The other day, my daughter wrote me this note.
November 2012 archive
“You’ve been getting really political lately” – My husband, in regards to my activity on Facebook, Twitter and yes, this blog.
I have known times like this.
I was talking to a close friend the other day about depression, something her husband had gone through recently after some stressful stuff in their lives piled up too, too quickly to control.
“It’s hard for me. I don’t handle things that way. I’m not wired that way,” she said, explaining that she wants to support him but finds it challenging, not understanding why he is handling their pressures so differently than her.
I understood completely. Before I was impacted by it, depression was just something Tom Cruise and Brooke Shields fought about (with a little intervention from Matt Lauer – boo-ya!). Depression was commercials that I forwarded on my DVR, sometimes catching the tail end of the ever reassuring “side effects include death, hysteria, inexplicable flatulence. In rare cases, liver, lung and rectal cancer have been reported.”
I never really thought I was “wired” for depression either. I went through some raw and painful stuff in my childhood and throughout my twenties and almost made it through my early thirties unscathed.
But when it hit me for the first time in my life, after the birth of my first child, it took me a long time to find a way to climb out of it.
Some days I struggle with the climb.
Because I never thought I was predisposed to depression, I never understood what I was experiencing. The anxiety. The restlessness. The debilitating pains that started mysteriously shooting through my body, hurting my back. The overwhelming exhaustion – more exhausting than anything I had ever even felt throughout pregnancy.
I thought something must be wrong with me. And something was. But I was looking for answers that I could see. I took blood tests. Went through MRIs. Saw every specialist I could.
These days, after recognizing and understanding what I have, I am a lot better. I do think that sometimes when people exhibit mysterious illnesses which go undiagnosed or experience chronic pain, it can be a sign of depression. In some, not ALL cases.
I have stopped telling everyone at my Doctor’s office to just go see a psychiatrist, because that was just plain disruptive.
I don’t think any of us really know what we are wired for until we are faced with it.
I look out my windows at the clouds, glad that I can see the light beyond them.
This is an old post, but I thought of it last night as I was in bed, bathed in darkness, right before my eyes closed.
Let’s make a law that gay people can have birthdays, but straight people get more cake – you know, to send the right message to kids. – Bill Maher
He also likes to wear his sister’s plastic high heel shoes around the house and will carry her purse all sassy-like on his right shoulder.
As we get ready for dinner and we ask him which cup he wants, it’s always the purple one.
With flowers on it.
The other day our amazing Au Pair, Heather, went to pick up Nico from school. She was wearing this pink sweater with Red hearts on it. Here is what it looks like.
The first thing out of Nico’s mouth when he saw Heather was, “Heather, I love your sweater. I just love it!” He brought his hands to his cheeks to express his enthusiasm as well.
It’s been one week since the election. Some have wept tears of joy. Others have wept for other reasons. I would say that most of America has dealt with it the way you would expect, in a pretty straightforward, matter of fact way.
Amidst all of this though, there does seem to be a newly awoken anger. Perhaps it’s an anger that’s been here all along and has been fairly dormant. Perhaps my head has been so far up my own ass these days that I didn’t notice.
That’s possible too.
The anger just seems to have reached new levels.
Notwithstanding ignorant comments like the one from Bill O’Reilly which I wrote about last week, I feel like there is a volatility in the air. People remain highly sensitized and are clamoring to fight, to exchange words. To scream the loudest.
Guy Kawasaki, one of the most highly followed public figures in social media (former Chief Evangelist at Apple, Co-founder of Alltop.com) put a short post on LinkedIn about who he voted for (Obama) and why. The frenzy of comments that ensued in a “hate” fest on LinkedIn, a professional network where people look at your activity to see if they want to HIRE you, was ridiculous.
Wouldn’t you want to be perceived well on a network like that? Why would you tarnish your image by engaging in hateful diatribe?
People just don’t seem to care.
Not all, but yeah – a LOT.
