ignorance is not bliss.

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Disclaimer:: I guess what I had to do to start writing this “blog I’ve been working on,” in a coherent, eloquent way, was to get angry. Apologies ahead of time if you read this and find it offensive; you may want to skip it all together if you voted Trump or don’t believe women to be equal to men.

 

I just saw this post on social media and I nearly vomited in my mouth:: 16123159_238817179895045_253878076667068416_n

To say I’m appalled would be a lie…I’m mortified to know that some people think this way. People are individual of other people. A woman’s anatomy differs from a man’s, and I truly believe that to be our only difference. I don’t think our skin color, religious affiliation, sex or etc defines who we are. We do.

SO. MANY. WOMEN. and men and children showed up to march in unity on Saturday, January 21st, and I was not among them. I have been in a world of my own, pretending that my rights as a woman will stay intact for the next four years. That I wont’ have to worry what kind of world my kids grow up in. That’s not reality. I felt more than shame about it this morning, while reading through articles and skimming the news. I was consumed with the thought that I’d missed my opportunity to take part in a movement that is so pressing, so important to who I am as a person. I feel like I have no right speaking about an event I didn’t participate in, but I am a woman and my heart was certainly there.

I am upset, enraged, and genuinely hurt because I, like many others, feel zero support from our leaders and legislation. I am here to get some of this off my chest, so if you’re not interested, here’s your second opportunity to click the X at the top of your screen. I implore you to stay, comment, share and so forth because that’s how change happens.

I shared this awesome, heartfelt blog on Facebook after nearly reaching tears at its words. Reading the lines made me so proud to be part of this world, even with all of the ugly in it. Then the comments starting pouring in and it became clear to me by 2pm that I couldn’t keep quiet any longer. If you’ve followed this blog from the beginning, you know I have things to say on just about anything.

I’ve been drafting a eulogy of sorts since I found out Trump was running for POTUS; originally intended to be satirical, entertaining, and semi light-hearted because I never, not in one million years, thought that man would win.I re-read my notes now and feel an overwhelming sense of grave correctness.

I remember thinking to myself, when reality TV became a big deal, that these people have incredible, fake power because of their platform. I was young and dumb and didn’t realize that the scripted, dramatized, “realistic,” platform he was standing on then — being overly tanned and screaming “YOU’RE FIRED”– would eventually win him the US Presidency. Now all we hear is, “that’s fake news,” or my favorite, “we have alternate facts.” I just watched Anderson Cooper debate with Trump’s senior adviser Kellyanne Conway about some damn BuzzFeed article. ARE. YOU. KIDDING?

Cooper vs. Conway

I am blinded by how openly misogynistic he is, even more so by his flippant attitude towards every person who seems to differ from him. I’m not sure why, but he’s made it a point to hand select the worst cabinet of inexperienced billionaires in the world. <— that statement is more directly about the Secretary of Education that anyone else, really. I can’t get started on my gripes with the Department of Education, I’ll give myself two migraines.

a little info on Betsy. <–incase you were curious.

I suppose I should get to my point.

To me, the things happening in Washington D.C. are truly horrifying; like we’re taking a play right from the House of Cards script or some obscene Hollywood farce. Isn’t a President supposed to listen to his people? Trump is operating in direct defiance of, “Make America Great Again,” his own slogan. Women’s rights are being threatened. The LGBT community is being berated. The education system is in jeopardy. Health care is questionable. Though I am not as thoroughly researched as some of you reading this may be, I can say that the above issues are enough for me to feel fed up with living in a country that promises the best and gives nearly nothing. I know we should write, call, knock on doors, sign petitions, write petitions…get moving. But what happens when there’s no follow through? What happens when we’re shouting just as loud and as fast as we can, only to be silenced with no promise of an answer?

I understand that as an American woman, I have a considerable amount of liberty in comparison to women in other countries. However, the seeming impending decline of women’s’ rights we are facing is menacing at the very least. We are supposed to be the leading example, not the epic failure. The bra-burners of the 60’s didn’t fight with grit in their teeth for nothing. Right?

