Saturday, January 28, 2017

Females Are Strong As Hell: Why I Support the Women's March


I have been thinking about writing this post for a week now.  I have been struggling to put my thoughts and feelings properly into words.  Everyone knows that prior to Donald Trump being elected as the president I was not a fan.  I felt his derogatory terms about women and his disgusting imitation of someone with disabilities was horrifying.  When the tape leaked of Donald Trump's conversation with Billy Bush, I heard a lot of people still supporting Donald Trump.  Saying that he only said the word "pussy" and we hear that word all the time.  I will repeat myself when I previously stated that it was not his use of the word pussy that was offensive (although I do find it to be quite a vile word for the female anatomy - nicknamed by men no doubt) it was his use of the word "grab".  Grab is aggressive.  Grab does not equate with consent.  Billy Bush was fired for laughing at what Donald Trump was saying.  Donald became President of the United States of America.  The most respected seat in the world.

Shortly after Donald Trump was elected you had the people he was surrounding himself with making decisions that seems antiquated and unfair.  Talks of overturning Roe v Wade, de-funding Planned Parenthood, and spreading the thought and feelings that all immigrants were terrorists.  The White House website completely changed.  There was no mention of resources for the LGBTQ community.  To my conservative and religious friends- this part is specifically for you.
I am a Christian.  I am Mormon.  I am straight.  I am white.  I am a woman.
I have never had an abortion nor have I ever been in a situation where that has been a choice I had to make.  I have never been in a position where I needed birth control and could not afford it.  I have never been in a position where my abilities or status were judged prematurely based on the color of my skin.  I have never been hurt or taunted because I was gay.
I have however experienced men saying vile, sexually aggressive things to me simply because I have a vagina.  I have been whistled at.  I have been called a stuck up bitch because I did not reciprocate those feelings or find them flattering.   I have heard comments in church alluding to the fact that men can't help it if they have so many women to choose from and another woman's feelings get hurt because of it.  I have heard other comments in church stating that it must be the woman's fault that she is not married.  There must be something wrong with her.  I have held a friend while she cried after being raped by a guy who she thought loved her.  I have held that same friend after she was told by police there was not much they could do and asking her point blank is she was "sure she said no".  Have you ever heard anyone ask someone who has just been shot "are you sure you told them not to shoot you?"
So here's where my passion for the women's march comes in to play.  I have seen many articles floating around saying "why are women doing this?  Name ONE right women LEGALLY do not have that men do!"  "Stop whining!" "What do you want?  Free manicures and pedicures???"
1. Legally you are correct.  Men and women LEGALLY have the exact same rights.  But how about the female nurses I know with years of experience getting paid less than male nurses that have just graduated nursing school?  How about the fact that this week SEVEN men were in the oval office making executive decisions (including decisions about women's reproductive rights) and that would never be seven women in a room deciding men's reproductive rights (or any rights for that matter).  How about the fact that I have seen articles calling slut-shaming and cat calling "trivial" problems.  How about the fact that rape is the only crime for which the excuse that the temptation to commit it was too powerful is considered a DEFENSE when in any other crime it would be considered an admission of guilt.  How about the fact that telling women to quit whining and we must just want free manicures and pedicures is executing the reason for the march flawlessly.

2.  I think the terms "pro life" and "pro choice" are antiquated terms based on what they are currently representing.  Pro life is the term for being anti-abortion.  And that seems to be about it.  We are demanding that women have babies but what about after the baby is born?  How are we supporting these women who have had these babies because we told them they have to?  Because we sure as hell don't want to help them with welfare either.  So we wonder why our homeless population and crime rates escalate?  I personally have religious and personal beliefs that would prevent me from having an abortion personally.  HOWEVER - my church (yes Mormon friends I'm looking at you) is in fact ROOTED in the concept of PRO CHOICE.  Free agency.  The right for us all to choose. Do WE believe in abortion?  No.  But demanding that someone makes a decision based on our personal beliefs is wrong.  If you are truly truly "pro life" (in the terms that anti-abortionists use it) then be all pro life.  Be pro welfare.  Be pro public funding for programs that help these women raise children.  Make adoption more accessible.  Otherwise this is what you sound like "Why would a crack whore have a baby???  She can't even take care of it!  A child shouldn't be raised in that environment!  Oh a gay couple wants to adopt that baby?  No.  No no no we can't do that.  That's wrong too".  MAKE UP YOUR DAMN MINDS.
3. I have seen a lot of people post about the women in the streets who were using vulgar language "more than Donald Trump ever did".  Once again.  The problem with Trump was not the term he used.  It was the aggressive use of the words around it.  These women took these disgusting terms and used them instead.  You want to say you'll grab my pussy?  How about I make a "pussycat" hat and march against you? (Because once again the hat was NOT A VAGINA.  THE HAT HAD CAT EARS.  LIKE "PUSSY" CAT.)  You want to call a woman "nasty".  I'll call myself nasty all day.  Because the only crime you could accuse a "nasty woman" of was just being a woman.  And I am in fact a woman.

