Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Equal Rights? Pssshhh! Is That Really What You're Protesting?

With all the women out there marching and demanding equal rights, but doing nothing to get said equal rights. . . What are you protesting really? You're no better than the rioters during the Inauguration destroying private property and injuring our police officers who are sworn to protect and serve us. That's like being mad at your parents and going out and punching strangers because of it! What does that accomplish? You’re publicly attacking our President because you don't like him. It's Trump, no one likes him! Yes, he is a male chauvinist, and he happens to be our President. Let's not lose our heads over it. Trump has made America a lot of promises to make our country stronger and to finally get out of our financial deficit. He did not say he would take away our right to vote, or work, or drive, or marry who we want. Please, let’s take a step back and see if he can accomplish what he promised.

Personally, I’m wondering why other matters have been overlooked. Like why do women not have equal pocket sizes? Or why do we think stilettos are sexy? Or why my designer down puff jacket isn't waterproof? Or why inner beauty isn't a popular notion? Seriously. If my husband can be allowed to have pockets the size of small flat screen TVs, and I can barely fit my tiny cell phone in mine, where is the equality? Aren't women usually the ones to rear the children, do most of the shopping and organizing and yet we are deprived of something as simple as pocket space? I can’t even tell you how many phones I've damaged because they fell out of my miniature pockets. I understand that to jean designers, women must have every possible chance to show off our curvaceous bodies by wearing tight jeans, but can’t they be functional as well? And what’s worse is faux pockets. I’m sure whoever decided that women didn’t need pockets also decided that 
my premium down puff jacket didn’t need to be waterproof either. This in itself is
ridiculous, because I live in Seattle and don’t have a functional jacket or jeans. So, now I’m wet, cold and don’t have a place to carry my phone. And I see things like moms out with their kids wearing stilettos. I shiver inside because I know that eventually that 50lb kid will want to be carried. Ouch! I myself, have to employ one of those large diaper bag-esque purses just to survive a trip out with the kids. Why not give us our mom jeans with functional pockets, and take away the stilettos altogether? Seriously, no one wants fanny packs to make a comeback or for bunions to be the feet of the future. Our faux and mini pockets carry nothing, and as we all know moms have to be prepared. Having no pockets equals clothes that fit tighter and show off all those curves of ours. Well some of us have too many curves that we may not necessarily want to share with the world, which is why I wear jeans instead of say… yoga pants. Apparently, women are only allowed to be sexy, and if we aren’t then something is wrong with us. That truly is where our perception of ourselves is skewed and where the real battle needs to be fought. We as women have given in to this way of thinking. This not only makes us hate our bodies, but our clothes, hair, eyes, cheeks, boobs, thighs, stomach and whatever else we think we need work on or to change. Inner beauty is something that is not really valued, or mentioned in the media. But it’s something we still try to teach our daughters, at least I do. Loving your neighbor, genuinely caring for those in need, and spreading that love and joy of Christ is true beauty, and it’s something that doesn’t fade with time. 

There’s a story of a young mother named Stephanie Nielson who was burned badly in a plane crash. Her burns were so extensive that she had to be medically sedated for three months. When she woke up she found that the burns on her face were the most severe. She mourned the loss of her beauty, and wanted to die when her children couldn't look at her and when her youngest child who was 18 month didn't know she was his mommy. During this great hardship, she found a way to find her inner beauty and what she refers to as her new life. She is still struck by sadness at times for the loss of her old self, but in this new life she’s enjoying her second chance at life. To me she is more beautiful now than before the accident. 

So, when I hear of about women protesting and demanding equal rights, something that has never been taken from them, I don’t see a point to the protest other than them needing a platform to vent about our new President. Why does this outrage you, but the years of objectifying women does not? Lets not overlook that. Focus on your self-improvement, reflection, and inner beauty. What really is more important? So, on behalf of woman like me, let’s get our pockets back, work on our inner beauty, take care of the kids, throw out the stilletos and then maybe we’ll have time to take over the world.

