The Two Types of People in the World


In my thirty years of life, I’ve come to realize that there are basically two types of people in the world: those who take charge of life, grab it by the horns, & create their own “destiny,” & those who sit back & allow life to happen to them, acting as passive passengers on this ride of life.  yungblud.jpg

I like what British rock star Yungblud said about labeling people or putting them in boxes: “Boxes are for cereal.  Labels are for clothes.  We are human & the need for division is becoming less relevant every day.”  Even so, I think it’s just human nature that we try to label people or put them in boxes to try to make sense of the world.  Perhaps even more so in today’s world of constant information overload, I think we feel like we have to find some way to organize & process all the information that is thrown at us on a daily basis.  At the end of the day I think we probably NEED some kinds of labels or boxes to help us make sense of the world- BUT we also need to have the presence of mind to know that not everyone will- or should- fit these boxes or labels, & furthermore that everyone has the capability of transcending whatever box or label they’ve been given- or have willingly claimed.  labels.png

Anyway, when I say that there are these two kinds of people in the world I’m not trying to cause division or hatred or to make you, the reader, feel like you have to choose between these two types.  It’s just something I’ve observed along this road of life & I’ll be the first to admit I could be totally wrong.

I realized a few weeks ago that I hadn’t taken any PTO in months- most likely since January when my daughter had her tonsils removed- so that wasn’t exactly a vacation!  But I did take off work yesterday since I was in a wedding on Sunday & wanted a day to travel back home & generally recover from a busy weekend.  As it turned out I got sick last night so that day off turned into two days off.  As you can probably guess I’m struggling with guilt over being “lazy,” even though logically I know I need to rest & recover so I can get back to my normal routine.  type

As you’ve probably guessed from reading this far (or if you know me in real life), I am definitely the first type of person I described at the beginning of this post, & while I think there are great advantages to being this way, I have to admit I occasionally wonder what it would be like to be different.  To not feel the need to plan so much.  To not weigh every life decision with so much gravity.  To not feel like I have no one else but myself to blame for my mistakes.  To be able to just say “Oh yeah, life happens.” cicero

But that’s just not me.  I see what happens to people who allow life to just happen to them.  In the end even indecision is a decision.  Even inaction is an action.  Does that make sense or is my sick mind just delusional?  While some people might be happy living this way, I know I never could be.  I may not be the most carefree person ever, I may be far too serious sometimes, but at the end of the day I don’t know any other way to be.kevin hart

There’s a reason I was married for over five years before having a baby.  There’s a reason Rachel is almost three & I’m still not ready for another kid.  There’s a reason I haven’t gone back to school yet even though my original life plan was to be an NP by thirty (or thereabouts).  I weigh these life decisions very, very heavily & I can’t make these kinds of changes until I know I’m really, truly ready- or at least as ready as I can ever hope to be.  Sometimes I hate being so self-aware, so analytical.  But I don’t how to be anything else so I’m just going to embrace it & hope that someone else reading this can relate & know they’re not alone in feeling this way.

So… which type are you?  And do you ever wish you were different?

Mental Health Awareness


Today’s post is in honor of mental health awareness day.

As our society’s religious attitudes evolve, it seems that psychiatry has found a way to cross the boundary between evidence-based science to a faith-based institution. Instead of “thoughts & prayers” our new mantra is “get help”, “go see a therapist”, or  “tell someone.”  Every time another celebrity commits suicide, mental health becomes all the rage again.  Every time we need to divert blame for another mass shooting by a self-proclaimed believer in a violent religion or political ideology, we are told to watch others for any sign of mental instability.  While I certainly appreciate the idea that we need to be more open about mental health, I’ve also realized that our system for actually addressing mental health issues in this country is incredibly, incredibly broken. It is entirely possible it is broken beyond repair & evil to the core. And yet, the system to which we tell the mentally ill to turn does nothing more exploit them for profit & brutalize them for pleasure.

Last spring I made the biggest mistake of my life.  I trusted “the system,” against all my better instincts.  In a friends’s lowest moment, I betrayed their trust.  I turned them over to a system that chews people up, spits them out, claims they are healed, when in reality the intent was to make them even more broken in the name of maximizing profit.

