Thursday, February 10, 2011

America's got talent...or maybe not

Does everyone really have a talent? Or when we hear that everyone has a talent, is that just a way of instilling false confidence in others and not being able to tell people the harsh truth of, "Sorry, but I don't think you have any natural abilities."

I really think there are people who simply don't possess natural gifts. These people have to work harder at everything they do. That's not to say they aren't GOOD at anything. They just won't excel in the things the way that people who have a natural talent for it would. These people will be mediocre in most things and good, but not great, at others.

Perhaps the reason we blow the talent smoke up people's asses is that our society has become obsessed with making everyone feel good. You're unique, just like everybody else! Everyone is smart, beautiful, and can do whatever they put their minds to. Great, so let me bring my 5'1" average Janeane Garofolo-esque (who I happen to think is gorgeous) self to the modeling agency and I'll outshine all the tall, beautiful, blond, size 0 chicks! Because I can do it!!!! Let's get real. I'm happy with the way I look, FYI, but I am under no misconceptions that I can be America's next top model.

So I think the point here is that you might not be exceptional at anything and you might not have any talents. But that doesn't mean you can't still be confident and comfortable in your own skin. As long as you know you're doing the best at what you can do in that moment, no matter how high of a skill level you might reach in that area, you're a rock star. Being honest and realistic doesn't necessarily mean destruction of someone's self esteem. But at the same time, there's also nothing wrong with telling the delusional aspiring model that she's a downright butterface. Although given my Southern manners, I'd probably find a nicer way of saying "butterface" :)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Abundance of Meat in America

Ever since I took a college ethics course 11 years ago (yes, I'm THAT old), I've contemplated becoming a vegetarian. After the thought of animals being tortured from birth to death weighed heavily on my conscience and being completely grossed out every time I ate meat, I finally decided to give up meat as my New Year's resolution. The first few weeks went extremely smoothly. I thought, "Why the hell do people think they need meat so much? Giving it up is so easy!"

Then the cravings kicked in. Big time. I craved red meat so badly I could have killed a cow with my bare hands. I figured my body needed the iron and nothing else was satisfying the craving, so I gave in and ate some beef. Magically, the cravings went away. Until a few weeks after that...

As of yesterday, I've decided vegetarianism just doesn't agree with me. For starters, an anemic probably isn't the best candidate for a vegetarian lifestyle. I also noticed I was gaining weight without having changed my food intake or exercise routines. I did some research and found out that meat is a metabolism booster. Sorry Bessie, but I'm not going to become a fat ass to save your life. Not to mention, when it gets to the point where you're shaking and ready to kill someone, that probably means your diet isn't working for you. 

I keep wondering why I failed. Do our bodies really need meat that badly? Or is it because America is so obsessed with meat that it's impossible to escape? Look around you. The Chik-Fil-A ads feature a cow fearing for his life, holding a sign saying "Eat More Chikin" and people think it's cute and funny. Everything is a competition over who can eat the biggest hamburger or steak. Gelatin, which is made of animal connective tissue, is in practically everything. No one gives a second thought to where their meat is coming from or how many lives were sacrificed so they could be happy enjoying their gummy bears. The main argument I've always heard as to why people can't give up meat is because "It's just so yummy." Really??? I'll bet your precious cat or dog is yummy too but you're not eating it, are you? What's especially funny is that I've heard this statement often from fellow Christians. That and the "animals are meant to be eaten" argument. Doesn't the Bible say to respect God's creatures and his creation? So if you don't give a flip about the fact that God's creatures are kept in a tiny cage from birth and are so iron-deficient that they have no choice but to gnaw on the cage rails to get iron, isn't that a bit hypocritical? And do you really think when God said to eat meat that he had in mind what today's industry would have become?

I'm not knocking those who haven't considered vegetarianism. I'm simply presenting some things to think about. If you're buying locally grown meat and avoiding the factory farms and fast food industry meat, you're helping the cause. That's what I intend to do. I think that's my happy medium between being morally torn and completely apathetic. If you're one of those people who says, "Sure, I feel bad about the animals but they just taste so good," then guess what, you can have your meat and eat it too! All-natural meat is available at most grocery stores now. It's only .$50 to $1.00 more per pound and is cheaper than organic meat. The only difference is that organic farms have to produce their own feed that only comes from other organic ingredients. Both are free range, torture-free, and hormone-free. If you can't afford to do that all the time, then at least consider doing it when you can (although I think you'll find that it IS affordable if you get creative with it. Maybe put those cookies back on the shelf and get the happy animal meat). And, well, if you just don't care then keep eating standard meat and throw your hands in the air like ya just don't care. I'm just happy I've found a middle ground between the two.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Money for nothing and your checks for free? I don't think so...

