Men are from Earth. Women are from Earth. We just don’t speak the same language.

Terry and I kept getting into little tiffs the other day. Every conversation just felt off. He didn’t see it this way, but I noticed it in our first discussion – I just wanted to talk and complain, and he just wanted to give me advice about what I should do. But that’s not what I needed. I know what to do. I just wanted to vent about it.

We made up well before dinner and just as I was about to fall asleep, I realized what the problem was: I wanted to talk about something that was happening in my life, and I wanted a sympathetic ear. I wanted someone to empathize – to say, I totally get it. I wanted a conversation with a woman.

Talking to Terry is great, but I’m talking to a man. Men are natural problem solvers. I see this with Terry, with my father, my brothers, a lot of male friends – you frame up something as if it’s a problem (because why else would you be complaining about it?) and they solve it for you. There you go! You have your solution. Now everyone can go back to being happy. It’s a rather convenient way to shut someone up, isn’t it? Provide a solution that, if implemented, will cure the issue and all complaints. But it’s not that simple with females. It never is.

Sometimes it feels good to complain your ass off, and to know that someone cares enough to let you do it. It helps to know that other people out there deal with dumb shit, too. And we can be annoyed together! And when we’re all good and irritated, only then will we voice the solution. Only then.

This rift reminded me of a gender studies class I took my last semester of college. Admittedly, I signed up for the credit hours, but it ended up being one of my most interesting and favorite courses. It was a class of maybe 15 to 20 students – all different levels, races, genders – and we basically just talked about what it meant to be men and women in society. We hit on double standards, dating, grooming, sex, education, physicality, personal and societal expectations... But the class dedicated to conversation styles intrigued me the most.

Speaking generally, women tend to be more open and inviting in their conversations, especially with those whom they have close relationships – or as a way to establish, grow, improve or repair. Between girl talk and gossip, there lies a safe space where women feel empowered to share and speak freely. They’ll sit, and spend time and energy talking through every aspect of an issue, uncovering all its mysteries, subtleties and meanings. 

Again, speaking generally, men are straight shooters. They get to the point. They might think on an issue for a while, but the fewer words they need to convey their thoughts, the better. They're described as 'the strong, silent type', 'stoic', and 'a man of few words'. There's even that movie with John Wayne, "The Quiet Man". And everything I know about being a man I learned from John Wayne.

These conversation styles are not dissimilar to our genitalia, or even the way men and women have and experience sex. Vaginas, by design, are open and inviting. Because of an internal system, there’s a lot of exploring one must do to achieve orgasm, which requires time, energy, and an intimate understanding of your partner or self.  

Now let’s think about the penis. It’s literally a point. It’s all hanging out there, and the solution is obvious. You don’t even need to get fancy. Just get to work. It’s pretty much the same technique across the gender and it has yet to fail them.

When we were working it out, I told Terry that I just wanted to talk. I didn’t need him to come up with a solution. I just needed him to listen to me. But he thought his guidance was part of the conversation. It's interesting. Neither one of us is wrong. We’re just seeing the same thing from two different sides. 

Star Date: 2/9/17

Today I had an excuse to wake up at 5:15am, but Cindy and Julia didn’t get enough sleep so yoga has been postponed until 9 or noon, whichever is more reasonable. I took it as an opportunity to start my day. The earlier you rise, the more you, theoretically, get done. And since I naturally woke up around 4:40am, I think my body was trying to tell me something. I’m reading The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. He talks about Resistance and how it rears its ugly head to distract us from our work. It takes the form of fear, procrastination, people, etc and it keeps us from achieving all the practical goals that take time and effort and all the creative endeavors that require our skill and attention. It’s 100% true and I see myself in every page. But we’re going on 6am now. So far today, I’ve woken up, gone back to sleep, woken up again, went to the bathroom, brushed my teeth, laid wide awake in bed with Terry for 5 minutes, put on some lounging clothes, got my computer, my sketch pad, my planner, The Art of War by Steven Pressfield, my One Line A Day book and a Sharpie Pen and came down stairs, planned my day with my planner, opened my computer to work on my new website for the jewelry biz, and got completely distracted with my morning free-write. 

Why ‘Make America Great Again’ was the worst political slogan ever created. Thanks, Reagan.

I wasn’t old enough to witness Reagan’s presidency, but my dad was. He said, and I quote, “He wasn’t that great.” But he was an actor, so there ya go.