This friend has suffered from severe depression for basically their entire life.  One weekend they got drunk & admitted to me that they often have intense suicidal thoughts.  As a new mom, I was obviously a bit overwhelmed hearing this.  Against my better judgment, I did what “the system” says you should do: I called 911 & told the cops my friend was suicidal.  My hope was that 24 hrs “drying out” in the ER would wake them up to the fact that they needed help.  What really happened was that within barely two hours, a secret court to which the accused was not notified or represented at convened & stripped my friend of their human rights, making them property of the state.  The police arrived to violently threaten my friend & lamented they were not able to send in the SWAT team, all while my friend was paraded in public handcuffed behind their back.  My friend was taken to REX hospital where blood was drawn without their consent, they were denied access to outside communication & legal counsel, then IVC’d for almost 2 weeks straight by a doctor who made their full decision without speaking to the patient.  Most of the two weeks were spent in a hell-hole called Holly Hill Hospital where the only “treatment” was having all the “patients” sat in front of TV for about 12 hrs a day & seeing a useless doctor who literally gave every single patient the exact same diagnosis & the exact same medication, regardless of symptoms or history, & kept them there for at least a week for “monitoring.” Attempts to speak to legal representation were met with threat of retaliation. Therapy/counseling to address issues? Non-existent!

It was made abundantly clear throughout the process that the only treatment available was to maximize days billable to insurance. My friend was finally released on the last day possible before their imprisonment would have automatically triggered a court review.  They were then subject to an inquisition by their employer,  conducted with blatant disregard for HIPAA, as my actions had resulted in them being flagged as a threat to society despite no wrongdoing on their part.

The sad truth is I should have known that this was the worst possible thing I could have done to someone who values their independence & strongly supports human rights.  I should have known “the system” would see someone with great health insurance & decide to milk it for all if was worth.  But being the naive person I was I trusted that those in the mental health field would do what was right & actually try to help someone.

Instead it turns out that our mental health system is even more woefully inadequate than I had thought.  It turns out that trapping people in a place where they have no human rights does absolutely NOTHING to help those who are suffering from depression.  It turns out it usually makes things WORSE.  It turns out taking people away from their entire support system, demonizing them with half truths in front of that support system in their absence, & making them feel like they’re nothing but an unwanted animal makes it impossible for them to ever trust anyone ever again.  And makes them extremely unlikely to ever seek “help” again.  Furthermore it marks them for life as somehow less than human.  In the age of electronic records & big data, every action must now be weighed in light of this record.  Do future employers know?  Would going to the hospital for any non-psych treatment result in another imprisonment as long as they have insurance willing to pay?  If they are ever pulled over in the future, is their scarlet letter of a psych history flagged to a potentially violent police officer?

As a healthcare professional myself, it scares me to know that I am technically part of this system.  It scares me to know that the “help” that’s out there is basically just a newer version of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.  It disgusts me to know that there are psychiatrists who make a fortune abusing the human rights of a vulnerable population, deny them their right to a lawyer, provide laughable “medical” care, & then go to bed knowing the world thinks they’re modern day saviors.

It’s terrifying to know that police officers can hold two mental health patients hostage, literally chained in a vehicle, during a hurricane.  That those two women can be forcefully drowned & the world barely blinks an eye.  Yeah, most of you probably haven’t heard about that, have you?

One of the worst parts of this whole broken system is those who have been victims of it can’t speak out against it without being dubbed “crazy.” Attempts by these victims to speak out are immediately met with threat of violent retaliation, knowing that their medical record means they can be IVC’d anytime, anywhere, without any chance of a defense. That is one reason I’m writing this, to try to give a voice to those whose voices will never be given a chance. I am writing this to warn anyone willing to read this far that IVC’ing someone to our current healthcare system is tantamount to attempted murder & kidnapping.  I am warning those suffering to be extremely cautious who they ask for help, as there are predators with medical degrees out there hunting for their next victim.

I know this isn’t what you WANT to read for mental health awareness day.  You want to hear something warm & fuzzy about “just get help.”  But this is the sad truth.

Screw the Rat Race


Everywhere I look lately I feel like I see & hear people praising the idea of being busy.  “Oh, she has such a busy life but she still does xyz.”  “How have you been?”  “Oh, just so busy, you know!”  And it’s true: real life IS busy.  Yet part of me can’t help but wonder if all this busyness (is that a word?) is worth the stress it so often causes us.  I can’t help but feel like maybe we are missing out on the simple pleasures of life in our constant quest to always be DOING something.  I worry that our children are kept so busy with school & extracurricular activities that they’re missing out on the beauty of being children who don’t NEED to be busy all the time.  What it comes down to is I fear that many of us are so busy making a living (& I don’t mean just working) that we forget to make a LIFE.hustle.png

I’ve learned a lot over the past almost eight years of being a nurse.  But the most important thing I’ve learned is this- & it’s really quite simple: Life is short- way too short to be anything but happy as much as we can.  What I’m getting at is people don’t get to the end of their lives, whenever that may be, & think “Gosh, I really wish I had been busier.”  People often wish they had traveled more, spent more time with family & friends, or just experienced more things.  But they don’t usually wish they had worked more or generally been BUSY all the time.busy