4.  The march was not in ANY way shape or form a pro-abortion march.  This march included men and women.  Gay and straight.  Atheist and Christian.  Muslim.  Buddhist.  Pro life and pro choice (don't get me started on the people saying pro life people were not welcome....it was one group.  Please stop).  White, Black, Hispanic, Asian.
This was more of a march for those who were worried about their rights being taken away than anything else.  This was a march for my friends who are now even more scared to be black because of the racist comments the POTUS has made.  This was a march for my friends who are now even more scared to be gay because of the bigoted comments the VP has made.  This was a march for anyone scared that their access to free birth control, other contraceptive, STD and cancer screenings were in jeopardy because of the comments Paul Ryan made.
5.  Please stop talking about the march in broad terms  Were there some women who were being more vulgar than others?  Yes.  Were there some people making inappropriate comments about burning down the white house?  (Madonna....girl....I'm looking at you)  Yes.  Were there some who made a bigger statement about abortion than anything else?  Yes.  Nobody is perfect.  Women are just as imperfect as everyone else.  But if I were to judge you based solely on the banana balls crazy statements made by people such as Ann Coulter....I don't think you'd be very happy with me.  And PLEASE stop saying that women asking for equal rights is women acting like victims.  None of the women I know who have been through horrific things view themselves as a "victim" of anything.  We are strong.  Compassionate.  Outspoken.  Powerful.  We are not victims and I see no behavior that justifies the word victim for women who are fighting for equality.  Also please make note of the word "equality"....people like to say women want to be more than men or greater than or cut men down.  Nope.  Just equal.  I saw one sign that said "men of quality do not fear equality"....that's pretty much all we're going for here guys.

All of this is to say, I don't remember an America more angry, more divided, or more hateful than I have in the last 6 months.  What happened to love thy neighbor?  What happened to everyone matters?  What happened to bring me your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the homeless, the tempest tossed.  I feel the hatred and anger surrounding the women's march and to be honest, anyone with a differing opinion than Donald Trump - goes against every religious and personal belief I have.  I was taught by my church and my parents to speak against things that were wrong.  Where do you think the Savior would be if He were here today.  Who were the first people he went to during His ministry.  The poor.  The hungry.  The needy.  The outcasts.  The adulterers.  The prostitutes.  The imperfect.  He chose to lead with love.  Teach by example.  He never let His differing feelings or opinions cause him to look at anyone any differently.  I don't like Trump's America.  I don't think we are making anything great.  We are building walls around our country and around our hearts.  We are forgetting to help those who need us.
I was taught with love that we all have the right to choose.  I respect your right to choose to support Donald Trump.  That doesn't mean I have to.  That doesn't mean I have to agree with everything he says or does.  I respect a woman's right to choose what is best for her life and her body.  That doesn't mean you have to.  But would you force someone to eat cake just because you like it?  Do we force people to join our church just because we know it's the only way to true happiness.  No.
So...can we please spread a little more kindness.  A little more listening and talking instead of arguing and spreading hatred (it CAN happen....if you question that....message me and I'll link you to a healthy conversation I had with people about the wall along the Mexican border.  It was healthy and enlightening).  Can we brainstorm better solutions and  use our voices to truly make America great?  I think that's the America our dear Lady Liberty would want.  The America that we were always supposed to have.  The one we can have.  Because kindness is magic and human beings are magic if we let ourselves be.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Mom

I never needed my mom.  I was born with an innate stubbornness, a fierce independence, the belief that I knew everything and I could do it all on my own (except when I needed something like money or a ride...I was a real treat of a child).  I didn't talk to my mom.  I didn't share things with her.  I didn't tell her about my insecurities, being bullied, feeling like no one liked me, friends being mean to me, or any of my failures.  I wanted my parents to think I was perfect.  I wanted them to think that I had everything under control and I had it all figured out.  I was an overweight preteen with acne so...I had literally nothing figured out y'all.
When things got hard in my family I got resentful and angry.  And can you guess who I took all that anger and resentment out on?  My mom.  It wasn't fair and I'm sure Freud would have something to say about it but I did it nonetheless.
So here I am 30 years from my birth and 20 something years from ceasing to feel like I needed my mom and yet if there is one person I need more than anyone else on the earth...it's her.
So what changes?  Maturity I suppose.  Life experiences definitely.  Calling your mom from Target having a Level 5 meltdown because you don't know what kind of jam to buy can humble you a bit too.  With maturity and life experiences comes reflection.  And as I've reflected...this is what I've realized

