My Guest Post for The Confusing Middle

I was honored when Aaron over at The Confusing Middle asked me to write a guest post for him while he’s on vacay. Here it is! (Censored, because apparently “fuck” isn’t everyone’s favorite word).

Hey, kids… I’m out of town this week. Finally taking that vacation I’ve been thinking about for eight years. Anyway, while I’m gone some friends have agreed to write some guest posts for my blog. Today’s post comes from Alex. I asked her the question, what is one experience that has shaped the person you […]

via Sticking to Your Convictions — The Confusing Middle

As Featured on News Cult: Should Women Change Their Name When They Get Married? Let’s Discuss

I’ve always been fascinated by the topic of marriage-induced name changes. Especially as a feminist (not the self-professed kind who will vote for a war criminal just because she has a vagina, but an actual feminist). To me, taking your husband’s name seems a mere tenet of The Patriarchy. So it’s hard for me to justify. But maybe it’s not that simple. Let’s discuss.

To start, what are names for? Identification purposes, mainly. If we didn’t have names, people wouldn’t know how to address us, and communication might break down. Names categorize us—they indicate what family we belong to, oftentimes where we come from, our gender, etc. But more than just logistical purposes, I think names serve to construct the subjective parts of our identity. Like, when a mom and dad decide to name their girl “Cash,” it’s because they want her to be different from the average “Rachel.” They want her to live up to the name she’s given, and I guarantee you that as she grows up, her name will help shape her. There’s no female “Cash” walking around who isn’t tragically hip, effortlessly attractive, and mysteriously unattainable. Rachel, on the other hand, wears lots of predictably solid-colored cotton shirts, has no layers in her hair, and her favorite flower is a red rose (with some white baby’s breath thrown in if she’s feeling frisky).

Names mold our identity so much so that some of us even change the ones we were given. If people feel like their names don’t represent who they are—whether because they’re gendered (or, in my case, androgynous), have some negative societal connotation (“Dick”), or everyone who shares them seems to be a massive tool (like, why is literally every individual named “Emma” a complete narcissist?)—they’ll re-brand themselves. And while I’ve always found this to be a foreign concept, (although to be fair, if my parents had named me Mark Sinclair, I would’ve changed it to Vin Diesel, too—mainly because Mark Sinclair sounds like a stuffy accountant and I don’t think Vin Diesel can do math), I at least respect the autonomy of it.

But when someone changes their last name to their spouse’s, that seems like anything but autonomy. Why basically label yourself as belonging to someone else? And of course the burden to change the name befalls women—but even in the rare cases where the man takes it on (please see: Marco Saldana), I would still argue that it’s wack. Because it signifies possession. And last I checked, humano a humano ownership isn’t considered cool (anyone remember a little thing called slavery?). But seriously. Taking someone’s name is in essence taking on their identity as your own. Why is that necessary?

And back to the gendered nature of it, because it’s impossible to ignore—it’s not that name-changing is problematic just because it’s a way to mark territory, but it is even more so because it is expected of women and not men—and thus just one more way the patriarchy reigns. It signifies that a husband possesses his wife; that she concedes to his ownership by way of his identity. I realize this sounds like some crazy conspiracy theory shit, and that’s because it is! On its face, women changing their last names to match their husbands’ is precisely a methodology of imprisoning them in their gender roles—the docile, subservient, agreeable wives.

I call bullshit.  Why is this antiquated tradition continually practiced in our society? I, for one, won’t be changing my last name when I never get married. And I salute all who’ve kept theirs—way to be strong, independent women who don’t need no man’s name. It is principled stands like this, aimed at establishing equality, that define feminism. (That said, if you were born with the last name “Hitler,” “Bieber,” or “Seaman,”  then by all means, change that shit.)

Featured on News Cult: http://newscult.com/should-women-change-their-name-when-they-get-married-lets-discuss/

As Featured on News Cult: How to Celebrate Father’s Day

I had to Google when Father’s Day is (sorry, Dad). But luckily I’m way ahead of the game and it’s not until June 19; (completely forgot to do a post about Mother’s Day… sorry, Mom). And when you have your shit remotely together for once, it’s worth commemorating. So here’s a list of ideas for how to celebrate, with plenty of time to plan/pull one of these out of your ass morning of.