Now if you know me, you know I am by no means lazy.  I’ve always been a hard worker at everything in my life, but that being said the older I get the more I value my “down time,” the more I realize the power & necessity of not always being busy rushing from one thing to another.  For our own emotional/mental well-being I think it is truly vital for all of us to have some time to just unwind & feed our souls.  For me that means making sure I have time to listen to music, play my flute/piano, read books, etc.  For others it might mean something else entirely & that’s ok.  As an introvert I truly value my alone time & now realize it is absolutely vital for my sanity.  And furthermore I realize it is not selfish or lazy to make that a priority in my life.self care

As some of you may know, in addition to being a nurse, I am also a Rodan + Fields skincare consultant.  I am about as a far as possible from a natural saleswoman but I truly love these products & what they’ve done for my skin.  Therefore I do enjoy sharing them with others & of course making a little extra money in the process.  But could I do a lot more with this business than I do?  Absolutely.  I could do what I’m “supposed” to do & message everyone on my friends list about the company.  I could carve out time in my day to constantly try to drum up sales.  But the truth of the matter is I just don’t have the mental energy for all that.  I’d either have to take time away from my family, stay up late or get up extra early, or take time away from my own self-care activities in my already limited alone time.  And frankly I’m not willing to do any of those things.  Obviously it would be a completely different story if I were truly strapped for cash & desperate for any extra income I could generate.  But thankfully I’m not.  To be clear, I don’t look down on anyone who works their R+F business (or any other direct sales gig) like a real business.  In fact I greatly admire them.  But it’s just not for me, at least not at this point in my life.  I need all the mental energy I can muster to care for my toddler & stay on track at work & home.  So if I don’t make as much money with my side gig as some others, that’s ok with me.  My sanity is more important in the end.rodan and fields

On a different note, I’ve been haunted lately by some words that were spoken to me many years ago when I was a teenager.  My boss at my first job told me more than once in no uncertain terms that I would never live up to my full potential in life if I didn’t become a doctor.  I’m sure he meant well but for many years those words hung over my head as I wondered if I was “wasting” my potential by being “just a nurse.”  But a full scholarship to nursing school was a hard thing to turn down . . . Plus I always planned to work just a few years as a bedside nurse & then go back to school to become an FNP which I always figured was just as good as being a doctor in my mind.

smart nurse

Despite the challenges & frustrations of my career, I’m still glad I chose nursing over med school.

Well, here I am almost eight years out of nursing school, & the last thing I want to do right now is go back to school.  I graduated nursing school with a 4.0 GPA & I always thought I’d be one of the first ones from my class to go to grad school.  Yet I’ve seen many of my classmates go back to school, some of whom did not have the grades I did, meanwhile the thought of going back to school right now just makes me feel sick.  Sometimes it’s hard to see other advancing their careers while I remain “just a nurse,” but for me the extra stress & time away from my family wouldn’t be worth it right now.  In ten or fifteen years I may well change my mind.  But I work with NPs & I see the workload they carry home with them & the time it costs them away from their families.  And I simply don’t want that right now.  To be honest the longer I’ve been “just an RN,” the longer I am thankful to be “just an RN.”  And honestly, especially with the vulnerable population I serve, patients today need the smartest RNs possible.  As a nursing friend & I were discussing over dinner last night, just because you’re smart enough to do something, doesn’t mean you have to do it or that you should do it.  I have no doubt that I am smart enough to be an NP but I also have no doubt that it isn’t the right path for me right now.  And that’s ok.  My yardstick for success isn’t the same as everyone else’s.  And that’s ok too.sucess

The point of is this post isn’t to discourage people from going back to school or advancing their careers.  My point is simply that we need to ask ourselves what price we are paying for all of the busyness to which we so often commit ourselves.  If it isn’t costing you your mental health or time away from loved ones, then that’s great.  But if it IS costing you those things (& I suspect it is for many of us), I challenge you take a step back.  Stop & smell the roses a bit.  Consider what will be important to you when you reach the end of your life.  Remember that being busy isn’t a worthwhile goal in & of itself.  Being happy & mentally fulfilled is far more important.  Remember that success has different definitions for each of us- & that’s ok.  We aren’t all on the same path so there is no need to endlessly compare ourselves to others. walk two moons quote

I’ll end this post by sharing one of my favorite quotes from one of my all time favorite books, Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech.  “In the course of a lifetime, what does it matter?”  I think about this phrase often & it helps me not to stress as much about everyday worries & fears while it also helps me to focus on the things that really DO matter in the course of a lifetime.  I challenge you to do the same.

