These Are The Days

Smart ~ Writer ~ Mom

Month: May 2014 (page 1 of 2)

Freedom

I’ve been thinking a lot about freedom during this Memorial Day weekend. Freedom that was hard-fought by men and women, many of whom gave their very lives defending it. And while we should always be thankful for their service, I’m glad we have a day set aside specifically to remember these selfless Americans.

But in the wake of this day of remembrance, I can’t help but think of the stabbings and murders that took place this weekend at the college my son once attended. Six people – four men and two women – were killed. And others were injured. Some were stabbed and some were shot. Why? For some sort of twisted “retribution” this deranged murderer felt for women who had rejected him sexually.

Now before you think I’m going to go on some rant about the freedom to carry guns or the need for stricter gun control, think again. I’m not even going there. Guns are a huge problem in this country, but I don’t believe that is the heart of the issue here.

(Side note: I do believe people have a right to own guns. But I think along with that right comes an extremely high level of responsibility. I think it’s tragic that there is absolutely no consensus among Americans as to how guns should be regulated and made accessible. This simultaneously saddens and frightens me. I hate guns. Always have. Police should be armed; our military should be armed; and I respect the rights of hunters to carry firearms. I also completely understand the desire to own a gun to protect your home and your family. But there is still a lot of work to be done regarding the whole process of how guns are sold, registered, handled, stored and used. Guns end up in the wrong hands far too often. And the consequences are, more often than not, deadly.)

OK fine, so I went there.

My finer point is that while we enjoy many freedoms in this country, there is still an inherent fear among many women to freely speak their mind. Or to freely live their lives. Or to freely make a decision about whether or not they’ll have sex with someone. The women this murderer targeted were penalized for exercising their freedom to choose with whom they will engage, date or have sex. He was rejected. And as such, he killed them. And he killed men as well during this stabbing and shooting spree.

I read the murderer’s 140-page (poorly written) manifesto. I refuse to link to it, but you can Google it. To say it was disturbing would be the understatement of the century. In one of his many rants on YouTube, the UCSB killer made it clear that his anger stemmed from “girls” rejecting him and “giving it up” to other men. He was angry. He had been rejected. And his choice in how to handle this rejection was to “seek revenge.”

He talks about how unattractive he felt.

He describes in eerie detail the hatred and loathing he felt for these women.

You can see the patterns repeat over his pages “I felt unattractive.” “I had a temper tantrum when I didn’t get my way.” “I will get my revenge.” By all accounts, he was a spoiled brat with a distorted view of the world.

As I read his chilling words, it appears the vitriol spewed from his mind with great ease.

Are there mental health issues that should be part of this investigation? Of course.

Is it fair to question by what means he obtained his weapons? Yes.

But I’d also love to see a larger discussion focused on how and what we are teaching our young people. How does sexual rejection affect a young man so profoundly that his only solution is to write pages and pages of a manifesto, record hours of video expressing his anger and outlining his plans to kill, and then act on those murderous impulses by taking innocent lives?

And why are we not more outraged at how dismissive he is toward these women? An online friend of mine said it better than I could in her post “Girls Aren’t Sluts.” She’s absolutely right when she says that it’s much easier to commit horrible crimes like murder when we dehumanize the victims by calling them “sluts.” Somehow it make it more OK to the twisted mind if people aren’t seen as people, but rather as “less than.”

I don’t know why these young women rejected this guy. But what I do know is that IT DOESN’T MATTER WHY THEY REJECTED HIM. No means no. They expressed their rights over their own bodies, their own lives and their own relationships. And it cost them their lives.

I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else on Earth. I sincerely believe that America is the greatest country. I honor those who fought for our freedoms and I respect those who are serving today. Which is why it angers the hell out of me that we still aren’t there yet when it comes to freedom and justice for ALL, are we?

Playing the Mexican Card (sort of)

So my 10 year old tells me that the boys in her class dared all of the girls in the class to eat one of these super-hot, super-spicy tortilla chips:

doritos-dinamita-fiery-habanero

All the girls tried the chips. And most choked or gagged saying they were too hot.

My daughter takes pride in telling me that she said, “Oh yeah, well I’m Mexican so watch this.”

And then she downed three chips without blinking an eye.

While she’s not quite ready for the hottest of the chili peppers (which she watches her grandmother easily devour), I think my husband’s side of the family would be proud.

15 Years

My husband knows me better than I know him.

This is just a fact in our marriage. And while I’m working very hard to change this, it’s still a reality. It’s not as though I don’t pay attention (I do!) It’s not as though I don’t care (I do!) It’s just that he’s really intuitive. He knows what bugs me, what scares me, what makes me cry and what warms my heart. He can read my mind (scary) and he knows me better than anyone else on Earth. He always has.

