Sunday, September 22, 2013

Aging Has Its Benefits

Just like anything else in life, aging has its pros and cons.  I am just not as quick or active as I used to be.  I don’t have as much tolerance for salty, junk food.  I can’t eat as much as I used to and not gain weight.  I have to pluck my beard.  And I know I shouldn’t complain because I might see about five or six hairs every now and then while some people get five or six a minute.  Speaking of hair in unwanted places, the most annoying thing about aging has got to be seeing gray hair in unexpected places.  Yes, I am definitely going there.  What!  Am I the only one willing to admit this?  Wait, are you telling me that I’m the only person here who has gray nasal hair?

However, there are so many things that I appreciate about getting older.  I know right, who would have thought?  The best thing has to be not caring what others think.  When you become a certain age, you just don’t care anymore.  Not that you don’t care what people say or think, per se; you are just too old to give a damn about it.  And you can say exactly what’s on your mind without fearing what others will do.

And how about seeing the world in shades of gray and not just black and white anymore?  Back in the day, I hated when slow drivers were in front of me.  I wouldn’t hunk my horn because that is downright rude, but I would certainly huff and puff.  Now I just wait for a safe chance to overtake, then go about my business.  I have realized that the driver could be old and feeble, which I hopefully will one day be, since it beats the alternative; ill, which I have been and have had to drive; a new driver, which my children will soon be; or a driver who has had a traumatic experience and is afraid to drive – been there.  If my children are in a hurry and expect me to tailgate, I calmly remind them that had we left earlier, we would not have been in this situation.

Then there is taking things into such clear perspectives that I am able to play out scenarios in my mind before events actually happen, which would enable me to be better equipped to handle them.  For instance, if I find my husband in a restaurant with another woman, I don’t think I’ll be as fazed as I would have been many years ago.  As much I love to eat, I’ll probably ask them for some food and join the conversation.  Okay, not very likely because he is not a restaurant person, but you get the drift.

So let’s suppose I come home and find him in our bed with some strange woman.  Man, if I’m tired, I’d probably say, “Guys move over.  Lemme get some rest.  You know how those kids have me ragged.”  Okay, again not likely; he wouldn’t be that dumb to use our bed.  But today I would take a deep breath and give him a chance to come up with a flimsy excuse, while a few years ago I might have accidentally spilled some gasoline on the bed, then accidentally dropped a lit match on it.

And not too many people or things surprise me much anymore.  I think due to the fact that I had gone to more funerals than weddings by a certain age, and because my own mother died so young, news of people dying don’t shock me as much.  I admit every now and then, I’m still taken aback by a sudden death or two; but mostly not.  And one annoying phrase I avoid is ‘untimely death’.   No one dies before his time.  When someone dies, that means that his number just came up.  When Dick Clark died last year, I was surprised when people expressed shock.  Seriously?  The man was 82 years old.  Had suffered a severe stroke seven years prior.  Not to mention that he had lived a full life.  What!  Too soon?

Watching the rewards of the fruit of my labor is quite appealing.  This is just the beginning, but it still feels good.  Just the other day my youngest informed me that he is getting annoyed with a parent who constantly complains about the coaches.  I listened, but didn’t think too much of it.  A couple days later, he resumed the conversation.  Then he said, “If he doesn’t think he is doing a good job, why doesn’t he do it himself.”  I almost shed a tear!

Realizing how short life is and not sweating the small stuff are great things about aging.  I confess I’m a huge fan of Judge Mathis.  Looking back I should have just stopped watching him because over the years, nothing has changed, except for the guests and his bailiff.  The problems are the same.  The people even have the nerve to admit that they watch the show and should know better but never think it’ll never happen to them.  It makes me wonder if they only want to be on TV because there is no way I’d sue somebody for $200.  I won’t even get angry if somebody didn’t pay me back $2,000 - would not lend that person money again, but I won’t lose any sleep over it.

In my teens I would never have done this; in my 20’s I would have felt self-conscious doing it, and in my 30’s I would have felt judged doing it, but as a 40 something year old woman, I leave my house nonchalantly braless because not only is it liberating, but this might be the last decade that I’m able to do so, and perspectively speaking I refuse to let anyone rob me of those moments of pure, unadulterated bliss.

Please Don't Call Me That

So my new obsession on TV is Investigation Discovery or ID.  If you are a fan of shows like Dateline, 48 Hours, Unsolved Mysteries, and the like, then this channel is for you.  ID runs those types of shows all day, every day.  No stupid infomercials cutting in at 3 a.m.  No way, José.  They have enough crime and passion to fill 24 hours with shows like Deadly Women, Bad Men, Nightmare Next Door, Wicked Attraction and Evil Twins.  And the worst thing is, as soon as one show ends, another one instantly begins.  If you have ever sat down at 7 p.m. to catch an episode of Law & Order on TNT back in the day, then you know what I mean.  From the time you see Created by Dick Wolf and you haven’t gotten up, the next thing you know it’s 11 p.m. and you are hearing the “Chung-Chung” sound one last time.