The Other Side of Being a Mom with Anxiety


I saw my therapist last Monday for the first time since Christmas & it was so therapeutic that I left there thinking “I’m never skipping a monthly session ever again.” It was amazing how I could feel months worth of tension easing so much just from one therapeutic session. I also saw my NP last week for my annual physical & she reassured me that being a “Type A” person who struggles a bit with anxiety does present some unique challenges as a mom & that I should never feel the need to compare myself to other moms, especially those with different personalities &/or who don’t struggle with anxiety.

hello-my-name-is-anxiety

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

Anyhow, all that left me thinking about what being a mom with anxiety is like. No, I don’t have crippling anxiety that makes me unable to leave the house or to have a professional job or anything like that. But once I got into therapy as an adult & eventually started Prozac for my anxiety I realized how much anxiety has affected my life for a very long time, dating back to well before adolescence. In fact my blood pressure was actually elevated at times during my senior year of college & my first year after college because of my anxiety. However, once I got my anxiety better under control, especially after starting Prozac, my BP has never been high again (other than when I developed preeclampsia while pregnant, but that was obviously a whole other issue). My point is there are obviously people out there who struggle with much worse cases of anxiety than I do, but that doesn’t invalidate my struggles. Nor does it mean that my story isn’t worth sharing.

anxiety

When people think of moms with anxiety they probably think of the mom who can’t stop worrying about her child, who is obsessed with incessant “what if” scenarios: “What if I’m in a car accident with my child?” “What if he falls & hits his head?” “What if she chokes on that piece of popcorn?” Or the mom who runs in her child’s room every hour to check that she’s still breathing. While I’ve certainly had those moments as a mom- I think we all do- that really isn’t how anxiety affects me as a mom. I’m actually remarkably “chill.” For example I’ve never been a worry wart about germs. If my child eats something off the floor (at home anyway) or after the dog licks it, I just shrug & say “She’s building a good immune system.” When she was a newborn I rarely ever felt a compulsion to check her breathing while she was sleeping. Even when she had her tonsillectomy earlier this year, I was remarkably calm.

touched out

The ways anxiety affects me as a mom are a bit different. For example, I get touched out really easily. When your toddler routinely uses you as a jungle gym, this can be quite trying! As a devout introvert, I fall apart if I don’t have enough alone time– which is why nap time is so incredibly sacred for me- & also why I could probably never survive as a true full time SAHM.

Anxiety also causes me to feel like whatever stage I’m in as a mom will last forever. When my daughter was a newborn & she breastfed CONSTANTLY I felt like I was going to lose my mind because I just couldn’t imagine that things would ever change. (Talk about being touched out- breastfeeding a newborn is the ultimate way to get touched out. Ha!) Now that she is a toddler thankfully I have the knowledge that I survived that crazy period of her life so I have the reassurance that if I can survive that- which at the time seemed like it would never end- I can survive anything else she throws my way. But even so when she is in the midst of a tantrum it is very difficult for me to remember that this too is just a phase- & that it too will pass.

introverts cats

Anxiety also causes me to constantly feel inadequate as a mom. I talked about this in my last post, but I look around & see all these moms who seem naturally “gifted” with babies & toddlers & I feel like I’m an impostor. I’ve always been very honest & admitted that I’m not a “baby” person, nor am I a “toddler person.” As I’ve written in previous blog posts, for most of my life I never even wanted to be a mom, largely because I feared I’d never be able to survive the first five years or so. Eventually I changed my mind & I’m so glad I did, but I’ll be the first to admit that I highly doubt the baby/toddler years will ever be my favorite. Yes, I will have loads of wonderful memories from these stages- I already do- but I truly believe I will “come into my own” as a mom when my child is a bit older. (I suppose it isn’t “normal” to be so honest about these things but I know that somewhere there has to be a mom who feels the same way as me- & if she reads this I want her to know she’s not alone.)

Frustrated Mother Suffering From Post Natal Depression

Here lately, I’m bombarded by people telling me “Oh just wait, 3 is so much worse.” “If you think she’s difficult now, wait till you see her in a year or two.” “God help you when she’s a teenager if you think THIS is hard.” And every time I inevitably want to slap these people of course. First of all, these kind of comments are so incredibly unhelpful- in fact they’re downright discouraging- & second of all, how do you KNOW that 3 or 4 (or whatever age) is going to be harder for me? As someone who is very logical & pragmatic I think the toddler stage is particularly challenging for me because toddlers are pretty much the exact opposite of logical. Most moms are terrified of their kids growing up & having to discuss difficult subjects like war, sex, & death- but those things really don’t scare me. I know I can handle that stuff. I’m not saying it will be easy- I’m sure it won’t be. But I can handle it. I know I can.

