Be the Cat's Meow

Archive for October 2010

I forget how lucky I am.

You probably forgot how lucky you are too. The fact you are sitting here reading this makes you incredibly lucky.

Fertilization  in itself is amazing. You were brought into this life by some sort of biological luck. All the gametes and microorganisms proved strong and you were the single cell lucky enough to survive.

It is easy to forget this. Once you are alive it is easy to take the concept of life for granted. With everything else you experience you forget where it all truly began. You forget about the complexities of the human body and the inability to control its inner workings.

I had forgotten about all of this until I heard some of the saddest news I have ever received.

A woman I have worked closely with on many occasions lost her 12 year old daughter to cardiac arrest. The girl was perfectly healthy and had even completed soccer practice just before this happened. It is one thing to experience a death of natural causes, but to see a life end before it has truly begun is devastating.

This made me re-examine my own life and realize how lucky I am. My body has been pushed to many limits. I have definitely made some reckless decisions and am lucky to be alive and as healthy as I am. However, luck can only take you so far.

Take a look at your own life. I am sure you have had your own “lucky to be alive” moments. Even if you haven’t consider things like your physical or dietary health. Are you a fast food junkie? Are you too good to exercise? Feel free to stay that way, just don’t be surprised when you find out your cholesterol is too high and/or you need a quadruple bypass. Unfortunately, there are genetic circumstances that may cause such situations, but why not do what you can while you can. At least you know you tried.

I will get off my soapbox very shortly, I promise.

I just want to reiterate how lucky you and I are. Sure, life can be pretty crappy at times, but don’t the good times make up for it? At least you can experience life. You made it this far, so why not continue to go farther?

We can’t control everything, but you can sure as hell do your best. Do it for your loved ones. Do it for you. Do it honor of those that never got to experience life to the fullest.

You are one lucky bastard. Never forget that.

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Ahh, the joys of being a woman and shopping for a Halloween costume.

Luckily, this Halloween season I am broke will create a costume from my own closet. Before I realized I was low on cash I wanted to be Wonder Woman. I usually try to make my own costume from scratch, but life has been nuts and I figured I would buy a costume. Surprisingly, the pre-made Wonder Woman costumes were more conservative than the original Carter costume.

Classic Wonder Woman

Modern & surprisingly not slutty Wonder Woman

When I saw this, for some stupid reason, I thought that maybe, just maybe, female costumes were finally losing their slut appeal. I understand the whole “flaunt it if you got it” thing, but isn’t Halloween supposed to be about all things scary not all things slutty?

I continued to look through costume ideas online thinking I may stumble upon a cheap find or get some inspiration. I considered being a sailor. I have been a Sailor Scout, but why not try to be an actual sailor. How can that be sexy. Well, this is how:

Sailor Slut

Maybe the model forgot to put on her top…

Then I considered being a Hogwart’s student. I have business casual clothes that could work and I wouldn’t be hanging out of my costume. I mean, only a pedophile would sex-ify Hogwart’s, right? Oh wait, I spoke to soon:

Horny at Hogwart's

Something is not right when your cape is bigger than your skirt. Just sayin…

My love of ewoks was recently destroyed by a slutty costume as well. I tried to find a photo online, but apparently this was a homemade costume. I give the girl props for that, but the fact she barely resembled an ewok overshadowed that. She had the furry ears and the hood and that was where the similarities ended. I am pretty sure ewoks did not wear bikini tops, mini skirts and uggs. Thank you to the girl that has forever tainted my view of ewoks.

Once again, it seems like we have forgotten the true meaning of a holiday. I guess seeing slutty versions of certain people can be scary, but is it really necessary? Nevertheless, I do love Halloween and I won’t let this slut parade ruin my favorite holiday.

As a baby I was baptized into the Catholic faith. It was part of my family’s identity.

I attended Catholic school from 1st Grade through high school. I learned about the Bible and the Catholic Way. I was taught to praise the Lord daily and to be kind to my enemies.

I was constantly surrounded by Catholic icons at school, in homes or at church.

Yet, now a college graduate, I don’t know what exactly I believe in. This is something I generally keep to myself, especially around family, and hopefully I am not “outed” because a relative reads this.