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Central Park – on the day it didn’t rain 🙂

We celebrated our 15th anniversary last week in New York City while my folks watched our girls. We did all the things we both love to do: sleep in, go for long walks, catch a movie, take in Central Park, shop and eat.

We got caught in the rain on the actual day of our anniversary as we were walking back to the hotel from a bowling date at Chelsea Piers. It was a hard and steady rain. It soaked us to the bone and rendered our golf umbrella virtually useless. What could we do other than laugh about it? At one point, my husband stopped to take off his socks and sneakers, after realizing they’d never dry completely overnight. He walked the rest of the way barefoot, splashing through the puddles. Nothing worse than walking the city in squishy, wet shoes, right?

It was a wonderful weekend. He held the umbrella over me. He held doors open for me. We talked about real things at dinner. How our relationship has changed and matured. How we’ve overcome some really rough times. The fun memories we’ve made.

At one point he asked me what my favorite memory was from our 15+ years together. How could I choose just one??? I mentioned some of my favorites – living in Chicago, the birth of our daughters, going on a cruise – until I realized I was listing about 50 different things. And of course by that point I was rambling.

He, on the other hand, had no trouble coming up with a favorite moment. Without hesitation he said, “Riding a motorcycle all over Hawaii with you on the back.” 100_1551

It was five years ago on our trip to Hawaii for our 10th anniversary. It was fabulous. We were carefree as we drove to Diamond Head and hiked that grand volcano. We stopped to soothe a burn I got from the motorcycle after climbing up on the wrong side of the bike (which was ugly, but didn’t stop me from hiking another mountain that same day). And I held on tightly as we hugged sharp curves and navigated through winding, two-lane roads that cut through the mountainous terrain that defines the middle part of the island. It was a great vacation and certainly one of our best times together.

Now, five years later here we are in New York City. A little older. A little more sleep-deprived since having our three-year old.

But there’s something else. I feel like I’ve finally gotten my shit together about this whole marriage thing. I confessed to my husband (who – as it turns out – was fully aware of this all along) that I didn’t fully understand what marriage was all about when I walked down that aisle 15 years ago. I thought it was some “gotcha” moment that girls dream of when they finally get the guy of their dreams. The hard part’s over, right? Smooth sailing from here on out, right? Wrong. I didn’t realize that, in fact, marriage is work. It sounds cliché to say right now, but it’s true. And it took me a long time to really get this.

I’ve learned that marriage is a choice I make (and my husband makes) every day. Some days are easy and some days are hard. There is frustration, anger, resentment, temptation, loneliness, boredom and a whole mess of other reasons why the grass always looks greener. But if you’re lucky enough, and determined enough, and if both of you are on the same page, it can work.

I don’t profess to know everything about marriage. Mine is certainly far from perfect. But what I’m sure of is that the work that’s required in a marriage is worth the effort.

Now on to the next 15 years. Where my only goal is to get to know my husband better than he knows me.

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We suck at taking selfies.

 

My three year old is an excellent skipper.

She’s got it down.

She lifts her knee high in the air so she can get some good height.

And she’s got all the cuteness going on.

How Has Blogging Changed Since I Started?

I’m so excited to be going to the BlogHer14 conference this year. It’s been a dream of mine for a long time. My family is coming, too. We’re making it a family vacation visiting friends in the LA area and spending time with my son and his family at one of the most beautiful places on Earth, Yosemite Park. I cannot wait.

This year is BlogHer’s 10th anniversary and one of the questions they’ve asked us to ponder is how has blogging changed since I started blogging.

Well.

I started three years ago and wasn’t quite sure what my goal was. I just knew I wanted to write in my own space in my own voice. Without an agenda or an editorial calendar or a deadline. I used to joke that I “think in blog posts” because I would go through my days and thoughts would linger on my mind, and I just felt some strong pull inside telling me to write.

And so I did.

Blogging itself hasn’t changed very much in the last three years; however, blogging has changed ME.

I’ve met and interviewed the most wonderful people by participating in the OPEN ADOPTION BLOGGERS group.

I’ve been able to share my story on a small but national stage by participating in a documentary about motherhood.

And I’ve met so many incredible people – authors, leaders, teachers, moms, birthmoms, adoptive moms and more – whose blogs I’ve read and learned from.

The most amazing part of all of this is that I’ve not met any of the above-mentioned people in real life; they’re all online friends. And while I hope to meet many of them in person at BlogHer, I know that this wonderful community exists to share, support, uplift and guide me on this crazy journey.

And for that, I’m extremely grateful.

Here’s my first post from August 2011 🙂

 

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