Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Internet Douchebag Apologizes. Hell Freezes Over.

So, has everyone heard of Reddit?  It's a universe unto itself.  It is basically a site where people share links to photos, news, blogs - basically anything and everything you can imagine.  There is a HUGE audience on Reddit.  I am a regular reader.

As we all know, the Internet is vast and full of douchebags - and Reddit is no different.  Some may even argue that there is a higher douchebag to normal person ratio on this site.  Probably has something to do with age of the users, anonymity, and many, many other factors that I won't try to figure out right now.

Well, one of those douchebags posted a photo yesterday with a caption that read, i'm not sure what to conclude from this.

Here is the picture.

I'm pretty sure the purpose of posting it was to get some cheap laughs and an endless thread of Internet put downs.  It received A LOT of comments.  This was one of them:

Hey, guys. This is Balpreet Kaur, the girl from the picture. I actually didn't know about this until one of my friends told on facebook. If the OP wanted a picture, they could have just asked and I could have smiled :) However, I'm not embarrased or even humiliated by the attention [negative and positve] that this picture is getting because, it's who I am. Yes, I'm a baptized Sikh woman with facial hair. Yes, I realize that my gender is often confused and I look different than most women. However, baptized Sikhs believe in the sacredness of this body - it is a gift that has been given to us by the Divine Being [which is genderless, actually] and, must keep it intact as a submission to the divine will. Just as a child doesn't reject the gift of his/her parents, Sikhs do not reject the body that has been given to us. By crying 'mine, mine' and changing this body-tool, we are essentially living in ego and creating a seperateness between ourselves and the divinity within us. By transcending societal views of beauty, I believe that I can focus more on my actions. My attitude and thoughts and actions have more value in them than my body because I recognize that this body is just going to become ash in the end, so why fuss about it? When I die, no one is going to remember what I looked like, heck, my kids will forget my voice, and slowly, all physical memory will fade away. However, my impact and legacy will remain: and, by not focusing on the physical beauty, I have time to cultivate those inner virtues and hopefully, focus my life on creating change and progress for this world in any way I can. So, to me, my face isn't important but the smile and the happiness that lie behind the face are. :-) So, if anyone sees me at OSU, please come up and say hello. I appreciate all of the comments here, both positive and less positive because I've gotten a better understanding of myself and others from this. Also, the yoga pants are quite comfortable and the Better Together tshirt is actually from Interfaith Youth Core, an organization that focuses on storytelling and engagement between different faiths. :) I hope this explains everything a bit more, and I apologize for causing such confusion and uttering anything that hurt anyone.

Okay, so woman who is being ridiculed publicly on a very high traffic Internet site reads and responds with total grace, acceptance and forgiveness.  I may have actually been clapping and sort of crying when I read that, but I was even more touched by this next comment, by the original poster of the photo:

I know that this post ISN'T a funny post but I felt the need to apologize to the Sikhs, Balpreet, and anyone else I offended when I posted that picture. Put simply it was stupid. Making fun of people is funny to some but incredibly degrading to the people you're making fun of. It was an incredibly rude, judgmental, and ignorant thing to post.
/r/Funny wasn't the proper place to post this. Maybe /r/racism or /r/douchebagsofreddit or /r/intolerance would have been more appropriate. Reddit shouldn't be about putting people down, but a group of people sending cool, interesting, or funny things. Reddit's been in the news alot lately about a lot of cool things we've done, like a freaking AMA by the president. I'm sorry for being the part of reddit that is intolerant and douchebaggy. This isn't 4chan, or 9gag, or some other stupid website where people post things like I did. It's fucking reddit. Where some pretty amazing stuff has happened.
I've read more about the Sikh faith and it was actually really interesting. It makes a whole lot of sense to work on having a legacy and not worrying about what you look like. I made that post for stupid internet points and I was ignorant.
So reddit I'm sorry for being an asshole and for giving you negative publicity.
Balpreet, I'm sorry for being a closed minded individual. You are a much better person than I am
Sikhs, I'm sorry for insulting your culture and way of life.
Balpreet's faith in what she believes is astounding.