I don’t disown my faith. I just don’t think it is right for me to say my beliefs are better than yours and, more importantly, my god is GOD. I have an open mind. I would like to believe there is a superior being, but how can we ever be certain there is? How can we know which deity is truly superior?

I believe in evolution and that dinosaurs roamed the earth. I believe the Bible is an excellent construct of allegory not a history book.

I’d be lying if I said having faith has never helped me through difficult situations, but I just feel hypocritical having doubts yet labeling myself as Catholic.

I guess you can say I’m a cross between an agnostic and an existentialist.

Meanwhile, I do believe in miracles and angels, which, I am aware, is somewhat contradictory to the aforementioned thoughts.

I want to believe.

Really, I do.

Then a miracle happened- in Northern Chile.

When the mine first collapsed in August I assumed it would be another tragedy. These stories rarely end well.

The announcement that all 33 miners were alive after 69 days blew my mind. I watched the rescue footage on the edge of my seat hoping that all miners would make it out- I was so awestruck I cried tears of joy. It was truly a beautiful sight watching the rescue crew working towards a common goal and all focused on the moment at hand. The triumphant cheers, tears, hugs and smiles with each rescue warmed my heart.

This is the type of situation that makes me think that maybe somebody or something is watching over us.

I can’t even begin to imagine what those three months felt like. I can’t even imagine what it felt like after a few days. Had I been in the situation I probably would have panicked once food was depleted and, like the miners, contemplated taking their own lives instead of dying slowly from malnourishment.

Luckily, they had hope. Hope is all we can have sometimes. Hope gives us the will to fight when we are about to fall. Had they followed the initial instinct to end their own lives this would not have been a happy ending.

“What we always wondered was why hadn’t we died, why we were alive,” said miner Yonni Barrios in a recent interview. These words mean so much. These words remind us that everything happens for a reason. Was this a crisis to help the miners realize how precious life is? Was this moment meant to make the country of Chile stronger and more united? Was this supposed to help the strengthen the bond between the miners and significant others?

Well we will never know the exact answers and we will never know if an ethereal force was watching over the miners, but we can believe. We can believe that miracles happen. We can believe that good still exists in the world today. We can believe in the power of love. We can believe that anything is possible.


F U FB

Posted on: 10/15/2010

I knew this day would come.

It is impossible to put a mass of people together in a confined space and expect perfect harmony. We are all human and conflict is, therefore, inevitable.

Funny because it's true

It is even more difficult when the mass consists of hundreds of millions and they are confined  to a virtual space- an INFINITE space beyond what we ever thought possible. Hopefully you have realized I am talking about Facebook. If you did not then please refer to the graphic above.

I was part of the lucky generation that got to experience THE Facebook (before they became cool and dropped the “the”) and the ingenuity of being a site strictly for college students. It was the perfect way to network with classmates and reconnect with old friends. The site was simple yet efficient and was the mature equivalent of myspace. You didn’t have to worry about younger siblings or older relatives seeing the photos from your recent night of drunken debauchery and you didn’t have to watch your language. It was great and you were simply among peers.

Naturally, you could still find people like this guy:

I'm too sexy for my shirt

But we all know that guy is everywhere in cyberspace.

AND THEN IT HAPPENED.

Facebook became a global phenomenon. It was open to more than just college students and suddenly everybody had an account. Poop.

Then the Zynga and similar groups started up with the addictive games (I admit, I succumbed to Mafia Wars for many months) and then there was an app for everything (“What Type of ___  Are You? ) Getting bombarded with requests and seeing all the Farmville updates in newsfeed every few seconds became annoying, but it was easy to block and ignore such things.

Okay, problem solved.

Too bad it seems that more people than ever have an account- not to mention family members from your 5 year old cousin to grandma. Well, that’s also fine. Just watch what you say.

This will all be fine. How can Facebook get worse?

Wait a minute. Every month it seems there are layout changes and new “features” added. I mean, do you really want to display every freaking location you go to. Do you really want to announce to the world “I AM IN A DRUNKEN STUPOR ACROSS TOWN- PLEASE ROB ME.” I also liked how FB assumed you would want to make you phone number public. I mean really? Let’s give everyone the ability to bother you at any given moment. Give your crazy ex a chance to blow up your phone- we love that.

