Who Taught You How to Hate?

With the recent terrorist attacks in Paris & the multiple threats of similar attacks throughout Europe, I feel compelled to share a song which could not possibly be more relevant right now.  The song is entitled Who Taught You How to Hate? off of the new Disturbed album which debuted just a few months ago.  If you follow my blog regularly, you’ll get a chance to read about the entire album in the next few weeks, as it will definitely be on my annual best albums post.

If you’re not familiar with Disturbed, they are a heavy metal band based out of Chicago.  The lead singer & lyricist David Draiman is Jewish (although he is no longer religiously Jewish). david_draiman

This song is so powerful because the lyrics speak to everyone, regardless of race/ethnicity, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, nationality, etc.  And that is exactly why I feel it is so timely right now.  I am not saying I am sympathetic to ISIS or the associated terrorists; of course not.  But I do think it would behoove us to remember that the people who become part of these types of radical groups were quite literally taught how to hate.  None of us, regardless of race, nationality, or religious affiliation, is born hating those who are different than us.  That mentality is a learned behavior.  (Which theoretically means it can be unlearned as well . . .)  Therefore it is imperative that we remember that any religion or philosophical belief can be taken to a fundamentalist/radical extreme that becomes dangerous, & thus we should be careful not to vilify an entire group based on the sins of a radical minority.diverse kids

Please read the lyrics below & click here to listen to this truly powerful song.

 I hear the voices echoing around me
Angered eyes that don’t even know who I am
Looking to kill again (They will kill again)
As the unknown enemies surround me
Wicked laughter resonates inside my head
And I am filled with dread (And adrenaline)
What did I do? Why do I deserve this?
So we’re different,
why do I deserve to die now?
Give my a reason why?

Then it all goes a blur
Let instinct take flight
Find my hands on his throat
Yet hear myself say

Tell me now, who taught you how to hate?
Because it isn’t in your blood
Not a part of what you’re made
So let this be understood
Somebody taught you how to hate
When you live this way, you become
Dead to everyone

A father’s pride, my son walking beside me
I look around and marvel how the children play
In perfect disarray (So innocent)
No judgement, pure exhilaration
Black to white, the colors aren’t on their minds
Nothing predefined (All different)
There’s always one who plants an evil seed and
Preaches fear to pull you to the other side
Into a world of lies

Everything is unsure when you’ve lost your sight
Can there still be a cure?
What made you this way?

Tell me now, who taught you how to hate?
Because it isn’t in your blood
Not a part of what you’re made
So let this be understood
Somebody taught you how to hate
When you live this way, you become
Dead to everyone

(You’re not anyone)

Lost all innocence
Infected and arrogant
You burn all your life
(There’s no telling you)
No deliverance
Consumed by the pestilence
Of hate, you’re denied
Deep in your heart does it still remain?
Do you think you can bring it
Back to life again?
Is it still in your soul?
(No saving you)
Where’s the deviant
The unholy revenant
That has made you this way?
Made you fall for this hate

Tell me now, who taught you how to hate?
Because it isn’t in your blood
Not a part of what you’re made
So let this be understood
Somebody taught you how to hate
When you live this way, you become
(You become)

Tell me now, who taught you how to hate?
Because it isn’t in your blood
Not a part of what you’re made
So let this be understood
Somebody taught you how to hate
When you live this way, you become
(You become)
Dead to everyone
(You’re not anyone)peace quote

I’m not trying to answer any huge political or philosophical questions with this post.  But I feel like this song is just way too powerful not to share during this time of crisis throughout our world.

I’ll end this post with another powerful quote that I think we would also do well to remember at this point in time.

“Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The Anxious Nurse’s Survival Guide

Last Fall I wrote a post entitled The New Grad Nurse’s Survival Guide which has since become one of my most popular posts to date.  That post includes tips to help new nurses acclimate to the fascinating but often challenging & frustrating world of hospital nursing.  Today I thought it would be beneficial to create a survival guide for those nurses, like me, who struggle with anxiety issues.  You will notice a lot of overlap between the two posts, but nevertheless I hope that you will find this post helpful if you too struggle with anxiety both in your personal life & as a nurse.nurse pic

Disclaimer (because we live in a wildly litigious society these days): As you read this post, keep in mind that I have no official psychiatric credentials.  This list is based purely on MY OWN PERSONAL EXPERIENCE & is in no way meant to diagnose, treat, or cure any condition.

I struggle with anxiety, but I've found that this blog is a great way to tame the

I struggle with anxiety, but I’ve found that this blog is a great way to tame the “anxiety monster.”

  1. My first recommendation is to get to work as early as you’re allowed to clock in so that you can maximize the amount of time you have to read up on your patients before receiving report. This will allow you to already have a basic idea of what is going on with your patients & thus empower you to ask good questions in report.

    Yes, we nurses know what all of this means.

    Yes, we nurses know what all of this means.

  2. After finishing report, take time to look up more information on your patients before you start seeing them (provided no one has an urgent need of course). I’ve found that the more background information (labs, test results, etc) that I have on my patients, the better I feel about taking care of them.  This came into play recently when I had a patient who ended up in ICU not long after the start of my shift.  If I hadn’t taken the time to write down the patient’s history, labs, etc at the beginning of my shift, I would have been scrambling to look up that information during a very emergent situation . . . which is obviously less than ideal.  I’ve found that my anxiety is much better controlled if I start out my shift knowing as much as possible about my patients because I know that if an emergency occurs, I’ve already got my head in the game, so to speak.
    A very simplified explanation of anxiety . . . but it made me laugh.

    A very simplified explanation of anxiety . . . but it made me laugh.