jewish proverb

But these tantrums? The blood curdling screams- not to mention the kicks- every time I have to get my child dressed? Of if she doesn’t get the exact food she wants at the exact second she wants it? Whew, this stuff is hard, y’all. I’m not rushing her growing up, I promise I’m not. I’m just saying this toddler stage is really hard for me. I know it’s not easy for any of us, of course it isn’t. But my anxiety has definitely been on an upswing since around the time Rachel turned two. And the last thing I need is for anyone to tell me “Oh, it only gets worse from here.” So please, the next time a mom tells you she is struggling (whether she actually says it or you can just read it on her face), take a second & remember that no matter how put-together she seems- or how completely un-put together she seems- you really have no idea how she is feeling on the inside. And the last thing she needs is you telling her things are only going to get worse. After all, her child may be very different than yours. And she may be very different than you. Just give her a smile, a hug, & a quick “You’ve got this.” You might just make her whole day.

tantrum

The Return of the Bad Mom Days


Oh man, this blog post has been a long time in the making.  My computer recently broke so I ordered a new one only to receive a total lemon that wouldn’t even turn on right out of the box.  Needless to say I returned it.  My mom was generous enough to loan me her laptop since she doesn’t use it anymore while I continue to ponder which new computer I’m going to buy.  I think I’ll have my husband choose one since I seem to have such bad luck with technology.

Anyway, that is one of many reasons I’m just now getting around to writing this post.  I’ve written about this before & I’m sure I’ll write about it again, but there are days when I just don’t feel like I’m cut out for this whole parenting gig.  Lately Rachel has had SO many meltdowns.  And the worst of them are always with me.  I am fully aware this is because she is most comfortable with me & is actually kind of “flattering,” but trust me, that is hard to remember when you’re getting kicked & screamed at by your own child.

On these “bad mom days” where I feel like I’m just barely surviving I constantly wonder how other moms survive with toddlers AND newborns.  Is there something wrong with me that I can’t even begin to picture how I would tackle such a scenario?  Do I just take everything too seriously?  Do I let the crying & screaming get to me more than I should?  The truth is I just don’t know.

weird awesome

At least I like to think so . . .

Then there is this whole other phenomenon that makes me feel like a bad- or at least weird – mom.  Everywhere I go I feel like I’m constantly hearing moms say “Oh, my baby is growing up, I’m so sad.  I want them to stay little forever.”  Meanwhile I’m over here like “I cannot WAIT till my child is old enough to have REAL conversations with me & to go places without having total meltdowns, to be able to really explore the world together.”  Trust me I am enjoying where I am now but I look forward to the future & know I may well enjoy that even more.  Does that make me crazy?  Maybe it does because I feel like I’m really alone in this way of thinking.  mom guilt

Trust me, I love Rachel with my whole being.  Trust me, there are things I enjoy about this stage of parenthood.  But trust me, I also can’t help but wonder when is MY time to shine as a mom?  I feel like interacting with babies & young children just comes so naturally to most women, whereas for me I feel like I’m fumbling about trying to speak a foreign language.  On the other hand I feel much more natural with older children & teens.  Does that mean that in a few years I’ll actually feel like I’m a good mom & not just flying by the seat of my pants?  Or am I destined to always feel three steps behind?

I don’t know why I’m writing about this in a public space because I’m sure I’m opening myself up for judgment.  For people to say “Oh, she isn’t grateful for being a mom.”  “She should just shut up & enjoy it because she’ll miss this someday.”  But if there is one thing I’ve learned as a mom it’s that I really don’t give a damn what other people think.  After all, what’s easy for one mom is hard for another & what’s hard for one mom is easy for another.toddler dress

On that note, the newborn stage was really hard for me, for multiple reasons.  I’ve often said I can survive ANYTHING life throws at me since I survived that, & I still believe that.  The longer I’ve been a mom the more confidence I have in myself which makes all the new challenges that much easier to handle.  However, I must confess here lately Rachel’s tantrums have caused me to have fleeting moments of nostalgia for the newborn stage.  But then I remember how tired I was back then & I say “Hell, no, at least she sleeps through the night now.”  argeu toddler

But still this toddler stage is rough sometimes (who am I kidding?- it’s rough MOST of the time).  Especially because Rachel is usually such an angel for other people.  It’s like she saves all her crabbiness just for me.  Sometimes people even say to me “I can’t believe she has these tantrums you talk about.  She’s so sweet.”  And of course I immediately want to scream because these people have NO CLUE what they’re talking about & no clue how much it hurts to hear that.  They are as unhelpful & insensitive as the people who said “Oh you’ll miss this someday” when I was struggling so much in the newborn stage.  They usually mean well & I appreciate that, but I really do wish people would stop offering up so many unhelpful comments to moms. this too shall pass

My life motto right now is “This too shall pass.”  I constantly have to remind myself of all the other difficult stages I have survived as a mother- each of which at the time felt like it would last forever but didn’t- & know that this is just another phase, like all the others have been.  And yes, someday maybe I will miss some things about this stage.  But I have never been one to live in the past so somehow I doubt I’ll spend too much time feeling nostalgic about it.

