Deciphering the truth in a culture of false.

Archive for May, 2012

The Costume Parade

Weaving through the insanely crowded lobby of the school theatre I felt like I was taking my initiation into “stage motherhood” quite well. My two five year olds were scheduled to do two, yes, two “performances” in the Best of Broadway 2012 Showcase and I was thanking God they had managed to stay in relatively good physical shape before this day. Only minor visible cuts and bruises from biking and scooting too vigerously. Costume fittings, preordering lunch, preorder flowers, preorder tickets, find fishnet hose for 5 year olds,(which was actually surprisingly and maybe a little frighteningly easier than I thought it would be), dress rehearsal, photos, video, invite the family and friends, etc. There were so many things we as parents, a.k.a. mom, had to do to get to this day and here we were. Registering for college courses at The University of Texas was easier than this and probably cheaper too.

My husband sits and waits in the cafeteria comparing how much information he really knows about what is happening that day with the other dads. He is starting to get the picture that he is clueless. It’s not really fair to let him find out that way, but hey. It’s his own damn fault for never listening in matters such as this. I had to do all the leg work. Why should he get to walk around with all the confidence of a peacock while I try to figure out how to get my kid’s crazy hair to stay in a tight low bun for more than five minutes? Does HE he have to worry about the twenty sixteen year old ballet students needing to make a costume change giving him the evil eye because his kid decided she had to take a major five minute dumpy in the one bathroom five minutes before show time? NO, I don’t think so. Did he have to peel his daughters off of him as he placed them in the small prison room filled with screaming tiera wearing toddlers and preschoolers wearing itchy costumes?  And I have to say, “Have fun for the next three hours, okay?” As the moms too afraid to leave their kids, I mean “volunteer” moms stay and play with their iPhones and iPads I have to convince myself my kids are perfectly safe and supervised. For the sake of dance class? How is this worth it I’m thinking to myself, but on the outside I’m a proud mom ready to see my kids “have fun.” Does my husband still have the gall to ask me if I knew what I was doing? Yes, he did. Is he still alive you ask? Yes, but just barely.

Finally, they let the parents and obligated loved ones into the theatre. I think I’m so cool because we find the perfect spot, center stage. An hour and a half into the show, I’m not feeling so cool. I haven’t seen my kids perform yet, so I’m getting anxious. Oh, here they come! There they are! Oh, they’re so cute! They don’t have a clue of what they’re doing. One of my daughters is trying her hardest to keep up with the other girls but seems to be going the opposite direction no matter which way the other girls go. My other daughter, nicknamed the “dancing queen” at our house, mouth wide open, eyes wide open, literally looking like a terrified squirrel running around in circles trying to avoid an oncoming truck. Maybe 30 seconds later, it’s all over. THAT was awesome, I’m thinking. Actually, I was really excited they didn’t just stand there like many of the performances I had already been so fortunate to be a captured audience for. Obviously they had paid attention for a couple of minutes of the four hundred dollars’ worth of classes we paid for.

We couldn’t wait to tell them how proud we were. We had flowers and pride just a bursting.  But wait what’s this? We have a couple more performances to watch? Okay. These kids are pretty cute. I think I can sit here and watch a bit more, but soon I’ve got to get out and get the girls’ lunch for them. They’ve already been without real food for going on six hours now.  They should be really ravenous back there and starting to eye up the “volunteers” by now.

So, I sit through ten more back to back juvenile performances and I’m about to go crazy. I look and on either side of me is completely packed with old people and I don’t know who designed this theatre, but they should be shot. There was as little room to walk between the seats as humanly possible, and there were no isles to break up the number of people you had to crawl over to get to out. With no more than 5 seconds between performances I was never going to get out before the lights came back up. I never thought in a million years I would be one of those rude people who walk out of a performance no matter how bad it was, but I did. I had to. My kids were starving to death, drowning in a prison of hairspray and tutus. When did being over privileged become so strenuous? I think I had had gotten about all the sentimental value I was going to get out of this pony show. To think they still had yet to do another thirty second part in the costume parade.

