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Fellow White People: Wake the Eff Up. Black People are DYING.

Fellow White People: Wake the Eff Up. Black People are DYING.

I mean, I know that’s not new news. They’ve always been dying.  They were dying when we kept them as property.  They were dying when we desegregated.  And they’re dying now, even when on paper they’re supposed to have the same rights as us.

I’m as white as White people come. The glow-in-the-dark, lobster the moment I see the sun variety.  I don’t know shit about the Black person’s experience.  And guess what, fellow White person?  Neither do you.

We don’t fear for our lives whenever we walk down the street. We don’t constantly get told, directly or otherwise, that we’re second class.  We don’t know what it’s like to have to teach our children to be afraid of those that are supposed to help us.  We don’t know what it’s like to still be a threat when we’re already pinned down and helpless.

See, when we go on killing sprees, people chalk it up to mental illness and discuss all the ways they’ve could’ve helped us before we snapped.  They detail our lives, trying to figure out where society went wrong.  When we rape people, we’re given light sentences and sympathy, lest a harsher punishment wreak havoc on our gentle souls.   Even when we suck, we have privilege oozing out of our asses.  And when we get killed, society looks for someone to blame rather than wondering what we did to deserve it.

So yes, all lives matter, but our lives have never been the ones at risk.  We were born knowing we mattered, and quite literally every system of society has gone ahead and confirmed that for us repeatedly throughout our lives.  Even you, broke White person.  Even you.  So let’s do a favour and fuck right off with our whiny “what about me?” rhetoric.  I know it’s super hard when everything ever has always been about us and now for once in our silver-spooned lives this conversation isn’t.  Fuck off anyway – our fragile, privileged hearts will get over it.  I promise.

Oh and while we’re at it, let’s stop looking for the isolated incidents where we actually were targeted and acting like that’s totally the same thing as a society of systemic-built oppression and racism, m’kay?  We don’t have to worry our pretty little heads – society already cared more about those incidents anyway.  Because, oh right, our lives were already valued more than our friends of colour.  Tell me again how all lives matter?  Perhaps we can say that when it’s actually true.

For now, wake the fuck up.  Black people are dying.  Stop telling them how they get to react to that. Stop telling them it’s not fair that they don’t care about us – as if that’s what they were implying or that we ever truly cared about them.  Sit the fuck down, shut the fuck up.  Listen for once.  Listen to understand. Recognize that we don’t.  Ask how we can be good allies.  Ask how we can help.  And figure out, once and for all, that Black Lives Matter doesn’t mean that White lives don’t.  Indeed, White lives were the only thing that ever did. I’d be pissed off, too.

 

 doesn’t mean other lives don’t. Like people who say “Save The Rainforests” aren’t saying “Fuck All Other Types of Forests” – Matt McGorry

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on July 10, 2016 in privilege, Random Shit

 

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I’m On The Facebook!

Shameless self-promotion here.  I finally made a Facebook page and obviously my self worth is defined by how many ‘likes’ I get – so head over to www.facebook.com/posterella and make me feel validated.  Enjoy all new rants, ridiculous memes and cheap cover photos made on PicMonkey.

 
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Posted by on February 26, 2015 in Random Shit

 

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Pro Vaxxers: It Isn’t About Wakefield. Or Jenny.

Pro Vaxxers: It Isn’t About Wakefield. Or Jenny.

The most frustrating thing I see in pro-vaccination articles, comments, blogs is the constant assumption that the 2 main drivers in the anti-vax ‘movement‘ (you can hardly call it that, it’s not really that popular) are Andrew Wakefield and Jenny McCarthy. Examples are everywhere:

“If vaccines caused the harms Jenny McCarthy and her ilk claim they do, then my persistence in giving them must say something horrifying about me.” – source

“16 Years Ago, A Doctor Published A Study. It Was Completely Made Up, And It Made Us All Sicker.” – source

“Some of the people currently spreading the mumps self-identify with the anti-vaccination movement, a dangerous and scantly informed craze that is probably best known for semi-celebrity Jenny McCarthy…McCarthy was taking her cues from a fraudulent 1998 research paper written by the discredited former surgeon Andrew Wakefield, a charlatan who had planned to launch a venture that would line his pockets on the back of bad science.” – source

Or hey – this entire website dedicated to showing how many ‘bodies’ are the fault of Jenny McCarthy.

I could go on. And on. And on.  Just Google either name to see what I mean. Attached to these and any pro-vax article on social media are usually snide remarks about taking medical advice from washed up Playboy models; how stupid anti-vaxxers are for refusing to give up on Wakefield despite him being debunked on numerous occasions; or, you know, how vaccines are proven by science and science is and has simply never, ever been wrong.

