into an act of rejection of their values, and by extension their vision of us. Spoken plainly, when our families deny us ourselves, when they say, “no no sweetie, this here is who you are” and they will not stray from that, we have no place in our own inner circles to share ourselves and, as a result, we deny the reality that that inner circle does in fact have any sway whatsoever over who and what we are. Becoming “self made”, we “identify” with bits and pieces of cobbled together humanity until we are as we wish to be seen. But the roots don’t change. There are large swaths of our personal makeup over which we have no control, that, regardless of our feelings, we cannot alter in the slightest fashion without doing to ourselves what has already been done to us by others. We, without awareness of it, say to ourselves, “no no sweetie, this here is who you are” and we do not stray from this vision willingly.

I see this as the root of so much suffering, from the great divorce of gender dysphoria, to the recreation of heathen “pre-christian” practices, as if time was a river and we could travel upstream. Even make-up, tattoos, clothing, riches. We coo softly to ourselves about the identity of us, as if we reign over our own selves, supreme and godlike in our own minds eye.

The truth is, we have no say in this. The us doing the choosing to reject or accept has already been molded like clay by the multitude of hands which have touched us before we were ever aware of our own voices. Time, unfortunately, does not allow us to isolate an event in history, a tribe which once walked the Earth, a religion that existed before the coming of another and say, “this, this is mine! I claim this and reject all that I knew before!” Nor can we take bits and pieces of what was, once, and patch together something suiting to ourselves, for our own purposes. But we do it anyway and strut proudly in our cloaks made of rag and paper. What one lays claim to when one does this is nothing more than a imagined figment. A fetish to be rubbed for comfort. It is not the real thing sought any more than the person we were told we were was in fact actually us to begin with.

There is a vast grey space between each individual soul, and all of us are guilty of filling that space with what we want to see, rather than looking through it to see what is already there.

We huddle lighting fires in the dark because we fear the emptiness; we don’t notice that we’ve blinded ourselves to the stars.

Done pretending this is worth my time.

In my opinion the defining characteristic of intelligence is the proper application of information. Knowing things is very useful, but that knowledge applied improperly is usually the root cause of shit going all sideways. Improperly applied knowledge is the root cause of everything from Communism to really psycho Christian Fundamentalism a la the Duggars, and everyone and thing in between. It’s a personal problem and a social one.

Ignorance by itself isn’t dangerous or inherently stupid. It’s just an absence of information. Someone can be ignorant of the fact that 2+2=4 and not need a drool cup to get through their day, But, give a guy a job at NASA where he does shit with that math with all the letters and symbols in it all day, put a serious problem before him and watch that motherfucker apply 2+2=4 to that problem and we’ll all see some bona fide stupidity in action. And possibly explosions.

This is why I cannot stand the modern educational system being as it is geared towards the acquiring of information and the repetition of that information as proof of learning. Bitch, you didn’t learn shit. You memorized something. You aren’t qualified to tell me a god damn thing about a hole in the ground till you can apply that knowledge in a contextually appropriate setting to the maximum probability of a positive outcome.

And guess what? Nobody can do that anymore.

We’ve got teachers cramming kids heads full of useless bullshit so they can test well and those teachers can keep their jobs, then those kids are going to colleges that have to reteach the same shit because nobody is actually learning anything, and the fucking professors are just as fucking dumb as the students since they’re cramming in as much information as possible into these kids without the slightest bit of care of anything other than how well these people vomit back the information on the test later, and we call it higher education because the mother fuckers want that shit APA formatted now.

If you are a college professional and you think that APA formatting is indicative at all of a student learning jack diddly about anything, you are part of the mother fucking problem.

I am currently enrolled in my sixth attempt at college and I swear to god, the respect these professors have for actual thinking intelligence is less than nothing, these mother fuckers are downright HOSTILE to original thought. It is worse than when I started. I cannot for the life of me fathom how a person can manage to be so deluded as to think that they’re actually an educator in this current environment. I feel utterly surrounded by imbeciles. I want to gnaw my own leg off like a god damn coyote and never ever have delusions of university being worth a shit ever the fuck again. Jesus I am done.

