It’s My Vote, not the GOP’s

If there is one thing this current election cycle says about America, it is that we have completely lost our way.

It is no secret that I am a long time conservative. I made the decision on my own. I grew up in a blue collar family. My parents worked multiple jobs to keep a roof over our heads and food in our stomachs. My parents focused on family being the most important thing in your life outside of your education. I busted my butt in school to get good grades and get into college. College as it turns out isn’t free and contrary to what social justice warriors will have you think, the white privilege myth doesn’t get you in and it certainly doesn’t pay your loans off or cover the cost of your books and supplies.

I’m a single mom and according to the government, I need them. But that isn’t parenting to me. I became a single mother at 25 due to unfortunate circumstances and all around poor choices. But they were my choices and I own them. No one owes me anything for that,but I do owe my son a life he deserves. Instead of taking the easy way out, I took the zero excuses route and finished my college degree at night while working a full time day job. I sacrificed a lot of time with my infant son for those years, but the point of it was that I was  doing it for him and setting the example that if you work hard enough at anything you will find success. He is my responsibility alone. Not the government’s.

As a fiscal conservative who believes strongly in absolute freedom of speech, in my right to defend myelf and the ones I love from any threat, that all Americans have the right to pursue happiness and success, and that the safety of our country is a top priority, I’m completely dumbfounded that THIS is the best we can do. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. A woman who’s negligence got Americans killed and who had a flagrant disregard for national security versus the world’s biggest narcissist, misogonyst, bigot.

I do NOT throw around words like bigot and racist. I do not take those terms lightly because they are thrown around with reckless abandon these days. At this point, it is difficult to deny that Donald Trump is all of these things. He is a walking disaster and the thought of him holding nuclear codes chills me to the core.

There is little I can do to stop this train for moving forward. This election is full steam ahead and it’s only a matter of time until we go to the polls and the train barrels off the tracks. There is no right answer here.

For years, we’ve been voting for the lesser of two evils it seems. When John McCain ran against Barrack Obama, he was a little too left of center for my liking, however Senator McCain is a man that I greatly respect and admire for his service to his country (service that Trump has openly mocked) and I agreed with him on enough issues that I felt comfortable voting for him. I believe he is a good and decent man who would have made an overall good president who would have been willing to reach across the aisle to get things done.

Four years later, I was faced with Mitt Romney. Again, not a perfect candidate, but he hit me where it mattered most to me and that was with my wallet. I think he would have been strong on econcomic policy and the economy means a lot to me when I vote. Do you like money? I like money.

Fast forward another four years and we are in the worst possible position I could have imagined. Okay, it is worse than I imagined. And the sick part of it all is that there are people telling me that if I don’t vote for Trump that I am being immoral and that I am supporting Hillary.

Here is where those people are wrong. I am not supporting Hillary by not supporting Trump. We started a year ago with some of the best candidates I have seen the GOP put forward in my adult life. Ted Cruz was strong all around in my eyes. Carly Fiorina had great ideas on reforming the tax code and foreign relations. John Kasich was honestly one of the most presidential candiates I’ve ever seen and as a long time fan of his record in Washington, I would have been proud to vote for him.

Governor Kasich wasn’t strong enough for those with an appetite for TMZ. He was sensible and calm and let his resume do the talking.

But Donald Trump was TMZ on crack. His campaign has been nothing but one dumpster fire to put out after another and the best that anyone can come up with to defend his actions is that he isn’t that articulate.

No. Trump isn’t articulate. It isn’t because he’s not great at public speaking or because he is passionate. It’s because he is completely in over his head and unqualified to hold the office of president. He is revealing exactly who he is. He’s a man who mocks veterans, blames women for being the victims of sexual harassment, claims he would order our military to commit war crimes, and has complete contempt for anyone who dares disagree with him. He is a man who’s only talent is standing on a podium and belittling others.

Yet I have people like Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity spewing remarks about how if I don’t support Trump I’m personally responsible for allowing Clinton to get elected and that as a conservative it is “immoral” for me to not support Trump.

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Well here is a big “fuck you” to that. Ted Cruz got one thing right this year and it was to vote my conscience. I will NOT be guilted or shamed into using my vote, MY VOTE, a right and duty that I have as an American citizen that I take more seriously than most other parts of my life, to elect anyone that I am uncomfortable voting for. People are becoming so obsessed with “beating Clinton” that they either haven’t truly stopped to consider that the candidate they have put forward isn’t the best solution to that or they are so party blind and hate Clinton so badly that they don’t even care who the other candidate is or what they stand for.

