Social media break

As January came to an end I wasn’t feeling very well. After a week of more physical activity than usual my energy level was incredibly low, and I spent a lot of time on the couch. During this prolonged rest period I realized that I was nearly always scrolling through content on one social media platform or another. Now, I’m not young or hip enough to hang with the cool kids on Snapchat or TikTok, but I am a heavy user of Facebook and Instagram. I generally prefer to post photos more than anything else, which makes Instragram my favorite app, but I use Facebook to keep in touch with friends. Not only old friends that I made long before social media existed, but also friends I met through social media. And I have been known to argue with misogynistic jerks on Twitter from time to time. (Now that I think of it, I’ve been argumentative on every platform. I’ve even been blocked by a few accounts for pestering them with crazy stuff like acceptance and equality. Some nerve, huh?) Basically, given an internet connection, I can waste time like a pro. The real problem is that I have absolutely nothing to show for all those hours on my laptop and phone.

Reflecting on my downtime over the last two weeks I realized that I should have been participating in an activity that was actually fulfilling – like blogging (hello lovely readers!), reading, making videos, uploading photos (I’m so far behind on Flickr), or even picking up cross-stitch again. You know, basically anything except staring at a screen like a brainless zombie. To see what I could do to turn the tide, on January 31st I decided to take a social media break during the month of February. I logged off Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter that evening hopeful that this would allow me to refocus on endeavors that are productive in one form or another. (Plus, the cumulative effect of social media on my psyche has always been unfavorable, so getting away from it for a while should be beneficial.) I read a few books towards the end of 2019 about forming positive habits and finding time for creative endeavors, and now it’s time to put some of those ideas into effect. First up, my blog. I always lament the state of it when I don’t post as often as I’d like, so I’m going to use a large portion of my reclaimed free time for writing. I get a good deal of satisfaction out of this creative expression, even if no one else reads it. I’ll never be a career blogger or anything like that, but I’d like to write something meaningful from time to time. That’s going to take practice. We’ll see what I can about that do over the next four weeks.

Looking my age?

On Thursday I turned 41, but it wasn’t exactly an exciting day. I went back to work on January 2nd after more than five months on medical leave. It was a Thursday, and the office was incredibly quiet since most folks made the smart decision to stay home on the first two workdays of 2020. I’m only working part-time for a while in order to ease myself back into employment, so I spent roughly 4 hours on both Thursday and Friday sorting through thousands of unread emails that had accumulated in my inbox while I was gone. It was pretty draining, but I’m glad to be back in the office and using my brain for something other than arguing with jerks on the internet. (That’s a story for another time!) Unfortunately over the weekend I caught a terrible cold. I felt so terrible that I had to take the first three days of the next week off to recover. Not exactly the way I expected my return to work was going to go! I also missed my boot camp classes those three days due to the illness. Thursday January 9th was my birthday and I was finally able to drag myself not only to work, but also to the gym. (I originally planned to celebrate at Disneyland, but I missed way too much work to be out yet another day that week.) Traditionally all of the gym goers have to do as many burpees as the age of the birthday boy or girl, but I was absolutely not going to force the folks who came for a regular workout to do 41 burpees on top of the cardio class they had already completed. Fortunately the trainer was merciful and we only did 21 burpees instead. Still tough at the end of class, but we all did it. When the ladies at the gym found out that I’m 41 they were shocked. I’ve always looked young for my age, but bow that I’m no longer as slim as I used to be I figured that effect had diminished. It was flattering when the ladies asked me what I do to stay youthful. Besides my obsession with sunscreen and an embarrassingly extensive skincare routine, I have no idea. Moisturizers and serums can’t be the full explanation. Obviously there is an element of luck (i.e., good genes) at play. Still, it’s nice to know that I don’t look my age just yet.