I made my way over the legion of butt sore grandparents and back stage to my girls. I was overwhelmed with relief. One of my daughters spotted me right off the bat and latched on to me like a little sea urchin. I quickly “checked them out” of the tiny dancers’ green room and headed off to the cafeteria where I was first in line to get them their lunch. We peacefully and a little bit guiltily ate our lunch while everyone else (including my husband and parents) were still pretending to enjoy the show or stuck backstage in their itchy tights. I couldn’t have been more proud of my beautiful girls and me. I did awesome. Everything from there on out was gravy. I knew my kids wouldn’t have to wait long to do their scary squirrel impressions and we’d be out of there.

We were going to leave this experience proud mostly because we didn’t quit even when our kids begged us to let them quit. Were we so proud we can’t wait to sign our kids up for dance next year? Let’s just say we had our professionally filmed DVD and pictures, memory complete.

Why do we do this again? Why do we feel we have to spend a small fortune to give them a little culture, a little fine art appreciation at this age? I’m pretty sure the secret is out. There are lots of parents who are not creative, but who want their kids to be creative and will pay a crap load to try and achieve that goal. The hard truth is, I don’t think we get our money’s worth out of it, but we feel like we’re not giving them all the resources to be as talented or at least as well rounded as we wished they could possibly be. Parents that have been through this tell me if they had known what they know now, they would have just put their kids in a costume parade in the garage and took pictures and video and call it a day. They’re totally right! Forget that the improvisational performance would probably have been more entertaining than what we had just suffered through, but for half of the price we spent total, I could’ve bought the girls some tutus, some boas, some hair paint, slapped some mascara and red lipstick on them and been done with it. Hell, if we held the parade down on 6th street people might just pay ME.

Oh, to be a parent in the suburbs with everything at your fingertips. Businesses tailor made to make you spend every last dime on over-stimulating your young child. “Please pay us to subject your child to the cutest form of torture you’ve ever laid eyes on!” “Hurry up and register your child today!” “There are only limited spots available!” “Don’t let your child feel left out!” I tell you. It’s not that the quality of the education, costumes or the organization was lacking. For the older kids who choose to do this, it’s fabulously realistic when it comes to learning how the theatre really works. However, if you have any inkling of an expectation of seeing your under-five year old “wow” your friends and family because you have your kids involved in some high dollar activities, you’re probably going to be sorely disappointed. No disrespect to their wonderful teacher, who God knows had her work cut out for her with my girls, but I’m not so sure the garage costume parade wouldn’t have given them just as much education in the ways of the theatre as the months of lessons we drove to and fro to in sickness and tears or not. Why couldn’t we have put more effort into making our own show? The quality of the family time would at least have been higher rated. We didn’t even get the pleasure of watching them practice as “distracting parents” were not allowed at rehearsals. Sure it’s “free time” for us, but where’s the involvement except for me donating my wallet, my taxi services and my sanity?

So as we’re walking out of the theatre my husband and I thank the girls for their effort as they noticeably tried very hard to do something that resembled a routine. They smiled proud of their hard work and we reassure them there will be no such torture in the near future. I say to the girls, “Would you maybe like to try singing lessons or piano next time? There won’t be any of this all-day, stuff. We know that was hard on you.” My tiny dancer turns and says to me with her serious face as she had clearly been thinking about it since she walked off that stage, “No. Next time I think I’m going to do Karate.” Oh Lord, have mercy.

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Lying Beyond the Trend and Changing Our Cultural Conscience

Do you even know what a lie is anymore? Of, course you do. Really?

Did you know the most important part of a lie isn’t the lie itself? Is it the motive? I mean what’s the first thing your mama asked you when she caught you in a lie? “Why did you lie to me?” Maybe it’s the effect of the lie.

We lie to ourselves and others lie to us because we reinforce on a daily, maybe even hourly basis, that lying is an acceptable way of communicating. This is Pseudos.

Why is Pseudos in particular so dangerous? What happens because of Pseudos?

#1: When we lie to ourselves it sets us up as victims.

#2: When others lie to us we are taken advantage of like victims.

This becomes the perfect psychological weapon.

Introducing…the cultural conscience…

We all have our own sense of needing to achieve. Some of us have higher levels of achievement than others do, but what keeps the achievers reaching for higher goals? Why don’t they become satisfied after one achievement? Maybe it is because, with achievement there comes rewards. We actively, like all animals, try to make the correct decisions and react in the way that will bring us rewards.

