How May I Anger or Offend You Today?

Ah, the day after election day . . . a time when Americans spit vitriol at each other & blame everyone else for the pitiful state in which we find our nation, a time when approximately half of the country inevitably says this is literally the end of freedom & democracy & the other half silently (or not so silently) gloats about “winning.”  I will say I think this is the first year that there are so few people who are truly thrilled about the election results.  Almost everyone seems able to agree that we chose/were given two of the worst presidential candidates in American history.  However, I do challenge people to remember that before the days of electronics & social media many of our previous presidents & presidential candidates were probably equal scumbags; we simply had less access to their private, every-day lives because the technology of today’s world simply didn’t exist yet.  That’s not to justify in any way the disgraceful behavior of modern politicians.  I just ask that we remember that there never really were any “good old days.”divisive-media

Anyhow, in light of all of the nastiness that has ensued in the wake of this election, including being blamed for Trump’s win for choosing to vote with my conscience & thus not picking either major candidate, I thought this would be a good time to bare my soul & be truly open about certain of my beliefs (or in some cases perhaps lack thereof).  People can like it or lump it as far as I’m concerned.  I have friends who are significantly more liberal than I am & other friends who are significantly more conservative than I am, & I love them all dearly.  I would hope to receive the same respect from others, though I am no longer naive enough to expect that from everyone.'Hello, how can I offend you?'

Also, may I just add that I have never so badly wanted a good, stiff drink (just one)?  But don’t worry, I’m obviously going to abstain for the sake of the baby.

These are in no particular order.