It was the 80s. People didn’t give a shit about anything. Except for like, doing cocaine or whatever. And I think Reagan’s presidency, and stupid slogan, was about bringing back the 1950s era American Dream. I assume because that was when he was a popular actor, and also, because male dominance over women was much more widely accepted. And what misogynist wouldn’t want to go back to a time when women could be mothers or have careers, but not both. And couldn’t apply for their own credit cards without their husband’s or father’s permission. It’s nice to be needed.

Yes, I’m calling Reagan a misogynist. But I’d call anyone a misogynist, and a couple of other things, who thinks that our country was better for people in the past rather than in the present. I know it’s not perfect. It never will be, but the goal is to always get better, to give people more liberty, more freedom. So when you say you want to go back to a time when people had less of that, specifically women and people of color, that worries me. Because let’s face it, white men, America has always been great for you. It was created for you, by you and with your best interests in mind. There’s literally no denying that because it’s 100% true.

But I’m going to give Reagan, Trump and anyone who actually says this dumb thing, without being ironic, the benefit of the doubt. I think there are a lot of Americans out there who have felt their government hasn’t been doing anything for them over the last 8 years. Which is funny because every Republican I know goes on and on about how the government should stay out of their lives. Except when it comes to abortion. Government should totally be in women’s vaginas. But I digress.

People didn’t know it yet, but when Reagan was campaigning in 1980, they were yearning for a simpler time. After the Vietnam War, after disco died, after doing lines of coke while roller skating, they wanted to get back to their American Dream. They wanted to own houses and raise families and go on exotic bi-annual vacations to places like Disneyland and Cuba. I mean, no, not Cuba. Mexico! Maybe Europe when the kids got to college and could really appreciate it. Maybe all that culture would keep them off drugs. Cocaine in particular. You did it, and are fine, but your kids really shouldn’t. Reagan-era parents just hid their marijuana stash as best they could, and went out to mow the lawn or something. It was a new decade, and what better way to counter 10 years of rampant excessiveness than with a slogan that implies we had to go back in order to move forward.

Cut to 2016, the age of misinformation and millennials*. Trump, in his infinite wisdom, asks himself, “Who is a Republican president everyone loved, and what was his campaign slogan?” Answer: Ronald Reagan. Make American Great Again. “Kellyanne, can we rip off Reagan? Let’s do it anyway. People will love it. It’s gonna be ‘uge. I’m the greatest, and I have a very smart brain. Look at me go, Kellyanne!”

Have you ever heard that saying, ‘Good artist copy, great artists steal’? And it actually worked. It actually fucking worked. Amazing. It’s just too bad that we’ve come too far to go back this time.

Like, this American Dream bullshit. What the fuck is that? I don’t want to own a home. First of all, I can’t afford it. And if I borrow money from my parents, I just get shit about being an entitled millennial. Plus, when I was in college, the housing market crashed. It doesn’t really seem like a safe investment when you knew 25-year-olds who filed for bankruptcy and moved back in with their parents because they lost their jobs and could no longer afford the home they’d bought just a year prior. Anyway, the only people I know who buy houses these days are friends who are married, getting married, or accidentally got pregnant. And they move, almost exclusively, back to the neighborhoods where we grew up. Closer to family, perhaps? Maybe it’s what their parents recommended and could afford for them? Who knows. And why the hell would I want to have a baby? So it could inevitably become my parent’s responsibility? Because I can’t afford them either. And I really don’t want to start a cycle of poverty.

Is there anything else that we can tack on to this “dream” so that it even somewhat applies to me? So that ‘Make America Great Again’ doesn’t feel like some old cliché that’s as rung out as a dirty sponge living under your kitchen sink? Retaining my human rights. Being financially independent. Not having debt. Those are my dreams.

So I’m getting my IUD, and I’m writing, writing, writing, hoping that someone in the world notices me and says, “Hey, you can write for us. We can pay you half of what you’re asking for.” And I say, “Okay.” Because that’s usually how it goes. Then I empty my menstrual cup, go make dinner and think about where I thought I’d be at 29.  

*All information presented in this article is potentially incorrect. But who gives a shit about fact-checking? 

When I fly, I drink Gin & Tonics.

Other than when I’m with my parents, I never do this. The drink is specific, only and to either, my mother and father or an airplane. Sometimes both. 

The association never really occurred to me until now. Now that I’m sitting in an airport, craving a G & T. Truthfully, I don’t even like Tonic water. I think it tastes like dirty bubbles. But there’s tradition behind this one.

