The Day I Realized I Wasn’t My Husband’s Wife Anymore

Marriage is, at its heart, a partnership between two people. It’s a promise to thread your lives together, to hold hands, face the world, and not let go no matter what is thrown in your direction. It’s not easy. Sometimes it feels as if the world is conspiring to pull you apart, to create space between your clasped hands where once nothing might have slipped through.

Marriage is two people making a choice to love each other, and choose each other, to weather together the storms that inevitably roll in and through a life.

For nine years, my marriage to my husband was like that. I was his wife, which meant that above all, I was his partner in life. We made decisions together. We made mistakes together. And when the universe tried to pull us apart, we pledged to hold on tighter.

There was a day, a few weeks before he was diagnosed with a brain tumor, when I reminded him of that. We had been off—the usual banter and humor and late-night talks had ceded. I assumed, as anyone might, that we were going through a marriage rough patch. After another night of bickering and tension, I sat beside him on the couch and told him something felt off between us. He agreed. I told him we would work on it, that I was in this—our marriage, our life—with him, no matter what. He confirmed he was too.

We didn’t know, then, that the change between us was due to the brain tumor affecting his personality. When we found it, and understood the depth of the situation we’d found ourselves in, there was no question that we were in this together no matter what, that we would stand, as husband and wife, hand-in-hand, and face whatever was coming.

That all changed months later, on November 16.

We’d spent the entirety of the day and night before at the hospital. Twenty hours in an emergency room. The hospital had no available beds, and he desperately needed a MRI. Not only were his cognitive changes concerning—he wasn’t himself in any way I could recognize—but also, he couldn’t see. An eye test had confirmed there was something physical internally blocking his vision.

When we received the preliminary results of the test, only enough to know that no immediate action was necessary, the emergency room doctor told us that we should go home. To our kids. To be there for our son’s birthday which was the next day. He said a doctor would call us to discuss next steps. The unspoken words in his sorrowful permission was clear: be there for this birthday, because you may not be for the next.

I drove us home. In the morning, I tried to talk about the day and night before, to plan our next move, figure out the next weapon we’d wield in this fight for his life. But when I made a remark about the long hours in the emergency room, he looked at me with confusion. He didn’t remember being in the emergency room. He didn’t remember the very long night, the MRI, or the way the doctor skirted a truth that I wasn’t willing to admit aloud anyway. The tumors—because at this point they were multiple, and we’d learn soon, devastatingly widespread—had corrupted his ability to remember and impaired his ability to understand the world in front of him.

In that moment, I made a choice not to remind him about the night before. In some ways, I made that choice simply to avoid frustrating him right then—soon enough we’d meet with the doctor and discuss options and the frustration would be inevitable. But in many ways, I made that choice to protect him.

And in that that choice—the one to shield him from the vicious storm coming—I realized I wasn’t his wife anymore. I was his caretaker—his advocate and his safe place, his anchor and hopefully, his home. I still loved him. I’m sure the part of him that was still him loved me. But I wasn’t his wife; that quintessential part of a marriage that was a partnership was gone. We were not standing, hands clasped, weathering the storm together. He was living the storm and I was standing by, desperately, unsuccessfully, trying to bat away individual rain clouds to get to him.

Somehow, the universe had succeeded in pulling our hands apart.

A few months after that long night and that choice, I sat by his bedside in a hospice room. It was a rare moment when no other visitors, not the kids or members of our family, filled the room with us. For the first time in months, I didn’t look at him and assess his cognitive state for the day. I didn’t take note of his temperature and blood pressure. I didn’t watch the clock and dole out medication in precise doses at exact times. Sitting in hospice, just the two of us, there was nothing left to do. My job as a caretaker was over. All I could do, was sit beside him, and hold his hand.

Hold his hand, and weather the storm coming for us.

Because the day I stopped being his caretaker, I again became his wife.

And the truth was whether I was wife or caretaker was never as important as whether I meant the words I’d said to him all those months before: we were in this together, no matter what.

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PSA: Women Watch Porn Too

The first time I watched porn, I was fifteen and with a group of girlfriends at a sleepover. Their parents were gone, we each had a shot of some disgusting whiskey, and our host dug into her parent’s porn collection.

Of course we all laughed and acted like it was so gross as we watched two women pleasure each other. I now know we were all feeling feelings we weren’t sure we should be feeling. I mean, who talked about women watching porn? It certainly wasn’t discussed in sex education classes, our parents never gave us the okay, and it seemed like it was something which was acceptable for the boys to do, but not girls.

Nope, we were supposed to act grossed out and like we didn’t enjoy watching it at all.