1. Make a list of all the parenting mistakes your dad has made

And ways he’s failed you. Handwrite it for extra personal effect before you gift it to him.

2. Do a nostalgic activity

Growing up, I was daddy’s little boy, so when I quit soccer, I believe that was the most disappointing moment of my father’s life. So for me, this would be playing soccer with him/losing my breath after 2 minutes and disappointing him all over again.

3. Don’t express too much emotion

Things will just get weird if you do something like say “I love you,” so just keep a lid on it. No need for a hug—a pat on the back or sturdy handshake will do just fine. Perhaps even a chest bump, or barbaric grunt.

4. Go out to dinner

His treat.

5. Bring your significant other to meet him for the first time

Nothing says, “I love you, Dad,” like introducing your piece of shit boyfriend to him on a day that signifies family togetherness and appreciation. I find it helps if your guy doesn’t have a college degree or a job, can’t drink whiskey straight or engage in substantive debate about the morality of war, and puts on a lot of PDA.

6. Tell him you’re pregnant

And that soon enough your child will be celebrating Father’s Day! With whom, we don’t know yet, but we feel confident we can narrow it down to 3 candidates, +/-.

7. Offer to join him in an activity he likes

Like golf—all dads like golf, right? Join him for a spastic bout of swinging the club and taking chunks out of the ground, never hitting the ball game. Or buy him some nice cigars—that’s another dad thing, right? Offer to sit in the den with him and choke while sucking on the wrong end smoke one by the fire.

8. Ask him for money

Parents love when you do that! Nothing says “I appreciate you, Dad,” more than, “I need you to bankroll my lifestyle.”

9. Get him a dog

And then take on zero responsibility in caring for it.

10. Give him comments on his will

Ask him for a copy of it, redline and annotate that shit, and get it back to him for countersignature. #he’swelcome

11. Get into an explosive, hysterical argument

It’s not a family gathering without one, right?

12. Move back home

#Surprise!

 

 

 

 

 

 

If anything, he should be grateful, because someone is going to have to wipe his ass for him in his old age. #47isthenew74 #youmaythinkyou’reyoungandhealthy,butyouknowwhoelsethoughtthat? #StephenHawking

13. Make him a card

Nothing too flamboyant, lest you insult his masculinity. But maybe some neutral-toned cardstock with a navy blue or forest green accent, perhaps some plaid ribbon if you’re feeling courageous, and black or blue ink only.

14. Ask him to bail you out

“I used my one phone call on you! That’s how much you mean to me.”

Featured on News Cult: http://newscult.com/14-things-youre-dad-will-really-really-love-get-fathers-day/

As Featured on News Cult: How to Give No Fucks

The art of giving no fucks can only be mastered through experiencing the utter shit hole that is life. At a certain point, you realize that everything is meaningless. And it’s unfortunate, because by the time you’re ready to fully embrace zero fucks given, you’re too old to enjoy it. So let me help speed up the process so you can get a little more mileage out of not caring. Here’s how you do it.

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Focus on death

Spend at least 5 minutes every day reminding yourself that you’re going to die. Which is great news, by the way—because it means none of this matters. None of it. So you can let it go. You messed up at work? Whatever—one day you’ll be gone, and with any luck your boss will go soon first, so who’s gonna care then? You failed a test? Psht—you know who test results don’t matter to? YOUR DEAD BODY. Your thighs are getting a little cottage cheesy? Eh, soon enough they’ll be rotting in the ground, so who gives a shit. #byeeeeeeee

Put things in perspective

Things only have meaning if you assign it to them. So whip out your relativity skills and play the comparison game: weigh whatever’s got you riled up against something else in order to put it in perspective. E.g. if your tire gets slashed, just think about all the women who’ve slept with Charlie Sheen. Or if you get fucked by your insurance company, revel in the fact that everyone who works there must go home at night to their TV dinners, shag carpets, and oak furniture, and have to reconcile their receding hairlines, egg-shaped bodies, and ill-fitting pantsuits while somehow managing to not put a bullet through their heads. Or if your school’s douchey registrar (is there any other kind?) doesn’t let you sign up for the one class you might actually like, take comfort in the fact that she recently found out she’s allergic to gluten. #ifyoucan’thavebreadyoumightaswellbedead #atleastIcaneatadonut,bitch

