Category Archives: so stop judging me.

So where do we go from here?

This post peppered with medicinal kittens because smarter people are writing better things so I’m doing this instead.

This was a lot of us the night of the election:

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If you’re like me you’ve been spending the last days feeling helpless and uncertain what to do.

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Some things are easy, like donating to causes that you feel are important and might get left behind.  Some are harder, like reaching out to people who are hurting even if you don’t know how to help and are afraid you’ll fuck it all up and make it worse.

A lot of us keep getting stuck in that place where we hate humanity and are ready to become hermits.

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Things feel upside down and scary.  Your emotions are valid.  It’s okay to be angry or scared or freaked out for yourself or for people you love.

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Practice self-care.  Take a walk.  Do some art.  Sit in the grass and drink a booze-slushie.  Read a book.  Watch Doctor Who.  Avoid the internet when it gets to be too much.

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There’s some crazy-ass bullshit out there and the craziest bullshit has the loudest voice.  Do not engage the crazy people.  Someone calling you the c word is not someone to be reasoned with.  Pick your battles.  There will be plenty.

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It’s going to hurt for awhile.  So much so that you might not have the strength to help yourself.  Ask for help.  You aren’t alone.  Sometimes you need help to pull yourself off the train tracks, and sometimes you’ll be the person pulling someone else off.  This is how we survive.

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Look for goodness.  There are so many people posting loving and caring responses or who are there to give hugs and protection.  There are so many more than you think.  Look for those glimmers of light.

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We may disagree on many things but I feel confident that anyone who is a member of this community wants safety, equality, justice and happiness for every minority group that is afraid today.  This is a safe place and that is a needed thing.  Thank you for providing that.

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There are serious problems in the world today and writing a post filled with kitten gifs is fucking ridiculous.  But ridiculous is what I do best.  And kittens are the closest thing we have to medicinal marijuana in Texas so I’m working with what I have.

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Once you feel better though it will be time to turn your hand to making things better in a world that seems more divided than it ever has been.   Maybe it’s just smiling at everyone you meet.  Maybe it’s paying for the person behind you in the Starbucks drive-thru.  Maybe it’s donating to charities and organizations that help others who are struggling.  Maybe it’s just not screaming at people even though you really want to.  Maybe it’s letting people scream at you because you know they need space to vent.  Maybe it’s adopting a rescue animal and hiding away until you feel strong again, or volunteering at a hospital or homeless shelter.  Maybe it’s talking to your kids to ask if they’ve heard anyone being particularly cruel at school lately and making sure they know how to deal with it and how to report it.  Maybe it’s just ignoring this post and not writing something hateful about it even though you really, really want to.  Maybe it’s forgiving others or yourself.  Maybe it’s just continuing to breathe and not hurt yourself or others.  Those are all big things.

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Whatever it is, I’m grateful.  It starts small.  It starts with us.  Me and you.

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PS. Back to non-political stuff next week.  Promise.  Also, my last post was political and had over 400 comments and so far they are overwhelmingly compassionate and empathetic and encouraging.  That’s a small miracle, you guys, but it’s one we keep pulling off.  Thank you for being amazing and being a safe place for so many of us.

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PPS.  Happy Veterans Day.  Thank you to all those who serve to protect us.  I hope we can protect you right back.

An accidental competition for the worst mother ever.

The first week back to school always brings out the usual excitement, insecurities,  fear of failure and concerns about not fitting in.  I guess probably our children go through that as well but right now I’m talking about being the parent of a child heading back to school.  I have a group of friends who sporadically group text whenever things get weird and we need to vent, and the first week of school almost always sets us off so I thought I’d share.  Names have been redacted from this group text because CPS doesn’t always understand humor:

“Y’all.  I might be the worst mother ever. I bought a weeks worth of school clothes the night before school started.  I almost had a fistfight with another mom over the last pair of shorts at Target.”

“Oh, I can beat that.  All the stores were sold out of the “MANDATORY” red folders on the school supply list so I sent my kid with green folders and told him to tell his teacher that his mother is colorblind and very sensitive about it.”

“I forgot to pack a lunch for my kid so I brought her take-out tacos. There’s a mom at my kid’s school who makes home-made sushi in the shape of endangered animals for her kid’s lunch.   It’s like she’s making lunch at me.”

“I can top that.  I gave Hailey some burlap and told her to make her own damn shoes. She asked me for thread. I’m like, ‘THAT’S WHAT HAIR IS FOR, HAILEY.’ I mean, honestly.”

