Archive for October, 2010

The Public Education System, Depression & Bullying

October 21, 2010

My 16 year old niece quit high school.  My beautiful, talented and smart 16 year old niece quit high school.  Those words have been clunking around in my head these past couple of days.  Was it a surprise?  Not really.  I’ve seen it coming for awhile.  Did it make my cry?  Yes.  I don’t know what her future holds for her now, but I know whatever it is, it’s probably not good enough for her.

For those that aren’t familiar with the situation, here’s a little back story.  After failing 9th grade for the first time, my niece flat out refused to go back to school.  That is when the flood of revelations started coming out.  My niece was diagnosed with clinical depression and went through a series of medications to find out what worked for her.  The school, however, did not recognize this diagnosis as they should have.  Instead of working with my sister to re-introduce my niece in a positive way back into the school system, they took the hard line.  They were going to put my niece into a program that would require her to wear sweats to school and no makeup.  They gave her a probation officer.  They did everything but try to address the problem that was actually going on.  My niece was severely depressed and needed help getting through the day, but they refused to recognize that.

And then the bullying started.  As many of you can tell, my own struggles with depression has sometimes made social interaction hard and at times, impossible.  I don’t innately know what the normal social rules are and have had to teach myself many of them.  My niece is in the same boat.  If kids weren’t bullying her over the fact that she wasn’t in school, they were bullying her over things that she would say.  And I honestly understand when she says that she doesn’t realize that what she said was wrong.  She just doesn’t have that ability to realize that she’s being offensive.  There were Facebook pages put up against her.  Parents were even ganging up against her.  If she was feeling like the whole world was against her, it was with good reason.  The school’s reaction?  Very little.

I know some of you would say that my niece may have brought some of this on herself.  I think it’s impossible to say that about someone that has depression.  When she wasn’t going to school, it was because she physically couldn’t get out of bed.  When she was saying things that were out of line, it was because she honestly didn’t realize they were out of line.  So let’s do a little change-a-roo.  What if my niece’s diagnosis had been cancer?  What if she couldn’t have gone to school because of the cancer treatments?  What if kids were making fun of her because of the side effects of cancer?  I think it’s exactly the same thing.  And yes, the final outcome of depression can be just as deadly as any cancer.

So now a little girl that used to love school and used to be quite good at it is sitting at home trying to figure out what to do next in a world where education means everything.  A big thanks to the school system that failed my niece.

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How to Sexually Harass a Girl on Twitter

October 19, 2010

Lately, I’ve gotten a few weird DMs that have just boggled my mind.  They leave me wondering if guys actually bother really reading my stream or are just not caring.  But the thing that really struck me was the fact that these guys had no clue that they were creeping me out.  So yeah, I decided to help some brothers out.  Yes, you totally have no chance with me (unless you are better looking, funnier and smarter than my boyfriend and I assure you that you are not), but that does not mean that I can’t help you creep on another girl in a completely uncreepy way.

Don’t call a girl hot

The word “hot” is a great word to describe the temperature.  If you call a girl hot, you’ve just screwed yourself, especially on Twitter.  There is just no way of using that word to describe a girl in a funny or clever way.  Drop it from your vocabulary now.

The best alternative is the word “cute”.  It’s non-threatening.  It describes the personality more than looks.  And anyways, remember that you have never really seen most of these girls, so you have no clue whether they are actually hot.  But from their stream, you can tell if they’re cute.

Don’t tell the girl that you’re better than her boyfriend

The chances of this being true are like next to nothing.  Plus, the girl probably actually likes her boyfriend despite what her stream says (Yes, I do like Mike).  Slamming someone that she genuinely likes will only screw you over and will only make you seem like a slimy insecure loser.

The alternative here is to just show off your cool self.  Don’t mention the boyfriend at all.  Just be you.  Getting into the friend zone with a girl that you have a crush on who is currently taken is not a bad thing.  And if she ends up getting out of that relationship, then you can push forward.  But just be a friend until then.

Don’t post pictures that you wouldn’t want your mother to see

This covers lots of things.  If a girl sees the constant partying, you’re not serious and therefore are not boyfriend material.  If you post pictures of a certain body part, well, no girl wants to see that.  It could be the best looking one of those thing-a-majiggers in the whole wide world, and still, no girl wants to see that.  Once again, I assure you that no girl wants to see that.