While I shouldn’t speak for my girlfriends, I will: I’m pretty sure it aroused us all in some way. Sure, there were other thoughts and emotions associated with it. Maybe some guilt and confusion. I myself remember feeling dirty, ashamed, and like I would never admit to anyone it turned me on. After all, what would that say about me?

That was way before pornography was so accessible, but I remember wanting to get my hands on more, and reading erotic books when I could find them.

I certainly didn’t watch or read a lot of it, but it did help me build my confidence around what I like sexually and made me realize it was okay to be sexual. However, I never felt like I could talk about the fact that I enjoyed porn. It always felt like a dirty little secret I had to keep tucked away.

Of course I didn’t realize that at the time, I (like most other teenagers) had one final goal in mind: to get off.

As I got older and more comfortable with my sexuality and my partners, I also got more comfortable watching (and admitting to watching) porn. I found it helped me when I felt like I was in a rut and needed to get my juices flowing. 

After my divorce, I spent a lot of time single, and that meant my vibrators got more of a workout and my porn watching increased. For me, it was a form of self care and was incredibly fulfilling. I knew I wasn’t ready to give myself to anyone else, but hey, I could have my way with myself whenever I wanted. There’s no need to deprive yourself of a great orgasm just because you don’t have anyone to give it to you. I had the power to give one to myself, and many times, watching porn was my form of foreplay.

A new study in Environmental Study and Public Health found that women who watched pornography of their choice had a positive impact on their sex life — whether it’s solo or with a partner.

Over 2,000 women were studied and according to the results, women who watched porn during masturbation or with a partner,  became more aroused, had stronger orgasms, and orgasmed more frequently than those who didn’t watch porn.

When I eventually did settle down with a partner again, I know I felt liberated and like I knew more than ever what I needed sexually.

Andrea Wailing, Australian Research Council DECRA Fellow at the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia, told The Conversation,  “Pornography can create a more open and permissible environment for couples to explore erotic fantasies together, and facilitate greater intimacy and connection. It can also enable sexual confidence, and positive community formation for LGBTQIA+ people.”

That sounds like a great way to explore sex with a partner, especially if it’s hard for you to talk about things you’d like to do in the bedroom. You can watch your fantasy together and let it be a nice opener (see what I did there?) to have the experience you want.

You could even send a clip to your lover and say, “I’d love to do this with you.” Talk about empowering!

Of course it all depends on how it’s used, said Wailing. It’s important to not to adapt unrealistic expectations from porn and realize it’s a form of entertainment. 

Masturbation has been linked to lots of benefits such as lower stress, better sleep, and higher self-esteem.

So, if watching porn helps you get there, why not use it as a tool with intention to make yourself feel more alive, and improve your sex life?

We can’t deny there is a stigma around women watching porn. It’s incredibly accepted for men (and boys) to watch it, and we all just chalk it up as something they are going to do, regardless. It’s normalized for men and should be normalized for women because hello, watching porn isn’t just a “guy thing” and it really is okay to say it out loud.

We need to do the same with our women and girls. There’s no need to make anyone feel bad for watching porn, and we do that by talking about the fact it can have many positive benefits for our sexuality as well as our sex life. Getting aroused, wanting to masturbate and be sexual, are all completely normal parts of being human.

Porn has a place in a woman’s life — and it’s nothing we should be ashamed of, ever.

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United Airlines Begins Flying Pfizer’s COVID-19 Vaccine

Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine is reportedly being flown by United Airlines chartered flights to distribution hubs

Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine is moving quick. Not only did Gen. Gustave Perna, the logistics supervisor for Operation Warp Speed, recently tell reporters at The Washington Post that vaccination will be deployed to a portion of healthcare workers next month — with the first batch of 6.4 million doses including vaccines for prisons, as well as the Indian Health Service and the Veterans Health Administration — but according to the Wall Street Journal, United Airlines began operating charter flights to send doses of Pfizer and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine to prepare for distribution.

“As a result of the historic pace of vaccine development through Operation Warp Speed and careful logistics planning, the FAA today is supporting the first mass air shipment of a vaccine,” the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) told The Hill. Because Pfizer’s vaccine must be kept at below-freezing temperatures, the FAA said they are working with manufacturers, air carriers, and airport authorities, who are providing guidance on transporting large amounts of dry ice air cargo. And, according to the Wall Street Journal, Pfizer has been laying the groundwork to move quickly if it gets approval from the FDA and other regulators.

“The FAA established the ‘FAA COVID-19 Vaccine Air Transport Team’ in October to ensure safe, expeditious, and efficient transportation of vaccines. Several vaccines need continued cold temperatures during transport, which, in some circumstances, require dry ice, a hazardous material,” the FAA stated.