This reminds me of a funny story. Back in March I went to see a hematologist because I’m a carrier of a blood disorder called beta thalassemia, and I wanted to make sure this wasn’t contributing to my fatigue. For reference, the Mayo Clinic website states, “Thalassemia is caused by mutations in the DNA of cells that make hemoglobin — the substance in red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout your body.” Additionally, “In thalassemia, the production of either the alpha or beta chains are reduced, resulting in either alpha-thalassemia or beta-thalassemia.” Boring, I know, but better than any explanation I could formulate on my own. Fortunately for me I only have the trait, or minor, version of this disorder so it doesn’t affect my daily life. When the hematologist walked into the examination room for my appointment she was visibly surprised. She said something to the tune of, “You don’t look anything like what I imagined! I was expecting dark hair and olive skin!” This made me laugh because my appearance is decidedly northern European in nature. To let you in on the joke, according to the Mayo Clinic, “Thalassemia occurs most often in African Americans and in people of Mediterranean and Southeast Asian descent.” So this is obviously something that a blonde-haired, blue-eyed Irish girl needs to worry about, right? It was funny to surprise a doctor for a change! I inherited beta thalassemia came from my mother’s side of the family, but besides that we have absolutely no idea where the it came from. Even her 23andMe results don’t shed much light on the origin. We were fully expecting Italian, Greek, or Spanish ancestry somewhere in her report, but that’s not what showed up. It’s a mystery! Fortunately the hematologist assured me that because I’m only a carrier that this blood disorder isn’t causing my fatigue. That was one diagnostic avenue that lead to a dead end, but not an unexpected one. It allowed me to focus on other options instead. I’ll get to the bottom of this eventually.

Happy holidays 2018

It’s Thanksgiving week and I am officially overwhelmed. Not only am I still fighting my usual chronic health problems (I need to call two of my doctors tomorrow for some follow-up information), but I also have a lot of other things on my plate right now. I haven’t written about most of them yet (not being secretive, just waiting for the dust to settle), but they have been dominating my time nonetheless. And of course the holidays are front and center right now which doesn’t make anyone’s life any simpler. First of all, there’s Thanksgiving on Thursday. I am running a combination 10K/5K turkey trot in Dana Point that morning, and then heading to dinner at my best friend’s house in Pasadena in the afternoon. In order to make the food preparation a little less stressful I whipped up my homemade cranberry sauce last night. Two batches even – one with diced apple and pear, and one without (to cover everyone’s dietary requirements). I also signed up to make a couple of desserts so those have to get done by Thursday afternoon. ‘Tis the season for time-consuming holiday obligations! And that’s nothing compared to the rest of the year. I swear time speeds up starting on October 1st and the next three months pass in the blink of an eye. As much as I love it, this time of year is very difficult. The shopping, the parties, the decorating, the eating, the travel, etc. Even with most of those activities being thoroughly enjoyable, it all piles up. And I’m already fighting exhaustion 24/7! So in an effort to minimize the drains on my already dwindling energy reserves, I am taking a break from blogging until January. Since I still have quite a few subjects that I want to write about I will continue to craft posts whenever I find the time and inspiration, but I don’t plan to publish anything until 2019. Hopefully this respite will make the last six weeks of 2018 a little bit easier. So here’s wishing all of my readers a lovely Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s. Let’s make the rest of this year the best it can be!

I Voted

“I find it poor logic to say that because women are good, women should vote. Men do not vote because they are good; they vote because they are male, and women should vote, not because we are angels and men are animals, but because we are human beings and citizens of this country.”
-Jo March, Little Women (1994 film)

I wasn’t surprised to find out that my least favorite blogger is against a woman’s right to vote, but that didn’t keep me from feeling disappointed by it. Even though it’s been nearly 100 years since the 19th Amendment was ratified, there are still people in the United States that think those of the female persuasion should not cast ballots of their own. I suppose that’s not a huge surprise given the diverse society we live in, but you almost never hear those folks expressing their wildly outdated opinions anywhere that the general public can hear them. Kind of like racism in the days before our current disgrace of a president. We all knew racists existed before he came on the political scene, but they were keeping their mouths shut to avoid derision. It’s sad how times have changed and empowered racists in the last few years. But I digress. Actually, the digression isn’t as off-topic as I would like. Around the 2016 election there was a scary and disheartening hashtag permeating social media – #RepealThe19th. Men (and maybe women too) who recognized that Trump would be elected president by a landslide if only males voted figured that one way to achieve their desired outcome was to float the idea of rescinding women’s suffrage. Pretty despicable by 21st century standards, but Trump tends to bring out the worst in people. Speaking of which, here’s what my least favorite blogger had to say about women voting a week before the 2018 midterm election.

