A Smorgasbord Of Topics

The one bad thing about not writing on Tuesday mornings (to work on my newsletter) is that I typically have a whole 48 hours worth of blog topic ideas to contend with Wednesday morning. I keep starting writing, stopping, and starting over. Since the “One Topic” thing isn’t working, we’re going to do this one several parts today. WHEEEEE!

Part 1: Toxic Stubbornness

We’ve made progress with Wesley and his anger and the types and levels of his outburst have gotten very manageable. There’s no more destruction in physical or emotional categories, there’s just some short quick outbursts we need to contend with. And he still gets irrationally pissed off, but it doesn’t present itself in such catastrophic ways anymore. BUT – we have entered the world of Toxic Stubbornness. Where he is just REFUSING to abide by things that ARE NOT A BIG DEAL AT ALL – like brushing his teeth. I mean: REFUSING. Like he has to stick to his guns or die trying. AND IT IS KILLING ME. I think I miss the days of him screaming that he hates me, this simple REFUSAL to do something when asked has sent me to my bedroom in tears of frustration multiple times the last few weeks. This is new to us, anyone out there have a kid who just sticks to his/her guns for no other reason other than to be RIGHT or to be IN CHARGE or to just MAKE THEIR MOTHERS CRAZY?

Part 2: Fighting Discrimination Outside Of Protect Classes

We’ve got a law in our State being proposed that would allow faith-based Adoption/Foster agencies to deny LGBTQ families. It’s being defended as “free speech” similar to the “I won’t make a cake for that gay couple” situation. I have a hard time arguing this successfully because we still don’t have legislation or federal amendments protecting the LGBTQ community as a “protected class” so it can be rationalized as simply a refusal to do business with someone like you would an asshole who walked into your store. But, as we all know, the government doesn’t just wake up one day and create a protected class before laws like this ever get enacted. Jim Crow laws allowed discrimination to happen legally until the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, and Fair Housing all in the 60s. So, just because something is “legal” doesn’t mean it’s “moral” and until we have federal level protections, the best we can do is fight this type of legalized discrimination. If Hillary had been elected, LGBTQ groups would have started pushing for legislation to created a protected class for the LGBTQ community. Since we can’t be optimistic about that for awhile, we are on the defense and simply trying to protect people in the LGBTQ community from being legally discriminated against.

There’s no other point other than to put this in perspective and in context for past battles of discrimination against groups of people. I’m frustrated with this because the “First Amendment” argument has power until the LGBTQ community becomes a protected class and – especially in the South – that’s a hard power to go up against.

Part 3: Things I Can’t Ignore

I’m learning I have limits to what I can and can not work with when it comes to discussing things with people on the other side of the political aisle. And those limits relate to – what I think – is underlying feelings that people are not recognizing about their fellow humans. For example, when people start defending bathroom bills to protect the children, I really believe deep down inside they’re scared of people in the Trans community, or people who don’t fall into a specific end of the gender binary. Because there is nothing to back up predatory behavior occurring in a manner that this bathroom legislation would defend against. And if someone would just say to me, “I find transgender people to be creepy and scary and there’s something wrong with them,” then I could direct them to documentaries or YouTube channels (Skylar is my favorite) or something to help them instead of arguing about bathroom bills. But no one does that, no one looks deep down at what makes them REALLY uncomfortable.

It’s similar with racism. I can usually hit home with those as my transition from “Unaware Racist” to “Aware Racist Trying to Learn” has been well-documented. But still, there are many issues in which I feel like the underlying problem is someone’s refusal to acknowledge their own privilege (“But my life has been hard!” “Dude. Me too. But not as hard as if I did not have white skin.”) or the existence of systemic racism. When I know those are the underlying conflicts I want to do things like recommend reading of The New Jim Crow or watching of 13th.

But then we hit the point: What if they refuse to watch Skylar’s YouTube videos and see him as a human instead of as a “freaK”, what if they refuse to watch the documentary on our prison system? Or worse – what if they watch it all and STILL refuse to budge on issues?