Pfizer’s mRNA-based shot needs to be stored at almost 100 degrees below zero. In order to keep the temperature consistent, the Wall Street Journal reports the company designed suitcase-size shipping containers that will keep the medicine at the required temperature for up to 10 days. Each container holds between 1,00 to 5,000 doses. Pfizer is planning to buy cargo space on about 20 planes per day from FedEx, UPS, and DHL International, in hopes to deliver doses as close as possible to vaccination hubs, such as major hospitals or rural medical centers. The pharma company, which is manufacturing the vaccine in Kalamazoo, Andover, Massachusetts, and St. Louis, plans to deliver 100 million vaccine doses in 2020 and 1.3 billion in 2021, according to MarketWatch.

Researchers have explained the need for “freezer farms” for vaccine delivery, something pharma providers use regularly, according to Pharmaceutical Commerce. The storage, called cold chain management, keeps drugs at the appropriate temperature during storage and shipment. UPS is building farms in Venlo, Netherlands, and Louisville, KY (both of which are near UPS air hubs). Each facility will house banks of supercooled freezers. The plan includes 600 freezers which can each hold 48,00 vials of vaccine. UPS will also build freezers in South America, Germany, and the UK. The shipping company DHL recently opened a 20,00 square foot facility in Indianapolis. Plans include temperature-controlled storage at 15-25,2-8 and -20 temperatures. DHL built the operations in what’s called a Free Trade Zone, which allows for international cross-shipping.

As for the first batch of doses, Perna said states and territories have been given information from Operation Warp Speed to “plan and figure out where they want the vaccine distributed.” States will then give Operation Warp Speed their top five sites capable of both receiving and administering the shot.

According to Fox Business, FedEx’s vaccine delivery plan involves 5,00 facilities, 80,000 vehicles, and 670 aircraft. FedEx has designated three temperature ranges for storage: frozen (-13 to -14 degrees Fahrenheit), cold (35.6 to 46.4 degrees) and controlled room temperature (59 to 77 degrees), says Commercial Appeal. The news organization reports air transport isn’t always perfect: the International Air Transport Association reported in 2015 that 25 percent of vaccines reach their destination degraded due to improper shipping.

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Courteney Cox Gloriously Recreated That Iconic Turkey Dance From ‘Friends’

The ‘Friends’ actress gave the people exactly what they wanted this Thanksgiving: the turkey dance

Even if you’ve never watched an episode of Friends in your life (and if you haven’t, are you OK?), you know exactly what the turkey dance is. You’ve seen it in GIFs, in memes, as stills from the hit NBC show. The minute-long scene in Season 5, Episode 8 where Monica dons an entire turkey on her head, and puts on an oversized pair of yellow glasses and a red, hassled-hat atop the uncooked poultry — and Chandler tells her he loves her for the first time — is purely iconic. And, because it’s the year 2020, the actress who played Monica for a staggering 10 seasons, Courteney Cox, did us all a solid and recreated the famous Thanksgiving shimmy.

NBC

Taking to her Instagram, Cox recorded a message for all her Friends fans. “Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. I hope you’re having a great day. I’m feeling so thankful,” she starts.

Then, Cox unexpectedly zooms in on her mouth as she aggressively — and hilariously — says, “And also if I get one more goddamn GIF with that turkey on my head dancing like a fucking fool, I’m just gonna snap.”

“Anyway,” Cox continues, “since I’m the symbol of Thanksgiving, here you go. I hope it makes you happy.”

And then this is where the real magic happens: The video cuts to Cox dancing with a sunglasses-wearing turkey on her head as the Friends theme song plays.

The dance aired in the episode titled “The One With the Thanksgiving Flashbacks,” which aired Nov. 19, 1998 — and it’s still, now more than 20 years later, as iconic as ever, even among the cast. “You DID THAT,” her Friends co-star Lisa Kudrow, who played Phoebe, commented on Cox’s IG video.

The video was also a great reminder of what’s to come for the Friends cast: the Friends HBO Max reunion special, which was delayed for months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Earlier this month, however, fans got a long-awaited update on the reunion special’s new premiere date: March 2021.

Friends reunion being rescheduled for the beginning of March,” Matthew Perry tweeted Nov. 12. “Looks like we have a busy year coming up. And that’s the way I like it!”

“This is a show that is not scripted, but this is the way the show works,” Kaufman told Entertainment Tonight earlier this year. “We are going to need a live audience. Even if we socially distance that live audience, it really is a huge part of what ‘Friends’ is. We cannot do it without them.”

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Managing Anger: Real Steps To Stop The COVID Rage

I’ve often said that COVID-19 took the last f*ck I had to give. And it’s true: things that would have sent me cringing and brooding are no more than everyday interactions now. I have shouted across a Target: “Masks don’t work when your nose hangs out!” I have held up my hand in a grocery store. “I’m sorry,” I said loudly, “what part of six feet do you fail to understand?” I have commented loudly, purposely, “People who don’t wear masks fuel the pandemic.” I have flipped my middle finger at people behind me in the drive-thru line, impatient when I’d paused to sanitize my hands. In other words, at times, I have not been managing anger well.

