Tag Archives: Coming of Age

Viewing Your Parents as You Become an Adult (AKA dealing with new information about parents)

I skipped two whole days of blogging! What a tragedy***Ā for you guys! You must have been devastated!

Just kidding. Truth is, I’ve just been sick. Caught a cold or something and I’ve been laying in bed all day Mon/Tue shivering my ass off and since that’s boring as ALL HELL I got up and wrapped a blanket around myself to keep warm while still sitting at my computer.

*** Side note: I actually wrote “travesty” here first, but it didn’t look right. So I googled it and it totally does not mean what I thought it meant. The weird thing is, every time I’ve heard it being said, they used it as “something terrible, tragedy, devastating” etc. A few entries down on UrbanDictionary confirms this, but wow. I’ve basically been using this word wrong my entire life. End side note. šŸ™‚

So I found out something completely MAJOR about my dad. When we lived in CA, we used to go camping a lot. I loved camping. It was great. I loved playing outside in the forest/woods and playing in the water of waterfalls and trying to catch critters to bring home.

Well, there was one camping trip that we took with uh… three or four of my dad’s “friends”. Quotes because my dad… I dunno. He’s doesn’t particularly like like these people (or anyone really) but he also doesn’t like having no friends so he still associates with people he love/hates. Anyway, we went camping with them. My sister’s gotta be 3 or 4, so that makes me about 9 or 10 at the time. Apparently, completely unbeknownst to me, his friends brought mushrooms (yes, the magical drug kind) on the trip. My dad partook with his friends while my mom watched after my sister and I. I couldn’t believe it! My dad let it slip in a conversation a few days ago, and my mom clearly still disapproves. As in, she wants to pretend it never even happened because otherwise she just gets mad at my dad.

It’s not like at that age I was to know what someone high as fuck was like, but apparently there was a lot of laughing and goofing off and acting like they were dumb teenagers, and I don’t recall that at all. I have very pleasant memories of this camping trip. I don’t remember my dad being out of it or acting strangely at all.

Additionally, it completely changes how I see my dad. I knew he smoked pot a lot before I was born, but he quit because my mom didn’t want it around the baby (aka WONDERFUL ME) and threatened to leave my dad if he didn’t stop. So, he did. I know he has since partaken a few more times, but on the whole, he’s not really done pot since.

I guess I’ve always kinda been daddy’s little girl and it just shocks me to know that since my sister and I have been alive, he’s actually still done drugs. In a completely recreational way, but… I don’t know. I know he’s human. I know he’s not perfect. I don’t expect him to be. I guess I just assumed that once he earned the title “dad” he stopped all the “bad” stuff and slowly began acting like a dad. Which he totally has, there’s just the addition of occasional drug use. I just can’t seem to wrap my mind around it.

I always knew that many of my problems (anxiety, depression, addiction) stemmed from his side of the family, because there have been suicides and alcoholism and drug addiction on that side of the family. My mom’s side has anxiety, too, but I think that’s about it. So I knew that there was always this possibility of slipping down those roads if I wasn’t careful, and hey look at that, that’s exactly what happened to me.

He’s still the same person. Nothing’s changed except what I know about him. But it doesn’t feel the same. I need to find a way to incorporate this new information into the same “MY DAD” brain file I got going on.

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A letter to the Bathroom Police

One of the biggest “trivial”[note]Ā transgender issues I see all the time is bathroom stuff. Which bathroom to use, how there should be better accommodations for trans people and public restrooms. I have always found this so bizarre. I mean, I’m in my 20s now. I’ve been to many a public restroom (even though I don’t like it and prefer to wait until I get home.) If we say that I used a public bathroom (PB from now on) about 3 times a week since starting school, that means I’ve been in a PBĀ 2,964 times in my life. And that’s most likely a low estimate. That’s including school restrooms, malls, stores, etc.