I think it’s just I have an easier time when my disagreements are economic or religious. I disagree with a lot of people on abortion because I don’t believe in a soul so I don’t have this method of assigning value to a life that can’t live outside of the Mother. That I can accept. I don’t believe trickle-down economics works. I’m pro-tax. People who DO believe it works and who are anti-tax, I can accept because there’s not a lot of human factor. You can find economic reports to support your view and I can find some to support mine.

But human issues – human issues are the ones I really struggle with. I feel like you can’t ignore systemic racism if you open yourself up to some of these books and documentaries. I feel like you can’t judge a gay person or a non-gender conforming person if you just get to know them. I feel like you can’t want to send away illegal immigrants who have been law-abiding members of our community for 20 years, if you would just take a minute to realize that they’re just trying to take care of their family. I feel like you can’t turn away refugees if you remove politics from the issue.

I’m just struggling to realize I have limits. On human issues I want to push…I really want to convert the non-believer. I guess it’s like religion? I feel like, “If you just meet the right person, or hear the right story, your heart will change.” ACCEPT JESUS INTO YOUR HEART!

Anyway. No point, really, just something I’ve been thinking about.

Part 4: I Need A Reset

I can’t get on track with food and exercise lately. I think I need to start some sort of tracking program or something. That stuff has never really worked for long for me, but it usually helps get me focused for a few weeks. Like maybe I need to photograph my food. Or log my calories or something just to force me to think about what I’m eating (and why) because I have gained 20+ lbs in the last year, 10+ just since November, and I feel TERRIBLE. Like, SO SO TERRIBLE. I hate running because this body is heavier, I hate putting on clothes because nothing fits, I hate looking in the mirror because I can see the change. And it would be one thing if it was just from age or something but I know it’s because I’m stress eating and drinking more than I used to. I know I’m making bad choices. I JUST CAN’T STOP. And a lot of it is because my anxiety and depression have been rising up again since the election and my default treatment is: FOOD AND BEER.

So I need a reset. I need a new therapist. (We’ve had insurance changes AND I think I need to find one who can give prescriptions as we’re out of manageable territory.) I need to stop drinking beer every night to help me sleep. I need to stop eating potato wedges and candy. RESET. How do I reboot my health? I need to force a restart.

Conclusion

My head’s a mess.
Politics are exhausting.
Parenting is killing me.

16 thoughts on “A Smorgasbord Of Topics

  1. Colleen says:

    I’m with you on a lot of this. My kids aren’t in a stubborn phase, but I’m dealing with an adult at work who is! The elections and work stress have thrown off my eating and exercising too. I also don’t understand how others can’t see LBGTQ+, other races, immigrants, etc. as people who need to be treated as such. I recently realized just how many people I know personally who may be directly affected by the Muslim ban, because they are originally from Iran. Most came here as children. I don’t know how to fix any of this. I feel like I’m not doing enough. I want you to know that I’m with you and am happy to meet up for lunch, a beer, a run, or a walk or just to talk any time!

  2. heidi says:

    I have a child that used to do that. He was actually diagnosed ODD (oppositional defiance disorder) Basically, he would refused to do something if we told him he had to. Even if he wanted to do it, if we said he HAD to – it was a no-go. So… feel free to email me. The good news? He is 18 now, in college and doing well. And, he’s learning to go against that instinct. It peeks out now and then but for the most part, he doesn’t do that anymore.

  3. Karen says:

    Part 1: Yes, I have one of those children. He has lived to the ripe old age of 16 without me killing him or myself, so there is hope. I just pick my battles; if I can’t find a way to win, I try to figure out his “currency” in order to make it worth his while to concede.

    Part 2: I had to read this section a couple of times… Until I re-read “faith-based,” I was right there with you. If there are other options out there, I do not see the need to force faith-based agencies to go against their honest beliefs and work with LGBTQ couples/singles. Faith-based adoption agencies are not the only choice for adopting. If an LGBTQ couple/single meets all requirements and standards for adopting, then they should be able to use a state/private adoption agency. I see a difference between discrimination and living out of religious beliefs.

