Archive for December, 2016

Where do the Children Play?

Posted in Uncategorized on December 31, 2016 by Veronica Graham

Cat Stevens was on to something when the song titled ‘Where do the children play?’made air waves. The looks, the sneers, the absolute disgust people give toward children is running wild in these streets.  Some how a dog has higher regard then a child and it’s frightening.

My kiddo and I made a pit stop to the local star-crack and it was a pretty shitty experience. The atmosphere was filled with negative energy and no smiles; just faces tucked away in corners, dressed in dull colors scrolling through their dopamine enhancers-aka cell phones. I ordered my coffee and a hot tea, of course, as per me, I didn’t give the proper titling to a tea blend. Big no no in a star-crack and I was quickly told the star-crack way to ask for a tea. My toddler looked up and shouts”HI!” to one of the crack makers, no response. Kiddo shouts again “HI!”and still no response. People start surrounding the waiting area and literally become irritated that a kid is in their eye-line, and God forbid laughing and twirling around. In my not so subtle way, I tell my little one that some people are grouchy and coffee can’t fix it. Kiddo says “OK!” in the cutest way and starts eating a pumpkin loaf.

As a mom, I hardly relate to the old version of me and its a little scary. I still look about the same but my thoughts are very different. These first years of a child’s life are super important. It’s up to the parent to create a relationship of trust, create healthy boundaries, establish routines, allow them to identify with family and friends, learn to read, eat, walk, talk and more. It’s a lot of pressure but when you’re only a child for a short while it seems fitting that I am sleep deprived and working over time to set a solid foundation for my little one. I cringe more and more each day when I see another consumer friendly shop or a god damn day spa/ bakery for dogs appear. The children are our future-not a fucking dog in a sweater or a cat that can shit in a toilet. Honestly, I would like to see future investments being made to stop child abuse and more facilities to help the working parent. Investors should set up local pop-ups for abuse awareness and catered events for parents to attend who need guidance or just a few minutes to relax. Single parents are sweeping the nation, ok, so let’s capitalize on it. Mmmmkay…. how about Star-cracks can open up a wifi friendly child arena; not just set up shops in grocery stores and malls. Maybe places like Crap-olte and Mc-Shitty’s can merge and create the ultimate community center for families and sell their food in it?!

Even my apartment complex caters to dogs! We have a fucking dog biscuit bowel in the lobby that never runs dry and what was once beautiful landscaping looks more like a minefield of dog shit. I actually have to ask my kid to KEEP OFF THE GRASS, real talk.  I read an article about a year ago about how a family staged and executed the kidnapping of their 6 year old son, claiming he was ‘too nice’ and needed to be taught how awful the world is-It’s daily news to hear stories of people who leave their children in hot cars, beat them, sexually abuse them, talk down to them and so on. I recently spoke with a nurse who worked in ER and she willingly told me what she sees on a daily basis and its cruel. Parents aren’t educated and children are being mistreated way too often.  

In my not so humble opinion, if anyone saw or suspected someone treated an animal in a harsh way they would sound the fucking alarms!!! Call PETA, address the media, start a ‘Save The Fucking Mangy Cat’ program and burn that person on social media, permanently. Why do we chose to turn the cheek when it’s one of our own? A human, a soon to be active member of society, a future tax payer, a future congress person or teacher. When will we start treating young children with compassion? Even the god damn restaurants are hosting dog-happy-hour parties to bring in revenue?! Some restaurants do offer free meals on certain days to kids and always have crayons in stock; I am grateful for those chains. However, I really don’t want to see a future geared towards a dogs happiness any longer. I want to see a future and a collective effort from those with bottomless bank accounts to create more environments and host more events geared toward the success of children. The children are the future and deserve much more than a slap on the wrist for being loud, a Ssshhh in a restaurant for having a natural emotion-aka tantrum, or an electronic device plopped into their lap because a hard working parent just needs a break.

END RANT.

 

Fuck Happiness. Claim Joy.

Posted in Uncategorized on December 11, 2016 by Veronica Graham

Sipping the best damn dark roast in my favorite local independent coffee shop…

It’s amazing this spot still exists. I love this place. Always have. I got really sick the other day, the kind of sick that scares you into the ER. The kind that momentarily knocks the wind out of your sails in the most powerful way, stopping you dead in your tracks. Helpless and unable to control the outcome of your day kinda sick- I am a single parent and wear that badge of courage with pride. However, I needed help that day, and without the energy to take my love bug to school so that I could get help; I reached out to my step-monster ahem step-mum.