Here’s the thing: It isn’t about Wakefield.  It definitely isn’t about Jenny.  Those are just the two easiest arguments to counter.  For some unknown reason, this belief by pro-vaxxers that these are the anti-vax population’s biggest influences is rampant and incredibly puzzling. I know a lot of anti-vaxxers.  I’m a self-proclaimed hippy, after all – it comes with the territory.  Of those people, exactly zero of them allowed Wakefield or McCarthy to have any bearing on their decision.  Even the most rigid anti-vaxxers I know acknowledge that Wakefield was a piece of shit.  Seriously.  Even if they believe that autism could possibly be triggered (I say triggered, not caused) by a vaccine, they don’t believe this because of anything Wakefield said.  The guy has no credibility on either end of the spectrum.

Anti-vaxxers are also some of the most well researched people I know.  You don’t just generally decide to go against status quo without reading the shit out of the subject.  My anti-vaxxer friends have read, and researched, and analyzed.  Point being – Jenny McCarthy is a celebrity with zero medical background and a very biased viewpoint.  Taking the advice (any advice) from anyone without the credentials to dole it out is irresponsible at best.  Anti-vaxxers on the whole know this. To prove my point, I did an informal poll in a group I’m in that is overwhelmingly anti-vaccination.  No, folks, this isn’t a formal, peer reviewed study and you won’t find it on Google Scholar (although I’ll point out that at one point you’d find Wakefield’s work in there. Irony is a wonderful thing).  It does illustrate what I mean, though.  Of 79 people that responded, 77 of them indicated that Wakefield and McCarthy had zilch to do with their decision not to vaccinate.  2 people indicated they had ‘some’ influence but clarified in the comments that Jenny McCarthy brought attention to the subject of vaccinations which prompted them to look into it more, but that her opinion on them didn’t carry any weight.  Many people indicated they didn’t even know who Wakefield was until they started seeing pro-vaxxers spout his name at every opportunity.

So, my pro-vaxxer friends: stop it, m’kay?  Stop it with assuming that everyone who chooses not to vaccinate is blindly taking the advice of a ‘washed up Playboy model’ or a debunked fraudulent charlatan.    It’s not even accurate and such a waste of your focus. You can’t start off by making a misguided assumption about the motivations behind the anti-vax population and expect them to listen.  Wakefield and McCarthy are the easy ones to destroy, but the assumption that anti-vaxxers give a shit about either of them seriously undermines your entire cause.  Who’s going to change their mind on the rantings of someone who hasn’t even taken the time to understand the full scope of the problem? Of course, you will find individuals who have based their opinions on either of these individuals.  There are extremists when it comes to any subject.  Don’t use the one example that you know and generalize the intelligence of an entire population. Also, I don’t give a shit what you think about vaccinations.  This isn’t anti-vaccination propaganda.  I didn’t state my stance on the subject (and actually, you’d probably be surprised).  My request is simply that if you are going to fill up my social media newsfeeds with your rants about how dangerous and irresponsible anti-vaxxers are, at least have your facts straight.  At the very least know why people are making the choices they do.  It isn’t about Wakefield. Or Jenny. I promise.

Update: I’ve often been asked “Ok – you’ve said it wasn’t Wakefield or Jenny. Then what IS it?  You can’t just tell me what it isn’t and not tell me what it is.”   Friends, if you’re truly curious about the real reasons why, you need to ask the anti-vaxxers.  Except that I mean ask and genuinely listen.  Then would not be the time to belittle or shame them, you won’t get the meat that way.  If you are so darn passionate about refuting the anti-vax argument, you really shouldn’t be turning to some random blogger to give you all the answers.  Do some discovery.  The reasons are as vast and varied as anything else and you’ll find themes but nothing that’s one size fits all.   Despite common belief, there actually are peer reviewed scientific studies available that support the anti-vax side.  I know, I know, this goes against everything you’ve ever learned.  You’ll be okay.
If you’re really not sure where to start, I did highlight some of the concerns over here, but the post was never meant to be a be all end all to the argument.

 
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Posted by on January 4, 2015 in Parenting, Random Shit

 

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The Trouble With “This Too Shall Pass”

 

You hear it everywhere.  Baby doesn’t sleep, like, ever? Not to worry – this too shall pass.  Toddler being aggressive and hurting others? Normal.  This too shall pass.  Teenager seemingly hates you?  It’s just the hormones – this too shall pass.  Job is frustrating the hell out of you?  That happens to everybody, sometimes.  This too shall pass.  Rough patch in your marriage?  Marriage is hard.  This too shall pass.

