I couldn’t say anything until I had to say something

The following op-ed piece is an opinion of its writer only, and not necessarily the views of the collective body that make up Team Hellions. Blogged with permission.

Today I spent a good portion of my day with tears running down my face, unable to speak because I was choking on despair.

I found out about the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary via Facebook since I did not hear until almost 2pm. Almost instantly graphics came up for prayers, healing thoughts, and love for the victims of this horrendous crime. Also what popped up was this little gem of a graphic that I felt like I needed to write on.

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 Honestly here, what does religion in school have ANYTHING to do with this. Would it have made a difference if there had been? Did the people that made this graphic believe that because there is no prayer in school while those innocent people and children were slaughtered that god/God turned a blind eye because US schools don’t allow prayer?

 Have we forgotten that ours is a country founded on religious freedom? That one of the main reasons that there is no prayer in school is so that there is not favoritism of one religion over another? If you want your child to have prayer in school then send them to a religious school, simple as that! I find it deeply offensive that the deaths of almost THIRTY people is already being used as a propaganda tool to promote religious agendas.

I don’t care if you love God, god, Allah, Yahweh, Buddha, Goddesses, or have no religious affiliation at all. Religion has nothing to do with the ability to be a good person, to have sympathy, and to feel grief for all that has been lost in yet another one of these senseless tragedies. This man, Adam Lanza, walked into an ELEMENTARY school and killed TWENTY children and the seven adults who where there to teach them their ABC’s and 1,2,3’s.

Tonight, I grieve for those people. I feel pain deep inside my soul for not only their loss, but for all of those other children and adults whose lives are irrevocably altered. I grieve for the families who can’t tuck their children into bed, or the people who can’t hug their loved ones one more time.  My religious affiliation doesn’t affect the tears staining my cheeks, the pain I feel in my heart, or the thoughts of healing that I send to Connecticut.   

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The conundrum of giving during the Holidays

The holidays always feel like a tricky time of year for me.  Not because of finding the right gifts or putting up holiday decorations, but because of those red buckets at pretty much every store.  You know, the ones that are accompanied by someone ringing a bell.  Yes, I am talking about the Salvation Army donation buckets.

To be honest, I am torn.  I don’t donate to the Salvation Army because of their strong religiously-based stance on homosexuality.  As in, they don’t like it.  Now, I realize that every person is welcome to their own opinion, and I suppose that companies are too.   I understand that on the local level that they don’t ask for someone’s sexual orientation before they provide help, I have even had a few friends who have worked for them in Central New York.  I am not saying they don’t do good things.  I am saying that I disagree with their corporate anti-gay stance.  So, like I mentioned, I am torn.  It isn’t that I don’t want to donate to those who are needy in my community, but as an LGBT friendly, non-religious person I am not generally comfortable donating to the Salvation Army.  I am never disrespectful to those ringing bells, and when my former place of employment wanted us to ring bells I politely declined.  Here is an article from the Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/26/salvation-army-gay-rights-voucher_n_2192085.html

Luckily, the Salvation Army isn’t the only charity in town, and if you listen to local radio stations or morning TV programs there are many other options out there.  Often, I donate to charities who want things, like toys for kids, and not money.  I know at that point that my gift is going straight to someone who needs it.  I even happily donate blood because I know it’s needed.  I donate (whenever possible) personal care items to local women’s shelters, and did the same when someone at my college was collecting food and hygienic products for Hurricane Sandy victims (coupon-ing FTW!).  I have donated to the SPCA, cause I love the puppies and kitties!

For me it is important to show care and affection through out this holiday season, and if I can do that supporting the organizations who reflect my personal values, but also with items other then cash that still make a difference in someone’s life then for me that is the epitome of the Holiday Spirit.

So PLEASE, get out there and donate to your local food bank, Toys for Tots, even look to your local high school or college for winter coat drives, or if you so choose, your church-based organization.  Just make sure that your values and your gift are completely supported by the charity you choose to donate to!

Want to donate, but not sure who or where to donate?  Call your local town hall, check out local papers, or just try google!  Good luck and happy giving!

Fake Nerd Girl

Just as I was getting ready for bed tonight, I hopped onto Twitter to see how my regular lovlies were doing when I was introduced to this very interesting concept: The FAKE NERD GIRL.

From what I can gather, the FNG is a individual of the female persuasion who only likes nerdy or geeky things because it’s…..well, this is where I am unclear. Either it’s because it’s POPULAR or because she wants to tease the boys.

(Scratches head)

Wait, you means I am a FNG just so the BOYZ WILL LIKEZ ME?! Woah! Bats eyelashes! Tosses hair! Pouts lips! Sticks out chest! BOYZ!!! (Insert eye-roll here)

I can’t be the only person here who is shouting at their computer OH COME THE FRACK ON?! While I have not always been a life-long self affirmed and PROUD Nerd, it certainly doesn’t make me fake, nor does it to any of my nerd-sisters. Length of time associating ones self as awesomely of the nerd variety does not a true blooded nerd make. It is the heart and love of whatever you find fascinating.