“I gave my kid a dead cat I found on the highway and punched him in the face.”

“I forgot school even started until I read these messages.”

“I just realized I forgot to pick my kids up from summer camp.”

“Jesus.  You guys make me glad I don’t have kids.”

“Sweetie, you do have kids.”

“Oh Shit.”

“Wow. You win.”

This is my house.

The greatest gift in the world is to grant a kindness to another. The amazing thing though is that the aforementioned gift is one you give yourself. It may be a small thing. Leaving a flower for the tired woman at the coffee shop. Telling a stranger that they have such kind eyes. Listening happily to a story told by an elderly friend or relative who has told you the same story a million times. Nodding in solidarity even when you don’t completely understand. Letting a friend or a stranger yell hurtful things at you because you hope it will help them let go of a small part of that anger…that it will open up room in them for the greater things that they deserve.

This is the way the world goes. Small, mean acts affect the next person who in turn amplify that anger or sadness and take it out on others who suffer as well. Then small, kind acts of grace work their magic and pull the world back into balance. Those acts echo into the world. They reverberate long after we are gone. And sometimes? Sometimes they bounce back to us in unexpected ways.

I’ve been writing for years and it’s only in the last year that I’ve let myself feel bad about what I write. Well, not about what I write exactly. I write about my life. I write funny stories that I hope make people smile. I write books that I hope make others laugh loudly and inappropriately in airplanes. I write honestly about difficult things I’m haunted with, like depression or self-harm. And occasionally I veer off into strange waters where I don’t quite know if I’m the best person to say something, but I know that I’m the best person to say the things that I think. You sometimes get small glimpses of those things but in such light amounts you could be forgiven for missing them. If you look closely you probably know that I’m a feminist. That I’m a big supporter of gay rights.  That I don’t believe in church but do believe in God. That I believe racism is institutional and exists far deeper than we see. That I don’t deal well with authority. That I have eternal hope in goodness. That I am quick to anger and quicker to forgive and that I don’t believe in picking sides because the world is flexible and moving and ever changing. The only side I pick is the one with less assholes, but even that is fluid because people change. Sometimes the assholes are later the people who have come so far, and who we revere for their ability to change. Sometimes we find that our heroes were undercover assholes, hiding amongst us until they let down their guard. Sometimes the assholes are us. In fact, if you aren’t prepared to recognize that occasionally you will look back at your life and think, “Wow. That was a real dick move. What the shit, me?” then you are the most dangerous of all the assholes.

This is a long post but in my defense I’ve been very quiet for the last week while I sorted this out.  I do have a point and I’m coming to it.

In the time I’ve been writing I’ve had thousands of people send me emails or links or tweets asking if I would weigh in on something, or support their cause, or ask everyone I know to donate to their personal fund or charity. I’ve read other blog posts by friends who tell me if I don’t write about their personal beliefs then it means I don’t care. Then I remind myself that if someone would potentially not know where I stand if I’m not screaming it on my blog then perhaps they aren’t as good a friend as I thought. I’m asked to stand up for people being bullied. I’m asked to stand up for the other people who are being censored and being called bullies. I hear:

“How can you not go to our Gay Pride parade when you yourself are bisexual?”

“Today is International Suicide Awareness day. Why aren’t you promoting it?  Don’t you care?”

“You’ve spent time in wheelchairs and hospital beds from your autoimmune disease so why aren’t you promoting our walkathon for chronic pain awareness?”

“If you don’t publicly take a stand against racism on every platform you have then you are a racist.”

“If you don’t write about 9/11 every year the terrorist win”.

“If you don’t write a post explaining that most Muslims are peaceful and lovely then their blood will be on your hands if they are killed.”

“If you don’t write about my personal version Jesus Christ then you’re sentencing your readers to everlasting hell.”

“If you don’t promote my kickstarter about my journey to adopt 56 Chinese orphans then all orange kittens will spontaneously lose all their legs.”

These are all real things said to me in the last year, except for the last one which I suspect is probably just stuck in my spam filter.

Here’s the deal.  I just can’t. I can’t use this blog to tell you that testing makeup on animals is bad or that if we don’t reduce our carbon footprint our children will suffer the consequences. I don’t have the stamina or willpower to denounce every shitty thing in the world that I assume everyone else here already agrees with. I don’t have the strength to write about ISIS and kidnappings and poverty and children starving and bombs and other terrible things because I know I will become fixated and depressed and unable to function.  I know my limits and I know that without self-care I will fall into those dark holes of depression where I’m no help to anyone.