    Part 3: It makes sense. The human stuff is hard! But what’s neat is your realization that your desire to see folks change is similar to the Christian’s seeking to “convert” others. And you have a point: when there is a real face to some of these issues, it does change the way you see it. And seeing it in a new way might not mean a complete 180 in mindset/actions, but it can lead to baby steps in a better direction.

    Part 4: I got nothing. I’m in a funky place myself right now. Trying to start a new business (no one thinks they need a proofreader), dealing with a body that doesn’t work as I want it to, Hashimoto’s… All the empathy from me. I’m sure working down the street from Edgar’s doesn’t help things for you!

    • Zoot says:

      See – here’s my perspective. If a religion believed black people made bad parents, they could not discriminate because race is a protected class. I think being gay should be “protected” like being black or female or disabled is. We don’t allow anyone to discriminate those people, no matter what their religion tells them, because they’re protected classes, so my end goal with my political ambition is to be part of a “Civil Rights Act” type piece of legislation that includes LGBTQ.

      Does that make sense? The Federal government and a lot of states have added LGBTQ people to their “protected” classes but Alabama is not one of those states yet.

      My guess is that you probably wouldn’t support LGBTQ people being a protected class, and like with the abortion issue, I concede a lot of that to religion. I wouldn’t debate religion, obviously. But in my heart I believe a gay or transgender person has no more ability to control their gender/sex attraction than someone can control their skin color. Therefore I think they should be protected from discrimination by something like the Civil Rights Act.

      And until then – I just fight legislation that prevents them being treated equally. Probably hopelessly, but I try.

      • Karen says:

        (I wanted to reply sooner, but I was away from my laptop and didn’t want to try to type all this out on my phone.)

        You might be surprised to know that I don’t support making abortion illegal. I can accept abortion being legal. Just because it’s legal doesn’t mean someone HAS to do it. No one is being forced to do something against their will. I am pro-choice but anti-abortion. Does that make sense?

        It seems the difference to me is that in this instance, we are MAKING someone/an organization do something that is against their beliefs when there are other places that are perfectly willing to work with these couples. And this is OK to do? People are bending over backward in some circles to keep from offending those who practice Islam and would never dream of asking them to do something that would cause them to violate the tenets of their faith, even when everyone else has to follow a certain rule; they’ll make an exception for the Muslim. (I wish I could remember the case I read about… )

        In the end, it doesn’t affect me, so I could say that I don’t really care if they’re made a protected class or not, but then I’d be guilty of hiding behind my privilege, wouldn’t I? If there’s a way to respect both the rights of private religious organizations and those of the LGBTQ community, I’m for that. Protected class, with certain exceptions for faith-based groups? That may still be unacceptable, but it at least provides more protection than nothing. (I’m not saying I think that’s the answer… just thinking out loud.)

        At any rate, I think you and I are closer than it seems.

        • zoot says:

          I’ve learned to never be surprised by someone’s beliefs! And I know we’re very close on the humanity spectrum we just arrived there on different paths. That’s what I love about having you as a friend!

  4. Lucy McConville says:

    I really feel you on that last one! I’ve gained 20 pounds, too, and I’ve always been relatively thin so it is really bumming me out. Yep, stress eating and drinking (and, ok, a metabolism change I haven’t gotten used to since hitting the other side of menopause…but I know I can’t used that as an excuse.)

    I think we will both feel a little better and more motivated when winter is over, don’t you? When SPRING comes! There is a different energy in the air then, and the sunshine is so wonderful. So, hang in there. Maybe start small…not an “all or nothing” thing.

    As a side note, I think it is really funny that you said you need a tracker, even though they don’t work for you for long…because the way I found you in the first place was because I was googling stuff that had to do with tracking sheets in bullet journals!! And, no, I didn’t stick to mine, either. But I’ve sure stuck to reading your posts every day!

    Muah! Lucy

  5. Lindsey says:

    Yes, yes, yes. And….ass-vice.

