Notes on Suicide

Here it is, I’ve barely had a few sips of my morning coffee and I get the alert that world famous chef and traveler Anthony Bourdain has died, and by suicide no less. This comes days after we’ve received report that famed handbag designer and lifestyle maven Kate Spade had taken her own life. Everyone comes forward with their stories, their sympathies, and their criticisms. Many people are absolutely baffled as to how someone, especially someone with a seemingly good life, could be so anguished and so selfish as to take their own life and leave loved ones behind. I’ve come to learn and accept that there really is no good way to explain it in a way that people who haven’t been in the throes of it can really understand. I know this, because I was there at one point in my life.

Years ago, I suffered from immense depression, to the point where I was suicidal. I would spend hours crying, thinking of ways to end my life, wanting to make sure that I got it right because the last thing I needed was to botch my own suicide and go through life knowing that I couldn’t even get that right. Every day was an internal battle between the two mes. One side was lucid and logical. The other side was in PAIN, anguished, irrational, violent. These sides battled all the time. The logical side argued that suicide was not the answer, that there would be people who missed me, that my mother would hurt, that there was light at the end of the tunnel. The pained side argued that it was my life and my body, that others didn’t have to walk in my skin, that I would be doing everyone a favor if I wasn’t around and that it wasn’t worth it having so many people see me in such a pathetic state and they couldn’t help me because they were getting tired of it. They didn’t understand. They really didn’t understand.

I had been receiving counseling, but all I was told was basically to practice diaphragmatic breathing. I was prescribed TWO antidepressants, Zoloft and Wellbutrin, which combined made me absolutely numb. I felt like a Stepford, like I was floating outside of my body and had no control over my own faculties. My employer (I shall not name) accused me of malingering, which was made worse when the medication sent me from down in the dumps to cloud nine, so things became difficult there. My work was unfulfilling and the hours were irregular, and any attempt to move into something perhaps more agreeable was rejected. I was alone and away from family, with virtually no friends, thanks to the machinations of a sociopathic boyfriend. There really was nowhere to turn, I felt imprisoned.

The break came when I showed up to a doctor’s appointment and the physician asked me how I was doing. I broke down and admitted that I miserable and I wanted to hurt myself, which set the wheels in motion. I was transported to a medical facility with a mental health ward, and I admitted myself. I spent three days there until someone from my job came to help me check out. Even when I returned, I was held at arm’s length, like I was broken and dangerous, someone nobody knew what to do with nor wanted to be bothered with. That incident facilitated the end of my career as I knew it.

Even my mother, with all her infinite love, wisdom, and patience could not fully understand what I was trying to explain  to her when I described my thought process. May people don’t. They also don’t understand just how much they exacerbate the problem when they try to get the person to “snap out of it”, when they tell them to stop thinking about themselves and start worrying about other people, when they tell the person that maybe what they should do is stop paying attention to themselves and focus on doing for others. Tell me, if you were drowning in the ocean, would you stop trying to stay afloat and try to help some dolphin caught in a net beside you? If someone was in traction after getting hit by a car, would you tell them to simply get up and walk because they’re not trying hard enough? No, you wouldn’t.

I know, we love to say “It’s not all about you”, but honestly, sometimes if is. You have to focus on trying to make yourself whole and well before you can do anything else. We also have to accept the distinct possibility that the person may NOT make it through. If a person is truly committed to taking their own life, they WILL find a way and there is nothing anyone can do about that. And even if a person does make it out to the other side and seems to get well, there is a chance that they will descend back into the darkness. I know I do sometimes. It’s like a Dementor hovering over you, stealing your joy, your will to live. Even to this day, I am overcome on occasions. I go back to thinking about how to end it, I make sure that my life insurance policy has a good enough amount of money to last my kids at least until the age of majority. It’s a constant battle, and it’s exhausting, and what none of those like me need is someone reducing our struggle to selfishness and weakness. We don’t need the guilt trips or lectures. We don’t need the stigma.

Now, I’ve gotten this off my chest. Thanks.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

We’re All Invited.

