Monday, April 7, 2014

Being Anti Gay Marriage - I don't get it

If you haven't seen the Honey Maid commercial with numerous different types of families, I suggest you watch it. It's a sweet commercial showing that no matter how you "family," whether it be two dads, two moms, a White dad and a Black mom, or whatever your configuration, we all care about our kids and their health. It's about family, not who makes up the family.

But there was some major backlash to this commercial. People tweeted and posted on their Facebook page in droves about how bad it was, and how "gay marriage" is ruining "marriage." This is what I'm stuck on. I don't get it.

Some people will tell you that being gay is a sin and that's why they're against gay marriage (or whatever you want to call it). Here's my thought on that - do you see other sins on TV? You do. Do you get all up in arms when on a TV show someone cheats on their spouse? No, you turn it off. Do you get all upset when someone covets their neighbor's shit? No, you stop watching or don't even realize it anymore. So why is this one "sin" (and that's debatable to some people, whether or not it's a sin) the one that people feel the need to get all upset about? Is it bothering you personally? Do you worry you may be gay? If it's not personally bothering you, then what the fuck.

People have said they don't like seeing someone else's lifestyle "shoved in their face," as if seeing someone date someone different from them or someone the same gender as them in public is "shoving it in their faces." Wait... if you're gay, are all the straight people about shoving something different from you in your face? Are most of the TV shows out there not showing you or your life? So really, shouldn't the homosexual population be the one that can truly say people are shoving stuff in their faces? I mean honestly.

And to the argument that "gay marriage" is ruining "marriage" - how so? How does widening the definition of a word to include more people making your marriage any less "good?" How is it "ruining" your personal marriage? It's not. I mean, again, unless you worry that "being gay" may happen to you. If you're worried that someone is ruining long-term relationships, I can tell you there are many other areas of the world that are doing a heck of a job at that. What about online dating sites for married people. But where's the legal backlash against that? Where are the protests? Where are the cranky Facebook posts?

Monday, March 31, 2014

Don't be too good at your job

"And any other duties as needed."

Most of our job descriptions (if you even have one) include that line. What that really means is, "We can throw any shit at you that we want and if you opt not to do it, then we can fire you because, well, it's in the contract."

That's not a promotion - WAIT YOU WANT ME TO DO MORE WORK... FOR THE SAME PAY? THAT'S MESSED UP. Futurama Fry

Lovely right?

In some instances that's useful. A co-worker leaves and your boss asks you to take a couple of their duties over until they find a replacement - as long as they have a date that that will end, no big deal right?

But many times, if you're good at your job, if you are conscientious and do your own personal job description well, your higher ups will add on other "small" things "every once in a while" so that you can help around the office/company. If you're still good at your job, even with those additional items, then those additional items may become part of your job permanently. Your higher ups may realize, "We don't need to hire a new person to take over the person that quit's job because Bob can absorb a lot of those duties. We save money! Yay!"

Now if you're Bob, that's fucked up. So as Bob, you have a few options. First, look competent but not too competent. Get your work done, but gripe just a little about how it's overwhelming. Hopefully someone will get the picture and recognize that Bob is at his "tipping point" and can't take on extra. Period. Second, ask for a raise - I mean if you're doing this person's job, why shouldn't you get extra pay? Request the extra pay until they find someone else and this may help them light a fire to find someone else. Third, say no. Seriously. You can do it in a nice way - tell them you enjoy your job and your position with the company, but you currently feel that you're doing your job requirements just well enough and that adding requirements may cause your other work to falter.

Keep in mind that if you choose option three that because of that lovely clause at the beginning of the post you may lose your job or receive a poor review from your superiors. "Bob is not a team player and is not willing to take on extra work to help the company."

Can you tell what happened to me at work this past week? I'm definitely Bob. I look too competent apparently and I get asked to do things - not other people's work mind you, but things that need to be done and are usually distributed around the college. This past week three distributions came to me at once. I could say no or I could ask for extra pay, or I could remember that that clause is in my contract...and that these are only short-term requests.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Are cartoons screwing up my kid?

On the rare mornings that my 4 year old wakes up before my 2 year old, we sit together and watch some TV. His choice. This morning he asked for "Ben Tenison." I honestly have no idea where he started watching Ben10 from. I'm betting he saw a preview and it looked bright and colorful and he wanted it, you know, like you do when you're a preschooler. Wait...that sounds like me with purses some days. But I digress.

I started Ben10 at episode 1 (did you know that shit's been on since 2005?) so we could see where exactly, you know, all his powers (eye roll) came from. At one point Ben (who is vacationing with his sister and grandpa in an RV) falls in a ditch and gets attacked by something that puts a bracelet on him (don't remind me if I'm terribly wrong, I was making my breakfast during this part) that gives him his powers.