Live it

It’s not enough to try to act like you give no fucks. You have to live it. You have to go through life actually giving none. This means that the next time someone tries to embarrass you, you don’t try to save face in the moment but then go cry to your mom when you get home. Instead, you stick .it. to. them. in real time—I find it helps to say something like, “COME FOR ME, motherfucker—I fucking DARE you. BLOW ME and the horse you rode in on, you worthless piece of shit” whilst yielding a baseball bat—and move on, with your head held high. It means that when you make a mistake, you don’t spend forever obsessing with guilt about it—you realize it, maybe try to learn something from it maybe, and then proceed to fucking your next thing up. It means that you don’t try to meet someone else’s standard of beauty or success, but you burn that motherfucker DOWN and follow your own path, misguided and aimless as it may be.

Believe in karma

Or what white people have appropriated and mislabeled as karma: the idea that what goes around comes around. If you take this to heart, then righting all the wrongs no longer falls on your shoulders. It’s a lot easier to not care about something if you believe it will take care of itself. Sure, it’s hard to embrace this belief, because it takes some blind faith—which is why it helps to remember times you’ve seen karma in action. (Or be a naïve, delusional devout follower of any religion). Like that time your bitchass coworker got audited by the IRS. Or how the incompetent, sassy receptionist at your doctor’s office (is there any other kind?) got fired. Or the time that guy treated you like you were an Iraqi and he was Hillary Clinton, and you definitely gave him HPV. #who’sthelosernow? #yournextgirlfriend’scervix,that’swho

Featured on News Cult: http://newscult.com/important-lesson-life-give-no-fucks/

As Featured on News Cult: Suggested Taglines for the “Real Housewives”

If it was my job to come up with the taglines The Real Housewives recite at the opening of each episode, here’s what I’d contribute.

•”I’m not anorexic, I’m just better than you.”

•”I don’t need to stay relevant, I never was.”

•”If you want a prenup, I don’t want you.”

•”Don’t get jealous, get Botox.”

•”People may think I’m dumb, and they’re right.”

•”I didn’t marry for money, I married for millions.”

•”You might recognize me from daytime TV, but I’m Rated-R.”

•”You’d be obsessed with me too if you had these calves.”

•”I’m single and ready to file bankruptcy.”

•”I thank God every day for white privilege.”

•”Third husband’s a charm!”

•”If Charlize Theron thinks it’s hard being pretty, she should see me.”

•”I’m not a princess, I’m just a self-important asshole.”

•”Money can’t buy me—it does.”

•”People think they know me, but this nut is tough to crack.”

•”Bad nose jobs are a girl’s best friend.”

•”This gold digger went to the School of Mines.”

•”If you think I’m a piece of work, you should see my boobs.”

•”I may have a horse-mouth, but that doesn’t mean I’ll spill my secrets.”

•”I don’t gossip—I’ll call you an ‘alcoholic whore’ straight to your face.”

•”Lip injections may be temporary, but chin implants are forever.”

•”You, too, can marry for money if you work hard enough.”

•”I may be a hot mess, but at least I’m hot. And you’re not.”

•”If you don’t constantly look alarmed, you’re not doing it right!”

•”How can I be shallow, if my pockets are so deep?”

•”People think my husband is controlling, but he’s just a sexist pig.”

•”Money isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.”

•”People try to put me in a box, but I’ll only go if it’s cubic zirconia-encrusted.”

•”Don’t cry because it’s over—you’ll get wrinkles!”

•”Your name doesn’t have to be Felicia for me to say ‘BYE.'”

Featured on News Cult: http://newscult.com/suggested-taglines-real-housewives/

As Featured on News Cult: How to Boost Your Mood

Our mood is perpetually bad. We hate everything, and with good reason. But, we’re stuck here, so we may as well try not to be miserable 24/7. Enter: mood boosting. A technique we use to delude ourselves into feeling a little less bad for a little while. Here’s how to do it.