  • The woman who drove me to school and dance lessons was my mom
  • The woman who calmed me down after a yelling match with my dad about homework was my mom
  • The woman who would make every single holiday feel special was my mom (seriously...even Valentine's Day you guys)
  • The woman who had huge dreams and the talent to make them come true but sacrificed all of that for a family was my mom
  • The woman who lost her daughter and her mother within 2 years of each other and still forged ahead was my mom
  • The woman who would answer the phone every day I called from college crying was my mom (this was the first time I was in college...we'll get to nursing school in a minute)
  • The woman who can make you laugh until you pee your pants is my mom
  • The woman who would still get up early in the morning so you don't have to walk in the cold and snow is my mom
  • The woman who will answer the phone even though she's in bed and listen to me vent about hurt feelings is my mom
  • The woman who would defend her children until her last breath is my mom
  • The woman who passionately encourages me to pursue my dream of being a nurse is my mom
  • The woman who believes in me is my mom
  • The woman who taught me to value myself is my mom
  • The woman who loves me even though I am still stubborn, fiercely independent, and a know-it-all is my mom
  • The woman who thinks I'm wonderful even though I am terribly flawed is my mom

I wish all the time these days that I could see myself through my mom's eyes.  Moms have a special way of seeing their children.  A special way of knowing just what to say and just when to say it.  A way to keep the entire family together.  Dads are cool but moms hold it all together.  Even if you may not have your mom in your life for whatever reason...chances are....you know a mom.  And I would bet everything I have (it's not much..don't get excited) they posses these same qualities.  They will listen to you when you're elated or when your heart is breaking.  They would fight for you.  They would help you any way they could.  They would defend you and love you so much you don't know what to do with it all. 
Because moms are magic.  My mom is magic.  I don't know much...but I know that.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Lessons I Learned In 2016

Here we are again.  We all know my feelings on 2016 but even the worst of years bring lessons...usually the worst of years brings the biggest lessons.  So here are all the many important things I learned in 2016:

  • Expectations are the biggest double edged swords.  We are comforted in the belief that it is the truth, but it holds us back and keeps us from better possibilities
  • Don't place all of your happiness in other people.  The only person you can completely trust with that is yourself.  If you don't look out for you no one will.
  • Love doesn't always last, but if you keep your heart open you will always find someone to love again.  You can't find your soulmate with your heart locked away
  • Don't be afraid to ask for help.  We all understand what it means to fall on rough times.  Reach out to the people closest to you when you're in need.
  • Don't take the people in your life for granted.  Sometimes we are so worried about what goes on in our lives that we forget how much our presence means to our loved ones. 
  • Make everyday thanksgiving day.  Not the food (even though we can all agree there are few things better than mashed potatoes) but the way you think about the world.  Spend every day realizing just how many great things happen, so that when you're down on your luck you realize there is something to smile about. 
  • Sometimes you have to let people go.  We want to hold on because we think our love and attention can solve everything, but then we have nothing left for ourselves.  When someone leaves you drained after talking, or being with them, it's time to let go.
  • Learn to accept your flaws.  If you accept every part of yourself there will be nothing that can take you down.  You will be more invincible than Achilles.
  • Accept and acknowledge when you're wrong.  When you take a step down and let go of your pride, and stop pretending to be infallible that when people will be most comfortable to approach you.
  • Open up to people.  Share your soul with them.  If they are really meant to be in  your life they will stay and accept that part of you (even the terrible ugly parts).  The things that are really meant to happen, will.
Happy New Year friends and family.  2016 was incredibly challenging but I grew so much.  Cheers to 2017.  
xoxo
V

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Dear 2016

Dear 2016,

Hey.....we need to talk.  I think we should break up.  You're worse than Kelly on Season 11 of Real Housewives of Orange County (and that's like...really really bad).
It's not like I wasn't hopeful at first.  When we got together in January I was really excited.  My previous relationship with 2015 had been pretty difficult and full of growing pains.  And just like Elizabeth Taylor (R.I.P.) I thought a new relationship would be just the answer.  I'll admit...getting into a relationship with you was a gamble considering you were an election year BUT you didn't have Ebola so that seemed like a great step in the right direction.  We started off strong with Beyonce and Peyton Manning's triumphant Super Bowl win.  And Leo FINALLY won an Oscar!  2016.....you were giving me so much joy.  I thought "finally...a relationship I can count on".