So he's in this ditch yelling, "Grandpa! Help!" and the scene pans to Grandpa who stands there blank faced and doesn't move. "What's that Lassie? You think Ben's fallen in a ditch and some alien thing's attacking him? I don't know...let's wait and see." And dude never goes to help. As an adult and as a psychologist I'm thinking, "That's fucked up. Thanks Grandpa. You're the only adult we ever see on this show and you done screwed up in the 'I ask for help' department."

This got me thinking (watch out now, that's usually the precursor to something crazy). How do the cartoons we watched as a kid influence our perceptions of the world (other people, are they scary, adults, are they helpful, etc.) both as kids and as adults? I was trying to think of the cartoons I watched as a kid and what "messages" they left with me. The Smurfs. The Gummybears (bouncing here and there and everywhere). Jem. He-man and She-ra (Princess of Pow-errr). Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Scooby Doo (and yes I hated Scrappy). My Little Pony. Gi-Joe (who was the real American hero). Thundercats (did they just call me a ho?). And these are just the ones that came to mind easily (and just the cartoons). Even as a kid I didn't fit gender stereotypes, geeze.

Let's think.

Smurfs: there are small blue people living under mushrooms that only wear pants and shoes (or maybe just footie bottoms); there's magic; cats and older men in black robes (wizards? Jews? clerics?) are evil; really big people are dumb (remember the giant?). Women are a commodity. Never have kids.

Doing awesome so far.

Gummybears: some idiot made a whole TV show out of a candy and made them do nice things for other people and they lived in a tree. Ditch that one.

Jem: Oh Jesus, I could have a field day. Girl empowerment! No adults (but they didn't seem like they were that young anyway but I think they were supposed to be 16 or so because they had a chauffeur who was "adult-like"). Girls can be rock stars. Being friends with girls is hard because they're so catty and moody (uh huh). Rock stars have funky color hair. Oh and GLITTER.

He-Man and She-Ra: Big man have big sword (Caveman ug). Are you my sister or do I think you're hot? Wait you're my sister. Damn. Weirdo skull guy with super creepy laugh. Magic and sorcery. Someone's always out to get you. Big animals can be your friends (and won't tear your face off). Oh and girls can have swords and kick ass but not as much ass as He-man.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Radioactive material is bad (but then, like good, because it made them, you know?). Teenagers skateboard and eat pizza (oh geeze that was my teen years...wait...I still love pizza). Older rat is very wise (I always knew I should have listened to that talking rat that I had). If you don't listen to your father figure you'll get in trouble but eventually it will be OK. Martial arts are where it's at.

Scooby Doo: Danger's everywhere. Everyone's a suspect. There are no real "bad guys," just bad costumes. Meddling helps you solve mysteries (even if nobody wants your help). We have to work together but split up (but when we split up someone will always disappear).

My Little Pony: Sparkles, again. Non-natural colored hair. Magic. Friendship (but don't get too close, some ponies only want one thing).

GI-Joe: Amerika! And big men with guns. Explosions. Bad guys are everywhere (and not American).

Thundercats: Team work. Animals with human behaviors. Swords, again, are awesome.

So magic, brightly colored hair, sparkles, don't trust everyone but work together (but just not with that guy), danger's everywhere....

Sounds like my life as an adult. Except the magic part. I was fooled!

Photo from "Fairytale Paper Frame" by AKARAKINGDOMS

Monday, March 17, 2014

Adults are Overstimulated, They Don't Have ADD (well not at these numbers)

A recent report indicated that more adults aged 26-34 were getting prescriptions for Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) medications than previously - the numbers are up 85% since 2008.

Uh oh, she's going to get serious for a little bit today.

As a psychologist, as a former mental health counselor, I have some opinions about why this is. And my opinions are probably not going to be popular ones.

ADD is a diagnosable mental disorder which is caused by frontal lobe dysfunction - the frontal lobe is the part of the brain that helps us to think ahead, make good decisions, plan, and all those other important (and adult) functions. When the frontal lobe can't focus, it can't function well. Period. We make poor decisions. We act irrationally. We sometimes feel irrational, emotionally. We yell, we get upset easily, and obviously, it's hard to focus on what we're doing right now.

If we look at the brain, if we look at our environment, we see that there are other possible causes for this inability to pay attention and sustain positive emotion. 

- Lack of sleep.

- Feeling overwhelmed by our environment (feeling like there's "too much to do").

- Poor nutrition.

- Not drinking enough water.

- Poor planning (saying yes to way too many projects/things).

- A chaotic environment - a a cluttered home, too much auditory stimuli, too much visual stimuli (which can relate back to the cluttered home).

Am I saying that ADD in adults doesn't exist? Hell no. I've seen it. I've met adults who have difficulty with attention and some who even have the hyperactivity component (ADD with hyperactivity is what it's called now). And these folks are assisted by taking ADD medications whether they be the stimulant or the non-stimulant types.

But if you look at the data, there's some interesting things. Adult women are now taking meds for this more than men, which is an historical change. Most ADD is diagnosed in boys, not girls. But we're seeing adult women being diagnosed/medicated.