“What are my thoughts on women voting? I have been asked this frequently. I am not a fan at all. Women overwhelmingly vote Democrat. They vote for big government to take care of them which means higher taxes and more laws and regulations which means less freedoms. They vote for free health care and abortions. They vote for leftist policies which are highly destructive to the family and culture.”
-My least favorite blogger, 10/29/18

So her initial gripe is that women vote Democratic, as if it’s a sin to disagree with her personal beliefs. Heaven forbid that we use the brains that God gave us and come to our own conclusions! Turns out my least favorite blogger does indeed vote, but only the way her husband tells her to. Thinking for yourself is just too much of a destructive feminist principle, I guess. Believe it or not, I don’t need a man to tell me my own mind, thank you very much. Even when I was married I didn’t consult my husband before heading to my polling place. We might not have had the greatest relationship, but he did trust me to make my own decisions in that area! Another one of this lady’s objections to women’s suffrage is that females vote for “free health care and abortions.” This is both an oversimplification and a gross inaccuracy at the same time. I don’t know anyone who believes that there is such a thing as “free” healthcare. We’re not stupid; of course we know that our taxes pay for anything subsidized by the government. What we’re striving for is more affordable coverage for everyone, especially for those who aren’t lucky enough to be covered through their employer or privileged enough to pay for it out of their own pockets. And although Jesus would most definitely be a proponent of caring for the sick and the poor, somehow my least favorite blogger disagrees with attempts to actually do so. And while we’re at it, let me say one last thing – absolutely no one is pro-abortion! Instead we Democrats are pro-choice, meaning that a woman should always have the safe and legal option of ending a pregnancy if that is her decision. Abortions are never taken lightly, even if opponents insist that they are, and often terminating a pregnancy is the hardest, most gut-wrenching decision a woman or a couple will ever make. Taking that option away would be a step backwards for this country. Bodily autonomy is something that males have enjoyed since the beginning of human history, but it is something females are still trying to achieve for themselves. We have come a long way, but there are still inequalities that need to be reconciled. This is one of the reasons I vote!

In conclusion, the United States government was founded with the concept of the separation of church and state, and women were granted the right to vote via the 19th Amendment to the Constitution in 1920. If someone wishes to abstain from voting for any reason (religious or otherwise), that is their choice. However, no one has the power to enforce their beliefs in a manner that prevents me from casting my ballot and voting for any candidate I want. As an American woman who wants to have a say in the governing of my country I mailed in my ballot for the 2018 midterm election back in October. I did my civic duty and made my voice heard. What a concept!

Just say no to NaBloPoMo 2018

How is it November already? It really snuck up on me this year. October was pretty much a blur, and then Halloween was over in the blink of an eye. Needless to say, I will not even be attempting NaBloPoMo in 2018. I completely forgot about my annual 30-day webpage update challenge until yesterday, honestly, and by then it was already the second day of November. Far too late to post anything legitimate for the 1st. So the pressure to flood the internet with any and all of my innermost thoughts for a month is off the table this year. That’s a relief! There are far too many other, more significant things to worry about. 2018 has been quite a mess so far and I’ve had a lot on my mind lately. Mostly my health because my body is trying to drive me insane. Luckily it doesn’t seem to be killing me with cancer or some other degenerative disease (at least not that I’m aware of), but I’m still having a rough time. I’m simply not sleeping properly and it’s negatively affecting every facet of my life. In an effort to fix that, I have a second sleep study scheduled for next week so hopefully at least some answers will be forthcoming. At an appointment last week my neurologist said that he didn’t want to just throw more medications at the problem until he has more data. He wants the sleep study to check for “everything,” whatever that means. I’m sure that the bottom line is that I will have another thoroughly miserable experience, but I’ll happily endure it if that means getting one step closer to normality. Not only have I not gotten a good night’s sleep in maybe years, but there have been more tangible losses as well. I’ve missed out on more things than I can count. For example, on Tuesday when I woke up in the early hours of the afternoon I panicked. I had missed yet another day of work due to my unknown medical issues and, in addition, I was literally sleeping away the precious hours before a couple of rapidly approaching events. First of all, Halloween was less than 24 hours away and I had done very little to prepare for the annual chili cook-off at work. It’s one of my favorite days of the year and I hadn’t even made my own chili yet. But that was minor in comparison to what was coming next. I was supposed to fly to Orlando on Thursday for the Wine & Dine half marathon weekend, but how could I possibly justify that? I’ve missed way too much work already, my sleep pattern has been erratic at best, and my life in general has just been too chaotic recently. I couldn’t perceive any scenario where going on vacation, even to Walt Disney World, was a good idea right now. So I made the hard decision to cancel the trip I’d been looking forward to all year. I’m disappointed to not be there this weekend enjoying myself, but I’m actually feeling much more relaxed here at home where I can rest and catch up on what I’ve been missing. Nothing is 2018 has been easy so far, but I’m hopeful that better days are on the horizon.

