Category Archives: rants

Talk Wordy to Me

Just a quick thought.

I grew up that dorky girl with bad hair and a nose too big for her face, so all I ever wanted was for someone to think I am pretty. Well, I grew into my looks and into my bra and I discovered hair products, and finally I was a “pretty girl.” And to this day, it is always a pleasant surprise to have that fact pointed out. I still live with the mindset of an ugly duckling, and I don’t know if I’ll ever grow out of that, so I will probably forever blush when someone reveals to me that they find me attractive.

However, complimenting my looks is not the be all, end all of nice things to say to me.  In fact, with the tact most men have, it’s like an insult wrapped in a compliment with a snarky little center. Guys at the bar think if they look me up and down and smile that I will melt all over their shoes. Nay, sir. nay.

No, to this day, the greatest compliment I have ever received was, “You’re very articulate.” That, right there, is a proverbial panty dropper, just let me tell you.

You want me to feel flattered? Tell me you’re intimidated by my vocabulary. You want to make me want you? Tell me I am a beautiful writer. You want to really get in my head? Be my intellectual rival.

Humans are hardwired to be attracted to people who possess traits that they like about themselves and be repelled by people who possess characteristics that they dislike about themselves. People who are proud of being funny like funny people. Bossy people who are ashamed of being bossy do not like bossy people. It is simple: like attracts like. This  opposites attract bullshit is simply that: BULLSHIT.

So, I take great pride in my usage of the English language: I enjoy being bookish, I unabashedly own up to being a Grammar Nazi, and my impeccable spelling makes me swell with pride. I am a word nerd, and I like it. Therefore I am going to be drawn to people who appreciate those aspects of my personality and who reflect them back.

Just. Saying.

Oh, the things one thinks about when washing her hair.

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Life as a Walking ‘House’ Episode

One of my doctors this week instructed me to change my name to “Bizarre.”

That was not the first time I’ve heard that.

I’ve spent the majority of my life puzzling medical professionals. Remember, I was the four-year-old tot complaining of throbbing headaches that turned out to be migraines. I’ve had a weak-ass immune system for the last decade because I was a dummy and didn’t feed my body what it needed. And just this week, I have two brother ophthalmologists bringing their sibling rivalry with then to work and arguing over what to do about the apparent contact-resistance my eyes have developed, as well as a father/daughter dermatological team trying and failing to figure out what these tiny flesh-colored bumps I have on my hands are. Frankly, it would be funny is it weren’t so fucking frustrating.

Seriously, seriously, I think I’ve had enough funky health crises to last a lifetime:

When I was in kindergarten, my class was going to perform 3 short plays for our parents on Open House night or something. I don’t remember what all three plays were; what I do remember is one of them was The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins, which was my FAVORITE, and that I was the only kid in the whole class who had a role in all three plays. I was beyond proud and excited for my on-stage debut, but I never saw showtime because I came down with scarlet fever, of all things. I just remember lying on the couch the night of our performance, feeling like the dead, the lights in the house just agony for my eyes, and begging my mom to let me go to school to do the plays: “I’m OK! I feel fine! Who’s going to wear all the hats?” Even in my fever delirium, I was devastated.

The summer before 9th grade I attended a Catholic church volunteer work camp. A couple days into the trip I started feeling really awful: headache, feverish, weak, nauseated, WEAK. The third night, after singing “American Pie” in the common area and making friends with these great kids from around the country, when they announced it was time to head to our dorms, my legs wouldn’t work. I tried, but I couldn’t stand for even a second. I got a piggy-back ride up to my room from one of the nice boys I had just met, and the girls from my youth group called me a slut for the rest of the trip. The next two days I was completely out of commission: a 104 degree fever that had me hallucinating, no strength, throwing up, blinding head pain. No one thought to take me to the hospital; no, instead, they thought it appropriate to pray over me when they thought I was asleep. (Guess what guys? I was awake! And nothing scares a girl suffering from an unknown illness like strange people laying hands on her while she tries to recuperate and asking god to make her well. Pray for lepers; you should have gotten me medical attention.) It wasn’t until returning home and already being on the mend that a nurse friend of my mom’s said, “Oh, honey, you had West Nile Virus.” Hubba what? West Nile Virus?! Are you fucking serious?