I find it interesting that yet again main stream culture is depicting women only as objects for male sexualization and gratification. I mean, really, get over yourselves. Some Nerd women are hot, some are not, but we are all awesome…and we all have perfectly functioning minds whose inter-workings are not dependent on wondering if some random dude is going to find us attractive.

Just curious….do YOU remember your first Con, RPG, LARPing, Munchkin match, weekend playing Arkham Horror? I do. I remember nervously dressing up as Integra Hellsing worrying that someone was going to find out that I had just watched the series for the first time and I would be outed as a fraud. I knew I was going to Otakon with a boy and his friends who were regular Cosplayers and watched the Anime since they said the character would fit my body type. And you know what? LOVED IT. Everyone at Otakon was AWESOME, people took my picture and I took theirs. No one sneered at me because I was a n00b, they appreciated my efforts as a particular character. The geek/nerd world has always felt like the most welcoming community so I am saddened to hear about this crap.  The initial acceptance I felt lead me into a deep and life-long love of all things nerdy and geeky.

Being a nerd isn’t just one thing. You can love Sci-Fi and Fantasy, but despise Anime. You can love reading Young Adult Lit and dislike Wrestling. The beautiful thing about being a part of a nerd community is that what used to make you “uncool” in the eyes of so many people simply don’t matter anymore because most of the people around you are fascinated by your uniqueness.  This community should be welcoming people who are open to learning, not degrading them for trying to find out what our “culture” is about.

If so called “hot” women want to come to Cons or wherever all dolled up in their best Sailor Scout costume I say bring it on! My Integra Hellsing costume is not offended. Hell, I might actually learn something about Sailor Scouts (I sadly, do not know everything)!

We all started somewhere. Whether it be because our parents read us comic books, or siblings sat us in their laps and gave us a battery-less Nintendo controller, that someone explained us what the heck this Magic game was at the lunch table (and how in the hell does a die have TWENTY SIDES?!) , or that we were 26 and dating a gamer who also happened to open our eyes to Doctor Who. Who cares?! The way I look at it, the more people who embrace their inner nerd the more great people I get to meet either in life or online.

 So, in short, channel your inner Harvest Moon, gather some wood and stones, build a bridge, and get over it.

My very first Con, Otakon 2008. No one told me not to, no one called me fake.

Hurricane Sandy Preparedness! The list the news isn’t giving you.

As I sit here writing, Hurricane Sandy and a Nor’Easter are both rushing the east coast like two drunken horny teenagers, ready to mindless rip each other’s clothes off and copulate like bunnies. I happen to have the misfortune to live 90 miles outside of NYC. My classes are canceled for tomorrow and I am hunkered down in my basement apartment on a hill surrounded by a million trees. However, I am prepared as the news tells me to be but they left a few things out:

Charge the E-Reader.

As a graduate painting student who reads more then she paints I will use this opportunity to dust off the ole Nook and read….whatever frigging book I was reading on August 26th before school started. I *could read some of my school books but, shoot, I left them in the studio. (which is a total lie, but don’t tell anyone)

Fill a 5 gallon bucket with water. For the toilet.

As someone with gastrointestinal (AKA Pooping) issues, who also had a major attack of the mudbutt today (TMI, I know, get over it) the only thing more important then drinking water is the water to flush your toilet, especially if the electricity is out for several days. I have a studio apartment, I don’t need it to smell like shit.

Sleep in a bra.

I keep imaging that I am snuggled under my blankets, cuddling my stuffed dog (shut up) who in my dreams is Hugh Jackman and all the sudden one of the million trees in my yard crash through the window. PANIC! One does not just simply wake up in a moment of panic and manage to wrestle 38DD breasts into a bra. This takes careful precision and thought. I also can’t run out of my apartment braless without risking a concussion from bouncing boobs so, alas, even though it’s not comfortable I shall be sleeping in a bra.

Take care of your pets.

Your pets are NOT stuffed toys. Keep them inside. They’re afraid and trust you to be their love and support. If you evacuate and leave them behind, shame on you. Pets are family, and if you’re aren’t perhaps you should give them to a family who would think of them that way.

Have a rescue plan. For your TV.

For the most part, there really isn’t anything in my apartment I could live without. Im a grad student, I don’t eat off of re-used paper plates and have beer cans in my bathroom. I have nice things. And one of them is my brand new 32” TV. I know it isn’t much to some people but I love my TV. I plan to wrap her in garbage bags and then in a blanket and lay her in the back of the car if something bad happens. Clothes can be easily replaced, my TV cannot. And yes, I know I have a problem.