My parents drink Gin & Tonics because of my grandmother, my father’s mother. She was a tall, athletic Irish woman – charming and elegant and perfect in every way. It was her drink of choice and she was the personification of it – a double in a highball glass – refreshing, reminiscent of another era.

My mother used to say that she lucked out with Grammie, Gram for short. She couldn’t have asked for a better mother-in-law. Gram extended her graciousness and good heart to her grandkids, something I imagine that came very naturally to her. I emphasize this because as a child, I remember plenty of adults treating me like… a child. Not Gram though. She was the one who played whiffle ball with us when we were growing up. She taught me and all my cousins how to play golf. She took my brother out driving, with all the cousins piled in her white station wagon, ready to die in the name of Seamus getting a license.

The summer before she passed away, she would pick all six of us up from our houses and take us for breakfast to Huck Finn in the West Lawn neighborhood of Chicago, just down the block from the house where she raised my father and uncles. Then, we’d go on an adventure. Some days we’d play a few rounds of mini golf. Some days we’d go to the movies. The cemetery was frequently on our route. Gram wanted to visit Grampie, make sure his footstone was tidy, and say a prayer over his grave.

She was a class act. A worldly, down-to-earth woman who couldn’t be done justice by Rosy the Riveter herself. There is only one woman I’ve ever met who reminds me of Gram, and that’s my partner Terry’s mother. She’s absolutely lovely.

Gram and Gramps were actually responsible for my very first plane ride. The one I can remember anyway. And remember it I do. Vividly, in fact. I was six. I traveled with my cousin Jennie to visit my grandparents in Florida, where they lived full-time sans summers. Jennie was eight at the time. This was back when you could do just about anything when it came to air-travel: go through security without a ticket, throw two very young unaccompanied minors on a plane by themselves… Hell, they still had functioning ashtrays in the armrests. I know this because I remember wanting to play with the ashtray on the way there. Jennie was doing it, but I couldn’t because I was sitting next to a man who was using the armrest to rest his arm. The nerve.

Jennie knew I wanted to play with the ashtray. She remained silent as she stared at me, continually flipping the tray top up and down, never breaking eye contact. Her intensity fueled my curiosity. I turned to my shared armrest only to find a large arm attached to a sleeping man that I didn’t care to wake.

That was another thing about the flight. There was no talking. Our parents must have told us to be good, and that must have translated as ‘no talking’ because we were completely silent, unless provoked by an adult, for the entire flight.

Eventually we landed, and I’m sure we saw Gram as soon as we got off the plane, and I bet we had a fantastic Easter with her and Gramps. But there’s only one other thing I remember about the trip, and it happened on the flight home. This time I had a window seat, and I was totally psyched! It was a bright, beautiful day and I was enjoying the view, taking it all in. I glanced over to the seat next to me and caught Jennie’s envious eye. A smirk manifested across my face. This was it. Timely revenge, an unbeatable view. I was flying high on cloud nine. Excuse the puns!

And then, with no explanation at all, the flight attendant came over and pulled my window shade down. If the expression “WTF” existed in the early 90s, it was written all over my face. I looked at Jennie, her sly grin stretched from ear to ear. In a moment, I was Nancy Kerrigan. WHY?!. I wanted so badly to pull up the shade, but the afore mentioned behavioral rule kept me in a dark windowless silence for the rest of the flight. Just as quickly as I had come into power, my reign was over. 

Through an elaborate series of head turns and directional nods, Jennie and I discovered that another sleeping man was the culprit. He couldn’t catch any Zs with the miraculous day that was filtering into the plane. Somehow, light was ricocheting off the wing, through my window, and directly into his closed eyes. Sometimes being a kid is the pits. Gram would never let this happen to me, I thought, silently, as I endured my own personal hell on wings. 

My fondest memories of Gram all take place the summer before she died. Every day, we'd hang out. And every night, the entire family would gather at my uncle John's house, where she stayed during her trips to Chicago. All the cousins would play in the pool while our parents cooked spaghetti with my mom's homemade pasta sauce, or picked up pizza from Vitto & Nick's. All the favorite dishes were had. We spared no expense.

At the time, I thought nothing of it. This was just what families do. But I never considered the severity of Gram's health. As far as I was concerned, she was cured. Good as new from her first bout with cancer. And back, better than ever. I mean, she was taking her entire summer to hang out with six kids between the ages of 8 and 16. I suppose if I had been a more thoughtful 10-year-old, I might have picked up on something. This was her last hurrah. The cancer had come back, and with a vengeance. She was in her 80s, treatment was a long shot, she’d lost her husband a few years prior, and she was ready. 