The thing about me and my obsessions is that they are quick and they are intense; but honestly I’m so fickle that they don’t last long.  [Case in point:  I wrote this post about six months ago, but never published it.  I cannot recall the last time I watched ID.  Don’t think I’ve watched that channel all summer because I was so busy with the children.]    Anyhow, I’m totally jealous of folks who have been watching the same soap opera for 30 years.  Well, I’m jealous that they have such stamina, commitment and loyalty; but I’m not jealous that they have been watching the same nonsense for most of their lives.  But who am I to judge?

So I’ve been obsessing with this channel, and when my insomnia kicks in, I simply put the TV to channel 285 and eerily whatever story is on lulls me to sleep.  But lately I notice that I’m getting turned off.  It’s okay to watch Criminal Minds on Wednesday nights, but these real life stories are making me a tad bit paranoid.  And we know I don’t need any more paranoia in my life.  [Guess this explains why I haven’t watched ID for a while.]

Anyways, I was watching an episode of Fatal Vows where an 18 year old got married, had a baby and became a housewife.  Bored with that lifestyle, she turned to stripping.  Sorry, exotic dancing.  When she proceeded to bring her work home, her husband was not impressed.  He went to his father for help, and his father had a meeting with the young couple.  Her father-in-law and her cuckold of a husband convinced the young lady to stop stripping and go back to being a housewife.  She relented, but after a while, she secretly returned to stripping and ultimately killed her young husband for either the insurance money, her new man or her freedom (it’s always one of those three, hence I can’t recall), so she could proceed with her exciting life.

As I watched this episode, I totally empathized with this young lady……..sans the stripping and the killing.  I never imagined that at this age the highlight of my life would be going to BJ’s Wholesale Club to grocery shop.  Don’t read too much into this because I’m not that complex of an individual.  I’m not saying that I don’t enjoy the pros of not working.  I’m just saying that I don’t enjoy the cons of staying home.  That’s all.  But I feel like we’ve been down this road already, so you know my stance.  If not, it’s this - the mundane tasks just don’t do it for me anymore. 

But before I go off on the wrong tangent, let me discuss the topic of this post and list what I don’t like being called:

Ø  Housewife – Why isn’t a married, female accountant called a housewife even if she is the main person responsible for running the household?  She lives in the house.  She is the wife.  Even as a child, I never liked that term.  When I saw it on my birth certificate for my mother’s occupation, I was highly offended.  After all, she did so much more than take care of the house.  Maybe it’s me, but every time I hear that term I picture a woman in a housedress, holding a broom and wearing a headscarf/head tie.  And I know I don’t cover my head at home, and I use a vacuum mostly, but still, it just doesn’t represent who I am.

Ø  Homemaker – I know people think it’s an upgrade from housewife, but homemaker conjures up an image someone in construction gear actually building a home.  Plus if the house is where you live and the home is where the heart is, doesn’t the entire family make the home?

Ø  Full-time mom – I don’t care where a mother works.  I don’t care how old her children are.  Once a person is a mother, it’s a full time job.  A mother is always thinking about her children, always thinking about what she has to do for her children.  And don’t get smart and ask what about deadbeat mothers?  You and I both know there is no room for them in this conversation.  So back to the topic at hand, even if the children are in day care or in school while the mother works, once she gets home, she has to be there for them full time.

Ø  Stay-at-home mom – Where the hell is the mother supposed to stay?  On the job?  Even that accountant lady who works 60 hours a week stays at home, doesn’t she?

Ø  Domestic engineer – This is just a fancy name to appease people like me who are offended by housewife.  I’ll sweep, mop, cook, chauffeur the kids, but you all know I will not fix any machinery or engine that has the propensity to spark.

Ø  Domestic entrepreneur – Even I joined the band wagon some time ago and coined my own term because basically, I wanted to feel like all that I do at home is more important than just taking care of the house and the children.  I mean when I stayed up late all those nights in college, this was not the career I envisioned, so I had to prove a point.  And since I handle the family’s finances, among other specialized tasks, then shouldn’t I get a bump in title?

But I’ve been at home long enough and have reconciled to putting N/A next to occupation when filling out forms because I cannot find a suitable term which encompasses my role.

And I hope you have figured out that my main point is not to belittle the ‘profession’; instead it is to point out that I don’t like labels.  Labels seem to give some people wrong impressions of what others do and who they are.  And I don’t like it.