You might have anger issues, too. Your triggers might be different than the maskless masses that enrage me. Maybe it’s your messy house, or your spouse, or your kids’ wrangling. Maybe it’s virtual schooling. But whatever it is, we can find our inner zen again. Managing anger is hard, but it’s doable. I did some research and I’m (slowly) learning to calm my rage-y feelings. You can do it, too.

We can do it together.

Managing Anger Means Recognizing Anger

You know how I say COVID-19 took my last f*ck? It did. But that’s not necessarily a good thing. When I stopped caring about other people’s opinions, I not only gave myself permission to ask that others respect my social distance, I granted myself the right to be downright mean about it. I am not polite. I am not kind. I am a grade-A bitch.

Managing anger means noticing and naming it in the moment, and when I see people moving into my space or not wearing a mask, I feel angry. I am personally offended. I can name it now. I don’t excuse it or hide it or justify it. I feel angry. And I also recognize that it’s okay to be angry. Anger is a feeling. We can control how we act. We can’t control how we feel.

In other words, I can name my feeling. But that feeling doesn’t give me a right to act out.

Then Yes: Take Deep Breaths

Everyone tells you to take deep breaths. It sounds stupid and cliched. But as Healthline points out, anger kicks your breathing into overdrive: it comes faster and more shallow. So when you take those deep breaths, you’re really doing two things. You’re fixing that breathing, and when you do that, you send your body the message to calm down. Managing anger means calming yourself.

At the same time, those deep breaths force you to relax. I tend to tense, especially my jaw, so I make an effort to relax. As I relax, I do something else anger management experts recommend, pretty much universally: I pause. As the Mayo Clinic says, “Think before you speak.” No, don’t think of some really good snark. Think of the right thing to say. 

Making A Plan Also Helps When Managing Anger

The American Physicians Association recommends handling and facing the problem of managing anger. Think about what makes you really mad. Pause. Make a list if you need. I know I’m enraged by people who don’t take the pandemic seriously. So I have a plan: I avoid them whenever possible. I keep my public outings to places which maintain mask and distancing safety. The pharmacy is safe. So are some other places. But I avoid the zoo at peak hours. I do not visit hiking trails where I am likely to encounter maskless people who may not socially distance.

By avoiding these people, I avoid my anger. And on the occasions that I do run into people threatening to violate my space or not wearing masks, I have armed myself with words: Eliza, this is not about you. Not close? Not your problem. Close? Move. Impossible? Say: Please move back. I maintain a six foot distance like the CDC recommends.”

Find Your Happy Place: Escape

Recently, I received an absolutely enraging text message while I was in the (parked) car. Luckily, I have a solution to that. I always sing along to the radio, and if I have kids in the car, managing my anger means soft singing. But if I’m alone, I crank it up to eleven and sing David Bowie: I start with “Under Pressure,” then move into “Modern Love” and finally “Ashes to Ashes.” Bowie stops me from rage-crying, and when I’m done, even if I only fit in one song, I can tackle the world again.

Find that escape for managing anger. Maybe your happy place lies in music, like mine. Maybe you can delve into a book. Maybe you can take a walk, or zone out to the TV. Regardless, the Mayo Clinic recommends taking a time-out when we’re angry. And it really does help.

Escape also forces you to do something else people recommend for managing anger. You have to walk away to do it. You remove yourself from the situation that’s making you angry, and this also prevents you from doing something you might regret.

Managing Anger May Also Mean Practicing Empathy

I haven’t quite made it there yet. I did with that text message (eventually). But the maskless? I try to tell myself they believe false information. But I can’t reach it yet. The only thing I can come up with: they have been worn down by isolation and can’t bear to take the virus seriously anymore.

But managing anger means shoving yourself into someone else’s shoes. You have to try to look at the world from their perspective. And it’s so hard. I’m stubborn. In seventh grade, my teacher wrote that I did not “respect the opinions of others.” Empathy for people who enrage me? Not a strong point.

Unfortunately, managing anger means trying to empathize, to put yourself in someone else’s place. I have a hard time making it there sometimes. But I promise I’m working on it. I practice with little things: my kid screaming about going to bed, or my dog barking endlessly. He’s sad he has to go to sleep. She wants attention.

I’ll learn.

Until then, please be patient. Please know I’m trying. But please, stay away when you hear “Under Pressure” blaring from my car radio.

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My Best Friend Is A Guy, And My Husband Is Okay With That

I met my best friend when I was 19 years old. We were young and living our best lives in New York City. I was pursuing a career as a dancer and he was making his way into the music industry as a producer. We hit it off as friends from day one, and he has been like a brother from another mother ever since. And now we have been doing this friend thing for over 22 years.