I mean I am aware you can set privacy boundaries, but, of course, there are those that don’t and they provide every last detail of personal information down to social security number.

Is it really so hard to understand how that is dangerous?

Well, those guys can deal with it when they come home to an empty house or find a stalker passed out on their stoop.

Then you have the people that don’t know what their personal FB boundaries should be. Like the couples that seem to think we don’t feel awkward and slightly dirty when they publicly and passively fight through wall posts?

Gotta love the people that go off on everyone after a bad day and leave a trail of curse words in the newsfeed. I mean why would I feel dirty when I see you dropping f-bombs all over your mom’s page?

And no I don’t want to see a picture of you on the toilet. That is not comedy- it is disgusting. And for the love of god, please don’t post a picture of your bizarro tattoo on a place where the sun never shines.

Get this as a tattoo and post a picture to your FB if you want me to never speak to you again

The creme de la creme are the new political pages and apps popping up everywhere. Let’s just add fuel to this fire. Since politics are notorious for bringing large groups together. I think everyone is free to their own opinion, but, quite frankly, it scares me when some of you go off on your propaganda rampages. I avoid discussing politics in certain situations for a reason.

Then who can ignore the posts of obvious misinformation? The fabricated truths that stir people up, but, for some reason, by chance, you certainly know the story is false. It can be anything from a news story to I saw you-know-who at you-know-where. Obviously, it is difficult to argue with the majority, so you eventually let it slide and it will snowball out of control on it’s own.

All of these scenarios have caused me to push away from FB for periods at a time and now I am even contemplating killing off my page.

I have definitely realized that some things are better kept to oneself and that things like relationships should be private for a reason. I know I am better off without reading status updates about the giant crap you just took or about the anonymous person you banged in the bathroom at Denny’s.

I’d be lying if I said some of these things don’t secretly amuse me, but sometimes it is just a weeeeeeee bit too much. Afterall,

I try to avoid the whole PSA thing, but I feel like suicide is something worth mentioning.

Unfortunately, the reason I decided to write this was due to the recent suicide of someone very close to a friend of mine. Yesterday I was with her when she received the call that her friend had taken his own life. I had seen him pretty recently too. He had an adorable baby and seemed to be in a happy place, but you can never know for sure.

I have been fortunate to never have somebody extremely close to me commit suicide, but I have known many that were once friends of mine who moved away and/or we had gradually drifted apart. This past summer 2 people I met through the party scene ended their own lives. Both seemed to have started life on a fresh page- one had even just returned to the states after being deployed to Afghanistan. I remembered talking to my friend while he was overseas and he was overjoyed when he knew he was to return soon. We made plans to meet up again to celebrate his return, but that never happened.

I have struggled with depression and I know one of the hardest things is admitting you are in a dark place. You don’t want to be the downer of the group. Not to mention all the people that respond with, “That is your choice to feel depressed, get over it.” For the record, sometimes we can’t help it and your negativity only makes us feel worse. It makes us feel flawed and even more of an outsider.

Here is my advice to those that have struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts: even when you feel unloved and worthless remember that at least one person in this world loves you. In fact, chances are you are loved by many and when you take your own life you break many hearts. It reminds me of one of my favorite Sylvia Plath quotes (which she unfortunately did not take to heart or took it to well):

“To annihilate the world by annihilation of one’s self is the deluded height of desperate egoism” –Sylvia Plath

What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. Nothing comes easy and that only makes the journey more fulfilling. When you end your life prematurely you are giving up. Don’t give up. Don’t let the world break you down. Fairytale endings don’t exist and there is a dark side to everything. You just have to make the best of the current situation and work towards what makes you happy.

Here is my message to those that may know people that have been suicidal: it is okay to reach out to help. In fact, they are quietly looking for anyone to hold on to. They may be reluctant to open up at first, but that does not mean they are pushing you away. Just give them time and constant reminders that you care about them and will always be there. Just don’t bombard them with questions and tell them they need to get over themselves. It may take some time, but really they just want to know you care.