And I’m okay with that because I don’t have to tell you that Nazis are bad and mass murderers are fuckheads and that racism is bullshit and suicide should be avoided and rape is shitty and water is wet and cats will scratch you if given enough time. This is all common sense. If I have to say this out loud for you to get those things then you are in the wrong place. Mostly because I’m typing and so I can’t say anything out loud, but also because if you know me, you already know these things. We may disagree on the finer points. I may have a looser definition of what it means to be a feminist. I’m in the middle ground when it comes to gun control so if I ever decide I’m educated enough to have a salient point of view worth sharing out loud we may disagree. I suspect I view racism as being more of a problem than the average American (or average white Southerner at least) and occasionally I’ll say something about it and lose followers…both those who are angry that I believe racism is systemic and deep-seated, and those who agree but who are mad that I don’t say even more. And that’s okay. Sometimes they come back, later, with open minds and less fear or anger. Sometimes they are replaced by others who are here to laugh and smile at the ridiculousness that comes out of my head. Sometimes (mostly) it’s read and then forgotten. Just one tiny voice in a world that won’t shut up. In a world so busy speaking that it can’t hear.

I had a point and I’ve strayed from it a bit but this is it: I appreciate the links and suggestions and tweets and probably half the time my posts come from something one of you has sent me because you know me and you know what fuels me. I read what you’ve sent me and laugh or cry or learn. Sometimes I write about it.  Sometimes I keep it for myself.  Sometimes there isn’t a better way to say it so I’ll just retweet it, or forward it to others who I think might need it or be inspired to write more about it. But I will never tell those people that it is their responsibility to write about what I want to read. And that is the difference.

Please keep sending me links. Tweet things you think I’ll want to see. Email me your thoughts, or posts. Or share them here. But there are two things you should know: One– I almost never share fundraisers because if I do one then a million people will ask why I don’t share their equally valid fundraiser and then I’d suddenly turn from a writer to a very annoying PR person who only tweets fundraisers.  No one wants that.  And two: I will never write about something because someone else is trying to shame me into it. I have plenty of my own shame and guilt over here myself, thankyouverymuch, so I don’t need you dropping yours on me. Not only is it shitty, but it also makes me question everyone else writing about whatever that current event of the week actually thinks, and that’s not fair to anyone. Are they just writing what they think people want to hear? Are they pandering because it’s fucking easy as hell to say “I’M NOT FOR MURDERING GAY PEOPLE” and “CANCER IS NOT WHAT I LIKE”. Not only that, but if you aren’t saying something thought-worthy then you are adding to the roar that is the world and while it’s a wonderful thing to have the nation rise up as a whole against bullshit, it sometimes has the unintended action of  making it that much harder for people who DO have brilliant and amazing things to say to be heard. People have a limited attention span and if they spend their lunch hour picking through posts that say nothing new or personal because they are written solely out of fear of missing out on the topic du jour are going to miss the chance to read the people out there who have something unique and intriguing and personal and brilliant to say. Those posts that make you say, “YES. FUCKING EXACTLY. THIS IS WHAT I WAS TRYING TO SAY BUT I COULDNT FIND THE WORDS FOR IT.” They are the posts that make you say, “Oh. Oh, shit. I get it. I get it now and I didn’t before and now everything has changed.” The posts that are so beautifully written that you immediately link to them on the Facebook disagreement you were having with your great aunt Agnes and she reads it and says, “Hmm. Well I never thought about it that way. I guess I’ll have to think about it.”

Those brilliant posts exist. I hope I’ve written a few. Probably not nearly as many as I’d like but I’m limited in my areas of expertise. I get humor because that’s how I survive. I get family because I’ve been blessed to have a dysfunctionally functional group of people who challenge me and make me laugh. I get mental illness because I survive it. I fight it as a regular demon and I haven’t a choice but to become a savvy warrior because that’s how you live. We don’t always get to choose our causes. Sometimes our causes choose us.

There is another thing I write about on the regular and that is kindness. Because we can’t live without it. Because it keeps us afloat. Because it keeps us worthy of survival as a species. Because it helps me forgive people who demand that I use my voice for their words because if I don’t it means I’m unworthy or low or their enemy. Because it helps me remember that that kind of anger comes from pain or fear or desperation that no one should have to feel. And because that same kindness is what I depend on and hope for from them when they read this.