We basically figured out how to adult together. He was there for me through many relationships and breakups, and he rooted for me when I fell for my husband. Over the years, as life has happened, we have only gotten closer — and my husband has been okay with our friendship every step of the way.

Before you go assuming, my husband is not a pushover in any capacity. I admit to being a very stubborn woman, and I need a strong personality to balance that. And his confidence and ability to call me out when I am being a pain in the butt are some of the main reasons I decided to marry him. Not to mention, he was the one guy that my best friend liked from the very beginning.

The thing is, I am just the kind of girl that has always had guy friends. People tend to think that means I don’t like women, but that’s just not true. I was in a sorority in high school, I lived with two other women back when I was single, and I went salsa dancing every weekend with the same group of ladies for years. Even now I have a group of amazing girlfriends, I love taking “girl trips,” and I am a member of several mom groups. So I am not the type that can’t get along with women.

There was just something about me and my best guy friend that clicked right from the beginning. It started with him offering to get me some food the first day we met, and I knew we could at least be foodie friends. The next thing I knew we were partying together, acting as each other’s wingman and supporting each other through career changes and relationships.

I am a heterosexual woman and he is a heterosexual guy. But over the 20-plus years we have been hanging together, there has never been anything sexual between us … not even a kiss. I speak to him almost daily and we tell each other “I love you”… well, it’s more like “love ya,” but you get the point. I traveled across the country to be with him during his chemo treatments and he has been there for me when I needed him.

We are like any same-sex pair of best friends. What do we do when we hang out? Go shopping, eat lots of good food, laugh and watch bad TV. He knows me better than anyone and I can always count on him for his honest opinion, even if it’s not what I want to hear. And we have been through so much together: boyfriends, girlfriends, marriage, kids, divorce and even cancer.

We tell each other basically everything and we will forever support each other no matter what. And besides, who better to bitch about your husband to than your best friend? But one difference with a guy friend is I get the bonus of an honest male perspective I know I can trust … so it’s a win-win for me.

How does my husband feel about this? Thankfully, he isn’t the jealous type and none of this fazes him at all. To him, my best guy friend is no different than any of my girlfriends. Do they know each other? Of course. Are they close? Nope. Do we all hang out together? Not at all.

And it is not because I lack things in my marriage. My husband is one of my favorite people in the world and we share a happy life together. He is the first person I want to share my good news with and the shoulder I cry on when I need it. We can stay up into the wee hours of the night chatting about all kinds of things and sometimes I love just sitting in silence with him doing our own thing together.

But my husband and I have always been fairly independent people. We have never been the couple who is constantly attached at the hip. It has always been important to us to have social lives outside of our relationship. I have friends that he doesn’t hang out with and he has friends — including women — that I don’t hang out with. And we are both okay with that.

I know a lot of people in heterosexual relationships aren’t comfortable with their spouses having close friends of the opposite sex, and I get it. It’s not the norm. I mean, every other rom-com is about male/female best friends finally falling in love. And we have been programmed to believe that is impossible to have platonic relationships with the opposite sex … but that is just not true.

My husband and I trust each other. We have a healthy, thriving relationship that I believe is served well by the fact that we are not completely dependent on each other or up under each other 24/7. So, if you think no husband should have to put up with their wife having a male best friend, we can agree to disagree. Because at the end of the day my husband is okay with it — and that’s all that matters to me.

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The GOP Hates Gays — They Even Put It In Writing

I knew that Republicans aren’t pro-gay as a rule, but until recently, I didn’t realize exactly how anti-gay they are. Like, that the GOP actively, explicitly hates queer folks and wants us either not to exist or to pretend we don’t. Or they want us to suffer. They want to break up our families, and they want the federal government to explicitly state that the way we love is unnatural and invalid.

Some may think it sounds like I’m exaggerating, that I’m overreacting, getting too worked over some fear-mongering story pumped out by the “lamestream media.” Being gay is, like, totally accepted these days — even Pew Research Center says so! According to its 2017 study on the topic, 70% of Americans said they believe society should accept homosexuality. Hell, even Republicans as a group have come a long way, with nearly half being in favor of same-sex marriage.

So why am I making these radical claims about the GOP being a collective of homophobic shits? Why would I say its members want to destroy the lives of queer folks? Well, for starters: it’s on their fucking website. I didn’t realize this until recently when a friend pointed it out to me.

Their Republican Platform document, created in 2016 and reaffirmed in 2020 via resolution, is a 58-page statement of the Republican vision for the United States. It’s sponsored by the Republican National Committee and has its own page on the official GOP website. Its preamble states that the platform is “a manual for the kind of sustained growth that will bring opportunity to all those on the sidelines of our society.”