Comparing animals such as dogs or horses to humans in personality is one way we can judge if there are any ulterior motives unique to humans. Bear with me. This makes perfect sense, not only because many of us today, consider our pets to be people too, but because going by the five-criteria of personhood, given by the philosopher Mary Anne Warren, in many ways animals actually are people too. To be a person one must meet at least two of the following criteria: “consciousness, self-awareness, has self-actuated motivation, the ability to reason (solve complex problems) and have the ability to communicate.”

Most animals are self-aware, some can solve complex problems, they can communicate, and they are conscious and have self- actuated motivation. Additionally, we have the same basic motivations. Such as, a need for love and belonging, a need for sex, a need for food, water and shelter, a need for safety and security, and finally a need to make the correct decisions. In a rat, that might mean choosing to walk along the phone line instead of crossing the busy street to get home safe. He is rewarded every time he makes it home and punished at every close call on the road. He learns to survive by rewards and punishments. Yet some animals experience much more out of this operant conditioning. A dog not only learns to survive in his master’s home, but also learns to play and receive love and affection. The dog has not merely survived, but actually achieved something some humans never do.

My point is this: if behavior is primarily geared toward making the correct decisions and moving toward achievement in all kinds of people, why do humans lie? What causes our behavior to differ from all other animals in that we tend to partake in a sort of anti-achievement behavior, by lying? Every human does it. What person would admit he or she farted in the elevator? You are the only one who acts like you didn’t do it, so of course, everyone knows it’s you. From then on, everyone calls you stinky and you are humiliated- the most common form of self-defeatism. To humiliate is “to reduce one’s dignity or pride to a lower position” (Webster’s Dictionary). Humans are the only species who do this to themselves. Carl Rogers would say no one can make you feel put down or make you feel like you don’t belong but you. You would never see a dog refuse a bowl of ice cream because he was afraid of gaining weight.

So, what is it, then? Why do we make these semi-automatic decisions that are in the opposite of our basic interests? Besides our language capability, what makes us different from other animals, so much so that we have to tell lies? We have social pressures like nobody on Earth! That’s what makes us different! We have to be smart, we have to be brave, we have to be funny, we have to be rich, we have to be beautiful and we have to face humiliation every day. But why do we have to feel humiliated therefore causing some humans to tell little white lies almost automatically, and almost daily. You wouldn’t see a dog lying to another dog about whether he had food on his nose or not. The other dog would just lick it off, with neither of the dogs feeling humiliated.

In most cases of the individual, whether or not the told and believed lies do damage to others is not as important, because ultimately, it is a self-defeating behavior that brings more harm to the self than anyone else involved. This is mostly due to what I call the spider web theory. It is when strings of inaccurate responses, become a burden on the mind as it is constantly working on untangling it. (Your brain naturally works to keep the lies straight without you getting caught, so to speak.) Most don’t admit they lie on a regular basis to themselves or anyone else. This is in itself a form of Pseudos. They think, if anything, the lying is a symptom or way to deal with all of their other problems. They don’t see lying as the root of them, so it continues.

And consciously or not, this constant burden on the mind causes people not to sleep well, causing stress and illness, they tend to be more forgetful and they misplace things more often. They, more importantly tend to lose the trust of friends more often. They don’t realize that the lying is the root of much of the unhappiness and stress in their lives. As Bandura reports, there is something called “TRIADIC RECIPROCAL DETERMINISM”, meaning the world and a person’s behavior cause each other. “People do not simply react to environmental events; they actively create their own environments and act to change them.” I hate to sound like an old fogy, but it really seems that with progress we have literally lost touch with what’s important in life. We’re all busy spinning and untangling our webs. Sooner or later those little individual webs are going to get tangled with each other and we’ll all be stuck in one huge web of frustration and confusion.

That huge tangled web of frustration and confusion is our cultural conscience out of control.

So, are we really “losing touch” as society becomes more modernized? Can we help it? Do we have the skills to choose to be honest, caring people? Well, that takes self-discipline which ironically is taught to us by someone else. (Typically, it’s our parents.) Now you’re saying, discipline? My parents? Ha! Let me just say, I’m with you. With the absence of discipline in general in our society we can clearly see the environment we are creating just by watching reality television. These people are freaks of nature… but then there are a lot of them.