Balpreet is amazing for her resolve, her amazing view of what is important in this world, and her dedication to the practice of her faith.  But the original poster is amazing, too - because he grew up right in front of our very eyes.  I was touched by this.

This whole situation reminded me that it is never to late to correct something you've done.  Well, that and Western ideas of beauty are complete bullshit.  But all in all it was a good Internet day.  I think we all needed one.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Let's Stop Pretending Children Are the Only Annoying People On Planes

Let's Stop Pretending Children Are the Only Annoying People On Planes:

That is the title of my article on Mommyish today.  I'm pretty sure I sealed my fate and got the plane ride from hell because I wrote this. Lucien was definitely the most annoying person on that flight. Well, one of them anyway. The old lady sitting next to me saying, What's wrong with him? Is this your only child? Bet you're not gonna have another one!  was a close second.

Anyway, I still stand by my point. You can read it here.

Also, apparently my last two blog posts were unreadable for some.  I was in Florida at my mother's house.  She doesn't believe in the Internet.  Since I had no connection, I was composing the posts in Word, and copying them into Blogger.  Apparently that caused a glitch for some.  Trying to fix it...

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Abortions All Around!

You know what the world needs? More abortions.

Yes, this world that we are currently living in is in dire need of more abortions.  I'm not happy about it either.  It's just a fact.

With Republican politicians and policymakers turning against sex education, birth control funding, and general common sense - the only other alternative to birthing a child that you can't afford or don't want - is abortion. Pretty funny that the very thing the GOP candidates are rallying so hard against, is the only option that will remain if they get their way. De-funding of Planned Parenthood, abstinence only sex education - these things will make abortion very popular in these parts.

So, abortions all around everyone! Hip, hip, hooray! The pro-life movement has given us no other choice. Which is kind of ironic, isn't it? If they get their way, there will certainly be women dying. Their precious fetuses will be dying, too - at the hands of whatever new-fangled method women will be forced to concoct to unsafely execute a termination that should be safely and medically happening.

But the pro-lifers don't care about that. They care about the babies, the babies, the poor precious babies! Well, we all know that’s not true.  They care about the fetus.  And they care about telling women what to do with said fetus.  Birth it!  After that, eh, we don’t care so much.  You and your unwanted baby can ride freely into the sunset.  Doesn’t that sound great?

This movement is not pro-life.  It’s pro-birth.  They don’t give a shit about life.  If they did, their movement would look so different.  If it really was about the babies, the poor precious babies they would put their time and effort into ending hunger, improving education and generally making our world a better place for all these babies they insist be born.  But we all know that’s not going to happen. That would be a hand out.  Republicans hate spending tax dollars on things that matter handouts. Why should we help these women?  No one told them to keep having so many babies!

Um, yes you did.

I’m with Bill Clinton when he says, “Abortions should be safe, legal and rare.”  I really believe they would be rare, if there was more and earlier sex education outreach, more funding for Planned Parenthood and less pushing of the ridiculous abstinence-only education platform.  Stop calling it abstinence-only education.  There is no education involved in just telling someone to say No.  As the parent of a toddler, I can tell you how far just telling someone No will get you.  Not very.

Pro-lifers love to paint pictures of women flippantly scheduling abortions into their days between a mani-pedi and happy hour.   Pro-choice advocates don’t love abortion, as the right would have you believe.  They realize it is a necessary medical option.  And women don't use abortions as birth control, either.  Would you rather brush your teeth, or get a root canal? 

Yup, our world definitely needs more abortions.  But we’re not the ones making it that way.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

I flew with a toddler and survived. Is there a t-shirt for that?

Remember how Charlie Brown would occasionally have a dark cloud floating over his head, following him around where ever he went?  That was me yesterday.  Or maybe it was my son.  Not sure which.  When you are constantly holding a little person, it's hard to tell which one of you the shitty luck is befalling.