    1. To be clear, I try, at minimum, to glance through all the current orders, the H&P, the most recent lab/test results & vital signs, & the most recent doctor’s note(s) on each patient before starting my rounds. Obviously this doesn’t ALWAYS happen, but I make it a priority to have it done ASAP no matter what because I’ve found it does help me so immensely.
    2. On a similar topic, find or create a good report sheet that will help you stay organized.  After several tries, this is the one I’ve come up with that I’ve found works best for me.  Feel free to use it or adjust it to make it work better for you.  DO NOT FEEL LIKE YOU HAVE TO WRITE EVERYTHING FOR EVERY PATIENT ON ONE PAGE!  I did that as a new grad, & I look back & want to slap myself because it only made me more anxious than I would have been if I’d just used a separate page for each person (duh!).bedside report
  3. Review all lines, drips, wounds, etc during report (preferably at the bedside). This way you can ask the off-going nurse about any discrepancies you find.  Doing so is an easy way to help prevent errors, so don’t skip this simple but important step which can save you a lot of anxiety later in your shift.
  4. Stock your pockets with the most commonly used items at the beginning of your shift (before or after report) & periodically throughout the shift as needed. The things I always carry are alcohol swabs, blue caps (for IV lines), saline flushes, my scissors & penlight, a pen & a highlighter, & a roll of tape.  I’m borderline OCD, so I’ve quickly learned that I feel naked without any of these things in my pockets.  I’ve also found that my shift flows a lot more smoothly when I carry these things around because I’m not constantly running up & down the halls for something as small as an alcohol swab.  Wasting time on little things that like, for me anyway, creates a lot of unnecessary anxiety that can be easily avoided by simply stocking my pockets on a regular basis.scrubs pockets
  5. Establish some kind of routine & stick to it as much as possible. You can read about my routine here under #6.
  6. Following closely on the heels of the above point, learn to group tasks as much as possible. On my unit we as nurses take our own vital signs, & I’ve learned that the vast majority of the time it is more efficient for me to do vital signs, assess, & medicate each patient before I move on to the next one, rather than doing vital signs & assessments on every patient & then going back to do meds on each one.  Do I have to break this practice sometimes when one patient has an urgent need or I get an admission at the beginning of the shift?  Of course.  But the point is that I’m making good use of my time rather than running in & out of my rooms constantly.  Does this sometimes mean I’m a little later seeing my last patient?  Sure.  But as long as I know that patient is stable, I don’t think that’s a big deal because I feel like I’m able to devote more time to each patient as I go along rather than constantly being rushed between rooms.  If your routine is different than mine, that’s ok.  JUST FIND WHAT WORKS FOR YOU!anxiety
  7. Write down your meds/tasks & the times associated with each, & scratch them off or highlight them as you complete them. For me doing this not only organizes my shift but also gives me a great sense of accomplishment as I highlight the meds & tasks I’ve accomplished.  I also write in important labs so that I don’t forget to check for those (e.g. coags on a patient with a heparin drip, Troponins on a chest pain patient, etc). to do list
  8. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you start to feel overwhelmed, & be specific in your requests for assistance. I’ve found that people are a lot more likely to actually help me when I’m specific in my requests.  For example, if I know I have an admission coming but one of my other patients is unstable, I’m going to say something like this to the charge nurse, “Hey, as you know I’ve got this admission coming to room 5, but room 10 is having a lot of trouble breathing right now.  I’m going to need you get vital signs on the new patient & get them settled so that I can take care of this situation in 10.”
    1. On the converse, if you see someone else who is struggling, don’t just say “Do you need help?” Of course they need help!  Be specific in your offer to help them.  For example, “I know you’re really busy right now.  Whose meds can I give for you?”  Or “I know your new admission is really sick & I heard you say he needs a new IV site.  I’ll go try to get a new IV on him.”help
  9. Celebrate your strengths & recognize your weaknesses. Being a nurse who struggles with anxiety is definitely a challenge at times.  This job is difficult enough without being a perfectionist; trust me I know!  However, I also know that my meticulous nature is a great part of what makes me a good nurse.  I could describe dozens of situations in which I’ve made a significant difference in a patient’s life because of how obsessively I’ve watched their labs, respiratory status, vital signs, etc.  However, I also know that because of my “sensitive” nature, I’m prone to burn-out, & thus I can’t work much OT without feeling like I want to quit my job &/or lose my mind.  I recognize this & thus I don’t work much OT because I know it’s not in my best interests psychologically.  I’ve also had to learn (& believe me it’s a continual learning curve) that it’s ok to not know everything or be perfect at everything all the time.  No one is THAT good.strength quote
  10. On a similar note, find ways to manage your anxiety outside of work. I’ve found that seeing a therapist about once a month is a HUGE benefit to me.  I can’t tell you how much I wish I had started therapy years ago, before I even became a nurse.  Yes, friends & family are great, but there is something very unique about having an objective person who can listen to your struggles (both as a nurse & outside of work) & help you recognize methods to better manage your anxiety.  Going hand in hand with therapy, don’t be afraid to take medications for your anxiety if your medical provider recommends it (& don’t be afraid to ask for meds if you feel like that is needed).  I was very hesitant to take any psychiatric meds, but I started taking Prozac last summer, & there are no words to describe how much better I feel these days.  No, it’s not a magic “happy pill,” but I have found that it “takes the edge off” so to speaks & thus helps me to stay calm & better able to survive anxiety-provoking situations, whether at work or at home.  TAKING MEDICATION FOR ANXIETY IS NOT A WEAKNESS.  I still have to tell myself that sometimes, but the point is that I’m better able to function as a nurse, a wife, a friend, a daughter, a dog mommy, & just as a human being thanks to Prozac.  If that’s not a good enough reason to take a medication, I don’t know what is.  In addition to therapy & Prozac, I’ve also found that writing (hello, blog!), music, & exercise are great sources of stress relief for me, so making time for those is extremely important.  It is true what they told you in nursing school: YOU CANNOT TAKE CARE OF OTHERS IF YOU DON’T FIRST TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF.  Don’t forget that!anxiety meds

Fellow nurses, feel free to comment with any suggestions you have for how to navigate the healthcare world, as chaotic as it often is, while living with an anxiety condition.  It is definitely not easy, but it CAN be done.  Trust me, I still have shifts where I have to step into the break-room for a minute just to clear my head (or occasionally to wipe the tears of frustration from my eyes), but I’ve found that those times are much fewer now that I follow the tips outlined above.  As I stated at the beginning, these are just the things that I’ve found work for ME, but I’d like to believe they could be helpful to others as well.

I’ve said it before & I’ll say it again: learning to live with anxiety is a continual learning process.  Some days are better than others, & that’s the way it will always be.  We just have to learn not to let the bad days get us down forever.  We must keep fighting the good fight because as nurses our patients desperately need us.