And then March came around...from there on out....you were the worst.  You overwhelmed me with your need for attention.  Between the Rio Olympic games, Harambe (R.I.P.),   and the election, I was on media overload.  Then you try to scare me with the threat of Zika.  That was a low blow after you knew about 2015's stunt with Ebola (yeah....I've mentioned Ebola twice now....it was real).  I honestly wanted to leave you then but then I would have missed out on a new season of "The Walking Dead" with you and....I mean you kind of even ruined that but we won't go there.  I just have never felt secure with you.

I'll never forgive you for taking Prince, Gene Wilder, Bowie, Alan Rickman, Gary Marshall, and Alan Thicke, among others.  And I didn't want to mention this but....the mannequin challenge?  Really?  What was that???

Then came Brexit and the trash fire that was the 2016 Presidential election.  Through all the immaturity and anger....I just really don't see myself with someone like that.  I just don't want to be with you anymore.  To be honest?  None of my friends or family really like you either.  You're just the worst to be around.  So I guess this is goodbye.  You can take you terrible political nightmare with you but please....don't take any more legends with you ok?

Thanks, 
Vanessa 

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Drug Store Make Up Recommendations

So my friend Jen requested this post and I'm actually really glad she did.  I never get to play with or talk about make up anymore.  My life revolves around IV's, catheters, surgery, and a plethora of human bodily fluids.
I am very glamorous.
So obviously I would be the person to come to for make up recommendations.  I actually made a Snapchat video about a month ago about this very thing that I will try to add to this post.
So pause Fuller House, grab some hot chocolate, and pretend I'm a famous beauty blogger about to unlock all my best secrets....


Foundation
Revlon Color Stay for Normal/Dry skin $10.99
I can't say enough good things about this foundation.  It goes on so well and stays on all day.  They also have every single shade.
Pricey comparison: NARS Sheer Glow $42

Eyeliner
Maybelline Eye Studio Master Precise Liquid Eyeliner $7.99
I am obsessed with felt tip liquid eyeliner.  I think they are the absolute best and go on so smooth for that perfect cat eye.  Cat eye is kinda my thing so....it's what I do.  This eyeliner is just as good as the expensive ones I've used and it seriously lasts forever.  I only buy like 2 a year and I use it every day.  At $7 each I would say that's a huge deal!
Pricey comparison: Lancome Artliner $30


Mascara
Maybelline The Falsies Mascara $7.99
So everyone knows that I'm a huge mascara snob.  I am very picky and I don't devote myself to a mascara easily.  This is THE BEST.  I repeat THE BEST drugstore mascara you can own.  It fans lashes out so perfectly I want to kiss myself.
Pricey comparison: Too Faced Better Than Sex $24

Blush
Milani Baked Blush in "Luminoso" $8.99
I have a blush obsession.  Seriously.  I think I have like 15 different blushes.  I found this blush and fell in love.
Pricey comparison: NARS blush in Orgasm $36 (it's my one true love so please know I don't make this suggestion lightly)



And because I'm me....I have to include skin care.  I have found two wonderful skin care products both by Garnier that I'm obsessed with.

And that is that.  Jen...I hope it helps.  I'll stay on the look out and keep you updated.  And to everyone else....I know.  I'm like the plain oatmeal in the variety pack.  You can use all the fancy ones but eventually....you'll have to use me.  On second thought....I could also use that line on my Tinder profile.
xoxo
V
For my awkward video....{.here you go}



Sunday, October 16, 2016

Dear Anxiety Attack

Dear anxiety attack,
in thirty minutes you will be over, but for right now you are the eye of my own storm; raging winds, hailstones the size of my self-confidence, these tiny things.  You are the deadly change in my climate.   You are a nuclear warhead in my chest and I am growing so tired of having to tear the mass casualties from my rib cage every day.
You are the constant shake of my hands.
You are a machine that no one ever has the skill to fix when you fall to pieces inside me.  A constant groaning and grinding of gears in my brain that can never seem to be adjusted.
You are worry lines in the smiles people you exhaust besides only me.  I am tired of going to bed wondering if I've lost another part of myself today.  Wondering if I lost another person you affected.  You moved into my body, not theirs.  You could at least only burn down my forest.
You are sinking into a bathtub filled with ice water.  I grow accustomed to numbness and the wonder if I will be able to keep my head above the surface.
Dear anxiety attack,
in twenty minutes you will be over, but for right now you are a cave.  No sunlight and no life thrive here, only the decay of things that actually make me feel okay.  You say I am not allowed to have freedom.
You are restrictions I put upon myself.  When you whisper that my heart is already so full of you there is no room for anything else inside my weary bones.
You are bumping into someone and wondering for the rest of the evening if I left a bruise.
You are being forced to fight a vicious war scene.  A war scene where you are usually finished with me in thirty minutes; twenty of actual panic, and ten of bonus panic for knowing I let this happen again.
Dear anxiety attack,
in ten minutes you will be over.  You are the violating feeling that I have been assaulted and harassed and beaten without the marks on my body.
You are not sorry for this.
You will never be sorry for this.
I don't think you ever knew how to be sorry.
It's been thirty minutes.  I'm fine.
Just burn this letter after you read it.
I'll write you a new one next time.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

