Road Trip

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Life is a series of roads.  Some we take, some we avoid, and some we get stuck on.  Recently I guess you could say I’ve gotten stuck, a little lost if you will.  And while I feel like this blog may be a little more for me than anyone else, a way for me to remind myself that I’ll be just fine – maybe it’s something someone else has to see too.

As I say frequently, my life is full of ironic, crazy, what just happened moments, rolled in with comedic events that I almost wouldn’t believe if it wasn’t happening to me.  That being said, it’s no real surprise that the route I originally plan on taking sometimes has road blocks.  Without going into detail, that’s what I’m dealing with now.  And as I deal with the struggle of being a little lost, I’ve tried to come up with some positive affirmations for myself, and some silver linings that I could turn into words to maybe help someone else.  I’ve realized that getting lost in life, is a lot like getting lost on a road trip; and the way to go about getting to your destination is actually pretty similar.

So, without harping on my issues – here is my definitive guide for what to do when you get lost on a road trip, or in life.

Let yourself freak out.  I don’t know about you, but when I get lost (sometimes while even using a GPS), I get pissed.  You set out a route to get to a set destination and you planned on getting there in the amount of time that was projected for you, taking into account possible traffic jams, construction, and general delays.  The idea of going through all of that and then not being able to execute it can result in a huff and puff attitude, but rather than try to go from angry to a ray of sunshine – take a moment and be pissed.  Let out one good “what the *beep*” and then ready yourself to regroup.  You can’t regroup if you are on the verge of a freak out, so just give yourself the freak out moment.

Realize there are several roads to get to the same destination.  Even though you memorized the directions that you set up, those directions are not the only way to your location.  Sometimes the way you think you should go is really a road full of potholes and bumps that could damage your tires.  So be open to a potential detour.

Pull over at a rest stop.  We are all guilty of rushing to get somewhere.  Whether it’s because you’re perpetually late to everything, trying to beat rush hour, or hoping to get somewhere before someone else – we always have an eye on the clock.  As humans, we just naturally rush through a day, we rush through a moment.  We get caught up in trying to document everything through social media that we never take a second to actually be in the moment and take our feelings into account.  Being lost and trying to figure out where to turn by using a “you are here” map in your head is scary.  Relying on the voice of your GPS to say whether you missed the street or not can be nerve wracking.  Allow yourself to be scared, acknowledge the fact that you’re putting your trust into a machine.  Once you regroup, that’s when you can actually reroute and refocus.

Check your gas tank.  I have a fear of running out of gas.  It’s rare that I let my gas tank get close to or under a quarter of a tank full.  When I first got my car, my grandfather told me that it’s better for your engine if you don’t let your gas tank get to fully empty.  The same is true for our mental gas tank.  We can’t let our gas tanks reach empty and expect to have the steam to move forward in the time we expect.  Eventually something’s gotta give, and it will.  So keep an eye on your gas tank, and take the time to refill.  Keep an eye on your mental state, and take time to balance.  In both situations, it’s something that will never go to waste.

Roll the windows down and turn the music up.  Whenever I know I’m going to be in the car for a long amount of time, I make sure that I’ve set up an upbeat playlist.  Music influences your mood, and I make sure that the music I have on a long car ride is music that makes me want to do nothing but sing along at the top of my lungs.  When I’m feeling down, sometimes it’s easy to get sucked into the sad song playing on three different radio stations; but that’s when you have to roll down the windows.  Get the breeze right in your face as a wake up call.  It’s easy to be sad, and it does take work to be happy and optimistic; but when you’re happy and singing, you’re letting in positive energy, and over time it becomes easier to be happy.  Singing loudly will become natural, even if your singing voice may not be.

Admire the view.  Understand that your original route may have had a beautiful view, but that you may not have seen it because you were so focused on following the directions.  When you’re lost, you have to truly look around.  Your senses are heightened through your natural survival mode being turned on.  So while you’re looking at every road sign, don’t just look – take time to see.  Maybe you won’t see breathtaking landscapes, but maybe you’ll see something else that acts as inspiration.  Maybe it’ll be in the form of a young child playing in their front yard who has the zest for life that you may have lost over the years.  Maybe it’ll be in seeing someone struggling, putting your life back into perspective and reminding you that you don’t really have it that bad.  Or maybe it’ll be in seeing the single white feather fall in front of your windshield, confirming that there are higher powers that will always make sure you get to your destination safely and at the right time.