  • I support gay/lesbian/homosexual marriage 100%.
  • I love tattoos (as a concept, not every tattoo that’s ever existed), though I have no particular interest in getting one myself (& won’t out of respect for my husband who doesn’t like them).  But I’ll never understand people who judge others for having them, & it angers me greatly that workplaces can still get away with discriminating against tattooed employees.
  • I don’t believe in the concept of “bad words.”  Words are just words.  There is no logical way a word in itself can be bad.  Out of respect for those who are offended by “swearing”, I try my hardest not to say those words in front of them, but I’ll never be able to wrap my mind around the concept that particular words are bad “just ’cause.”
  • I am a secular humanist.  If you don’t know what that means, Google it.humanism quote
  • I am a Libertarian.  If you don’t know what that means, you can Google that too.
  • “Despite” the above, I still believe public schools are one of the best ways we can acclimate our children to the “real world.”  They’re not the only way of course, & they are fraught with inherent problems & challenges, but I still fully intend to send my child(ren) to public school because I truly believe it is the best way to prepare them for real life.  (And I can afford it.)
  • I despise violence.  I think there are almost always better, more effective, & less hurtful ways to solve problems in this world.  But I stop short of calling myself a total pacifist because I absolutely do believe in the right to self-defense.
  • “Despite” the above, I am a staunch supporter of gun rights.  I’ve been tempted to jump the fence a few times, but statistically many of the most violent cities in America also have the strictest gun laws (ahem, Chicago, LA, ahem), so it seems obvious to me that laws are not what prevents violence.gun-rights
  • I still consider myself a feminist because there are still places in the world where women do not have even the most basic rights (ahem, Saudi Arabia).  However, in the US & other more “developed” countries, it’s men whose rights concern me more often than not.  I truly believe we have swung the pendulum so far in the opposite direction that we are now placing males at a disadvantage, almost as if we need to make up for all the years when things were reversed.  I do not see this as a solution.  I think it is only inciting & will continue to incite antagonism between the genders which is the opposite of progress.
  • I don’t believe in the gender wage gap.  Research has shown that women of my generation are actually earning more on average than men our age.  I think the whole issue is way more complex than most folks are willing to admit, & while I’m sure there are probably legitimate scenarios where sexism was/has been/is a factor, I don’t think it explains the whole picture by a long shot.
  • I think our society  has done itself a huge disfavor by worshiping at the altar of single moms.  I’m not saying there aren’t situations in which that is obviously the only choice or the only acceptable choice, but I absolutely do believe children fare best in a situation with two parents, if for no other reason than parenting is clearly much too difficult of a task for one person to take on alone.  Biology itself implies that if it takes two to make a child, it probably ought to take two to sustain the child. In any case, no matter how we like to spin it, statistics show that children of single moms fare worse in every major dimension, from academics to behavior problems to likelihood of becoming teen parents to everything in between.  This doesn’t mean all children of single moms are doomed of course, but even so we simply cannot continue to vilify or dismiss fathers & expect our society to improve.fathers
  • I think using hard drugs like cocaine, meth, & heroin is an incredibly stupid thing to do.  With the knowledge that exists today, I don’t think anyone can claim to being ignorant of the addictive, destructive powers of these drugs.  However, I absolutely support the decriminalization of drug use because I truly believe addiction is a disease, even if a largely self-imposed one, & imprisoning people for it is CLEARLY not working & never will.
  • I love rock & metal music.  But I also love classical & jazz.  And occasional country.  I’m not a big fan of most modern pop, rap, R&B, or bluegrass, though there are certainly a few songs from each of those genres that I do enjoy.  The point is I can appreciate all genres, even if I prefer some over others.  If you can’t understand how someone could enjoy such a vast array of different music, I suggest you open your mind . . . & your ears.
  • I am a huge believer in personal responsibility.  I absolutely believe that as a competent adult, I have no one to blame for my own failures or mistakes but myself.  I believe that our lives (at least in modern America & other similar societies) are at least 90% determined by the choices we make & the attitudes we choose to hold.  With that being said, I absolutely do believe in giving to others & helping those in need.  But I also believe in the age old mantra of “If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day.  If you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.”give-a-man-a-fish-blog
  • I do not believe in rigid, fixed gender roles by any stretch of the imagination, other than those imposed by actual biology (men can’t get pregnant; sorry, guys, that’s just the way it is).  However, I have no problem with people choosing to follow traditional gender stereotypes or roles, as long as they are doing it out of their own free will.  For example, it doesn’t bother me at all that there are more stay at home moms than there are stay at home dads.  I’m also not convinced that women should be serving in certain roles in the military simply because I don’t think we’re as biologically suited for it.  I don’t think that’s an indictment of us as a gender, just like it’s not an indictment of men as a gender that they can’t get pregnant.  It’s just the way it is.
  • I believe that if a man & a woman are both drunk & they have sex then the woman has no more right to claim being raped than the man does.  If a woman isn’t held liable for her actions while drunk, why should a man be?  If she’s considered too drunk to consent, why isn’t he also considered too drunk to consent?  Obviously things are different in scenarios in which women’s drinks are spiked or they are drugged or when a man who is not drunk has sex with a completely unconscious, obviously impaired woman.  But let’s not pretend these scenarios are all equal.
  • I do not believe that women who wear “skimpy” outfits are “asking for it.”  But I absolutely do believe that we attract a certain kind of attention by dressing in certain ways (this goes for both genders), & none of us should act surprised when people respond to us based on that.  It may not be fair, but it’s the way the world works.
  • I believe organized religion is by & large a destructive, divisive force in this world.  However, I will absolutely fight for your right to believe anything you choose.  I just ask that you don’t shove it down my throat or try to force your beliefs on everyone else.  That’s all.moral relativity
  • I believe in moral relativity.  In all honesty, I think everyone really does, it’s just a matter of whether we’re willing to admit it or not.  I believe real morals arise not from religion but from our own consciences.
  • “Despite” having no concrete beliefs about the after-life, I truly enjoy working with hospice patients at the end of life.  I feel incredibly honored when I get the opportunity to care for someone during their last days or hours on Earth & when I get to help a family process that loss.
  • I absolutely do not believe that sex outside of/before marriage is wrong.  However, I absolutely do believe that our very biology dictates that it is best inside of a loving, committed relationship.  The hook-up culture of my own generation disgusts me.hook up culture
  • In summary, I’m very difficult to pigeon-hole or categorize.  It’s very challenging to find a group in which you can accurately lump me which I realize frustrates & angers a lot of people because it makes me unpredictable & probably annoying.  But I don’t do this on purpose.  I just live the way I see best & hope to help as many others as I can along the way.

In conclusion I’d like to share some songs which I believe are particularly relevant at this point in history.  Interestingly enough, they all come from the Parkway Drive album entitled Ire which is perhaps fitting considering the title/theme of this post.  Please click on the links to listen to each song.  At the very least, I hope you’ll read the lyrics & consider them carefully.ire


Brothers, my brothers

Is this all that we are?
Sisters, my sisters

We’ve been crushed by the fists of god

Welcome to the free world
Where nothing’s as it seems
Tell me, can you find a cure
When you can’t see, & you can’t feel the disease?
Can you seek a higher truth
When you’re living on your knees
Where freedom grows from blood soaked soil
In the lands of hypocrisy?