Sleep

I find that sleep is the solution to every problem. Got too much to do? Sleep. Sick? Sleep. You’re unlovable? Sleep. Throw. in. the. to. wel. You’ll be less cranky the more you sleep. Mostly because you’ll have to spend less minutes in the day facing the sad pathetic reality that is your life and the terrible people who surround you. #here’stobeingunconscious

Change up your routine

You know what puts you in a bad mood? The same old bullshit drudgery of the day-to-day. So do something different. I don’t care if that means buying a different scent of deodorant (“powder” is only “fresh” for so long you feel me?), taking off on an unplanned road trip in the middle of your workday, or telling your company’s receptionist to blow you—just give yourself a jolt of newness. Something to upset the status quo and pointlessness that you live alldayeveryday.

Take a bath

Baths are such refuge—a place to escape physical & mental distress. Baths are like safe zones, where nothing exists—everything just vanishes and you become weightless. It’s really too bad you ever have to get out. I hate to make the womb reference, but I’m gonna go there—we can fuck with the womb. It’s when we leave it that everything goes south. #it’salldownhillfromthere #oruphill? #becausedownhilliseasy #uphilliswhattakeseffort #eventhoughupisgenerallythedirectionassociatedwithpositivity #butlikeforrealcansomebodyclarifythatsaying

Listen to music, watch TV or a movie

Good music is king. Or watch a funny TV show. Live in someone else’s world for a while. #areyounoticingapattern #ifyou’renotgoingtoletusdoheroinwe’regoingtoneedothermeansofescape

….. Exercise?

I mean…. because.. science? Ugh it’s so hard to try to act like I believe in exercise. Frankly I don’t care if it produces good end results. Like, the journey isn’t worth it for real. Fuck endorphins, man, all you need is Skittles and chocolate milk.

Do something just purely for fun

Do something that’s not stressful, but just plain hedonistic. Whether that’s riding a roller coaster, coloring with your BAMF metallic colored pencils, playing Cards Against Humanity, having not-terrible sex (#istheresuchathing), eating something delicious, skydiving, looking at pictures of tween Drake for 3 hours, starting a Twitter war with Deborah Messing, or reading Hillary Clinton’s emails, just revel in it.

Medication

I’m not a pill-pusher, but life is hard enough—add to that serious mood swings or depression, and then it’s just like BYE. If medication actually helps you, go for it. Plus, you’ll become BFFs with your pharmacist—NO ONE will experience your ups and downs quite like him. #andnoonewillknowhowmanyyeastinfectionsyougetquitelikehim #that’struefriendship

Volunteer

Doing good makes you feel good. Also being around those less fortunate than you snaps you out of your privileged malaise. Or, if you want to do bourg-y volunteering, then hang with some puppies. If puppies don’t boost your mood then you should probably just kill yourself.

Go outside

Get some fresh air, or, if you’re in a place like LA, inhale the disgustingly polluted and toxic smog that surrounds you! Rain or shine, just soak it in, take some deep breaths, and remember that you can always leave wherever or whatever is putting you in a bad mood and get back to nature. That is, until climate change destroys it, the sun explodes and engulfs us, and we all burn to a crisp.

Featured on News Cult: http://newscult.com/9-things-will-really-boost-mood/

As Featured on News Cult: Questions I Would Ask the “Real Housewives” If I Ever Had the Chance to Interview Them

You’d think the infinity “reunion specials” for each season of each Real Housewives franchise would be enough to answer any questions I have for them, but nope—I’ve got more. So here’s what I would ask the “Real Housewives” if I was ever graced with the chance to interview them.

1. Are you ever confronted with the utter meaninglessness of your existence and everything you hold dear?

2. Studies show you’ve singlehandedly kept the taffeta industry in business. Why?

Part b) Why?

3. Have you ever eaten bread?

Part b) And kept it down?

4. How many Chinese children did it take to bedazzle everything you own?

5. What’s up with your face?

6. How many homeless people have you hit & run with your Bentley?

A) At least 3

B) Approx 10

C) Def in the teens and Suge Knight’ed at least 4 of them too

7. Who will get to keep the offshore accounts when your marriage falls apart on national television—you or your husband?

8. Do you ever worry that your children will take after you?

9. How much do you pay your Mexican nanny/maid/personal assistant/cook/gardener/parent to your kids?

10. Are you jealous that your husband has more Botox than you?

11. Marry Fuck, marry, or marry kill: Donald Sterling, Donald Trump, and Hugh Hefner?

12. How much money did you spend last year on throwing “charity events” and how much money did you actually raise for charity?