Make sure your car has an actual outlet and that it’s fully gassed:

Mostly I filled my car up because it has an honest to goddess outlet in it. One where I can charge my phone, laptop, and possibly run my toaster oven if needed. Dont be hatin’.

Buy Soup. On Sale. With Coupons.

People keep asking me if I have enough non-perishable foods if the power is out for several days. People who KNOW I coupon. I think I have enough Progresso and Campbell’s soup for at least 2 weeks worth of meals, not counting the PBJ I bought. Ohhh, this just reminded me, I need an evacuation plan for my coupon binder too. #LeaveNoCouponsBehind

Have lots of candles.

Cause nothing is sexier then sitting in your romantically lit apartment by yourself as all hell breaks loose. Bonus if all of them are different scents so your apartment smells like a cheap French bordello from the late 19th century.

Buy a lot of cheese. Then eat.

This is a great excuse to eat a lot of cheese with no guilt. I mean, you’re only eating it so that it doesn’t go bad and go to waste, right? Right.

Shave.

You never know when the next time you can tackle those areas again in a power outage, and you don’t want uncomfortable itching…in bad places…

Make sure you have clean underwear. On and packed if possible.

Shit, stick a pair in your glove box. Remember when your mother said always to wear clean underwear ? This is one of those instances. Even if you only have two pairs, it means you never have to go commando. I don’t care if it is your biggest pair of stained granny panties, clean is clean. And if all else fails and you can’t clean them at least you can turn them inside out.

Know where your cell phone charging cord is.

Not so you can call your loved ones, but so you can upload disaster pictures to Facebook and become an internet sensation.

Buy booze.

After all, it’s still a day off, even if it is the FrankenStormApocalypse. If im gonna go, Im gonna go with my good friend Svedka!

Umbrella? Forget about it.

80mph wind? Fine, get one but only if you are dressing up as Mary Poppins for Halloween and wish to fly away.

 

Carry a Machete.

Have we learned nothing from “The Walking Dead”.  Bullets run out and you may need to hack your way into a prison simply on your wit and machete wielding skills.  Remember kids, don’t end up like Sophia.

Feel free to add to my list below, especially if they’re funny!

Mr & Mrs Hellions! (Exclusive Sneak peek!)

Last weekend I was fortunate to not only get to attend the wedding of our esteemed captain and his lovely bride, but I also served as their “friend-tographer”!  Here is a quick sneak peek of some of my favorite pictures of Kevin & Elise until I can get through the 1,700 images :)

ENJOY!!!

Getting ready for the wedding with a morning juice ;)

I loved the garters Elise made. They were so unique and so very them!

a beautiful moment

Taking pictures during prayer is ok….right?!

First Kiss!

Rings! And the lovely paper flower bouquet Elise made!

The lovely couple!

Headed to the reception

Adorable

Kevin is a very handsome groom!

Probably my favorite shot of the night. No (unique) wedding is complete without the addition of Sonic Screw Drivers! Did I mention that the wedding party also entered the reception to the Doctor Who theme song? EPIC.

I hope this whet’s your appetite for now! I hope you fill this post’s comment box with many congratulations for such an amazing couple!  <3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amanda Todd & a Revisit to “Bully/Bullied”

I was taking a break from writing my term paper this afternoon so I skipped on over to livejournal (my private blog) and a friend wrote about Amanda Todd.  If you are not familiar with her (as I wasn’t) she was a young woman who committed suicide last week after years of emotional, mental, and physical bullying, both online and in her schools.  When she was 12 she made the mistake of doing something pretty stupid, as most 12 year olds do.  She flashed a guy on a video chat.  He eventually came back to harass her, and sent pictures of her breasts to everyone in her life, even her school mates and teachers.  She was mercilessly bullied and beaten, even when she switched schools–and her cyber bully followed her.  She tried to drink bleach. She cut herself. She tried to numb the pain.  She wanted to die.  Her bullies wanted her to die. And now she is dead.

How anyone can live with themselves for doing this to anyone, let alone a young girl is APPALLING.  As someone who grew up with bullying (although not as severe), as someone who considered suicide when she was younger, I can’t help but cry right now.  Where were her teachers?  Where was the schools administration? Were where these kids’ parents?  Why did they not teach their own children to respect others?  How can someone, even kids, think that telling someone to drink more bleach is acceptable?!  Their actions are unarguably worse then the one mistake Amanda made.  I am just flabbergasted, stunned, and horrified.  Why didn’t anyone stop these kids?  And while I try to be sensitive to both sides of a story I find it hard to believe that this was anything other then some kind of appalling mass bullying, like a pack of hyenas.