Yesterday was the dreaded first solo flight with toddler.  He’s been on plenty of flights, but his father has always been with us.  It’s always nice to approach these situations in pairs.  But this time we were travelling alone.  I kind of felt like we needed to take one more flight while his little body still flies free.  He is going to be two in November, so travelling as a family is about to get really expensive.

We’re getting ready to leave the house, and I am scanning all of the crap that I am responsible for Sherpa-ing around.  Cars eat – check.  Luggage – check.  Diaper bag – check.  Purse – check.  Stroller – check.  Oh, and toddler.  Can’t forget him.  How in the hell am I going to do this alone?  I push the impossibility of the situation out of my mind, and my husband helps us to the taxi.

We load up, wave goodbye and I sit back and try to convince Lucien through some repetitive mantra I’ve made up that we are about to have an amazing day!  All of a sudden, I realize that the air that I am breathing is thick with the smell of something floral, yet disgusting.  All of the windows in the car are open – so the fact that this smell is persevering is pretty amazing. 

I look to the rearview mirror and see three of those Christmas tree-shaped air fresheners.  Then I look down to the pocket of the rear door, and begin to count.  Eleven.  There are eleven more in my car door.  I glance across the back seat, and to my horror, there are eight more on Lucien’s side.  What in the name of everything holy is this lady doing?  Trying to suffocate us with the smell of baby powder and lilac?  I start to feel really queasy.

I text my sister.  Just counted 22 air fresheners in this car.  I’m gonna puke.  I like to keep her updated with all the banal goings on of my day.  I look at Lucien to see how he’s handling this.  He looks, sleepy – but okay.  About 30 seconds later, he starts screaming.  I’m looking at him trying to figure out what the hell is going on, when all of a sudden vomit is shooting out of his mouth and nose.  He is covered in it, as is his car seat.  We’ve got another 20 minutes at least until we get to the airport.  I try to mention something about the air fresheners and how disgusting they are to the driver, but she doesn’t understand a word I’m saying.  Deep breaths.

We finally get to the airport.  I unload all of our stuff and start changing Lucien’s clothes right on the curb.  He is soaked in puke, and I just have to get them off of him.  We head into the airport and pass through security and on to our gate with no major problems.  We board the plane, and I’m feeling optimistic that the worst of it must be over.  I’ve got his bottle -  if this flight is anything like the ones in our past, he will drink it while we are taking off and be asleep for the majority of the flight.

Mommy mistake number one happens when I remove the bottle from my bag before take off and he sees it.  Now he wants it, and we haven’t even started taxiing yet.  I’m hoping he drinks it slowly. 

He doesn’t.

Now he’s empty handed, tired, and pissed that I am holding him in place.  We begin to taxi.  He begins to scream.  I didn’t even know this noise could come out of my child.  He’s also thrashing his arms wildly. The people around me have begun to express their annoyance.  Oh great.  This is gonna be a looooong flight.  I resist the urge to scream, You think this is going to be a long flight for you?  I’m responsible for demon child’s exorcism!  Have a shot and put your headphones on, jerks!  Instead of doing that, I decide to apologize profusely (and disingenuously) and resume trying to calm the beast beautiful child that I gave birth to and love immensely.

The flight attendants are now doing everything in their power to help me, and thus help the rest of the passengers from hearing this howling banshee poor, frustrated, child any longer.  They are amazing.  I don’t know what I would have done without them.  One of them hands me a second bottle.  I give it to Lucien even though I know he doesn’t need it.  He takes it and falls asleep. 

Oh, thank Jesus.  I look down at the sleeping angel in my arms.  A few minutes go by, and I feel something.  I realize that I have given Lucien two bottles in the last half hour.  He has peed all over me.  Whatever - I’m already covered in vomit, so who really cares?  I let him sleep and decide to deal with it when he wakes up.

