Trending In My Life – January 2015

Hello all!  I’m back for January trends, as promised.  Looking through last month’s trends made me realize all over again why I’m doing this so frequently – things change all too fast around here.  This month I started working full time for the first time in my life, so I haven’t been able to play games or watch TV much.  However, I do have some things that seem to be in the forefront.  Without further ado:

Game: Casual Mobile Gaming.  I haven’t had a lot of time to play the consoles lately, so I’ve taken to casual gaming on my Android phone.  I’ve been staying entertained with games such as Farm Heroes Saga, Sim City Buildit, Words On Tour, and little bit of Trivia Crack.  They are easily put away when I get busy, and easy to spend a little more time on when I have time to burn.  However, I do have an Xbox 360 game to spotlight in February.

TV Show: Parenthood.  Parenthood follows the lives of the Braverman family, which consists of Mr. Zeke and Mrs. Millie Braverman, their 4 adult children and their spouses, and all the grandchildren. The series addresses many real-life issues such as mental illness, addiction, relationship problems, sibling rivalry, health concerns, and so much more, all wrapped up into one loving family that is always there for one another.  The characters are easy to love, and fascinating to follow.  The actors have outstanding chemistry together, and the writing is spot-on.  I cannot say enough about this show.  It must be one of my absolute all-time favorites. Parenthood is currently in its 6th season on NBC and only 1 episode remains – the series finale – which will air on Thursday, January 29th.  However, the first 5 seasons are currently available on Netflix.  I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone!

YouTuber: Laci Green. I am a big fan of Laci Green. She is amazing at what she does. She is a vlogger on YouTube and has her own site. She promotes safe, consensual sex, sex education, women’s rights, and so much more! If you haven’t already checked her out, I recommend it. You may even learn a thing or two.

Music: Spotify. So last month I wrote about how annoying Pandora was being for me, and was asking for suggestions for other music services to try. I tried a few, but the one I have enjoyed the most is Spotify. It has the same feature of music station creation that learns from your likes and dislikes. But it also has unlimited skips, playlist creation, and even offline listening. Normally it runs $9.99 per month, but since I signed up just before the end of the year, I got my first 3 months for $.99! I like that I can follow my friends’ listening habits too, to discover new music, or it will suggest bands like the ones I’m listening to. It’s just what I wanted out of a music service and more.

Interest: Dreadlocks. Yep, that’s right, dreadlocks. For those of you who followed me from the beginnings of Ink & Earth, you may know I’ve given them a couple of short tries before. I took out my first serious set of dreads only 3 months into the journey to look presentable to officiate a friend’s wedding. Between then and now I have done tons of research and even joined a group to learn from others’ experiences with dreads. (Best group of people I’ve ever met, by the way – The Dread Den on Facebook) And finally, in December, I took the plunge again and started a new set of dreadlocks. I told myself I would not give up on them easily this time, and that if I did I would force myself to cut my hair as a consequence. And if you know me, you know I like having longer hair. I’m 4 weeks into my journey now, and there are good and bad days. But the point is, I’ve stuck it out so far. Some days I feel like my head is a mess and I’d just like to be “normal” again, especially at work. And other days I am so happy to have so little maintenence, and not to have to brush my hair or wash it as often. I do believe with time I will grow to love it more and more. As my desktop computer took a dump and I’m posting from my phone, I can’t make embedded photos look proper in my blog post this time. But I will post updates and share photos along the way of my dread journey.

So that’s my post for January. I’ll seeya again for another trending post on February 28th!

The Best For My Family

I need to do what’s best for my family… but what is what’s best?

Option 1: Continue to work doing something that makes me happy.  I love my job!  And I know, given time, I will get more responsibility, more hours, and it will eventually help me support my family a bit more comfortably.  Additionally, for many years I have had social anxiety that has kept me from being able to work for any period of time whatsoever.  My current job is the first one since 2001 that I have kept.  I have been there since June and I am comfortable and happy with it.  The atmosphere is relaxed, and my co-workers are great!  By keeping this job, my children will be able to see me be passionate about my work, and in turn will be more likely to follow their own passions to do what they want to do in life, later on.  The downside to this option is that I’m not quite making enough money to support us at this time.  Within this option there is the option to find a 2nd part-time job to fill the time and money requirement while I wait for more at my main job.

Option 2: Take the 2nd job that has been offered to me.  I’m not passionate about it, but it offers close to full-time hours and a much higher pay rate.  It would cover our necessities and then some.  It would be require me to be a lot more physically active, therefore having a potentially positive impact on my health. The downside is that it would be a lot more demanding of my time, and I would not get to spend near as much time focusing on my kids’ homework needs or after-school activities.  There will be a lot less opportunity to get comfortable with my co-workers because it is a larger group of people to work with.  Also, I’m finding it VERY difficult to find child care for the after-school hours and weekends I would be required to work.

