It’s Ok to Feel Like Shit

The reality behind the highlight reel on Facebook. We are human!

tonysbologna : Honest. Satirical. Observations.

Long before smiling faces, shiny new toys, witty emoji play and seemingly perfect lives became commonplace on your Facebook timeline, aka your convenient portal to the outside world– the Earth turned to a different beat that was softly playing in the stars.

You see, when the earth was young, three wise men met in a manger and shared a secret that has been buried behind a millennia’s worth of secrecy, smoke screens and illusions. This secret was about happiness and how to find it.

This secret is said to be so controversial that the thought of sharing it in public forces the secret holder burden the weight of the disbelieving masses – a heavy lift indeed.

With modern society’s bumper-sticker-mentality and my-life-is fucking-amazing-so-like-my-picture  social media craze, we all have forgotten a simple truth.

So I need to ask you something.  Are your nipples hard now? Do you want…

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I’m (Not) a Feminist… But

When I hear a young woman, or even a woman from Generation X say, “I’m not a feminist, but…” I cringe. Thanks to Rush Limbaugh and his disparaging term “femi-nazi,” I think many women feel shame when they think they might be a feminist. OR, shame could arise if you buy into stereotypical ideas of what a feminist is–a man-hating lesbian who refuses to eat meat and never shaves her legs. God forbid!

I am a feminist. I’m not gay (not that there’s anything wrong with it). I’ve been married three times (widowed once). I do shave (when I remember). And I am proud to call myself a feminist despite the sometimes negative and erroneous baggage that comes with the term. From my point of view, a feminist is a person who believes in fluid gender boundaries. That means equal pay for equal work, sharing household duties, and supporting each other no matter what through life’s ups and downs.

I was raised by my father, a second-generation Italian immigrant. My mother was not part of my life until I was in my 20s. She was born in Europe, went to college instead of raising her two babies, and lives a hoity-toity life in Rhode Island. My stepmother had a tenth- grade education, was hostile and short tempered, and favored my brothers over me. From a young age, I lived and despised injustice.

When I was three, my father took my older brother and me to Ross Park Zoo in Binghamton, New York. It was sweltering that day, and I had ratty brown hair that hung past my shoulders making the heat worse. At home, my father let me run around in my underwear and no shirt. And since I wore my brother’s hand me downs, I’m not sure if I knew I was a “girl.”

As the summer heat and humidity became more unbearable that day, I asked my father if I could take my shirt off. He said, “No.” I’d emerged from the womb asking “Why?” so I asked him, “Why?” He said, “You just can’t.” I stomped my foot. “But, Daddy. Why?” He stopped answering. I remember thinking, “I’ll fix him.” I pulled my shirt up and over my melon belly. He snapped this photo.

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When I look at this, I see a feminist in the making. It’s more than the shirt pulled up. It’s more than the wad of gum in my open mouth. Truly, it’s my expression. Sure, the sun was in my eyes, and yet, if you really look, you can see that I’m, as one friend describes me, “indignant.” You can see I’m “feeling or showing anger or annoyance at what is perceived as unfair treatment.” That’s me in a nutshell.

Feminism can bring out anger and annoyance. Any woman who’s been cut off in conversation during a business meeting, telling a joke, or simply chatting knows what I mean. I dislike injustice. And if you’re telling me I’m not equal to you simply because I have a uterus, then I’m going to remain indignant and fight for my right to party.

 

 

 

 

 

Yankee Swap Not for Everyone

Fifteen years ago at a family Christmas party, I played my first game of Yankee Swap, AKA, Dirty Santa, the White Elephant gift exchange, etc. You know, the game where you bring a gift already wrapped, pick a number, open a present and get your present stolen. This game has become a staple at holiday parties, and I’ll be darned if I can figure out how it embodies any type of holiday, generosity or giving spirit.

You may say, “Oh, it’s all in good fun,” or “Have a sense of humor,” but every time I’ve been to one of these parties, I’ve witnessed hurt feelings, under the breath comments, or out-right yelling. Now, that might be a regular ordeal at some holiday dinners with family, but family is crazy. We all know you can’t choose your relatives. But you can choose whether or not you wish to be involved in a game at Christmas time where you steal presents.

At my first Yankee Swap, I received an adorable Mikasa candy dish etched with snowmen. I was delighted, and I had no idea how the game worked. No poker face. My boyfriend’s mother “Lola” planned to steal my gift. When she reached for it, I held it tight and said, “Please don’t take this. I have so few nice things.” Lola laughed and made a remark about how she knew where my daughters got their whining from. Lola let me keep the Mikasa candy dish. I still have it, and I use it every Thanksgiving and Christmas to hold olives. I always think of Lola and her remark when I place the dish on my dinner table.