The onslaught of hateful comments hasn’t stopped post election. The recent article posted on Jezebel, documenting the onslaught of outrageous racist comments made by teens on Twitter where use of the “N” word is frequent. Some tweets have even wished an assassination upon the President. That kind of shit talking really scares me.
Like the Whitney Houston song, “I believe that children are our future” and if this speaks at all for what our future remotely looks like, we are royally screwed.
Innocent comments on Facebook seem to trigger heated discussions that quickly become about right vs. left, pro-life vs. pro-choice, my momma vs. your momma kind of shit in minutes.
Yesterday, an old high school friend of mine posted this:
I agree with him, that is sad. Other than expressing his sadness, no other sentiment was provided.
Which is why it made absolutely no sense when a friend commented back with “Ummm…have you seen the racist comments coming from the left?”
To which my friend responded very reasonably, “Racism doesn’t know left or right.”
I am glad he was mature about it because of course I got sucked into it, directly violating Facebook Rules 7 & 9 (At least!).
So what the heck is going on? I was not a big fan of George W. Bush, but there are lines on language I would never cross when speaking about the President, much less write them so publicly.
Are we all just becoming desensitized to the screaming and yelling across party lines? Have we gotten to a place where there are no longer boundaries of appropriateness in political discourse? I have been called an idiot, a moron, a socialist, a communist, a bitch all in this past week.
And that’s been a good week.
Something’s in the air and it’s disquieting. I am telling you, I have heard the word “monkey” in reference to President Obama in the past few weeks than I have heard my whole life. And trust me, after Indiana Jones, I got asked about monkey brains a lot, so I have heard that word more than most Americans.
I don’t know. Maybe I am just being overly sensitive. I don’t think so though.
What are your feelings post election? What are some of the more ridiculous/sad/polarizing things you have heard? BTW – I don’t care if you lean right or left. We want to know.
Your children are not your children.They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They came through you but not from you and though they are with you yet they belong not to you. – Khalil Gibran
Remember the other day how I wrote about what a pain the ass my daughter is ? Well I kind of left out something really important.
It’s that while I can recognize that she can be a bit “much” sometimes, I literally ache when I watch her trying to play with other kids and being ignored, rebuffed or made fun of.
It’s a terrible feeling.
I love our neighborhood. I really do. One of the reasons we moved here was because we wanted to be close to other families and around lots of kids.
John and I had just gotten married when we moved to this house and so most of our neighbors had a head start on us. There were already lots of kids running around, playing basketball, riding bikes, kicking balls around.
An idyllic setting for us as we started a young family.
On our street, Shaila is the youngest of the girls. And though some kids will play with her when there aren’t better options around, she gets dropped like a hot potato as soon as someone older or someone “cooler” comes along for her playmate to join.
It’s hard. I see her face. I see the loneliness in it. She usually will look bewildered when she is abandoned, not realize even sometimes that the girls are “hiding” from her trying to avoid her completely and making fun of her.
She will usually go back to doing whatever it was that she was doing with her friend a second before, but this time alone. Drawing with chalk is her favorite – and sit by herself, lost in her own world as she draws away.
I try to not let it bother me. Telling myself that this is just a phase and things must be better at school, or that this is just what happens to the youngest kid who doesn’t have an older sibling to defend her. And somehow, it’s easier that she doesn’t seem to know when she is being mocked, that the sarcasm from the older girls is sometimes lost on her.
Or maybe she does get it.
The other day, I was cuddling in bed with her when she started crying. She had gone over to a friend’s house and asked her to play outside and the friend had slammed the door in Shaila’s face.
Me: Baby, why didn’t you tell me?
Shaila: I don’t know.
She shrugged. I looked into her big brown eyes. I found myself wavering between wanting to knock somebody out and just crying with her. I knew both options would be wrong.
1) You should never want to get in a smack down with someone less than the age of ten when you are my age
2) I couldn’t let her see me cry
I think if you have had a normal childhood, you remember those moments of insecurity and isolation. The moment when you were the new kid in a group or you were trying to get up enough courage to go start a conversation with a new friend. You remember the times you might have been made fun of or teased and you remember how much it might have hurt.