The four words that have become the commonplace answer for each of life’s frustrations.  The catch-all that tells you that it’s just a phase and not to worry.  The statement that is, in my opinion, extremely problematic.

Now before you get all huffy, I understand that the phrase has good intent.  I get that it’s meant to be reassuring.  I know that it can be helpful sometimes to be reminded that your problems are short-lived and if you can just breathe a little more deeply you will see it through to the other side.  Hope is a powerful thing and it’s not bad to be told that there is a light at the end of the tunnel; what you’re going through is normal and that is does get better.  That, well, this too shall pass.

The problematic part is that we’re giving all this reassurance and hope without following up with any practical survival tips.   It’s great to know that in another year I may sleep for longer than 45 minutes at a time, but right now I’m a walking zombie who can barely function.  It’s awesome that my toddler will, in a few months, learn the words they need to express themselves but right now I avoid playdates like the plague for fear of what my little monster will do to their peers.  I may know that my teenager will sprout into an adult and decide I’m an okay human to be around, but in this moment I’m hearing ‘I hate you’ for the fifteenth time this week.   Job dissatisfaction may be normal, but I’m currently out of sick days because I just can’t muster up the motivation to get my butt to work.  Perhaps I’ll decide my spouse is the fabulous partner I once knew, but the thought of jail is the only reason I haven’t acted out the fantasies in my head.

When somebody reaches out to you, they are looking for something – maybe some empathy, commiseration or advice (although as a caution: if they haven’t directly asked for your advice it’s always best if you confirm they actually want it before you start playing Dr. Phil. Sometimes a sympathetic ear is all that’s required.)  Most people are fully aware that their children won’t go off to college still needing to be comforted 27 bazillion times throughout the night.  They know it will pass.  It doesn’t change their now.  Telling them ‘this too shall pass’ may make them feel like you are dismissing their experience.  It may make them wonder if perhaps their situation is worse than the normal, since you are basically telling them to suck it up and yet they feel so damn miserable.  It may make them resort to techniques that aren’t really in their best interest in the name of a short-term solution.

And, sometimes, it actually doesn’t just pass on its own.  Marriages normally don’t just fix themselves, for example.  Sometimes, it can only pass if you help it along.

So next time you want to assure someone that their experience is normal and likely a phase, avoid telling them it will pass without adding value to that statement:

That happened to me, too.  It’s normal.  This too shall pass.  In the meantime, here are some things that helped me get through it…

Ugh, that sounds so hard! The good news is that this too shall pass, eventually.  How can I help you cope?

I’ll help support you through this, until it passes.  What do you need from me?  Are you open to some suggestions?

 
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Posted by on April 20, 2014 in Parenting, Random Shit

 

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What You Didn’t Expect While You Were Expecting

Confession time, y’all.  I am now almost 20 weeks pregnant with my second child.  Yes, this is a joyous, momentous time in my life where I get to get fat and convince people that I couldn’t possibly lift anything heavier than my credit card.   That being said, being pregnant again has reminded me of the all the, erm, experiences of pregnancy that simply no one warned me about.  I read all the books and talked to my mommy friends but apparently some topics are too taboo even for a woman who has had a myriad of onlookers watch her squirt bebe out her vagina.  And so, I’m here today to tell you about all these things that surprised me during pregnancy (and a little bit after), as a public service to you.  You’re welcome.

During Pregnancy:

    • Your farts will become frequent and their aroma magnified by about 1000 %.  Be prepared to clear a 5 block radius at any given moment.  I recommend always finding a scapegoat wherever you go.
    • One day tuna fish will the MOST DELICIOUS thing you’ve ever eaten.  You will buy 17 cans in anticipation of the cravings to come.  Mere hours later, even the thought of said tuna will send you racing toward the porcelain goddess.  Repeat with chips, cookies, burgers, soup, etc.
    • You will suddenly become a narcoleptic and be able to take a nap anywhere and everywhere.  This is particularly true in your first trimester (maybe even before you know you’re pregnant) but will likely make an encore appearance in your third one as well.
    • You will wake up with horrific leg and foot cramps and be convinced that your entire leg is literally about to fall off.  There’s many suggestions on how to reduce the frequency of these, but often it’s simply baby’s position that causes them so you’re stuck until delivery.
    • Sneezing/coughing/laughing/puking/jumping/running/baby moving requires a kegel prep.  Getting caught unawares is cause for an underwear change.  Don’t worry, after the first 10 times you learn that pee is sterile and it dries, so in a few minutes your underwear is as good as new.  If this is your first pregnancy you may just escape this one until after delivery.
      Ps. There’s been a lot of research recently to suggest that kegels are not the most effective way to ward this off.  Do squats instead
    • Vivid dreams.  Usually women will tell you that they had more dreams during pregnancy.  What they fail to tell you is they mean of the sexual variety.  Be prepared to do the dreamland horizontal mambo with just about everyone you know.  My suggestion?  Don’t critique them on their technique when you see that at the office the next day.
    • The chronic need to pee.  Most people know that pregnant woman urinate a lot.  For pregnant women, it always feels like you have to go even when you don’t (thank baby on your bladder for that one!).  There were a few times that I went racing for the bathroom in red alert mode only to have nothing come out.
    • That eating for two shouldn’t actually mean eating for two.  It’s great to use your pregnancy as an excuse to satisfy your cravings (and really, it’s practically impossible to have any willpower under the influence of those hormones).  However, it is easy to pack on way too many pounds during pregnancy and while you may not care now, you will once baby is born and you’re left still looking like your 30 weeks pregnant.  Indulge your cravings, but try to control the portions.
    • Speaking of eating… you may actually notice that in your 8th and 9th month that your maternity clothes won’t even fit you.  Be prepared to re-wear the same shirt every day for weeks (or just steal your husband’s).
    • Your vagina smells.  Not badly (if it’s really horrific definitely get it checked out) but just differently than how it used to.  I notice this every time I go pee (which, as noted above, is quite often).  I don’t have the scientific explanation although I’m sure there is one but just know that it’s normal and will return to its usual (delightful, I’m sure) scent after you recover from delivery.
    • Constipation. Or diarrhea. Or alternate.
    • Hemorrhoids.  All that pressure combined with the trauma of delivery may just cause some lovely hemorrhoids on your rear.  They are uncomfortable and never truly go away.  Buy stock in preparation H and call it a day.
    • Milk.  Most people do get their milk sometime after labour, but if you’re lucky like me you’ll get it long before your due date.  I awoke at 17 weeks pregnant with my son and thought I had peed the bed.  It turns out it was just my boobs.  I had to wear a bra to bed for the next 1.5 years and was less than cordial about it.
    • Indigestion.  Some pretty random foods (sometimes even water) can cause heartburn in a preggo.  If your triggers are unavoidable, then it’s best to keep Tums on hand.
    • Hair.  Your hair on your head will be thicker, which is totally a bonus.  What they don’t tell you? It will also start growing in a myriad of other places.  For me it was my neck.  *Shudder*.

Postpartum:

    • The baby doesn’t come with a manual.  No matter how many you already have, each baby is different.  It takes time to learn the ebbs and flows of this new little one, so don’t be too hard on yourself.
    • Breastfeeding is HARD.  Oh, and it hurts.  I know, I know, they tell you it shouldn’t hurt – and they’re right.  It shouldn’t be the excruciating every single time you try (if it is, contact LaLecheLeague for some help).  Be that as it may, there is still a little one chowing down on your nips every few hours and in the beginning they will get cracked, dry and extremely sore.  This is normal and will subside soon if you persevere.  The best medicine for those cracked and possible bleeding nipples is to express a bit of breastmilk and rub it in.
    • Babies won’t starve themselves.  Unless they have an underlying medical condition, babies will not sleep through hunger.  Do not believe the hype that you must wake up or force your child to eat every 3 hours even throughout the night.  Trust in your baby and its instincts to cue you for feeds.
    • Is your baby peeing? Pooping? Gaining weight?  Good.  That’s really all you need.  Again, unless there is an underlying medical condition I see absolutely no reason to track feed times or wet/dirty diapers.  Stop stressing!
    • Your vagina smells.   Didn’t we already cover this?  Well, unlike the pregnancy aroma ‘change’, postpartum vajayay smells more like your insides are rotting.  Seriously, it is h-o-r-r-i-b-l-e.  All that old blood and tissue and mucus excreting itself is enough to make you want to buy a nose plug for all bathroom visits.  Be prepared for the bleeding and stench to last up to 6 entire weeks.
    • The post-delivery poop.  Your first bowel movement after delivery is a moment of celebration.  It will also likely be a moment (or 20) of discomfort.  Make sure you eat lots of fruit and veggies, drink lots of water and have plenty of fibre so as to not prolong the process.
    • The sitz bottle.  I didn’t realize that I wasn’t going to be able to wipe myself post-delivery.  Truth is, everything is too swollen/bruised down there for that to even be remotely appealing.  Get ready to squirt yourself with a sitz bottle after every pee instead of using the trusted TP.  Also, urine can really burn your labia postpartum as well.  Rub a little vaseline on the area before you go to curb the pain.
    • For weeks, maybe months after, you will feel like another baby is about to fall out.  This one really surprised me.  Stand or sit too long and you’ll start to feel pressure down there just like when baby was inside.  If you’re like me, you’ll actually run to check if another baby is indeed about to fall out.  This will go away but may take months.
    • Night sweats.  Nobody warned me about this and I woke up in the middle of the day on day 4 of postpartum convinced I had peed the bed.  I was also violently shaking, inconsolably cold and incredibly freaked out.  All normal, as it would turn out.  Your body will shed all that water you’ve retained somewhere between days 3-5 postpartum.  Expect increased bathroom visits and perhaps a midnight wake up call (and shower).
    • Afterbirth Pains.  You think you did your job. You pooped out a baby, you survived the contractions, you earned that gold star goshdammit.  Don’t expect the cramps to stop post delivery though, at least not for a few days.  Your watermelon sized uterus needs to shrink back down to normal and it can’t do that without continuing to contract.  Books will tell you this feels like a ‘mild’ labour contraction, but I call bullshit.  It was more like a moderate one, particularly during a nursing session.
    • You will feel alone.  No matter what your support system, you will likely have feelings of isolation after you bring baby home.  It’s probably the hormones.  It’s best to try to get out, hang out with understanding friends and at least try to regain a sense of normalcy.  While some emotional changes are guaranteed, if you find yourself chronically blue; unable to bond with your baby; lethargic; apathetic or just generally depressed please speak to your doctor or midwife.  Postpartum depression is real and WAY more common than you think.  It is nothing to be ashamed of, but getting the right support early on is crucial to your wellbeing.
    • Everything you thought you knew was wrong.  You’ll throw out all the books and plans you had out the window.  It’s fabulous to be researched and prepared, but be too rigid with your expectations and you’ll likely be forced to change rather quickly.  I had a lot of “I’ll never” moments before my son, but I learned all too quickly that you should NEVER say never.

Have more to add?  Leave a comment below!

 
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Posted by on April 15, 2012 in Parenting, Random Shit

 

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Tales From the Elevator

End of day, home time.  My zombified body presses the elevator down button and the suspect-at-best elevator finally arrives on my floor.  I stumble on, and press the P2 button.  And that’s when I hear a very strange sound.   I look around, confused before I finally realize it’s that emergency telephone ringing. 

FUCK.

The work elevator is known for its sketchiness and I’m now convinced that I’m doomed to spend the night in this steel cage.  Doing the only reasonable thing you can do when a phone rings, I open the telephone door and pick it up.  Much to my dismay, the phone cord is only about a foot long, requiring me to press my cheek up against the side of the elevator in an awkward sumo squat position.  In high heels, no less.  Luckily, I’m the master of grace and squatting (talents that should not be taken lightly), so I rock it. 

“Hello?”
Long Pause.

Oh great, I think.  They aren’t sure how to tell me I’m trapped.  That, or it’s like that really bad movie where the girl dials the random number on her cell phone and the person who answers is the only one who can save her from certain death.  I may be a squat master, but I wasn’t prepared to do it for the long haul here.  Plus how could I possibly run around like the heroine is supposed to if I’m stuck on the other end of this foot-long cord?  I feel like I’ve already killed her and she hasn’t even spoken yet.  That is way too much to have on my conscience at 5pm.

“Are you paying too high of an interest rate on your Visa or Mastercard?”

“Uh, I’m sorry?” This has got to be the strangest call to action that I’ve ever heard.  Granted, high interest rates cause thousands of financial crises per year so I guess they’re pretty terrifying.

“Transfer your balance to us today and enjoy a promotional rate of 1.9 % for 6 months”

At that moment, I realize that I’m talking to a recording and am being solicited for credit products.  Is no place sacred anymore?

“YOU’RE TALKING TO AN ELEVATOR!” I slam the phone down, smug that I showed that recording who was boss. 

I walk off that elevator, relieved that I don’t have to spend all night diffusing bombs and negotiating with terrorists but I’m a little forlorn about it as well because if that did happen they’d probably make a motion picture out of my story and then I’d be famous and not have to ride in that POS elevator ever again. 

Sometimes life just isn’t fair.

 
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Posted by on December 1, 2011 in Random Shit

 

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