How Will Women Ever Be Equal To Men If We Keep Taking Their Last Names?

In a world where we fight against men for jobs, equal wages, raises and promotions, it does not seem logical to me that we are complacent about taking on their last names in place of our own. Upon getting engaged, my fiancé and I didn’t even need to discuss whether or not I would change my last name after marriage. He knew that I was very passionate about keeping my name (which also happens to be my mothers birth name) and never hyphenating. His thoughts on the topic were “Your name, your identity, I don’t care.”

I’m lucky to be with someone as progressive as he is on the topic. After we were married, I quickly realized just how out of the norm my decision was. I find myself correcting people constantly that I am not a Mrs. I’m also not sure why it confuses people so much that they address mail to us in the exact same way they did before we were married -with both of our full names. I clearly underestimated how outdated and old fashioned our society still is today.

When doing some research, it frightened me to find out that HALF of Americans think a woman changing her name to her husband’s at marriage should be the LAW. This seems like patriarchal brain washing from the stone ages. It’s hard to believe that in 2018 anyone would believe this should be required. For years women fought for the right to maintain our names at marriage. We should use that right it far more often than we do, and be proud to not have our identity taken over by a man’s. The history of women fighting to keep their names goes back many years.

In 1856 Lucy Stone became the first women in history to legally maintain her name after marriage. In her era she quickly rose to fame, and became an icon for other women who wanted to buck the tradition of taking a man’s last name. For decades after this, women who followed in her footsteps and kept their last names were known as “Lucy Stoners”.

The Lucy Stone League was founded in 1921 with the motto stating “A wife should no more take her husband’s name than he should hers.” They were the first feminist group to arise from the suffrage movement, and became known for fighting for women’s own-name rights. Sadly, it wasn’t until the 1970’s that laws were lifted requiring a woman to use her husband’s last name to vote, do banking and even get a passport.

Women’s rights have come a long way since the 70’s, yet despite this we are seeing an increase in women changing their names rather than keeping them. It makes me sad to think that despite the struggle of the Lucy Stoners to form a movement that would help future generations, almost 80% of women today still choose to take their husband’s last name.

A Harvard University study found that among its alumni, each year that women delayed marriage or having children related to a 1 percentage point decline in the probability that they would change their names. An important factor was if the women had made a name for herself or not prior to getting married. Google studies show that women who come from wealthy backgrounds, and marry later in life are also less likely to change their names. The New York Times reports only 10% of women actually hyphenate their names. Women interviewed about why they changed their last name gave a variety of explanations. Most were things like: “Everyone else does” “I wanted to be a family unit”; “It’s easier when we have kids” or “It’s easier to make hotel reservations.”

Though many women prefer to take the easy route and not go against the grain of tradition, widespread change can only happen when we dare to be different. In the spirit of those early feminists who fought to keep their names, let’s make it a popular trend not to keep changing ours. It’s time we started re educating society to stop assuming being a Mrs is an accomplishment to strive for. It’s also time we started teaching and empowering little girls with the fact that their name is their name. Not just something they shed when they meet whomever they will marry. It’s time that women became proud to be Lucy Stoners again.

My Day On Brooklyn Jury Duty. Tips & Survival Guide

I recently got the dreaded notice that I had been summoned to Brooklyn jury duty. Sadly, I missed the El Chapo jury selection by a few weeks, because I could totally have been bribed for good Mexican drugs.

Doing your civic duty isn’t easy, so here are some survival tips that I wish I had known before arriving.

  1. Your call time is the ungodly hour of 8:30AM. Don’t arrive too early. They didn’t even take juror cards until 9:45 AM. If you run late no one will notice. I promise.
  2. If you don’t have time to eat breakfast, pack or buy one on the way. You’ll be stuck in there till at least 1PM. Also bring a bottle of water. You can take this all inside past security with you as long as you don’t have a glass bottle. There is no water fountain or cooler in the holding rooms.
  3. Everyone automatically sat in the biggest holding room on the second floor. Being the rebel that I am, I ventured into the smaller empty rooms off to the side. One room has cubicles and plugs so you can use your laptop or charge your phone. I was the only one sitting there all morning and it was private & relaxing. I enjoyed my secluded nirvana until around 11:30AM when an annoying lady came in, started talking to herself, dropping Skittles everywhere, then passed out snoring. The juror instructions, intro video and names called get piped into these side rooms, so don’t worry about missing anything.
  4. There are vending machines by the bathrooms. Bring the equal amount of $1 bills that you would to a strip club, so you can buy coffee and snacks to keep you alive.
  5. What was going on upstairs? Is there a jail cell up there or something? I kept hearing random men yelling and pounding from above. I decided the sounds could also be the ghosts of past jurors who died waiting to be called.
  6. Since I had not been called for the voir dire (jury selection process) yet, I was dismissed for lunch at 12:45 PM and told to return at 2PM. Up until that moment I had thought Voir Dire was an appetizer. This is your big opportunity to blow that $40 check you’ll be getting on lunch, but mostly booze. How the hell else are you supposed to survive this awful tedious process? I personally slugged two overpriced Magaritas at Rocco’s down the street, but there are plenty of other good options nearby.
  7. I returned my pristine private cubicle area around 1:55PM to find it almost completely full of people, with a slew of Fast Food wrappers everywhere! There was only one seat left. What the fuck!? This was a significantly unexpected disappointment. I would now have to spend the remaining three hours waiting to be called smelling McChickens and BO. There were also food wrappers strewn all over the seats in the other rooms. Apparently Brooklyn Courts don’t employ day time cleaners.
  8. Though the lunch return time was 2 P.M. no one was back to call more names until 3:40PM! They were clearly onto juror day drinking and wanted us to dry out. Again, if you come back a bit late from lunch it’s doubtful anyone would notice.
  9. Around 4 P.M. they started frantically calling the names of the remaining 70 people on the room. We were then taken into what looked like a classroom, where a court officer took attendance to make sure we had actually come back from lunch. Then he had everyone cram into an elevator to the 19th floor and barked at us to sit in the waiting area.
  10. We were then herded into a court room where the judge and lawyers were seated. The judge made a speech about how important civil service is while everyone who had just sat in a waiting room for 8 hours rolled their eyes at her. She swore us in and then said we all had to come back at 9:30 A.M. The crowd let out a collective groan. It seemed ridiculous that after a full day of waiting, they would make us spend a second one waiting for the selection process.
  • Outside the court room the court officer was giving people the phone number to call if you had a conflict you could not get out of for a second day. Be sure to get this number and the section of court you are in if you need to call out.
  1. Having several real reasons I could not make it the next day, (including a Dr. appt I had waited four months for), I called the provided number the next morning. They didn’t ask for an explanation and just said thank you for calling. I figured my name would be thrown back in the jury duty pool and i’d have to suffer all over again in a few months. Instead, a week later my “jury duty fulfilled” letter arrived in the mail. Thankfully, my nine hour day of waiting around was enough to complete my required service. I’m safe for six years.
  2. Jury duty sucks, everyone has to do it, blah blah blah, but there actually ARE many valid ways to be excused from service. If you have them (independent contractor with no employees, student, medical/mental health issues, etc.) be sure to email the court with proof before your date comes up. Not feeling like it isn’t a valid excuse. Don’t ever ignore a notice and not show up, because there is a high risk of having a bench warrant on your record.