In a social media sparring round, over the aforementioned blog, the leading commentator began with, “My generation fought the womens’ rights battle and we won.” Grammatical error aside,  I thought, “Awesome, okay. Here is a woman with experience and insight and is no doubt going to show more support for a movement that needs nothing but.” Wrong.

Though she did make some valid points (I’m paraphrasing) :: We should be doing instead of complaining. We should be speaking up instead of staying silent. We should be writing, singing, screaming, and so on…I wish we all had the power to be heard. However, as it stands now, at the end of the day, there’s a cabinet full of men ready to take what former trailblazers worked for. Bras burned for nothing. Innocents beaten for no reason. Uncontrolled emotional chaos. I seriously can’t believe I’m writing about any of this…it seems like the twilight-zone. I think about the First and Second Wave Feminists and I shudder; their thoughts could probably blow DC to smithereens. I am happy to live in what is referred to as Third Wave Feminism, though I have no shred of doubt this particular time in history will have a completely different label by the time its all over. Trump’s threats and attitude towards women’s rights (among a long list of other things) absolutely goes beyond the technicality of law…this movement is dealing with emotion, morality and dare I say it…humanity. There seems to be many humans out there with nothing left but a jaded bitterness on the tongue. Hate is not a remedy for peace. Bigotry is not a remedy for understanding. Ignorance is not bliss.

During the lite inquisition I’ve endured for the last few hours (procrastination at it’s finest) the question was posed: well, what’s your solution? She followed her question up with a motherly “complaining without action is just whining,” to which I rolled my eyes at. If I wanted to complain, I certainly wouldn’t take to Facebook. I would just bore my blog audience with an alphabetized list and move the hell on.

Here’s how I answered::

I have no fcking idea what we should do. I think we should have left Trump at his desk in the middle of Manhattan and let someone else do the job. Am I responsible for the solution? Sure, we all are. That’s why the march happened. That’s why the movement will continue. That’s why the term “feminism” is exploding all over again. That’s why I’m engaging in this obnoxious FB debate with you. I am doing what I can with what I have, yet you say it’s not a solution. Voicing my opinion sounds like a solution to me.

Y’all I will take this honest, sincere moment to display the weakness I absolutely feel in this situation. I feel so helpless and quiet and just generally unheard in a group at any given time, but especially in our here and now. If I deliver any message at all during this less than eloquent rant, it’s this: These are not just “women’s rights” issues, these are human issues. We will continue to face these jarring, momumental moments unless we keep standing together to find a solution. It’s our time. HAVE A VOICE. Keep marching. Keep singing. Keep writing. It is the duty of our nation’s leaders and legislation to hear us, to actualize our needs and feelings, and to take action. We MUST keep holding them accountable. The people we elect in to these offices have to share our values, desires and will to move forward, or nothing changes.

In order to hold these people up, we have to let our demands be known, in addition to providing reasonable, positive solutions. I’ve made a list of my personal wants, with personal ideas on how these problems can be solved. I have listed my main three grievances because I’m sure you’d like to get to the end of this post.

Issue #1: Reproductive rights need improvement, not dissolution.

Solution: Do not shut down funding for Planned Parenthood. So much more than abortion happens there, the doors must stay open. The threat of “punishment” for anyone seeking an abortion is positively antiquated, so eliminate that term all together. Maybe add more real life women in on these discussions, to help with creating the laws.  We live in a world where women are drugged, beaten, raped, and left for dead. Some of you are rolling your eyes, thinking, “nothing has changed, it’s always been that way. I was raped, beaten, drugged, etc” and that is the attitude of complacency I am advocating against. We have the power to change, to be better, to provide our people with more. It shouldn’t be a debate, it should be fact.

Issue #2: Equal pay for women and men should be the standard, not an exception.