Most importantly, always keep driving.  Eventually every side street leads to a main road, and every main road allows another outlet to your location.  But if you turn around every time you get lost, you’ll never know all the intersections that open your mind to new connections.  So just keep pressing on steadfastly.

Once we let go of the notion that we have to know exactly where we’re going and exactly which roads to take to get there; that’s when we’ll finally hear the words, “You’ve reached your destination.”

 

 

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You Don’t Know Me: An Open Letter To Everyone That Tells Me I Voted Wrong

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I waited until things cooled down regarding this election before speaking about it. I let people grieve, celebrate, speak their feelings, be confused, or remain indifferent. But in the process I have been stereotyped, ridiculed, judged, and verbally attacked based on who I voted for. Now before I continue, I want everyone reading this to understand that I’m not looking for arguments, hate, or any of this “my candidate is better than yours” nonsense. I’m simply defending myself, as I feel compelled to; and hopefully sharing a new perspective on this election as a whole, and on the people who voted as I did.

I gave you your time, now it’s my turn. This is my time.

Anyone who knows me knows that I’ve always been into politics. When I turned eighteen I was overjoyed at the fact that I could register to vote and have a say. At one point I even wanted to be New York Senator (but then I took a politics class in college and realized that maybe direct politics wasn’t for me and I was better off being a journalist and promoting change through other means; but that’s a whole other story for a whole other post). Some of the inspiration for that goal at the time came from Hillary Clinton. The idea of her running for president one day was something I couldn’t wait for. And yet, my vote in this past election was proudly for Mr. Donald J. Trump (plot twist, right?).

I believe in equality for all people, of all races, gender, sexual orientations, ethnicities, and backgrounds. So even though I’m a registered Democrat, I don’t restrict myself to only vote for Democratic candidates or side solely with a Democratic stance on issues. Because of the values and morals I have, I honestly vote for whoever I think is the better choice given the circumstances present at the time. So yes, I chose to stand with someone who wants to make America great again.

When I first found out that Trump was running for president, I had similar thoughts to all those who strongly dislike or hate him, though I didn’t have anything to go on other than what I thought I knew about him. I thought there was no way this man could have any inkling of the American people and their struggles. When I found out Hillary Clinton was running, originally I was very excited. However, as more news came about last fall regarding the deletion of emails, the careless mistakes, and most importantly Benghazi, I started researching more about her. I came to my own conclusions taking what the media said with a grain of salt; and I was not so gong-ho about her winning anymore. So as the election process began, I started paying attention.

As I said, just because I’m a Democrat I don’t restrict myself to only giving Democrats a chance. Therefore, I listened and followed the debates for both the Republicans and Democrats. I paid attention, gave each candidate the benefit of the doubt, and formed my own opinions. Truth be told, from the very first Republican debate I was leaning toward Donald Trump. It was the second they were all asked if they would run as Independent candidates if they didn’t receive the Republican nomination. Trump proudly raised his hand that he could not promise that. It was that moment that I thought well here’s a guy who isn’t going to follow the crowd, and for me that settles very well.

In the beginning of the election process, before the nominations for each party were even selected, I paid attention to everyone’s response on the issues that I feel strongly about, one of them being women’s equality. I kept waiting for Hillary to say something that would make me gasp with excitement and make me secure a vote for her. Unfortunately she kept coming up short. I’m a huge feminist (which I make very clear), and I so badly wanted to vote for her because she was a woman.   If I did that though, that would have been the only reason I voted for her. Being a feminist doesn’t mean you want women to be superior, it means you want them to be equal; so if I voted just to have a woman be in a superior role rather than the right candidate in a superior role – I would go against my own values and that’s something I won’t ever do.