Overall, the Brooklyn jury duty system is extremely dated and seems like it hasn’t changed since 1960. I am most shocked that with our current technology, that they haven’t come up with a faster and more modern way to deal with the selection process. Here’s hoping the system changes to a more efficient process, before I have to report again, but it seems doubtful.

 

 

 

I Wore A Black Dress On My Wedding Day, And I Don’t Regret It.

My wedding day was not the “ best day ever.” It was not as important to me as many of the other things I’ve achieved, and pales in comparison to the things I hope to achieve.

I was never a kid who dreamed of my wedding day, and as an adult never wanted one. I’m not a fan of PDA, so the idea of proclaiming my love in front of people felt like a nightmare. I did however always love the idea of the lifelong commitment of marriage. Unfortunately being married and a wedding go hand in hand. Nine years into the relationship with my partner, we decided to get engaged. The minute we started to share the news, it felt like a category 5 hurricane full of special day bullshit was headed straight toward me.

Within a week, I was swarmed with questions from friends and relatives. “When will you get married!?” “Where do think you’ll have it?” “What will you wear?” People seemed more excited about me getting married than any of the other important accomplishments I had made, which disturbed me. I was already barfing in my anti-bride mouth.

I was resenting the idea of a wedding more and more based on the high level of other peoples excitement. The very thought of being called a “Bride” actually made me sick to my stomach. I had spent my whole life dressing outrageously, so the thought of wearing white and looking like everyone else does on their wedding day especially made me want to run for the hills. I wanted to go to city hall and get the whole thing over with, but my fiancé wanted a celebration.

Another six months went by and we tried to plan the most non-traditional wedding possible. My rules were no flowers, white dress, aisle, photographer, bridesmaids, groomsmen, dancing, DJ, or wedding cake. None of that was very me. When reaching out to book restaurants if anyone replied by telling me about my special day, I instantly put the email in the trash.We ended up planning to do a private ceremony with six of our closest family members, followed by a dinner party for 35. My excitement about it was non existent. To me getting married isn’t an accomplishment or something to be congratulated for. Staying married is.

I finally realized I need to buy a dress as the date swiftly approached. When I went to a local gown store to find something fabulous for the day, (but not white), the shop owner asked about the occasion I was shopping for. I then made the huge mistake of telling her it was for my wedding. She pretty quickly turned from a normal person into a cartoon, with big green protruding dollar signs on her eyes.

Though I told her I was not looking for a white dress, she led me to an off-white, white dresses with black belts, cream and pink dress section. These were clearly the options for women who say they want to be unique, but don’t actually have the balls to stray too far from the beaten path. It’s surprising to me that in our modern era, so few women are willing to step outside of the box with their wedding day attire. I was about to become one of the rare few.

I quickly realized I was about to have to channel Miranda from Sex And The City: “I said no white, no ivory! Nothing that says ‘virgin’! The jig is up!” The shop worker seemed shocked. She looked at me in disbelief and said “So you reallllllly don’t want to wear a even a light color for your wedding??!!?!”

I was almost as shocked as she was that she was shocked.

Was I really the only women to stumble in the door who didn’t want an white/off white/pink/cream wedding dress!? I felt like I was living in the twilight zone. Were there really that few women like me, who don’t want to look like clones of every bride ever?

I eventually found a dark “special occasion” gown, which was a pretty beat up sample, but fit me like a glove. The shop worker told me “You’ll lose a lot of weight before your wedding, so expect to pay to get it taken in.” As someone who had recovered from an eating disorder, this advice was very triggering. I kept wondering why I was expected to lose a ton of weight before my wedding day. Was I not good enough as I was?

The first version of my wedding dress

The woman told me the dress cost $1,200 new, but agreed to sell it to me at $275.00, since I knew how to fix the many missing bugle beads and minor tears. It seemed like a great bargain, but I later found out the same dress sold new for about as much as I had paid.

Though I loved the dress, the idea of losing weight before my wedding kept tormenting me. The idea of planning a party that I didn’t really want was also tormenting me. I eventually zipped that dress in it’s bag, because it started to represent so much negativity to me. That gown had begun to feel like a living, breathing monster of a wedding day that I didn’t want or care about having.

To make a long story short, by the time two years went by we had planned and cancelled SIX different versions of a wedding. The sixth time around, we finally got close enough to a final wedding date to send paper invites. I had convinced myself to suck it up this time. But that didn’t last long. Two weeks later, we cancelled the entire wedding again. It was embarrassing, and not the ideal situation to find yourself in-especially after having hand wax sealed 22 envelopes. Unlike most people who cancel a wedding, I actually didn’t feel sad. I felt a huge sense of relief. I was absolutely done trying to plan a party I didn’t even want to show up at.

Despite our many failed attempts at planning a wedding, we still knew we loved each other & wanted to get married. The only real solution after that mess, was to elope and invite NO ONE. Though my fiancé had been initially against the idea, our two years of wedding planning hell and seeing how miserable it had made me changed his mind.

Four months went by, and I was booked to perform in Hong Kong. My fiancé suggested the idea of flying there to meet me & doing a self-uniting ceremony at my favorite place in the world-The Tian Tan Buddha. Upon flying home that week, we would go to City Hall and make things legal. No party, no people, no fuss. For the first time in awhile, I actually felt excited about getting married.

When our wedding day arrived in Hong Kong, I grabbed a simple black wrap dress out of my suitcase that cost around $30. It was a dress I felt good and comfortable in. I didn’t have to diet to fit into it. I did my own hair and makeup that morning, and we waited in line with the many other tourists to get to the Big Buddha. We documented the day with selfies and videos on our cell phones to share as a surprise video later. Once at the big Buddha, we found a quite spot & had a self-uniting ceremony where we exchanged our hand written vows, poems and rings. Though it was just the two of us, it felt very meaningful.

Later that night for dinner, I wore a slightly fancier black gown that I had designed and made myself, which had over 8,000 hand strung bugle beads. I took pride in wearing black the entire day and being the polar opposite of the traditional bride. No one even suspected that we had been married that day, due to the color I wore. I oddly enjoyed the lack of celebration.

Our Rogue DIY Wedding

We flew back to NYC the next day and did the legal part of our marriage at City Hall about five days later. I wore the same simple black dress that I had in Hong Kong. For this part we actually grabbed a random stranger at city hall to be our witness. The bare minimum legalities took about 25 seconds.