To those on the sidelines of our society.

Is any group in the United States more sidelined than the LGBTQ+ community? Of homeless youth, 40% are gay, often due to familial rejection. 30% of adults who are homeless identify as LGBTQ+. LGBTQ+ youth are five times as likely as heterosexual youth to attempt suicide. 40% of transgender adults report having attempted suicide. These tragic statistics are a direct result of the discrimination this community faces. It’s hard to fathom being more “sidelined” than this.

The GOP platform states that it wants to provide opportunity to “those on the sidelines of our society.” And yet, on page 11 under the section “Defending Marriage Against an Activist Judiciary,” the GOP platform states:

Traditional marriage and family, based on marriage between one man and one woman, is the foundation for a free society and has for millennia been entrusted with rearing children and instilling cultural values. We condemn the Supreme Court’s ruling in United States v. Windsor, which wrongly removed the ability of Congress to define marriage policy in federal law. We also condemn the Supreme Court’s lawless ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, which in the words of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, was a “judicial Putsch” — full of “silly extravagances” — that reduced “the disciplined legal reasoning of John Marshall and Joseph Storey to the mystical aphorisms of a fortune cookie.” In Obergefell, five unelected lawyers robbed 320 million Americans of their legitimate constitutional authority to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. The Court twisted the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment beyond recognition. To echo Scalia, we dissent. We, therefore, support the appointment of justices and judges who respect the constitutional limits on their power and respect the authority of the states to decide such fundamental social questions.

Besides the fact that this is the most bigoted bunch of flaming donkey shit I’ve ever read, let’s also address the bald hypocrisy in this paragraph via comparison of two sentences:

“We condemn the Supreme Court’s ruling in United States v. Windsor, which wrongly removed the ability of Congress to define marriage policy in federal law.”

“We, therefore, support the appointment of justices and judges who respect the constitutional limits on their power and respect the authority of the states to decide such fundamental social questions.”

Hey GOP, you bunch of paradoxical half-wits, learn how to present an idea without immediately contradicting yourselves. Do you want congress to be able to define marriage, or not? Shall religion dictate law, or not? At least be consistent with your bigotry, for fuck’s sake.

Every time I read this passage from the GOP platform, I indulge in a gleeful fantasy in which I slap every single Republican across the face. Yes, even friends and family members. Because seriously, people, are you even paying attention? Half of you believe queer folks should have the same rights as non-queer folks. And, according to Pew Research Center, over half (54%) of you also believe that religion should not dictate government policy. Even of evangelical protestants, arguably some of the most dogmatically religious people in the U.S., 43% still think religion should not influence government policy.

And yet here it is, in plain English in your fucking political party’s playbook, that the GOP — and by extension, you — wants to overturn the Supreme Court ruling that protects queer folks’ constitutional right to marry just as you do. What in the tap-dancing fuck are you people on about? There are over half a million same-sex marriages in the United States, caring for and supporting 300,000 children. For the party who claims to be pro-family, y’all sure are trying your damnedest to break up hundreds of thousands of families via the federal government whom you claim ought not to “decide such fundamental social questions.”

I have no doubt that many Republicans who are in favor of queer rights have no idea that this is what they’re supporting. But I don’t forgive this ignorance because for fuck’s sake, people, do better. Just do better. Stop blindly following. Think critically. Read your own damn party’s literature and come to terms with the hate you’re supporting. If you agree with other parts of the GOP platform but not this part, speak the hell up and change it.

My civil rights are not up for you to debate. You will not make flowery statements about bringing “opportunity to all those on the sidelines of our society” and then sideline me by telling me that the way I love is invalid and that I shouldn’t have the same legal right to marry and enjoy all the benefits and protections that come along with that right that you do.

In my view, the worst thing a person can be is a hypocrite. And any one of you who claims to be in favor of equal rights for the LGBTQ+ community but simultaneously supports this political party is a fucking hypocrite. Do better.

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What I’m Teaching My Sons About Vaginas

We are really open in my house. There are times that makes my kids uncomfortable because, ew, their mom is talking about sex, periods, vagina, and butt stuff.

Thing is, I’d rather have them be uncomfortable around me because I’m open about all our bodies have to offer than have them learn things from their friends (don’t get me started) or from porn.

The stigma around people with vaginas is strong. You see it everywhere — commercials for douches, pads that won’t leak, moodiness when they are menstruating, and one billion things on the market to tighten, brighten, and make the vag smell like a Bath & Body Works.

Oh, and don’t forget to get waxed, sugared, or shave that pussy because no one likes a hairball between the legs. 