Because if you can’t see the chains, tell me what use is a key
It’s cash, blood & oil, in the age of the refugee
They’re trying to buy our minds, we ain’t selling
Bang, bang, bang, hear they’re nailing down the coffins

Cut the strings, feel your heart start
Cut the cord
Crack this code of silence
All our lives in the hands of tyrants

Crushed by the fists of god. Crushed.
We’ve been crushed by the fists of god

To the left I see the rats & to the right I see the snakes
In my ear they’re whispering sweet sermons of cruel hate
So do you buy the fear, or do you buy the lies?
Tell me, what will set us free
Do we kneel before the crooked few
Or do we bite the fucking hand that feeds?

When death casts no shadow & hope carries no weight
Rise into the light & feel the shackles fade away
They fear what we know, we know how they break
Bang, bang, bang, drop the hammer of conscience

Cut the strings, feel your heart start
Cut the cord. Crack this code of silence. All our lives

Crushed by the fists of god. Crushed.
We’ve been crushed by the fists of god

We’re just waiting for the sky to fall
Yeah I’m just waiting
Feels like all our lives we’ve been waiting for the sky to fall
Feels like all this time we’ve been

Brothers, my brothers
Is this all that we are?
Sisters, my sisters
We’ve been crushed by the fists of god
Crushed by the fists of god. Crushed.

The devil’s at our door
The Bloodwoods shiver in the glare of summer’s haze
Dust of ancient lands breathes beneath our feet
Since the dawn of time, giver of life divine
Shadowed by dark ruination, looming down the lineThe poisoned lies of narrow minds
Now spread into the soul of life

Bitter blight fractures life
This call for change won’t be too late

The devil’s at our door
Selling fool’s gold & a miracle cure

Hearts of fire unite & man their barricades
Truth is overwhelming & yet
Hollow men still talk in vain
Sowing sickness, shifting focus away
Setting in stone a future we cannot sustain

We can’t quench our thirst on profits gained
And we can’t turn back once it begins

Bitter blight fractures life
This call for change won’t be too late

They poison the well & expect us to drink
When the river runs dry only then
Then will they see

You can line your pockets, but you can’t buy back your soul
These gates are locked, this future is not yours to own

Bitter blight fractures life
This call for change won’t be too late

When you’re born in the dirt the only way to grow is up
So we reach for the sun but it seems
Every rung that you climb is another crooked line
That you cross off the tally of your dreams
Don’t step out of line kid, you learn it pretty fast
Every face has its place in the crowd
They’ll give you all the answers, so you don’t ask any questions
Then they’ll march you with a smile into the groundAnd we all go to heaven in a little row boat

So put your hands up, put your hands up
If crawling for the scraps won’t ever be enough
Put your hands up, put your hands up
The writing’s on the wall, this ain’t ever gonna stop
Put your hands up, put your hands up
If crawling for the scraps won’t ever be enough
Put your hands up, put your hands up
We’ll fight until we die, this ain’t ever gonna stop

This stray dog world, this sick sad place
Got a belly full of maggots & disease
Every apple here is rotten, every blessing is a curse
Every word is a lie you best believe
We take one step forward, then two steps back
In a race to the bottom of the barrel
They teach us how to fear
They teach us how to hate
Then they arm us and they march us off to hell

And its left, left, left right left

So put your hands up, put your hands up
If crawling for the scraps won’t ever be enough
Put your hands up, put your hands up
The writing’s on the wall, this ain’t ever gonna stop
Put your hands up, put your hands up
If crawling for the scraps won’t ever be enough
Put your hands up, put your hands up
We’ll fight until we die, this ain’t ever gonna stop

Because they came for our minds
We said nothing
They came for our hopes
We said nothing
They came for our souls
And still we said nothing
Now they’re coming for our lives
So what’s it gonna take

What’s it gonna take?
See how they run, see how they run

So put your hands up, put your hands up
If clawing for the scraps won’t ever be enough
Put your hands up, put your hands up
The writing’s on the wall, this ain’t ever gonna stop
Put your hands up, put your hands up
If clawing for the scraps won’t ever be enough
Put your hands up, put your hands up
We’ll fight until we die, this ain’t ever gonna stop

Why Childhood & Innocence are Overrated

If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone say that being an adult & living in the so-called “real world” sucks, I’d be a rich woman.  And if I had a dollar for every time I read a Facebook status saying the exact same thing I’d be even richer.  I’m not an idiot, nor am I incapable of empathy, so I can understand where some of these sentiments come from, yet I for one love being an adult.  I’ve written about this topic before (see:, but I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately & thus feel compelled to revisit the subject.