If your interested to hear more about Stephanie's story:

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Positivity - Avoiding the Moldy Soup

Say you left the house and before you did your spouse said "Hey honey, I'm going to clean the house while your gone." Surprised you exit feeling grateful for having such an amazing husband who thinks of things like this. But lets say when you arrive home, you find the place still a mess, laundry piled higher than Mt Everest, and toys and shoes cluttering the floor. Upon further inspection you notice that the floor was somewhat vacuumed and the kitchen was clean. Well, at least he tried right? Pause, before you feel the need to criticize. Instead of dwelling on all the other things that didn't get done, praise him for the effort he made. Truth be told, men are built differently. They don't always see the same details that we see. So instead of criticizing my husband for what he overlooked, I try to remember to praise him for what he did do right.
     It takes a conscious effort to be positive, at least for me. I have to remind myself to see the good things in life, rather than dwell on the bad. When I dwell on all the negative things, I become riled up and go round and around until I'm more upset than when I started.  Then when the anger passes I spiral into a depression that if left unchecked, is really hard to climb out of. There's a reason an estimate 350 million people in the world today deal with depression, and that women are affected more by it than men.
    I find that surrounding myself with positive people and positive thinking, really makes a difference. Have you ever tried Dr Emoto's rice experiment? Take a batch of rice and separate it in two different jars. Each day you speak loving kind words to one and mean angry words to the other. By the time 30 days is up the love rice looks beautiful and fluffy, but the angry rice transformed into a blackish mold soup. The conclusion of this experiment was that the loving words created positive feeling, while the angry ones damaged the rice with bad sound waves. That being said, if negative words can change the appearance of rice, think of what it can do to a persons soul? Better yet, think how it can affect our children. I always try to let my kids know how much I love them, especially after I just got done yelling at them, because I want them to know that even though I'm angry, it doesn't change my love for them.
    Sometimes we are bombarded by negativity, whether it come from an internal source or an external one. There are ways to stay positive in almost any situation, and sometimes it does take effort. I have to choose to see the glass half full.  I have to chose to be happy.  When I get bombarded by negative thoughts or totally stressed out of my mind, I have to listen to something positive or uplifting. Lately its been the Andy Grammar song 'Keep Your Head Up' while I go for a walk. Exercise does wonders! According to WebMD: Exercise creates endorphins which react with your brain to reduce your perception of pain and creates positive feeling in your body, similar to that of morphine.
    Positive people live longer and are healthier! The Mayo Clinic did a 30 year study of 447 people that optimist had 50 percent lower risk of earlier death than pessimists. They conclude "Mind and body are linked and attitude has an impact on the final outcome - death."
     So there you have it. If you stay positive you can live longer, avoid being a moldy soupy mess, and have a happier marriage and family. And most importantly you'll feel good. It just seems with so much negativity swirling around these days, and with the mass population battling depression that something needs to change. I can't change the world, all I can do is start with myself and hope it catches on.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Sexism and History of American Women