13. Is tax evasion an acquired skill, or are you just born with it?

14. Can you really be considered human if the majority of your body is composed of synthetic materials?

15. Which of the choices below would you use to describe your skin color?

A) Tang

B) Hi-C

C) Pyridium

16. It’s fair to say your marriage is a form of prostitution, correct?

17. But seriously your face though

18. Which of the below would you say best describes your fashion mantra?

A) Every day is prom night!”

B) “If it’s not chunky, it’s not jewelry. #likevomit #asincannedbeefstew #see:myassbeforeIhaditreplaced

C) “Your clothing should always be more expensive than the cost of clean water for any given impoverished country. Otherwise, how can you be sure you’re better than all those brown people?”

Featured on News Cult: http://newscult.com/questions-ask-real-housewives-ever-chance-interview/

As Featured on News Cult: How to Battle Homesickness

Even though being around family can be a challenge, being away from them can sometimes, surprisingly, be even worse. Being away from home will make you realize you have feelings you didn’t think you ever possibly could—love for other human beings, compassion, sensitivity, the need for close relationships, and all the other things that have historically made you gag.  Enter: homesickness. Whether you’re going to sleep away camp for the first time at 10 years old or living and working in a faraway city, alone, in your 30’s, homesickness is real. Here’s how to battle it.

Video chat

For some reason this is more fulfilling than other forms of communication, like regular phone calls, texting, emailing, etc. Probably because it feels more real since you can see each other, disappointing bodies and all. And the software continues to become more accessible. You can pretty much do it any time, anywhere—while you’re at the grocery store, sobbing on your kitchen floor, need advice while clothes shopping, watching the same TV show so you can discuss and commentate in real time, during holiday gatherings so you can at least be virtually present for the dysfunction, and so on. My personal favorite is to video chat with my dogs. I don’t even need to see my family—just position the phone so I can see the animal and then you can leave.

Group texts

Loop your family into a group text chain so you feel like you’re still part of the tribe, can easily get/give updates, and won’t have a sense of displacement or missing out. Of course, you run the risk that your family members won’t respond to you or engage in the chain, which will make you feel like you’re talking to a wall, except this wall is composed of the only people you could probably ever really count on, although clearly you can’t, and I bet they have a whole separate chain going without you because frankly your loud voice annoys them and even though they can’t hear it over text they basically can because it’s that loud, plus they find your passion for certain conversation topics off-putting even though you think it’s perfectly reasonable to demand that if someone is going to say that they liked Spotlight, and, furthermore, didn’t take issue with Mark Ruffalo’s facial twitch, which can’t even be made ok by his stellar real-life politics (#feelthebern), they should be prepared to defend their position.

Make a point of going home for holidays

As many as you feasibly can, given your work schedule and budget. Plan far ahead to save money and so you’ll have something to look forward to. This way you won’t feel isolated during  every holiday (just most of them—silver linings, guys!). Like, even if you don’t give a fuck about Easter, go home for it, because otherwise, I guarantee that when your boss comes back from lunch one day having bought a giant nesting egg set to fill with candy for his toddler, you’ll burst into uncontrollable sobs about how you don’t have anyone who cares enough to plan an Easter egg hunt for you and yes you’re almost 30 but that’s not the point it’s the thought that counts and right now the only thought anyone is giving you is that apparently you sound like an emotionally unstable elephant to your downstairs neighbor when you walk around even though you’ve explained to them that genetically you’re big-boned and you’re not sorry about it and furthermore your robust thighs are actually appreciated in certain cultures so MAYBE they should broaden their worldview.