Follow your instincts

Earlier this year a woman posted in the Seal Beach Facebook group to warn residents that her daughter had been followed down Main Street and into several different shops by a man she didn’t know. Her instincts told her that there was something off about the situation so she pretended to take a photo of the man, causing him to quickly flee the scene. Fortunately for this young woman the story has a benign, although unsettling, ending. And most of the folks in the Seal Beach FB group agreed that she was lucky and had handled the situation well. For the most part, our little town is incredibly safe and I have rarely been fearful for my security. But to reiterate that dangerous situations still happen, even in our sleepy beach community, I told a condensed version of a story where a man followed me in the grocery store parking lot late one night. (I’ll expound on this is a separate post.) Here is how the FB comment section unraveled afterwards. (Note: Last names have been removed, and I have edited the comments somewhat to keep the narrative as brief and to-the-point as possible.) The bottom line is, follow your instincts and believe women when they say they have been targeted!

  • Lauren: “I had a man follow me out to my car in the Pavilions parking lot one night. Fortunately I saw him and got in my car quickly and locked the door. He stood next to my driver’s side window and waved at me. I believe he was just asking for a handout, but I didn’t give him a chance to say anything. Once I got home I called the store and told them about the situation.”
  • Josh: “Personally, I’d rather enjoy life and deal with situations as they arise and not be on constant alert, believing everything is a threat. Terrorism works because the actual harm is statistically small (3k people died in 9/11; 35k people die every year in car accidents alone), but the emotional reaction ruins people’s lives, ruins entire economies. Bad things happen, but not very often, statistically, and media that implies that bad things happen all the time is, in my view, salacious and manipulative.”
  • Lauren: “Unfortunately as women we have to be vigilant or we are vulnerable. Take a look at the comment I made just before yours. I was not a victim because I was alert, recognized the situation, and got myself to a safe place. Others are not so lucky.”
  • Judi: “It’s easy to feel this way when you’re a man. You have no idea what it’s like to be a woman – we have to be ever vigilant and aware. That’s not to say we have to live in fear and paranoia, but for us, the threats are very real. Sex trafficking aside (which is also an increasingly growing threat) – 1 in 4 (or more likely 1 in 3) women are sexually assaulted in their lives. Don’t deny or diminish our experience as women, you really have no idea.”
  • Josh: “You should become aware of any sudden increase in immediate physical risk to you (or your family). But that is not the same as ‘increased vigilance,’ which I am thoroughly against. Increasing vigilance decreases the threshold for threat detection. This might seem safer, but you pay for it. First, you live a more stressed life. Second, you run a higher risk of false positives. If everyone becomes hyper vigilant, society as a whole suffers. Seriously, if you want to actually minimize your risk of harm and not just make yourself stressed: be extra careful crossing the street and never ever drink before driving.”
  • Lisa: “Josh, first of all, I’d like to address your lack of grace. This was a warning, which is a reminder to be ‘more aware.’ Your comments have intruded and quite honestly lacked any compassion to this topic. Secondly, because you’re a man does indeed make it feel ‘minimized’ by you. Obviously you have a right to feel the way you do and have your judgements but because the nature of this awareness is scary – is not the right time to blast your thoughts of ‘mass hysteria.’ Sir, I have been prey to this type of situation and also was a victim of a mass shooting! There is no harm in saying keep your eyes, and ears open, and look for your exits. If you disagree, then give grace and get off the thread. This I guess, doesn’t apply to you.”
