Everything is Hard Right Now

I’ve been away for a bit. The anti-trans, anti-gay, anti-abortion, anti-book, anti-education, anti-voting bills sweeping the nation are killing me and my hope for the future. I thought we were progressing to a better future slowly over time, but these bigots have been out there all along – waiting on the sidelines to seize power again.

I have to remind myself that these people are NOT the majority. We aren’t completely losing ALL progress. I just don’t know that for sure, though, I guess. This shouldn’t be happening otherwise.

When my state had a hearing on one of the bills, I went in front of my state legislature and testified against the anti-trans youth bill here in my state. They looked at me, listened to my family’s story, listened to my tears, and progressed the bill to the next level anyway. These people are awful. I couldn’t bear showing up for the others – and I couldn’t take all of the time off work to do so. I regret it a bit, wishing I could have been there for all of them. I’m exhausted just even working out being there for one, though, and having them not even listen.

It’s baffling how the people pushing for these bills say they want “less government interference” in their lives, they want “freedom” and all that, etc. However, they are pushing their beliefs and personal views/agendas into further government interference/overreach. Their playbook is to rally on freedom and less government when it is convenient for them, but then turning around and wielding that same government power as a weapon.

I was finding comfort in the fact that these bills have a history of being shut down in court, but that has faded once I realized what the goal is here. With the Supreme Court full of the judges it is – the ones that overturned Roe, they are gearing up to have them overturn further settled law/rights. If this isn’t stopped, we are headed back to the 1930s or earlier. I don’t know what to do exactly, but I do know that I won’t shut up about it. I won’t back down.

When I was a child, I remember reading about the Holocaust (I’m not sure why, I was obsessed with the history of it) and imaging what I would have done to save all of those people if I could. Wondering why the people didn’t see the signs along the way. I remember reading/learning about the Civil Rights movement, Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, etc – wondering how people treated them the way that they did and being so thankful that was over. Imagining having to stand up for people in that time and how it would have gotten me killed in some cases. Now here we are – I may be the person I wondered what it would be like to be. I may have to make those choices when I’m in public. I may have to fight for others and my daughter, etc. I may be at risk of being killed for protecting her or others. I may be at risk of being killed for speaking up and doing the right thing. I could be put in prison for taking my daughter to the prison or if I wore something that someone considered to be “man’s clothes” and to put it briefly – I’m terrified.

Sitting here watching the world happen around me, writing letters, going to the capitol with hopes that someone will listen – it all feels like just being tied up and not being able to do anything as the world collapses around me.

I know that awful things are happening in other countries as well – and this only adds to it. For any global readers, I feel for you and the struggles you face in your location as well. I know there is more to the world and its problems than what is happening in America. This is my life and my home, though, and it’s crumbling around me – so I am very upset. Adding into that the thought of the global atrocities happening to everyone is even more awful on top of that. When I think of all the things happening around the globe – things I do know about, and all the additional awful things that I don’t even know about, I crumble. The world deserves better. Every person on every continent, in every country.

I wish we could understand that the earth is our home, and everyone on it is our neighbor and our family. We need to come together and be ONE people. Accepting of all of our differences. Every person has a right to their religion, their beliefs, their love. We need to not hurt one another. We need to not ban one another. We need to work together and DO BETTER.

If you’re reading this, thank you for taking the time. Can you do me a favor? A favor for the world?

Please find some things from this list and do them. As few or as many as you can manage. It’s our job to fix this world.

  • Do something kind for someone you don’t know
  • Try to meet someone different than you, and listen to understand them better
  • The next time you go to judge someone’s life, think about what it would be like to feel the way they do
  • Write a “Thank You” letter to a leader that is fighting for people’s rights
  • Read a book about a genocide or civil rights movement
  • Watch a documentary or movie about a genocide or civil rights movement
  • Make a donation to an organization that is working for the advancement or protection of people’s rights
  • Read a book that helps you understand a religion you don’t know much about
  • If you reference data or a study, check to see if there is more information from multiple data points or studies or if this is a lone source proving this point
  • Check your sources for biases (Sites like this can help: https://mediabiasfactcheck.com )
  • Check what bills/laws/policies are being proposed in your area and speak out in support of good ones, and against bad ones
  • Read more books in general – they help with empathy and understanding other points of view
  • When you spend money, see where the company you are spending with puts their money (donations to good or bad causes, etc)

Random Thoughts About 16

My oldest daughter is about to turn sixteen next month. I’m both excited and terrified.