Best Local Restaurants in the Raleigh Area

Today I thought it would be fun to create a list of my favorite local restaurants in the Raleigh area.  My husband & I have been living here for over three years now, so we’ve definitely had time to establish some favorite dining locations, & it just so happens that all of our favorite places to eat around here are locally owned & operated.  I’m not one of those people who refuses to eat at a chain restaurant, but I will admit that the vast majority of the time local places are both tastier & more interesting & often do have better service.  Additionally it just feels good to know that you’re contributing to the local economy rather than to some massive national corporation.Raleigh

As a disclaimer, I’ve obviously not had time to try EVERY restaurant in the Raleigh area.  I’m pretty sure I could live here for the rest of my life & never accomplish that feat!  And because of where we live in Raleigh this list is definitely biased towards North Raleigh.  This isn’t meant to be a comprehensive list of the best dining experiences in the Triangle.  These are just my PERSONAL favorites, which all happen to be locally owned & operated.  Additionally, you will not find a single place on this list that is black tie or at all fancy because that is just not my style.  If I can’t go out to eat in jeans & a basic shirt, I’m not interested.  If that makes me lazy or redneck or whatever, I couldn’t possibly care less.

Additionally, aside from # 1, these are in no particular order.

**Click on the name for each restaurant to visit their website.

  1. India Gate (Durham)India Gate
    • This locally owned, family-run Indian restaurant off of Highway 54 in Durham is literally my favorite restaurant in the world.  I just cannot say enough about how wonderful this place is.  The food is phenomenal, the service is excellent, the decor is charming, the prices are very reasonable, & the setting is neat & clean.  My husband & I have taken several of our friends here, & they have all loved it.  One couple has even become regular diners there, just like us.  (In fact we frequently go there together.)  We even took my parents here last summer, & though they had never before eaten Indian food, they too really enjoyed it & have spoken about going back next time they’re in town.  I’ve tried several other Indian restaurants in this area (there are quite a lot to choose from), but none of them have equaled the excellence of India Gate in food, service, or value.  If you’ve never had Indian food, check out the lunch buffet (offered every day except Saturday) where the food is intentionally made a lot less spicy so that it’s more amenable to everyone.  My favorite dishes here are the butter chicken, the vegetable or chicken korma, the naan bread, the kheer (rice pudding), & the gulab jamun.  If you enjoy the buffet, be sure to pick up one of their cards where you get a stamp for every time you eat there, & then you’re tenth visit is free.  If you only take one suggestion on this list, make it this one.
  2. Greek Fiesta (multiple locations in Raleigh & Cary)greek-fiesta-at-crabtree
    • There are several casual “fast-food ish” Greek/Mediterranean restaurants in the Raleigh area, but this one is definitely my favorite.  There are quite a few locations throughout Raleigh & Cary, but I usually go to the one on Creedmoor Rd or the one at Brier Creek.  However, I’ve had good service & great food at every location I’ve ever visited.  I suggest going at lunch & getting the original gyro, which is one of the lunch specials, with fries.  One probably wouldn’t expect a Greek place to have amazing French fries, but believe me they are easily some of the best fries I’ve ever had.  The lamb/steak mixture used in the original gyro is also very delicious.  If you don’t like lamb, try the chicken pita which is also one of the lunch specials & is very good.  The kabobs are also excellent as are the hummus & baklava.  Again, my favorite location is the one on Creedmoor Rd because the staff there are especially friendly, but you can’t go wrong with any of the locations I’ve visited.
  3. Flying Biscuit Cafe (Cameron Village in Raleigh)flying biscuit
    • Ok, this one isn’t exactly local because there are definitely locations in a few other states, & I’m not sure where the restaurant originated.  However, Flying Biscuit has become such a local favorite that I feel like it has to be included on this list.  If you’re like me & don’t like crowds, definitely try to go at an “off” time & not on the weekend because this place is usually quite crowded & often has a bit of a line to get in the door.  If you do find yourself waiting, it will definitely be worth the wait.  The biscuits alone are mouth-watering.  Breakfast is served all day here, but there are lots of other options as well.  My personal favorite is “Not Your Mama’s Pimiento Cheese Sandwich.”  Served hot with turkey bacon, this thing is to-die-for delicious & big enough that you’ll probably have left-overs to enjoy later.  This is also one of the only places in Raleigh where you can drink alcohol at 7:00 in the morning . . .
  4. Sassool (Raleigh)sassool
    • Sassool is a family-run Lebanese/Mediterranean cafe & bakery located on Strickland Rd (near the intersection with Six Forks) that was previously called Neomonde.  However, the name was changed last year in honor of the woman whose recipes inspired the restaurant’s menu.  I don’t think you can go wrong with anything on the menu here, but one of my favorites is the mushroom onion pie which is basically a personal pizza made on pita bread.  The daily lunch specials (which you can find online) are always delicious, as are the baklava & the free pita bread that comes with every meal.  The website states there will be a new location in Cary soon (not sure exactly where), so be looking out for that.
  5. Backyard BBQ Pit (Durham)
