Love Them Anyway, The Paradoxical Commandments

PC: Instagram @youcanseestarsfromhere

Each day at least once it happens. Sometimes on particularly trying days, it feels like it happens all day long.

I get some bad news or I see something upsetting and I find the “Anyway” verses tapping me on the shoulder and wagging their fingers at me. For as far back as I can remember, these words come to mind: Love them anyway. Do it anyway. Create anyway. Read more

Ladyboss

PC: Instagram @tapeatale

I think we can all blame Disney for our hang-ups about our hair. Since our wee years, we are taught that all of the beautiful princesses have long, voluminous tresses. Cascading hair is mythically, historically, and symbolically associated with youth and fertility. Look up any society in history and you’ll see… the themes are the same. Even in Native American societies, warriors wanted the horses with the longest, thickest manes to ride into battle because they looked more menacing and majestic, more desirable. (How impressive it must have been to see a battle horse in the throes of war, or in the heat of a hunt, its long hair flowing out behind it.) Read more

Sex and Economics

PC: Instagram @thepetitereader

In 1991, I was forced to enroll in your typical, freshmen-level Economics-101 class. It was utterly coma-inducing to be honest, like you probably think this blog post is going to be after seeing the word Economics in the title, but stay with me for a minute.

Knowing that only a small fraction of the 80 or so students in the class would ever need an in-depth knowledge of supply and demand curves, the professor offered us an alternative assignment: Read “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand and complete a 2000-word essay on what we learned. Anything we learned. However we interpreted it, let it be known that we gleaned something inspiring from the mammoth 1000-page novel. So thinking it was the easier option, I read it as a teenager and predictably wrote my paper on the value of capitalism.

I’ve since traversed through my 44 years never needing to know too terribly much about surpluses and shortages, just as my professor predicted. This past year, I found myself teaching Economics to my 12th graders and believe me, it’s a class that’s still coma-inducing. So I made them the same offer: read Atlas Shrugged and tell me what you get out of it. I also decided to give the book another run-through myself just so I could be prepared to answer their questions.

It was like I was reading an entirely different novel! All the capitalism/socialism stuff remained familiar but there were new ideas in there about sex and the relationships between men and women that I couldn’t have or wouldn’t have appreciated when I was 19 years old. Ayn Rand, a woman whose fame comes entirely from her Objectivism philosophy and her knowledge of the path of the American economy, also incorporated an incredible understanding of the sexual tendencies in men and women.  Read more

I Vote for Me: Death With Dignity

Brittany Lauren Maynard 1984-2014

At the urging of a friend, I picked up the novel Me Before You by Jojo Moyes at the beginning of this year. I’d heard my friend mention just a few of the key points of the novel as she discussed at our lunch table how emotional it was for her: Super active, good-looking, vivacious, wealthy young guy becomes a quadriplegic after he’s hit while on his motorcycle by a speeding car. Then a doting, attentive, pretty young girl is hired to take care of him, and naturally they fall in love. I thought it was just the book for me. I’d actually thought about this kind of thing in my own life, a lot:

Who would take care of me if something terrible like that happened? Could I take care of someone in that situation? Read more

When Your Plaid Clashes With My Polka Dots

Photo Credit: Instagram @jamesdowd1.

Opposite patterns that just do not go together. That’s how I describe the relationship I have with this person I know on Facebook. I am allergic to him. Don’t laugh. You’re allergic to people, too. You just didn’t know it until reading this.

Have you ever known someone or known of them from a distance, and on the surface your potential for friendship seemed so promising? Your child’s algebra teacher, who seemed like such a cool chick when you first met at orientation. Your favorite student’s mom, who was so hysterical and real the first time you spoke over the phone. The other parents you were introduced to at the ballpark last week, realizing with amazement how many common friendships you shared with each other. All of the factors for a promising camaraderie were in place. The problem is, you realized there was a rub there and you couldn’t quite explain it or name what it was about her stripes or his plaid that didn’t match one of the polka dot patterns in your personality. Read more

Reflections of a Former Bookseller

Photo Credit: Instagram @coffeeeyesandblankstares.

I visited one of my absolute favorite places today, Barnes and Noble. I was looking for a blogging planner which they did not have, yet I still managed to leave with $50.00 worth of stuff I just couldn’t live without.

Each time I walk through those heavy wooden doors, the smell of paper and leather filling my nose, I am overwhelmed with happiness. See, two years ago I decided to check this place off my bucket list and get a Christmas-season job there. I had the time off from work, and I thought the extra money would be helpful for my holiday spending (be assured, there was no extra money). B&N was just one of those places I always thought would be an amazing place to work, and it was. Read more

What The Waves May Bring You

Photo Credit: Instagram @frankabbottphotography.

Life took yet another sucker punch at me yesterday when someone I love deeply was critically injured in a motorcycle accident. The layers of scarring that a heart can accumulate reminds me of the backs of whipped slaves. After the delivery of so much bad news, I have trouble now differentiating between which scars belong to which death, which hospitalization, which divorce, and the chapter in my life in which it occurred. All of my pains seem to stack themselves one on top of the other like a big tangled pile of ugly, stinking laundry, weaving in and out of thrashed and bloodied knots.

I survived these emotional beat-downs each time because of my faith, and like I always do, I turned to prayer to get me through figuring out how to sort through my feelings.

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#icantbreathe

Photo Credit: Instagam @thegraffitibridge.

The Ferguson riots got me thinking. When something takes hold of my obsessive mind, I grind on it until I practically get on my own nerves thinking about how to think about it. I have mastered trying to stay somewhere inside of a calm, reassuring middle ground on most topics and I attempt to wield a righteous sword of fairness all the time. But like I said, the Ferguson rioting really got to me. And then the Eric Garner case upset me too, although in a totally different way. That ambivalence with which I approach most every debate found itself being tested as I looked for that perfect dose of rationality in the controversy over who is the “good guy” and who is the “bad guy” these days. Read more

To Thine Own Self Be True

PC: K. Floyd Instagram @misskatiefloyd, Photo by Joel Alvarez

I’ve been heard many times publicly chastising young girls for their choices in Homecoming dresses. They’re too short. Too much boob. Too tight. I have also been heard, just this week, giving a rousing shout-out to girls who choose modeling and bartending as a rather fruitful way to pay their bills. Wow! The hypocrisy, you say? No. These are very different situations. Read more