I am not going to say that I have never been a bully, most of us have in one way or another.  I have admitted to it (and will re-post that blog below), but to drive someone to suicide?!  I hope these kids feel awfully proud of themselves, and I hope they live with this shame for the rest of their lives.  Many of these kids are the same ones who are commenting on prayer and memorial sites that they’re glad she is dead.  What the hell?!  How would you feel if it was you, or your sister, brother, daughter, son or cousin?  I am not saying that Amanda’s actions are completely innocent, but she did not deserve the life she got and to die for her actions.

And to the asshole who tormented this girl.  My god, man, what is your Napoleon complex?  Did tormenting this poor girl make you feel big and strong.  Was her death your masochistic orgasm?  Are you a pedophile who gets off on your control over other’s lives?  EDIT: The hacker group Anonymous found out who the guy was and posted it: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/16/amanda-todd-bully-anonymous-suicide_n_1969792.html  (I would like to point out that their motivation was in discovering that nude photos from Amanda’s autopsy had been leaked.  How much worse can people treat this young girl.  Are they not satisfied with her death, is it not enough that not they have to keep shaming her and her family?)

This will never stop until we teach kids what it means to truly love and care for others instead of themselves.

Here is Amanda’s video she made before her death about her bullying.

And here is a post I wrote two years ago entitled “Bully/Bullied”

I have spent a lot of time lately thinking about the issue of Bullying.  It is on the news pretty heavily drawing attention to the bullying of LGBT kids, encouraging videos on YouTube to let kids know that things will get better. I am especially enjoying how “Glee” is dealing with the subject on both sides.  We know Kurt’s story, but I feel like they are building up his Bully’s story too.  Very few bullies are hateful just because, many, I think, take out their own insecurities on others who are what they cannot be, they are intimidated, and sometimes it might be the first sense of “control” in their lives.

As with this blog in the past I like discussing social issues, not with stats, but with personal experience. And, in the past, I have been both the Bullied and the Bully.

Sounds weird, does it not?  How can one person be both?

For a long time I was bullied.  Mostly as a young girl, awkward and clumsy, wrong clothes, wrong hair, wrong last name.  I was an easy target–especially since I was pretty shy (believe it or not).  I used to get notes pushed through the grate of my locker telling me that “I was so ugly and that I should just dig a hole and die in it because no one liked me” and even one note when I was a little older put in my band locker that was sexually derogatory (and while I remember it, I will not repeat it)”  When I was in middle school, I was on the bus talking to a kid in the seat in front of me when a high schooler went by and threw his hip into the side of my face and bruised my nose so badly (possibly broke it?  I never went to the doctor, but it was bad) that my father went to the kids house and screamed at him while the kids parents just stood by.  The bus was pretty much the hell for 5 years, which was insane because I was the next to last stop, a 10 minute ride at the most–so much so in fact that as a Junior I started walking home two and a half miles when the weather was good–to avoid my favorite calls of “Watch out Fat Ass is Coming Through” with accompanied moo-ing, and on more then one instance having broken pens with leaking ink thrown at me.  School was better but the kids at the time were never kind, especially when a square peg tries to fit in with the round hole kind of activities cliques.  I looked at myself and I hated that something about me wasn’t acceptable.  That for some reason I couldn’t stand up for myself.  That for some reason I was their easy target.  I sat there and blamed myself while smiling through a pain that was eating me up from the inside out. I don’t know how to tell you that I got through it without being mostly physically hurt, or hurting myself.  I just did, and it was the hardest thing I have ever done.  Even writing those last few sentence made a heavyness ache in my chest.  And there are times I still cry for that little girl who really just wanted to have friends and to be liked, but was just so damn shy and scared.

So, you’ve gotta be wondering how a kid goes through all that turns into a Bully?  I would like to say it’s simple and that I was not in control of myself but that would be stupid.  A few years later, in college, I was desperate to fit in, to feel like part of a group.  So I found a group, and laughed with them and eventually alienated people around me.  I loved being ‘accepted’ and went along with what they did, hell, times I even came up with my own plans.  I made people (who were friends, and since have become better friends who are nice enough not to mention this time) feel awful about themselves, I said awful things, I did shitty things, all to feel….normal (and in control)?  And it was not just people my age, but also professors I was completely horrible to.  This stage did not last long because after while I was outside looking in, again, but this time to two different sides.  Eventually poisonous things infect themselves and when there is nothing good externally to tear apart it turns on itself, the weakest limb first.  I started to look at those to whom I had bullied, and all the sudden I was ashamed of myself, and I wanted to be friends with them.  Luckily I eventually pulled myself together, and I apologized to friends and professionals, and I was fortunate that eventually they forgave me.  I am ashamed of this time period in my life, but grateful that I was able to move beyond.  And learn.

I felt as awful as the Bully as when I was Bullied.

So perhaps, its gets better for both.