If you have to call me, call me ‘Myra’.  If you don’t know me, then call me ‘Miss’.  If you have to refer to me, then ‘young lady’ or ‘lady’ is fine because perspectively speaking, if you call me “Ma’am” we are going to have another problem.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Why America Can Never Be the Middle East’s BFF

Please remember that these are my perspectives, my opinions, my feelings; so there is no need for a disclaimer, no need to state the obvious.  Okay?  Okay.

The secondary reason why America is the Middle East’s biggest infidel is because of its hypocrisy.

America complains about the way women are treated in the Middle East and about China’s human rights practices, then does nothing to control how inner city youths are being treated by the police.  In most major cities, the police have the right to stop men, young and old, question them, and frisk them, just because they are black or brown.  They stop them while driving and search their cars, just because of the color of their skin.  Somehow black and brown men equal suspicious men.  America still has not gotten past its history of slavery.  It still has remnants of Jim Crow laws, and many Americans still think that this is the best place on Earth.  America pretends not to notice, and no other Western country is speaking out strongly against its ills.  But for some reason, America always finds time to stick its nose in the Middle East’s business.

It claims to be the Land of the Free, and sure, people are free to say anything most of the time.  But even in this Land of the Free, even if you are not brown or black, some of the little freedoms that other countries take for granted are foreign to America.  Try urinating next to the tree you plan to cut down and burn in your own backyard without getting three different permits!  You are just not always free to do as you please in these great United Sates of America. 

Look, people are free to believe what they want to believe, what they were taught to believe and what they see fit to believe.  However, as an Antiguan American I do not subscribe to the fact that America is the bestest, mostest, perfectest place in the Universe.  I do think it’s a cool country, just not the it place…no place is.  And since no American has lived everywhere on the entire Earth, how the heck they can judge theirs to be the best is beyond me.

However, the primary reason why BFF America will never be to the Middle East is religion, or rather religious freedom.  No surprise here, right.

Many Americans want everyone to conform to their ideologies while negating everyone else’s.  They don’t get that religious freedom means that we are all free to practice our own forms of religion.  In this country, the founding fathers believed in freedom of religion, but nowadays people think it’s just freedom to follow a specific kind of Christian religion.  They see it as being free to impose their religious views on others, but others are not free to impress their “cultish” religion on them because after all, there is only ONE true God.

I really don’t get it because religion is supposed to make people more loving and compassionate; instead too many religious people are narrow-minded, spiteful and filled with hatred.  Don’t believe me?  When was the last time you or someone said or thought about another member of your church, “I can’t believe she calls herself a Christian.”  But what people don’t realize is that churches, religion, Christianity don’t necessarily change people.  Our DNA was formed way before we ever step foot in a church.  Sure some people can adjust certain characteristics, but typically, the nice people in church were always nice; and the not so nice people in church were always mean spirited.

But speaking to the core of religion, here is another thing that baffles me: the idea of anyone being blasphemous.  That concept is totally absurd because there are too many religions, and people worship too many different deities.  However, disrespecting someone’s religion or religious leader or God just for the sake of disrespect, is equally ridiculous.  And why anyone would think that their religion is better than someone else’s is even sillier.  Of course as civilized people, we find it outrageous for some Muslims to resort to murder just because some idiot made some low budget movie disparaging the Prophet Muhammad.  If someone made a joke about God being way too old to have a child with Mary, I don’t think any Christian would propagate violence.  He might be offended; he might think the person is a jackass; but he will not see it as grounds to take up arms. 

As a little girl, I loved the beach so much that my grandmother told me that if I bring a crocus bag to the beach, I could sweep it up and take it home; then I’ll have my own beach in our backyard.  I had no reason to disbelieve her.  And for the longest, I reminded my mother to bring a bag whenever we visited my grandmother.  I eventually forgot about it until years later when it dawned on me that for all those years, nobody, not my parents, not even my siblings, ever pulled me aside and said, “Kid, you know that’s bullshit, right!”

For those of you who think I was gullible, you probably also think that those martyred suicide Muslim bombers who believe they’ll get 70 virgins when they get to heaven, are just as nuts.  And you most likely think that those Hindus who believe that when they die, they will reincarnate again and again for eternity are just as ludicrous.  Yet for some reason, you don’t think that going to heaven and consuming milk and honey forever is preposterous.  First of all, not all, but many Christians are a tad bit overweight.  Don’t know if honey and milk will do it for them.  Second of all, that diet doesn’t seem too balanced to me.

I hope this post doesn’t sound like a ranting tirade because perspectively speaking, everyone’s religion is just one spaceship away from a cult; so everyone, just calm down and stop thinking that your religious shit doesn’t stink. 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Empathy – Yea. Sympathy – Nay.