I grew up with all sisters in a pretty open household. I still remember feeling ashamed when I got my period and my vagina smelled different. I would load up with the baby powder until I couldn’t breathe and take two showers a day because I thought I was disgusting and had no idea every woman or person with a vagina had a different scent down there.

Hello, we are bleeding between our legs. Go elsewhere if you want to smell blueberry muffins or lavender.

Now I know better: That shit is normal and everyone needs to know it. I’m going to make damn sure my sons learn that at home because no child of mine is going to think there’s something wrong with someone because they smell different after a workout, or bleed through their jeans during a heavy flow.

If we aren’t talking to our sons about it, the only other dialogue they get about the vagina in all its glory is from their buddies … and I can tell you first hand, they aren’t educated in this area. Like, at all.

The other day after a ten-mile run when I was a bit overdressed I came in feeling glorious and ready for my breakfast. My son bent down to get a dish from the dishwasher and said, “Oh my god! It smells like a mildewed vagina!”

I said, “That’s right! Because I just got back from a long-ass run and vaginas sweat and smell when we exercise. I bet your balls don’t smell great after you lift weights either, Killer, so you don’t need to comment.”

I could have been embarrassed or apologized, but that’s don’t going to do him — or anyone who has a vagina — any good. All it does is make him think it’s gross, abnormal, and like we should go take care of it right away so he doesn’t have to feel uncomfortable when he bends down to get something and smells a ripe vag.

It wasn’t long ago my daughter got her period and she was reaching for the Advil as I was heating up the heating pad for her. My poor girl gets cramps so bad she throws up, so I feel like it’s extra important that my sons are respectful and realize how painful and horrible menstruating can be, so they can treat their partners accordingly.

He asked her if she had “FUPA cramps” and once again, I had to set him straight. “Yes she does and it’s not fun, and there’s no way you’d be able to take the pain, so why don’t you see what you can do to help her instead?”

He brought her up some dark chocolate to her room a few hours later, and has never said a word again. 

My boys aren’t perfect and this will always be a work in progress — vaginas are complicated, and there’s a lot to learn about them, especially when you don’t have one. 

But, they never say anything when the trash is overflowing with pads. They leave me and my daughter alone when we are writhing in pain each month. They know not to comment on our moods or rock the boat because I’ve taught them better. You don’t kick someone when they are down. You don’t comment on it. And if you see someone has leaked through their clothes, you tell them in a discrete way and keep it to yourself.

I know not everyone will agree with my tactics and that’s fine — you do you. But my sons will understand vaginas if it kills me. I refuse to send them off in the world thinking their mother never bled, or that vaginas don’t have different odors, and leave their partner to educate them.

In this house, we talk about vaginas and we always will. And at least I’ll have peace of mind knowing I taught them vagina-owners don’t need to go out of their way to hide the fact that they might have lots of different smells, but dammit they can go through some tough shit and still work great.

The post What I’m Teaching My Sons About Vaginas appeared first on Scary Mommy.

How My Wife And I Talk To Our Multiracial Kids About Race

What rests in a person’s heart means more to me than what their race is. When I make a person my friend, I do not look at their race before deciding whether they are worth my time or not, and this is what we are teaching our kids. It is a person’s value system, if they are honest and kind, which determines how they will treat me. As we look at a divisive country, broken friendships, and disconnected families because of this election, we are having conversations with our kids about not only what it means to be a good friend, but what it means to look at a person’s heart over their race.

I was ecstatic when Crayola released their skin tone crayons; I immediately went out and purchased a box to bring home to my five-year-old twins. They could finally color pictures of little girls and of our family that physically looked like us. Between the princess Disney movies they watched and the princess books they chose at the library, with preschool teachers who did not look like them and friends who spoke Spanish, they were curious as to why their own curly hair did not match the straight blonde hair of their best friends’ in their preschool class. It took them six months to inquire about why the white tone of their favorite preschool teacher was different than their own. We waited for them to come to us, and when they did, we simply said, “Everyone is born different, with different skin colors. Even within our own family, we all have different skin colors. They are not exactly the same, right?”

Crayola

Using their preschool teacher as an example to drive home our point, together we reflected on how she treated them. These reflections gave us solid examples of how she made them feel. There was a reason she was their favorite: She listened to them. She spent time with them. She let them explore their interests. She played with them. She cared for them. She possessed the same traits we wanted to impart on our kids, so it was easy to explain it to them in this way.

What every child knows is how people make them feel — and at the end of the day, this is what matters the most for them. Then there is the inevitable, the questions they ask will become more challenging to answer, especially about race. In an article for National Geographic, writer Heather Greenwood Davis notes, “Developing empathy, compassion, and a sense of justice at an early age helps kids grow into adults who want to help make the world a better place. For parents, that often means taking a deep breath and having those tough conversations about race and racism.”