    • If you want the area’s best BBQ, this is absolutely the place to go.  However, it is definitely a “no frills” type of joint, which of course suits me just fine.  In addition to mouth-watering pork BBQ, the side dishes are delicious as well; I recommend the sweet potatoes or the mac & cheese.  Prices are extremely affordable as well, so basically you can’t go wrong here.
  6. Pharaoh’s Grill (North Hills in Raleigh)
    • Here’s another no frills type of joint that also serves delicious food.  Check out the mouth-watering burgers & fries for a tasty lunch or early dinner.  (They’re only open 11 am to 6 pm.)  I’ve only been to the location at North Hills, but there is also one at the Natural History Museum downtown.
  7. Lilly’s Pizza (Raleigh)
    • Continuing with the theme of no frills places, Lilly’s Pizza is definitely not for you if you’re overly concerned with perfect decor or employees who don’t have obvious piercings & tattoos.  However, if you’re willing to overlook those “faults,” this place serves some seriously delicious pizza which you really ought not miss.  One of my favorites is the Sir Walter.  I also highly recommend the pita appetizer served with hummus, mango salsa, & artichoke dip.  There is also outdoor seating where you can eat with your puppy.
  8. Ruckus  (Raleigh, Cary, & Morrisville)
    • I was introduced to Ruckus by a friend who frequents the Avent Ferry Rd location near NC State in Raleigh.  That location is definitely more of a bar that happens to serve excellent pizza whereas the Cary & Morrisville locations are more restaurants which also have bars.  I enjoy all of them, although the pizza at the Avent Ferry Rd location is my favorite.  However, the Morrisville location carries what might be my favorite beer ever, the Saranac Prism.  The Raleigh & Cary locations have outdoor seating areas which welcome dogs.  I don’t think you’ll be disappointed no matter which location you choose.
  9. Despina’s Cafe (Raleigh)despinas cafe
    • This Mediterranean style cafe was opened just a few years ago in the Towne North shopping center on Creedmoor Rd in Raleigh.  The owner grew up on the island of Cyprus & uses many of the recipes she gleaned from her mother’s restaurant there.  To satisfy your sweet tooth, I recommend the unique & delicious lemon lavender scone, the apple turnover, or the lemon bars.  If you’re in the mood for an actual meal, check out the marinated chicken wrap.  There is free WiFi here which makes it a good place to study or hold a small business meeting.
  10. Al’s Burger Shack (Chapel Hill)als burger shack
    • I just discovered this place about two weeks ago when I was in Chapel Hill with a friend.  We were both in the mood for burgers so we decided to give Al’s a try based on the good Google reviews.  I got the Kenny J burger & my friend got the Melly Mel chicken sandwich, & we were both very pleased.  We also shared some sweet potato fries that were easily the best I’ve ever had.  This is definitely not a fancy place & there isn’t a lot of seating, but if you’re in the mood for a good burger, this is definitely a great place to go.
  11. Sawmill Tap Room (Raleigh)sawmill tap room
    • My husband & I first tried this place almost three years ago when we were in the first stages of looking for a house & we were out driving around eyeballing places we’d seen for sale online.  It just so happened that we stopped in the shopping center next to the Sawmill Tap Room so that I could use the bathroom.  As I walked back to the car, I couldn’t help but notice the delicious smells coming from the tap room.  We’d been planning to eat somewhere else, but we decided to give this place a try instead, & we were very glad we did.  In fact the burgers were so good that we came back again about two days later!  My favorites are the Kansas City burger & the Jackson Hole burger.  The onion rings here are also something you don’t want to miss.  Additionally, the restaurant is decorated with pictures of old movie stars, & being a fan of old movies, I find that very charming.
  12. Justin’s Grill (Raleigh)
    • I tried this place at the corner of Millbrook & Falls of Neuse Rds some time last year at the recommendation of a friend since she knows how much I love lamb gyros.  I’ve been hooked ever since, not only because the food is so delicious & well-priced, but also because of the super friendly couple who runs the place.  In addition to the lamb gyro, I also highly recommend the BBQ chicken sandwich.  For sides, the fries & pita are always good options, as is some kind of pasta salad they make which is the best pasta salad I’ve ever had.  I don’t even usually like cold pasta salads, but theirs is very unique & super delicious.
  13. Firewurst (Cary & Raleigh)firewurst
    • This local restaurant was established by two great-grandsons of a Romanian man who moved to the US in 1902, & it’s definitely worth a try.  In case you haven’t noticed, I really like good burgers.  It’s amazing that I actually have a good BMI, but of course I don’t eat them every day or even every week.  Anyway, I tried this place last year at the recommendation of some friends, & they too have excellent burgers & sweet potato fries.  I’m not into hotdogs & bratwurst, but if you are, this is definitely the place to go as that is actually their specialty.
  14. Torero’s Mexican Restaurant (Raleigh)
    • There are actually several locations for this delicious Mexican joint, but the only one I’ve tried is the one on Atlantic Ave in Raleigh.  Like many of my other favorites, this isn’t a fancy place, but the food is delicious & the service is excellent.  The portions are also enormous so I guarantee you will leave with extras to take home with you.  The salsa here is heavy on cilantro which I’ve come to really enjoy.  The menu is pretty standard as far as Mexican restaurants go, but everything we’ve ever tried has been delicious.  My favorite is the pollo a la crema.