So now when I sit and have a drink with my folks, who are either in or near their 60s, we all think of Gram. My mom says, “I’m honoring your grandmother,” as she holds up her glass before she takes her first sip. 

I’m named after Gram, too, by the way. There's something sacred about that. So when I'm indulging with my parents, or on a plane alone, I hold up my glass and cheers to the Marys.  

President Trump: The Bright Side

As half of America wipes the vomit from their lips, I’m in a state reflection. 

I took a walk last night with Terry. We went to the beach and watched what was left of the sunset, then to the local farmer’s market where we bought macaroons and some very expensive cheese. We had dinner at one of my favorite Mexican restaurants, Ortega’s. I like the atmosphere more than anything. It’s cluttered with sugar skulls, paintings and sculptures, all things Hispanic. Then we headed home. It was a November night in San Diego, but warm enough for shorts and a t-shirt. We talked about the election the entire time.

The media is looking at each other with shrugged shoulders, and the rest of the world is scratching their heads wondering how. How did this happen?

I’ve heard many people say that the American people have spoken. But I actually think it’s because the electoral college is a convoluted system that gives more power to states with less people, and also, is actually just a bunch of random dudes voting for president who may or may not take the majority’s vote into consideration.

This happened in 2000 with Bush and Gore. Al won the popular vote and conceded because George W. won the electoral college. And didn’t that turn out swell. Elections like this, although rare, make you think, who should have won? 

Even before this election, I spoke with friends about the system and how impractical it seemed. I even started reading the constitution and looking up YouTube videos to figure out why we do things this way. And I'll tell ya, still seems overly complicated. I'm definitely not the only American who feels this way. Here’s a petition aiming to end the electoral college. And here's another petition trying to do the same thing. 

Regardless of what’s happened in the past, no matter how recent it was, I think what this says about our country is that we are incredibly divided. Almost completely evenly divided, in fact. And I don’t believe that that’s only because we disagree about hot button issues. We came at this election from two entirely different perspectives.

Half of us couldn’t fathom electing a man whose rhetoric was filled with misogyny and racism. The other half couldn’t fathom electing a woman who’s a crooked politician. Half of us feel we’ve been ignored and overlooked, and that we need a major change in the white house to shake things up. The other half now feel ignored and terrified that our rights will soon be stripped from us. Half of us think we’re moving forward. And half of us think we just got set back 50 years.

So what do we do? There was one thing that stood out to me in Trump's acceptance speech. Something that I actually appreciated. He talked about coming together. He reiterated, in his own way, Hillary’s Stronger Together sentiment and Obama’s “same team” language. He also spoke the truth in that statement, free of malice and judgement.

Unity is almost non-existent in politics. Which is sad, because as citizens of this country, it’s our obligation to work together to fix all our problems. And that requires listening more than talking, finding common ground, and having empathy for those who may not have the same rights and privileges as we do. We can yell and scream at each other about who has it harder, or we can realize that we’re all in the same boat and try to steer it together.

In a shockingly optimistic turn-around, and believe me, I spent most of yesterday reading Facebook posts and arguing my points with those random republican and conservative friends I have, part of me is (gulp) excited about Trump being the new president. If it were Hillary, I would have sat back for the next four years and let her do her thing. Now that it’s Trump, I’m watching him like a hawk.

It would have been a huge mistake for me to do anything less, no matter who was elected. And I think it’s a mistake a lot of us make. We defer responsibility to those who “know better”, those who choose to stay informed, all while checking our social media accounts to see only the opinions of those who think like us. It's no wonder we're all shocked and shaken about this outcome. We are lazy and dumb, just like the American stereotype suggests. And I’ve never been more embarrassed of my aloofness and yet so empowered to take part in the decisions that we make for ourselves.

I don’t see this as the end of the world. I see it as an opportunity. And please hear me clearly, Donald Trump is NOT going to save us, but he won't destroy us either. Our politicians, our leaders, they answer to us. That's their whole job, to just do what we tell them to do. That's why we call them public servants. The time for sitting back and deferring responsibility is over. And here’s what we need to do:

Pay attention. Vote. Don’t complain. Do something about it. 

Like it or not, come January, Donald Trump is your new president. So please please please please read about his plans. Do your own research. Talk to others who have different opinions. Figure out what you like and what you don’t like. And make sure your Senators and Representatives know your opinions on every issue. Then take notes on who listens to you and who doesn’t. Because there’s a midterm election in two years. Congress is important, too.