There have been a few times where I walked into the men’s PBĀ because the ladies was down and everyone was being redirected there temporarily. There have been times where I just couldn’t find the ladies because it was located NOT directly near the men’s, so I went into the men’s anyway. There have been even more times where men have just walked into the ladies room. You know what we all did? Glance up, maybe give a look saying “Huh, that’s ballsy/impressive/etc.” and went back to washing our hands… because that’s the only reason you even see the guy walking in. Nobody said anything. Nobody did anything. Nobody screamed and went “AAAUUUGGGHHH THERE’S A BOY IN THE BATHROOM OH MY GOD SOMEONE CALL SECURITY!”

insta002

Yeah this? Neeeeeeever happened.

What makes now so different? I understand that some people might be uncomfortable if they saw someone of the opposite gender in the bathroom, but who the hell cares? Men walking into “my” bathroom has happened many times in my life, and they just waltzed in to do their thing. They never made a big deal, we never made a big deal, end of story right?

Wrong.

Because apparently, more and more people are getting upset over a perceived “wrong gendered” person walking into their bathroom. I’m sorry, but since when did this become an issue? IT’S A BATHROOM FOR GOD’S SAKE. Who cares who’s in it? “Oh, but Erin, if a guy is in the ladies he can get creepy and be a sex offender or something!” THAT CAN HAPPEN AT ANY TIME, ANYWAY. If a guy wants to be a creep, he’s gonna be a creep regardless of whether you let anyone into any bathroom. That’s his problem. He’s a creep. Forcing someone out of the bathroom because you don’t think they belong in there isn’t going to stop a creep from being a creep! You’re just stopping a poor person who needs to pee from using the bathroom! What is wrong with you people?!

I’m not transgender. I have a few friends who are, but my experience with transgender bathroom issues is limited to stories and those episodes of Degrassi with Adam using the bathroom. Maybe some people are exaggerating how often it happens, but I sure as hell believe it’s at least based in truth, especially with this article that came out just two days ago (March 3 2015).

Why is it that whenever I enter a men’s room nobody gives me a hard time, nobody ejects me out of the room, but if a trans person does they get beaten like hell over it? And why is it that when a man enters the ladies (when I’m in there) nobody does anything, but if they’re trans suddenly it’s scream time and they get forced out and yelled at by the bathroom police (if not also attacked)?

I mean, this is just so completely baffling to me. There are so many issues out there that you can be getting angry about, but you’re getting mad that (you think) the wrong person has entered your bathroom?

I’m sorry, there was an actual point/end to this post, but I got caught up in angry-mode on why I can use a guys bathroom no problem (I mean no harassment, anything) but if someone is assumed to be trans suddenly there are issues.

So I guess this awkwardly ends this post. No resolution, just a girl wondering why you crazy bathroom police areĀ arguing over someone using “your” bathrooms instead of fighting bigger issues like I dunno, homelessness, employment issues, violence+gang violence, medical care…

Although, I suppose you bathroom police don’t really care about those issues, either? Just the ones that let you tell other people who they are and how to conform to your standards.

ā€Œā€Œā€Œ

[note]Ā I say trivial in the sense that we’re not talking about plain old harassment or bullying, or any of the major issues that trans people have to deal with on a regular basis, internally or externally. This is just “crap, I have to pee, which bathroom is going to be my best bet today”. And even then I understand how something as simple as going to the bathroom can be such an agonizing internal debate for many trans people. Thus, the reasonĀ of my post.

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My Sister Turned 18 and My Carpal Tunnel Came Back

Yesterday my sister turned 18. She’s 18. She’s fucking 18. I can’t handle that. I mean, I’m freaking out like mad, I can only imagine how my parents feel. My parents have two adults. I mean, my sister’s still in high school, but still. Two whole legal adults.