Then there was the lovely time freshman year of college when I was falling ill every other month or so, heading to the clinic on campus, and being unceremoniously prescribed antibiotics for one arbitrary thing or another–strep throat, tonsillitis, you name it–without them even, say, swabbing my throat or trying to determine what I actually had. They misdiagnosed me 5 times. When I returned home for the summer, a capable doctor found out that I had an advanced case of mono, equipped with anemia and a spleen-on-the-brink, and demanded I sit inert on the couch for the remainder of the summer.

These health freak-outs have given me a shit-ton of interesting stories to tell, but living life like it’s one long TV medical drama can be exhausting. I keep waiting for my own personal Dr. House to come sweeping in one day and find the underlying cause, the obscure disease that ties all these seemingly unconnected illnesses together and either he can heal me, or he’ll tell me I have 4 days to live. Either way, at least I would know. I would know what the hell is wrong with my body that I seem to contract every bizarre disease in the book. I would know why I have spent as much of my life sick in bed (or worse, sick and out in the world trying to pretend I’m not sick) than I have healthy and spry. And I would know, for certain, that I’d never have to see another doctor look at me with their big dumb eyes and say, “Well, I don’t know what to tell you.”

YOU ARE A DOCTOR. IT IS YOUR JOB TO KNOW WHAT TO TELL ME. THAT’S WHAT I’M FUCKING DOING HERE!!!!!!!!!

*deep breath*

*exhale*

Sorry about that. It’s just that, I get through my day to day ignoring the little aches and pains, bumps and bruises, sneezes and sniffles that come my way. Feeling less than stellar is a part of life, and I am not above taking an extra Vitamin C tablet and drinking some hot chicken broth, or wrapping my own strained ankle and icing it every few hours. But when there arises a health problem that I can’t handle on my own (like not being able to see, or painful welts growing out of nowhere on my fingers), and I decide to fork over my hard-earned money so a medically-trained fellow or lady can help me get back to healthy and they say, “Well, sorry, you’re a mystery” it makes me want to terrorize their waiting room, tearing up back-issues of People magazine and upending Ikea coffee tables. It’s. Just. Not. Fair. I am actively on two different eye drops and three different lotions because I have 4 doctors working hard to make me better but simply FAILING. They are failing miserably.

I JUST WANT TO BE WELL. Ugh.

I really thought recently that because I haven’t had a cold in a few months that beating my iron deficiency and going paleo might really be the keys to immune success, but my body is just as wonky as ever. So I’m not plagued with sore throats and stuffy noses; now I’m being plagued with useless eyeballs and stupid skin. (I know that sounds juvenile, but I’ve been struggling with this my whole life: I think I’m allowed to pout a little.)

Maybe I’ll call up Hugh Laurie. He probably would have as good a shot of healing me as my real doctors.

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Tim Allen just made me think…

It is a rare thing, finding wisdom hiding in a TV commercial. But I just heard this little gem on a Pure Michigan ad:

“Sometimes life isn’t just about finding yourself; it’s about creating yourself.”

Well, damn. Yes, yes it is. Thank you, voice of Tim Allen, for making me think, and for helping me remember a point I have been meaning to make.

I hear people say, frequently, that if something is meant to be, it will happen. That notion of god closing a door and opening a window has been thrown in my face many a time. And I have a large Catholic family and a very religious mother who promote prayer whenever life presents you with pretty much anything, be it hope or hardship. “It doesn’t hurt to pray about it,” my mom tells me on a weekly basis.