Could it be as Karen Horney suggests? We envy justifiable qualities we find in our culture and we can’t help but feel anxious about achieving them. Perfect relationships, power, recognition and prestige. Or can we overcome, like Carl Rogers says? That no one can make us feel inferior except for ourselves?

It could also be that we all have Horney’s “neurotic needs” to some extent. All ten of them in fact. (And that’s Karen Horney’s neurotic needs not horny neurotic needs, for all you perverts out there.) I’d list them and their explanations here, but that’s a whole ‘nother book. The most important of which, to all of us, is that we never lose our status. Many will lie no matter what the cost in order to preserve this status. And this is where Homey and I agree.

Most of us are terrified of being humiliated. Some of us, to the point where it doesn’t even register that telling the truth would cause far less anxiety, than what we will later experience from the constant avoidance of such humiliation. Like I said before, our technology allows us to avoid this much easier almost completely, but as Bandura relays, the avoidance of such pain can lead to illness caused by stress or worse, could lead to psychopathology. In fact, George Kelly believes we don’t naturally respond to the environment truthfully in order to avoid pain, but to maximize our understanding of our accurate, true view of the world.

So, why do we complicate the world with silly little white lies? I theorize, that if we are feeling weak against the many pressures of the world, our judgment, in our process of Self-Regulation, becomes overridden by the “Cultural Conscience” and we respond in a behavior that pushes us almost automatically, in the way of making a response based on cultural and social influences. It’s like a defense mechanism, a filter in the preconscious mind, that other animals have no concept of, but that we use like instinct in order to avoid more social pressure.

I have a good friend who tried to make his point with this quote that something about how cuttlefish change their appearance to camouflage themselves from predators and are they lying because they do this? Let me just say that the people I’m talking about are so confused that if they were lying to do something so humble as protect themselves from predators their equivalent answer to disguising themselves would be pink camouflage and designer sunglasses. They want to be hidden but not “too hidden” if you know what I mean.


Pistol Packing Mamas Unite

I keep looking down at a scratch I have on my palm because it reminds me of my friend’s deep funky scar she has in the same place.  Well her’s is almost a scar, a barely closed wound really; still healing from trying to block the knife that stabbed her.

Let me just say that if you have any best friends that you have not gotten in touch with in a while, I highly recommend just calling and saying hello because the chances that they may need you are great.

What I thought was going to be a lovely Sunday evening reuniting with one of my old friends turned out to be a very rude awakening for me.  This friend is one that I consider one of the best and one I know I’ll always be friends with no matter how few and far between our visits are.  You meet few people in your life that hold this ranking, but you know them when you meet them.  They’re like your friend soul mate.  It was lovely, don’t get me wrong.  It felt very good to make the face to face connection again, but what she told me I had missed over the year completely rocked my world.

As things often go, my friend and I don’t get much contact anymore in that we’ve moved on to different cities and started families, etc. etc. So it’s not unusual when one of us goes MIA for a while.  We just get busy and after a while get together on Facebook or email and catch up.  Add the fact that most of my family and old friends live in Houston which is a place I rarely visit anymore and well, you tend to miss some things.

If you must know why I don’t like Houston, being that I was born and raised there, I don’t like it because well, Houston is getting to be a dangerous shit hole. Not to put too fine a point on it.  I don’t mean the whole place is a cesspool of crime by anymeans, because that’s just not acurate.  There are some fantasic parts of Houston that everyone wants to be in.  Austin has it’s share of daily tragedy too.  Every big city has them, but let’s just say Houston is very big and has a lot of room for crazies.  I used to feel so safe when growing up there.  Now?  Not so much. Hey, check the history books.  Even Sam thought it was a shit hole.