In a frantic tone,  I asked her to please come over. She was at my place within minutes of canceling all of her appointments. She dropped me off at the hospital, asked me not to worry and would be back soon… Or would she? After being temporarily pumped with saline and discharged, I saw my father standing outside on a business call. I knew it was him because he is the only person in the world who’s voice is louder than mine. He sounded like he had won whatever deal was being negotiated; it was easy to spot him. Within seconds my step-mum pulls up in my car, with an obvious full tank of gas (it was in danger zone when she arrived at my place) and a very happy kid. My little one is chanting “GRANPA! GRANPA! GRANPA!” My dad instantly finds himself fighting off chicken nugget sauce being flicked at his snazzy suit while trying to cram into the back seat. I take shot gun next to the not -so-evil-step-mumster and see my special request sundae sitting in a cup holder, three bites in- I realized it was a bad choice. Step-mum is talking to all of us an no one seems to be listening. In my defense, I earned a free pass for the day. I feel like death and my hair, oh god. I can’t even explain it.

The charade continues on the way to CVS. My dad is now negotiating with a 2.5 year old. My step-mum is struggling to park the car and I am about to barf, again. I quickly drop off my prescription and head to the public bathroom, no joke. My dad grabs vitamin waters, my medication and we are in the clear for a swift exit, or so we thought. Upon arriving at the car we notice it’s empty. Of course it is- and we don’t have the keys. Step-mumster is walking outside the shopping center with a toddler whose maxed out of chillness. I see her with the 3 foot tall dictator and its doesn’t look good, for her that is. As she picks him up and hurries back to the car she and my dad are greeted by an overzealous Pleasantville neighbor that seems to have appeared out of thin air. As per Pleasantville code she and my dad are polite, to a fault. My life is starting to feel like a Chevy Chase film…

Finally, we gather back into the small economy sized car and just sit. Yup. We just sit.  I’m able to ignore the white noise long enough to notice a lady bug has landed on the passenger side window, right where I was sitting. I smiled and thanked God. My relationship with God grew in the Bible Belt. Go figure, and I hadn’t seen a lady bug in 6 months so I was incredibly relieved. To me, it’s a good omen and allows me to feel connected to the universe and God. I was eye to eye with the bug before my step-mumster saw it too. Feeling momentarily blessed, we eventually get to my place. My dads car is still at the hospital and my step-mums car is at my place, seems like an easy transition, right? Nope. Step-mumster left her keys at her home. She took little one there to make me a Christmas card while I was in the hospital. 

The South, granted my distaste for it, helped me find my inner peace. The DMV rat race can take its toll on you but I love it and am happiest in it. Lately, it seems that the self help books I get my hands on have a similar pattern of slogans written by “inspired” people stating that you can FIND happiness!  You can find it on a wilderness retreat or a vacation! You can find it at the gym! Change your diet, stop smoking and you can find it attending an overly priced yoga studio! Buy a pet! Go on a date with a person who doesn’t suck! Within the same pages they filter in references to take it one day at a time and that you really aren’t in control, the universe is, but only if you believe that, if you don’t then whatever- 

Learning to live in the present, literally one moment at time is becoming less of a chore and my controlling tendencies are lifting, slowly. Maybe the pathological liar from previous entries was right about a thing or two. He had suggested over copious amounts of wine that I stop trying to control everything. That I should truly consider the art of letting go. No one is perfect and in my “inspired” opinion happiness doesn’t really exist. It’s not the same as claiming joy. Had I not lived in Georgia I wouldn’t have been able to recognize the stillness inside of me and claim my day to day joys.

I stopped battling within the pages of my mistakes and started to take other peoples “inspired” opinions with a grain of salt. I can claim joy when washing dishes because I have food to eat and a little person whom I love dearly, to cook for. Had I known how to recognize this learned practice I could have appreciated the people and jobs of my past a little bit easier…Hmm maybe not. The point is, I had to start shutting out the over saturated opinions of the self help snobs and ridiculous detective-type-style articles flooding my news feed on how to “Find Happiness!” Joy is in the moment and happiness isn’t a tangible thing in my “inspired” opinion.

Being still in the moment, is awesome. The smells of this coffee shop are uplifting. The people chatting let me know that I am not alone, the chill of the cool winter air breaking my comfort each time the door opens is riveting (yes, I used the word riveting), the smell of newspaper, the sound of instrumental music, the feeling of the sun from the back corner window-its reflection hitting the guys phone sitting next to me at the perfect angle to blind me momentarily is kinda lovely.  The obvious homeless woman enjoying a slice of apple pie, sitting directly across from me at a common table is part of what makes life beautiful. She has something that has taken me a long time to find. Appreciation for what is; Not what was or what could be but what is. Little moments that collect into a day make it more interesting then the day before. In my “inspired” opinion all of these moments add up to a joyful life.

 

–Wishing you all inner peace this Holiday season… Even if you can’t find it in the bottom of the egg nog bowl. One day a time. By the way, no more photos will be added to the blog, not trying to get sued over a shitty stock image.