I cannot do both jobs at the same time because hours overlap a little, and even if they didn’t, it would leave me with no days off, ever.  So at this point it absolutely has to be one or the other.  Do I follow my heart and life-long dream?  Or do I follow what will support my family right now?  Why does this decision have to be so difficult?

Life or Death: An Unpopular Opinion

Recently I posted a controversial video on my personal Facebook page about the topic that most people avoid these days: abortion.  Generally when I post things of that nature, I get a couple comments, but people generally don’t respond much, and certainly not quite as strongly as the responses I got this time.  Mostly I got opposing opinions, and those who agreed with me didn’t dare speak up, they just “liked” my comments.  It was a video of an aborted baby still inside the amniotic sac, still alive, responding to touch.  Personally, I didn’t intend it to be a “shock video” or something to pull at the heart strings – just more an educational look at what you are losing when you choose to have an abortion.  A look at the fact that the fetus is in fact a living human.

Please know that I am fully aware that this is not the way the world works, and that I am stating MY opinion solely.  If you are easily offended by this topic or the pro-life cause, tough!
I have always, since I could first understand the concept in its entirety, been strongly opposed to abortion.  I grew up an only child, with a mom who cried and prayed to have more children throughout my childhood.  She raised me with a very strong appreciation for life, and desire for fertility.  I grew up knowing that as a woman, I was not obligated to have children, but I knew my body was built for it.  I grew up knowing I would one day have children, and I looked forward to it.  I knew I was destined to be a mom, by my own choosing.

During high school I did some research and used abortion as a topic for reports and projects, including art projects.  I learned about the many reasons someone may choose an abortion, such as birth defects, health of the fetus, health or age of the mother, lifestyle, finances, parental relationship issues, rape, incest, etc.  I was open-minded about it during this period of research and learning.
The turning point for me was when I was approached by one of my high school friends, at age 17, and asked to take her to the clinic to terminate her pregnancy.  She went on to tell me that she and her boyfriend knew the risk of pregnancy was there when they had unprotected sex, and they joked that if she got pregnant, they could just get an abortion.  In hindsight, I believe it was one of those “it could never happen to us” situations.  But cruel irony caught up with them, and that ended up being their actual solution.  I lost all respect for the both of them over it.  I took her to her appointment, and while she was there I did a lot of soul-searching.  I thought over all that I knew, and all that I had experienced while growing up.  I knew the world was full of infertile couples dreaming of making a family by adopting.  And being a spiritual Pagan, I knew that all life was sacred, and on this Earth for a reason.

That is what made me decide: 99% of abortions are unnecessary.  I say 99% because I understand there always exists an exception to every set of circumstances.  Extreme situations are the only reasons for this exception, in my opinion.  Such as imminent death or extreme deformities to the point of incapacity for the child and no chance at a good life.

Pro-Life-3-being-pro-life-5715580-500-375As for all the rest, I believe every life is created for a reason, and all the “reasons” for abortion are just weak excuses from weak women.  If a woman gets pregnant because either they weren’t responsible enough use birth control or birth control failed, that’s not excuse for an abortion.  If a woman gets pregnant from a rape or from incest and just doesn’t want the reminder of that painful event, there are other options such as adoption.  If your relationship falls apart and you can’t imagine being a single mother or you can’t afford a baby, abortion is not the answer.  If the baby has minor to moderate health issues or birth defects, perhaps the medical community could learn from your child to help others with the same issue, or perhaps he or she will enrich your life beyond your wildest dreams – abortion is not the answer.

Life is beautiful, no matter what the situation.  Life is a blessing, a miracle.  If you aren’t ready to receive that miracle, or to be a mom, and you want to have control of your body, then BE EDUCATED, USE BIRTH CONTROL, BE RESPONSIBLE.  Take responsibility for your own actions, don’t turn to drastic measures to “get rid of” your mistake.  Abortion is murder, period.  I don’t care if that is a harsh remark to someone who has some guilt over making that choice at some point in their life.  I don’t care who I offend with this opinion.  You should have chose to be a parent, or adoption – the gift of life and a family.

What I stand for: Pro Responsibility, Pro Education, Pro Birth Control, PRO LIFE!

And I will stand by this opinion and this cause until the day I die.