Okay, the Royal Wedding of Prince Henry of Wales and HRH Meghan, Duke and Duchess of Sussex are now still swirling in everyone’s minds. I personally didn’t watch the wedding because I am still quite sore over the Alfie Evans affair, so I have pretty much declared a boycott of all things British, right down to tossing out all my Twinings tea (good Lord, you have NO idea how much that hurt) and cancelling my subscription to BritBox (oh, Doctor Who and Blackadder, how I miss you most dreadfully). I still have a few Burberry items of which to divest, but I’d be stark raving mad to jettison them outright.

But anyway, with occasions such as these, go anywhere on social media and you’ll find the usual characters, in the U.S. especially, proclaiming how ridiculous the whole affair is, and how we fought for independence from the Crown more than 200 years ago so we wouldn’t have to care a wit about this. There will also be those who complain about how much money the whole thing cost. I’ll admit, I’m not too keen on that last aspect myself, but what you gonna do, right? However, there are many reasons why we SHOULD care and it really does matter.

I won’t get in to the obvious by stating that Meghan Markle is Black, though she is not the first woman of color to become part of a royal family. She is not the first divorcée. She is not the first American. So, all that is out of the way. Why this does matter is because it is a magnificent how of pageantry. It is a positive demonstration, one of love. It gives us, at least most of us, something to look forward to. Royal weddings don’t happen every day. This is something that the whole world can look forward to and unite over. They’re beautiful. They’re magical. They help us escape from everything for a few hours. No pain, no tragedy. Just all beauty and light. Majestic pomp and circumstance. Every traditional girl’s dream. Even for us commoners, a wedding is meant to be a beautiful and joyous occasion, to be shared with well-wishers.

Also, royal weddings have a positive economic impact, the British one at least. People plan their vacations to coincide with the festivities. They buy memorabilia. Commemorative stamps are commissioned by the Royal Mail. Women wait with bated breath to see what the gown, flower arrangements, and cake will look like. Fascinators fly off the shelves at milliners all around the world. Bridal and dress designers scramble to duplicate the fashions. This all means something.

Honestly, what it really all comes dow to is our innate desire to find and witness those things that are beautiful and fantastic. We crave it. We need it. It’s what makes life worth living. It helps us dream. It keeps us going. It brings us together. It makes us forget, even for a moment, that which we must return and face when the high comes down.

So, to all those naysayers and party-poopers who want to rain on everyone’s parade and berate them for taking an interest, I say, have a seat, have a pint, and shut your gob.

They’ve Got a Lot of Quit in ‘Em.

You’ll soon learn that I’m a bit of a Johnny-Come-Lately to some things, so I know that this situation is at least a few weeks old, but indulge me a bit. I still find myself thinking about the frequent dissolutions of marriage following the split of celebrities Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan-Tatum. This was one of Hollywood’s younger star couples. One of the ones we who actually follow and care at least a little bit about pop culture thought would last about as long as Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward’s marriage. Yes, I know that we ought not to take much stock in a Hollywood anything, but it still begs to question, why do we give up on marriage so easily?

Well, quite often we get conflicting messages when it comes to how we should handle marriage. Older generations are more likely to tell you to stick with it, that you have to WORK at your marriage to keep it alive. That you’re going to have to compromise, at lot, and even make concessions. Younger generations are more apt to focus solely on the love aspect. To me, and don’t get me wrong, I’m part of one of those younger generations, it seems that we’re willing to split at the slightest inconvenience. When I see that a divorce was based on “irreconcilable differences”, I often find myself asking just what they were.

Now, do not misunderstand me. I do NOT advocate staying in a marriage no matter what, like in the case of abuse or gross adultery, neglect, or abandonment. I’m just saying that it seems that it seems like these days, we get married because we simply enjoy the company of someone and then we figure we can just split when we don’t feel like breathing the same air anymore, or when the novelty has worn off. Also, I feel like we run our lives even within our marriage where they seem to run parallel, rather than converging. We are comfortable with each other just so long as both parties are strong, but as soon as one shows a weakness, we want to cut the bonds. A marriage isn’t like a starter home, where you just sell it off because you don’t like the kitchen, you’re bored with the paint job, and you decide you want a few more hundred square feet.