I've laughed at these memes too, but honestly I love being an adult & am puzzled as to why so many others don't.

I’ve laughed at these memes too, but honestly I love being an adult & am puzzled as to why so many others don’t.

Every time I hear people say they miss the innocent, carefree state of childhood, I always want to ask them what the hell they are talking about.  Now I know I was in some ways a rather odd child, but whenever I hear people saying this stuff about how childhood was such an easy, worry-free time of life, I have to resist the urge to run away screaming.  I don’t want to make my parents look bad because they were & are wonderful people who did a great job raising me.  But for reasons that were largely out of their control, I just don’t remember my childhood being this endless cycle of happiness & rainbows & unicorns that so many other people seem to recall.  I don’t want to sound like I’m having a pity party because trust me I am very aware of how blessed I am just to have been born in America & into a loving, stable family.  I have plenty of good memories from childhood & adolescence, but that doesn’t mean my childhood was something I look back on with much nostalgia. childhood is overrated

Perhaps I’m just being overly negative, but the greatest thing I remember from my childhood, certainly from about age eight upwards, was the overwhelming desire to grow up so that I could be respected & treated like the intelligent person I knew I was & so that I could escape a world to which I wasn’t too sure I really belonged.  I don’t think I totally understood the latter part of this at the time, but looking back I can see the desire was there all along.  Somewhere deep inside of me I knew that as an adult I’d have a level of confidence in myself that as a child & teen I could only dream of having.  I yearned for the day when I’d be able to look in the mirror only once or twice before leaving the house, when I wouldn’t scrutinize every tiny aspect of my appearance out of fear that everyone else was certainly noticing all of my numerous (perceived) flaws.  And I for one am happy to say that adulthood has not disappointed me in these regards.

As a kid, I yearned to grow up, partly because I knew as an adult I'd be able to laugh at myself.  I'm so glad this turned out to be true.

As a kid, I yearned to grow up, partly because I knew as an adult I’d be able to laugh at myself. I’m so glad this turned out to be true.

You see, I was one of those weird kids who actually loved school, not for the social aspect like most kids do, but for the pure love of learning.  Indeed, the social aspect of school was what gave me nightmares.  Every summer I would go through such great anxiety as I worried about whether or not I’d get lucky enough to be in a class with anyone from my small group of friends (who of course were the other nerds like me).  When I was that lucky, things were decent.  When I wasn’t, I begged my mom to homeschool me.  I was never strictly bullied but I was certainly made fun of enough to always remember that horrible feeling of knowing everyone’s laughing at you or being the last person picked in gym class too many times to count.  Looking back on it, I’m incredibly glad that my mother didn’t listen to my pleadings because learning to be myself in a world where that wasn’t so easy was one of the greatest lessons I’ve learned in life, & even though it was miserable at the time, I’m so glad I learned it at a young ageRWE quote

As far as the whole worry-free concept goes, I for one don’t ever remember such a stage in life, certainly not past about age seven or eight.  Granted my worries back then were, in the grand scheme of things, fairly inconsequential.  Things like passing tests, making sure I remembered my gym suit or lunch money, & finding someone to eat lunch with are clearly not life or death matters.  HOWEVER, THEY FELT LIKE IT AT THE TIME.  AND THAT IS ALL THAT MATTERS.  And that is what everyone seems to forget.  Wearing the rose-colored glasses of nostalgia, of which I apparently have never owned a pair, I suppose it’s easy to forget the way that every little drama you encountered as a child, & certainly as a teenager, seemed like the beginning or end of your whole life.  But perception is your reality & at the end of the day that’s all that matters.perception reality

Hindsight is, as they say, 20/20, & the older I get, the more I’m starting to realize that anxiety, especially social anxiety, has always been a part of my life.  I think part of my anxiety stems from intrinsic factors (essentially my brain’s natural chemistry) & part of it stems from extrinsic factors (things such as not fitting in well at school).  Thankfully my anxiety has never been totally crippling or so overwhelming that I’ve become a hermit or abandoned all semblance of a social life.  But it’s something that I’m starting to realize has had a greater impact on my life than I might like to admit.