Backing Off

I have been backing off of blogging lately.  It seems ever since my divorce was finalized in May, I have just been keeping to myself or talking to my close friends.  I realize that the majority of followers I have on this blog are people that followed me trying get my attention to push their own philosophies or products on me rather than actually reading my blog.  So why share the depths of my life with people who don’t really care?  Please correct me if I’m wrong.  I would really like to know who reads these words anyway.  I’ve been blogging here for a year as of today, and so far I may have a very small following…. make yourselves known, please. 🙂

The summer has been slow and long already.  I have a new job which is going great, but the changes that have occurred in my household have left us broke and constantly needing more.  We aren’t going to be able to do most of what we had planned – even me and Sean’s wedding was delayed.  And unfortunately a lot of time is being taken up by electronics, as they are one of our very few entertainment luxuries at the moment.  I hate to admit they are an escape from reality for me.  But its not like I’m not doing things to improve my situation as well.  I am continuing to search for a 2nd job.  The chores and housework are getting done as needed.  And I was even able to plant a small garden with permission from my apartment manager.

So that’s our summer so far.  Nothing too fun and exciting.  Just low-budget, lazy days.

Your Postpardum Body

I found the following post on The Other Side Of Mom on Facebook.  It was not written by me, but it is fantastic and I wanted to share.  Enjoy:

When I got pregnant for the first time I was 18, fresh out of cheerleading, doing Yoga daily and in the best shape of my life. Though I gained a mere 15 pounds during my pregnancy, my body stretched and pulled in ways it has never truly recovered from and I struggled a lot with the way it looked and felt after Samara was born.

It was partially my circumstances too, my ex husband regarded me with words of criticism despite walking out of the hospital in the same size 0 jeans I’d walked in wearing. I heard my mother complain my entire life about her body and the ways carrying four full term girls had changed it. In fact – I’d never heard a single positive thing about postpartum bodies that I could readily recall.

My self esteem dipped into the negatives, I was bitter in every sense. I had this beautiful daughter and now my body was fucked up. The trade off was a worthy one, but that didn’t make it suck any less.

A divorce followed, and so did regaining my sense of self. Around Christian it was easy to see my body as beautiful. He didn’t ignore the flaws, his fingertips ran along the length of the stretchmarks on my thighs, he dug my Cesarean scar, and kissed my stomach. He didn’t just accept the changes {and he knew my body before children}, he admitted that they’d made me even better. I wished I could feel the same way about it.

Four more children, five more pregnancies, and Christian’s enthusiasm for my body has only become more fervent. But more importantly, my own feelings have changed.

After my third pregnancy, I realized I no longer felt negatively, I no longer rushed to work out, I no longer lost my shit over the baby weight. I was elated to be rid of that pressure, anger, longing and sadness.

My body has done the greatest work. It held my children. It nourished them. Along with its overlooked most basic of functions; my heart skips a beat when I look at my family, my brain functions well allowing me to learn so I can in turn teach my children, I can walk to Starbucks and order a Cinammon Dolce Latte. I no longer take all of these things for granted. But I’ll be honest, in a world hell bent on making me hate myself for being dark skinned, or for being a stay at home mother, or being tattooed, or not adhering to society’s rules for proper child rearing, etc, etc, etc – sometimes I need a reminder.

And last night Severus Danger sat beside me as I nursed Thaddeus to sleep. He noticed my shirt had risen and revealed the smallest patch of my stomach’s skin and he said “Mama, you have a squishies!” and I laughed and told him I did. He asked to see my belly button, a thing he’s noticing everyone has now, and I showed him the deep gorge.

Severus examined it for a second, then looked at his own, looked at mine, looked at his, looked at me and said matter of factly; “You button looks different than mine.” and again I confirmed that was true. I told him that all belly buttons looked a little different, but that mine looks this way because when I was pregnant with him and his siblings, my tummy grew to make room for them to do the same. He was fascinated by the short story and my one armed gestures that gave him a sense of the enormous impact they have on my life. He threw himself onto my stomach {disturbing his brother in the process} and squeezed hard.

1491657_449770108487517_1001977056_nJust as I was starting to feel slightly self conscious, he said “I love you squishies, Mama! And I love you button! And you babies! And even me because I grew in here!” and there my reminder was.

It occurred to me that maybe you may need the reminder too; your body has done a great work, it was strained, and pushed and pulled and full of life {or lives}. You may have had Cesareans like me and have scars, or you may have birthed a baby vaginally and have scars in more delicate places. You may have gained 10 pounds, you may have gained 80. You may have experienced an easy pregnancy, or one wrought with frustration and worry. You may have fed your baby from your breast, or from a bottle and still didn’t escape the preparations to breastfeed that your body automatically switches on. All of that makes you a bad ass, you should never see yourself as anything less than a Goddess.

Please stop hating your postpartum body, please stop hating each other’s postpartum bodies – why the fuck is that even a thing? Please stop feeling shame because it might not look the same way it did before you had children. Please stop obsessing over losing the baby weight in harmful manners – there’s nothing wrong with you wanting to lose it, but be gentle and kind to yourself as you do. Please be there for another woman who may be feeling upset, because your support may be what she needs, and may make a big difference.