I’m in league with one of my friends when he says that a marriage is as much a business arrangement as it is it is a love bond. In the Catholic Church, it is a vocation to which you are called and to which you commit. As a business arrangement, you hammer out the details, discuss the contingencies, you invest in its growth, and put in an awful lot of work to make it flourish. You have to sit down at the board meetings, ask the tough questions, sometimes even call in a consultant or efficiency expert in the form of a counselor, find out how to address the liabilities, and sometimes reallocate assets. You need to commit to your marriage just as much as you committed to obtaining your degree, or getting your job. This is an equally important part of your life. You need to remember why you married in the first place. This is especially important if you have kids. You owe it to them to try to keep as strong a foundation and as united a front as you can for their sake. When you brought them into the world, you made a promise to them that you would do these things. If you quit just like that, what are you doing to them? What message are you sending to them? I’m sure this is an unpopular and antiquated opinion, but it happens to be mine.

Sorry, not sorry.

If the day ends in “y” then it’s a day where you can expect to hear about someone issuing a public apology in the press or on social media about something they said that generated some form of backlash. I don’t know about you, but I find myself cringing more at the retraction and apology than I do what was initially said. I think what makes it even worse is when someone who is supposed to be known for being intelligent, well-spoken, and by far more logical than the rest of us commoners says something so unbelievably ignorant and/or tone deaf that you wonder why it is you’re struggling in your day to day life while that idiot is probably getting ridiculous amounts of money and air-time to spout off such nonsense.

In my opinion, this either displays a horrible lack of self-control or a horrible lack of fortitude. Why and how have we gotten into the practice of saying things that we really don’t mean, that just don’t come out right? At what point did we lose that filter where we swirled things around in our head before we opened our mouths? Also, when did we get to the point where we back down from everything we say? What happened to our convictions? What happened to “that’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it”?

In my view, I think this sets a horrible example for our children, for ourselves even, because we still are subject to influence no matter how old we are. The message it sends is that you can say whatever you want and then dial it back, AFTER the damage has been done. It says that taking a moment to deliberate on what you say and how you deliver the message is for suckers. It says that genuine apologies mean nothing. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that you should keep quiet at all times unless you have nothing but the nicest things to day. What I’m saying is that there IS a way to get your message across in a manner where you don’t have to worry about doing damage control later. You want people to be able to trust what you say, that you will stand behind it.

Basically, you need to say what you mean and mean what you say.

Every Parent’s Nightmare

I have been crying for five days. I have lost sleep for just that long as well. Why have I done this? Over a child I never met. For parents with whom I’ve spoken. Why, you say? Due to a horrible, horrible injustice. I know that there are many people before me who have written about this already, but this has affected me so that I feel as if I have to get this out of me as much as I can, so please, bear with me.

For those of you who haven’t been paying attention to the news, a lovely 23 month old boy, Alfie Evans, lost his battle with an illness that was NEVER officially diagnosed. He passed away in a Liverpool, UK pediatric hospital, Alder Hey, which was identified in the past as being at the center of a scandal involving the harvesting and sale of children’s body parts. This hospital had also gained a reputation of giving substandard care to children and even tracking some into a death spiral. Essentially, they had written certain children off. A pediatric surgeon, Edwin Jesudason, blew the whistle on the hospital, resulting in his being blacklisted by the NHS.

This hospital, Alder Hey, held the child AGAINST the will of the parents, citing that they were acting “in the best interest of the child”. They FORBADE the parents to take the child to another facility, or even home. They determined that the child should be removed from life support, which they did, removing all tubes and ventilation. The denied the child food and drink, expecting him to expire within hours. But the child held on, for FIVE DAYS.  The father even resorted to giving the poor child mouth to mouth. Could you imagine having to do that? They claimed that any independent breathing the child was doing was possibly due to spasms caused by seizures.

Judge Anthony Hayden, repeatedly rejected the parents’ appeals to take their child from the facility and transport him to Italy, who, with the Vatican, granted the child Italian citizenship and who were willing to transport him to Italy for treatment at Bambino Gesú hospital. Not only that, the hospital had police officers guarding the entrances to the hospital, forbidding anyone in and out, while enraged citizens protested on the campus. Attempts to sneak any kind of provisions to the child were thwarted. A Catholic priest who was administering to the child was thrown out of the hospital room because he DARED to admonish the hospital staff. The hospital staff chased off the Italian airport personnel waiting to transport him. They claimed that transporting him would cause him even more suffering. Mind you, all these determinations were done WITHOUT and OFFICIAL DIAGNOSIS. What’s more is that they claimed that they were not willing to work with the parents because of a “bad attitude”. Can you believe that?!