This is my house. You are welcome here. You are wanted. You are allowed to leave links of posts or articles you think this community would say “Oh, I needed that” to. You are welcome to talk and visit and make friends and to realize that each of us is flawed and human and (in the grand scheme of things) knows nothing. Because I’ve come to know that the only thing I really know is we could all do with a little more kindness. Both in giving and getting.

Be kind to one another. And more importantly, be kind to yourself.  You deserve it.

PS. This post scares me a little to post because I know a thousand of you will think “Shit.  She’s talking about me” but I can assure you that 127 different people have asked me to share their stuff within just the last 24 hours (not an exaggeration) so I’m really not paying attention to names, and also there is a tremendous difference between suggesting that I write about something and demanding I write about something.  Still,  I feel a bit bitchy, because in a way I realize I’m sort of saying, “Stop demanding that I join you in your brave and valiant crusade, you well-meaning and good people with absolutely wonderful causes which I wholeheartedly agree with you on” and that’s not what I want to say at all, but it’s the closest thing I can say other than this:  I can’t always sing your song with you.  I listen.  I share.  I think.  But if I’m always singing everyone else’s song then there’s no room for mine.  I have a song to sing.  A terrible one about why Jesus is a zombie and the time I found a severed boobie on my lawn.  A song about horrible things and about wonderful things and mostly silly things that make the day a bit brighter for those twisted enough to appreciate it, or those offended enough to be able to use it as a terrible example to others.  A song that sometimes is out of tune and seldom rhymes and is sung loudly in the dark and in whispers when I’m not quite myself.  A song that sometimes overlaps with yours as we find ourselves unexpectedly sharing a chorus we never knew we had in common.  A song that sometimes captures minds and hearts and changes the world in good and bad ways…but most importantly, a song that is uniquely mine.  One that’s given silence to reflect and write, and information to grow, and that changes as I change.  It’s the same song you sing.  But different.  And all of those songs are beautiful…even the discordant ones of our enemies that inspire us to work harder to prove them wrong in hopes that one day they’ll find themselves accidentally humming a strange tune they’ve picked up along the way…a tune of joy and kindness and love and equality and acceptance.  Or at least something by Prince.  That man is a bad-ass.

PPS.  It occurs to me that I talked about those posts and stories and essays and books that make us yell “YES!  THIS EXACTLY” and that those lovely things are the things that it would be nicest to hear over the roar of kleenex advertisements and selfies, so I’m going to share a few of the ones that hit me personally because maybe you need to see them too.  And maybe in the comments you can share your own. A book, a song, a post, a quote that makes you strong or anything that makes the world a better place…anything that you keep coming back to as a reminder that you’re not alone or as an anthem to keep you going when it’s hardest.  Share your song.  Because I want to hear it.  And maybe, one day, we’ll find ourselves singing along together and you will know it’s because I am with you wholeheartedly, and not just because it’s the easiest thing to sing.

Okay, here are a few posts that stick with me:

This one is fairly recent but I used it so often recently when in discussions with people who didn’t understand why what Rachel Dolezal did is not okay and why it has nothing to do with Caitlyn Jenner ~ From Awesomely Luvvie:  About Rachel Dolezal the Undercover Sista and Performing Blackness

Someone sent me this years ago and it stays with me every day.  I even stop people in the middle of my next book to tell them to read this first:  From Christine Miserandino: The Spoon Theory

Which of you sent me this originally?  I don’t know but when I read it I screamed “YES!  YES, THIS!”  Boggle the Owl on surviving depression.  Boggle the Owl on Anxiety.

Okay.  Your turn.  Share.  Give me something you think needs to be heard.  Something that breeds kindness and makes the world a better place.  Sing your song.  We’re listening.

I can’t tell if this happened because I have a medical issue or because I’m just really lazy.

Yesterday I went to pick up my meds and while I was there I handed the pharmacist my prescription for my ADD medication and she was like “Sorry, I can’t fill this one.  We can only fill prescriptions within 21 days of them being written” and I guess I can understand that but I’ve been walking around with this prescription for a month because I’m not really focused enough to remember to refill my meds if I’m out of my ADD meds and the pharmacist was like, “Yes, but you’ll still have to get a new one” and that sucks because first of all, the fact that I’m making my meds last long enough that my next prescription expired proves that I’m not abusing them or selling them on the street, so if anything I should be rewarded by getting more drugs.  Plus, now I have to make an appointment to see my shrink to get another prescription and I’ll have to tell her I kept getting too distracted to fill the prescription that I insisted that I needed because my ADD was making me too distracted.