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I am an American before I am a conseravative. I am also a mother, a daughter, a sister, a girlfriend, an employee, and many other things. To answer your question Ms. Ingraham, I will explain to MY son that when the time came to cast my vote (which will likely go to a write in or third party candidate), that I did what was right for America and what was right for HIM and for me. Neither of these candidates are right for this country and you are so focused on “beating Hillary” that you are too ignorant and stubborn to see that the man you have aligned yourself with is every bit as untrustworthy and even more dangerous than any candidate I have ever seen before. I will tell my son that I didn’t vote for someone just because my registration card matched the party on the ballot. I stood up and said, “That was my vote, not the Republican party’s vote. I was not bullied into supporting a man  that I  did not believe was good enough, smart enough, or had enough restraint to lead this country.”

Our country is sick. It’s more divided than ever. We don’t have much to choose from, but I will make the choice that I can live with and not the one that pundits like Ingraham and Hannity so arrogantly believe I should make because they are too cowardly to open their minds and admit that this is the worst case scenario.

When you go to the polls, no matter your party affiliation, vote your conscience. Put country before petty politics. That’s your right and duty as an American.

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Two Years Later

Wow…I haven’t written on here in quite a long time. I always mean to. I always have ideas, but as a full time mom with a full time job, by the time I sit down at night all I want to do is watch Netflix and not deal with anyone or anything.

A friend texted me today about something he read on my blog two years ago. The wonderful world of Facebook and Timehop reminded him that two years ago, I posted about the abusive relationship that I was in for about four years. A lot has happened since I put that out in the open.

The reason that I wrote those three posts was because I believed that if I just got it out and just finally said it that all of the hurt and all of the anxiety would magically go away. I thought that if I ripped off the bandaid that the weight would be lifted from my shoulders and I could move on with my life. What I soon realized, within minutes actually of clicking “publish”  on my third and final post, was that it was only the first step to healing.

I wrote an article for school a year prior about children who are sexually abused by teachers and how teachers get away with it for so long. I spoke with many local experts in medical, social, and psychiatric fields. I reached out to one of the therapists that I had interviewed for my article, as she specialized in working with victims of sexual abuse and rape. That first appointment turned into 19 months of therapy sessions to help me understand what happened, why it happened, and what I have to do to move on.

I want to begin to share that personal journey with the hope that someone out there who has experienced what I have will seek help and start their own road to recovery.

The number one thing that I had to learn to do was to forgive myself. I know. That sounds odd, right? I had to forgive and be compassionate to the person I used to be so that I can become the person I want to be. Rather than carrying guilt and blaming myself and being angry at myself and how naive and afraid I was, I had to show 19 year old me compassion. I had to accept the fact that what happened was not my fault and that the important thing is that I survived and I found the strength to leave and try to make my life better.

Forgiving myself was the most difficult part of my journey. No one wants to be a victim and when you are one for so long, even though you know it’s not your fault, you still blame yourself. You still believe that you knew better and you knew how wrong it was and yet you let it go on and made excuses.

The majority of my time in therapy though wasn’t spent facing my past, but facing the present so that I could have a better future. I’ve been in a relationship for almost two years, and the first year was the most difficult. Do you know why? It was because I couldn’t handle being treated how I DESERVE to be treated. My boyfriend gave me anxiety because he was nice to me and did normal loving things. What a world this is…having a panic attack because someone treats you well.

When you’re treated like nothing for so  many years, you believe that you’re nothing. Every day I was waiting for him to decide he was bored of me or to break up with me for some lame reason. I was never waiting for him to be abusive. I know him better than I know anyone. He was my friend before we dated and he doesn’t have a mean bone in his body. He’s the most caring and compassionate person, but that didn’t mean that he wouldn’t be capable of suddenly realizing that I had nothing to offer.

I was always afraid to fight or disagree with him. I mean, disagreeing had serious consequences in the past. What if he started to hate me because of it?

It all sounds absurd. And it is to a point. But that’s how I was trained to think. I was uncomfortable being treated like a human, with respect and honesty and love. It made me anxious to receive gifts and compliments because I felt like I did nothing to deserve them and that I had to earn those things. Why would you buy me something? Why would you pay for dinner? I felt like if I wasn’t keeping things even or giving more that I wasn’t contributing and wasn’t worthy.

Until him, I’d never, not once, received a gift from a boyfriend “just because.” He got me the most beautiful necklace for my birthday this year and I cried. I’d never received jewelry before from anyone, even at 32 years old. He was floored. It wasn’t just that he got me a necklace, it was that he put so much thought into it. It was a very specific type that I had mentioned I was going to buy myself to match a bracelet I have. It meant the world to me.

Another issue I had was discomfort with being trusted. When he offered to give me a key to his house, I pretty much had a nervous breakdown. I’d never been trusted before. It got really bad. I was anxious all of the time. I couldn’t function. He came to therapy with me to figure out what he could do to help me when I’d have these breakdowns. My therapist discussed with him specific things that trigger me to panic, some of which may never fully go away. But he brought up that he noticed the flip in my demeanor the day he wanted to give me a key to his house. He was right.