Anyway, I’ve said all that to say this: If you’re a toddler mom & you’re struggling, you’re not alone.  If you’re a newborn mom & you’re struggling, you’re not alone.  Take a deep breath, listen to your favorite music, write a whiny blog post like I just did if you’re so inclined, & know that you can handle whatever life throws your way.  You already have- so just keep trucking.

A Libertarian’s Thoughts on Abortion


The NY abortion law . . . Ah, yes, another stick thrown on the fire of polarizing America even further . . . But in all seriousness, abortion has to be one of the most complicated issues in modern society, perhaps particularly for those of us, like me, who are Libertarian. As a Libertarian, I value individual freedom above all else. But when it comes to abortion whose freedom do I choose? The woman’s? Or the unborn baby’s? It’s a complex issue with no easy answers.

libertarian cartoon

I haven’t been able to get this issue out of my head today so I figured I’d write about it to try to clear my brain a bit. I don’t know if anyone actually cares about my two cents on this matter but that’s not really relevant. I just need to get my own head straight.

Abortion is a topic that causes me great internal conflict, perhaps more so than any other issue. On the one hand, my gut instinct says “That’s wrong. That’s murder.” I’m sure that is largely influenced by how I was raised. On the other hand I have to think beyond just emotions & consider scenarios like rape, particularly of a minor, or cases where a pregnancy is known to be complicated by a terrible birth defect that might be fatal or cause the child to have incredibly poor quality of life. Because of those types of situations, it is my opinion that the best possible outcome is for abortion to be legal up to 20 weeks (or thereabouts) of pregnancy. This allows ample time for a woman to A. find out she’s pregnant & B. find out if there are any major birth defects. But it is also too soon in pregnancy for the baby to be viable outside of the womb. No matter the circumstances, I just can’t accept that terminating a pregnancy that is past the point of viability is anything other than murder. Some say it’s to save the life of the mother, but I can’t think of a single medical scenario in which the mother’s life would be saved by an abortion but NOT by an emergency C-section. So that argument doesn’t sit well with me.

libertarian graphic

Now, I know many of my more conservative friends & family may be thinking I’m a heathen for saying abortion should be legal at all. Trust me, I don’t LIKE abortion. I think as a society we should do everything in our power to educate women (& men- after all it takes two to tango) about birth control & generally try to PREVENT women from getting into situations in which they would even consider abortion in the first place. Obviously birth defects are beyond our control. But many, probably most, abortions are done because of social/emotional concerns & these are things over which we CAN control.

adoption

Of course some may say “Well, abortion should only be legal in cases of rape.” I can see the mindset behind that argument but I disagree because such a law might incentivize women to claim rape in cases of unwanted pregnancies even when they actually weren’t raped. Not to mention, even if they were truly raped, it’s not always possible to prove it.

libertarian camille

Abortion is much like drugs & prostitution. I do not LIKE these things. I think they are UNWISE choices. But I don’t think they should be ILLEGAL. (Now as a drug user if you steal from others to get money for drugs or ignore your children because of using drugs, then that is a whole other story. But the drugs themselves needn’t be illegal. But that is a whole other blog post.) As a Libertarian, I see a difference between what is UNETHICAL/UNWISE & what should actually be ILLEGAL. So as much as I don’t like abortion & would much prefer that women who find themselves with unwanted pregnancies would give their babies up for adoption, I think the most logical answer is to make it legal- BUT only up to the point of viability. After that I just can’t see it as anything other than murder.

libertarian

Of course it’s always possible that I’m just crazy. But this is the only logical conclusion I can see to this extremely sensitive subject. I don’t expect everyone to agree with me. In fact, I expect most won’t. But this a middle ground that I think our society would do well to consider.

Best Albums of 2018


It’s the end of the year so, as I have for the past few years, that means it’s time for me to put together my list of the best albums of 2018.  As always, my picks are almost entirely of the rock/metal variety but there is one country album thrown in there.  And if you know me, you can probably guess which artist’s album that is!  Anyhow, I don’t claim to be any kind of professional music reviewer.  I’m just a hardcore fan of music- & an old school fan at that- who still buys actual physical albums (read: CDs).  As such, these are my picks for the best albums of 2018.  These are in no particular order, other than my absolute favorite is at the end (& that was hard to choose).