I know what you’re thinking, “How are you a feminist if you voted for Trump.” Well, that’s a question turned attack I’ve gotten a lot and as I stated, I won’t vote for a woman just because she’s a woman. I know, “Trump said all those disgusting things about women though.” Well, while he may have said things, and by no means is he perfect, it was words. I’m human enough to know that men and women alike say things sometimes that are out of line but mean nothing by it. Actions speak louder than words. Hillary Clinton is married to a man she has stuck by, who has acted in ways that are demoralizing, disgusting, embarrassing, and simply wrong to women. If she was truly a feminist, she would have made a statement and left him; a fact about her that I realized as I got older and learned more about relationships; a fact that kept coming back in my head whenever she spoke about women’s rights throughout the election. Yes, her husband wasn’t the one running – but you are who you surround yourself with and the bond of matrimony makes them a unit. If she stood by him after those acts, she inadvertently supports him and thinks it’s okay. And let’s not forget the fact that she defended a 42-year-old man who raped a 13-year-old girl back in the day. “She was just doing her job.” Okay, you can say that – but did her job include having to laugh about it on audiotapes years later admitting that she knew he was guilty? I don’t think that’s in the job description. And shaming all of the women who your husband cheated on you with, that’s not in the job description of former first lady either. Please explain to me how exactly this all makes her a role model for females?

While Trump may have said mean things, he also has the most female executives throughout his companies. He also clearly respects his wife, and his two daughters (one of whom Trump supported when she converted to Judaism for her husband, so your arguments that he doesn’t like Jewish people either is also irrelevant). His oldest daughter, Ivanka, is a charismatic, intelligent, hard working, badass female who is highly respected. Trump never said that she couldn’t make her way because she was a woman, he said she could make her way if she worked hard. A true feminist would respect that and agree that it’s about the hustle. Because as much as I don’t want to be rejected for being a woman, I most certainly do not want to be praised and given a pity vote simply because I am a woman. Sure Hillary is a woman so she could say she’s been discriminated against, rejected, and demoralized (possibly by her husband), but she also didn’t do anything but pull the “I have a vagina” card to help women’s rights in her 30 years being in politics. Again, actions speak louder than words.

Another issue that holds very near and dear to me is immigration. My father and my grandparents came to this country legally and became legal American citizens. My father was only a year old and they lived in Canada, where my two aunts were born, waiting to be sponsored so they could do so much as step foot in this nation. They didn’t search for a way to rig the system; they went about everything the right way, respecting what America stood for. They didn’t know English – they had to learn it. There was no “press 3 for German” option. They took their citizenship test, were all called in front of a judge, and were so proud to pass and call themselves Americans. My father always says the one question he remembers the judge asked him was, “If we were at war with Germany, would you fight for Germany or America?” My dad said he didn’t hesitate to say he was American, this is his country, he would defend America. While yes, we still have family in Germany and they all will always have a tie to the country they were born in – they are proud Americans who earned every achievement through pure hard work. America is a melting pot – that’s how our nation formed, but what people forget is that back in the day when America earned the nickname of the melting pot, it was when people were coming here the right way. All of the people who immigrated here in order to make this country the diverse nation that it is – all had different backgrounds, spoke different languages, had different reasons for immigrating; but they all had one thing in common – they wanted to be Americans. They didn’t just want to live here, they wanted to be here – physically, mentally, emotionally, and yes legally. I fully support immigration and this country continuing the diversity – but go about it the right way.

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Hence, this is another reason why I supported Trump. “Build the wall,” a line his supporters would chant, his enemies would mock, and the general public would roll their eyes over – is actually a great idea. What people don’t realize is that him building a wall isn’t him blocking out people from coming into this country and becoming citizens, it’s his way of blocking out people from illegally coming here and taking away jobs, money, housing, and benefits from other legal citizens either born here or who worked hard to get here, like my father. Hillary Clinton wanted to grant amnesty to millions of people who are in this country illegally, just because. Just because what? Because they beat the system long enough and didn’t get caught? I’m sorry but after hearing the stories from my grandmother about how she clung to my dad as a baby on a boat ride where she had to be separated from my grandfather, where people were packed in like sardines in a can, I’m not okay with granting amnesty just because. We must remember that the word illegal is not a racist term.