Okay, obviously I didn’t always feel this way about my home town and obviously I’m completely spoiled living where I live now, in typically safe west Austin.  While I’m in danger of being accused of being a snob for feeling this way, I really can’t help but make the connection between Houston’s crime rate and the ever increasing tragedy that is recently plagued my friends and family as of late.  I could go on and on about the horrible things that have happened of late in and around Houston, mostly because of drugs, but not necessarily.  Things that you would maybe expect in New York or LA, not the subs of H-town.  I actually saw my grandparents’ house featured on the reality show The First 48, which is a reality show about gathering as much information about a murder in the first 48 hours of an investigation. The 20-something year old that lived across the street had her head nearly completey severed by an angry ex-boyfriend.  Seriously, people, just as a conscientious observer looking in from the outside, I can tell it is not the town I used to know.

To put it in perspective for you, I got my first real job in the Woodlands and spent many a late college night on the backstage security staff of the Cynthia Woods Mitchel Pavilion. Me, 115 lbs. me…on security detail.  That’s about how much people were afraid of getting jacked in the Woodlands.  At that time, my worst and only fear of living in Houston was that I had to drive on I-45 every day.

But a decade (or so) later, just the other day a woman was shot to death in the Woodlands just taking her baby to the pediatrician. Probably where my mom used to take me.  Some crazy person decided (with the help of another crazy person no less) that they wanted a baby and that all they would have to do is take it.  So they stalked the woman, and when the timing was right the person grabbed the nine day old right out of his mother’s arms.  Of course the mother fought like hell so the crazy lady shot her dead and drove off with the baby.  Hours later the criminals were caught and the baby was rescued thank God.  They really had no plan other than taking it and going home.  How on earth did they think they would get away with that?  What are the chances of having two crazy people taking so much uncalculated risk?  Is the desperation per person in Houston higher?   Maybe, but my best guess is that the environment of crime and the prevalence of it being so high in such a large population, aids psychos in thinking: Hey, what the hell.

When I go everything kind of looks familiar, but there’s just something that’s not quite right.  Kind of like nephews and nieces you haven’t seen in a while.  The last picture you had of them they were so cute wearing their little soccer uniforms and the next thing you know they’re all hairy and joining the military.  The change is unnerving to say the least.  But to those who have grown up there and plan on staying there, I swear it’s like they hardly even notice anything but the traffic.

I guess it’s one thing to have a home where you feel safe and quite another to be a visitor having to stay in a hotel somewhere off I-45 where the pimps keep their BMW’s running out front, no matter how long they plan on staying.  The fact that I’m also a writer which makes me a little paranoid and reclusive by nature doesn’t help my uneasiness.

I know my friends and family don’t feel the same way because they’re used to it.  Of course it seems like a harsher more superficial perspective I have as a “visitor,” but as someone who did live there most of my life, to me, it seems like the old friendly Texan environment is gone and I just don’t think it’s worth it to ever go back. Usually, like Stevie Nicks I keep my visions to myself because I know I’d hurt their feelings by dogging our hometown.  When I bring up moving away from Houston they just sigh and tell me they’re husbands will never move, they share custody with an ex-spouse who will never move, they’ve got a good job in this economy, what have you.  Then I sigh and think: well, if they’re used to it then that’s good, because most of them are never going to have a choice.  They have put down roots.  I respect that so I back off.  There is usually no more to say, but the events that have recently come to light regarding my loved ones and my home town have made me rethink everything.

I don’t know why it’s worse there than in other towns, but the crime is bound to touch you in one way or another if you live there.  It’s touching me lately, and I don’t even live there.  The thing is, it’s not the town.  It’s the people and the times we live in.  As much as I want to blame Houston, that really doesn’t help.

First of all, Houston being Houston is not the reason violence happens to good people.  There is tragedy and crazy people everywhere, but that’s exactly why I am specifically saying this to women no matter where you are no matter what your situation.

Imagine you and your best friend and why you are best friends.  It’s probably because you tend to have very similar goals in your lives, similar personalities, maybe even the same strengths and weaknesses, that including men.  I know my best friends tend to be pleasers like me.  We have trouble saying no to people we love and have even more trouble dealing with the guilt on the rare occasion that we do.  Now imagine you two going through similar situations; getting married and each having a child.  You both have beautiful little girls that look just like you.  Now imagine one of you having marital problems.  That’s not too hard to imagine; everybody has those.  Now it gets a little tricky.  What if those marital problems were caused by him having a mental health problem like bi-polar disorder?  That’s common enough, could still be you.  What if those health problems were exacerbated by drug abuse?  Why not? We’re close enough to that around here with our beer and coffee habits.   I can see that happening to me.  So far, maybe you are exactly in the same boat.  But one day, something sets you apart without you ever knowing it’s even happened.