  • Lauren: “Josh, you have every right to live your life in whatever way you wish. And so do we. The fact is that you cannot understand the female experience if you aren’t one. I don’t live my life in fear, especially in Seal Beach, but I am still aware of my surroundings. And it has served me well.”
  • Josh: “I will not raise my daughter to live in fear. You are welcome to do as you like, of course. Sharing my view is no more or less intrusive than you sharing yours. Cheers and may reason prevail over emotion.”
  • Lauren: “And may real-life experiences open our eyes to what is actually going on around us.”
  • Judi: “Josh – I do actually understand what you’re saying and to some extent, I can agree on certain points, but you’re off base to not acknowledge that sex-trafficking and also generalized threats to women and children are very real. You may be able to assess risks based on statistics and even empathize with a person’s experiences in life, but that doesn’t give you the authority to speak to the experiences of women in the same way I – as a white woman – can’t speak to the experiences of a black man navigating life in our society. There’s a difference between being aware, knowing our individual risks, and being smart about how we handle those vs. living in fear. I’ll opt everyday for the first two for myself and to teach that to my children. My husband and I were discussing this recently when we parked at the mall. We parked in a not-well lit structure at dusk. I told him that if I were alone, I never would have parked there knowing I’d be returning to my car after dark. That really gave him pause and he said he’s never given any thought to where he was parking based on lighting or the time of day. Exercising caution about where I park and teaching my daughters to do the same is being aware of our risk and being smart – not living in fear. There’s a difference there that you don’t seem to be delineating between. Why wouldn’t I want to become aware of a sudden physical risk (one that may cause me harm), as you suggested, than use extra vigilance and take precautions to not end up in that situation in the first place?”
  • Mark: “Josh, big difference between ‘situational awareness’ and being ‘paranoid.’ I would suggest you get up to speed with human trafficking numbers. The vast majority are young women, and it’s a lot more than 100. California, Texas, and New York have the highest numbers. San Francisco and San Diego top the cities in CA. It’s real, and it’s getting worse.”

Feminine wave

I purchased a lot of dresses and skirts over the summer, mostly because I like the way they make me look and feel, but also because they are comfortable and stylish in the heat. But then I realized that they also make me feel more confident in my less that ideal body at the moment. (As always, it’s a work in progress. My exercise routine is great at the moment, but my diet is terrible, and my sleep is just plain atrocious. So there’s still progress to be made.) I originally wrote about this feminine overhaul back in April as part of my retail therapy series. I’ve worn those Old Navy swing dresses that I wrote about in that post many times, for work and on the weekends, and I’ve added to my collection as well. I now have a number of beautiful dresses which make me feel pretty and at least slightly fashionable. Trust me, I’m not trying to keep up with the younger/thinner/cuter, ladies at work, but I always seem to have a more positive mindset when I like what I’m wearing. And most of this new apparel was inexpensive (from Amazon or Uniqlo) which is a major plus. (Not too long ago I realized that I need to cut back on my emotional (but never completely frivolous) spending, but that’s a topic for a separate post.) However, some of my new clothes have cost a bit more money. Earlier in the summer two of my close friends helped me select three dresses at Ann Taylor and Loft, during a fortunate sale, and I found a beautiful black shift dress for presentations at work which was sadly not marked down at all. But it was too perfect to return. I’ve learned that money can sometimes buy small slices of happiness.