This concludes my PSA. I hope some of you take this to heart- and I mean from both ends of the spectrum. Too many lives are ended to early because of suicide and I feel this is something we can work towards changing. I admit, you can’t save the whole world, but it means the world for those you do save.

Resources:

Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Information About Suicide & Support Group

Info & FAQs About Anxiety Disorders

Today is day that will live in infamy…kinda. It was a rather odd day for Americans- well, at least educated Americans. Not only was it Columbus Day, but it was also National Coming Out Day. Oh, and if you are Canadian it was Thanksgiving too.

Once upon a time Columbus Day was a holiday that celebrated a fearless explorer and it also meant no work or school. When I was in elementary school the day before the holiday our teachers would preach about what a brave person Columbus was and how America would be non-existent without him. All the students would sit wide eyed and amazed of these tales and then we would make paper plate ships or something of the like in honor of this amazing figure.

As I grew older, and had more history lessons, it hit me Columbus was not the first person in America. In fact, he found people here and due to his poor navigation skills he mislabeled the people here “Indians.” On top of that what about other explorers that preceded him like Leif Erickson and the Norse? What really separates Columbus from Erickson? They both pillaged, plundered, raped, etc.

Fast forward to my college career and I take a lit class that focused on imperialism and resulting colonialism. Now wait- essentially there were groups of people like Columbus that “discovered and conquered,” so what makes Columbus so special? I have no idea to be honest. I would like to believe I glossed over some key point in history, but I think that is a long shot. Well, he was into the Bible, so maybe that is was differentiates him from a viking. For those of you unfamiliar with colonialism and think I am talking out of my ass go read Heart of Darkness. It is a work of fiction based on fact published in the early 20th century, but actually maybe you shouldn’t read it because you would take it too literally.

Now flash forward to present day- it’s National Coming Out Daayyyyy! It is the 21st century and for some reason certain groups of people think homosexuality is satan’s curse and a lifestyle people choose to lead. They can’t take an impartial look at an adult homosexual they have grown up with and recall, Oh yeah, I remember when John would put on Mom’s make-up and sing Barbara Streisand  when he was 4. Really, how many open minded people are really surprised when somebody comes out?

It’s never, I would have never guessed, but more like, Ahh, oh yeah, it makes sense. One of my friends that chose me as the first person to come out to reminds me of my expressionless reaction. We were organizing some items onto shelves, not quite looking each other in the eye, and she said, “Just so you know I like like girls.” I continued putting items in front of me and responded, “Oh, cool.” It wasn’t that I didn’t care it was more this is my friend and I love them for who they are and more power to them for being open.

I guess what I’m trying to say is I don’t understand why only five states issue marriage licenses to same sex couples or why so many people look down their noses at homosexuals. Why should it matter? It is not your life it is their life. Get over yourselves and go back to your country club and atrocious art collections. And for the record homosexuality is not a trend or fad. Did we forget about people from the past like Freddy Mercury, Ma Rainey, Gertrude Stein, Michaelangelo and Lord Byron?

So my point is what would you rather celebrate on this double dose day of holidays. This mediocre guy that stumbled upon America:

 

Christopher Columbus: the lucky bastard that has a holiday

 

Or should we be celebrating what these guys stand for:

 

Gay guys: they embrace who they truly are and know how to party

 

I’ll go with the latter.

**EDIT- I thought I published this Monday 10/11/10 at 11 pm, but apparently I was already checked out for the night.**

Drafts of a poem focused on the suicide of Sylvia Plath by ex-husband Ted Hughes are now available for viewing in the British Library’s archives. Last Letter is said to be a missing piece of the Birthday Letters, his final collection which detailed his life with Plath. Last Letter details the three days leading up to Plath’s tragic end addresses his reaction to the her suicide.

The two had only been separated for five months when she took her own life in the most morbid (yet fitting) fashion- carbon monoxide poisoning by putting her head in the oven. It is uncertain whether or not the separation pushed Plath over the edge. She had struggled with depression most of her life as it was.

The copies of the poem were obviously drafts since Hughes was known for clean typed copies of finished work. The drafts of the poem were found handwritten on paper. These were the only excerpts I found posted online. I am very curious about the rest of the piece, but it will most likely be kept in the British Library and not published.



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