Remind yourself of what a pain your family can be

If you meditate on this every day, you’ll be a lot more grateful for your solitude, and less homesick about it. Spend 10-20 minutes each morning (at sunrise of course) mindfully visualizing how irritating it was to live under your parents’ roof (seriously just because they’re subsidizing your existence does not give them the right to ask you how your day was), how painful dinners with your extended family are because everyone can never agree on just how much of an asshole your cousin’s baby daddy is, and how you have absolutely zero privacy when family visits or vice versa (locks on doors won’t stop them!). #here’stoneversharingabathroomeveragain

Be social

Ugh I know. I knowwwwwwwww. But I am only suggesting this as a last resort. If you’re feeling lonely because you miss your family and there’s no other immediate solution, (here’s looking at you, unanswered group texts), you need to put yourself in a social situation that will make you forget your homesickness. I’m sure if you search your soul hard enough, you’ll find a gathering you can attend for at least 30 minutes before coming to the conclusion that you need to be shot in the face, STAT. If all else fails, just go hang out in the freezer section of any given grocery store—that is where you’ll find your people. #icecream&frozenpizza #theHolyland

Featured on News Cult: http://newscult.com/5-sure-fire-ways-get-home-sick/     

As Featured on News Cult: How to Get Over Being a People Pleaser

Even though we hate people, we still feel the need to please them. Because we are painfully self-aware, self-conscious, and apologetic, for no good reason. Except oh wait I can think of one—we live in a society that condemns assertiveness, save for self-important, over-compensational, egomaniacal men (although don’t get me wrong—P’s OS come in all genders). But just because we’re decent, humble human beings, doesn’t mean we have to sacrifice our own well-being or sense of self. I, for one, am sick of giving people preferential treatment ahead of myself, especially because most of them don’t deserve it and wouldn’t do the same for me. So if you’re with me, here’s how to get over being a people pleaser.

Nip it in the bud

The next time you find yourself about to bend over backwards for someone, just shut. it. down. I don’t care if you’re literally bending over backwards—pick that shit up—or if you’re mid-sentence: “Sure, I guess we could go to that restaurant…” Just stop talking and turn it around: “… Actually no. That place is really expensive, awful, and I’m not going there at 10 PM on a Monday because they didn’t have any other reservations. That’s three hours past my bedtime and frankly anywhere that ‘trendy’ can blow me. And the horse I rode in on.” If it helps, carry around a spray bottle and spritz yourself in the face every time you start pleasing people (that sounds uncomfortably sexual but you know what I mean)—use pepper spray if you have to. Breaking yourself of this habit is going to take discipline, and if that means severe measures, so be it.

Use rage as your fuel

What I find particularly backwards is that, often, the people we feel the need to placate or appease the most are the people least deserving. For example, when someone is blowing their secondhand smoke in our face, we feel like we would be rude to ask them to stop, so we just breathe it in, even though they’re the rude ones for spreading their fumes. Or when someone is tailing us in traffic, we feel pressure to speed up and accommodate them, even though they can kiss our bumpers. So just let the rage that the intimidating person incites in you fuel your refusal to bow down, and, further, your insistence on standing up to them, telling them what’s what, and pulling the cigarette straight outta their ugly fucking mouth and sticking it right into their big fucking forehead. #WE’RENOTREADYTOMAKENICE #WE’RENOTREADYTOBACKDOWN #NEITHERARETHEDIXIECHICKS

Remember most people aren’t as accommodating

While you’re out there busting your ass to make everyone happy, they’re just looking out for #1. I mean really, how many people go out of their way to make sure all of your needs are met on a regular basis? What’s that, your loving boyfriend/girlfriend/life partner/mom does? Well how nice for you. But the rest of us are faced with constant disappointment in others on an unrelenting basis. So why bother? Quid pro quo, bro.

Know that people aren’t paying attention

As much as you think. You’re worried they’re as wrapped up in what’s going on as you, and that they’ll notice if you don’t go above and beyond to make their every wish come true, when, really, they’re thinking about how fat they do or do not (but do) look in that skirt. They probably wouldn’t even think twice if you didn’t add in that extra exclamation point at the end of your text message, or only had 3 instead of 4 gluten-free snack options for movie night, or decided to sit out clubbing because your pajamas sound more appealing. Trust that people are much more narcissistic than you give them credit for.

Know your worth

You are worthy, and are not obligated to chip away at yourself in order to make others happy or satisfied. You deserve your own attention, too. Now don’t go crazy, here—I’m not saying you should take care of your health by going to the gym or eating vegetables or anything ridiculous like that. I’m just saying that you shouldn’t put others before yourself. Unless they’re like your kid or something, in which case, it’s your fault they exist so don’t be an asshole.

Featured on News Cult: http://newscult.com/get-people-pleaser/