After eleven years together and planning and canceling six weddings, it felt amazing to finally be legally married. That evening when we finally surprised everyone we knew with the news, they were pretty shocked, considering our many failed wedding attempts. Looking back, I wouldn’t have done it any other way, both with eloping and my choice of bridal fashion.

I am forever proud of my choice to wear a black wedding dress. I hope that other women take my lead and stop subscribing to a bridal industry that promotes conformity instead of individuality.

If you are curious about our rogue wedding day-check out the video here. 

 

I Miss America

I haven’t written a blog here in forever. When Donald Trump got sworn in on January 20th, it felt like the world was going to end.
In a way, I feel like America as we knew it actually did come to an end on January 20th.
I cried that day and felt a deep sadness as I mourned for my country.
I cringed as I saw this sexist, chronic liar, who had spread so much hate put his hand on a bible and take our nations highest honor. How could “we the people” have done this to ourselves?

What we are left with are the smoky remnants of a place that used to be respected. An America where fighting between different races, religions and political parties has reached an all time peak and is boiling over. It seems like everyone is filled with hate and rage toward each other more than ever. Maybe this has been here all along. It’s just now that a man with such little regard for others is in power, that people feel more free to express their sexism, hate, racism and bigotry in big ways.

The Trump fans seem like lost souls to me-fearful of anything and anyone they think is different than what they think is normal or ok. They wanted change from the establishment, but didn’t realize they were hurting themselves in the process. Change can be good. But not this change. This change is like trading a fresh organic burger for a smelly rotten beef patty, covered in mold, that will make you shit blood.
I’m sure soon enough the ones who haven’t already admitted that they voted for a total train wreck will see the light. This isn’t about political party anymore-this man has embarrassed our country and tarnished the reputation of the USA so badly that i’m not sure we can ever recover. It’s time that the GOP jumped ship and turned it’s back on Trump & Co. The Republican party will destroy itself from the inside out if they don’t soon. Everyone working in the government has committed to a life serving the USA and its people. There is no question that this President is not doing that. Why is no one taking a stronger stand? It makes me feel very helpless to standby and watch. It’s like a building is burning down with people inside and the firemen are just watching You Tube.

It boggles my mind that Trump has yet to be impeached, with more and more evidence coming to light regarding the treason which I firmly believe he committed.
I hope we can look back on this and laugh someday, but right now i’m scared that we won’t have a country to even look back from. This idiot is going to get us all killed with his irresponsible tweets and reckless political decisions.
Given that it has been confirmed the Russians interfered to elect Trump it seems like we should have a redo of our election. I know this is a pipe dream, but this has NEVER happened before in the history of our elections, so why is no one fighting for it? (It was also a pipe dream for a reality TV star with no political experience to be elected President and THAT happened-so why not?)

As a women in my thirties, I have always felt like America would be ok, but i’m not so sure anymore. It feels like everything our founding fathers worked for and what so many men and women have served and died for is being destroyed before my eyes.

I miss America. This is not what we stand for. We are better than this man.

The Mystery of Stephen King’s Halloween Candy

Halloween is my very favorite holiday ever. I love it more than Christmas, The 4th of July, or Thanksgiving. When I was a kid Halloween was a huge deal for me. When I was really little, my Mom always spent many hours hand making my costumes. Usually they were pretty good, accept the one year she dressed me as a firecracker with the wick on my head as a hat and no one knew what the fuck I was supposed to be.

 Growing up in Maine, Halloween was usually really cold. That often meant wearing a coat over my costume which was no fun. It also meant that I was from a state very famous for certain things like it’s lobster, lighthouses, L.L. Bean, and it’s most famous writer; Stephen King.
 I was at school the first time I overheard a few kids talking about having gone trick or treating at Stephen Kings house. They said that he had these massive, towering fences with spiders and bats all over them and that he gave them FULL SIZE candy bars. My jaw dropped.
On Halloween I usually got popcorn balls, dum dums, some mini chocolates and smarties. Sometimes I got lucky when my grandparents wouldn’t get enough trick or treaters, and they would give me all their extra loot. But never in my life had I gotten a full size candy bar in my candy bag. I didn’t know much about Stephen King at that age, aside from the fact that my Uncle Jesse did jury duty with him once and got a first edition copy of “IT” autographed to my Mom.
 That Halloween I asked my Mom if I could go to Stephen King’s house to trick or treat. Since his house was over an hour drive from where we lived, she told me it was way to far. I continued to hear this taunting candy bar legend throughout my childhood. By the time I was too old to trick or treat anymore I had still never gotten to verify that this story was indeed true, nor had I ever gotten a full sized candy bar in my trick or treat bag.
 

As an adult, I still wonder if this every actually happened. Tonight I googled to try and find any stories about this and came back with 0. According to his official website, he no longer hosts trick or treaters because A few times and we had 600 or 800 – one time we had 1,400 people show up for candy and treats and it’s fun, it’s great to see everyone, but it wears everybody out and it plays hell with the law so we’re not doing that anymore.” 

So Maine people, can anyone verify if they ever got a full sized candy bar from Stephen King’s house on Halloween? Or is this just an urban legend?

Harambe; Better Off Dead Than Alive In A Zoo

By now, we’ve all seen the video and stories. A four year old was clearly not being watched by his loser parents, and slipped into the enclosed Gorilla habitat at the Cincinnati Zoo. This kid had time to get through wires, and over a moat before he made contact with the 450 pound endangered gorilla named Harambe. This was well more than a split instant. Witnesses claim that they heard the child state that he wished to go into the enclosure and was actively trying to breach the barriers. What happened next is heartbreaking. 

We see Harambe taking in this random child who has suddenly entered his habitat, and being very gentle with him. He appears to stand in front of the child as if to protect him. Once the parents and zoo goers start screaming he clearly becomes agitated. He drags the child through the water, but then gently stands him up, and in a moment that gets me every time-Harambe lovingly pulls up the little boys shorts. 

The zoo keepers had to make a quick decision. They shot Harambe with a slow acting tranquilizer dart. But Harambe grew up in the wild and was not raised by people. Gorillas of his size can crush a coconut as easy as a human can crush an ant. Knowing he could be very agitated by this dart,  which could take 10-15 minutes to work, they were put in a lose-lose situation. Should they wait for the tranquilizer to work, and potentially have a very horrific public death of a child on their hands? Or do they kill their beloved gorilla, and face the protests and repercussions of that? With a childs death at the zoo, they would surely be out if business within a year. Weighing the options, they chose to shoot and kill Harambe, in what i’m sure was a gut wrenching decision. Ian Redmond, who is the chairman of the National Gorilla Association says that the zookeepers had options other than killing Harambe. He states “When gorilla or other apes have things they shouldn’t have, keepers will negotiate with them, bring food, their favorite treats, pineapple or some kind of fruit that they don’t know and negotiate with them.” 
Animal expert Jack Hanna feels to opposite. “I can tell you now, that there’s no doubt in my mind the child would not be here today if they hadn’t made that decision” Hanna said. “You’re dealing with either human life or animal life here. So what is the decision? I think it’s very simple to figure that out.”