To my friends in the Triangle area, I hope you’ll give some of these great local restaurants a try.  Feel free to comment with your own favorite places to eat in this area.  If you’re not from this area but you plan to visit someday, definitely bookmark this post so you can remember to try a few of these places.

Southernisms & Country Sayings

It’s not a secret that the part of the US known as the South has its own peculiar accent.  In actual fact there are probably as many variations on the Southern accent as there are farms & small towns in this particular part of our country.  As someone who loves linguistics & studying various accents, it annoys the heck out of me when TV shows & movies try to do Southern accents & almost invariably get them completely wrong.  map of the south

Anyway, it’s come to my attention lately that we do indeed have some unusual phrases, or “Southernisms” as I like to call them, here in the South.  If you Google this topic, you’ll find all manner of odd things that might make you question our sanity if you aren’t from this part of the world, so today I thought it would be amusing to create a list of some of the phrases I heard often as a child growing up in a very rural area in Virginia.  A few of these I still find myself saying today, & I’ve definitely been questioned as to their meaning by some of my friends & coworkers who are not originally from the South.  Southern passport

A common theme you’ll notice with these phrases is that many of them are rooted in the farming history that is so prevalent in the South. A few of these may not be uniquely Southern, but some of them definitely are.

  • Making a mountain out of a molehill
    • Making a big deal out of nothing
    • “She didn’t mean to hurt your feelings, dear. You’re making a mountain out of a molehill.”
  • Don’t amount to a hill of beans
    • Doesn’t amount to anything significant
    • Quite often this is used in a similar context as the first phrase, as in: “I don’t know what you’re so upset about. It don’t amount to a hill of beans anyway.”hill of beans
  • Laid an egg
    • Laughed really hard
    • “That movie was so funny that I laid an egg.”
  • Living high on the hog
    • Having a wealthy person’s lifestyle (sometimes by living beyond your means)
    • “Ever since she moved to the city she’s been living high on the hog.”
  • The devil’s beating his wife
    • Raining when the sun is shining
    • “Well, we might get a rainbow tonight. The devil’s beating his wife again.”devil beating his wife
  • Living in high cotton
    • Same as living high on the hog
  • Pitching a hissy fit
    • Throwing a tantrum
    • “You can pitch a hissy fit all you want, but I’m not buying you any toys today!”
  • Running around like a chicken with its head cut off
    • Running around or generally acting crazy, often because you have too much to do at once
    • “Getting ready for that wedding last weekend, I was running around like a chicken with its head cut off.”
  • Going all around Robinhood’s barn
    • Taking the long route, could be geographically or metaphorically
    • “Whenever I drive with my uncle Luther, we always go all around Robinhood’s barn to get anywhere.”  [This is 100% true, by the way. :)]
  • As the crow flies
    • Going in a straight line
    • “It’s only 20 miles to the city as the crow flies, but with the mountains what they are around here, the roads don’t exactly run straight.”
  • Gets my goat
    • Makes you really angry, irritated, or annoyed
    • “It really gets my goat when people talk about me behind my back.”goat
  • Over yonder
    • Over there somewhere, could be across the room or upstairs or down the street or half way around the world.  My Granny used to say this all the time, so I always think of her whenever I hear this phrase.
    • “I think I left my book over yonder, dear. Can you go look for it?”
  • Can’t carry a tune in a bucket
    • Can’t sing at all
    • “I don’t know why he wants to join the choir. He can’t carry a tune in a bucket.”
  • His/her elevator don’t go all the way to the top
    • A “nice” way of saying someone isn’t very smart
    • “I guess we shouldn’t be too hard on her. Her elevator don’t go all the way to the top, ya know.”
  • Sweating like a whore in church
    • Sweating a lot, particularly may be used to describe a situation in which a person knows they are guilty
    • “When the teacher asked who had stuck the tack in her chair, Billy started sweating like a whore in church.”whore in church
  • As dumb as a bag of rocks
    • Pretty self-explanatory, this one just means someone is dumb
    • “Poor Ted, he’s as dumb as a bag of rocks.”
  • Don’t know his ass from a hole in the ground
    • Also used to describe someone who isn’t very smart, particularly someone who is very oblivious
    • “I don’t know why we expected him to understand what was going on.  He don’t know his ass from a hole in the ground.”
  • Madder than a wet hen
    • Very angry
    • “When I told Wanda I’d accidentally broken her favorite china dish, she was madder than a wet hen.”
  • Bless her/your heart!
    • Basically this little phrase absolves the speaker of guilt for saying something negative or derogatory about someone else. It might also be used as a passive-aggressive response to someone who says something you don’t find very intelligent or useful.
    • “Poor Brenda, she’s always sticking her foot in her mouth.  Bless her heart!”bless your heart
  • Don’t count your chickens before they hatch
    • Don’t depend on something before it happens or don’t get your hopes too high about something that is unlikely to happen
    • “I know you’ve got your heart set on playing professional baseball, dear, but you best not count your chickens before they hatch.”
  • Too big for your britches
    • Taking yourself too seriously or acting stuck up or snobby
    • “I know you just won Homecoming Queen, but don’t let yourself get too big for your britches.”
  • Directly (or, as it usually comes out, “dreckly”)
    • Soon, immediately, right now, or in a short amount of time
    • “I’ll come over to see you directly; just gotta finish these beans here.”
    • P.S. When I was a kid I heard this all the time & I knew what it meant, but it took me years to figure out that the word people were actually saying was “directly;” it just wasn’t pronounced that way.
  • Hold your horses
    • To be patient or wait for something
    • “Just hold your horses & stop asking when we’ll get there.”
  • I’ve got a mind to . . .
    • To desire to do something
    • “I’ve got a mind to go to town tonight & get my weekly shopping done.”
  • Scarce as hen’s teeth
    • So rare that it probably doesn’t exist
    • “A girl as pretty as that & smart & kind-hearted too . . . Well, that’s as scarce as hen’s teeth.”hens teeth
  • Well, I reckon . . .
    • To suppose or guess
    • “Can you rake up some leaves with me today, Joe?”
      “Yeah, I reckon I can do that.”
  • A wild goose chase
    • Looking for something that doesn’t exist
    • “In order to get her out of our hair so we could plan her surprise party, I sent her out on a wild goose chase.”
  • All get out
    • To the utmost degree or the best
    • “She’s as smart as all get out.”
  • Like white on rice
    • To stick close to something or someone
    • “As soon as she comes to town, he’ll be all over her like white on rice.”
  • Beat around the bush
    • To not say something directly, often to avoid hurting someone’s feelings
    • “Don’t beat around the bush.  Does the dress make me look fat or not?”pilates
  • A bee in her bonnet
    • To have an obsession over something, particularly to the point that it makes you agitated or irritable
    • “She’s got a real bee in her bonnet about this new school board ruling.”
  • Make water
    • To urinate . . . This is one I heard a lot when I was a nurse in SW Virginia after I graduated from nursing school.
    • “I hate taking these Lasix pills because I have to make water all the time when I’m on them.”
  • Swimmy-headed
    • Dizzy or feeling like you might faint . . . I only heard this one when I was living & working as a nurse in SW Virginia.  I’d never heard it growing up, but somehow when I started to hear patients describing dizziness this way I instantly knew what they meant.
    • “I started to feel all swimmy-headed & the next thing I knew I woke up on the floor with the paramedics standing over me.”southern accent ignorance

To end this post I’d just like to say that yes, I do have a bit of a Southern accent.  It definitely comes out on certain words like time & kind & things like that.  And I definitely say ain’t more than I really should & occasionally throw in a few of these possibly bizarre idioms that you’ve just read about above.  However, I also have an extensive vocabulary thanks to the fact that I’ve always been such a voracious reader, & furthermore ever since high school I have made a concerted effort to speak clearly & succinctly (aka actually enunciate!) so that people can easily understand me even if English isn’t their first language.  One of my college professors once told me I was the most sophisticated person he’d ever met from a small town, & even though some people might take that as a backhanded compliment I’ve always thought it was a rather flattering thing to hear.

In any case, I don’t think I’ll ever be proud of being Southern the way so many people are because I’m far too aware of the many negative things about this part of our country, but I also make no apologies for occasionally sounding like a redneck or a country hick, for lack of a better way to put it.  dimestore cowgirl

Anyway, I hope you’ve enjoyed this short exploration into Southern/rural culture.  Feel free to comment with any unique expressions or sayings you’ve heard in your part of the country/world.  I’d love to hear them.

And in final conclusion, check out this song from Kacey Musgraves which includes one of the phrases in this blog post.  I think anyone who’s reading this who, like me, grew up in a small town but left it to explore the world beyond will be able to relate to this song.

The Eternal Struggle

Do you ever feel like you’re fighting a battle in your own head between the side of you that wants to love everyone & be kind & peaceful & wonderful & the other side of you that wants to throw your hands up & say “To hell with it” because there is just so much negativity in the world that trying to be positive sometimes feels like entirely too much effort?

The Yin and Yang of Good and Evil

The Yin and Yang of Good and Evil

If you’re at all human, I think the answer to this question will be a resounding “YES!”  After all, if this isn’t the eternal struggle that we all face, I don’t know what is.