Do you remember the kids in middle and high school who got it the worst? I always remember this boy named Carlos. He was honestly the cutest thing, looking back at him. But most kids saw him as an annoying little peanut. A peanut with an opinion, who wasn’t shy to speak his mind and didn’t sit docilely in the corner.
Carlos got made fun of all the time. I remember one day a taller boy spit in his hair and how hysterical everybody thought it was. I remember how one day, one of the most popular boys in our class shoved him into a locker and locked him in it. Again, it was all just hysterical.
I never laughed. But I didn’t really say much to defend Carlos and other kids like him when I was younger. I remember one time, I did rush to defend someone and was told “to mind my own business, you stupid Hindu,” and then being laughed at myself. I still would defend other kids, but with the knowledge that I could be as quickly attacked.
I look at Shaila and wonder, is she going to be like Carlos? What if she WERE to be singled out like that? What kind of mother would I be? What kind of fortitude would I have to get her through it as unblemished as possible?
Yesterday, I was cooking in the kitchen when John walked in. He informed me that while Shaila had been playing with her friends, better alternatives had come along and she had been dropped again, just minutes after she had rushed into our house, asking for juice boxes for all of her buddies.
He said she just stood there with the juice boxes after she ran out and her friends were gone.
Shaila: But I just brought them drinks…
I finished up what I was doing, wanting to keep my daughter company. I didn’t need to. Another girl on our block, a really sweet girl a few years older than Shaila, came over and played with her, almost like she knew that my daughter needed a friend. Shaila gave her one of the drinks. Maybe this sweet child had seen the other girl run off, hiding behind an SUV with a few older girls and laughing at my daughter.
Regardless of her reasons, I was grateful as I heard my daughter’s laughter. Her sweet little giggle as the older girl told her jokes and made her laugh.
She’s gonna be alright. As long as I keep hearing the sound of her laughter, I know that much to be true.
“I don’t remember who said this, but there really are places in the heart you don’t even know exist until you love a child.” – Ann Lamott
Do you remember feeling bullied or left out as a child? What kind of wisdom would you hope to impart to your child to make sure they are not instigators, or to help them heal if they are the ones being hurt?
Photography by Tellchronicles.
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Spilling it all for Things I Can’t Say.
Proof that Bill O’Reilly Will Always be an Asshat
Ok, y’all. (Yes, I know I am an Indian girl from New Jersey, but I have lived in Virginia long enough to say y’all).
I have not said much about the election this year. I have gotten annoyed at Facebook friends that have also been acting like asshats trying to shove their political beliefs down my throat and talking ignorant shit about BOTH candidates. I know, I know, let’s move FORWARD.
Ok, I will. I promise. Just give me a second to say something first.
Bill O’Reilly has said something to upset me.
What? Bill O’Reilly? Stop the effing presses. Are you kidding me? When has he ever said anything offensive before? I will give you this, next to Glenn Beck and Ann Coulter, he looks like Gandhi, but still.
Bill. Said. Something. Questionable.
Now the only reason I am not saying that it’s “questionable” versus outright racist, ignorant, blatantly hostile, borderline hate-mongering is because of this. THIS.
People. Well, some people think I am overreacting.
What? Me, overreact? I am like the Dalai Lama. What the HELL are they talking about? I epitomize what the person who invented the saying “cool as a cucumber” was thinking, when they were eating that cucumber.
If you are not going to watch the video, here is the quote that he made when asked why Romney did not win the election.
“The white establishment is now the minority,” he added. “The voters, many of them, feel this economic system is stacked against them and they want stuff. You’re gonna see a tremendous Hispanic vote for President Obama. Overwhelming black vote for President Obama. And women will probably break President Obama’s way. People feel that they are entitled to things — and which candidate, between the two, is going to give them things?”
I am not questioning any comments around demographics here. In fact, I will confirm the following:
This is going to sound really mean. So I am going to try to sugar coat this as much as possible and really say this as delicately as I possibly can.
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