Gorillas like Harambe are critically endangered in the wild, numbering fewer than 175,000, according to the zoo. An additional 765 gorillas dwell in zoos worldwide. Western low land Gorillas are very gentle, self aware animals. They do not attack unless provoked. Because of this, animal rights activists, animal lovers & celebrities worldwide are in an uproar demanding that these irresponsible parents who allowed Harambe to be provoked be punished. Less than 24 hours after the incident a petition surfaced on Change.org to hold the parents responsible for this, and be looked into by Child Protective Services. Over 100,000 people have signed this in favor of “Justice For Harambe.” 
My hope is that the conversation arising from this horrific situation shifts from blame of both the zoo and parents, to one about boycotting zoos in general. The truth is animals like Harambe are not living happy lives in their false enclosures, with humans gawking at them all day long. Zoos may provide food and shelter for these animals, but they do not provide them with the quality of life they lead in the wild, or deserve. 

Zoos began in 1250 B.C. when humans started to keep exotic animals behind bars for entertainment. But as we have evolved as a society, why haven’t these cruel practices? While it is true that animals who are injured and in need of rehabilitation, or wouldn’t be able to survive in the wild can benefit from zoos, there are also many reasons zoos do more harm than good. 

In recent years at The Nationial Zoo, a pregnant kudu and a Dama gazelle were spooked by visitor noise and both killed when they ran into walls. Zoos worldwide spend millions per year building enclosures for exotic and endangered animals like Harambe. The more endangered and rare the animal, the more profit the zoo makes. Not only do these rare animals drive ticket sales and boost numbers, they also boost gift shop sales. 

How would you feel if someone put you in a fake house with a glass wall where people gawked and took photos of you all day long? Not very free or happy i’m sure. These animals are no different. While many people still believe zoos are educational, abuse free places to visit animals, the reality is that there are many reasons everyone should seriously consider boycotting them. 

  • Enclosures

No matter how big a zoo builds an enclosure, these in no way match the animals natural habitats. They are far smaller and provide far less stimulation. Elephants for instance, travel 30 miles a day in the wild. Spaces for zoo animals are 1,000 to 100,000 feet smaller than their natural territories are. Along with the unnatural climate and weather, no animal can thrive in a zoo. Lucy, a lone elephant at Edmonton zoo suffered severe arthritis from constant confinement due to weather. In 2015, The Bronx Zoo and Disney’s Animal Kingdom were named in the “10 Worst Zoos for Elephants”.

 

  • Zoochosis
If you’ve ever seen an animal rocking back and forth in its enclosure, you experienced Zoochosis firsthand. This condition is caused by animals becoming bored and lonely in their fake enclosures. In Dallas, a Gorilla tried to escape his zoochosis by climbing over a barrier, and was shot to death after injuring four. This illness is so common in zoos that animals are often given mood altering drugs like Prozac, so that their sadness won’t be a downer during your zoo visit. 
 
  • Ripped from the wild
In 2003 the UK allowed 146 penguins to be captured from the South Atlantic. Similar to slaves, they were then put on a 7 day boat ride before being given to a wildlife dealer, then sold to zoos in Asia. In 2010, Zimbabwe made plans to capture two of every mammal species living in the Hwange National Park including lions, cheetahs, rhinos, zebras, giraffes and elephants, in order to send them to North Korean zoos. Thank fully this plan was stopped by an animal rights organization. Despite what zoos would have you believe, figures also show that 79% of all animals in aquariums are wild captured.  Nobody knows exactly how many exotic animals live in captivity in the United States, though it’s estimated that there are at least 5,000 tigers more than exist in the wild. 
  • Disposal of surplus animals
Most zoos run captive breeding programs, because he draw of a new baby animal brings in big profit. The downside of this is that they are often left with surplus animals. Any animal that no longer fits into the breeding program, or is no longer profitable or useful can be considered surplus. Zoos are not responsible for lifetime care of these animals get rid of them at will. These surplus animals are often sold and traded through a password protected online database: the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Animal Exchange. Although zoos promote conservation of endangered species, this often takes a backseat when the animal is no longer worth the time or energy the zoo would need to invest to keep them. According to Carole Baskin, founder of Big Cat Rescue,”if the animals are lucky, they may be traded or sent to another zoo or accredited facility. Some get transferred to multiple zoos throughout their lives. But a large number of them go to private breeders, pet owners, circuses, roadside zoos, and canned hunting ranches.” Often this even ends with animals being sold to taxidermists. In the US there is shockingly little regulation on trading and purchasing exotic animals. 

Very few of the zoos who claim to breed animals for the purpose of “conservation” actually do this. If they did, there would not be “surplus” animals, because they would be returned to the wild.

If the situation with Harambe teaches us anything, I hope it is that it is unnatural and cruel for animals like him to be captured and kept in captivity for human entertainment. Wild animals belong in the wild, not in zoos where there is little quality of life. The next time you have the urge to visit a zoo, consider donating money to an animal sanctuary instead. Sanctuaries are a place for animals to retire. There the animals are respected, and not treated as a prop or an object. As long as we continue to pay to visit zoos, this archaic tradition will thrive.

 

Why the Kardashians are smarter than you

The Kardashian family is one of the most hated families on television. Every time their name is brought up on social media thousands of horrible comments follow. These include death wishes, insults, slut shaming and much more. Usually the nastiest comments come from fat people who look like they got run over by a tractor, or faceless internet trolls.
I’m about to say something that might make you angry. The Kardasians are smarter than you.
That’s right, in the minutes it takes for people to write insults about them on Twitter and Facebook, these bitches have millions rolling in. I’m not ashamed to say I love The Kardashians. I have been watching their reality series religiously for years. They are funny, entertaining and produce a fun show to watch.
So why is it that the world loves to hate this family?
The Kardashians have built their business empire to the point that their name is now a lucritive  brand. A 200 MILLION dollar brand. I can guarantee the internet trolls insulting them will never see that much money in their lifetime. While some attribute their success and fame to the infamous sex tape, that simply isn’t true. Kim even sued after it’s unauthorized release for $5 million. These are not just stupid reality tv stars, the Kardashians are business women who have leveraged their notoriety into very successful investments in a variety of areas.
So how did the Kardashian/Jenner clan get to be so rich? Contrary belief, the majority of their fortune is not generated from the reality series “Keeping Up With The Kardashians.”
The families matriarch Kris Jenner, (who was a flight attendant before marrying Robert Kardashian) is the CEO of Jenner Communications. They didn’t exactly start from nothing, the family was left a $1 Million dollar trust when Robert passed away. As the manager for her children, Kris makes a percentage of their earnings. It is estimated that she makes $5,000 for tweeting about a product and $50,000 for appearances. From motivational speaking, clothing; jewelry lines, video games, books, makeup, endorsements to boutiques these ladies bring in a constant cash flow.
The three sisters Kim, Khloe and Kourtney run several of their own businesses including
   Kardashian Beauty by Kourtney, Kim and Khloé
   Keeping Up With The Kardashians
   DASH
   Kardashian Kollection (SEARS) $250M in sales
   Kardashian Khaos
   Kardashian Lingerie Kollection (SEARS)               
They also bring in income from many endorsements, photo shoots and three popular spin off shows. 
With a net worth of over $90 million, Kim is rumored to be the most wealthy of the three. In fact, i’d say she is a near genius business women. Here’s why: In 2009 she invested in Shoedazzle which raised $60 million in venture capital, then sold a year later. She made $1.5 million just by selling her wedding photos. She also earns between $10-25 thousand per twitter endorsement. 