But, I will see this semester through for the tax breaks and the hope that one day these college credits can apply to ANYTHING useful somewhere else. And then I’m prolly gonna bounce for really reals cause I cannot take all this bullshit anymore.

Plans, bitches.

My registration for next term is finished. I am officially going to be in school for two consecutive semesters; a first for me in all of my collegiate attempts. This is nothing in the eyes of the world, but to me, it’s huge. I dropped out of high school before the end of my first semester freshman year. I haven’t done anything like this since I was 14 years old. I had feared that the weight of all of that accumulated failure was an insurmountable obstacle. It’s not. To me, making it through this, getting this under my belt, it’s going to kill the lingering fears that I am little more than my father’s daughter just writing my own forty years worth of excuses for never doing a god damned thing. I am capable of more than I ever thought possible. This is just the beginning. diaperzen

I’m very excited for the financial aid disbursement I’m about to get. Instead of blowing it all on hats, I’ll be using that money to purchase Chromebooks for my kids so they can start doing more school stuff online. With my very full schedule, I can’t sit at the kitchen table playing schoolhouse with them. I’ve got shit to do. I want motivated, independent, self-starters who learn because they want to. I’m totally looking forward to what they manage to do for themselves. I’ve got a list of online learning resources I can’t wait to show them how to use. Once they figure out reading and basic math, I can start filling the house with shelves and shelves of books. I get all tingly just thinking about it.

The hubs and I have decided that we’ll be looking for a house to rent after our lease is up here. It’s pretty expensive for the lack of service and maintenance we’re having to deal with, and the only real benefit is being extremely close to Walmart. I’d much rather the kids have a yard. And the dogs. And cats. We need a yard, y’all.

Having hope is great. Having a plan feels so much better. Actually getting the fucking behemoth we call a life to move in the direction of where we want it to go makes me so excited I think I might pee a little.

Lennon was right when he said life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans. Gotta have plans to even have life happen.

Morality, ethics, and my biology class.

This week in my biology class my professor asked the following question:

Scientists have learned a lot about genes. It is the hope that one day scientists will be able to remove a gene that causes a defect and replace it with a “normal” gene. They can already do this for some genes. How nice would it be to remove the defective genes and cure diseases and disorders such as Cystic Fibrosis, Down Syndrome, Sickle Cell Anemia, etc.? Some people also think that it would be great to determine the eye color, hair color, and other traits of their offspring. What should we use our knowledge of genetic information to control? Should we cure diseases? Is death not a natural process of life? Should we form “designer babies”?

This is my response:

Yesterday Ursula Presgrave, a former reality star in the UK, posted on Facebook that: ““Anyone born with down syndrome should be put down, it’s just cruel to let them lead a pointless life of a vegetable.”

Ms. Presgrave is not alone in her feelings as demonstrated by the fact that 90% of all babies diagnosed with Downs Syndrome are aborted each year. Ironically, of those who are diagnosed with Down Syndrome, 99% say that they are happy, and 97% of families with a member who has Downs Syndrome believe their relative with an extra chromosome has enriched their lives for the better. These are staggering numbers which fly in the face of the “common wisdom” of which Ms. Presgrave is such a glaring example.

When scientists tread past the strict confines of the scientific into the realm of “should we, should we not” there lies a dangerous temptation to use the observable empirical data to draw inaccurate conclusions about the nature of the world around us. Our biases are based firmly in the personal experiences which we alone harbor, that others may share but cannot duplicate. Sitting comfortably where we are as who we are, the idea of having a genetic condition like Downs Syndrome sounds horrific, and for the majority of women faced with the news about their child having this condition, the horror goes so far as to lead a majority of those women to blindly react and terminate their child for fear of their quality of life, when the evidence, the actual data that can be observed and recorded says the exact opposite fate is awaiting not only her offspring, but herself.

Science is only a tool. It is a method of viewing the world. It is not ethics. It is not morality. It is no more dangerous to humanity than a loaded gun sitting undisturbed on a table is a danger to people. In fact, just like that gun, what makes science beneficial or harmful is the intentions of the person wielding it.

Scientists are doing their jobs when they discover how things work. It’s what science is for. What is done with that science is a broader question outside the realm of scientific inquiry. It is a matter of character whether or not we use tools at our disposal to defend the weak, to succor the ill, to cherish the individual.