But technically she already knows I’m irresponsible and have ADD so really it’ll probably just make her happier that she’s doing an excellent job diagnosing me.

Although she’s not really doing that great if she actually expected that I was going to fill my prescription myself within a normal time limit.  I suspect it’s a test and I failed it.  Or she did.  Maybe we did as a team.  I’m not good at evaluating right now because I’m low on ADD meds.

Someone please make an appointment for me with my shrink.  And remind me to get her to call in my meds this time.  And then take me to the pharmacist to get my meds before they call me with that ” YOUR PRESCRIPTION HAS BEEN READY FOR WEEKS AND IF YOU DON’T PICK IT UP SOON WE’LL RESTOCK IT.  YOU ARE WASTING OUR TIME” message.  And then bring me a cheesecake.  And take me to the post office.  And make me drink more water.

Jesus.  I need a babysitter.  For me.

I blame the meds.  Or lack thereof.

PS.  I don’t have a graphic to go with this post so instead I’ll show you the business cards I made for myself.

furiouslyhappycards2Please note that I forgot to put my name on them or a website or even what FURIOUSLY HAPPY is.  I think it’s pretty obvious I made them without the benefit of drugs.  Or possibly it seems more obvious that I am on drugs if I made business cards with Rory’s taxidermied raccoon face on them.  Depends on the kind of drugs, I guess.  But!  You can do this with them:

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They would come in much more handy if I ever left the house long enough to give out business cards, but at least I have some now, so…you know…baby steps.

 

I am the suspicious activity on my account.

For the last couple of years our credit/debit card has been cancelled over and over because of “suspicious activity.”  I never know that my card been cancelled until my card is turned down by an uncomfortable cashier, and that’s always nice because it’s such a great self-esteem booster when your card gets declined at the drugstore when you’re buying toilet paper and milk.

The really crappy thing is that 90% of the time the suspicious activity on my account is me.  You’re protecting me from me.  Yes, strangely-judgmental-bank, I’m the one buying tiny cat wigs from Asia, and taxidermied pegasuses, and giant metal chickens.  And then I go to buy a two-head bob-cat and my card gets declined I have to get on the phone to explain to the bank that I’m the one who bought a box full of cobra and that I don’t appreciate their implied criticisms, and then they say that they’re very sorry but that they’ve already cancelled the card and I’ll have to wait until they mail me a new one.

This would be fine if I had another credit card to use, but I don’t because I don’t want to have to pay fees on a credit card when I should just be able to use my debit card for everything if it wasn’t constantly being cancelled.  At this point I’m considering calling my bank every day with notes like, “I am currently looking for infant-sized Wolverine gloves, so please don’t cancel that transaction that when it happens.  PLEASE STOP JUDGING ME, First-National-Bank-of-Canceling-My-Shit.”  (To clarify:  I need tiny gloves with sharp knives sticking out of them, which would make a baby look like she’s Wolverine from the X-Men.  Not gloves that would allow babies to handle wild wolverines.  That would be fucked up.)

Frankly, if I had a dollar for every time my credit card got canceled I wouldn’t even need a credit card because I could live off all those dollars.  Which I guess I would just stuff in my mattress because my bank would just hold all those dollars hostage as well.

I know they’re trying to protect me, and that’s awesome but it’s getting fucking ridiculous at this point and I’m wondering if it’s just me having to replace my card all the time, or if this is happening to other people too, or if maybe my husband has made a deal with the bank to automatically cancel anything I try to buy that looks awesome.

So, poll time:

 

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And now, time for the weekly wrap-up:

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Shit I made in my shop (Named “EIGHT POUNDS OF UNCUT COCAINE” so that your credit card bill will be more interesting.):

Shit that I’m vaguely involved with on the internets:

This week’s wrap-up is brought to you by Crumple + Toss, a bad-ass stationery shop that caters to paper lovers of all kinds.  They are awesome.  From them: “Sure, we got your typical “With deepest sympathy” cards, but we also have “This fucking sucks. I’m sorry” as well. We have wedding cards that say “shit.” We have flowers AND cats. And flamingos. And moose. The fun doesn’t stop with cards with profanity, cats and awkward compliments. C+T also has a shit ton of super awesome notebooks, list pads and stuff. Come see what we gots. You won’t be disappointed.  And if you are, well, that’s your problem.”