Small businesses and trade are also things that I pay close attention to and feel strongly about. My parents own a small business, an injection molding company (so it’s a plastic manufacturing company that makes things like displays, the purple hearts for the government to give out, etcetera; an industry that my father has been around all his life since his father owned the same type of business). Everyone thinks that owning your own business is so luxurious, that you can take off whenever you want, go on vacation wherever you want, and that you have money coming in by the load. That’s not how it works. Anyone who owns a business can tell you the amount of stress, hard work, personal investments, and time it takes to run a successful standing business. Not only having my parents as examples, but having also worked for two small businesses throughout high school and college, I became very aware of how America as a whole can seriously impact them specifically. Though Hillary Clinton said she wanted to help small businesses, her plans of doing so would not have done that. The taxes they would have to pay and the raising of minimum wage would make small businesses drown. She also believes in open trade, and while that’s fine and dandy, it’s not good for American manufacturing companies. I don’t think we should be so focused on other countries being so prosperous in business while companies on our home soil are being forced to close down because they can’t make ends meet. Donald Trump wants to keep business in America; he wants to charge a tariff to people who outsource their manufacturing jobs. Not only is this helping those businesses, it’s also creating more jobs. It’s creating opportunities for those who might be one ATM withdrawal away from getting evicted. His focus is on America and the American people thriving; and even though globally we are interdependent on the success of other countries, we shouldn’t be putting them first. Trump wants to fix the problems here, and there are many, before voluntarily helping out everyone else.

Among other issues, like healthcare, taxes, and education; I side with Trump because he’s putting America first. He really does have an inkling about the average American and their struggles and he dropped his luxurious lifestyle to try to fix those problems and eliminate those struggles. Regardless of whether or not you like him, you have to be able to see that he didn’t need this position, not for money (he’s not even taking a presidential salary), and not for fame. He took on this task because he wants to make a difference and I think if you’re human you should at least respect that.

It’s also very clear how biased the media was in reporting this election. Trump was a different type of candidate right from the get go; and people either flock to or flee from different. It was very clear that the media was quick to flee their support. Trump said mean things that were rehashed over and over again. Hillary didn’t answer the American embassy when they called 600 times saying they were being attacked and when she was asked about it in court she said “what difference does it make?” but that was only mentioned maybe once throughout the year long election process. There was a target on Trump’s back and media portrayed him to be a type of person that you would know he’s not if you actually gave him a chance and listened. People are calling him a racist. Newsflash – he doesn’t care if you’re white, black, purple, or blue polka dot – if you’re American, he’s on your side. He doesn’t have a problem with the LGBTQ community and has no plans on overturning the same sex marriage law. The media took things he said, took them out of context, and then spiraled them out of control to make him look bad. Not once did they mention the fact that Trump was given the Ellis Island Medal of Honor in celebration of his patriotism, brotherhood, and diversity; or his Marine Corps Law Enforcement Foundation Commandment’s Leadership award either. He’s got a vision for this country including unity, prosperity, and strength; and he plans to see it through. If you’re an American citizen, you should be willing and ready to have a country with those three qualities, and deserve to give the man who wants to make that happen a fair chance.

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After Trump won, people protested, demanded a recount, threatened Trump and his family, burned the American flag, and said they were leaving the country. Well, aren’t all those people the same people who claimed the world was “stronger together” and that “love trumps hate” and that we need to be more accepting? Where is your acceptance? The silent majority spoke and overruled you, and that’s just how the democracy ball bounces. Instead of being ignorant and saying he’s this and he’s that, listen to what he has to say, give him a chance. Some people are even criticizing him for his slogan of make America great again. People really had the argument that, “We already are great, he’s implying he’s not supporting this country.” Really? This coming from people who didn’t get their way that are pulling other people from their cars and beating them because they have a Trump for President bumper sticker. You’re going to tell me we’re in great shape? I don’t think the most optimistic person on the planet would say so.

For those saying that Trump is not your President and this is not your America, then please see true to that and leave. There are people who are banging on the door to get into this country and become citizens, trust me your spot can be replaced. The man hasn’t done anything yet, and you already hate him? That’s a reflection of your character, not his.

So to everyone who says that I voted for the wrong candidate, that I voted against acceptance, that I voted for hatred – please inform yourself of where he stands on the issues, not with what the media stirs up (even watch his interview on 60 minutes).

Finally, to conclude I will say this:

I didn’t vote against equality for races.

I didn’t vote against LGBTQ.

I didn’t vote against women’s rights.

I didn’t vote against immigration.

I didn’t vote against helping other countries.

…………………………………

I voted for unity within our country.

I voted for the belief of hard work.

I voted for security within our nation.

I voted for the reinforcement of legal immigration.

I voted for helping small businesses.

I voted for the hope of making America great again.

 

So don’t act like you know me because of who I voted for. And as you complain about Trump, about the system, and about the people who didn’t vote the same way as you – please remember that it is the freedom of this country that allows you to do so freely. And President Elect Trump is actually someone who wants to keep those freedoms in tact.