I personally do not think that life is so unremarkable as to justify treating living things as objects to be manipulated or dominated for ones own comfort or preferences. There are ways to honor and respect the living things around us, human or otherwise, in all things we do.

Temple Grandin, for example, is a woman with autism who was diagnosed with the condition back when scientists still thought that the condition was a result of improper bonding with the mother. Even in the face of such stigma, Temple’s mother worked with her child until she was highly functional, so much so that Ms. Grandin became a professor of animal science at the University of Colorado. She used her autism to her advantage, and in the 1970s she designed slaughter houses for cattle that virtually eliminated the stress of the animals, leading to less spooking, less injury, and less accidental death. Ms. Grandin used science to respect the natural world, to bring comfort and peace to animals that–whether we like it or not–are going to be slaughtered for meat anyway, and she did it using a condition so many parents, educators, and yes, even scientists say rob human beings of meaningful quality of life.

Science ceases to be science when it begins making value judgments about the world and the living beings within it. I would say that the urge to dominate and order the world in a manner more fitting to our liking has been the root intellectual process behind the worst atrocities of mankind, of which there are too many for me to reference.

So please, consider in fact that no decisions can be made about the value of others from the safety and comfort of our own experiences. Only the individual can truly know whether they believe their life is worth living.

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9/11 and the blood of the innocent

On 9/11 I was scheduled to be working at Century Movie Theaters in Sacramento. My father had woken me up when the first plane hit, and I watched the second hit live on TV. I was 17 years old.

I remember going to work later just to stand around with my co-workers until midnight with nothing to do. Less than thirty people went to the movies that day.

We were mostly kids, teens and twenties, stupid, etc. We stood around talking about whether this meant war, or if it was a sign of the end times; freaking out over the lack of planes and helicopters in the air. There were so few that it was easy to watch satellites move through the sky. I’ve never seen that happen since, and the number of satellites back then was puny compared to now.

I remember when the the drums of war started beating.

I remember how angry we were to have been attacked, how much angrier we were to have our friends and family sent to die for it.

Myself and the kids I worked with, the majority of us were born working-class poor. It was our brothers, cousins, neighbors that were enlisting to go die in the desert. And you know what? At the time, when it happened, even two, three years afterwards, going to war and getting the guys who took so many people from their families seemed like a good idea. A just and righteous thing. I still think it was.

But the drums have never stopped.

We didn’t stop with Bin Laden, suddenly Saddam was a thing, when 15 of the 19 terrorist attackers were from Saudi Arabia. Bin Laden was from Saudi Arabia. Bush flew Bin Laden’s family out of America to Saudi Arabia the day of the attacks. But Iraq, we had to go there, because terrorism.

I don’t think our parents generation expected us to be so savvy on the uptake. But, we were armed not only with the skepticism that a generation raised by an entire generation of narcissists possess, we also had the internet.

Using chat rooms, forums, and blogs, we shared our discontent, voiced our theories, and took down the mainstream media. There were those of us on the democrat side, and those of us on the republican, and our battles were fierce. The fighting over facts and information was fierce, scarily so. Suddenly the old guys in suits speaking to our parents the soothing tones of intellectual justifications got kneecapped.

The bloggers took out Dan Rather. The bloggers swift boated Kerry. The bloggers exposed the lack of WMDs in Iraq, as well as the movement of WMDs from Iraq into Syria.

Anyone paying attention to the blogs learned quickly that what was being said to the public and what was actually going on were not the same. Everyone was lying. Everyone. Even our government.

I don’t think is a coincidence that reality TV shows flooded the airwaves of both network and cable TV in the decade following 9/11.

Post 9/11 it also became apparent to my generation that what we think, what we want, matters absolutely not at all to the powers in charge in this country. Being a Democrat or a Republican still got you fucked in the ass. In the election cycles following the tragedy records of young voters registering (that was us) were being set right alongside record numbers of us were not voting.

Then, Barack Obama happened for the first time. That was us. We totally did that. Some of us (like me) were standing in front of that train screaming “STOP!” b ut the chance to be “part of history” and “be heard” to “make a difference” was an elixir that too many otherwise intelligent people swallowed.