#notokay

I was 17 the first time I was sexually assaulted.  I didn't know that's what it was at the time.  I also didn't realize this would be the first time.  Of many.
I was working my first real job at a pizza place and was the only female employee.  We changed into our uniforms at work.  I frequently dealt with my shift manager "jokingly" offering to help me get dressed or joining me to change.  Brushing up against me because the space was just "so small".  He would call me Tootsie and mention better shifts if I wanted to kiss him.
He was in his 30's.
I was 17.

The first time I was catcalled I was 12.  I was walking home from school and a man driving in his car slowed down to tell me that my "legs look good in that little skirt you're wearing".  That I should be careful wearing that type of outfit around older boys.

While I was an executive at Macy's I had several male employees make vulgar or sexually driven comments to me.  Comments such as:
"You're prime meat for a man in his early 40's.  He'd be all over you"
"I bet you're the type of girl who would want big mirrors in the bedroom huh?"
"That shade of lipstick you're wearing is very sexy"
" You're a very attractive woman.  If I wasn't married I'd date you in a heartbeat"
I was an executive.  I was smart, young, driven.  I was successful and yet my worth was still boiled down by men to my appearance.

Lets not even get started at the things I've experienced with male patients at the hospital.
- telling me I look pretty good in my scrubs
- telling me to lean over a little further when I'm drawing their blood so they can see a little more
- a patient looking me dead in the eyes while he masturbates.  I was taking his blood pressure.

I get asked about my dating life a lot.  When I say I'm not dating or am turned off by dating I get asked why.  I'll let everyone know right now why.  You meet a guy.  They're not like regular guys they always say.  They're good guys.  They are respectful.
And then after a couple dates you get texts like
"So do you shave your pussy?"
"Trust me, you'd want me to go down on you"
When you tell them you're not interested or you don't appreciate being talked to that way the response is
"I knew you were just a stuck up bitch"
"You're not that hot.  You should feel lucky I'd offer"
"Just another Mormon prude huh?  I thought you were chill"

I've told these stories before and have been told by men and women that I should be flattered.  Flattered.  Sexual comments and advances that are not reciprocated or asked for is assault.  There is nothing flattering about assault.  And what's even crazier to me is that instances like this are considered normal.  Even if the comments aren't necessarily vulgar or sexually driven it is still universally accepted that women exist for the pleasure of men.  That if we aren't grateful for their attention or their advances, we are just stuck up bitches.
These are just a few of my personal stories.  I have many more and I know many of my friends and families have them as well.  And these are just stories of sexual assault....not even rape.  More of my female friends have been raped than not.  I have struggled to express why I am so passionate about this topic.  Why I have been so vocal about my disgust with Donald Trump.  My absolute horror that anyone could still support him and respect him as a human being let alone as President of the United States.  The fact that Donald Trump would play off his vulgar and disgraceful remarks as "locker room talk" and that they are "just words" and people ACCEPT that is the PROBLEM.  When someone says it's normal and ok for a man to talk about a woman's body as something they  have a right to.....that is rape culture.   Rape culture is real.  If you need further proof...look at the hashtag #notokay on Twitter.  Millions of women have spoken out about their own sexual assaults.  Kelly Oxford, the woman who started the hashtag, said that if you saw these tweets as a ticker on a news station you would think there was a war on women.  Because there is.  It is not made up.  It is real.  It is a problem.  And it has to change.  Boys need to be taught women are to be respected.  Girls need to be taught that it is ok if you are not flattered by male advances.
This was not meant to be a political statement.  Obviously this has been a huge topic because of a political figure and his comments however it is much much bigger than that.  I encourage you to take these things into consideration. I would encourage you to speak out against sexual assault.  Read through the hashtag on Twitter, read my friend Shaina's brave and personal account.
Let's change this.  Let's start by not perpetuating this false belief that this is normal talk for men.  It is not.  It is not ok.  Women deserve better and hell...men deserve better than this reputation that they are all some testosterone crazed sex animals.
We are humans and we all deserve respect as such.
The end.

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