I am not sure what the point of this was, or how to end this post really.  I guess I just wanted to say what happened and what I did.  Everyone has a story, even the’ villain’ of a piece.

StateoftheLinds: Fall TV anticipation & disappointments

With the new TV season practically upon us, here are the top 5 shows I can’t wait for and the top 5 of my former favorite shows I am rather ambivalent about.

Favorites:

 

  1. The Voice

I admit it. The voice is my guilty reality show pleasure. I love the first two rounds (Blind Auditions and the Battle Rounds), I enjoy the competitive yet supportive atmosphere with the coaches, I and I really enjoy how hot Adam and Blake are. However, they need to stop crowning talented but generic R&B singers as their winners. SNOOZE. And we ALL know that Juliet should have won last season.

 

  1. Dexter

    OMFG. Last season was AH-MAYYYYYYYY-ZING! They did “crazy religious dude” perfectly (True Blood, you should have watched how this idea was done right!), especially with the casting of Admiral Adama….errrr, I mean, Edward James Olmos. I can’t wait to see what happens with Deb! TOO MANY DAYS LEFT! I only hope this can keep getting better and better, if that is even humanly possible.

  2. The Walking Dead

    We all agree Hershel’s farm got tedious last season. Now there’s a chick with a sword! And a prison! And an even gritter Rick! Let’s hope Lori or Carl bites the big one this season and there are even more ZOMBIES! BRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAINS.

  3. Big Bang Theory

    This is my one nods to a witty half an hour show. I love it. The addition a few seasons ago of Amy Ferra-Fowler refreshed a somewhat stale dynamic.

  4. Once Upon a Time

    This show can get a little overwhelming at times (I am going to re-watch now that it is on netflix) with the addition of new fairy tale character’s most of the time. However there is good twists and turns, it is well written and mostly well acted. I absolutely love Mr Gold/Rumpelstiltskin and the main protagonist of the show. Lets hope they don’t fall into the Season 2 slump!

 

And formerly favorite shows:

1. Glee

  1. Was anyone else frustrated with last season? One (or short) episode mini-plots like Quinn’s paralyzation that should have been through out the whole season. Mr Shue all the sudden being a crappy Spanish teacher, Kurt killing it for his NYADA audition and NOT getting in? And so many more. WEAK! What did I like? Santana—she was pretty much the only well written character amongst a show full of plot holes.
  2. Bones

    This was much more exciting when there was sexual tension between Booth and Bones. However, the crime of the week is always interesting. Also, I want to be Angela. And Hodgens is my pretend boyfriend.

  3. American Idol

    Okay, to be honest here, I think I watched only season 6….I think? The season when David Cook won. Either way. I think it is going to blow more then usual with the new panel of Mariah Carey, Nikki Meningitis (or whatever), and Keith Urban. Along with the DAWG himself, Randy. How is this show even relevant anymore? It’s soooo 2002.

  4. The X Factor

    I am just bitter that this doesn’t come available on any form of streaming that I can find. Or even just as a regular episode. I am not going to buy it. I kind of dig Simon, but I have masochistic tendencies.

  5. Grey’s Anatomy

    I really, guiltily LOVE this show. And Shonda Rhymes does amazing season openers and enders, but the last few seasons the rest of it as SUCKED. I want my Cra-Cra Grey’s Anatomy back. You know, when Christina wasn’t traumatized, Meredith wasn’t married, Derek was Mc Dreamy, and Mc Streamy was…well….Steamy. I think both Mark and Arizona are going to bite it when the new episode airs this week. Hopefully we get sassy Christina back…

And for your viewing PLEASURE:

 

Never Forget, but have we Forgotten?

(DISCLAIMER: I wrote this piece last year for the 1oth anniversary of September 11th.  I thought it still had great bearing today which is why I am sharing it now.  Some of the political facts have changed in a year–as they should have, so just bear that in mind, I am too busy to re-write the piece now.  Please understand the sentiment of the work.  Also, this is StateoftheLinds opinion and does not necessarily reflect those of the Hellions group)

I remember where I was when I heard a Tower was hit–as probably does everyone.

I was sleeping, as a 20 year old tends to do.  I had taken a semester off from college, unwillingly, due to bad paperwork.  So I was sleeping.  I was woken by an insistently ringing phone and upon dragging my self out of bed I realized it was Mom on the other side calling from work urgently, but quietly telling me to get Dad and turn on the TV.

I ran into the living room and ordered Dad to turn on CNN and as he did we saw the plane hit the second tower.   I don’t remember where I sat, but I do remember the stunned silence between my father and I.

I had to work later that day and I remember my Assistant Manager, wearing his American Flag tie, walking around all day with tears silently running down his face.

I remember the days, weeks, and months later–the horrifying pictures, the stories of loved ones lost.  All of it heart breaking.