All of these mindsets, I believe, allow a certain amount of inaction, and that bothers me. To me, life is not about sitting back and letting things happen to you and around you; it is about going out and making shit happen. I believe that very very firmly. And while some people are comforted by the notion that if they don’t get that job they were hoping for or that relationship didn’t work out, then, oh well, it wasn’t “meant to be,” I like to feel like I am in control of my destiny, even if that means taking responsibility for my failures.

I pissed and moaned for a month when I wasn’t getting a job after my college graduation. I put the blame on everybody else: “No one wants to give me a chance”; “If they’d just meet me they’d like me.”; “Well she met me and was clearly put off by my beauty, so, psh, fuck her.” It took me a while to come to terms with the fact that maybe I just wasn’t qualified. Maybe I wasn’t the brilliant interviwee I thought I was. And maybe, just maybe, just because I am a writer doesn’t mean I have any fucking idea how to write a fucking cover letter. While that realization certainly stung, it put me back in control. How does one become qualified? Education and experience, so I’d have to either start at lower level gigs, or go back to school. How does one improve her interview skills? Um…OK, well, I’m still not sure about that one. Practice…being normal? How does one become a better applicant? Research and writing writing writing until something starts sounding less like crap.

Even if taking responsibility meant that I was lacking, I had the opportunity to improve and move on. By saying that it simply wasn’t meant to be takes all the control out of my hands and gives it to the ether. That’s just too scary. If I don’t have some say in what happens to me, then what am I doing here? I don’t believe I am a pawn being moved around by god. I don’t believe in fate. Or destiny. So how can I believe some things are simply meant to be. I can’t.

I believe in taking action and creating the life you want. That’s what I believe.

And it all occurred to me thanks to a tourism ad. Who woulda thunk it?

Yeah, I heard this quote about creating yourself rather than finding yourself  it just rang so true. You can look for yourself all you want, or you can go out and make yourself. You can pray about your crappy car 24/7, or you can go get it fixed. I love my mom, but maybe if she prayed a little less about my dad’s drinking and made a few more decisions about what to do about it, maybe he would be sober by now, or maybe his drinking wouldn’t be her problem anymore. Just a crazy thought.

If you are one of those people comforted by prayer and a belief in that-which-is-meant-to-be, and it works for you, and you’re happy, I guess, go for it. But I for one want to be able to take action. I would rather hold my destiny tight in my fist than hand it to someone else and say, “Do with me what you will.”

Now that I’m claiming control of my life, the question becomes: What self am I hoping to create? What life am I hoping to create?

Aye, there’s the rub. The motherfucking rub.

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I may come to your baby shower…

…but don’t expect me to be happy about it.

WARNING: I may offend some people with this one. Or hurt some feelings. I don’t want to start a family coup or anything, but this is how I feel. Deal with it.

I believe in the value of tradition. But some traditions just aren’t valid anymore. Tradition for tradition’s sake is STUPID. Embracing my Polish grandmother’s heritage and eating humble cabbage and hand-rolled kluski noodles on Christmas Eve, I think, is a wonderful tradition: it reminds me of where I came from, and of a different world in which my Gram grew up. We all know that no January 1st has ever brought with it any notable divergence from December 31st, but in believing that it will and celebrating the turn of the New Year, we really do find a more optimistic mindset, thus this tradition can be a beautiful thing.

Wedding and baby showers, however, are not.

These shindigs began as modest little get-togethers where people gave the happy couple a little something to get them started, or to show support for young parents. It was not about financing someone else’s life choices.

This is not 1920. Two 18 year old kids are not moving right out of their parents’ homes and into their honeymoon cottage with nothing but love between them. And there are no social norms insisting that married couples start producing offspring immediately any longer. When two people have already lived together for four years and already own a toaster, a blender, and a full set of pots and pans, where do they get off registering for a bunch of shit?! You are literally telling people, “I have made a choice in my own life. Because you purport to love me, buy me one of these things to show me that you are happy that I have made said choice.” It is RUDE. It is…tacky.