As President Obama said, we are all ultimately on the same team.

 

God Bless America.

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Closure

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Whether you realize it or not, people are who they are mostly because of what they’ve experienced.  We are molded into the person we are supposed to be based on the trials and tribulations that play out in our lives.  Everything teaches you something, and as much as you can get over a situation, or move past it – it all leaves an everlasting impression on you.  So what do you do when you come face to face with one of the main reasons you are how you are now?  What do you do when you look in the eyes of someone who absolutely broke you so many years ago?  Surprisingly I found out.

There’s someone in my family that I idolized and put on a pedestal.  She could do no wrong in my eyes.  I wanted everyone to know that I was related to her, that she influenced my decisions.  That someone decided to walk away from the family when I was just thirteen.  She broke me into pieces and they stayed in a pile for quite some time.

Ten years later, I found out just hours before a meeting that I would have to see her.  Aside from texting your mom and sister in sheer panic, what do you do?

I had always thought about what I would say and how I would feel if I ever ran into her.  Would I be happy? Would I be angry?  Would I be sad? Would I feel nothing? Everything?  Would I bring up how she wronged me?  Would I revert back to wanting to be just like her? It doesn’t matter how many times you go over things.  It doesn’t matter how many things you think of saying.  Nothing can ever truly prepare you for a meeting like that.

Ten years later and I have to sit across a table from her, seeing a reflection of whom I once wanted to mirror.  Ten years later she’s staring at someone who she doesn’t even know, who she never reached out to get to know.

There are people who say that maybe I was placed in this situation to gain back that relationship.  And to be honest, at first, I kind of thought that too.  But, it’s not easy to get over a past situation with as much depth as this one holds for me.

How did I feel?  The word awkward comes to mind.  Overwhelmed is up there on the list too.  Generalizations regarding the situation were mentioned, none of which I wanted to expand on at that moment.  She said things to me that I always wanted to hear, “I looked you up,” “I still care about you,” “I miss you.”  It’s funny, I used to think those words would glue together my broken pieces; and now as they were being said they were falling short.  Had the meeting not been planned by forces outside our control, would she have reached out?  It’s safe to assume that she wouldn’t, because then she would have done so years ago.

She left at a vital time in my life.  I was thirteen in the midst of being bullied and cyberbullied, dealing with anxiety, limited friends, and typical teenage fights with my family.  While yes all those things had an effect on me, it’s safe to say her leaving was the final blow.  When someone you look up to voluntarily walks out of your life, despite promises of always being there, you begin to question whether anyone will ever stay.  Your self worth subconsciously takes a beating.  After all, if someone that close to you thinks you’re easy enough to walk away from – you must be.  After she left, without even realizing, I became colder, more jaded, tougher, and the chip on my shoulder grew.  She broke me.

Once that first meeting ended, knowing that I’ll now probably be seeing a lot of her, I really couldn’t pinpoint how I was feeling.  My younger voice was still echoing in my head, hoping she would still think of me in the same light she used to, that she would still like me.  Then despite those feelings, I wanted to tell her how out of line she was for some of the things she said and did in the past.  Part of me wanted to cry at the complexity of what should be a simple encounter, part of me wanted to curse because it didn’t have to go this way, and part of me wanted to crawl into a hole.  But I knew, ultimately this is where I make the decision that I subconsciously put off for years – to fix it or to move on.

There comes a point when you no longer have any desire to have a relationship with someone, even if they’re family, simply because it’s been too long and too much has changed.  It’s unfortunate, but it’s true.  She has a family of her own now, and I have a life of my own.  I used to think one day it could all be fixed and those two lives could be meshed together but sadly, I know that no longer can happen.

She missed my last day of junior high, my first day of high school, my first dance recital at my new studio, my knee surgery that halted my dance career, my high school graduation, my grandfather passing away, my first day of college, my college graduation… the list goes on and on.  These aren’t just little daily happenings, they were life altering milestones.  And the thing is, I’m far from the person I used to be when she knew me.  I’m no longer that little naive thirteen year old girl who people can shatter.  I’m a woman with a mind of my own, a “do no harm but take no shit” attitude, a determination that can’t be deterred, a peace of mind no one can touch, and a soul that no one can break.