Well aware of her marketing power, Kim has broken the internet, and finely tuned her image to become more profitable. In 2014 she released the iPhone game “Kim Kardashians Hollywood”, bringing in over $40 million of the profits in just three months. It’s rumored she will take in over $250 million over the lift of the game. Heck, she even has her own Kimojis. She also gives back, donating 10% of her income to charities worldwide. Take that haters. 

The youngest in the family, Kyle and Kendall Jenner aren’t doing so bad themselves. They have earned over $12 million from modeling, endorsements and creating product lines like Bellami Hair. 

Think what you will about this family, but they deserve a lot more respect than they get. In fact, they are laughing all the way to the bank. Viva Kardashians! 

Could Disney Parks make death as magical as their weddings?

In 2016, Disney World announced that aspiring bridezillas all over the work can now plan to have their dream wedding in front of Cinderella’s castle. For just $75,000, you to can pretend to be a Disney Princess, kiss your prince and live happily ever after. So what else do you actually get for this $75,000? Up to 100 people at your ceremony, which must happen at 9:30am sharp (sounds brutal). The rest of the fee is for food and beverage minimums at your reception, which must be held at another location. For a few thousand more, you can make an entrance in Cinderella’s horse drawn glass coach, have fireworks, or add a slew of Disney characters who make $7.50 per hour.
It isn’t really surprising to me that Disney has started to take more advantage of the ridiculous wedding industry. Through their movies, they are partially responsible for perpetuating the stereotypical “dream wedding” into every little girls brain. Years later when these same little girls begin to plan their weddings, Disney can finally cash in.
 
None of this is surprising however, since over the years Disney Parks have started to leave the middle class in the dust, catering more toward the wealthy. So much so that they have raised park prices, which started at $3.50 in 1971, 41 times in the past decade.
Thinking about making huge profits on life events, makes me wonder what would happen if the Disney Parks “magical” experience extended into death. The stark reality is, none of us are getting out of life alive, and what happens after is a mystery to us all. If you could help make the experience more magical for your family and friends, as well as have your “dream funeral” would you? Just think of the huge money making opportunity official Disney funerals could be.

For a moment, let us imagine Disney’s foray into the death industry. 

Disney parks would build several private cemeteries and funeral homes on official property, but not close enough to parks to be depressing. They pump cookie smell all day every day, just like Main Street. The cemeteries would be full of burial plots themed by land. For $300k, you could be buried in the vast cemetery versions of Fantasyland, Adventureland. Tommorowland or Frontierland. 
The options for official Disney Parks coffins would be extensive and just like weddings, come with themed funeral add ons. Most coffins would have Dooney and Bourke interiors. Tombstones would be available in any Disney character or castle form. Disney asks that tombstone themes be kept in sync with the land of chosen burial. No Cinderella tombstones will be allowed in Frontierland, for instance. 

A sample of the many options: 

Package A: Snow White’s glass coffin. Comes with Seven Dwarf mourners to attend your funeral. Must be buried in the Fantasyland section. 

 Package B: Rocket into the beyond in a Space Mountain coffin. Glows in the dark. Comes with a eulogy by Buzz Lightyear and Woody. Must be buried in Tommorowland section. 

Package C: Be buried in an actual retired ride car of your choosing. Burial section must coordinate with ride land. 

 Add ons: 
$3,000, gets you or your loved ones name written in fireworks.*only available on off peak weeknights.
$5,000 gets you a Cinderella’s coach ride to your burial place. 
$8,000 gets you a Eulogy by an animatronic of your choosing. 
$600 gets a tweet shout out of the obituary, from the Disney Parks official twitter of your choosing. 
 
Some VIP fans can choose to have their head cryogenically frozen and placed near Walt’s underneath The Magic Kingdom. *This option would only be available to illuminati members. 
And if anyone could make death, funerals and burials magical, i’m certain Disney could.
 As awesome as this all would be, Disney does not offer any post death services as of yet. I personally don’t see much of a difference in Disney Parks offering death options than wedding ones. Sure, one is a very happy life event, and the other is the saddest, but both require them to sell to people who will pay big money to have the Disney Parks experience. Both also require them to prey on the aspirational hopes and dreams of Disney fans wordwide-even if unattainable. 
 

 

Life as a Leap Day Baby

I was born on February 29th-Leap Day.
This is a really unique birth date to have and one in which I have a love-hate relationship with.
The odds of being a leap day baby are one out of 1,461. 
For the math nerds: 1,461 equals 365, or the number of days in the year, times four, plus one for the extra day in the four-year cycle.

In the U.S., there are about 200,000 of us and in the world about 5 million.
If you want to really dive into the details here is the Wiki page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/February_29

The number one question I am asked, and will probably have to answer 1 million more times before I die is “So when do you celebrate your birthday?”
This is a topic of controversy among us “leapers.” I’ve been asked so many times i’m sometimes tempted to spew random dates. July 4th! Christmas! August 8th!

I personally am a “strict Februarian”. This means that on off years I celebrate my birthday on Feb 28th. I do this because I was born in February, not March. My birthstone is Amethyst, not Aquamarine! If Feb 28th falls on a weekend, i’ll try to milk a two day celebration out of it to lighten up my lack of birthday blues. 

Some people argue the idea of celebrating the 28th, saying technically I was born after Feb 28th, therefore should celebrate March 1.  I disagree with this because I wasn’t born closer to either day. I was born between them. I was also born around 3am which does put me closer to the 28th timeline.

Even though my birthday is a magical unicorn, there are a bunch of things that suck about being born on a day that only happens ever 4 years. Here are a few-

CUPCAKES: As a kid the teacher always forgot to give me my birthday cupcake on unleap years. I am owed many cupcakes.

ONLINE FORMS: Online, every website with a drop down menu will not let me input Feb 29th unless I insert my birth year first, and even then I sometimes have to put Feb 28th as my birthdate.
Often times they won’t let me enter my birthdate at all and I have to choose Feb 28th.