     Did you know most women wont consider themselves feminists? Let me back up. . . Most people when they think of feminism, they think of the radical feminists who (a) chain themselves to things and (b) don't let men open doors for them and/or (c) never shave their legs/armpits or wear deodorant. No. Just no.
     Feminism is simply believing you have rights as a woman. Which, in my opinion should be all women, right? Whenever I'd have a female friend that would say "I'm not a feminist." I'd pipe in and say, "Really? You don't think you should have rights?!?"
   History of early American woman had the ideology of the woman staying in the home, raising the children while the men went to work. A side note to this way of life is that women also wore corsets. Think about that small detail. They willingly wrapped a steel cage around their rib cages, reshaping the bones, squeezing their lungs, organs and stomach into an inverted pyramid. This was why women were ultimately referred to as the weaker sex. They fainted and couldn't run around because of the lack of oxygen was able to reach their brains because their lungs were bound by a steel cage!
     Women's suffrage, is appropriately named. It used to be illegal for women to vote, we had no say in politics. Brave women who protested equal voting rights were arrested for "obstructing traffic" and when jail life proved horrendous for them, they went on a hunger strikes.  Officials force fed them by shoving tubes up her noses and down their throats.  Rose Winslow, one of the women, recorded that the she had "vomitt[ed] continually during the process. The tube [had] developed an irritation somewhere that [was] painful... God knows we don't want other women ever to have to do this over again." *(Woman Suffrage Statue, p. 59)
     Fast forward to the 1940s, WWII came and all the able bodied men went off to war. Women then had to step out of their traditional roles and go to work to support the troops and support their families. Women's professional baseball began, and crowds would flock baffled that a woman could run, let alone hit the ball, AND slide into the bases all while wearing a mini-skirt.
     Rosie the Riveter was invented to idealize that the modern woman now had muscles and went to work. Women built tanks, planes and Ducks (yes, those tourist rides where you get carted around on land AND water). And these Ducks still run smoothly 70+ years later (I can't get my imported Japanese car to last that long!). Things were going great. Then the war ended, the men came home, and women were no longer needed to step out of the home to serve their country and support the war.
     Fast forward to today.  Women get paid around 70% less than men, for doing the same job. It's still unusual to find a family woman who is the sole provider, while the husband happily stays at home with the kids.  I still get funny looks (mostly from other women) when they find out I work full-time when I have young children at home. A look of concern crosses their faces and they ask "who watches your kids?" Even complete strangers ask me this. And even if dad isn't staying at home with them, there is such thing as babysitters and daycare. . .
     We still live in a man's world, because in a woman's world: maternity leave would be for 6 - 8 months; well, not really, but it would be a nice option!  Most women by nature, are self-sacrificing and flexible, so we'd probably only take the standard 6 weeks before returning back to work. Women have the natural ability to juggle things, not even the best acrobat can juggle.  We can (and have multiple times) stayed up all night with a sick child, and still go do everything we needed to the next day.  We aren't happy about it, but we do it.
     In a woman's world there'd be a cure for stretch marks, because there's already a cure to re-grow men's hair, why not fix those unsightly marks on our body we chose to sacrifice to have children?  There'd be way better options for contraceptives as well as birthing pain management. We'd get paid the same (if not more), than men, cuz lets face it ladies, we can get way more done in a day.  My own mother used to call me, when I was away at college, to brag about how much she got done before I woke up that day.
     If given the chance to recreate our own rules, that we are strong, independent, and don't back down on things that matter. If we could rid the stereotype that we are weaker, can't play sports as good, and should stay in the kitchen, these stereotypes that, mind you, were established by men. If we could do that, women would rule this world. But we're so focused to prove this stereotype wrong, that we don't realize we're still playing by their rules.
     In my experience I've never been able to use maternity leave. It doesn't play out well with employers who you've been working for only a short time.  Pregnant women can't get real jobs, especially if they can no longer conceal it.  My point is, we've come a long way, but still have a long ways left to go. It was only recently in 2010 that the first woman director won an Oscar for pete's sake! We're still playing by their rules.  We still live in a man's world, and the silent battle between the sexes (and sometime same gender battles) still rages on.
     I'm not referring to the value of a woman, I'm referring to social expectations society still has on women. If society saw women based on their value, we'd be deemed better than men, and we'd probably all be millionaires!  There's a reason most escrow officers are women, its because we're expert jugglers and our attention to detail is off the charts! Same goes for Housing Authority officials. Complex juggling is our thing.  I know there's all different kinds of woman with all different talents out there, but even then, whatever that woman can do best, I bet she can find a man who she beat fair and square.  I'm not even going to get into how if a man is beaten by a woman at something, how embarrassed they are. There's just not enough internet in the world to dispute why thats ridiculous.
    Since most my blogs usually end on a happy note, here's a clip from Ellen who has summed this all up nicely in her mockery of BIC's latest tribute to women: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eCyw3prIWhc
*The Woman Suffrage Statue: A History of Adelaide Johnson's Portrait Monument at the Capitol of the United States. 1921

