Monday, July 15, 2013

I Swear I Will

I love swearing. It genuinely thrills me. It helps me emote aggression, joy, sadness, anger. It was not always so; my parents raised my sister and me to say please and thank you...and when I heard my older sister say: shut up, Margaret, I defiantly and experimentally used the phrase on my mother one Sunday morning before church. She was facing the sink, asked me something, and I told my very own mother to shut up. She deftly spun around on her heels and without me realizing what was happening, her hand was imprinted on my cheek for a good 2 hours. Which was (in my estimation and opinion) completely warranted.

I swore occasionally throughout high school with friends...and when I was a legal adult (all of 18) my friend and I were practicing a dance we made up (I know. I can't. Even.) in my family's den, my mother reading in a chair. Mid way through said routine, I messed up a step, and exclaimed: FUCK!

My mother looked up from her, book, eyes smoldering with anger and fury, slammed the book shut and STOOOORRRRMED off to the porch. About an hour later, I meekly entered her room of disdain and said Mom, I'm just...came out. Her response? (And, as I'm writing this, I'm giggling in disbelief) I just didn't think I raised my daughters to speak like that. To which I sarcastically giggled and exclaimed: have YOU ever said that word? My mother then erupted, as if the depths of hell and heaven conspired together, and her voice managed to drop, like, 70 octaves to rumble out: THAT'S NOT THE POINT, MARGARET. As I recall, she didn't speak to me for about 2 days thereafter.

From then on, various phrases crept into my everyday vernacular. Tripping up or down stairs: Shit! Stubbing my toe: Goddamn it! Math equations I didn't understand: What the shit?

I do think because I was practically forbidden to swear growing up, it serves as a current form of release.

I have been reprimanded, criticized and demeaned for my use of profanity. You know what I say to that?

Fuck that.

I am educated, creative, positive. If you asked me right now to recite Shakespeare, I could. If you asked me why I love Charles Dickens and John Irving so much, I would tell you. And you know what? It still doesn't change one fact: I can use whatever language I so choose. And whatever condescending bullshit I receive masked as kind advice to curb my language only propels me further. It only makes me feel a deeper commitment to use whatever language I feel I must to express my thoughts and emotions. You know why? Because I can. And I will. It's each person's prerogative (at least in non-3rd world countries) to voice their opinion in which ever way they deem most appropriate and not fear punishment. I exercise that right to the fullest extent.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not going to tell some kid to shut the fuck up if they're screaming next to me on the subway. (Though I do imagine doing it sometimes...but then the image of the mother mauling me appears in my head and I choose to just turn my music up louder.)

I consider language a privilege, a shield, a weapon, a tool. I've earned my right to execute sentences (verbal and written) in whatever manner I choose. I'm glad I was taught to understand the value of words.

Just whatever you do, for fuck's sake: don't say shut up to your mother.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

I was brought up in a Catholic house hold and each night before bed I said the Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be with my father. My parents taught us to be respectful, work hard and always--above all--be kind to others. 

My small existence in my small town just outside of Boston was sheltered enough that I figured everyone outside my family, my town, my state was raised the same way. At 13 years old, while walking with my oldest friend to the movie theater--a jeep wrangler drove by filled with hormone infested teenage boys. The jeep slowed down and a glass bottle was hurled in our direction while one of the cowardly passengers yelled: FAGGOT!!!!

My friend and I looked at each other and awkwardly pretended that the past 30 seconds didn't happen. I was filled with a mixture of confusion and anger: wait, what? ....this is MY friend next to me. If I would never try to assault you, why would you do the same to me or my friend? I can only imagine what he felt as the insult and object was directly aimed towards him. It was the first real instance of prejudice I had encountered; soon, I realized, that my friend walking next to me in a heated silence probably had endured this for much of his young life. 

It's never crossed my mind to care about the sexuality of others. Even at a young age, I didn't see the big deal. Clearly sexuality is a highly sensitive topic-but-I've found that those that are most vocal about the abomination of two females or two males or transgender people openly caring for each other are those that are hiding behind the mask of religion and moral righteousness. 

Kindness to others. I take that very seriously.  Laws have been instituted (and some, thankfully, FINALLY repealed) telling my best friends that they are less. They are not equal. I have more rights than the friends I split Oreos with after school in 2nd grade. Nights spent giggling at sleep-overs as children. We laughed the same. We consumed the same oxygen. Yet because I am a woman, and I happen to have been born feeling a biological attraction to a man and not a woman, I can stay by my spouse's side in a hospital, and my friends cannot. What kind of fucked up bullshit is that? 

I certainly respect people's opinions to disagree with me. It is something altogether different when people start voting for laws and political leaders that would instantly create two classes of humans in this country.  Why is it such a big deal how people like to have sex? Why does such an intimate and loving act between people (and sometimes not intimate and not loving...but just straight up enjoyable) have any place to be discussed on a judicial level? What right does that piece of trash in pearls Michele Bachman have to do with anyone's sex life? Her DOMA Repeal reaction enraged me.