  • Disease by Beartooth: I can’t believe I initially forgot to include this album on here- but I guess that’s what happens when you’re rushing to compose an entire post during your toddler’s nap.  Anyway, the follow up to Aggressive is every bit as amazing as that album was, perhaps even more so.  The album starts with Greatness or Death which has to be one of the greatest album openers of all time.  It starts slow & quiet- & then suddenly bashes you in the face with heaviness. It’s simply genius.  It’s hard for me to pick favorites from this album because every song is truly fantastic but you definitely don’t want to miss the energy on FireBad Listener, & Manipulation.  It’s truly difficult to believe that lead singer & songwriter Caleb Shomo is just 26 years old- but he is.  This is one mature & talented young man for sure. beartooth
  • Reverence by Parkway Drive: The previous Parkway Drive album was entitled Ire but this album contains every bit as much ire as that one did- as well as a heavy dose of sadness.  I think Ire will probably always be my personal favorite Parkway Drive album but Reverence is still a great one.  It’s worth reading about the stories behind the songs to understand the pain that infused lead singer/songwriter Winston McCall as he penned this album.  Album opener Wishing Wells is heavy & dark & sets a great tone for the rest of the disc.  Prey has some fantastic guitar riffs & will easily get stuck in your head, as will Absolute Power.  Cemetery Bloom is by far the most inventive & unusual track on the album with its chanting medieval feel.  Another beautifully written song that you absolutely shouldn’t miss is melancholy album closer The Colour of Leavingparkway drive reverence
  • Vicious by Halestorm: If you know anything about my musical taste, you probably already guessed that this album would be on here.  Here lately I’ve been trying to decide if I could pick a favorite Halestorm album- & I swear I really can’t!  I love them all for so many reasons that it’s just impossible to choose.  In any case, as soon as I heard Uncomfortable I knew this album was going to be a good one (not that I ever had any doubts).  Overall this album has a darker grungier feeling than the band’s previous album.  Even the album artwork & Lzzy’s current outfits, hair, & makeup strike me as a bit darker, a bit more rock & roll than her softer, more traditional appearance during the last album cycle.  Lzzy is gorgeous no matter what she wears or how she does her hair but I for one am a big fan of this darker look that she has embraced lately.  Anyway, back to the music. . . . Other favorites of mine include Killing Ourselves to Live, the acoustic slow-burning The Silence, & the powerful Skulls (don’t miss the grungy part at 2:17 that is a bit reminiscent of Alice in Chains).halestorm vicious
  • Family Tree by Black Stone Cherry: Black Stone Cherry have definitely embraced a more bluesy southern rock feel on their last few albums but never so strongly as on this year’s Family Tree.  Songs like New Kinda Feeling & You Got the Blues perfectly exemplify this.  Other favorites of mine are I Need a Woman & James Brown.  I seriously don’t know how anyone could listen to this album & not end up with a smile on their face- & a serious desire to dance!  These guys have got some serious rhythm, not to mention a heavy dose of soul.  Listen & you’ll know what I mean.family tree bsc
  • Vale by Black Veil Brides: I’m not sure BVB will ever top Wretched & Divine for me because that album was just so amazing in every way possible.  However, this album, which is actually a sequel to that one & was co-produced by lead guitarist Jake Pitts, is definitely a great effort.  Songs like Wake Up (don’t miss the awesome leather jackets the guys are wearing in the music video) & The Outsider will get you pumped up while more ballad like pieces like When They Call My Name really showcase Andy’s powerful voice.  Also don’t miss the return of Jinxx’s strings on Dead Man Walking.vale bvb
  • Ember by Breaking Benjamin: Can Ben Burnley ever go wrong?  Probably not.  This album, the second with the new BB lineup, is every bit as good as the previous one.  It’s hard to choose a favorite but I think my top track is Feed the Wolf.  As I noted on their previous album, the backup vocals by bassist Aaron Bruch really amp up the heaviness on this album, especially on tracks like Psycho & Red Cold River.ember bb
  • Attention, Attention by Shinedown: Shinedown’s sixth album is a concept album about depression/mental illness, largely inspired by bassist Eric Bass’s own struggles with depression.  Some of the lyrics seem a bit cryptic at times but once you realize the basis of the album it all makes sense.  Don’t-miss tracks include heavy hitting Devil & Brilliant, the latter of which probably has the fastest drums & the most metal sound I’ve ever heard from Shinedown (don’t let the gentle beginning fool you).  Lyrically songs like Monsters & Get Up are especially strong.  My personal favorite is Special which encourages us to stop wallowing in self pity & take control of our own lives.attention shinedown