People around the world held prayer vigils, donated money to the family, called on leaders to intercede. I was one of them. Every time I saw that beautiful child, I imagined my own children, particularly my youngest child, who is only one year older than Alfie was, and who, when sleeping, looked just like that beautiful child. It tore my heart out, it destroyed me. This was someone’s child, and could very well have been anyone else’s child.

I think one of the biggest things that absolutely blew me away with all this, was the response from so many British citizens on social media. Mind you, some expressed extreme outrage, but far too many of them had an attitude of indifference or resignation. Many of them claimed that the COURTS and the DOCTORS knew MORE than the parents. They parroted the saying that it was “in the best interest of the child”. They claimed that the child was effectively brain dead and would have no sort of life, but when asked whether there was an official diagnosis which many of us didn’t know about and if the child was written off by the NHS then WHY would they care if Italy decided to take the child in and see what they could do, there were crickets. I was being accused of being an American who didn’t know the full story, yet they never divulged what the “full story” was. When presented with the information of the past organ harvesting scandal, I was accused of being an conspiracy theorist and told that that incident happened in the past and that I had “no evidence” of it currently occurring. The words “science” and “evidence” were thrown around a lot. Oh, but never mind that the child was never officially diagnosed, therefore his condition was not know, therefore, there was no definitive way of knowing the outcome. Even other physicians from other countries indicated that Alfie may have been misdiagnosed. Yet, the people would hear none of that. It was like the hospital, the government-run healthcare system, and many of the people, were DETERMINED to see this child die for whatever reason. My guess is that the judge was proud and obstinate, and the hospital didn’t want to admit that maybe they were WRONG. Both appear to have a MAJOR god-complex.

Towards, the end of sweet Alfie’s life, his parents, who can only be described as having been beaten into submission, issued a statement thanking everyone for their support, declaring they would no longer talk to the press, and that they would work with the hospital to “form a relationship”. Just what kind of nonsense is that? Can you imagine? I was BEYOND miffed FOR these parents.

What makes this whole ordeal even more infuriating is that this is NOT the first time that this has happened, or at least not the first time that something like this has gained national attention. It wasn’t more than two years ago that the very same thing happened to another sweet baby, Charlie Gard.To me, and I’m sure many other Americans, this goes FAR beyond the pale because this is indicative of a common practice. This violates virtually EVERYTHING for which we stand. It violates patient rights, parental rights, human rights, liberty, individualism. Pick the words, it violates them.

Now, the parents of Charlie Gard have announced a campaign to change the laws addressing parental rights and the care of their child. I know I for one will be donating any more I can to help with any legal expenses they may incur in their fight.

If we’ve never been through it, we can never fully know the anguish these parents have suffered, but I, and many like me, can only pray for healing, call for a PROFOUND change, and be vigilant to make sure that something like this doesn’t take hold here in this country.

Is It the Thought that Really Counts?

It’s been the subject of jokes for as long as any of us can remember. That getting of the gift that you really don’t want or need, but you’re told to simply smile and say, “Thank you.” You daren’t turn up your nose, or politely decline. You must graciously accept, stifle your disappointment, try to come up with a few examples of how you could possibly wear or use it, all the while in the back of your mind you’re trying to figure out where in your storage closet you can stash it away until it’s safe to donate or regift.

Even Seinfeld dedicated an episode to the subject called, “The Label Maker“. I am also reminded of this eBay commercial for Christmas past. But why, why do we do this? Furthermore, why do we allow it to be done? We are constantly being told not to look a gift-horse in the mouth, to not be ungrateful, to accept whatever gift we’re given because “it’s the thought that counts”. I have always challenged this sentiment.

In my view, I find it more inconsiderate on the part of the gift-giver than it is on the recipient. To me it is a glaring indicator that the giver did not take the time and consideration to learn what kind of person the recipient is and what they would like. It is a waste of money, in my opinion, to buy something that will be relegated to the trash heap. It also threatens to jeopardize the relationship between the two, especially should the giver discover that the recipient has never utilized the item, or even worse, has given it away. Also, it puts the recipient in the awkward situation of having to lie about how much they enjoy the gift or why they haven’t used it yet. It is a source of frustration when the giver actually ASKS the recipient what they would like yet still proceeds to get them something else. Why? What was the purpose of that, getting one’s hopes up only to let them down?