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Tragedy of Tom Morris

     When Tom was a boy he aspired to be an astronaut.  Climbing into his dryer, he felt the sleek cold surface and look out the tight round window.  The planets he'd imagine on the other side of that glass took him far away from the yelling in his parents home. The galaxy before him would bring peace and comfort.
     Many hours were spent in this make-shift space shuttle before his mother discovered him and made him get out, for she had laundry to take care of.  Each time she discovered him she would furrow her skeletal brow, place a hand on her hip and motion wordlessly for him to scurry out.  The look of worry for her son never left her face.  Tom had no friends. Kids his age thought he was weird.      
     Perhaps it was the alien voice he often spoke in, or the fact that he referred to people as “earthlings.”  Regardless, it was the way he was. Not every kid had a functional family in the 50s, but it wasn't common to discuss the matter either.  There were no group sessions, no counseling. Tom was alone.   Despite his aloofness he found little joys that kept him going.  Like the first half of his ninth birthday party when his dad sobered up long enough to give him a gift.  They sat in silence around the broken picnic table behind the house before his dad dug underneath his bench, a wry cold smile spreading across his lips.  He pulled out a brown paper bag and handed it to Tom.  Tom's eyes lit up.  Had his dad really got him something this year? The last time he could remember his father giving him anything besides a black eye and a broken arm, was when he was four years old.
     It had been a cold wintry day in Virginia.  Despite the miserable frost, his dad was in good spirits. This was before he had been laid-off at the factory.  He burst into Toms room, causing little Tom's heart to jump out of his chest.  His dad smiled and exclaimed “Tom! Tom! C'mon, it's beautiful outside! Put on your coat! Lets go!” He flung Toms blue jacket towards him.  It floated in mid air and sunk to the ground, as his dad flew back out the door just as fast as he had entered. It was a brisk day, but despite the cold, Tom was happy, really happy.  They ran out of the house.  The snow crunching beneath their feet.  The frosty air nearly froze his tiny lungs.  His lips quickly became numb, but he couldn't remove the smile from his face.  His teeth chattered wildly.  But he was happy, truly happy. The snow fell gently to the ground.  They held open their frozen mouths and tried to catch some snow flakes on their tongues.  Some tickled when they gently landed on their faces, dissolving instantly on their skin.  Packing up some powdered snow, they rolled up together the torso of a snowman.  They didn't have carrots or coal to decorate it, just twigs and a few small rocks, but it was a masterpiece when they were done with it.
     That was the day his father taught him how to throw. He nearly fell over the first time he tried hurling snowballs at a near by tree.  His little arm was too uncoordinated to toss a snowball so far, but he didn't give up.  His dad encouraged him and he got better each time.   He was so happy to be playing with his father.  He didn't think his little heart could swell up with any more joy.  Today the world could do him no wrong.  Tom's little feet turned to ice long before they headed back towards the house.  It was evening by then.  Tom's dad stopped at the refrigerator to pop open a can of beer before he sat in front of the TV.  Tom didn't want the day to end., he crawled up into his father lap.  It was the first time he felt comfortable doing so.  There was so much warmth coming from his fathers body that welcomed him.  Toms little eyes grew heavy.  That was the only time he had ever fell asleep in his fathers lap.

     Tom now watched his father face and then observed the brown paper bag that had just been placed before him.  He looked at his mother to see if it was okay to open it, she nodded vigorously, her tight curls bobbing up and down.  He ripped into the thick paper sack and saw a white helmet.  His eyes widened in excitement.  “Dad! Its a spaceman suit!” He ripped the suit out of its outer papery shell.

 “Mom can I wear it now?”

“Sure dear. But what do you say to your father?”  She forced a smile and looked at her husband who burst out laughing.

“Thank you, dad.”

“You're welcome, son.” He laughed again.

Tom flew into the house to put it on. It wasn't until he was out of earshot before his mother said. “Really Rick, I wish you wouldn't encourage this behavior. He's already different from the other kids.”

“Shut your face, woman. He's my son and I'll give him what he wants.”

“So this means you're claiming him as your son, maybe what, two days out of the year now?”

     Tom came back outside, just in time to see his mother get a beating.  He turned back inside the house and climbed into his dryer.  His little heart pounded in his ears, and it became difficult to breathe. He took off his helmet.  The cramped space amplified the sound of his breathing. He closed his eyes and imagined a dark galaxy with millions and millions of stars before him.

     It wasn't until the next day that his mother pulled him from the dryer.  His body still trembled.  “I'm so sorry, Tom. I provoke him. I should know better.”  Her lips were cracked with blood. Her face was bruised.  Tears fell down her cheeks.  Tom cried too.

     He didn't wear his suit after that day.  The sound of his own breathing burned into his memory, always reminding him of that day.  He felt trapped inside that helmet.  He hid his suit in the back of his closet, far from ever remembering it.  His fantasy of living in space was buried that day. He decided to play more outside from then on.  He needed to get out of his house.  