As far as the existing clothes that were clogging up my closet even before I purchased anything new, I am starting to make some strides. I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that I am never going to wear a lot of the dresses that were previously in my wardrobe. They are currently two sizes too small, and I don’t want to torture myself by gazing at them wistfully anymore. So I decided to get rid of the colorful shift dresses one way or another. So far I’ve given three to a friend, after a visit to the dry cleaner, of course. It’s good to know that they will be worn by someone who will appreciate them. My next stop will be a consignment shop or two to see if I can sell any of the remaining pieces. They are all high quality, semi-pricey dresses in great condition, but who knows if they have any resale value. I guess I’ll find out. The final avenue will be pursuing a donation to Dress for Success, a charity that provides professional clothing to women in need to wear to job interviews, and when they are newly employed and getting back on their feet financially. I can’t think of a better way for my old dresses to be used to make the world a better place. Plus, I’ll feel a lot better when I reduce the clutter in my life as much as possible. I’m trying to purge not only the negative thoughts from my mind, but also everything unnecessary from my house. I have acquired way too much stuff over the six years I’ve lived here and it’s getting a bit overwhelming. I have my retail therapy spree in the first have of the year to thank for a lot of that! It’s time to start scaling back again, but this time while wearing a dress.

Only the beginning

“My personal conversation with my body hasn’t yet progressed far enough to the point that I love what I have. It’s a process, I know, but frankly, I want to spend as little time as possible thinking about my arms and legs and the way the fat on my back folds when I’m not paying attention at the beach. I just want apathy – to feel nothing about my body at all, to be merely grateful that it functions as I require, that I put clothes on it (when forced), and food in it when necessary (surprisingly often!). Love, like hate, requires too much active effort for something I don’t even want to deal with.”
-Scaachi Koul

It’s no secret that I have less than loving feelings for my body. In fact, I’m undoubtedly its worst critic. I am rarely happy with how I look, much to the detriment of my self-esteem. This is something that I am working on. (Yesterday morning I gave myself compliments as I was putting on my makeup.) Specifically, I wrote about focusing on my successes rather than my failures not too long ago, but it’s (unsurprisingly) an uphill battle. I keep trying to remind myself of the progresses I’m making at the gym and with my running, but I still have a long way to go when it comes to obsessing about my weight and the size of my clothes. Fortunately, taking a break from the 6-week fat loss challenge that ended last month was very beneficial. I kept exercising as much as I had been before, but I worried less about strictly following the diet plan and posting pictures of every single meal and snack for the trainers to comment on. This greatly reduced my anxiety and allowed me to focus more on my overall health. The Monday after the fat loss challenge ended I weighed in at the gym and I had only lost 4 lbs, but I had also lost inches on just about every measurement. That was encouraging. Not that I kept the progress going since then, in fact I’ve regressed a bit, but it’s good to know that if I can find the energy to work hard enough I can eventually get where I’m going. It just might be a long road with a number of obstacles along the way.

Unfortunately my life, and the world in general (more on that soon), has been a bit rough these days so very few things seem positive. But I know that at some point I will find my equilibrium. My first priority is to get my physical health under control. Speaking of which, I have another sleep study scheduled for this coming Friday to determine whether or not I have narcolepsy. The Klonopin prescription that my neurologist gave me a few weeks ago doesn’t seem to be making much difference so we’re taking the investigation to the next level. My first sleep study was no picnic, but I can endure another one if it means that I might get additional answers into what’s going on with my crazy brain. It’s so hard to take care of your body the way you should when it’s causing you so much trouble. However, I am doing a few things in the realm of self-care to keep my spirits up while things are not all sunshine and roses. I have added an extra day at boot camp every week (which means I am sore almost all the time), and I’ve started running more (which my feet and legs are having to acclimate to again). In fact, my workout buddy and I have started running from her house to the gym (~1.75 miles), completing a boot camp class, and then running back. It can be grueling, but I know it’s extremely beneficial across the board. Then when I get home I’ve been pampering myself with some probably unnecessary, but refreshingly indulgent beauty products. I bought some Kiehl’s shower scrub at the airport on my trip to Portland last month, I got a bottle of way too expensive Crabtree & Evelyn body lotion with some leftover Amazon credit, and I’ve been applying Vitamin C serum to my face every morning. These things might not make any real difference in the health of my skin, but the routine of nourishing my body is soothing when it feels like so many other areas of my life are in chaos. But I know it won’t always be like this which helps me get through the hardest days. I’ll get to where I need to be. I just don’t know when!