THE SAME QUESTION FOR LIFE: I can imagine this is how Monica Lewinsky feels when she’s asked about Bill Clinton. I have been asked a billion times when I celebrate my birthday. Then comes the joke about how i’m really five or something, and I have to pretend laugh, as if i’m actually amused and no one has ever thought of that before.

ANNOYING DR’S OFFICE RECEPTIONISTS: When calling to make Dr appointments, you know how they always ask you your birthdate? Well when I tell them there is often a long pause, then they say “Do you mean February 28th?” Do they really think I am so fucktarded that I don’t know the day I was born on? Then I have to explain when I actually celebrate it, and fake laugh for the bazzilionth time about how i’m actually five or something, again. The other 20% of them spend five minutes telling me how they have never met anyone born on leap day and want to know what I do on off years.

TURNING 21:When a leap day baby turns 21 it is always an off year. In most states bartenders will not let you drink until March 1. Luckily I was on a Carnival cruise for my 21st so no one cared, I was still able to drink Long Island iced teas till I puked on the 28th.

DOOR MEN:When I do get carded at bars, the door person will stare at my ID blankly then give me a look like “nice fake ID.” And really, if I were going to get a fake ID, would I be dumb enough to put Feb 29th as my birthdate…..?

FACEBOOK: Facebook does not send birthday notifications for Feb 29th on off years. That fun wall of Birthday messages is non existent, unless I manually change the date to Feb 28th so friends are notified.

FREE SHIT: All of the fun birthday freebie coupons that come in the mail also don’t show up on off years. I’ve started putting Feb 28th as my birthday for many rewards clubs so I can actually get and enjoy my free shit once a year.

There are also many great things about being born a leap day baby. I feel special and unique having this rare birthdate that so few share.
Every four years I get to have a birthday bash like no other. I generally celebrate all 29 days of the month.  I like to have a kid themed party every leap day birthday. When I turned 7@28 was Disney Princess year. 
Last year when I turned 8@32 I recreated my actual 8th birthday with a Simpsons theme. 

Though there are many negatives about being born on a leap day, the positives outweigh them. Being born on a leap day really suits my personality of wanting to stand out, and not wanting to fit into the box of society norms. I clearly wanted to defy the odds and be a little different even before I was born.
Though the wait to see my actual birthday on the calendar is long and tedious, I’m proud of being a leap day baby. There aren’t enough cupcakes or free frozen yogurts in the world I would trade it for!

This coconut cream pie recipe will give you piegasms

With Thanksgiving and the holiday season just around the corner, I wanted to share the recipe for my favorite coconut cream pie. I promise, it is so good you will get piegasms. Piegasms are better than real orgasms because of leftovers.
The first time I made this pie it knocked my socks off, and i’ve been making it every holiday since.
The best part about this recipe, is how quick it is to make. It also bakes on the stovetop which is great if you have a meal or Turkey cooking in the oven. I highly recommend bourbon to pair both with baking and eating this pie. Enjoy!

Renee’s Coconut Cream Piegasm
Serves 8
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Calories: Probably 10 million. Yolo!

Here’s what you need: 

1 cup of white sugar
1/2 cup of all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon of salt
3 cups of milk
4 eggs
3 tablespoons of butter
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup flaked coconut

1 nine inch pie crust (baked)–(My favorite pie shell to use with this recipe is the pre packaged Graham pie crust. It ads an extra kick of flavor and crunchiness to the pie. It’s also great because i’m lazy and hate making crust from scratch.)

Here’s how to make it!

1-In a large bowl separate your egg yolks from whites. Make sure this is a bowl that can handle heat. You won’t need the egg whites and can toss them, or save them for an omelet the next day like I do:) Beat the egg yolks until fluffy. You’ll need them in a few minutes.

2-Toss a medium size saucepan on the stovetop. Combine your sugar, flour and salt, over medium heat, then slowly stir in the milk. Continue to stir and cook until the mixture is bubbly and thick. DO NOT STOP STIRRING! This part is really important because once you stop, the mixture quickly hardens at the bottom of the sauce pan. I’ve made this mistake before and had to start over. Reduce the heat to low and let cook two minutes more while watching closely to avoid clumping.

3. Pour about 1 cup of the hot mixture into your bowl of egg yolks. Stir together, then pour the yellow mixture back into the sauce pan and bring everything to a gentle boil so you don’t get salmanila. Cook and continuously stir for another two minutes before removing the saucepan from the heat.

4. Stir in your butter, vanilla, and coconut. Pour the filling into the pie crust and boom-you are all done! Like all pie-this is best served with whipped cream. Cover and chill if not serving right away.

I am a coconut lover, so I tend to add additional coconut flakes to the top of my pie. It also makes it look extra pretty.

If you make this recipe, please let me know how it turned out in the comments.

Happy Holidays!

 

Throwing Away My Scale Helped Me Overcome My Eating Disorder


I used to be in love with my scale. But then I divorced that mother fucker.
During the height of my anorexia, getting on a scale was an obsession. I weighed myself between 50-75 times per day. It started out in a normal “healthy” way, but slowly destroyed my brain like a flesh eating disease.
I weighed myself after waking up, after drinking water, after eating, after exercising and after peeing. If the number the scale was too high, sometimes I would work out an extra hour, or restrict my already 500 calorie a day diet to under 300. Sometimes I would go back to bed and cry for hours because the starvation and over exercising wasn’t working anymore. If the number was too high, I felt like a worthless loser, and wanted to die. I felt like I wanted to apologize to everyone I met for my imperfect body.

This was my life for over two years. An endless, sick cycle of self torture and hunger. I was slowly drying up into a pile of skin and bones. But my size 0 dresses fit, and I could see my ribcage, so I was satisfied. But, even at my thinnest I wanted to be smaller, and still saw a chubby girl in every photo.
After a certain point, my body started fighting back. My metabolism had quit its job, and I was holding on to every single calorie I ate. I went from 5’7 and 109lbs to 114 in a week. To counter act this new issue, sometimes I had to settle for chewing and spitting my food, so that I could enjoy the taste, but not absorb the calories. Rarely, I would just binge and eat everything in sight, then throw it up. But I was never the bulimic I strived to be. Lucky for me, I was never able to throw up quietly like most secret bulimics are pros at. I also hated throwing up so much, I never got further into it.

I began having severe panic attacks when I had to be in public situations involving eating. Most restaurants didn’t list calories counts, and I did not trust them not to add butter, salt and oil into my food even when I asked them not to. I tried to avoid eating at restaurants as much as possible. Seeking something to take the edge off having to eat in front of people, I started turning to something that had previously been off limits, the biggest empty calorie of all-alchohol. Not that I recommend this as a form of therapy for recovery, but drinking it on an empty stomach before dinner relaxed me enough that I was able to eat again. I’m sure if I had sought therapy, prescription Xanax could have done the same, but at the time I was not willing to admit I had an eating disorder.
The bad part about drinking however, was that I ate less healthy than I would have, and bigger portions. The good part, was that it broke a spiral that was out of control. My brain began fighting it’s anorexic voice more than ever. I was exhausted mentally and physically and felt like the old me was screaming for help from inside this new skeletal body. I just wanted to feel normal again.
I just wanted eat bread or a slice of pizza, and some fucking ice cream without feeling three days of guilt. The foods I had formerly loved had become like a beloved deceased relative. They were always on my mind, but I could never be in the same room with them again.