My sister isn’t really doing anything with her life and I can’t help but feel like I’ve let her down in a way. I was the big sister, I was the one she looked up to, got jealous of, etc. And I made mistake after mistake and I was a big fuckup for a few years. I don’t really consider myself a fuckup now, but I’m moving (my life) at a much slower pace than I feel I should be and… I don’t know, it’s like I’m not setting a good example for her. She never applied to any colleges, she’s never had a job, we have no idea if we’re even going to be in this state by the next “school year”… I don’t know why that part matters but it feels like it fits in.

I know… I know, ultimately, that she has to take control of her own life and I can’t hold myself responsible for what she’s doing, but… hell I don’t even know where I’m going with this.

I guess, I just knew growing up that I was heralded as this amazing child (She’s so smart! She’s going to a great college! She’s _______ and ________ and wonderful, yay Erin!) and my sister had to live in my shadow for a while. She was very different from me from the start and we were (…still are…) 6+ years apart so it’s not like she should have been expected to be anything like me. Her entire growing up experience was different than mine. I Ā think that’s what we bond over the most, having different experiences and being able to talk about them, teach them to each other, laugh over what we do have in common. But still I feel I let her down. When I started fucking up, maybe she saw that I wasn’t this golden child, I wasn’t perfect and maybe she took it the wrong way. instead of seeing that nobody was perfect, she saw that if I couldn’t do something, how on earth could she?

I’m speculating. I’m assuming a lot and I obviously don’t know what she is thinking and I’m kind of assuming negative thoughts instead of positive thoughts in her mind. I mean, that’s pretty presumptuous of me and kind of rude I think. (Duh, that’s like half of what presumptuous means. Just pretend I wanted to really drive home that I’m being an asshole right now.)

I don’t know. I guess… I just feel like I’ve screwed up a major part of my life and I don’t want her to think that I’m anyone to model their life after, like if I couldn’t handle something then she shouldn’t even try. Because she should. She comes home every week with some story that I’m so jealous of and I tell her every time. She actually comes home every day but I meant that there’s at least one story every week. I just don’t feel like re-writing any of my sentences right now, as you can tell, because I wouldn’t have to explain every other sentence like I am. Instead, they’d just be clear. But they’re not, and it’s hard typing with a brace on your hand[1], and I don’t feel like re-typing things.

At the same time, I also feel like I’m setting her up for failure by comparing her life to mine when I was her age. Who cares that I had a summer job before I was 18? Who cares that I had gotten into “good” colleges? That’s not her life. She might have something else planned for her life that I don’t even know about. Maybe when she graduates she’s planning on getting a job. Maybe she plans to take a year off to figure out what she wants to do. Maybe she has some ideas but simply hasn’t figured out how to implement them just yet.

Maybe she has nothing. I really hope that’s not true.

[1] Like the title says, my carpal tunnel came back. It’s hard to avoid when you spend so much freaking time on the computer typing like a maniac and you still haven’t gotten any of the cushion mousepads or keyboard rests. I bring this on myself, but it’s stupid because it’s fucking painful and it’s really simple to correct given that I know exactly how mine develops.

carpalbrace

I don’t know why I felt the need to take a picture to prove it to you guys. It’s a weird picture too. I had to bend my arm funny just to get the whole thing in the shot, and the logo is right on top of the brace so it looks like a strange ad. I couldn’t twist my arm in a way to hide it. It looks like I’m going hey here’s my brace made by MUELLER, for carpal tunnel that I TOTALLY HAVE GUYS and this is in no way a plug for MUELLER braces MUELLER MUELLER MUELLER.

PS the brace isn’t so hot anyway, its the smallest one they have and it’s still too big on me so the pinky-finger side rubs and is really bothersome.

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Deal with it.

My sister can turn almost any sentence you say into a Spongebob reference. She gets that from my dad, this ability to be quick-thinking and spit out some reference. My Dad does it with music. We’ve grown up around this stuff, so there are plenty of times where I can also blurt out a song reference while someone is talking. The most common one in our family I think, is

Person A: Will you take me—

Person B: DOWN TO THE PARADISE CITY?