    #1 – How about having a frank talk recognizing that life is hard and that Wes feels the need to control aspects of life. You get that, you want him to have control, and you respect his feelings. So, ask him what is MOST important for him to control, and see if you can give him that. It’s the bait and switch with a side of unexpected support.

    #3 – Similar idea based on articles I’ve read recently which say that emotion is so important. So while you may not be able to convince anyone to watch Skylar on YouTube, the fact that you start the conversation with, “I completely understand that the unknown is scary and you want to protect your children which makes you a great parent,” gives you (or the next person) the ‘in’ that they may need to be heard. So don’t discount just the expression of empathy as beneficial.

    #4 – Yes, the election has been hard on stress eating, I’m there too. DH and I just decided to correct this together, but he’s out of town the next two weeks, so that start is delayed. But I’ll second Kathy’s recommendation to look at what Wil Wheaton has done, if you haven’t already.

  6. Beth says:

    I will try not to hijack your blog this time
    Yes others parents have had kids that are acting like Wesley. There numbers are legion. He is , most likely a strong willed child. There is a book called You can’t Make Me, but I Could be Persuaded. I have heard the author speak, and she is very good. As for right now- you have to pick your battles. His teeth will not fall out immediately if he doesn’t brush them. Same as if he doesn’t take a bath or comb his hair or wears his favorite shirt when the sleeves are an inch too short. Some judgmental bitches might consider you a bad Mom, but their kids didn’t come with instructions either and karma is a bitch.
    If you like your counselor, keep her. Your GP or a psychiatrist will be needed for the meds. Psychiatrists diagnose and treat. For talk therapy you need a counselor, too. FB message me and I can give you the name of a good one.

    Food journaling is a good idea to let you see what you are eating. Diets that eliminate certain foods don’t work (Not counting your vegan eating). If you want something sweet eat 2 bites, the first one and the last one. I am way off track now, but there was a time when I would eat half of a sweet or candy and throw the rest away

  7. JESSIE says:

    Your head is in the same space, if not even a better place than most adults. At least you are aware, concerned and and at least thinking about these things.

  8. JESSIE says:

    I should have made my thoughts a little more clear, but I hate typing on my phone. As adults (at least responsible ones), we always maintain a list of shit that drives us to (drink, sleep, not sleep, eat too much, vacuum the house for the third time…) it’s normal… we still get up and function, or try the best way we know how. Adulting sucks, caring about our families sucks, caring about our kids’ future sucks, caring about people you don’t even know sucks, comments from people on FB suck, everybody sucks! Why do I feel like I always have to suck it up? Why can’t I just suck for a change? Why can’t Jessie just suck and be an asshole that no one likes? I care too much about all the shit that sucks, that’s why.

  9. Alex says:

    As a health coach who works for an online health & fitness expert, I think tracking your food is a GREAT way to bring some mindfulness to what you’re consuming, but I’d steer away from calorie counting. It’s such a tedious endeavor, and more often than not, done incorrectly anyways (even the calories listed on labels are actually just best guesses.) There’s too much potential to do it “wrong,” which leads to frustration and giving up.

    On the other hand, the photo journal idea is a great one! It provides you a moment’s pause before you consume anything while directing your attention to what you’re about to eat, which does make you eat more mindfully, and often less.

    And yes, the nightly beers probably aren’t helping. 🙂

    You start a reboot one step at a time. I haven’t read Will Wheaton’s thing, but I will after this comment. 🙂 I’d suggest picking one thing (more water, or more sleep, or chewing your food a bit slower, or putting your fork down between bites, or taking a drink of water or a deep breath between bites, or only eating at the table, or any other small, manageable bite-sized piece you want,) and work on making it habit. Then another one, then another one.

    You got this. One thing that’s helped me is the mind frame of not “letting” 45 have my health. I remain in control of that.

    (And you are my absolute inspiration for studying racial relations, attitudes, and beliefs in my own life – thank you for writing so openly and honestly about it. It’s making a difference.)

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