Lately this struggle has become more & more apparent in my own mind, for a variety of reasons I suppose.  In any case I end up feeling like I vacillate between being a modern day version of a hippie who wants to save the world & a grumpy old lady who can’t comprehend why the world just doesn’t make sense anymore.  To be perfectly honest, if living in this world doesn’t make you angry at times, then I have to seriously wonder about your sanitypema chodron quote 2

To expound a little further on this internal battle, the “soft” loving part of me sees all the negativity & pain in the world & seeks to find ways to soothe these wounds.  The gentle part of me sees a nasty, hateful person & wants to hug them & tell them that life has been far too cruel to them & they don’t deserve the misery they’ve suffered.  The “angel” in me goes out of my way to give food to the homeless, to open the door for strangers (particularly if they’re elderly or struggling to manage a baby or young children), & to generally be a calming, reassuring presence in an often chaotic world.  This softer side of me sees a sunset or looks up at the stars or lies in my lover’s arms & knows that this, THIS is exactly why I’m alive.  And it’s enough to offset all the sorrows & struggles that life inevitably brings.dalai lama quote temple

But then there’s the other, “colder” part of me that sees all the negativity in the world & just wants to scream.  Natural disasters are frightening & often tragic, but those I can handle to a certain degree because I know they’re inevitable; they’re clearly beyond our control as human beings.  It’s the pain we cause ourselves that’s most difficult to watch: the wars; the violence within our society; the drug use; the physical, emotional, & sexual abuse that we use to tear each other apart; the divisiveness that pervades our society & constantly tries to polarize us into an “us vs them” mentality; the complete disregard for logic that the average person displays in their daily life.  THESE are the things that make me feel like a grumpy old lady who proclaims the world’s “going to hell in a handbasket.”frustration 1

To be a little more specific, here are some of the things that have really been griping me lately:

  • America’s cultural acceptance of obesity
  • The fact that the average American couldn’t find Afghanistan on a map (or globe)
  • Women (& men) who follow fashions (In case this seems superficial & you’re wondering why, it pisses me off that the same people who wouldn’t have been caught dead in skinny jeans five years ago are now wearing them on a daily basis because magazines & stores told them they were cool, & furthermore these same people won’t be caught dead in those same skinny jeans five years from now when they’re no longer cool anymore . . . I have two fashion rules & they’re very simple: If I like it, I’ll wear it, regardless of whether it’s in style or not. If I don’t like it or if it’s unduly uncomfortable, I won’t wear it, no matter how popular it is.  Why anyone would ever choose to make getting dressed any more complicated than this is beyond me.)
  • Pop music
  • Women who constantly complain about the dearth of good men in the world but also hold absolutely no standards for the men they date (aka have sex with)
  • Men who think it’s ok to stare at random women or make inappropriate remarks to them just for the hell of it

    In case you're wondering why pop music makes me angry, this quote explains it.

    In case you’re wondering why pop music makes me angry, this quote explains it.

I could go on & on but for the sake of not sounding too much like a “Negative Nancy” I’ll stop for now.

Here’s the thing that I’ve realized about this eternal battle that we all face within ourselves: both the softer & harder parts of ourselves are desperately needed in this world.  There are legitimate reasons to be happy & there are legitimate reasons to be angry.  And we cannot be either one of those things all the time.  It’s all about balance.  There are no negative or bad emotions.  There are only emotions & what we do with them.  Indeed we could not appreciate the “good” without the “bad.” emotion quote

I consider myself a humanist so I truly do believe that as human beings we have the power to effect a lot of positive change in this world.  And I truly believe we are the masters of our own destiny.

But I also believe that most of us do a really shitty job of exercising the power that we have over our own lives.  Please know that I am equally guilty of this at times, or I wouldn’t feel the need to write this post.  As I’ve mentioned before, I write this blog principally for myself, to maintain my own sanity & mental wellbeing.  If my musings somehow inspire others, that’s just icing on the cake, so to speak.humanism quote

So my message to myself & to anyone who happens to be reading this today is this: stop fighting against yourself.  There are going to be days when you look at the world & ponder how lucky you are to experience all the wonders & joys that life can bring.  And then there will be other days when you just want to scream & pound your fists against the wall.  And there will be many more days on which you vacillate between these two extremes over & over throughout the day.  That’s just life.  It’s all a part of being human, & it’s ok.  As long as we’re alive on this earth, we’re going to face this internal struggle between the so-called “softer” & “harder” parts of ourselves.  The thing to do is to recognize the struggle & let it happen.  In other words, don’t fight it; let it fight itself.  None of us can ever be happy & peaceful & loving all the time.  Because of the evil that exists in this world, there are times when we really do need to be angry & frustrated because that is what pushes us to make a positive difference in this world.  Sometimes it’s this anger at the injustices in the world that gives us a reason to keep “fighting the good fight.”anger into action

So don’t let anyone ever tell you that your anger is a sin.  Life is all about balance.  None of us will ever be perfect at finding that balance, but that just gives us a reason to keep trying.

I’ll end today’s post with what might be my favorite song ever by In This Moment.  Even if you don’t normally like their music, I implore you to give this song a listen.  I find it so inspirational & empowering that I seriously question your humanity if you can listen to it & not be moved in some way.maria brink

Here are the lyrics:

I don’t need you to save me
I don’t need you to cure me
I don’t need you
And your antidote
For I am my disease

I don’t need you to free me
I don’t need you to help me
I don’t need you
to lead me through the light
For I will always fall

And rise again
Your venomous heroine
‘Cause I’m a survivor
Yeah, I am a fighter

I will fall and rise above
And in your hate I find love
‘Cause I’m a survivor
Yeah, I am a fighter

I will not hide my face
I will not fall from grace
I’ll walk into the fire, baby
All my life I was afraid to die
But now I come alive inside these flames

You don’t want me to love you
You don’t want me to need you
You don’t want to look at me,
For you will turn to stone

You don’t want me to hurt you
You don’t want me to bite you
You don’t want me
Or my aching soul
For I will only fall

And rise again
Your venomous heroine
‘Cause I’m a survivor
Yeah, I am a fighter

I will fall and rise above
And in your hate I find love
‘Cause I’m a survivor
Yeah, I am a fighter

I will not hide my face
I will not fall from grace
I’ll walk into the fire, baby
All my life I was afraid to die
But now I come alive inside these flames

I don’t need you to save me
‘Cause I’m a survivor
Yeah, I am a fighter

I will not hide my face
I will not fall from grace
I’ll walk into the fire, baby
All my life I was afraid to die
But now I come alive inside these
‘live inside these
‘live inside these flames

On Hometown Violence & Tragedy

As some of you may know, there has been a lot of turmoil in my hometown over the past few weeks, everything from fatal car wrecks, teenage suicides, a domestic violence turned murder/suicide, & a teenager shooting his grandfather (thankfully not fatally).  Despite having my own blog I try to maintain a bit of anonymity because the world really is a scary place, but I will say that one of these incidents hit very close to home for me & my family & thus these past few weeks have not been an easy time for us.