For those of you who might have seen my Facebook post about stay-at-home moms, this is sort of a continuation of the topic. I just can't stop thinking about it, so I'm doing what I do when something runs over and over in my head: writing about it.

The nagging question: why can't women get paid to be stay-at-home moms? I don't know anyone who works harder than stay-at-home moms - they manage the house and keep their kids entertained 24/7. Stay-at-home moms always have to be "on." I realize this from having stayed home with my son off and on for a year and a half. You don't get lunch breaks. You don't get interaction with adults. It's the hardest job I've ever had. Yet I would give up the working world in a heartbeat to be able to do it again. But I can't because the system in America sets us up to fail. We're overworked and underpaid, and everything practically costs your firstborn (literally, in this case). So one income is rarely enough. My husband doesn't even make enough to cover all our bills, and we don't live extravagantly by any means. Our cars are over 10 years old. We have the most basic internet and cable package, which we rationalize because I need internet for the days I work from home and we never go out to the movies so we stay at home and watch TV instead. So women like me are forced to work outside our homes. Almost an entire paycheck is spent on daycare when, in reality, we could be doing most of the same things with our children at home. What's left is wasted on other bills, leaving virtually nothing leftover for funsies (yes Madcap and PB, I'm totally borrowing the word funsies). So what's the point of leaving our children every day and working our asses off to have nothing to show for it?

The result of all this is moms who spend their mornings crying after dropping their children off at daycare, hearing about everything their child did that day through someone else instead of being able to witness it for themselves, and having to interrupt their work at the office to take a call from their daycare providers. Their heart isn't in the work because they think about their children all day and their heart aches to be with them. Does this sound like a productive worker? I think not.

So why not give women the choice? If you want to go to work and you feel like going to work will make you a better mom because you're just not cut out to stay at home, then by all means, go for it! You're not a bad mom for wanting to work and should never feel guilty. But if you think your calling is to be a stay-at-home mom, then you should be able to.

The biggest obstacle in my theory is where the money would come from. Any thoughts? If it comes from the government, I would imagine moms would be subject to inspections and standards just like daycare providers would be.

I read somewhere that, based on the job description, a stay-at-home mom's worth is $138,000 a year. So why are they under appreciated and overlooked? Staying at home should be a choice, not a luxury. I'm certainly not advocating that high of a salary, but some sort of compensation wouldn't be the least bit unreasonable. Maybe it's all a pipe dream, or maybe I sound like a 50's housewife, but in my ideal world, everyone wins.

Who's That Girl?

Well, it only took me about 10 years to join the world of blogging, but here I am. For those of you who don't know me, I'm a 29-year-old in Southwest Florida by way of Louisiana and Michigan. Just a lil' old Cajun girl trying to make her way in the big bad world of the unapologetic and unsympathetic. Not that I can't be a tough bitch when I want to be, but I'm constantly taken aback by how different things and people are from the way I grew up. After all these years and experiences, people continue to shock me on a daily basis.

And speaking of tough bitches...when I'm not going to work or spending time with my family, I'm kicking ass on the rink in the exciting sport of roller derby. Derby has truly been my therapy through some difficult times and has helped me get back to myself. Outside of the rink, I'm inspired by music, writing, the beach, dancing and, most of all, my son. He lights up my life in ways I can't even describe. When the world has disappointed me, I look at his innocence and his smile and the bad things just seem to melt away. His discoveries, language, and silly antics amaze me every minute.

As if I'm not busy enough, I'm hoping to finish my masters in print journalism that I completely halfway before life took over and I had to put the brakes on it. In the meantime, I want to continue my passion for writing through this blog. It's mostly going to be my commentary on today's society...just some Cajun food for thought! As you can see, I'm not disclosing detailed information about myself. If you know me, you know who I am. If not, then hopefully you'll enjoy my writing but that's as far as you'll get.

I hope all my followers will enjoy and contribute to what I have to say. I love a good debate, so don't be shy!