The other day, I was sharing with her about getting my first job at sixteen. She is interested in getting one as well. Mine was at Fazoli’s making a whopping $1 over the minimum wage, totaling out at a high dollar amount of $6.25 per hour – ha! That was so impressive and exciting for me then. My own independence, gas in the tank, money to blow. Though, working in the food industry (which she wants to do) is rough. I don’t quite think she realizes that yet.

I shared with her some of the food service norms – the variety of people you’ll work with, the variety of pleasant and very unpleasant customers, the standing, the cleaning. The creeps.

There are creeps everywhere but when teens get their first job, I think folks prey on them and I’m scared of that. I hope wherever she works has good, helpful adults and a large peer group of kids her age to work with. Not the guy I worked with at Fazoli’s that was the same age as my father, and used to take the trash out with me to share cigarettes and flirt. Not the manager I quit over because she was trying to force me to date a boy that worked there – and then she ended up pregnant years later by another teen boy that worked for her (her husband was NOT happy).

I walked out of that job one day. Oh, the thrill and freedom of that moment! Being a teenager is such a wild ride in so many ways that I do not miss, but that feeling of absolute freedom in those moments is a thing I do miss.

Anyway, I’m worried about my baby growing up. I don’t want her to go out into the scary world without me, but I know it’s inevitable. I just hope she is safe and happy, no matter how far from me she is.


Ah, Christmas season is finally over. The chaos has calmed a bit. I still have things coming up (it never ends), but I can think again. Speaking of thinking, I got to thinking about a few things this holiday season. One of those things being traditions.

My oldest daughter chose a name when she came out. She socially transitioned- letting her friends and our family know. Then we enrolled her in school with her chosen name as her preference. Our family has slowly but surely accepted her as the new name and all is well. Though, now she wants to change that name to a different one. My immediate reaction was, “Ah, man- I just got everyone using this name. How am I going to get them to accept this?” Then my immediate next thought was, “Wow, that was a selfish reaction. She is finding herself and sometimes finding yourself means changing your life.”

Why would it be such a big deal if we “change” her first name again? Everyone might be confused at first, but they were last time too. I feel like experimenting with a name is normal in this situation (and confirmed on sites such as this) but I still find myself scared to tell the family and friends that may have been on the fence with acceptance, that we finally got comfortable with it. I can hear them questioning already, “If she isn’t sure about something like a name change, how can she even be sure about a whole gender change?” or something like that. Though, going by a name and identifying as a gender are significantly different. I don’t know. Is this even a “tradition?” Either way – I think I need to be a supportive mother and accept my baby by her new name, and stand behind her when she decides to tell family and friends.

Maybe when I get married this year and I’m changing my last name anyway, I could change my middle name. Lead by example and show changing our names isn’t that big of a deal. People change and shift over time. Sometimes a name change can be a door closing on that last chapter of our lives, and a door opening into the new chapter. Why not? Now that I think about it, one of my male cousins is already paving the way a little. When he recently married, he hyphenated his last name to his+hers, while she solely kept her last name. That’s not traditional, that’s for sure (and I support them fully!). Whatever makes you happy and comfortable, friends.

Another thing popped up over the holiday season- discussion of some baby showers being planned this year. I have both a sister and a cousin welcoming in new additions to the family this year. Neither of them are traditional people. Both are opting for a co-ed baby shower. Child-rearing isn’t just a mother’s role anymore. I think some older ladies are feeling this is a little awkward, strange, or we just don’t do things the same as we used to – but isn’t that a good thing? When we find struggles in life in general, we should evolve and adjust to a better way. Gender roles are outdated. Fathers should change diapers, care about the items received for a baby shower, help with decisions being made about the child, and help to raise them. Parenthood is a partnership.

I still support traditions. Traditions make us feel cozy and comfortable, with something remaining the same over the years – but they can evolve. Have a tradition in your life that makes you think of how things used to be in a fond, nostalgic way but it just doesn’t serve you? Evolve it. Have the baby shower, but invite people no matter their gender. Stop making peanut bars like you did with grandma, and continue the baking tradition – but make what you like! Remember that time with grandma while you bake the new thing. We don’t have to stay the same forever. Change is good. I’m going to be re-evaluating all of the “traditions” in my life and adjusting them to serve me and my family better. There’s no reason to live in the past.

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