 

Oleksandr Siedov/Getty

We were able to package these sometimes difficult conversations about race into conversations that gave rise to a bigger lesson for our kids. When we’re all trying to figure out how to define for our kids what is happening in our world, their world, we should start with what they know and where they are in their own development. Greenwood Davis suggests, “If you hear your child expressing an idea about a group of people that they don’t realize is prejudicial, engage them in an age-appropriate conversation about it. For younger children, you might center the conversation around why the words are hurtful and how they might make someone feel. And though most older kids have been socialized not to make blatantly racist comments, they can crop up.”

We must continue to communicate with our kids about what it means to look at a person’s values, and who they are on the inside. While skin color and race do matter, especially in our current social and political climate, as parents when we talk about progress — when we demand justice for those who have been looked down upon because of their race — we must still teach our kids to look at someone’s heart, and consider how their own actions are making people feel. And as adults, we can be reminded to do the same.

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My Husband Is Addicted To His Phone And It’s Destroying Our Marriage

I’ve never been a fan of the winter. I don’t like the snow. It’s a bother. A nuisance. The powdery white flakes are a pain in my ass. I don’t like the darkness. The days are too short. My mood is too low, and I don’t like the cold, especially the constant chill that consumes my face and chest and snakes down my back. But nothing is as cold as my marriage. At least not now. Not today. Why? Because my husband is addicted to his phone and it’s destroying our relationship.

I fight for his attention on Facebook. 

Our intimacy is on Instagram.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: I must be exaggerating. It isn’t that bad. He can’t be that bad, but it is — and he is. When my husband wakes, he turns toward his phone: not to his son, his daughter, or me. Never me. He consumes Stories with his coffee, catching up on snaps and filtered images, not his wife or real life. He spends his afternoons scrolling through Facebook instead of talking. Instead of snuggling or tickling or playing with our kids. And at night he watches video after shitty video. 

He communicates with me not through words, but through texts, tags, and memes.

But his addiction doesn’t end there: My husband is on his phone for work, which is both suggested and (in these current times) required. He answers emails at all hours. There is no shutting things off or “end of day.” He spends hours reading status updates about his friends instead of talking to them. Instead of being with them. And it isn’t just me who is affected. My daughter fights for his attention. My son says “dada” a dozen times before he blinks. Before he even looks up. And while we’ve been through a lot over the course of the last 18 years — we’ve endured four moves, in three states; we’ve faced chronic illness and mental illness; we’ve battled addiction and survived suicide — I’m not sure we’ll make it. 

I’m not sure we can muscle through.

That said, my story is not unique. While one cannot officially be diagnosed a “phone addict” or a  “cell phone addict,” the compulsive behavior mirrors that of other addictions. “[Cell phone addiction] would fall into the general category of a behavioral addiction: an action that is repeated compulsively due to it creating some sort of pleasurable feeling, or removing a negative one,” Dr. Aaron Weiner — a board-certified psychologist and addictions treatment specialist — tells Scary Mommy. And this type of addiction is common. Millions of Americans are diagnosed with addiction-related disorders each year. What’s more, a recent study by Reviews revealed 75% of all people believe they are addicted to their phones, and 65% admit they sleep with their phone — as my husband does. That damn black box never leaves his side. Yet he doesn’t think he has a problem. 

He thinks I am being dramatic. I’m blowing the situation out of proportion. He believes I’m irrational and emotional. My perception is crazy. I’m just plain wrong. He also defends his use of social media. It’s not his fault he stays connected. It’s not my fault he “has friends.” But his “friendships” are destroying our relationship.

His phone is destroying my life.

Of course, I’ve tried to figure out the “why.” The reason for his obsession. And while there are numerous causes, Weiner tells Scary Mommy the primary reason for phone addiction is social media. “The reason people become addicted to their phones is because of social media and mobile games,” Weiner says. “They cause an immediate pleasurable feeling and can also help someone escape from negative feelings. Fear of missing out may also be a driving force, though this behavior is more common in teens (particularly in high school) than older individuals.”

So what can I do? What can we do? Well, my husband and I are in counseling to improve communication. We see a therapist every week to learn how to talk to each other and look each other in the eye. My husband is practicing mindfulness. He’s begun doing yoga and meditation and is taking time to be and breathe. We have technology-free time. There are no phones at the table and certain events, like story time and family game night, are device and Facebook-free, and I call him out on his bullshit.

I take pictures of him on his phone while life happens around him — to show him what he’s missing. So he sees the way his addiction impacts his family.

Will my efforts change things? Will our joint efforts work? I don’t know. I really don’t know. But I don’t want our love to fade like a Story. I don’t want our relationship to disappear like a snap, and I don’t want “us” to be Facebook memory. So I move forward, I try, and I fight.

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