And yet I can’t help but think that everything that happened that day has lead to the degradation of our economic stability and despite the pledges to “Never Forget”….that we, as a whole, have forgotten.  Not the events of that day, or the people who died on that day, but perhaps the spirit following that day–the unity in the face of horrifying controversy.

We speak of America as if we are this impenetrable powerhouse.  We are viewed (or view ourselves) as an un-sinkable ship.  On this day Al-Queida decided to take shots at this country, and then soon after we shot back.  And lots of innocent people died, on both sides.  It did not take that long to find Saddam Hussein–and while you will find no argument as the valididity of his evil and sadistic nature, he was not and should not have been our target.  He did not have WMD, and while his crimes against humanity were great, the drive to capture him did not stem from the attack but from a son fulfilling his father’s vendetta.  It would take the US almost TEN years to come across the man who ordered the attacks–and this time period is unforgivable.

I can’t help but ponder what else had happened in ten years, cause and effect of this day.  That two wars (was actual “war” ever actually declared?), which seem to resemble Vietnam in it’s aimless nature and seemingly never arriving end-date.  We have sent trillions of dollars to rebuild these countries and to fight terrorism while our country, the country we promised to NEVER FORGET about has slowly sunk, like another famous unsinkable ship.  We hear stories of 9/11 rescue workers FORGOTTEN as they are denied health care and suffer from injuries from saving lives and rescuing the remains of those who died.  Soldiers who have come home from this ‘war’ are left to deal with PTSD and injured-FORGOTTEN about after they have served the country–sent to the front lines by politicians who think more about victory then the blood of the actual men and women trying to help.  And then Soldiers come home and couldn’t find jobs.  Racial tensions escalated as perceptions of stereotypes over-rode good judgement.  Our economy has crumbled because the Government allowed banks to make unstable loans, families are losing their houses, their jobs, the Government struggles to find money to pour into our country because TRILLIONS are sent over each year to the Middle East.  It seems as if American Citizens come in second next to the oil wielding countries.

I am not saying we shouldn’t help the Afghanis and the Iraqis.  If anything, I am a lover of humans…and these people were and are suffering.  And yet, if we were a country that stood up and said “We are there for a humanitarian effort, no human should have to suffer as these people have” but that is rarely said by our representatives.  I would make piece with my three jobs if that meant that more people in this world were being given food and shelter (as should be done in Africa).  Yet, what is talked about is oil, and nuclear power, and more oil.  Money over lives.  The attacks of 9/11 were horrible, but our retribution seems less to me every day about the men and women who died, less about the heroes who ran into buildings or helped down a plane in a field instead of the White House, but for oil.  And this makes me ANGRY.  Our representatives speak about a QUARTER CENTURY in the Middle East– fifteen more years is UNACCEPTABLE!  I mourn the loss of our soldiers, and growing up near Fort Drum, I know soldiers who have been to the Middle East.  I will ALWAYS support the Soldiers, but I have never supported the government in this endless endeavor.

On this day of remembrance, after ten years, it is time to stop forgetting the American Citizens who can barely make it day to day.  The Americans who can’t find jobs to support their families.  It is time to remember that our country is suffering and actually DO something about it.  We haven’t forgotten what happened at this moment in time on 9/11, but we have forgotten how to unify as a country, especially our politicians who are constantly bickering.

Our world changed drastically on this day.  We still mourn.  We need to discover a new resilience, a new faith, because if America continues to crumble Al-Queida will get exactly what they wanted ten years ago.

Would all the “Real Women” please stand up

I am BAAAAAACK.  Y’all missed me, right? Well thank you for your patience as I moved 3 hours away from my former location to attend graduate school for my MFA in Painting & Drawing (and had to replace my laptop, RIP Frankenlappy), and I beg for your forgiveness if I disappear again due to studio demands.

Now, even though I was gone I still have a few blogs planned out to post, but here is one that couldn’t wait.  At my new place I don’t have cable, and due to the hilly area neither do I have ability to get anything with bunny ear antennas.  Even when tin foil is added.  What is the world coming to?!  Anyways, I have been patiently waiting to catch up on some shows that I religiously watch, one of those being “Project Runway”.

PR is one of my guilty pleasure shows.  Add fashion, creativity, time crunches, and a bunch of bitchy drama queens, and you have me from the words “Make it Work”.  I have been a faithful viewer for the full ten seasons, but this last weeks episode pissed me off more then when crappy designer Gretchen won over Mondo a few seasons ago.