What about those who scoff at the idea of giving a gift card or cash, claiming it’s “so impersonal”? Am I alone in thinking that if the intended recipient specifically requests cash or a gift card so they can have options as to what they will purchase as a gift then it is decidedly NOT impersonal?

How do we delicately and diplomatically impress upon our friends and loved ones that this practice of thoughtless giving needs to STOP without being thought of as a snob and an ingrate? I’m curious, what do YOU think?

 

I Ain’t Sayin’ She a Gold Digger…

Anyone who hasn’t been living under a rock for the past 13 years has heard the wildly popular song “Gold Digger” by Kanye West. We joke and speculate quite often about the motives of one party or the other in a relationship where there is a considerable difference in socioeconomic standard. More often than not, it is the woman who is earning considerably less and is assigned the title of “gold digger”. But why is this?

I have never really been comfortable with throwing the term “gold digger” around, because to me, it has always indicated that people should essentially “stay in their place” and not dare aspire to engage with anyone who is not their “equal”. Considering that we are capitalist society and are not supposed to have caste systems, the belief has always held that you use whatever “assets” you have at your disposal to improve your situation in life. We may not agree with the means by which a person achieves this, especially when it comes to utilizing physical assets, but unless it is blatantly illegal, that’s really not our call. Sure, we may have some moral objections to it, but even that varies depending on how staunch and restrictive your morals are.

Another thing that peeves me about the whole issue of labeling someone a gold digger, is the compulsion by some to “save” the other person from being snookered somehow. We saw this very much when it came to Anna Nicole Smith and J. Howard Marshall, and even Hugh Hefner and his “girlfriends”. Everyone felt compelled to shout from the rooftops that these men were being somehow taken for a ride and swindled, to which I would reply, why do you think these men don’t know what they’re doing? These are smart men who have made millions, and in Marshall’s case, billions, and they did it by being shrewd and astute businessmen. They liked beautiful women, and that’s exactly what they got. You would have to be insane, or dishonest, to think that any woman in their right mind would go, “Oh no, you make too much money. I would feel like I’m taking advantage of you, so I’m going to go back to my five-figure salary and my life of uncertainty and drudgery and leave you alone!”

Now, conversely, you do hear about men being gold diggers, but not very much. Men are most likely to be met with a high-five for scoring big, like a scene from a Judd Apatow film. Perhaps it’s not spoken of as much because of our modern feminist movement wherein it shows the mark of a confident, high-earning woman who knows what she wants, and goes and gets herself a young, virile little plaything whom she can discard whenever she likes? Or perhaps we have the mindset which Beyonce set forth in her song, “Upgrade U“? Does it just seem more like a palpable notion that a man is being built up from nothing and refined?

There was a time when we felt such unions were charming, such as when they happened in a Jane Austen novel, or in the movie “Pretty Woman”. Now it seems that many of the attacks are rooted in envy and malice. Perhaps we believe in class systems more than we care to let on. Either way, I think this is something that perhaps we need to reconsider before we decide to give someone this label.

The Rules Are… There Are No Rules.

It’s become the stuff of countless movies. Young, neurotic, single women commiserating with their friends over the sad state of the dating game. Young, immature, non-committal men bragging to their bros about how they’ll never settle down, how no chick is trustworthy or worth giving up their freedom for. Yet, these two groups still get together, go through the motions, separate, and repeat the cycle. Each time the woman gets more insecure, depressed, and discouraged. Each time, the man becomes less likely to view women as anything more than a toy, something to pick up, play with for a while, and throw aside when they’re done. Why do we do this? I believe the answer is quite simple really, we’ve stopped playing by the rules.

There used to be time when we had boundaries, and we operated within them. We had rules, and we (for the most part) abided by them. We knew that the word “dating” was reserved for interactions between the sexes that were meant to lead up to a meaningful relationship and eventually engagement and marriage. Anything else was just considered “hooking up”. For the most part, respectable men knew that they had to have something to bring to the table and that there would be courtship involved. It was a matter of course and a matter of pride. Women also knew that they had to have something to bring to the table, and that they needed to conduct themselves in a matter befitting a lady and worthy of having  respectable man that would want to be with her and take care of her. I’m sure I raised the ire of a lot of feminists with that statement, but I don’t care, I’m more a traditionalist than feminist. I have seen what getting farther away from what we used to do has gotten us.