Solution: Equal playing field from jump street. Standard qualifications for men and women alike, be that degree or what have you; those requirements need to be the same across the board and communicated to future and present employees. None of this “if your performance is up to snuff” or whatever…equal for the dude who is always five minutes late and the girl who is always early.

Issue #3: Affordable health care should be within reach for every income level in our country.

Solution: This is easy, a no-brainer honestly. Standard health care for each and every person regardless of class or color or whatever stupid stipulation that is in place now. Limit the hoop jumping and circus that is healthcare and help out the doctors and nurses and insurance companies — I feel like this may make me sound unintelligent, but if the healthcare is affordable, and people can afford to have insurance, doesn’t that mean the insurance companies do well too? Call me crazy, but I think that works.

 

I could go on, but these are the main headaches that touch my life and many of the women, men, and children I love. I’m really sick of us just standing around with our thumbs up our asses. Missing the march was enough to make me realize, missing the mark is no longer a standard I’m willing to accept from my country. You shouldn’t either.

If this entire post is blind-siding you, here’s a concise run down on Trump’s plans for Women’s Rights check out what Time had to offer.(if you can call them plans) It is very, very non-committal and doesn’t quite do gravity of the situation justice, though it is factual.

 

socially speaking

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WARNING: This blog has been doused in bold pretension. It is not for the faint of heart or those that easily find their panties in a wad. Thank you and please proceed with caution.

You know, I love to write. I love to express my thoughts and feelings creatively and usually, I feel like I do a good job adequately expressing how I feel. Let’s see if I can keep it up.

Social media is a funsucker, it sucks the joy out of everything because regardless of what opinion you’re expressing, someone is going to pick it apart with their teeth and thoroughly enjoy the taste, and they’re going to do it big and bold enough for everyone to see. Social media is negative if you use it that way.

I’m aware that by posting anything, anywhere on the web, you’re setting yourself up and asking for criticism, and I generally and genuinely appreciate that. It helps me grow as a writer and as a person and I find it intellectually stimulating.

I have stated to my friends countless times that I hate Facebook because: 1) it’s turned in to Babybook and while my friends’ kids are adorable, there are other things I’d like to see and 2) there are just endless amounts of bullshit drama that float around that I could care less to be accidentally clued-in on. I keep it only to stay in touch with people I don’t live nearby or don’t chat with frequently via text or phone. I could say that I only use it to shop for men, but most of you would take me seriously. <— Sarcasm.

It’s an ideal way to communicate, but we all do a shitty job of it most of the time.

It is quite possibly the worst place to express your opinion because no matter what you write, you’re wrong. I’ve only recently started expressing bolder opinions on my blog (and in my life because I don’t enjoy stepping on toes,) and the way light-hearted opinions are received are all but comical. Does anyone besides me and my super-hot, football-loving boyfriend (whom I found on Facebook – ZING!) read or watch comedy anymore? Or are we all just wired to immediately negate everything we come in to contact with? The world we freaking live in, the intentionally misconstrued.

A friend of mine almost line-by-line picked one of my blogs apart and right on my wall because she wanted to what? Make a point? I’m glad she has her own opinion and I’m happy she’s comfortable enough to write it down and express it, but for heaven’s sake, there are more tactful ways of going about it. I feel the same way about when I post lyrics to a song as my status and my mom/aunts/etc. immediately comment below with “what’s wrong w u?” First of all, that’s not a complete sentence, so I’m not responding to that. Secondly………they’re song lyrics. No, Neil and I didn’t break up. No, I’m not naked in the rain getting a tattoo on a train. I’m so serious, people read in to everything.

I just really can’t fathom why on earth someone would just outright launch an attack on what I can only consider to be “personal space.” Sure, the refute could be made, “well if you don’t want a comment made then don’t say anything,” and that’s a true statement. To that I say, there is such a thing as silent respect for another’s opinion and  there is such a thing as tact…but I am fully aware that a large number of people do not possess that quality. Blatant disrespect and ugliness doesn’t compute to me, though I know some people on the web defy what you say just to inspire a rise out of you. I can’t stand petty shit like that. I am horrified with thoughts of what the “dislike” button on Facebook will do. That’s alooooooot of negativity floating around and I’m super uninterested in that.