     That was when he discovered the forest beside the house.  It was full of trees ripe for climbing.  He picked up twigs remembering that day in the snow with his dad. Things seemed different now.  He didn't dare hope that a winters day like that would ever happen again.  So he ran into the forest. He pretended to fight Indians and outlaws.  Then he decided to become like the great Robin Hood and do good in a world that was evil.  He climbed up a large tree and sat waiting for carriages carrying treasure chests of gold to pass by.  He made a bow and notched an arrow to it.  He waited, and waited. But no one ever came.

“Robin Hood must have gotten bored a lot,” he said to himself.  He shot off an arrow out of boredom. The arrow arced through the air for a moment, and fell to the ground sideways.  He wasn't skilled enough for it to stick in the ground.

 The sudden snapping of twigs caused little Tom to jolt.  He become aware of two boys from his class approaching, Jayson and Tyler. They were bullies.

Tom hugged the tree trunk hoping they hadn't spotted him.  But it was too late.

“Hey, barf face! What are you doing up there, retard? Think you're a cat or something?” Jayson yelled, laughing to himself.

“He's got a bow and some arrows, Jayson. He thinks he's a hero or something.” Tyler mocked.

“More like a zero.  Morris get down here so we can give you a beating.” Jayson threatened. Tom clung to the tree and hid his face as well as he could in the rough bark. Jayson picked up a rock. “I'm warning you!”

     Tom's little heart started racing.  He clung to the tree, willing it to hide him from these monsters. He closed his eyes and wished he could hide in the dryer again.  Jayson threw the rock at him.  The sound of it whistled by Tom's little ears but struck a neighboring tree.  “I'm not kidding Morris! Come down here or I'll make you!”  He picked up another rock and threw it.  It missed again.  Tyler joined in this time.  Both of them gathered sharp rocks, both of them hurling them up the tree.

A sharp pain struck Tom's rib. A blood curling scream rang out causing the tree's to shake.  His hands started slipping.  It was hard for him to breath, let alone hang on to the tree. The bully's stopped. “Jayson, maybe this isn't a good idea.”

“Shut up, Tyler. I  warned him, didn't I?”

“Tom?” Another voice called out. It was a rough familiar voice. Tom never thought he would be so happy as to hear his fathers voice.

“Dad!” He whimpered weakly.  His hands still slipped.  

Rick appeared through the trees. “What have you done to my son?” He picked up a rock. The bullies started to scurry. “WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO MY SON?”

“We're sorry, Mr. Morris. We didn't know he was your son.” Jayson yelped.

“The hell you didn't! Get outta here!” Rick chucked the rock toward the bullies.  It missed, just a warning shot.

“Tom, you alright?” He sounded worried, concerned.  It was unusual for Tom to hear his father sound so vulnerable.

“I can't breathe.” He cried. Tears were already streaming down his face. The pain throbbed through his entire torso.  It stabbed him with every breath he took.

“Tom I'm going to need you to let go, I'll catch you. I promise.”

“No, I'm scared.” His hands slipped some more. He tried to cling tighter but the pain made it very difficult.

“Tom trust me. Please.”

     Tom had never heard his father say 'please' to him before.  He felt his fingers let go.  He fell quickly down the tree.  His heart lept into his throat.  He felt his side crack as his father caught him. The pain erupted through his tiny body, so intense he blacked out.

     Its now been several years since that day.  At Ricks funeral Tom was the only one that came.  His  mom had already passed on years before, cancer.  Years of drinking had finally taken Ricks life.  Tom didn't cry that day, he was too angry.  Instead he found himself in a state of reflection. Where had the years gone?

     Having to take personal leave from work at the post office, the first time in 32 years, he realized how many times before he had tried to get away but couldn't. He found himself saying 'someday' or 'one of these days' a lot.  The sky was overcast and drizzly.  Pulling his coat tighter around his neck, he caught sight of his hands.  Looking he didn't recognize them, they were the hands of an old man, age spotted. He was now 62, and where had the time gone?  Had he done anything life changing or spectacular?  The answer came more swiftly than he realized. . . No, he hadn't.  He never married, but never did feel lonely.  He realized he didn't feel anything.  He still had no friends, just work acquaintances.  He never studied at a university, never read a book for pleasure or learned to play an instrument.  There's nothing that he had done that he was  proud of.  He was no better than his father.  He hadn't lived either.  This trouble him.