Like many, I devoured every episode of Sex and the City and related very much to the characters. Fifteen years later, I would look back and see what a disaster it all was. I cringe at how poorly those relations were navigated and how destructive the mindsets were. Perhaps I could console myself with the fact that I was making those kinds of stupid mistakes in my early to mid 20s and not in my 30s like them. Due to the feminist revolution, we decided to throw out rules in the name of progress, but as I’ve said many times over the years, progress is not always good. What has all this “progress” gotten us?

Speaking of “progress”, whatever happened to the belief that sometimes you have to go backwards to go forward? If something is clearly not working, sometimes it makes a whole lot of sense to just pump the brakes and maybe even put it in reverse. Park for a while, get the lay of the land, then figure out where to go rather than running at top speed, swerving around curves, and heading for a crash before you know it? Things are not working out as they are. We don’t take time to really get to know people. We don’t take time to really get to know ourselves. We don’t take time to effectively communicate and lay out the ground rules before we start down the path. We expect a lot from each other, yet not much at all, if that makes any sense. Many of our relationships are built on a mountain of superficiality and lies.

We need to bring back “the rules”. We need a game plan. It’s just like when we were children. Having rules and boundaries let us know where we stood, it meant that someone cared enough about us to give us parameters to protect us from harm and to at least soften the blow if we did step outside because we were warned of what to expect. Without them, we’re just spinning out of control, occasionally colliding into each other, and hurtling out into space.

It Deserves a Brown Wrapper

So, in what could be considered a monumental move, Walmart has decided to pull the women’s magazine, Cosmopolitan off the front shelves in support of the #MeToo movement. I’m not the biggest fan of the #MeToo movement personally due to the repercussions that I knew would come, but I do support this move.

I don’t fancy myself a prude by any stretch, but I have been in opposition to virtually all the fashion magazines on the market in recent years, and I have been staunchly opposed to Cosmo in particular for even longer than that. Actually, I think it has been about 12 years since I decided that enough was enough with that magazine and vowed to stop reading it. So strong is this resolve that if I was in a doctor’s office waiting room, I would read Popular Mechanics before I would pick up the issue of Cosmo. Now, I know that Cosmo has virtually been the bible for the sexually independent young woman, but I found it’s content to be progressively more and more devoid of substance and actually rather counterintuitive.

The famed chronicle, propelled into modern pop culture by author and editor-in-chief, Helen Gurley Brown, which made popular the Bedside Astrologer and hot and half-dressed single guys who are coincidentally looking for love, has become even more notorious for its monthly articles on the myriad of ways to please your man sexually. Cosmo is the magazine that, I think ironically, coined the phrase “Fun, Fearless, Female”. However, it didn’t take me very long to realize just how conflicting the messages were.

To my best recollection, my first encounter with Cosmo was about 27 years ago or so when I came across an article of about a diet that was described as “Spartan”, very simple, essentially a starvation diet that guaranteed to transform you into a “sylph”. Over the years,  I would read its Bedside Astrologer; take in its beauty tips, which were not even suited to my ethnicity; check out its stereotypically good looking guys with washboard abs who just wanted that someone special; and finally, get on to the spread detailing 50 ways to fellate your man. It was exciting at first, but year after year, as I matured, I realized that all of these “tips” weren’t really necessary. By age 24, I realized that it really all was quite absurd.

I became troubled by the conflicting messages I would see within its pages. On one page, how to take care of your skin/body, on the other, how to party all night like you did in college but still wake up looking fresh for work. One page, an article calling women to action to help impoverished women in third-world countries develop economic opportunities, on the other, a $12,000 designer coat. One one page, love the body you have, on the other, how to lose 15 pounds in one week. On one page, how to stand up for what you want in your life and your job, on the other, women who are shamed into silence. And my “favorite”, 101 positions to keep your man coming back for more, on the other, “I had drunken sex with him, but half-way through, I decided I didn’t like it, so I’m saying he raped me.” There is so much confusion jam packed in those few pages that it’s enough to do anyone’s head in, and I am convinced that that is precisely how they like it.