He wakes up in a great mood.  I’m not being facetious - he actually is in a really good mood.  Thank god.  We head to the bathroom to change him.  He refuses to lie down on the creepy changing table, so I have to change him standing up.  As soon as I remove the soaked diaper, he pees all over my shirt and his new, clean diaper.  So we head back to our seat, get another diaper, and return to the bathroom for take two.  Diaper is successfully on.  I am now successfully covered in vomit and urine.

We emerge from the bathroom, and the flight attendant stops me and says, I am so sorry.  I just spilled an entire Sprite on your seat.  Your sweater and your baby’s stuffed animal are soaked.  Apparently she’s expecting me to freak out, because the look on her face is of sheer horror.  I say,  I am covered from head to toe in piss and puke.  Sprite is actually a welcome addition to this.  It’s fine.   We land.  I wrap my soaked sweater around my waist, hoist my vomit and pee stained offspring onto my waist and head to freedom.

I turn my phone on when we get into the airport.  The first message that pops up is titled "Anderson Cooper Show."  What?   It's from one of my editors at an online magazine I've been contributing to. It reads:

Hi Maria,
I have been invited to attend  a live Anderson Cooper show segment about different parenting styles... I'd like you to attend with me in light of your recent piece that did so well.  The taping is at noon tomorrow.  Would you be available to attend?  Please let me know ASAP.

I never leave New York.   Ever.  I never go anywhere.  I now cannot believe that I have gotten on a plane - today of all days - flown into piss and puke, and away from this opportunity.  Deep sigh.

The moral of this long winded story is this:  So what?  So what if I was covered in piss and puke?  So what if everyone on the flight wanted to slay me and my child?  The rain cloud never wins if you can keep your sense of humor. All of these little annoyances came to an end eventually.  Everything is impermanent.  

Yes, I am dreading the flight home - but that, too, will pass. Right?

Monday, September 10, 2012

I'm definitely a Scary Mommy. Definitely.

During my pregnancy, I read the Babycenter message boards religiously.  Apart from a few fantastic friends that I made - I felt a little out of place.  Nothing like seeing a picture of someone's "bump" with a Twilight poster in the background to make you feel like the oldest woman to ever conceive.

Why oh why didn't I find the Scary Mommy community then?  These women are my people. When Lucien was about a year old, I stumbled upon the Scary Mommy message boards.  Shortly after that, I realized they were attached to the most amazing parenting blog on the planet.  Jill Smokler, aka Scary Mommy writes about motherhood in a way that all women can relate to.  She's a real person.  She is also one of the kindest women you will ever meet.  She gave me her freaking phone number at Blogher in case I was ever overwhelmed with the goings-on of the weekend and needed someone to talk to.  Seriously.  She did that.

In addition to attracting the coolest moms in the blogosphere, she raises money for women on her message boards who are going through hard times with Scary Mommy Nation  She also has a Society section of the blog, that runs posts from other bloggers - giving them a wider audience than they have ever experienced before.  That is what happening for me today - and I am thrilled about it.

So if you followed the link from Scary Mommy, and you like what you see - please follow me on Twitter and Facebook.  Let's be cyber-friends.

And thanks Jill, for all that you do for moms.  Myself included.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Hello, Brooklyn. Goodbye Summer.

 We took a walk through the neighborhood last week, enjoying the last days of summer.  It hit us that we really have no pictures of Lucien and I, because I am always behind the camera.  So we snapped this...

It's great that he looks so thrilled.  It's okay kid, I'm ready for fall, too.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

This is a big deal.

Today my blog is being featured on SITS Girls.  If you are a blogger, this site is a not-to-be missed resource.  They give a constant stream of information about marketing, design, blogging platforms - really, it's just SO MUCH that they do.  For free.  For women.  But what I love most about it is the community of women who come together from all different backgrounds and interests to look into and support each others endeavors.

So, if you are visiting from SITS today, I recommend taking a peak at one of my greatest hits posts, on the right side of this page, under You Should Start Here.  You'll find it under the Magical Vagina banner.  Heh, heh.  This is a good time to warn you that I am very political, very opinionated, and - well, you'll see for yourself.