 "This decision is one that is profound because the Supreme Court not only attacked our Constitution today, they not only attacked the equal protection rights of every citizen under our Constitution, they attacked something that they have no jurisdiction over whatsoever, the foundational unit of our society, which is marriage,"

Really? Wasn't less than 100 years ago that an amendment to our glorious and all binding Constitution gave YOU the right to have a say? Less than 100 years ago, you neanderthal, an amendment was created so that YOU could step up to a microphone and slander this country's ability to recognize the need for change.  

We live in a country where opinions technically can be shared without fear of retribution...but it is still a country where openly gay mayoral candidates are murdered. Where teenagers jump off bridges for feeling shamed about their biological makeup. 

Humans are animals, so what scares us often incites us to have carnal and visceral reactions. But we as a species are also able to have cognitive discourse. We don't just aim to survive on the base level of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. We have the ability to strive for more, for better. 

At the end of the three prayers my father and I would recite each night, we would ask God to watch over our friends and family and make sure they were happy and healthy. Because really, that is all that matters. 

Sunday, June 9, 2013


I am not what people would describe as a nature lover. I love when it rains outside and I'm inside wrapped in my delicious down comforter. I love when it's sunny outside so I can wear cute shoes and not worry about looking like a sopping mess getting on and off the subway. I do not enjoy/appreciate laying out in the sun to tan. I don't tan, I'm Irish. White and red are my two skin tones. So it can be assumed that anything that is not a domesticated animal is a mortal enemy to me, and I treat them as such. 

Elvis and I moved to New York almost exactly one year ago; two brassy and sarcastic Boston females that were ready to take on everything this city would throw at us. Hers would be more of an inside task, manning the apartment and making sure no unwelcome visitors would dare to enter. Mine was more of the Go Out And Conquer The Universe version of the plan. 

Fast forward to this past April. Elvis was becoming increasingly more interested with staring at one particular part of the wall in the apartment--so much so that I mustered up the courage to get down on the floor and see if there were any cracks/holes in the wall in which (gulp) cockroaches could enter. Yup. There was a rather large opening between the baseboard and floor. Not being able to relax knowing there was an entrance for enemies to enter my fortress, I took a proactive move and decided to Raid the shit out of that little hole. 

Elvis knows when shit's dangerous/toxic, and she refused to go near that spot afterwards. Still a little bit panic-y, I worked myself into a later about the potential possibility that I poisoned my cat with roach killer. Was she acting more lethargic than normal? Did I just see her try to puke? Sleep took over, and I forgot about it until the next morning, when she wasn't lacing in and out of my feet in the bathroom as I was brushing my teeth. Oh my god, I fucking killed my cat. I left the bathroom to go find her, and there she was, just sitting in the front hallway, in the dark, staring down. That's it, she's about to die. I walked over to her, said: Ellie, what's up? Why are you acting all weird and depressed? She looked up at me briefly then once again, resumed her Sylvia Plath-esqe attention to the ground. Fine, be that way--I have to get ready for work. 

The last thing I do when I leave is put food in the bowl for Elvis in my kitchen. This dreaded morning was no different. As I was about to exit the kitchen, I was switching the light off, which is directly outside of it, in the hall. I was looking down, about to take a right in to my hall to get my coat and leave--and there it was. 


I slowly backed up into the kitchen, reached behind me on the counter where I had not yet put away the Raid from the night before, and slowly walked over to it and sprayed the ever loving piss from the can on to this fucking beast. It began squirming and shriveling, all the while I began shaking, tears welling in my eyes and becoming short of breath. I ran into my kitchen, wrapped my hands in more paper towels than I care to admit, THEN stuck said hand into 4 plastic bags I had saved from the grocery store. I bent down, full on crying now, picked up this dumb fucking line backer of a roach and threw it away. As soon as it was disposed of, I walked out of my kitchen, turned my head and projectile vomited down the hall. 

That night after work, (after I puked in the morning, I changed, cleaned the horror that had just spewed out of me and got the fuck outta dodge as soon as I could) I went to the KMart a block from the office. I bought every sort of disinfectant, insect killer and cleaning supply imaginable. And a can of Spaghetti-O's.  I cleaned the entirety of my apartment, top to bottom, blocking any form of hole, even if seemed smaller that a pinhole I could find. No fucking roach was gonna attempt to step their creepy little disgusting arthropod self into my apartment ever again. I was even regretting the fact I disposed of the roach from the morning, 'cause I wanted to hang his dead, poisoned carcass somewhere his buddies could see: Mexican drug cartel style. 

So yeah. I don't do nature. Not even a little. And Elvis sucks as a guard cat.