A hand writes the word

For those of you who don’t know me in real life, a bit of context may be needed.  To clarify, I grew up in a very small town in central Virginia, the kind of place with one elementary school, one middle school, one high school (with about 700 students total), & literally a handful of stoplights in the whole county.  It’s the kind of place with more churches & hunting clubs than restaurants or places of business.  We didn’t even have 911 until I was at least 16 or 17.  And, no, I am not making that up!

The Visitors Center in my hometown

The Visitors Center in my hometown

Anyway, some people from my hometown, maybe even some of my own family, will probably not like this post, but I feel like I have to write it for my own sanity.  I apologize in advance to anyone I offend; please know I’m just expressing my own emotions at this difficult time.

Every time something violent happens in my hometown, there is always an outcry in the community about how unexpected & unaccountable it is that such a thing could happen in our “peaceful little town.”  And every time, I have to ask myself why people are surprised at these things because I am not.  As I’ve mentioned several times before on this blog, Agatha Christie was so accurate when she observed (through her character Miss Marple) that every kind of evil in the world is just as easily found in the smallest village as it is anywhere else in the world.  I’m not surprised when violent things happen in my hometown because I could easily tell you all kinds of scandals that have happened there just in my lifetime.  Small towns aren’t any more wholesome or peaceful than anywhere else in the world.  Anyone who thinks so is just kidding themselves as far as I’m concerned.Miss Marple quote

Small towns are a great place to live if you go with the flow, don’t buck traditions, don’t ask a lot of questions, & don’t mind everyone knowing your business before even you do.  But I’m not that kind of person, I never really was, & I never could be even if I wanted to be.  My brain just isn’t wired that way, so I guess it’s no surprise that I never really fit in there & probably never could.  To those of you who are wired more like I am but manage to live in my hometown, or the thousands of small towns like it, kudos to you because I’d have lost my sanity a long time ago.  You’re clearly much stronger than I.question everything

I’ll be the first to admit that growing up I didn’t give a lot of thought to leaving my hometown.  I was so sheltered that it wasn’t till I was in high school & started going to band competitions in other parts of the state that I began to realize what a different world I was living in than “everyone else.”  And even then I wasn’t really fired up about leaving like so many of my classmates were.  How ironic then that so many others who were desperate to get away are exactly the ones still living there now with no real plans of leaving while I on the other hand left for college & basically never looked back . . .small town quote

Anyway, it’s at times like these that I’m especially glad that my husband & I managed to escape our hometown & have made every effort to ensure that we never end up back there.  I’m probably a horrible person for thinking this, much less admitting it, but in all seriousness one of my greatest fears in life is that for some reason or another I will end up living there again somedayleft_a_small_town_,-20749

I don’t know how to admit these things without sounding like I hated my childhood or that I have zero affection for my family & my hometown.  None of those things could be further from the truth.  However, I can’t help but want something different for my own future children.  It’s not that I resent my parents for raising me how & where they did because I don’t.  I just want my kids to experience a different way of life.  I want them to grow up around kids from all kinds of cultures.  I want them to attend schools that give them more options than I had.  I want them to grow up somewhere that they don’t have to leave in order to get a decent job that pays enough that they can support themselves & their families & pay off any student loans they may have.  Are these things too much to ask?  I don’t think so.diverse kids

I’m not naïve enough to think that where I live now is perfect or that anywhere in the world is.  There is certainly no utopia on this planet, & I know that no matter where I end up raising my kids someday they won’t be immune to violence, gossip, bullying, teenage pregnancy, poverty, closed-mindedness, or any of the negative things that I associate so strongly with my hometown.  The world is far from perfect & is indeed often a scary, violent place.  But every fiber of my being tells me that where I am now is where I need to be & will give me a better shot at raising my children the way I see best.Poverty-Quotes-16

I’ve probably already offended enough people, so I might as well go ahead & offend a few more . . . The other thing that drives me batty about how my hometown reacts to such turbulent events as we’ve recently experienced is the incessant call to prayer.  I’m not saying people shouldn’t pray; I’m just saying maybe our focus should be on putting some actions behind those prayers.  Furthermore, maybe we should start asking ourselves the difficult questions that no one wants to ask, like why our teenage pregnancy & poverty rates are through the roof, even for the central VA area.  Maybe we need to start focusing on ways to reduce these phenomena because whether we like it or not they are statistically linked to a lot of really negative outcomes, including violence.  Additionally, maybe it’s time that we figure out why race relations in our town are still far from acceptable.  I know I can’t be the only one who’s noticed that. prayerchart

To those of you who still live in my hometown & are trying to make a positive difference, my proverbial hat is off to you.  There is a part of me that feels like a traitor for being so negative about my hometown, yet I can’t help but see it as a place full of unfulfilled dreams, broken hearts, & stagnancy.  Please know that I don’t think everyone who lives there is a waste of space & miserable.  I just know that I couldn’t be happy there anymore.  And I know that having prayer vigils isn’t going to solve any of our problems; it’s just going to make us feel better momentarily . . . until the next tragedy hits us.

Ok, that’s it for today.  I hope that you’ll forgive me for my blasphemy, but I know I can’t be the only one feeling this way.

P.S. If I really didn’t care about my hometown, I wouldn’t have bothered to write this post.