And baby showers, well, as much as I love babies, there are several hundred things I’d rather be doing than playing infant-themed games and not being allowed to say the word “baby” at a party about a baby. Gag. Plus, again, you chose to have a kid. You want your kid to have all this nice stuff, then you go out and buy it. Children are expensive. If you can’t afford it, don’t have a kid. When I choose to have a kid, it will be because I am emotionally and financially ready. I wouldn’t ask you to set up a college fund for my kid, don’t ask me to buy you a $300 car seat.

[Note: The only time I find baby showers acceptable are “Oops!” babies. When a young girl gets knocked up and doesn’t have a plethora of resources, I can justify a party where people give her the necessities: diapers, wipes, bottles, simple baby clothes, maybe everyone goes in on a crib. No frilly expensive little dresses the baby will only fit into for one week. No elaborate room decor. No bells-and-whistles toys for a baby who won’t even be interested in toys for 6 months. A baby shower in the original spirit of a shower: a little push in the right direction.]

Now, I am happy for my friends and family when they get married or bring babies into this world. And I am always touched when they want to include me in their momentous life events. I attended a baby shower just today and donned the flowery skirt and fawned over my round glowing friend. I bought a present off her registry (the cheapest thing on it because, hey, I’m a nanny: I’m not rolling in the dough) and knitted a teensy little hat. But don’t think for one second I was having a ball today. I enjoy a decent meal, and I loved seeing her all big and ecstatic, but even at a shower for one of my very dearest friends I was annoyed as hell. If I wanted to knit the little-girl-to-be a hat, I could have done it of my own volition. But no, I had to do it because it was cheaper to top a gift with a hat than a card. And no matter how happy I am for a young couple thrilled to bring a new life into this world, I simply CANNOT be happy about playing dorky games and watching Mommy open gift after fluffy pink gift.

Does this make me heartless? Maybe. Do I care? Not in the slightest.

Now, say, someone threw you a shower. You were getting married and your mom and soon-to-be mother-in-law teamed up and surprised you with a little party, and therefore there was no registry and people could just buy you something from the heart, something they thought you would want or need because they just fucking wanted to, that’s fine. That’s lovely. That’s not your fault. But if you’ve walked through a store with a price gun and scanned a gravy boat because it’s vital for a new married couple to have one of those, then, you bother me. I may love you, I may even buy you that goddamn gravy boat, but know that I am growling on the inside.

I am a contrary little snot, I know this about myself. But I don’t think my disdain for celebratory showers is purely out of a desire to be on the outside: I believe my argument is valid. What was once a pure little party for youngsters taking on the world is now a dog and pony show, and it sickens me a bit.

If and when I walk down the aisle or decide to squeeze out a kid, I PROMISE, I won’t register for a thing. I would sooner cut off my hand than ask people to fund my future. And, if some evil force possesses me and I do have a registry with my name on it, kill me. Just…kill me dead. Or find a priest to exorcise me.

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It Gets Better

Last week, one of my cousins presented to me a problem she was having at school with a girl. I won’t give details, as they don’t matter and will only muddy up my message, but it was an issue of bullying. She was really troubled by the situation and afraid and I couldn’t stand the thought of my family struggling like that. I felt it was important that someone step in on her behalf, and if she wasn’t comfortable going to her parents, then by God, I would do it. But, not knowing precisely how to contact her school and say “Hey, let’s fix this problem” without seeming like I was overstepping my bounds or, I dunno, crazy, I turned to an old and trusted mentor for guidance: My high school counselor.

Despite not having seen or spoken to this man is years, he came through, as I knew he would. Now, luckily, blessedly, I didn’t end up needing his help. My cousin acted beyond her years and dealt with the problem on her own. I’m so very proud of her and her classmates for dealing with this situation with maturity. I am in awe. But I am also in awe of dear old Mr. Davidson. He has enough on his hands without past students popping in to beg for help, but he was Johnny-on-the-spot, replying to may email ready to assist. And today he called me, even knowing that the bullying matter is behind us, to see how I am. What a wonderful man.