However, what I’m also starting to realize is that perhaps the greatest gift life could have given me was NOT having a “perfect” childhood.  Why, you ask?  Because it has allowed me to never for one second regret growing up & becoming the adult I always wanted to be.  While so many others despise the responsibilities of adulthood, I cherish them because I know they are what allow me to enjoy the freedoms of adulthood, freedoms that I would not for one second trade for the so-called blissful innocence of childhood.  Yes, there are days when I look at the world & seriously struggle not to become a hateful cynic.  But there are many more days when I look at the world in awe & fascination & gratitude that I get to experience this beautiful journey of life.  And to me being able to face all the hideousness of the world, all the cruelties & injustices that occur day after day after day on this planet, yet still being able to find the beauty & joy that life has to offer . . . Well, that, coupled with enjoying the freedoms of adulthood, is to me more magical than any kind of blissful ignorance or innocence that childhood could ever offer.freedom albert camus

Cheers, & happy Friday, everyone!

10 Reasons Why Growing Up Doesn’t Actually Suck

It doesn’t take a genius to realize that our modern society values youth very highly.  Turn on the TV or flip through any magazine & you will be greeted with a veritable host of ads showcasing products that proclaim they can “erase wrinkles,” “cover up greys,” or “give you the energy of youth,” etc, etc.  In the media we are constantly assaulted with pictures of young hot celebrities & on a more day-to-day level we inevitably hear people making comments about how much getting old & growing up sucks.  Since graduating from college I have even noticed a difference in the things I see on Facebook.  I now see a lot of statuses about how much “real life” sucks & there seems to be a ridiculous amount of nostalgia going around for the innocence & simplicity of childhood.  Now I for one spent a great deal of my childhood & adolescence pining for adulthood & the freedoms it would bring.  Perhaps in some ways it’s sad that I didn’t just enjoy my life to the fullest at those stages as I suppose most kids/teens do.  But I have to say that even though being an adult is hard, I for one am not disappointed at all.  I am happier now than I’ve ever been.  One of my greatest goals in life is to always retain the energy & vibrancy of youth while balancing this with the wisdom & serenity of getting older.  So today I thought I’d compile a list of reasons why growing up doesn’t actually suck.  In truth there are a lot of things I LOVE about getting older & I think our society could certainly use a reminder of these things from time to time, so here we go:

growing up

  1. Growing up means no longer having to obsess over every facet of your appearance.  I don’t know about the rest of y’all, but when I was a teenager I spent entirely too much time worrying about every tiny bit of my appearance.  If even one hair was out of line, I was sure I looked horrible & that everyone was secretly laughing at me.  Though I’ve never been the type to really follow fashion trends, I still felt the need to be as “in style” as possible.  Well, one of the great things about getting older is the ability to just not give a crap about such things.  And to know that you are better off because of it.  I don’t mean that I don’t care about looking my best; I certainly do.  But if I have a “bad hair day” or a day when my acne is acting up & making my face look like a teenager’s all over again, I have the maturity to know that this too shall pass.  I also know that if anyone thinks less of me for not wearing the trendiest clothes or not having perfect skin or anything superficial like that, then those people aren’t worth worrying about anyway.  I’m far from the confident person I hope to be someday but I’ve also come a long way from the girl I used to be, & I’m proud of that.
  2. Growing up means realizing that your mom was right when she said it was more important to be respected than to be liked.  Don’t get me wrong; I’m a born people-pleaser.  It just comes naturally to me to want to make others happy & to be well-liked by everyone.  But I have learned to temper that when necessary because I have discovered that it truly is impossible to please everyone all the time.  And that’s ok.  It’s just life.
  3. Stemming from the last point, getting older means having the courage to say no to people who are just trying to use you to their own advantage.  It means having enough self-respect to not waste your valuable time on people who don’t actually care about you.  Getting older means realizing that your worth is not diminished by those who do not recognize or appreciate you.  This gives you the confidence to say no to those who do not actually have your best interests at heart.
  4. Getting older means not having to panic every time something doesn’t go “your way.”  It means realizing that just because you’ve had a bad day or even a bad week, month, or year, it doesn’t mean you’re doomed to have a bad life.  And getting older means realizing that your attitude is the greatest determinant in your own happiness.  (This is both scary & enlightening.  I could write a whole blog post on this subject & I probably will soon.)
  5. Getting older means learning how to agree to disagree.  It means building friendships with people who are vastly different from you & instead of trying to “convert” them you are content to learn from each other & use your differences to build a stronger relationship.
  6. Getting older means independence.  Ah, what a glorious word!  This is what I longed for so much as a child.  I know most people end up regretting such longings because they say the price of freedom is too great.  But I disagree.  I think if you make good decisions in life, you will set yourself up for success & you’ll be able to reap the rewards of independence to the fullest.  I love that as an adult I can choose my career, my spouse, where I live, what house to buy, what to wear, who to be friends with, where to go to school, what to eat, basically everything!
  7. Growing up means realizing that there is no one right way for everyone in life.  There’s nothing more freeing than understanding that there is no exact prescription for success that every person must follow.  Growing up means having the freedom to make mistakes & learn from them.
  8. Growing up means realizing that sometimes life sucks.  It means looking evil in the face & realizing that this world is a cold & scary place.  (That wasn’t supposed to rhyme…)  I know this must seem like a bad thing.  And it’s this loss of innocence that so many people mourn so greatly.  But I’ve never understood why people celebrate innocence so much.  It’s nothing more than an illusion.  For of what value is happiness if it’s based on something that is fake?  To me that’s what “innocence” is.  It’s the happiness that comes from not realizing how bad the world can really be.  I think the happiness we can experience as adults is all the greater because we have had to see so many of the dark sides of life too.  Which is of greater value: the happiness of a child who does not yet understand the world or the happiness of an adult who has looked into the pit of hell, faced the monsters of the world, & come out alive?  Maybe I was a weird child (ok, who am I kidding, I was DEFINITELY a weird child for a number of reasons), but I don’t ever remember feeling the type of blissfully ignorant happiness that people always talk about children experiencing.  In any case, I believe the happiness & love we can experience as adults is all the greater because it’s a real choice.  We have chosen to seek joy even though we have seen that life is often cruel & unfair.  We have chosen to seek peace even though we know that life can be violent to even the meekest of us.  This thought process requires a bit of mental gymnastics at times but I truly believe I am happier now than I’ve ever been.  Yes, I have days when I look at the world & feel like there’s no hope.  But those days aren’t the norm & when they do happen I have the wisdom to know those feelings will pass.  Whew, that was a deep one.
  9. Growing up means realizing that the journey is as important as the destination.  It means understanding that life is short & we truly must live every day like it’s our last, as cliché as that may be.
  10. Getting older means realizing that just because your life isn’t perfect doesn’t mean it isn’t great.  It’s so easy to look in the mirror & think “I’d be so much prettier if my nose were just a little straighter” or “I’d be so much happier if I could afford that fancy car I’ve always wanted” or any number of such things.  It’s so easy to compare yourself to your friends, coworkers, or even celebrities & feel like your life just doesn’t measure up.  But growing up means realizing that everyone’s life isn’t measured against the same yardstick.  We all have our own meter for success & happiness & that’s the only one that really matters.

 As an addendum, if anyone wants to help me create better titles for my blog posts, that would be awesome.  I like to think I’m a pretty decent writer but when it comes to creating titles for papers, essays, poems, or blog posts, I’m always at a loss, as you can clearly see by the super clever title of this post.  😉

Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover

Yesterday I renewed my gym membership and in the process of doing so someone said something to me that I hear quite often which got me thinking that this could make for an interesting blog post.  So here goes.

After I paid for my annual membership, I told the gym manager that as a paying customer I thought he should consider changing up the music selection a bit because I’m tired of hearing Britney Spears every time I work out.  The manager asked me what I would prefer & I told him that to be honest a lot of the music I like probably wouldn’t be appropriate for the gym because a lot of people are much more easily offended than I am, but nonetheless a few hard rock songs here & there would be a refreshing change of pace.  The manager, who is a man probably in his mid 30’s, told me what I have heard so many time before.  “You just don’t seem like the kind of girl who would be into rock music.  You’re too nice & soft-spoken.”

[Ok, those of you who really know me should get a good laugh about the soft-spoken part of that comment!]

The real crux of this scenario is that I am often told I seem “too nice” to like rock music.  I just don’t understand where our society gets the idea that a “nice” person can’t like hard rock or heavy metal.  This is 2013 & yet people who like this kind of music are still invariably considered “weird, different, mean, angry,” and a whole lot of other generally negative adjectives.  Now let me give you a little background about how I got into this kind of music before I explain why it’s my favorite genre.