Look back at that list I just posted of other possible causes of attentional difficulties. Not to be stereotypical, but women are generally more affected by these things than men are. They're more likely to take on too much at home, at work, in life. They're more likely to experience anxiety related to feeling overwhelmed than men are. They're more likely to be doing the bulk of the at home child care (even though with historical changes they're also working outside the home more than they were previously).

Americans have become overstimulated. Blame it on what you will - cell phones, Internet, constant contact via social media, whatever. But our brains are buzzing and continue to buzz. Whenever your cell phone goes off with a new alert, your brain gets a stress signal. Add up all those things in the list I wrote, and it's like stress signal...stress signal...stress signal...STRESS SIGNAL. And the brain can't function well, it' can't focus, with all these interruptions. All these stress signals. So your attention goes out the window.

You don't need a pill for that. That's just another outside stressor being put on your brain. You need to calm the fuck down. You need to cut out some of the shit in your life. You need to simplify. You need to disconnect. Learn to meditate. Exercise. Take some time for you that doesn't involve stress signals.

I told you I'm not going to be popular for my opinion.

Photo from "I Can Not Answer This Question" by luigi diamanti

Monday, March 10, 2014

Learning to Walk in Heels

I spent most of my life as a jeans and sneakers gal. Most of the time I'm still spending my days in nice jeans and some Merrells. It helps that my job doesn't require me to dress "up" every day.
Every few years though I get a bug up my butt to dress up, to look girly, and to infuse my wardrobe with color. I buy a pair of heels, stock up on makeup, and usually buy a fun purse or two. My husband rolls his eyes as I hobble around the house and Google makeup ideas. 

"Look at my new white eyeliner!" I tell him.

Uh huh.

"Did you see my new heels?"

I heard them on the tile.

Last week began another round of primping. I bought two pairs of heels, new jeans (that fit, like they're not baggy), and bought some new eye makeup. Ready to go, let's look like a stereotype! Yes!
I spend most Fridays in meetings rather than teaching, so I chose Friday to try out my heels. After my first meeting my friend Mary looked at me quizzically.

"Did you hurt yourself?"


"You're limping. Did you hurt your ankle?"

I pouted. No, I'm wearing heels.

"Why? Are you doing something fancy today?"

No. I just wanted to.

Apparently I wasn't doing so hot walking in heels. Monday morning I put them on again, determined. I wondered if I was "missing something." What do I do when I want to learn something? Google that shit. So I Googled "how to walk in heels." It came up on the suggested list so apparently I'm not the only one asking.

I found a video which I figured would be most helpful. A fake blond chick with bubblegum pink lipstick showed us some heel porn and I'm thinking, "Who wears this shit?" (and "Are her boobs real?"). She then suggested to start learning on wedge heels (which I had bought, go me) before you move on to like stiletto heels or sky scrapers. She told us "girls" to walk heel to toe rather than toe to heel or midstrike. I had my ah-ha moment. I'm a midstriker and I know that because I'm a runner. So I practiced walking heel to toe for about five minutes. I practiced walking in a straight line (one foot directly in front of the other) which apparently helps you develop your swagger (I have a swagger? I thought I hobbled). 

So then...I swaggered all day at work. And realized doing it the bubblegum blond way is way more comfortable that my previous "strategy." It's definitely a thought and movement change that I have to think about. It's not automatic for me. Yet. But maybe with more practice I'll be swaggering without a worry. And that's important learning right there.

Photo "Stiletto Shoe" by Boaz Yiftach courtesy of 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Why I started a new blog (and why you should care)

I’ve been blogging for almost 4 years now. I write with two other moms about parenting and related issues. We run and promote contests. It’s a good place with good people.

But there are many days where I think of things I’d love to write about, I’d love to post about, that just…don’t fit there. I feel as if it’s become this kind of “vanilla happy frappy place” and while that’s fine, and that’s great, it’s not me all the time. I have other stuff to say.

If you read my other blog you’d think I was a boring person and obviously, I mean, come on, I’m not. Duh. But it’s tame and pleasant over there. We have sponsors. We review products.

Nobody’s cussing.
I post sarcasm and people get cranky about it.
I roll my eyes a lot.

I’ve threatened to do this for a year or so.  
OK, I’ve thought about it and told some blogging friends that I wanted to start an “underground” new blog
So I started fresh. It’s not as if I’m killing off the other blog, not by any means. There’s parts of me that really enjoy that work. But there’s a part of me that wants to write, that wants to enjoy it again, and not worry about whether or not I posted something controversial that sponsors may not like. So you won’t see ads here. You’ll see me (but not like that, come on, I don’t post naked selfies).

I’ve also started Facebook and Twitter feeds for this blog mostly because I come up with some funny shit throughout the day that doesn’t quite make it to full post status. I’ll post blogs once per week (unless I get super motivated – don’t expect that often) and then the real daily little (“micro-blogging”) stuff will be over on FB and Twitter. So come join the party. I don’t Google+. Yet. I haven’t figured that out. Sometimes I think I’m too old to learn something new.

I’m 37.