Confusion is what keeps the reader coming back for more. The sex tips are regurgitated and passed off as new for consumption and utilization by groups of women who have developed progressively contentious interactions with the opposite sex. The articles vacillate between petty Hollywood gossip and fear mongering. Its superficiality is nauseating.

But back to the #MeToo backlash. I knew that a media source that pushed such hyper-sexuality and caprice would be eventually called on the carpet for the part it had to play, despite its attempts to fleece the public with its so-called support of the movement. It’s like the murderer who grooms, kills, then buries their prey then has the audacity to join in on the search party. They have a major part to play in this, they are guilty. While this article in Fortune magazine argues that the #MeToo movement is about men in positions of power abusing their advantage, and that may have been true in the beginning, but, like virtually everything these days, it has crossed over into other avenues and has become bigger than it was intended. Now, so much as a sideways glance is condemned as sexual harassment. What Cosmo does is basically tell women they have license to rub their goodies in a man’s face in the name of sexual liberation but lock him up when he reaches out for a touch. This is unhealthy.

While I’m picking on Cosmo in particular, sadly it seems that pretty much all the fashion magazines have descended into this pathetic spiral, short of the brazen sex peddling that Cosmo does. I had gotten to the point where I felt reduced to only subscribing to People Stylewatch so I could get nothing but fashion and makeup tips, but sadly, it has recently ceased publication, so now I feel I’m left with nothing.

I don’t know how long this move by Walmart will last and whether it will catch on, but I am hoping that Cosmo will view this as a wakeup call and realize that with great power comes great responsibility. And Cosmo has been acting irresponsibly for years. Moreover, it has encouraged countless generations of women to act irresponsibly with no thought of consequence. Oh, and by the way, Joanna Coles, the best orgasms are not to be achieved through positions 2, 29, and 57, they’re achieved through meaningful sexual intercourse within the confines of a substantial and committed relationship, and I didn’t need your magazine to teach me that.

Locked Swords, or Locked Shields?

I find myself pondering how we got to this place. How virtually every single relationship we engage in or are exposed to is adversarial in nature, and that any one that is not adversarial to begin with is somehow turned into one. In the 90s, we were all about the yin and yang, the black and white, where it was all about complementarity and balance. That wasn’t so long ago, was it?

Now, today, it’s all about black vs. white, man vs. woman, young vs. old, rich vs. poor, etc. It’s exhausting, and I truly believe that this is by design. We seem to no longer be allowed to respect and celebrate our differences in a healthy and productive manner. Every interaction he have has to be for the purpose of overpowering, overtaking, destroying, and replacing. It simply doesn’t appear to be sufficient that we should be happy with all that we bring to the table to fill the voids left by others who are strong in the places we are not.

The pervasive message that is being is that being who you are, as you are, simply isn’t good enough, and that what’s more is that it’s someone else’s fault, and that that person needs to be taken down in order for you to feel good enough. Tell me, exactly how does that jibe with the constant line we’ve been fed in the past few years about being true to oneself and loving yourself as you are?

If one talks about the enslavement of Africans, another will counter it with the indentured servitude of the Irish, another will chime in with the enslavement of the Israelites by the Egyptians, and another with the Holocaust. Can’t we all agree that it was ALL bad, and that what seems to be the defect here is with the human and is NOT exclusive to any one race or ethnicity?

There is a always a competition for who is more aggrieved. A person can’t even make an observation or express a lament without someone else coming along and telling them there they or someone else has it so much worse. Or, they try to invalidate the argument by citing an exception to the rule. This is not conducive to healthy dialogue or understanding. We seem to no longer be interacting for the sake of understanding or cooperation, but for the sake of creating more division. For the splitting into tribes, and even subtribes, and it seems that anyone who doesn’t want to play that game and compartmentalize themselves like that is either placed in a tribe by force or ostracized altogether. Sometimes, you’re not even allowed to call for unity and compromise. None of this is healthy.

Tell me, who has this kind of energy? To constantly be embattled? Why do we allow it? To anyone who has this kind of energy, from what other more pressing issue is it being siphoned? Your family? Your friends? Your job? Opportunities at self-betterment?

So what do we do about this? How to come away from this? What is the point of no return? Have we adopted a Scorched Earth policy? What is the end game? And in the end, will it have been worth it?