I grew up thinking rock music = devil music.  I had no interest in it & on the rare occasions that I actually heard real rock/metal I hated it.  I honestly couldn’t understand how anyone could like this stuff.  However, as I got into high school I started hearing a few more rock songs here & there, & I gradually, gradually began to realize that there is so much more than initially meets the eye (or should I say the ear?) with this type of music.  Once I got to college & finally had the freedom to listen to whatever kind of music I wanted, I gradually began discovering all kinds of music that I never even knew existed: European symphonic metal bands like Nightwish, American metal bands like Five Finger Death Punch, and so much more.  I soon realized that I loved this music, & I think after a solid six years of listening to rock/metal more than any other genre I am finally figuring out why this music appeals to me so much.

Anyone who has glanced at my iTunes collection knows that I like a little bit of everything.  My music collection spans everything from Alice in Chains to Godsmack to Toby Keith to Eric Church to Flo Rida to Lady Gaga to Beethoven to Mussorgsky.  In short, there really isn’t any genre of music I don’t like.  Some, like rap & bluegrass, aren’t my favorites but there are still certain pieces from those genres that I do really enjoy.  However, I think the reason rock music speaks to me so much is its brutal honesty.

By comparison, rap music so often celebrates an urban, party-it-up or “gangtsa” lifestyle that exists only in manufactured music videos.  Country music too celebrates a lifestyle that doesn’t actually exist in real life.  Trust me, I grew up in small town America & I can tell you from experience that the only country music singers who consistently tell the truth about rural life are Eric Church & Kacey Musgraves, especially the latter.  It ain’t always a pretty picture either.  The vast majority of modern pop music is so superficial & vapid as to hardly be worth mentioning.  (I’ll discuss classical music in another post some day.  As many of you know, I am a total classical music junkie.)

So that brings us back to rock music.  Yes, the stereotype is that rock music celebrates sex, drugs, & devil worship & generally seeks to push the envelope in every possible way.  Sure, there are a few groups whose music focuses largely on those things.  But would you judge all Christians based on Westboro Baptist Church or all Muslims on the 9/11 terrorists?  I certainly hope not.  You cannot make an accurate judgment about any group based on its most extreme members.  That is just unscientific.

People often say that rock music makes people angry or inspires people to commit terrible acts of murder & violence.  I say music is music.  Nothing more, nothing less.  If someone’s mind is so twisted & sick as to commit heinous violent acts, music isn’t to blame.  The person is.  I say music is perhaps the greatest form of therapy known to mankind.  If you listen to enough rock you’ll find that every emotion you’ve ever felt is covered in this music, from love to anger to jealousy to confusion to pain to joy.  It’s all there.  And it’s all expressed in an outlet that cannot possibly harm anyone.  We all get angry sometimes & experience other “negative” emotions.  That is not a sin.  Emotions are what make us human; they are what tells us we are still alive.  It’s what we do with these emotions that can be sinful at times.  (If you want to read more about this fascinating topic, check out Corey Taylor’s book “The Seven Deadly Sins.”  It is without a doubt one of the most intriguing & well-written books I’ve ever read.)  What better way to express your anger or hate than through a song?  It’s much preferable to actually hurting someone or bottling it all up inside so that inevitably you explode.  Besides, what other kind of music pumps you up enough to make you want to finish that grueling workout at the gym or to stay up all night caring for sick people?  On my way to work I invariably pop in a fist-pumping rock album & by the time I get to the hospital I am ready to face whatever comes my way.

So in summary, no, I don’t have tattoos or unorthodox body piercings.  I don’t dress in all black or wear dog collars around my neck.  I don’t give a crap if other people do those things but they just aren’t for me.  I am not an angry person who hates the world.  But I do love rock music.  I am proud to be a headbanger.  And some day I hope that the world will realize that rock stars & their fans are some of the kindest people in the world.  And more importantly I hope our society will learn the greater lesson here: don’t judge a book by its cover because we are all more than meets the eye.

So what do y’all think?  For those of you know me, is it really that surprising that I like this kind of music?  If so, why?  Or better yet, have you experienced anything similar to this where people are surprised to find out you like a certain type of music or whatever?

In the spirit of the post I’m including a link to one of my favorite rock bands, Pop Evil.  I have been following them religiously for a few years & own all three of their albums, so naturally I am very happy to see them finally getting some great radio airtime with their latest hit, “Trenches.”  (Ladies, google Leigh Kakaty & I promise you will thank me.)