Debt and higher education (part 2)

“You educate a man; you educate a man. You educate a woman; you educate a generation.”
-Brigham Young

Yesterday I wrote a post about the financial aspects of my undergraduate and graduate school education. I was attempting to refute claims from my least favorite blogger that men find women less desirable as potential wives if they have debt incurred from higher education. To take it even further, this woman doesn’t approve of college at all for those of us of the female persuasion. To use her own words, “There’s nothing biblical about young women going away to college.” It’s easy to unravel this argument, though. First of all, college as we know it today did not exist millennia ago when the Bible was written. Of course there were institutes of higher learning, especially in the more wealthy and powerful nations, but I don’t think even those are addressed in the Bible. (Please correct me if I’m wrong!) Second, women had almost no rights or autonomy at that time so I’m sure they received little to no education. They had so few options in their lives simply because of their gender and the male-dominated society they were born into. (This is slightly off topic, but as always, I am unbelievably grateful to all of the women who came before me and made the world a more equitable place for future generations.) Later in her post this blogger continues her rant:

“They [women] will be taught to be strong apart from the Lord and independent of Him and in no need of a man. In fact, they will be taught that there are no differences between men and women and be encouraged to be a man and take on his role. They will be taught about birth control, overpopulation, and the inconvenience of having children. They will be taught to pursue careers so they can make a name for themselves and have money of their own. They will be taught nothing about God’s ordained role for them but instead, spend a lot of money for their college education and gain a mountain of debt.”

To start with, what individual could possibly have the right to determine what God’s ordained role for any person other than themselves? That’s arrogance of the highest order. There are a number of reasons that women want to further their education, but most want to prepare for a career. I was in a sorority at UF and a majority of my sisters had lofty professional dreams that they were pursing, similar to my own. In this day and age a college degree is almost a requirement for any line of work. Of course, I understand that this isn’t universally true, and that college isn’t right for everyone. And that’s perfectly OK! I don’t judge folks for their educational choices, unlike some “Christian” bloggers I know. (I read another article by a different author recently that got me all fired up on this subject, but I’ll have to address that at a later time.) On the other hand, most of my sorority sisters were also eager to fall in love, get married, and start having children. So even though they had ambitions outside the home, they still wanted the traditional house with a white picket fence and a loving family to go with it. We are lucky that thanks to women’s rights advocates and feminists that there’s no reason we can’t have both! For example, where would we be without female-dominated professions like nursing, teaching, and social work? Let me use another quote straight from my least favorite blogger herself. In a recent Instagram post she asked, “Many women believe they are being ‘called’ to their careers but are they really?” For myself the answer is a resounding YES! And I’m sure most of the working women that I know, many with husbands and children too, would have a similar response.

The last point I want to address is single women such as myself. How would I be able to support myself if I didn’t have a good job thanks to my college education? Granted, my situation is unique since I made the choice to be single rather than having singleness thrust upon me. I divorced my ex-husband because he was abusive and cheated on me, but not all women have that luxury. What about women who are widowed or whose husbands leave them? Also, what about married women whose husbands become disabled or unable to work? How do they feed their children, keep a roof over their head, and satisfy their most basic needs? As I mentioned earlier, it’s difficult to get a good job without a college degree now. This is the reason I believe that all women who are inclined to go to college should do so, even if they plan to be a stay-at home wife and mother, just in case they are required to be their family’s breadwinner for one reason or another. It seems prudent to plan for whatever the future could bring rather than relying on a man to fulfill the provider role for the rest of your life. Of course this is just my opinion and I would encourage all women, couples, and families to figure out what works best for them. God gave us free will for a reason and he wanted all of his children to be happy, including members of the fairer sex!

P.S. In case you were wondering, one of the reasons I continue reading posts from this particular blogger is because they inspire me to think critically about the subject at hand and write these responses/rebuttals. Blogging has always been good for my soul. So even if I get angry reading her posts about how ladies these days are apparently loud, improper, and far too independent, I won’t let it affect how I feel about myself as a woman. I will simply use my visceral reaction as an opportunity to explain how not everyone fits into the same rigid box. Use your God-given gifts and live your life in whatever way you wish, ladies!