Person A: down to the store to…sigh

Person B: WHERE THE GRASS IS GREEN?

Person A:Ā incoherent mumbling, probably profanities stuck in there too

Person B: AND THE GIRLS ARE PRETTY?

But god, we do it with all kinds of songs. Most recently my sister was was talking and I (jokingly) called her a liar and she was like noooooo it’s true! And I said “ARE YOUR LIPS MOVING? THEN YOU LIE LIE LIE.”

That really got her because she “secretly” loves Meghan Trainor. I say “secretly” with quotes because she only wanted her family to know her guilty pleasure but she’s totally got that involuntary be-bopping to music she likes, she she ends up like

insta

insta

Hehehehehe.

Speaking of this movie (Dreamworks’ Home, it’s got Jim Parsons and I love him), I am super excited to see it. I’m incredibly lucky that I have a family that enjoys kids movies/shows even as adults. We go see all kinds of new kids movies. It’s great because I have some friends who either roll their eyes at me like “grow up and see adult movies” which is stupid because I like regular movies made for grown-ups, too; I also have friends that enjoy kids movies but their parents are like why haven’t you grown out of this crap yet. I feel bad for them. I also kind of feel bad for their parents. Like, lighten up! What’s wrong with watching silly things? No one is saying that ______________ random kids movie is the ultimate most amazing movie #1 better than any movie whose target audience isn’t kids.

They’re just fun and silly and we like to laugh. Suck it.

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Losing Rituals of Men

I think it’s interesting that there is this concept of “becoming a man” in society.

(I hesitate to say society because I have my own preconceptions of what peopleĀ reallyĀ mean by “society”, “patriarchy”, etc.)

There’s one for women, too. Once a girl gets her first period, she has become a woman, and then of course, first child=becoming a mother. Of stories I’ve heard here in the US, there are some traditions that involve parties and all women in the group wearing red on their first outing (as a signal that one of their group has become a woman.) Personally, I find that all terribly embarrassing, and I was embarrassed enough just having to tell my mom AND grandma; we were out for lunch that day.

But men are different. I can’t say I’ve done much research about this, since I was just thinking about it this morning. I know Jewish men have their Bar Mitzvah at 13, and they have become a MAN. I believe the Bantu-speaking people of Africa perform circumcisions on adolescent boys and then, they have become a MAN. *Edit: just some skimming tells me plenty about wedding rituals and general coming-of-age traditions, so clearly I’m not using the right search terms. Tell me if you know any other rituals that pertain to “boy becomes man now”.*

In the US, outside of being Jewish… I don’t see many rites of passage for becoming a MANĀ anymore. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. I suppose part of it is good because the rituals of the past are seen as very barbaric and savage. But I also look around today and see a bunch of boys… men… very lost and wondering if they are men; if they are even adults.

I can see maybe becoming a man once you have lost your virginity, but then what? These traditions at least had some to offer afterward; joining a warrior group, upholding laws and customs, new skills saved only for MEN. I wonder if our general lack of “coming of age for boys” has a bunch of guys lost and confused. How can you prove you are a man? Do you even need to? Do you need to prove it to other men, or women? Is it for yourself? How do you get other men to accept you as a new MAN; not just a boy, not just a male who has reached adulthood.

And what do I think of when I think of men?

Actors playing "men"

I picture strong, hairy guys who are gruff and fix their cuts with duct tape or superglue. Or maybe sometimes I picture the businessman who comes home every day to a glass of scotch and reads the newspaper. Or an old-fashioned cowboy with his gun and lasso. I see it already, I’m describing classic old-fashioned MEN.

The above pictured are actors, of course, but they are playing characters who are MEN. How did they come about the traits that make it so obvious that this boy has become a man? This isn’t even my struggle, my fight, yet I have so many questions.

I have a lot of empathy for the 20-something boy who doesn’t know who he is or how to become a MAN, with no guidance or even a universal idea of what a MAN is anymore.

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