I woke up one morning and began the daily routine of weighing myself, counting calories and beating myself up over how I had failed on my diet the day before. I don’t know what changed in me that day, but I had a brief moment of feeling like a fog had lifted. My mind felt clearer than it had in years. I walked into the bathroom to weigh myself, but instead of getting on the scale, I threw it in a garbage. For the first time in years I felt free, and excited at the possibility of being able to enjoy life again.  

I haven’t owned a scale since, and I no longer weigh myself. I now monitor my weight by my clothing. If something starts to get too small, I cut back. During my years of recovery, i’ve learned that weighing myself was a major trigger in my disorder.
Despite knowing this, I am still often shamed for refusing to be weighed at doctors appointments. The first thing a nurse usually says to me is “get on the scale.” as if my weight is more important than how I feel. The first time I refused to be weighed, I wasn’t brave enough to say why. The nurse looked annoyed but didn’t argue. As a dress size 4, anyone can see my weight isn’t going to give me high cholesterol or diabetes.

I eventually got so tired of struggling with nurses trying to force a weigh in, that I would flat out tell them “I used to be anorexic and the scale is a trigger.” The first time I said those words out loud I almost started crying. I had hidden my disorder for so many years, that saying it out loud was emotional and empowering. Most times when saying this, the nurses have been understanding and backed off.
However, other times, the reception is not empowering. Recently a nurse rolled her eyes and said “Just get the scale backwards then, I don’t understand what the big deal is. The doctor needs your weight”. After refusing a second time, she harshly told me that I would need to ‘explain myself’ to the doctor for refusing to be weighed, then slammed the door.
Clearly, not every nurse is educated or compassionate about eating disorders, but it is so important that medical professionals are. Anyone has the right to refuse being weighed at the doctor without shame. I compare forcing someone with ED history to get on a scale, to putting a bottle of vodka in front of someone in an AA program.
The times I have been berated by nurses over a scale, have made me feel inadequate, and really crappy about my progress. What they don’t understand is that the fear of seeing my new weight isn’t just about a number. It’s about being terrified of going back to the very dark place I was trapped in for so long, but next time not getting out alive.
Throwing away my scale was a monumental step in my recovery, and I am thankful I did it. Maybe someday i’ll be in a good enough place to weigh myself and not care, but i’m not there yet.

Under the rainbow: How the pride flag really began

With pride months growing in popularity all over the world, the sight of the rainbow flag is becoming ever more present in today’s society.

If you ask the average person what the rainbow flag stands for, they will probably tell you gay rights- or gay pride. But most people have no clue how and when the rainbow flag came to be.
Unlike the familiar story of Betsy Ross sewing the stars and stripes of our American flag, the origin of the rainbow flag is somewhat lost in history.
The story begins back in June of 1969. Judy Garland had just died, and The Stonewall riots were happening. Watching all of this unfold, openly gay artist and activist Gilbert Baker subconciously began to associate the rainbow with the gay rights movement.

Gilbert didn’t have the idea create the flag right away, from 1970-1972 he was busy serving in the US Army, stationed in San Fransisco. After his honorable discharge, he began to teach himself how to sew and quickly put his new skill to use by making banners for anti-war and gay rights protests. In 1974 he met and became close friends with Harvey Milk, the cities first openly gay elected official.

Fast forward to 1978. Harvey Milk calls upon Baker to create a symbol for the gay community to be used in the city’s annual parade. Baker begins to brainstorm, combining his imagery of Judy singing “Over The Rainbow” with other symbolism including the WWI victory medal, and the Flag Of The Races which was prominent in the hippie movement.
Like the Flag Of Races, the rainbow flag would share horizontal stripes, each holding a meaning. But unlike the Flag Of Races, Bakers flag would have eight stripes vs five.
 
The meaning of the original flags colors were as follows: HOT PINK: Sexuality, RED: Life, ORANGE: Healing, YELLOW: Sunlight, GREEN: Nature, TURQUOISE: Magic & Art, BLUE: Serenity & Harmony, VIOLET: Spirit.
 
Baker has since said We needed something that expressed us. The rainbow really fits that, in terms of: we’re all the colors, and all the genders and all the races. It’s a natural flag; The rainbow is in the sky and it’s beautiful. It’s a magical part of nature.”

The rainbow flag made it’s debut in the San Fransisco’s Freedom Day Parade on June 25th, 1978. Like modern day Betsy Ross’s, over thirty volunteers huddled in the attic of San Francisco’s Gay Community Center. For hours on end, they worked together to hand stitch and dye the very first two massive rainbow flags. 
It took a tragic event however, for this flag to gain popularity. On November 27, 1978 Harvey Milk was assassinated. The grief stricken LGBT community sought out the flag as a symbol of unity during this sad time. Orders were in high demand, so the Paramount Flag Company (where Baker now worked) began selling versions made from stock fabric. Due to unavailability of hot pink fabric, Baker made the decision to drop the pink stripe from the flag, leaving it with seven stripes. 
 

In 1979 the flag was changed again. When it was hung vertically from the lamp posts on Market Street, the center stripe became totally hidden. Changing the design to an even six stripes was an easy way to fix this. The turquoise stripe was dropped, leaving us with the famous six stripped flag that we see today. Baker refers to this flag as the “commercial version”, because it came to be due to production demands.  For the 1979 Freedom Day Parade, they were now able to split the colors onto two flags, flying them on alternate sides of the street. 

The rainbow flag has taken on a life of it’s own over years, since it’s early incarnations. It notably came to nationwide attention during the 1989 case of John Stout. Stout sued his landlords and won, for attempting to prohibit him from displaying the flag from his West Hollywood balcony. During the early years of the AIDS epidemic, activists added a black stripe to the flags, calling it the “Victory Over Aids Flag”. They suggested that when a cure was found, the black stripes should be removed and burned.

Baker went on to design many other flags for events like The Superbowl, Democratic National Convention, and for Presidents and Kings of other countries. In 1994 Baker was called upon to create the world’s largest rainbow flag for the 25th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. This was recreated in Key West in 2003, with all original eight stripes and stretched a mile and a quarter. 