What made you mad, might you ask?  Ven.  Ven and his bitching about having to dress a “plus size woman”.  Fashion is something I enjoy (not that you would know that by my ‘sweatpants’ drawer, ha), I see high fashion especially as a combination of theater and art.  If you’re not fully aware in general fashion models, especially runway models tend to be very tall and very thin. In fact, when designers sketch their figures are on average ten heads tall (take the length of the head from the highest point to the lowest–usually the chin and that is one length.  Measure along the body) while the actual human is generally around 7 or 7.5 heads tall.  In addition, many of these women are actually girls, often prepubescent as to achieve that rain thin frame before the puberty fairy comes and gives her boobs, hips, and cellulite. High heels help elongate their slender forms to achieve the sketches.  In general WE KNOW THIS, and that is why I get really excited when PR does a “Everyday Woman” challenge.  It celebrates that there is more then just one body type out there, one beauty ideal, and that EVERY SINGLE WOMAN deserves to feel beautiful no matter if they’re a size 2 or 22, petite, tall, round, pear, curvy, slim, bootylicious, and much more.

Now, Ven is a designer I have enjoyed so far in PR this season.  He has great fabric manipulation and construction.   In this weeks episode he was a whiny bitch.  And if I had a trophy for “Asshole of the Week” he would get it.  And probably I would hit him up side the head with it.  You see, his model Terri, his every woman (who was brought there by her friend who thought she deserved pampering as mother of 4 who drove 4 hours a day for work while her husband was a stay at home dad) had the nerve to not only be a size 14 (GASP) but to also be…..OLD–she is 40.

HOW DARE SHE INCONVENIECE HIM IN THIS WAY?  From the get-go he made her feel like shit, so much so by the end that she was making nasty comments to him (rightfully so) about her being fat.  I would like to take a moment here and say that she is a perfect representation of the average American woman, at a size 14.  The issue here is not about her size, weight, or proportions, but how ill equipped this designer was to deal with someone who wasn’t a super model.  In general fashion, “straight” sizes tend of be on the lower end of the size 0-6 scale, while 8 and up are more commonly considered “plus”.  Now, as absurd as I feel this sizing is, my real issue is this: why don’t designers create fashionable clothing for women of EVERY body type?  And it is not just a “fat” or “skinny” issue, it is also an issue of learning different proportions.  As a woman who is 5’11” and generally a size 16, I have very different needs then a lovely friend of mine who is 4’11” and a size 2.  Neither one of us is “better” then the other, we BOTH have issues with length of pants and fit of most clothing.  She shops in the kids section often and I have one hell of a time finding a store that sells honest to blog TALLS.  Not even straight size or plus, but just tall.  Lets not even jump into flattering cuts or fabrics right now.

Does not EVERY SINGLE WOMAN DESERVE to feel beautiful, fashionable, desirable?  As much as we would like to pretend it doesn’t, clothes go a long way to help achieve that feeling.  Whenever Ven opened his mouth he treated his client like a piece of dirt.  He actually said to Tim “My client doesn’t have a shape”.  Correction.  Your client doesn’t have a shape you are interested in learning how to dress.  Your inadequacies as a designer are at fault here, not the woman’s body.  Often he would point out to her that something “didn’t fit” and he couldn’t “find it in her size”, which is unacceptable.  You MAKE IT WORK, BITCH.  His objective was supposed to have been to make his woman feel beautiful and what he did was humiliate her.  He put her in a very unattractive frock (yes FROCK) of a shiny blue flowy top with wing like arms.  Shiny is not flattering on curvy women.  And on the bottom he had her in this odd high-waisted pencil skirt with a zipper that went from waist to hem that was upzipped to mid thigh.  It did nothing to celebrate her body, highlighting all of what she considered her flaws.  He blamed her for his design not looking good instead of blaming his vision.  His ignorance made her feel ugly, and for that he should have gone home.  Unfortunately he did not.

He bitched that it was “unfair” that he had a ‘plus’ model while the others had closer to straight size clients.  And to answer him I just say this: Shut the hell up, dude.  I wonder if he realizes that if he learns to dress various body types that his career not only would last longer, but he would probably make a helluva lot more money.  Probably not.

So, from every single solitary woman out there I give you a hearty “Fuck You”.

Ven’s design for the aforementioned challenge.

On the flip side, I would also like to give a proud shout out to Gunner who said this: “I want my dress to look just as good on a full figured woman as it would size 6…”  That is one designer who understands that all women have a right to feel beautiful.  Kudos.

Just as Heidi said, “Who here is not a REAL woman?”  We’re ALL REAL. Get used to it.  We’re not going anywhere.

My Problem with the idea of “Personhood”

DISCLAIMER: This blog post is the opinion of StateoftheLinds and reflects only her views and not necessarily those of fellow writers at Team Hellions.  Blogged with permission.  www.stateofthelinds.wordpress.com

Okay (breathe deeply. Exhale) I have been sitting on a post about the contemporary idea of “Personhood” for quite awhile. I want to take this idea out of the context of abortion and just discuss how asinine it is all on it’s own after a brief explanation.