I married into a family where my sister-in-law, “Margie,” loved Yankee Swap, organized every Christmas gift exchange, with a $50 limit and a strict rule: no gag gifts. My last Yankee Swap with the family was a doozie. Of course, Margie ended up with number 1, which meant she got to inspect all the gifts at the end of the game and steal whichever one she wanted. I had received a beautiful wrought iron wall hanging. Margie stole it, which coincidentally meant I ended up with the gift I had brought. When I said that out loud, she leapt up in front of the crowded room and yelled, “I’m so tired of this bullshit!” She ran over to her husband and insisted he take her home. He refused. At the end of the long silent night, I left without the wall hanging. After the new year, when my husband’s grandmother called me to come get the wall hanging, I donated it to a silent auction for charity. That was last time I participated in Margie’s Magical Christmas gift exchange.

At my last Yankee Swap, there was a $20 max for the gifts. I brought a Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer set of figurines: Hermie, the Bumble, even Cornelius, from the perennial show. The person who received it kept waving it in the air, saying, “Someone steal this, please.” I should have. One person brought in a bag full of used books that stunk like mildew. Every gift I received–wine, gift certificates, pewter trivet–was stolen. I tried desperately not to get attached. Incidentally, my best friend stole the trivet. All is fair during the war on Christmas I guess. Another friend asked me if I was the person who brought the hookah. Wow, I thought, what am I putting out there? I left the party with a note pad and water bottle.

When I looked up who invented Yankee Swap, I couldn’t find a particular person. But the rules emphasized that the game was light-hearted, just for fun, and whimsical. Isn’t stealing a bit greedy and mean-spirited? I see nothing wrong with the boring old Secret Santa, or making someone a gift just for them, or sending them a card that says I love you. But then again, I spend most of my money on books, vintage clothing and dog treats.

Corn is a four letter word.

Reblogging with edits, because it was so well-liked. Enjoy!

The Cobbler's Daughter

Three years ago, I almost lost my son Vinny to his severe food allergy to tree nuts. He secretly ate a piece of toffee and lied about it. While his father and I sat in the E/R crying and watching Vinny sleep off his Benadryl/Epi-pen-induced coma, the doctor came out and said, “That boy needs to be under the care of an allergist.” Within the week, Vinny had an appointment.

We already knew Vinny was allergic to peanuts and tree nuts from an earlier blood test. But now we were requesting a food panel. They would only test for a couple foods, because of his potential for an anaphylaxic reaction. I agreed to be tested, too, to offer moral support. Turned out Vinny and I are both allergic to cats, dust, dust mites, and all the grasses, weeds, and trees that grow in Idaho. He’s also allergic to dairy and…

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5 Lessons Robin Williams Taught Me

This is wonderful.

The Perfect Dad

I don’t have much to say about Robin Williams’ death. A lot has been said already and all I can add is that I’m saddened, depression is real, and if you need help don’t be ashamed to seek it.

His movies have shaped much of my worldview and I have a lot to say about them. I realize 1) That these films were written by other people and 2) He embodied these characters and improved half of his lines. I couldn’t see anyone else playing these parts. I will watch all of these movies with my kids one day and hope they learn these same lessons:

5. DO WHATEVER IT TAKES TO BE AROUND YOUR KIDS

Mrs. Doubtfire fireFathers can be whacky, irresponsible, and unreliable. Daniel Hillard (Robin Williams) was that kind of father and it drove his wife (Sally Field) to get a divorce. The judge finds Daniel unstable. His wife gets custody…

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“Writers don’t need tricks or gimmicks.”

This is so simple and true.

The Daily Post

If you write for an audience — be it millions of strangers or your mom — you inevitably think about how your words appear to others. Very often, this self-consciousness results in overstuffed prose and too-clever storytelling. Here to remind us of the virtue of simplicity in writing is Raymond Carver, a master of narrative and linguistic economy:

“I hate tricks. At the first sign of a trick or gimmick in a piece of fiction, a cheap trick or even an elaborate trick, I tend to look for cover. Tricks are ultimately boring, and I get bored easily, which may go along with my not having much of an attention span. But extremely clever chi-chi writing, or just plain tomfoolery writing, puts me to sleep. Writers don’t need tricks or gimmicks or even necessarily need to be the smartest fellows on the block. At the risk of appearing foolish, a writer…

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