And, believe me when I say, he is not simply wonderful for taking the time to look out for me now. Back in the day, he figuratively, possibly literally, saved my life. When I told him on the phone today that I was writing a blog, he suggested I write my teenage saga because I might be able to help youngsters that are having the struggle I had back then. Well, Mr. Davidson, this is for you, man.

Chapter 1 –Mean Girls (and Boys)

[I cannot cover everything, all the reasons I was miserable as a teenager. At least not in one post. So consider this an overview. ]

I was never “normal.” From the day my mom dressed me in a cat vest for school picture day in the 2nd grade, I was fair game for mockery. But starting in Middle School, I really think it became true bullying.

The very first day of school a rumor was spread that I gave Clark a “BJ.” I didn’t even know what that was, and had to go home crying, only to be informed by my mom that the rumor was way worse than I possibly could have imagined. I had few friends, and those friends normally fell off the face of the earth when they realized how “uncool” I was. (Once, three of the few girls that seemed to like me passed me a note on the bus informing me that they hated my guts and didn’t want to talk to me ever again.) I was smart, and not quietly smart, but teacher-reads-my-poem-to-the-class smart; announces-my-grade smart. Obnoxious smart. I tried not to be, I tried to just shut up and blend into the background so that I could be as good as invisible, but it didn’t work.  Kids didn’t like that. They also didn’t like that I was behind the times when it came to “acting my age,” which at the time meant swearing and having boyfriends and the start of partying. I didn’t really bloom till college, so back then, yeah, I was a freak. And the kids let me know it.

I had girls come up to me and say, to my face, like something out of a movie, “Welcome to Loserville: Population 1- You.” I didn’t see them doing this to each other, or to pretty girls. They did it to me. And the kids that were borderline slow but still in regular classes. And the nose-pickers and the girl who always had her hand down her pants. I was grouped with the really weird kids, the ones I defended back in Elementary School. But now, I was pre-pubescent and awkward and just too embarrassed to speak up.

My clothes were also mocked. A lot. I started begging my mom to let me dress like the other kids: flare jeans, fitted t-shirts, a bra (even though I SO didn’t need it), anything that would help me blend. But even then they found ways to make me feel…small. “Are those the only jeans you own? You’ve worn them three times this week?” Why did they take so much care to watch me? Why did my appearance bother them so much?

When all the girls started shaving their legs, I wasn’t allowed to, so I got harassed for that. I got mocked for being pale. They made fun of my eyebrows and the start of normal Italian hair on my arms (not loads, and not jet black, just not blond fuzz). They made fun of my teeth. And on the bus, the older boys absolutely tormented me: saying things that I couldn’t fully understand (being very innocent and all) but that made my tummy queasy, so I inherently knew they were being dirty and creepy; stealing my glasses right off my face; tripping me as I got off the bus.

Sounds like good times, eh?

Chapter 2–Higher  Low Times

High school wasn’t as bad. I actually got bullied worse by a few teachers (my Spanish teacher told everyone to call me “Squirrel,” because I was a vegetarian and because of my teeth) than by most of the students. Though there were a select few that sought to make me miserable. But I was learning how to be a smartass , and gaining a wee bit of courage to stand up for myself, so every once in a while I got mine.

For instance, one girl every day used to stand against my locker, and when I’d (politely) ask her to move, she’d snarl, “Damn bitch.” Lovely girl. This went on for months. They she started saying it when she passed me in the hall. Then she started shoving into me when she said it. One day, when she rammed against my shoulder, I beat her to the punch and said firmly, “Damn bitch.” She turned around and with wild eyes said, “What the fuck did you just say to me?!” I didn’t blink, just looked her in the face and repeated, “Damn. Bitch.” She called me the C-word (I’m sorry, I hate that word so much I don’t even want to type it) and walked away, but she left my locker alone for the rest of the year.