If you know me well, you know that I’m a political junkie, well was.  For a good while, my TV was fixed on MSNBC, all day, every day.  I knew politicians as well as tabloid readers know their celebrities, as well as kids know their video games.  But lately I am so passed politics.  I still love me some Obama.  I mean look at that swag – the walk, the salt and pepper hair, the way he says Pakistan.  How could anyone not be in awe of him?  Oh yeah, he managed to get some good work done, with his hands tied behind his back.  (Look it up yourself – this is not what this post is about.)  And I wish the government would spend more money on infrastructure and less on wars, but that is neither here nor there.

But the point I’m making is that I’ve known who Rob Portman is for a while, and boy was I wishing he would be Romney’s running mate.  Can you imagine two vanilla guys trying to oust Obama and Biden?  Again, this post is not about that.  The reason why I brought up Rob Portman’s name is because finally there was some colorful news about him.  Did I mention that this man is B-O-R-I-N-G?

So in March of this year, Sen. Rob Portman (R) announced that he supports same-sex marriage.  It is not unusual for a politician to support same-sex marriage lately.  It is not even unusual for a Republican politician.  But it is a bit unusual for a CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICAN politician to support same-sex marriage.  And it is even more unusual for a conservative Republican politician who was a co-sponsor of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) to do so.

I didn’t have to wonder long why this politician had evolved.  And really I don't even have anything against anyone evolving their views regarding same-sex marriage and same-sex relationships.  After all, too many of us grew up in churches and communities that condemn such.  And it is usually after we are mature enough to think rationally for ourselves, can we encounter this evolution.

But get this.  Sen. Portman found out two years ago that he youngest son was….wait for it….wait for it…  His baby was gay.  How was that possible?  He was a good father.  He was a good Christian man.  His other son and daughter were normal.  How could that be?  He kept that from us for two years, and after getting used to the idea of having a gay son, he realized that he would be responsible for preventing his baby from living as happy a life as his other two children.  Because of Daddy Dearest, Little Willie (oh I don’t know if that’s what he has…I just know that his son’s name is William) might not be able to marry and live happily ever after with the person that he loves.  And how can Daddy be happy if Little Willie is not?  Since Daddy had the power to do something about it, Daddy did.  Daddy made it known that it is now okay for same-sex couples to marry.  After all, the Supreme Court was about to overturn DOMA, and Daddy was willing to sacrifice his other conservation Republican friends to make Little Willie happy.

And did you know that many people called Sen. Rob Portman brave?  Brave my ass.  Brave he would not be for announcing this two years ago when William sent a letter to him and his wife, although they lived in the same country.  Brave would have been Sen. Rob Portman (R) NOT supporting DOMA in 1996 while thinking that all his children would be heterosexual.  Brave would have been Sen. Rob Portman announcing to Congress and the entire world that everyone should be able to love and marry who they want.  And I can just hear some of you, “What’s next?  Marrying children.  Marrying your immediate family.”  But I’m just here to suggest to you that people who are attracted to members of their own sex are not automatically pedophiles or crazy.  And I don’t want to be hypocritical and assume that people who are in love with their parents/siblings are crazy, but picturing myself with my father gives me the heebie-jeebies, and that, my friend, is downright CRAZY.

Bill Maher has posed this question a few times to which no one is brave enough to give an honest response.  Why have gay rights evolved so quickly (and I know it might not have seemed fast enough for gay people) while civil rights have remained stagnant after so many years.  There is one answer to that question.  People like Rob Portman and Dick Cheney, who also supported gay marriage back in 2004, have openly gay children.  Newt Gingrich has a gay sister, and in 2012, while trying to become the 45th President, was pretending that same-sex relationship was an issue for him.  Come on, Newt.  You have no principles.  You have left every wife for the next, the first while she had cancer and who was also your Geometry teacher.  Your last wife is the same age as your daughters, who you were having an affair with, while trying to impeach Bill Clinton.  So let’s just keep this among people who really believe the shit that they spiel.

But as you can guess, none of these Republican politicians have black family members.  They probably don’t have any real black friends.  They certainly don’t have any poor friends.  And that is the main reason why they cannot relate.  They have no concern for the disenfranchised because they know no one like that.  Not in their family.  Not in their neighborhood.  Not in their circle.  Not in their church.

And unfortunately they cannot sympathize with people to whom they cannot relate.  As soon as one of these politician’s children gets married to someone black, and there is a half black grandbaby involved, only then (after a while of course) will they be able to see black people as that…people.  According to presidential loser Gingrich’s take on homosexuality, “It is in every family.  It is in every community.”  Until black people are in every family, every community, every church, every school, everywhere, they will never be given the same inalienable rights, because perspectively speaking if you can’t see, it doesn’t exist.