     He glared at the casket, and felt empty.  A simple white lily decorated the exterior of the coffin.  Nothing else.  No matter how the outside was decorated there was still a dead man inside. He felt like he was the one in that casket.

     He tore his eyes from the casket and trudged away.  For a very long time he walked in a fog. Feeling the houses pass by as he walked, he was faintly aware of the people stopping to stare.  He continued to roam, starring at an invisible object in front of him.  He had no destination in mind, no place he needed to be.  He felt nothing.  He found himself wandering through many tree's.  He stopped and found that he was standing before a large tree.  At the base of it was a string attached to two broken twigs.  It was his old bow.  This was his tree.  It was much thicker than he had remembered.  He felt himself climbing up it, limb after limb his age spotted hands trembled.  He felt weak but soon found himself sitting atop the jagged branch where he had sat all those years ago.  It was much higher than he remembered.

     He sat there for a long time, pondering.  He drew in a long deep breath, and felt his rib.  The cracked rib had long since healed. He remembered his father.  He had forgiven him for all the years of sadness.  He couldn't go on blaming his father anymore.  The sky continued to drizzle.  It smelt like rain was near, but inside him he felt it raining already.  The weight of sadness in his chest clung to him, he was miserable, but he had never really remembered being happy.  Too many years had passed by since he played with his father in the snow. Too many bad memories had clouded his vision of simple joys.

     After awhile of reflection he concluded that all he could say that he'd done, was be a good employee.   He had always made it to work on time, he had never caused a fuss. He had never wanted to bother anyone, and never intended to stand out.  He spent forty five years going about his own business. Never taking the time to meet a girl, he never even thought of it.  He collected the travel magazines and dreamed of places he’d go.  He never allowed himself to aspire, even if he really wanted to.  The only dreams he lived were in his sleep, but even they was bland.  He realized that had been saving up for a day that was, at this point never coming.

     Tom felt his forehead which had now become leathery and wrinkled, and his once dark hair was now sparse and gray.  He looked inside himself and where his life had gone to.  “I am nothing. Why had it come to this?”

     He pulled out his cell phone and scrolled through his phone book.  Finding the number he dialed.  The phone rang and then a voice mail picked up.  “Hey Frank . . eh boss. Look, I need to get away. . . a vacation. This time I mean it,. I'm going away somewhere for awhile. I've got to do something with myself, I haven't lived at all in my 62 years. I'll be gone for maybe three to four weeks.  Its time I start living.”  

     He closed his phone.  “I know it’s about time.” He sighed. The air seemed to come to life for the first time in a long time.  He felt a change coming. It was a good one. He breathed in again. The air exhilarated him.  He closed his eyes and breathed in deep some more.  It was time to start living.  He gripped the branch beneath him.  

     And that’s when the branch broke.  His heart lept into his throat.  His eyes grew wide.  He screamed.  But no one heard the scream of Tom Morris. No one came running into the woods this time to find him. No one witnessed how his neck snapped at the moment of impact.  No one grew worried that he hadn't come home yet.  No one noticed he was gone.  For three weeks, the body of Tom Morris laid in the woods rotting.  Animals came to feast on his flesh.  Bugs devoured his remains.

      Once the body was discovered, no one could identify it.  The coroner found a match through dental records, but found it odd that he was never reported missing.  No one came to his funeral.  Authorities speculated it as a suicide.
The local paper printed an article labeled “Who was Tom Morris?”

“Postal worker Tom Morris died tragically last month when he fell from a tree limb.  Authorities were baffled at how the 62 year old man ended up in the tree in the first place.  Morris was not discovered till three weeks after he was dead, and was never reported missing.” Frank Peltekian, Tom’s boss of some 20 years reported Tom was on vacation, “There was no need to worry he hadn’t come into work.”  `Local hikers had discovered the body 3 miles outside of town.  Kate Rhapsody, executive operator of Iowa's Postal Service said, “Tom’s employment to the post office had just passed his forty year mark. We want to commemorate him for his service.  I hope the Mayor follows through with my request to name a street after him.”  The Mayor was not available for comment.  “He was a star employee, we'll  have a tough time keeping up without him.”  Rhapsody said.