So yeah, um, stop, think, stop again, think about your mother and then tweet.

Don’t just talk to the girl

If your whole stream is just at-replies to this girl, wow.  Are we a little obsessed?  Do we not have friends?  Are we maybe stalking?  This is true even if you are putting in some regular tweets in there.  If all of your at-replies are just to one person, you’re not using Twitter right.  Does this mean that you switch all of those creepy at-replies to DMs?  Please God no.  Even creepier.

A few at-replies here and there are okay, but diversify.  Creep on multiple girls and throw in a guy every once in awhile to make it look like you’re not on Twitter just for the possible sex.

Do actually read what the girl is tweeting about

If you ask the girl something like how her Mr. Fluffypants is feeling after just having visited the vet, that shows that you genuinely care about something that is going on in her life.  It shows that you don’t want to just sex her up.  Do you really care about Mr. Fluffypants?  99% of guys could care less about Mr. Fluffypants, but the girl does.  That’s what matters.

And if the girl happens to ask back about how you did in last night’s softball game, well, that’s a good sign that she’s at least reading your stream too.  But I do need to qualify this because I’m a quasi-stalker out of pure boredom.  A girl asking you a question about what’s going on in your life in no way means that she has a crush on you.  Still proceed with caution.

Do be awesome

Be who you are and be your most awesome version of that.  This way, you don’t have to keep up with lies and you won’t tire yourself out from having to keep putting on an act.  No girl is interested in the act.  And remember, when you lie on the Internet, you are always found out and you will always look like a dick.

So what is the moral of the story: The rules for hitting on girls on Twitter are EXACTLY the same as in real life.  Abide by them and be respectful.  And most importantly, no one wants to see that Twitpic.

Any other words of advice for the guys?

The Non-Existent Problem of Women

October 12, 2010

So lately, I’ve been reading a lot of articles by women that pretty much demean women. I would link to them but I don’t want to increase the readership of what ends up being total crap. My favorite article basically said that if you’re unemployed, then it’s the perfect time to have a kid since you’ll have one soon anyways and it will just screw up your career. The latest said that women are fundamentally incapable of being entrepreneurs because they want kids. Bull, bull, bull.

I don’t know how to answer these articles except to go through some of my upbringing. I’m the daughter of a retired firefighter and a secretary. My father had two jobs for most of my life and my mother started a second job right after I left home. To be perfectly honest, I will also add that they are divorced and did so when I was seven. Regardless of that, I learned one thing growing up: People are meant to work and they are meant to work hard. This is a value that I treasure and that I plan on passing on to my future kid.

How do I plan on doing that? I plan on being the example that my kid can look up to. I already am like my parents in that I have two jobs. I work my regular 9-5 job and then I go home to work on my new business that I just opened. As my boyfriend has noted, it is very rare for me NOT to be working on something. This was even true during my stint when I was employed. I like to work. When I have a child, I know this won’t change just because it’s so ingrained in me. And I don’t want it to change. I want my child to see me enjoying work and to want to be the same.

Will this make me any less of a mom? Despite the fact that everyone says that I’m the man in my relationship, I don’t think so. This just happens to be something that I honest to God enjoy and get upset when it’s taken away from me. It’s kind of like reading. If you really like reading and know all of the joys that a good book can bring into your life, wouldn’t you want to share that hobby with your child? Well, I want to share one of my favorite hobbies with my child too.

Does this mean that I will miss some things in my child’s life? Undoubtedly, yes. Is that okay? Once again, yes. It will make me appreciate my child that much more and it will make my child appreciate the time spent with me that much more. And it will also teach my child about responsibility. Is it really that bad a thing for my kid to realize that sometimes my responsibilities come before him or her? I think it will only reinforce some great values and it will also make sure that my child does not have an overinflated sense of self-worth. After all, things don’t always go the way we always want and sometimes we have to put the needs of others in front of our own.

I do not think any of this is naive, although I fully expect to be called another naive 20-something. I don’t think I am though. I think I have identified what will work for me as a future mom, just like other women have identified what works for them and men have done the same for themselves. So can we all be cool with the fact that work hard or not work hard is an individual’s choice and not based on gender? And can we also maybe stop writing posts about how women should or should not be?

Oh and yes, I do feel better. Thanks for asking.