“Personhood” (if you’re living under a rock) is the idea that a fetus is a fully formed person from the moment on conception. Many laws have been introduced (and defeated) asking that a fetus be granted full rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness the moment an egg and sperm meet and do the divide on conquer dance.

Now, as a disclaimer, I wish no offense to many of the mothers and fathers out there who consider their baby a complete person from the moment they know of it’s existence. What happens in your family is awesome. However, medically and legally, it is a fetus.

Here is my somewhat juvenile blogger research courtesy of the internet dictionary with the definition of a “fetus”: The unborn young of a viviparous vertebrate having a basic structural resemblance to the adult animal.

It is a simple celled organism residing inside a host. Essentially, and very un-poetically, a fetus is a parasite.

I have a problem with the fact that the “Personhood” movement seems to think that a fetus is just a very tiny perfect replica of the host. They actually look quite different. A fetus also cannot exist outside of it’s host, so why should it be granted more rights then the host? Should it be able to vote while in the uterus? Drink? Drive? Marry? Start a rock band? If a fetus is a person, what happens when it is born? Do all these rights then end at birth until they are of the legal age to do many of the activities listed above? And why does making a fetus a “person” make them more important then the host/mother?

And beyond just the issues above, the problem with the “Personhood” idea comes from the fact that passing such laws would allow the mothers (aka Host) to be prosecuted for miscarriages or abortions. I’d rather not get into an abortion debate at this precise moment, so let’s talk about miscarriages. LOTS, and I mean LOTS of pregnancies are never even known about and miscarry naturally. Sometimes babies are very much wanted and loved, and yet the mother’s body just cannot carry a baby to term. Many times there are extenuating circumstances where there are life threatening events to both the mother, fetus, or both, and a potential child who would have been very loved is lost. Should all of these women be prosecuted because their inability to fully gestate this “person” makes her a murderer? There are so many women I know who have miscarried, who were physically and emotionally torn up over this event, why would anyone wish on them criminal proceedings? Why are we punishing women instead of supporting them?

How about the global impact? If the “Personhood” amendments became law it would mean that EVERY. SINGLE. FETUS would be brought to full gestation regardless of harm to the mother or severe birth defect in the fetus, even if it dies moments after birth. Who cares about the pain of the parents? It is saying that the parents in no way should be allowed to make choices in regards to the fetus until it’s born, that the government should have all the say. Cause they know better. Um, yeah. About that. Let’s also talk population. Our Earth is already stretched to capacity with humanity, what is a few more million? We can just clear some more of those trees and deplete precious natural resources.

One of the most bothersome ideas of “Personhood” also means that birth-control, under their direction, would be outlawed. They mistakenly identify birth-control as abortion pills rather then contraceptive, which would lead to a major spike in births. I take birth control, both for the assigned reason, and then to also treat my hellaciously heavy and painful periods. I can’t scream this enough…birth control is for more then just controlling births! If you have PCOS (Poly-Cystic Ovary Symptom) it means you use birth-control to regulate your period so a woman can get pregnant! Their fear is that birth-control makes women sluts, when really it allows us to make the correct reproductive choices for our own bodies. On the opposite end of the spectrum, it would also mean that individuals seeing reproductive help in CONCIEVING offspring would not be allowed. Think of couples who use IVF (Invitro Fertilization) for whatever reason. Their frozen embryos are babies-in-waiting, so that would be illegal. Can’t have potential humans just hanging out in a freezer. Do you see the flawed logic here?! Even couples who WANT DEAPERATELY to have children would be screwed over this theory.Our economic resources are stretched too. Everyone in the “Personhood” movement is so focused on getting the fetus to baby status that they aren’t considering what happens after? Many of the people fighting for “Personhood” also support cutting public welfare funding, which directly affects the people who would need it the most—the poor. They don’t care what happens after a baby is born, as long as the FETUS GETS BORN. After that, the “Personhood” people will leave the parenting and cost of raising them to you, even if you cannot afford it.

This idea is just completely backwards and has no business being introduced into the legal system. Many radical conservatives don’t want the government involved in THEIR bodies, but are perfectly fine with it interfering in everyone else’s. They assume that they know better then anyone what is best for them. They don’t care about the rights of women or of families. They’re shoving their views down everyone’s throats.

And perhaps that is what you think I am doing. However, this is just a little blog, not law. I am totally fine with your CHOICE to choose to have a family, heck, have 20 kids, that is your right. Make as many little “persons” as you want. I have just as much right to make none. Everyone should have the CHOICE either way.

Choosing to be Pro-Choice is about more then just abortion issues, it is about understanding that every person and/or family is perfectly qualified to CHOOSE the way they want to live their life. Without interference from me, you, or the government.