The second time he won was made possible by a suddenly stronger mainstream media using all of it’s resources to decide what was relevant. The newness of blogging and independent journalism having worn off made it possible for the old school to close ranks. Suddenly nobody was talking about the verified voter fraud, the rampant threats and tampering, the blatantly illegal donation practices.

The elites having made the rules, excused themselves from them.

Now we don’t get straight talk about the tens of thousands dying in the middle east in the wake of ISIS. It’s been going on for over five years now, but the average american didn’t find out until just this year.

We don’t talk about the drone war we’re waging while Obama says the war is over.

We don’t talk about the weapons we gave ISIS so they’d take out whats-his-face in Syria.

We don’t talk about how we have the blood of all those innocents on our hands, a responsibility to those lost to the monster we created, we fed, we bred, we turned lose on the world.

The drums still beat.

I don’t believe that the folks who died on 9/11 wanted those of us they left behind stuck in an endless war that just magically keeps creating a new enemy to fight. I don’t think they wanted their children to grow up surrounded by paranoia and group think. I don’t think the soldiers who died over there wanted those of us here surrendering our rights to be free again and again in the name of safety.

I don’t think what has came out of 9/11 is worth the vengeance we started out seeking.

Beware the drums of war.war

Five time college drop-out is going back for more. WTF am I doing?

So today is the first day of my college courses and I am having a complete panic attack about it. Nothing fancy is going on. I’m only taking bio and history. I kick total ass in both. I could do both these courses in my sleep without even opening the books. But here I am, deer in the headlights anyway.

Suddenly it’s real and I’m in it. Either I do it this time and actually finish a whole semester, or I choke and drop out for the sixth time. That’s right, this is my sixth attempt at college. I have completed exactly two college credit hours in the last twelve years. I have mixed feelings about that.

I am thirty-one. My peers have by this point either finished school and become well established in their chosen fields, or they have never gone to or completed a course of study. Statistically returning to the beginning of school six times is practically unheard of, so I’m actually a statistical fluke. So, upside: I’m tenacious as fuck, downside: I’ve got five layers of failure I have to push past to even crack the books I’ve got sitting on my kitchen table.

I’m not afraid of failure. I can totally handle not meeting expectations. It’s like, my thing, in certain respects. But meeting expectations…

I grew up with a physically distant, emotionally absent mother and an emotionally enmeshed, malignant narcissist father. Failure was the only act of rebellion I could manage to get away with, mainly because it kept both of them comfortably in an accusing role where they never had to examine themselves; I was the problem. All of my failures were mine alone. They washed their hands of me and gossiped about how much they “worried” about me to neighbors and relatives.

On the other hand, meeting expectations was like sending them an invitation to emotionally hijack, psychologically invade, use, waste, and prey upon me. Achievements were his, never mine. Accomplishments were his, his, his, his, his. I was finally making something of myself because of whatever bullshit he came up with the crow about. Then he wanted access to my time, my money, my friends, my lovers. Anything I built for myself was usurped and drained by him, while my mother approved from afar because of all they had “done” for me that I should now start “paying back”. Whatever I tried to do wasn’t about me making a life for myself, it was about improving their lives for them. Like so many other fucked-up abused kids, I made sure that they starved as often as I possibly could. The fact that this hurt me more than it ever hurt them never factored into my thinking. In that kind of emotional environment, there is not future to think about, there is only the current dire threat. And then the next one.

So, here I am, 31, mother of three, married to a fighter just as stubborn and tenacious as me. My mother is dead. My father is cut off. I’ve been free long enough that I can see a future; I can come out from under the rock; I can try.

I’ve never tried before.

This shit is bloody terrifying.

The truth is I don’t know how to try. Like Yoda said, I never tried, I just did. Often the results have been brilliant. Other times, not so much. But, there was never a concentrated effort to move forward while building upon what came before. This is entirely alien territory for me and I really, really want to run away back to the safety under my rock where I keep my antiestablishmentarianism and my witty retorts.

So there it is. There’s the fear. I’ve said it plainly. I know where it comes from. I know how it got here. Now it’s time to take a deep breath, find my center, and punch that shit right in the dick.

Watch me do, y’all. Watch me do.

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