Ten years later, I realized this encounter was not to fix a relationship, but rather for me to gain closure.

I see now, I am just fine.

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Stay Tuned…

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Hello readers and followers!

I have not been keeping up with my blog for quite some time now. And as a writer, I say shame on me! Life has been a little crazy these past few months, and I never start a post without planning on finishing it. I also never write a post about a topic that I’m not convinced is a winner.

That being said, my creative, free writing self is back, and I’ve got a lot of ideas brewing.

Just wanted to say thank you for all the follows, shares, likes, comments and messages (on various platforms) regarding my pieces on this blog. It really is appreciated.

So, my friends… Stay tuned!

 

Xo

Kristina

How It Feels…

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March 8th is International Women’s Day!  As a proud feminist, this is a big deal of a day for me.  And this year, I’m going to celebrate it by shedding some light on what it feels like to be a woman.

Equality for women is something that has come a long way, but it still has a long way to go. Internationally, how it feels to be a woman is how it feels to be fearful.

Every single day there are women in the world who have to fear being able to walk to their car alone at night, because they might get attacked.  There are women who have to watch which outfit they put on, because that could give off the wrong idea to a misogynist.  There are women who have to keep their faces covered, because they might get arrested.  There are women who have to keep their mouth closed and let a man take advantage of her, because if they don’t they will be killed.  Still think women’s rights don’t have a long way to go?

It’s sad that the general consensus of what it feels like to be a woman isn’t something that proves to be worthwhile.  Yet often times what us women forget, is that we have the power to break boundaries, end stigmas, and create change.  Though this may take longer in certain places in the world, in America we can start the domino effect.

In America, we are fortunate enough to not have to worry about being arrested for speaking up or showing our face; but we aren’t out of the clear.  We are still instilled with fear about going places at night, wearing an outfit that may give off the wrong idea, walking somewhere alone, sexual harassment at work, etcetera.  But, the difference is that in America we can speak up about these things and not let it define us.

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For starters, we can choose to not let people use the phrase “like a girl,” to refer to someone as weaker than a man.  The phrase “like a girl” will only ever mean like a badass to me.  We can choose to not let people use the phrase “being a pussy,” to refer to someone who’s being a wimp.  Not to get graphic but a “pussy” is capable of pushing out a child, so please tell me how that is wimpy.  We can choose to not let our “no” go unheard.  If a guy wants our name, our number, our body – we can choose to say no and say it loudly, for all to hear.

How it feels to be a woman shouldn’t ever feel like a problem.  Being a woman should feel like you have the power to dictate your own life, and that’s where the idea of feminism comes into play.  You see, being for women’s rights doesn’t make you against men; it makes you for equal rights.

So as a feminist, I choose how I want to be represented.  And for me, I choose to be strong, determined, ambitious, driven, and completely kick-ass.

So now let me ask you, how does it feel to be a woman?  Is your answer living up to your full potential?  Better yet, is your answer benefiting the women who are not able to even answer the question?  If it doesn’t, I suggest you change it.

Justice for all women is something we will only ever achieve if we work together in working on ourselves.

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Girls just want to have fun….damental rights!

 

The F Word

F is for feminist.  This F word is completely appropriate, yet it is often thought of in the same light as the inappropriate F word.  And as a proud feminist, and a woman in general, I’m tired of it.

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I recently read a story where celebrities were asked if they were feminists. Females were saying, “I wouldn’t call myself a feminist, because that’s a bit strong.”  They also made comments saying that the word feminists suggests a negative connotation.  Are they kidding?  What the ****? (insert other F word here)  Celebrities, females especially, should be using their platform to promote equality and feminism; rather than fearing the way the word is interpreted.

With a presidential election coming up, one of the main things I look for in a candidate is the acknowledgment of feminism and what the candidate plans on doing to help women progress in terms of equality.  So I have been keeping notes on discussions of feminism and I simply do not understand how or why females are embarrassed to call themselves feminists.

Feminism means you believe in equality.  It doesn’t mean you believe that women are superior to men.  Being a feminist is not something to be ashamed about.  It’s something you should take pride in.  It means you’re acknowledging that there is a problem and you want to solve it.