  • Disobey by Bad Wolves: Even if you don’t like rock music, you’ve probably heard Bad Wolves’s enchanting cover of The Cranberries’ classic song Zombie (if you haven’t you must check it out NOW!).  What you might not know is that the band was set to record with Cranberries singer Delores O’Riordan on the very day that she died.  The band has subsequently donated profits from the song to O’Riordan’s family as a way to honor her.  Most of the songs on this album are far heavier than Zombie but another easily accessible track is Hear Me Now.  My favorites among the heavier songs are No MastersLearn to Live, & Remember When, the last of which was inspired by singer Tommy Vext’s twin brother who almost killed him several years ago (no joke).  [P.S. In case you thought there weren’t any black men in rock, check out singer Tommy Vext.]disobey bad wolves
  • Evolution by Disturbed: Evolution is an appropriate title for this album because it definitely represents an evolution in the band’s sound.  Songs like Are You Ready & The Best Ones Lie are classic Disturbed without a doubt.  But there are far more ballads on this album than any previous disc, largely inspired by the success of the band’s The Sound of Silence cover from their previous album.  None of the ballads matches the pure magic of that song (not sure that anything ever could) but it’s nice to see the band expanding their sound & capitalizing on David’s amazing voice.  My personal favorite on this disc is David’s response to all the Social Justice Warriors in Savior of Nothingdisturbed evolution
  • Victim of the New Disease by All That Remains: If you’re familiar with my political beliefs you probably know that I’m a huge fan of fellow Libertarian Phil Labonte, the lead singer of ATR.  The last ATR album was good but it doesn’t hold a candle to this year’s effort.  Victim of the New Disease was largely inspired by Phil’s divorce & while I’m sorry for the pain he suffered because of that the world is definitely benefiting from the music he wrote while working through that pain.  Songs like F**k Love ensure that this is the heaviest ATR album in years.  But my personal favorites are some of the more moderate songs like Just Tell Me Something (which features Danny Worsnop of Asking Alexandria- brilliant!) & Broken.  The acoustic Alone in the Darkness is also a great listen.atr victim
  • Stranger Fruit by Zeal & Ardor: I have my husband to thank for introducing me to this band whom he discovered on Liquid Metal on Sirius XM satellite radio.  Zeal & Ardor are a Swiss band whose lead singer was born to a Swiss man & an African American woman.  If you ever wondered what it would sound like to combine metal + gospel + blues, this is it.  That sounds like an equation that is doomed to failure but strangely enough it’s actually damn good.  You won’t find much more unique, diverse music than this, I can guarantee you that.  Check out Ship on FireRow, Row, & Gravedigger’s Chant.  Better yet, just listen to the whole album.  I promise you will not be disappointed.stranger fruit
  • Firepower by Judas Priest: I first heard Evil Never Dies on satellite radio maybe a month ago & I immediately fell in love & knew I had to buy this album.  Judas Priest are a bit before my time & I have to admit I’ve never gotten into them before this album (shame on me).  But wow, what an album to dive into!  There isn’t a bad track on here but some of my favorites include the aforementioned Evil Never Dies, Lightning StrikeFirepower, & Necromancer.firepower
  • Desperate Man by Eric Church: You guys, I’m so out of touch with country music these days that I didn’t even realize until last week that my favorite country artist had released an album back in October.  I guess it doesn’t help that Eric Church has no real social media presence but I can’t complain because that is one thing I admire about him, that he guards his private life so preciously.  Anyway, Desperate Man is definitely Church’s most stripped-down album to date.  I’ll admit I miss some of the bombast of The Outsiders but there’s no denying Church’s lyrical genius is in tip top form on this album.  The title track is one you should definitely not miss as is The Snake, Church’s take on the current political situation in the U.S.  Other favorites of mine include MonstersDrowning Man, & Solid.desperate man
  • And Justice For None by Five Finger Death Punch: FFDP have never put out a bad album but this year’s effort proves they are at the very top of their game & is my choice for best album of 2018.  With Ivan Moody (as well as all the other band members) finally sober, the band is in better shape than ever.  If you’re curious about the unusual album title, guitarist Zoltan Bathory does a good job of explaining it here.  There isn’t a bad song on this album & picking a favorite is nigh impossible, but if I had to pick only one song to share it would be I Refuse.  This has to be one of the most emotionally powerful songs FFDP have ever written.  Even if you normally don’t like rock/metal, you MUST listen to this one- not only is it lyrically beautiful but the acoustic guitar solo by Jason Hook is a real winner.  Fortunately I CAN share more than one song so please also check out Fire in the Hole (which sounds like a metal pirate song), Will the Sun Ever Rise, & Sham Pain.  The last is a play on the word champagne & is proof that the band don’t take themselves too seriously.  Watch the video for a good laugh!  FFDP have done many great cover songs over the years & this album includes two great ones, my favorite of which is Blue on Black.  With a good mixture of ballads & more traditional heavier fare, FFDP created the perfect album that makes you want to just keep playing it over & over & over.  Don’t miss it!and justice for none