So maybe my social life was improving my hairs: I had a handful of good friends within the circle of brains in the AP circuit. I was learning to use my sarcasm and my oddness to stand out in good ways. I was still a nerd enough that I could never get a boyfriend, but at least I had people to talk to, people that I was pretty sure would not dump me via note. But I had bigger problems at home.

Chapter 3–No Place Like Home (no place quite as…awful)

My father is a narcissistic, bi-polar alcoholic. I’m sure you can imagine this doesn’t make for a very pleasant human being. I was afraid of him all my life, and never knew why he was so…so mean. My brother and I were ideal children. let me say that again. We were ideal children. We never did anything wrong besides fight like normal siblings. Our grades were great, we were obedient, we were polite, we went to bed on time. And yet Dad was always screaming at us. Spitting with rage. Calling me a “jackass” and a “bitch” and “worthless.” He would deny all of that, but I don’t really care.

His drinking caught up to him when I was nearing the end of Middle School. He got a DUI and lost his license and was put on house arrest for a month or so, and then limited house arrest (he was allowed to go to work) for a year. And while the money problems were hard, and mom and dad fighting was just as bad as ever, my dad being sober really improved out relationship. So imagine my disappointment when a few months after he got his license back–which, by the way, was thanks to a letter I wrote to the judge at his hearing, thank you very much–he started knocking back the Budweiser again, and went right back to his old drunk, irrational self.

I hated the evenings when dad was home from work. I couldn’t breathe without him finding something to criticize. Take the heated happiness argument of 2005. I was a teenager, so naturally, I wasn’t bright and beaming 24/7. Teenagers sulk. It’s a fact of life. Well, as angry as my father was all the time, he had a hang up with everyone else not just being happy, but looking happy ALL THE TIME. So there I am, not unhappy, just not smiling, one night, and he asks, “What’s wrong?” And I answer, honestly, “Nothing.” You would have think I spat at him. Suddenly I was a liar and I HAD to tell him what was wrong. Long story short, over the course of the next 2 HOURS he chased me into the bathroom and locked us in, proceeding to berate me, leading me to hyperventilate, bawl my eyes out, and pull huge chunks of hair out of my head.

I did that a lot. I would bang my head against the wall or rip my hair out when Dad was being Dad. You cannot rationalize with the irrational. It is IMPOSSIBLE. They spin everything you say, they don’t hear themselves correctly, they twist and wind around until they are superior and you are shit. So you can understand that I felt fairly frustrated dealing with him. He would be spitting mad about NOTHING and I couldn’t do anything about it. So I did damage to myself. It didn’t even hurt in the moment. If I couldn’t control him, at least I could control how hard I bashed my skull into the drywall. Maybe I can leave a dent, I’d often finding myself thinking.

Everything came to a head the night he attacked me. My dad came into my room to unplug the Christmas lights I had hanging in my window. They were comforting to me, and in my half-sleep state I whispered, “Please don’t.” I don’t really know what happened next. I don’t know if I said something more, or he did, or if the next thing I remember is what immediately followed, but all I know is the next thing I remember is him kneeling on me with his hands around my throat. He was yelling, but I couldn’t tell you now what he was saying. I was fading, I could feel myself losing consciousness, and then he moved his thumb. In that split second I sucked in some air and said, “You’re kinda killing me.” Red in the face he bellowed, “KINDA?!” and then mere moments later he let me go and left my room without a word.

I wanted to die. I wanted to sink into my bed and cease to be. How could things get any worse? It was just the two of us in the house (my mom and brother were at a soccer game), I couldn’t sneak out of my room to call the cops without him catching me, and I could feel the bruise blooming across my neck. I hiccuped for who knows how long, and when my mom poked her head into my room to say goodnight when she got home, I started sobbing again, but told her I would explain in the morning.