The rainbow flag is now proudly flown all over the world as a symbol of gay pride, and the fight for LGBT equality  that continues today. It is now available in thousands of variations and forms, including the original eight stripe version. Just this week, an important recognition was given to Baker, when MOMA acquired the six stripe rainbow flag as part of it’s design collection.
Looking back, Baker says “It all goes back to the first moment of the first flag back in 1978 for me. Raising it up and seeing it there blowing in the wind for everyone to see. It completely astounded me that people just got it, in an instant like a bolt of lightening – that this was their flag. It belonged to all of us. It was the most thrilling moment of my life. Because I knew right then that this was the most important thing I would ever do – that my whole life was going to be about the Rainbow Flag.”

The History Of Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day has always been a day that I would prefer to hibernate through. I was raised by a toxic single parent, who put more negative thoughts into my head than good ones. Most people get at least one good parent, but I got gypped on both sides. Don’t get me wrong, i’m grateful my Mom had me, but there is more to being a mother than having a kid and keeping it fed and clothed. 
Every year on this day I see my friends celebrating great women who turned from Mothers to best friends, and shaped their lives. I’m always envious and can’t imagine what that must be like. 
Seeing my local stores covered in cards and balloons for this holiday has also made me wonder what it’s origins actually are. Upon doing some research I found out that the even the creator of Mother’s Day hated how commercialized it became so quickly. 
So before you buy your Hallmark card this year, check out the actually history of how Mother’s Day came to be. 
 
In 1905 in a woman named Anna Jarvis began campaigning for a day to honor her totally awesome Mom who had died. She said Moms are “the person who has done more for you than anyone in the world”. In Anna’s case-her Mom sounded pretty cool. She was a peace activist who cared for wounded soldiers in The Civil War. 
 

 Anna Jarvis

In 1908 the first Mothers Day was celebrated, and due to Anna’s campaigning it was recognized as an official holiday in many states in 1910. 

She chose the white carnation as a symbol for the day, stating “The carnation does not drop its petals, but hugs them to its heart as it dies, and so, too, mothers hug their children to their hearts, their mother love never dying.”
In 1914 Woodrow Wilson signed the proclamation officially creating Mother’s Day. It was to be on the second Sunday in May, “as a national holiday to honor mothers.” Anna was very specific, noting that the word Mother’s should “be a singular possessive for each individual to honor their Mother, not a plural possessive commemorating all Mothersin the world.” 
Jarvis had won her battle! But she was not a happy camper to see Hallmark and other companies selling Mothers Day cards and turning profits around the 1920’s. In fact, she was so pissed by the misinterpretation and exploitation of her holiday that she tried to rescind the holiday. 
She fought hard for many years against the confection, flower and greeting card industry.
Jarvis’s intention for the holiday had been for people to appreciate and honor mothers by writing a personal letter, by hand, expressing love and gratitude, rather than buying gifts and pre-made crap. She became a total badass and organized boycotts and threatened lawsuits to try to stop the commercialization. One time she crashed a candymakers’ convention in Philadelphia. 
Two years later she protested at a confab of the American War Mothers, which raised money by selling carnations, the flower associated with Mother’s Day, and was arrested for disturbing the peace. She would also protest in smaller ways, like ordering Mother’s Day salads, paying for them and dumping them on the floor. 
 
Her battle drained her financially and emotionally over the course of her life. Anna eventually died in 1948 at age 84, without every having married or having children. 
 
As Mother’s Day evolved in the USA, more countries started adapting the holiday. It is celebrated on many different dates, but one of Anna’s traditions that still happens all over the world is the giving of flowers-specifically white carnations.  
 
So this Mother’s Day, in honor of it’s founder and her fight, consider not buying corporate cards and gifts altogether  Write a letter in place of a Hallmark card, or buy flowers from a local small business instead of FTD. 
The mother of Mother’s Day will surely approve. 

The Fatherless Daughter Dance

Recently, I read about a daughter and mother banned from a father-daughter dance in MO. A protest party was thrown for the little girl to make her feel better. As a kid my Mom took me to a similar type of dance. but instead of getting a party after, I got traumatized.

It was the early 90’s and as Valentines Day approached, the local radio station 92 Moose was heavily advertising a Valentines Day, father-daughter dance. All the girls at school were talking about going, and what dresses they were going to wear, but there was a major reason I couldn’t join in on the fun.

I grew up never knowing who my Dad was. It was one of those touchy, off the table topics that no one really talked about. Once, my older sister opened a cereal box that had a fingerprint test game to tell you if you were an alien or not. I took it and she started screaming that I was officially an alien who had been adopted. I started crying and my Mom had to calm me down by telling me I wasn’t an adopted alien.
As I got older, in a Maine town of basic, small minded people I certainly felt more and more like an alien who didn’t belong there.

As this Valentines Day dance drew closer, my Mom started conspiring with another single Mom who lived down the hall. I didn’t know the woman very well, but I remember that she still had that six years after the trend, 80’s teased bangs thing happening. Her daughter was the same age I was and in my classes, but we weren’t friends.

One day after school my Mom told me she had a surprise for me. We were going to go to the father-daughter dance, along with the neighbor and her daughter! My Mom was one of the few people in my town not to have a drivers license or car, so just being able to get to a place was a big deal. I was young enough to be excited to go to the dance, but old enough to know that it seemed like a stupid idea. I was sure I would be made fun of, but guessed to them this was some kind of single Mom protest. Why should their daughters be left out? Occupy father-daughter dance! #chicksnotdicks or something.

I was always a daydreamer, so for the next week I imagined what it would be like to go to a father daughter dance with no father. I had fantasies of my Dad showing up to rescue me. He looked like Michael Caine-mad classy, and he would know who I was just by looking at me. Then he would swing me around the dance floor Cinderella style and we would live happily ever after.

On the day of the dance, I got all dressed up and we got ready to head out with the neighbors. I was surprised that when we got to the car, a big dude was in the drivers seat. The apparent single Mom power protest was no longer, because trashy neighbor was bringing her tattoo covered winner boyfriend. I guess my Mom knew he was going because she didn’t seem surprised. We sat in the car while all the adults smoked a cigarette before we took off.

When we arrived at the dance there were lot’s of red and pink hearts, a big dj booth, mood lighting and tables all around. In her anti-social fashion, my mother suggested we sit in the batch of empty tables toward the far right of the room. The girl with me took off to dance with her Mom’s boyfriend, so I sat and quietly drank my Diet Pepsi. I already didn’t blend in as the only girl with no Dad, and now I stuck out like a sore thumb. My Mom kept trying to get me to dance with her, but I was mortified and refused.

There were some raffles and contests throughout the dance, but I lost them all and didn’t take home any prizes or chocolate filled hearts. At the end of the night the DJ announced it was time for a slow dance. The lights got dim and all the Dad’s led their little girls out onto the dance floor. I looked out from my empty table and saw many of them dancing with there feet on top of their Dad’s feet. Even as an adult that memory of the dancing feet is vividly embedded in my brain. It was at that moment that I realised I would never have anybody’s feet to dance on, and that my Dad wasn’t going to show up to rescue me. For the rest of my life I would always be the fatherless daughter, wishing I could join the dance.