I would never dream of belittling anyone outright on social media, unless it was Lindsey Lohan or if the issue turned personal. In that situation, I would certainly choose to private message or email the person before blasting them publicly. I never ask for anyone’s opinion on my opinion unless I know 100% that the conversation will be positive, constructive and healthy, regardless of debate. DEBATE, not argument; that I don’t support or tolerate on social media – or in life – whatsoever, I think it’s silly. There’s no reason why things can’t be simply discussed without overdosing on negative energy.

I really hate making any sort of expression on social media now, though I’ll continue to use it because a writer needs her platform and if my platform is pissing people off on social media, well guess what–oh my, oh my….she’s found her niche! <— Sarcasm

It’s really a shame….whether it is a brief comment on the way you feel towards something, a relationship change, new “life event” or what have you, is so criticized under a seemingly ever-watchful eye, that it makes expressing yourself not worth the trouble. It’s amusing and flattering to an extent that people will expend such energy on nit-picking and commenting on the inner workings of your life, though they have absolutely no business doing so. Clearly, not much is happening in their lives if they’ve got enough time and focus to write negative things. (Though everyone is entitled to do so if they wish.)

Unfortunately, social media is a necessity. We communicate with it, advertise and socialize with it. It’s used for screening job applicants and it is used to stalk your exes with zeal. There isn’t much we can throw out in to the universe now without some sort of negativity or rebuttal or ruthless, public judgement and that’s incredibly frustrating.

I honestly prefer Instagram to any of the rest of it because, for whatever reason, people seem less cruel. This really amuses me because Instagram is nothing but pictures with hashtags and brief captions. The ability to belittle, deconstruct and destroy is abundant, yet there is hardly any backlash (from person-to-person, that I’ve seen and experienced, I’m sure the negativity is out there.) I like the idea of documenting the things that happen during my day without having to read 65846798675 comments of why that selfie was lame or how I could have taken the picture better or “Oh my gosh, it’s so filtered. No one looks like that.” Seriously, the general public’s attitude just sucks and everyone can agree to that to some degree. Though I know most of you reading this will disagree just for funzies.

This reflection makes it obvious I’m finding continued amusement in the happenings of the week, because those who actually know me can read a line or two of what I write and immediately determine whether or not I’m being serious. I know that the tone of what you’re reading can really determine your feelings on the subject, and as a writer I fight the constant battle of my intention and expression getting lost in translation. I know that posting anything of opinion runs the risk of being offensive, but as any sort of decent writer, that’s a risk I’m willing to take. I can’t help if my audience automatically wants to pick apart my piece just because they’re trying to prove a point. I mean really, if I wanted to read your ramblings I would just ask you how I felt on the subject. No I wouldn’t. <— Sarcasm

In additional defense – the last I’ll say – of my “football” post, the first one that really pissed in everyone’s coffee, I think it’s hilarious that it wasn’t taken as a comical piece but rather viewed as pretentious; I really find this rather droll. If you know me at all, I am the first one to ask what needs to be brought to the next tailgating party or what we’re doing for the game, true for almost any social event that I attend and I enjoy it. Feeding people is almost as enjoyable as writing…and pissing people off. <— Sarcasm

If you must know, my closet is littered with LSU caps, tees, tanks – and yes, even a dress or two – as well as a light peppering of Saints attire, sans monograms, I know what my initials are and don’t need to be reminded. <— Zing.  I don’t hate gathering for a game, I think it’s fun. I don’t think artists or actors or musicians are any better than athletes because at the end of it, they’re all just human too.