At a certain point the anguish becomes too much and plans have to be made to get out of the marriage without setting off any mental explosions.  This would have to be done quietly and without the knowledge or help of any friends.  As fate would have it, the husband who has mental health and then drug problems goes to jail for a while, making an easier exit for the wife possible.  A divorce is finalized and a bit of relief begins to set in.  There’s a hitch though.  The “changed man” who never has been physically violent wants to see his daughter; supervised of course.  This still kind of sounds like a pretty typical divorce these days, does it not?  After a while of witnessing truly rehabilitated behavior the wife is ready to let her guard down just a little, for the sake of being civil and for the sake of the child’s relationship with her father.  For the sake of gas mileage, I can honestly say, I’d had let the father of my child know my address.  Especially if I truly thought he was not a violent person and no longer on drugs.

So which one of you would you choose the next set events happen to?  The father comes to help the mother paint their four year old daughter’s room.  Together they paint it a beautiful shade of violet.  Then they clean up putting the little girl to bed, exhausted from an exciting day with mommy and daddy again for the first time in a long time.  Happily ever after is just a beer clink away.  She kneels down to pick up something off the floor when she feels the cold of a knife to her throat.  Only when she hears the vicious words hissing out of his mouth that he’s there to kill her does she recognize that it actually is a knife.  She fights for her life waking everyone in the house and nearby neighbors with her blood curdling screams.  Her four year old little girl comes running in and watches in horror as her father stabs her mother five times aiming for all her major organs.    As a student of anatomy there is no question he knows what he is trying to hit.  Somehow although now starting to black out, she is able to fight her way to the handgun he had no idea she had and she shoots him… and kills him.

My friend says all she could think about was not passing out and getting to that gun because she knew he would kill her daughter too if she failed.

If you haven’t guessed by now, I can no longer identify at this point and my guess is neither can you.  The words are going in, but no comprende’, you know what I’m saying?  The absolute truth of it all is that there is no reason that it couldn’t have been me or you.   Hell, she and I met because of our involvement with a crazy guy we once dated and between the two of us, we didn’t really date all that much.  It could have been me in that situation and I hate to say it, but I don’t think I would be able to get to my gun.  Then I realized I would have been a victim of my own Pseudos.  I heard them when I bought the gun that I really would have to own the fact that I would have to kill someone if ever I had to use it.  I believed them that it was absolutely the way it was going to be, but I never understood or felt the gravity of that until now.

Social psychologists say that upon hearing about a tragedy in general we try like crazy to see/find out who it happened to so that we can identify with the victim in some way.  (This is their explanation for rubber necking.) Then shortly after that, the second thing we want to find out is what exactly happened and every little detail about how because we want to rule out any chances that the scenario could ever happen to us.  In essence, we then desperately try to UN-identify with the situation.  Basically it’s nature’s way of calming us down when we are not in any immediate danger. But I tell you, I’m having a hell of a time “un-identifying” with this one.  I don’t see how any of us can.  I don’t see how any woman can hear this story and not want to get a gun and learn to use it.  If you can, let me just add one more thing. While my friend was lying there bleeding to death on the floor having just shot her husband, and desperate just to let someone, anyone, know that she had life insurance in case she didn’t make it, 911 put her on hold.  That alone is evidence enough to know you can’t count on anyone to come save you.  I don’t know which is more disturbing.  That Houston’s 911 can put you on hold in a situation like that or that they are so busy with crisis in that city that they have to put you on hold in the first place.

If you happen to be like my friends and family and have deep roots in a shitty town, I wish for you to be aware that just because you’re “used to it” doesn’t mean you are prepared for it.  While many get used to being unprepared and will never be comfortable defending themselves because of how they were raised, I mean no disrespect.  You are not a weak person by choosing not to own a gun.  I’m mainly talking to the ladies out there who go the lengths of getting a gun, but never touch it as the thought of ever having to use it seems too intimidating to fathom.   I’m guilty of this and I admit it.