Something so small and so normal for two people in an adult relationship was unbelievably difficult for me to accept. We settled at me asking for it when I was ready and the offer would be outstanding. It took me 3 months to feel comfortable with the idea and an additional two to work up the courage to ask for it.

Eventually, therapy sessions became less frequent. Some were still very emotional, while others were wonderful as I just gave an update on my life and talked about anything going on and how I felt about it, whether I felt just a little nervous or completely happy. I began to accept that I am worth loving and that it is okay for me to open my mouth when something is bothering me because there should be no consequences other than coming to a resolution.

I haven’t been to therapy since the spring. I’m sure I’ll go again eventually to check in or if I’m just having a rough day to collect my thoughts and just have that added support of someone who can help cut through the surface.

I cannot say enough about how fortunate I feel for my boyfriend and how incredible he has been in not just sticking by me and being supportive, but really helping to open my eyes to how happy I can and deserve to be if I allow myself. The same goes to my friends who, like one in particular today, check in with me to see how I am doing and to remind me that I’m not alone and that they are there when I need them.

I don’t know if I’ll ever be 100%  better, and that’s okay. I don’t have to be. It’s normal not to be. I still get bothered at times about what happened.  Something will remind me of him or I’ll get awful deja vu from something he did. But at this point, I am strong enough to push through it and remember that it’s over and it’ll never happen to me again because I am worth more than how he treated me.

We Need to Whine

For the past two or so weeks,  social media is jammed end to end with videos of people dumping freezing cold water on their heads in the name of charity.

But it’s not just an empty awareness campaign. The Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Association has earned $53 MILLION dollars from generous Ice Bucket Challengers all across the country and world because of this campaign. That is absolutely insane. People aren’t just dumping the ice, posting the video, and forgetting about it. They’re dumping the ice, posting the video, and then logging onto ALSA’s website and putting their money where their mouth is (myself and my family members included).

Yet, everyone who isn’t participating has a huge fucking complaint about it.

“I’m so sick of your  videos clogging up my time line!”

“You should be charitable because you want to, not because it’s a fad!”

“All you’re doing is dumping water! You’re not even helping people!”

“Waaaaaaaah! All these people are ruining my Facebook and my Instagram!”

Meanwhile, Ferguson, Missouri is eating itself alive. A terrorist group beheaded an American and put the video on Youtube. The Middle East is a God dammed living catastrophe. But no, let’s complain about how generous your friends and family are.

We are a country full of petulant assholes. Seriously, guys. What a fucking world we live in that we have the time and audacity to COMPLAIN about people giving to charity, because they’re doing in a way that you don’t approve of. Do you even understand how spoiled we are that we are sitting around bitching about Facebook timelines having videos of the Ice Bucket Challenge?

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This complaining is all the while going on from people who use Facebook as a Twitter timeline during Steeler games, compulsively post recipes and Buzzfeed surveys and DIYs, daily photos of your kids sleeping, unlimited selfies, passive aggressive posts to “you know whos”,  and eCards about what a dick everyone else is.

Posting about charity has become an offense as egregious as posting Walking Dead spoilers. I think back to the last Summer Olympics and how pissy I was about day time spoilers. Ya know what? When the Winter Olympics rolled around, this time I just stayed off social media and enjoyed my reward of watching USA hockey spoiler free when I got home from work.

Novel concept.

If you don’t like it, stay off of Facebook.

We truly aren’t happy unless we are bitching and moaning about something, but this one just takes the cake. I’ve complained about a ton of shit in my time, but this is just too much.

Pretty soon, the Ice Bucket Challenge will be gone like a fart in the wind, and everyone can go back to cry-babying over who Taylor Swift is singing about now, what Kardashians are naming their kids, how if you don’t like Obama you’re a racist, and how you’re a homophobe if you eat at Chik-Fil-A.

If you actually watched some of the videos, you’d learn that this disease affects the lives of many people that you know. More people than I realized have lost a loved one to ALS. This does actually mean something to a great deal of people, and you’re verbally beating them down because of a minor annoyance in your life.

Find something to support, or support nothing and no one. That’s your choice. But don’t bitch about something as rare as this and then act like you’re not being completely ridiculous for choosing this as your target. There are people out there affected by this disease whom have never had a voice.  If you’ve never seen what ALS does to a person, consider yourself lucky. Let this cause have its 15 minutes. The disease’s victims and their families deserve at least that much.

Donate here and be sure to check to see if your employer participates in gift matching for this cause and any other charitable foundation that you support!

 

Ask The Writer!

Trying something new. This will probably just be a once a month post where I accept topic/question submissions.

You can ask me for advice, ask something personal, ask something off the wall…whatever you want.

Email your questions/comments to mytiarascrooked@gmail.com by Sunday, June 22. I’ll post up my responses next week.

Please specify how I should print your name or if you’d like to remain anonymous.

 

Thank you!