I still stand by the fact – and will rephrase my statement since the sentiment was received poorly – that no one should be paid excessively, no one should receive that much glorification, regardless of profession. Not artists, actors, musicians or athletes. I feel like the only thing that really merits such compensation is medical/environmental research because that is truly beneficial to society, regardless of whether or not you’re directly affected by the research and its outcome. To the other end of the spectrum, – and Oh gaaaad what am I doing by saying it- I think it’s wild for churches to spend millions of dollars on a building (I can say this; my former church home is spending gobs of money on renovation right now.) That money could be spent on missions, building homes and churches in other countries. I understand the notion of community outreach, but when your current building has already purchased homes only to tear them down to create more parking for your giant building, how much good are you doing? I could talk about the blasphemy that is the Susan G. Komen foundation and how excessive Nancy Brinker is, but I feel like I’d be beating a dead horse. Am I going to have to apologize for everything that seems disagreeable and offensive, so no one’s feelings get hurt? <— Zing.

I really loathe how social media spins things, though I had a lightbulb moment with it this week. I think I finally figured out how to use it. Audiences are easy to draw; you just have to push the right buttons. I wish I would have thought ahead enough to claim this as an experiment, would have been a smart move on my part.

Kudos to all of you who have read and commented, on anything thus far; I really appreciate it. I don’t think anyone quite understands how much I love this. I live for observation of the human experience and my desire to reflect and write about it; I don’t think anything has stirred me quite so much in my nearly twenty-eight years of existence. I love experiencing things, writing down my observations and gauging the reactions. I’m sure I lost a few people this week because I didn’t write a fluffy something about how in love I am. I’m sure someone read what I wrote and re-evaluated me as a person over my emotionalism about football, obviously a solid trait to judge. <— Zing!  I’m sure someone incorrectly picked up my tone and thinks I’m the most pretentious person they’ve ever met, when they don’t even know me; that’s what social media does, skews perception. It’s the age we live in and we have to live with the judgement that comes along with utilizing such a fickle tool.

Damn it, this should have been an open letter. This is what I get for writing without the correct amount of caffeine.

Here’s this lovely song. Don’t judge my musical tastes too hard.

faux football fans: tolerable indifference

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“Oh Tiff, you should have known better with this one.”

The phrase that reminded me I knew exactly what I was doing when I posted it, though I never dreamed I’d get the response that I did.
 

If you didn’t read my last post, I wrote a light-hearted (and what I thought to be funny) 800 or so words on my distaste for football, a fact that if you know me, is phony to an extent because I love to tailgate, cook for the event and drink with the best of ’em whether we’re celebrating victory or drowning our sorrows after defeat.

 
I made the statement – to paraphrase myself – that it’s a shame that I spend time pouring my heart out over love, life, death and divorce and no one ever has anything to say about those things. Yes, those are personal and seem less opinionated, but they hold the same amount of theory and speculation as my brief rant about the sport.
 

While I don’t see the point in spending 4 + hour in front of the TV, I get it. It’s fun to gather friends and grill and cheer on your favorite team; that, I totally agree with. I’ve been to several sporting events in my life and I enjoy it to an extent…I like going anywhere to people watch and observe life. I get really excited about baseball and I love watching dudes beat the hell out of each other during a hockey game. Like I said, it’s not all sports, it’s just football and I still participate in the festivities because I’m southern AF and that’s just what we do. I suppose maybe I shouldn’t say distaste and instead use “tolerable indifference,” as that seems more accurate and apparently, more pleasing to the football fans in my life. (My stepfather wasn’t too pleased with my last post, if you must know.)
 

I suppose I should explain that my lack of passion for football, SPECIFICALLY FOOTBALL, not all sports, stems from several things.