Thanks ladies, for reading - and hopefully continuing to follow and read if you like what you see here.

If you like me, let's keep in touch on Facebook and Twitter.    

Photobucket Photobucket

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Sandra Fluke - you rock.

My husband came home late tonight.  He has no interest in watching political conventions - he's about as far left as you could ever get.  Left of even myself, which is pretty impressive.

Which is why I was so exited to get over to my best friend's - aka gay husband's house - to watch the DNC, on his terrace - with a chilled bottle of wine.  As luck would have it, Sandra Fluke's speech happened on my walk over.  I was very saddened by this, because I respect her very much, and wanted to hear what she had to say.

I got home to read the transcript, then also read that ABC and CBS refuse to run it.  Ridiculous.  Anyway, if you live in a cave and don't know who she is - just Google her name.  I am too tired, and there have been far too many glasses of wine for me to explain the whole situation coherently.

Here is the transcript of her speech. 

Some of you may remember that earlier this year, Republicans shut me out of a hearing on contraception. In fact, on that panel, they didn't hear from a single woman, even though they were debating an issue that affects nearly every woman. Because it happened in Congress, people noticed. But it happens all the time. Many women are shut out and silenced. So while I'm honored to be standing at this podium, it easily could have been any one of you. I'm here because I spoke out, and this November, each of us must do the same.

During this campaign, we've heard about the two profoundly different futures that could await women—and how one of those futures looks like an offensive, obsolete relic of our past. Warnings of that future are not distractions. They're not imagined. That future could be real.

In that America, your new president could be a man who stands by when a public figure tries to silence a private citizen with hateful slurs. Who won't stand up to the slurs, or to any of the extreme, bigoted voices in his own party. It would be an America in which you have a new vice president who co-sponsored a bill that would allow pregnant women to die preventable deaths in our emergency rooms. An America in which states humiliate women by forcing us to endure invasive ultrasounds we don't want and our doctors say we don't need. An America in which access to birth control is controlled by people who will never use it; in which politicians redefine rape so survivors are victimized all over again; in which someone decides which domestic violence victims deserve help, and which don't. We know what this America would look like. In a few short months, it's the America we could be. But it's not the America we should be. It's not who we are.

We've also seen another future we could choose. First of all, we'd have the right to choose. It's an America in which no one can charge us more than men for the exact same health insurance; in which no one can deny us affordable access to the cancer screenings that could save our lives; in which we decide when to start our families. An America in which our president, when he hears a young woman has been verbally attacked, thinks of his daughters—not his delegates or donors—and stands with all women. And strangers come together, reach out and lift her up. And then, instead of trying to silence her, you invite me here—and give me a microphone—to amplify our voice. That's the difference.

Over the last six months, I've seen what these two futures look like. And six months from now, we'll all be living in one, or the other. But only one. A country where our president either has our back or turns his back; a country that honors our foremothers by moving us forward, or one that forces our generation to re-fight the battles they already won; a country where we mean it when we talk about personal freedom, or one where that freedom doesn't apply to our bodies and our voices.
We talk often about choice. Well, ladies and gentlemen, it's time to choose.

Amen, sister.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

I give great advice.

John, over at Ask Your Dad blog broke his hand.  There is not a lot of blogging going on over there because of it.  I wrote a guest post for him today, to fill in the blanks for his audience until he can write again. 

It's a post with a little advice for sleep training a new child.  Sort of.

Yes, I edited the cover.  Just a little.
If you would like to read some great advice, visit Ask Your Dad

Monday, September 3, 2012

Ricki Lake Ruined My Birth

Today on Mommyish, I talk about how Ricki Lake ruined my birth.  Well, there's a little more to it than that - but that is the gist of it.

You can read the full article here.  Then come back and let me know what you think.  Are natural birth advocates giving women that can't deliver naturally the support they need?