We convince ourselves we’ll never have to use it.  We have it “just in case” but we never want to think about “the case” in which we would have to kill someone.  We walk around as mothers thinking we can do anything if we put our minds to it, but because most of us refuse to think like men, we become victims of them more often than we have to.

Now I’m going to get in all kinds of trouble for saying that, but my point is that men are wired in ways that we don’t want to comprehend.  They think of scenarios women may think are extremely violent or vulgar, but in their minds are just simply scenarios…possibilities.  None the less, we can’t think like them and seriously, we shouldn’t want to.  Maybe that is why we tend to put an emotional price tag on everything we think of because that’s how we get hurt the most.  Physical pain isn’t something we are all that afraid of or foreign to, but something we don’t seek out either.   Subjects like guns and how we’re going to blow someone away just aren’t something we typically fantasize about.  But this I’m sorry to say, puts us at a disadvantage in an ever increasingly violent environment.  What can we do but take certain precautions?

The fact is it’s not usually the strangers from the bad environment you have to be worried about.  It’s the people you surrounded yourself with voluntarily and care about who inadvertently are influenced by the bad environment and end up hurting you.  After what I heard last night about my girlfriend’s survival story, I can assure you, now is the time to get paranoid.

Ann Coulter said recently that everyone should get a gun.  I’m going to second that motion, but I also want to add that if you happen to be a woman, you should especially get a gun and learn how to use it well.  Ninja training is a little difficult, but if you want to do that, I think that might be the only viable alternative.  If a man is out to murder his wife, the cards are stacked heavily in his favor.  If you take away the fear of getting caught and going to jail, as in a murder suicide situation- the likelihood of a man being able to carry out his wishes is fairly easy.  Add an environment where there are about 290 murders/homicides a year happened and you’ve got a reason to get a gun and know how to use it well. Out of those I found there were at least 20 murder suicides and attempts in the area.  You know how many there were in NY City NY? Try six.  Crime on the decline? Ha!  I think maybe 10 less people were murdered last year than the year before.  Congratulations.  You did better than Afghanistan.

I’m about to get in trouble again but I’m pretty sure this is true. We women are forever suckers when it comes to the father of our children and they know this, deep.  There is just something inside them that knows that if they are really patient and concentrate on how, they can make us believe anything.    We want the happily ever after no matter what we have to go through to get it.  The phrase “I’m a changed man” should be a red light to every woman, because we all know “deep” that it’s impossible, but we ignore it anyway.  We love so deep and become so dependent on our spouse when we have a family even if that dependence is a hindrance to our health.  My point is we never know who will hurt us the most or how far someone will go to hurt us until many times it’s beyond our control.  And when this person happens to be a man, and maybe even a man who knows your particular weaknesses, what are you prepared to do to save yourself and possibly your children as well?  How many scenarios have you gone over in your head about just what you would have to do if you needed to escape a male attacker?  Have you ever thought of what you would do if the attacker was your husband?  I know I for one, I don’t want to think about that.  Honestly, with a gun I don’t have to give it much thought.

If I am trained well enough with my gun, I know where it is and I know I can get to it in an emergency, I don’t think about who I’ll have to shoot or why.  I just know I can and that I will if someone comes after my babies.  I am no longer an ultra-vulnerable, uber-trusting wife.  I am now a force to be reckoned with and I have no qualms about reminding my husband of that every chance I get.  Not that I think he’d ever do anything to harm me, but it serves like a reminder of the fact that I can take care of myself if he’s not around; either physically or mentally… if you know what I mean.   Look, it’s not any different than leaving out the tampon box in the bathroom around your period.  It’s just a subtle reminder to the man that he needs to leave you the hell alone.

I can only say this.  My friend and her daughter are alive today because she had a handgun and she used it…well.  After all the time she spent planning and lengths she went to in order to just stay away from the danger, the one moment she let her guard down  was the one moment evil took advantage of.   She was able to save herself with nothing but shear will power and that gun.  At some point she felt her husband or an intruder would be more of a danger to have around than a gun and for that correct decision she is still alive today to watch sailboats, talk about the Cure and drink red wine with me.  My friend isn’t any different from us, well, other than the fact that she is an absolute hero.