 
First, my ex-husband would have every TV in our house on different games every weekend of our entire relationship and barely looked away from either the screen on the TV or the screen on his phone for months at a time. I watched every game. I bought tickets and tee-shirts and gear and booze and tried to enjoy the experience since he loved it so much. I studied statistics and joined fantasy leagues (and won a time or two) and really tried to find common ground there. It took me four football seasons to realize that athletics will only take you so far in a marriage; a lack of similar interests in general will douse a flame. I don’t care what anyone says, there has to be one (if not some) thing you share with your significant other, but that is an entirely separate tangent all together. So, you’ll have to excuse me for being burnt out on being ignored (again, a separate, football-free tangent that I will never write about. Or maybe…) I basically lost my husband to grown men in spandex and helmets and that just really does something to a woman’s desire for more of the same.
 

Secondly, what I  really can’t stand, what is at the top of this list, what clouds my ability to appreciate a game that so many people love: the pedestal that athletes are placed on. I cannot condone the glorification of athletes. 

 
I am amazed at the agility football and hockey players have; I know I couldn’t do it. I know I couldn’t perform on that level under that kind of pressure. I mean, MILLIONS OF DOLLARS have been spent. Countless hours of practice and training have been dedicated to one purpose: to win. It really is something to marvel at, honestly. When I watch football, I compare it to watching ballerinas twirl around on stage; graceful, agile and focused. But to pay these athletes thousands of dollars….to play a game? Come on. I feel like this towards any sport. That money could be spent to fund research for Alzheimer’s or to restore a village somewhere or to create homes for children who don’t have one. I think about how much money is standing on the field collectively and what all could be done with that money and I guess it makes me sick.

 
I feel like I should cover my ass by saying that I am aware that these athletes donate their time and money to charities of their choosing, I know that they do all kinds of special things throughout the year to boost awareness for one organization or the other, but it still doesn’t change the fact that their incentive to play a game is to get that fat check at the end of it all. I know the same could be said for actors and musicians, and that’s a soap box I’m not even willing to touch, because dare I say it, they behave badly too. (They’re human! Gasp!) I just don’t see how throwing or kicking a ball should constitute living above anyone else. There are scientists that work ’round the clock, trying to find a cancer cure that don’t make that much money. Isn’t that sad?
 

Passion is passion, regardless. BUT! You don’t see artists, true artists, making money hand over fist and they pour their souls in to their work. I’m not saying that footballers don’t play with passion, but how much fervor can you possibly play with when you know you’re making bank regardless of the outcome? What else drives you to play? There just aren’t too many moments, especially in pro-ball, that I see that proud joie de vivre come across many of the players faces.
 

And yes, I know that money doesn’t last forever and I know most won’t play the game for the entirety of their lives, but the money they are paid to play a game is more money than most of us will see in our lifetime. I mean, even the guys on the sidelines, the b-string or whatever make over $300,000 and probably rarely see a game. Their talent – and that’s what it is, talent – is being laid to waste riding pine and I feel for them. I feel for them until pay-day and then I want to slap them in to football Sunday.

 

I have to say that I’m happy for this random outburst, this writing experience over something as silly as a sport. I didn’t imagine when I was plotting out my brief opinion in the pedicure chair that anyone would have anything to say about what I wrote; no one does unless it’s in a private message or something. I actually like writing opinion pieces and will probably throw them out here more often if the responses will come as easily. You see, as a writer, it is never my intention to attack. I just observe and comment as I am inspired. It’s nothing personal – unless it is – and it’s never meant to offend or hurt.

 
It amused me yesterday that a majority of the comments summarized the general feeling of “you can’t say that. that’s an incorrect feeling, your opinion is wrong. People are allowed to like other things and be different than you.” I just wanted to applaud everyone and say, “YES! You’re right. Isn’t that what I just did? Expressed my own opinion without asking for yours?”
 
This blog is open and welcome to public view and opinion. I have been blessed with a certain amount of southern grace and I am happy to receive any review of what I write, positive or not. However, I have zero respect for anyone that reads an opinion piece and gets offended and expresses it without the same amount of respect. At that point, your counter argument is that my opinion is different from your opinion and that you didn’t like it and well….the vicious cycle begins and never ends.
 

On the matter of football, lets agree to disagree.
 
 
Geaux Saints.