My generation is the generation that could close the wage gap, end the gender discrimination, move past the stereotypes.  But how are we supposed to do that if people are afraid to use the f word?  This just further proves the problem.  We are living in a world where using the word feminist is looked down upon.  And the bigger problem is that a good percentage of females living in this world, don’t care enough to try to stop it.  While the men in my generation also have to stop fearing that using the f word makes them less of a man, how can we expect them to if women aren’t embracing the word?  We can’t expect change for women if women aren’t fully on board.

Some food for thought… Call yourself a feminist.  Don’t fear the word.  Don’t fear being shamed.  Be confident when you use the word.  Be obnoxious about the goal for equality.  It’s better to be obnoxious than disrespected.  It’s better to be extra loud than completely silenced.

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Don’t Judge What You Don’t Know

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This will perhaps be one of the most personal pieces I ever write.  I went back and forth deciding on whether or not I even wanted to write this blog and be so raw.  I know that I may get some backlash from people over this, and definitely some judgement but I don’t care.  Because if I fear what other people say, when I have the ability to help someone else, I go against everything I believe in.  So here we go, let’s begin.

October 7th through 13th is Mental Illness Awareness Week.  I suffer from severe anxiety.  Not just an attack here and there, but legitimate general anxiety disorder.  It’s true that anxiety attacks are provoked by something and then sometimes simply made bigger in your head and you can talk yourself down.  However, people who suffer with general anxiety disorder suffer from anxiety regardless of whether or not something provokes it.  And it’s not just a feeling that is in your head that you can talk yourself down from.  It’s a physical reaction, a chemical imbalance, a mental reaction of your subconscious working quicker than your actual conscious.  So many people are so quick to say, “Relax, it’s in your head,” but it’s really not that simple.

Aside from general anxiety disorder, I suffer from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), which is ultimately what the anxiety disorder stems from.  And one thing that really irks me is people who think that OCD is simply needing everything to be straight instead of crooked, or that you have to count to ten every time you shut the light off.  That’s not what it is, at all.  It stems from an underlying issue or fear and then your compulsions are based off of that fear.  More importantly, it is a chemical imbalance that you have no control over.

All anxiety disorders are forms of chemical imbalances.  If it’s severe enough some people may go on anxiety medication to try to help the imbalance.  If someone was diabetic, you would give them insulin.  If someone has a chemical imbalance, you would give them their medication.  But I’m so tired of the negative stigma placed on people who suffer from anxiety disorders and people who take medication for it.  Medication is not a mask that covers up a person’s real identity.  Rather the medication is a mask that covers up the disorder so that the person’s real identity can shine through. 

Anxiety is not something to shrug off.  It’s a real issue when it’s something that you have to deal with.  And on a daily basis, if not treated, it can be beyond frustrating.  I understand though that some people don’t understand anxiety simply because they’ve never had an attack.  The best way that I can describe it includes the word “enough.”  During an attack, despite what the attack is from or about, you usually question if anything is enough.

“Am I healthy enough?”

“Am I doing enough?”

“Am I skinny enough?”

“Am I making enough money?”

“Am I smart enough?”

“Am I worth enough?”

“Am I being enough?”

It’s a haunting thought process and there’s no way to turn it off.  The only way to get through an attack is to precisely get through it.  And the amount of strength that it takes to do such a thing is not something that should be frowned upon, and it’s sad to me that it seems to always be.

Just because a person suffers from anxiety disorders, doesn’t mean there’s a disorder in their personality.  You can function just fine, granted there might be an occasional short attack here and there,  if you learn how to deal with it. In order to learn to deal with that, you have to get to the root of your issue and truly work from the inside out.  Sometimes, it includes medication to let your brain know that you have a chemical imbalance and need help producing x amount of said chemical.

The thing is, everyone has issues – it’s just a matter of how it affects the person and to what level.  People with anxiety disorders have a chemical imbalance that prevents them from being able to rationalize crazy thoughts and calm down.  And guess what… it’s beyond their control.  I know firsthand.  No one chooses to have a chemical imbalance.  No one chooses to deal with anxiety.  But for some, it’s the cards they get dealt; being judged for it shouldn’t be in the deck.

The reason I’m writing this post is to promote some awareness.  Anxiety does not define someone, it’s simply something they deal with.  So the next time you judge someone, or think you know their story – double check yourself.  Everyone really is fighting their own battle, and some battles we never know about until they’re over and fought.

I know from my own experience, anxiety can create a war within a person, there’s no need for this extra war in society simply for the acceptance of anxiety.

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