Now here’s the part where I throw my mother under the bus. Allow me to say, I love her very very much, and I know she did the best she could with the tools available to her, but the day following my attack is the one she should go back in time and change should she ever have that chance. That is the one day I will say my mom fucked up. I told her what happened, and she cried with me, and she left me at my grandmother’s house for the day where I was hugged and held by all my relatives so she could go “Deal with things.” Dealing with things meant talking to my dad, who said, yes, he choked me, but it wasn’t the big deal I was making it, and he swore he wasn’t drunk. (My mom was comforted by this, I was horrified). Dealing with things meant asking an off-duty cop what would happen if we reported my dad, and then choosing not to report him. Dealing with things meant her coming to pick me up to take me home to the place where the man that had less than 24 hours prior attempted to kill me was, and saying that I had to be wherever she was, and she would be living with him.

Chapter 4–My Saving Grace

Enter Mr. Davidson. So, my life was collapsing around me. I had already been seeing him to talk about my shitty-ass family life, but after this blow-up, he became the only sane adult in my life. My dad was asking me haughtily every day, “You still hate me? You still hate me? Well, you know that means you still care.” My mom wouldn’t let me live with one of my friends because I had to be with her, but she wouldn’t boot drunky out of the house. My family all knew what had happened to me, yet not one of them was stepping in to save my brother and I from a clearly toxic home. Mr. Davidson was the only one telling me I had every right to feel as saddened and angry and miserable as I felt. He was the only one letting me dwell, because, frankly, how does one move on from something like that? He ate lunch with me most days while I cried and raged and struggled to find the words to describe how I felt. He was patient and kind and I probably would have done something stupid during that time, had it non been for him. And by stupid I mean, something I couldn’t take back: either killing myself or my father, most likely. He saved my life.

Chapter…Now

I didn’t have an easy time growing up. I hated being a teenager. I hated everything about that time in my life, from the acne, to the sleepless nights, to the confusion of developing sexuality, to the kids who don’t mind making others’ adolescence worse to make their own easier. But as bad as it was, I think about the kids today suffering like I suffered, struggling like I struggled, and I would do anything, give anything, be anything so that they don’t have to go through that hell. I would live it all over again if it meant that no youth ever had to feel as awful as I did every day for those long years. I am so angry that there is still bullying and abuse in the world. We should have moved beyond these cruelties by now as a race. But there is, and we need it to change.

So here’s where I tell you IT GETS BETTER. If you are reading this, and you’re being bullied or being abused or just feel bad about life for no particular reason, I promise, it gets better. You go away to school and find that you can breathe for the first time in your life. You meet great people who don’t judge you for anything. You get out of the hell that is teenage hormones, and the things that were life-shattering (and I know, they really are life-shattering when you’re going through it. BEING A TEENAGER SUCKS) suddenly aren’t a big deal. You need to push through the muck and the misery to get to the glorious mental clarity and the happiness that’s to come.

And if you’re reading this and you’re at fault for bullying, abusing, or ignoring the signs of bullying and abuse, please, wake up. This life is hard enough as it is without us stepping on each other in the process of getting to something better. Please please please, everyone, let’s just make every day a little easier, a little happier for each other. Let’s share a little more love and a lot less hate and sadness. In the words of Ellen Degeneres, “Be kind to one another.” For the love of humanity, be kind to one another.

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May I have just one moment of your time?

Osama bin Laden is dead. I am actively awaiting the President’s address of the nation. But while I’m pleased with this news, as pleased as any person who remembers that day–that Tuesday when the world stopped spinning, the beautiful autumn day of September 11th, 2001 that became so very very ugly–could possibly be, I’m not celebrating here.

One of my relatives is a Marine. He just lost a good friend who was fighting in this unending war. While I am glad that the U.S. has finally accomplished one of its goals over there in the Middle East–I am, I am very glad that this man is no longer plaguing this earth–I don’t suddenly think this justifies all the lives we’ve lost in the last nearly 9 years…and all the lives we’ve taken. I do not at all. Finding and killing this one man was not worth the civilian deaths we’ve caused, or the thousands of young American lives lost. The  sadness and sympathy I feel for my cousin’s pain far outweighs any happiness I get from this one success.

That’s all I have to say.

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