On Gender Roles in the Modern Era

When it comes to gender roles, whether in relationships or society in general, I often find myself in a bit of quandary.  Despite the many negative connotations that the word tends to bring these days, I do still consider myself a feminist, mainly because there are countries & societies in our world in which women still have very few, if any, rights (e.g. Saudi Arabia).  However, much more importantly I consider myself a humanist because I see value in all people, regardless of gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, or any other such factor, & I truly believe in our ability to better ourselves as individuals & the human species as a whole (although I’ll admit we are woefully bad at this much of the time, but that’s a topic for another day).  I also have no difficulty recognizing & no problem admitting that men face their own unique challenges in this world in which we inhabit, particularly perhaps in modern America (& other similar societies).  I’ve touched on that subject before on this blog & will certainly revisit it again someday, hopefully in the not too distant future.gender scales

Anyway, one of my greatest strengths (& weaknesses, at times) in life is that I’m a great analyzer.  I’m constantly observing the world around me & the people in it.  Even as a kid, I quickly realized that I was considerably more analytical than the average person.  In any case, one of the many things I find fascinating to observe is how other couples handle gender roles in relationshipsgender role

For context, I grew up with parents who on the surface held fairly traditional gender roles in that my mom did most of the traditionally feminine housework like cooking & laundry while my dad did most of the traditionally masculine chores like mowing the yard & taking out the trash.  However, one of the things I’ve always admired about my parents is the flexibility they modeled in their relationship.  For example, my parents almost always did the dishes together every night (bizarrely, they to this day do not have an automatic dishwasher).  Furthermore, in some cases my mom actually took on a more traditionally masculine role; for example, she was more of the disciplinarian between the two of them, while my dad was the softer-spoken one who in some ways could be considered more nurturing, which is of course generally considered a more feminine trait.gender-marriage-couples

The other couple whose gender roles I observed a lot as a child/teen was of course my grandparents.  In their case, they had much more strictly defined gender roles, & even as a child I couldn’t help but notice that this seemed (to me) to create some friction between them at times.  I’m in no way questioning their love for each other; I’m just saying that like almost anything else in life, a lack of flexibility often leads to resentment & a lack of understanding between parties.  Hell, you can even observe this in old TV shows like I Love Lucy (a show I watched religiously growing up) in which the characters have very strict gender roles.I love Lucy

As it turns out, I intentionally married a man who has a very different personality than my dad (& is perhaps more similar to my grandfather, now that I stop & think about it) while still maintaining a strong work ethic & commitment to our relationship, like my dad has towards my mom.  This is not meant as any offense to my dad; I just knew even at a young age that I needed someone with a much “stronger” (for lack of a better word at the moment) personality than my dad.  I was a pretty damn insightful teenager, let me tell you that!

Now that I’ve tooted my own horn a bit, I can get down to the real point of this post, which is this:

When it comes to gender roles, particularly in romantic relationships, the best advice I can give anyone is just do what comes naturally to you.  If in 90% of relationships this means the woman does more of the cooking & laundry & the man does more of the yard-work & car maintenance, so be it. teamwork marriage

The point is that you work together as a TEAM to get the needed work done & that you have a flexible attitude so that no one ever says “I can’t do that.  That’s YOUR job.”  Yes, I do more dishes & laundry than my husband, while he mows the yard & handles the taxes, but the point is that none of this stuff is set in stone.  If I’m working three nights in a row (those are 12-hr shifts, mind you) & my husband sees that the dishes & laundry are piling up, he’ll start them without even being asked.  And you better believe I love & appreciate him so much for that, just as he appreciates when I take out the trash or pitch in with some of the other chores that he typically handles when he’s busy at work or out of town.dishes cartoon

When it comes to raising kids, I’m probably going to be a lot more traditionally feminine than perhaps I want to admit.  There is a part of me that cringes at the idea of being a stay at home mom, yet there is a larger part of me that cringes at the idea of trying to raise babies & toddlers while also working full time.  (I’m thinking working part time is the best solution to this dilemma.)  I just can’t wrap my brain around trying to stretch myself that thin, especially since our family is in another state.  Plus there is a huge part of me that feels like if I’m going to invest so much of myself into being pregnant & going through labor, then why the hell would I let a daycare raise that child?  To be even more blunt, why would I bring life into this world & then not spend as much time with it as humanly possible?

Hey, there is a lot of truth in this . . .

Hey, there is a lot of truth in this . . .

Believe me, I understand that most families cannot afford to have a stay at home mom (or dad).  And I fully anticipate that I will end up working part time when we do start a family because, if for no other reason, I don’t want to lose my nursing skills by leaving the workforce entirely, even just for a few years.  I also think all adults need a certain amount of adult interaction to maintain their sanity . . . Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that while I’ve only in the past year or two really embraced the idea of motherhood, I’ve quickly found myself anticipating a more traditional mom role than perhaps I’d have predicted in years past.

And the greater point is that while many, if not most, women will agree with me on this subject, some may not, & that’s ok.  On the same token, most men will not want to be stay at home dads, no matter how much they love their kids.  But some may.  And that’s ok too.labels

The final point here is that while we can make generalities about both genders & the roles each tends to fulfill & the personalities each tends to model, at the end of the day we are all human beings & as such our commonalities are much greater than our differences.  Furthermore each person, regardless of gender, should be evaluated on his or her own merits & not forced to fit any particular mold, whatever that may be.  I’m a bit of a rebel myself in some ways so there is a part of me that always loves those who buck trends & say “screw you” to stereotypes, but I’m also smart enough to realize that there is nothing wrong with fulfilling traditional gender roles, as long as you’re doing so out of your own natural desire & inclination.

Lzzy Hale is definitely a role model for me in some ways. She's gorgeous & feminine in some ways but also a total badass.

Lzzy Hale is definitely a role model for me as a modern woman. She’s gorgeous & feminine in some ways but also a total badass.

In conclusion, I’ll never be the girl who wears a lot of pink, frilly dresses, stilettos, or tons of makeup.  Hell, at 26 I still can’t even put on eyeliner competently.  I swear too much & talk too loud to be lady-like, & I listen to lots of heavy music that could definitely be considered masculine.  When it comes to exercise, I hate running, yet I love lifting weights.  But I also play the flute & piano, perhaps the two most quintessentially feminine instruments on Earth, & I chose to become a nurse, one of the most quintessentially feminine careers on the planet.  Even as an adult I collect stuffed animals, & if/when I become a mom someday I sincerely hope I’ll always place my children above my career.  The point is I like to think I embody a fair amount of both traditionally feminine & traditionally masculine ideals, & I also like to think I’m better off because of it. gender bird

And the greater point is that regardless of our gender it shouldn’t define us or enslave us.  If we choose to embrace the more traditional roles of our given gender, that’s fine.  And if we choose to do the opposite, that’s fine too.  Neither choice is right or wrong, only different.  When it comes to gender roles & relationships, each couple just needs to figure out what works for them & make the best of it.  As I’ve stated many times before, there is no one prescription for success in life.  If someone else’s journey looks different than yours, that doesn’t mean theirs is wrong & yours is right or vice versa.  Dalai lama quote

As my final conclusion, if there’s anything I hope to convey in this post today, it’s this:

Be real.  Be human.  Be you. 

And walk away from anyone who can’t handle any or all of the above.